The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights findings on Ireland highlight key issues the State must address if it is serious about tackling poverty and social exclusion and protecting the economic, social and cultural rights of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in society, the Community Platform said in response to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) publishing its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Ireland.

The Community Platform, an alliance of 31 leading organisations in the Irish community and voluntary sector, made a submission to and engaged with the Committee ahead of its review of Ireland, to provide it with a vital alternative perspective on Ireland’s economic, social and cultural rights landscape. The concluding observations reflect many of the key concerns the Platform raised during the periodic review process, including the need for the State to tackle discrimination, address the structural causes of poverty and barriers to social inclusion, to guarantee income adequacy for all, to address deficits in the provision of a range of services including housing, health and care, to improve its engagement with affected communities and the organisations that represent them in the policy process, and the critical role of data and evidence for policy.

“The Committee has highlighted the urgency of ensuring everyone has an adequate income for a decent life, whether this is from work or social welfare, or a mix of both. A key recommendation is that both wages and social welfare supports be linked to the cost of living. It also recommends a review of conditions that affect people’s access to social welfare and the removal of any that are discriminatory, as well as improving the take-up of supports. The Committee also calls on the Government to tackle the barriers causing many groups and communities in society to have unequal access to decent work,” said Paul Ginnell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland.

“A key concern for the Community Platform is engagement with affected communities, and the organisations that represent them, in the design and implementation of policy. We welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the Government must ensure the participation of civil society in the policy process, through meaningful and effective engagement at all stages, beyond just information and consultation, particularly the recognition that policies affecting disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups must be developed, monitored and evaluated in partnership with them,” said Ann Irwin, National Co-ordinator with Community Work Ireland.

“We welcome the Committee’s calls for Ireland to effectively tackle discrimination, stigma, and the structural and institutional barriers and exclusion faced by disadvantaged and marginalised groups. We are particularly heartened by the Committee’s recommendations that the Government include socio-economic status as a ground in Irish equality legislation, address the gender pay and pension gaps, and ensure targeted supports for groups disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion,” said Bríd O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media at the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU).


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  • The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Concluding Observations on Ireland are available here.
  • The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) is the body of that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its State parties. The Covenant enshrines economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to an adequate standard of living, adequate housing, education, health, social security, and work.
  • The Community Platform Submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Fourth Periodic Review of Ireland is available here.
  • Community Platform spokespersons: Paul Ginnell, Director, EAPN Ireland; Bríd O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU); Ann Irwin, National Co-ordinator, Community Work Ireland.
  • The Community Platform Submission contains dedicated chapters with recommendations and proposals for engagement for effective policy and strategy design and implementation; the need for Government to be accountable for its decision-making; the use of data in informing effective policy implementation, as well as putting forward suggestions for Questions for the Committee to put to the Irish Government. The submission also drills down and addresses key articles in the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish context, along with recommendations for each:
  • Article 2.1: Maximum Available Resources
  • Article 2.2: Non-Discrimination
  • Article 3: Equal Rights of Men and Women
  • Article 6: Right to Work
  • Article 7: Right to Just and Favourable Conditions of Work
  • Article 9: Right to Social Security
  • Article 10: Protection of the Family and Children
  • Article 11: Right to an Adequate Standard of Living
  • Article 13: Right to Education
  • Article 27: Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities
  • Article 12: Right to Physical and Mental Health
  • Article 26: Right to Equality Before the Law
  • Article 24: Rights of the Child
  • Article 20: Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred