Dáil debates

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions

Economic Policy

1:30 pm

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Ireland’s national reform programme is to be integrated into the Government’s national recovery and resilience plan. The aim, as I understand it, is to mitigate the economic and social impact of Covid and make our economy and society more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges ahead. On that basis, what provision does the national reform programme intend to make for tackling poverty or committing to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights?

Yesterday the Taoiseach was asked to report on his recent engagements with the social partners and we could summarise the Taoiseach's update as underwhelming. Despite establishing a social dialogue unit in his Department, it appears its only engagements have been with the Labour Employer Economic Forum. In its submission to the national reform programme last year, Social Justice Ireland recommended an implementation mechanism for the European Pillar of Social Rights be established involving social and civil society partners. Has the Taoiseach considered tasking his new unit with this work? Crucially, Social Justice Ireland called for this implementation of the pillar to be progressed in ways that are legally binding, aiming for equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion. When we look at the current and historic barriers to equality of opportunity for people with disabilities, carers, young people from areas of disadvantage or the Traveller community, it is clear we need brand new thinking and new approaches in tackling inequality.


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