Government is Failing to Protect the Vulnerable - CV Pillar

At a meeting in Dublin today the 17 members of the Community and Voluntary Pillar of Social Partnership presented their proposals on how the Government can best develop an integrated national recovery strategy.  The group's recommendations will be discussed with a range of Government ministers and officials in the coming weeks and submitted as a pre-budget submission.

The Pillar members were very critical of government for failing to protect the vulnerable and proposed a five point plan to ensure the protection of the vulnerable and the improvement of public services during this recession.

It is very clear to us that vulnerable people and people experiencing discrimination and inequality have already been severely affected by cutbacks on much needed services and supports.

Ivan Cooper, spokesperson for the Group said today, “As a group we want to highlight the fact that we, as a society, are not just confronted with an economic crisis but also a social crisis. It is very clear to us that vulnerable people and people experiencing discrimination and inequality have already been severely affected by cutbacks on much needed services and supports. These people, who had no hand act or part in creating the current economic downturn are paying too high a price in Government plans for recovery”

Dr Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland said today, “Ireland’s total tax take is one of the lowest in the developed world and it continues to fall as a percentage of national income. We are not a poor country, despite recent economic setbacks. If the Government adopts an integrated approach to recovery, which should include the protection of our social services and a policy of ensuring that those who can afford it will pay more, there will be less hardship for thousands of vulnerable people. There are many tax breaks in the present system which the Commission on Taxation recommended should be adjusted or abolished. Tax breaks are a recognised Government expenditure, which benefit a small minority who are better off - and should be abolished or adjusted as the Commission proposed.”

The 17 member organisations represented at today’s meeting fully accept the gravity of the current crisis in regard to economic contraction, job losses, collapsed tax revenue and growing debt – but we also believe that ‘cost cutting’, which will impact most heavily on the vulnerable, shouldn’t constitute a one-track approach to recovery.

As part of its pre-budget submission to Government the 17-member group have highlighted a five-point integrated recovery strategy, consisting of a combination of the following:

  • Increasing the tax take while keeping Ireland a low tax country (through broadening and deepening the tax base and addressing tax-breaks as recommended by the Commission on Taxation).
  • Securing better value for money in the delivery of our public services.
  • Reforming the public sector (by implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the OECD).
  • Targetedexpenditure cuts where required but ensure that vulnerable people are protected. A good starting point would be the elimination of waste identified in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s reports.
  • Focusing expenditure on the common good to provide required infrastructure and public services.

The members of the CV Pillar proposed that this five point plan would produce a dividend from this recession - person centred public services.

The Community and Voluntary Pillaris one of the five pillars of social partnership alongside the Employers Pillar, the Trade Union Pillar, the Farmers Pillar and the Environmental Pillar.  The Pillar consists of seventeen organisations invited by Government to provide voice and representation for vulnerable people and communities in developing Ireland’s social and economic policies.  Its members are as follows:

Age Action Ireland Ltd, Carers Association, Children’s Rights Alliance, Community Platform, Congress Centres Network, Social Justice Ireland, DFI, Irish Council for Social Housing, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, Irish Rural Link, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, National Association of Building Cooperatives, National Women’s Council of Ireland, National Youth Council of Ireland, Protestant Aid, Society of St Vincent de Paul, The Wheel.

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CVPillardocumentonRecoveryStrategyfinal.pdf336.73 KB