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Submission to UN CESCR Fourth Review of Ireland

The lived experience of poverty, social exclusion and inequality must inform the Government’s approach to economic, social and cultural rights, an alliance of leading organisations in the Irish community and voluntary sector said today (08.02.2024), as it launched its Submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) Fourth Periodic Review of Ireland.

The Submission draws on the collective expertise of 31 national organisations, representing a wide range of groups experiencing poverty, social exclusion and inequality, to provide a vital alternative perspective ahead UN CESCR’s examination of Ireland next week. It provides key insights into what must change in order to improve the lives of people whose economic, social and cultural rights are not respected, protected and fulfilled as they should be in Ireland.

The Community Platform draws the Committee’s attention to the lack of effective engagement with affected communities, and the organisations that represent them, in the design and implementation of policy, the need for greater Government accountability for its decision-making, and the critical role of and gaps in data and evidence in informing effective policy.

“This Submission offers an important counterpoint to what the Government will present in Geneva. We provide the Committee with our assessment of how Ireland is faring when it comes to our international obligations, and make concrete, evidence-based recommendations for tackling some of the immense challenges we face as a society. Our work with people and groups experiencing poverty, social exclusion and inequality gives a unique insight that must inform the Government’s approach to these issues,” said Paul Ginnell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland.

“We highlight the failure of successive Governments to properly address such major long-term challenges as poverty, health, education, employment and housing, which has resulted in deepening inequalities and hardship for many people, particularly those living on low incomes and from the most marginalised communities. We make concrete recommendations on structural issues hampering attempts to tackle poverty and social exclusion, including weaknesses in engagement and consultation with those affected and the organisations that represent them, failures in implementation of national policies and strategies, and the absence of accountability in Government decision making regarding policy and decision-making,” said Ann Irwin, National Co-ordinator with Community Work Ireland.

“The Community Platform believes that unless the Government improves and strengthens the ways it currently engages with civil society and affected communities, it will continue to fail to find workable and effective solutions to existing and new challenges. We propose a new approach for how the Irish State can engage with the community sector and work jointly to devise and implement new solutions to difficult challenges, and make recommendations for new, innovative and more collaborative approaches that are dynamic and fit for purpose, maximise involvement and harness the expertise of organisations and communities,” said Bríd O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media at the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU).

The full Community Platform Submission is available here.

This project has received funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme as part of the Commission’s statutory power to provide grants to promote human rights and equality under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Press Statement – Budget 2024

On the eve of Budget 2024 a network of 31 national community and voluntary organisations has called on the Government to urgently address the cumulative impact of the very high cost of living on people, while also addressing ongoing structural weaknesses that create the conditions that enable inequality and poverty to become ingrained and grow in our society.

The Community Platform, a network of 31 national organisations working to address poverty, social exclusion and inequality, has published Four Tests which it will use to assess Budget 2024.

Press Statement – Budget 2023

In advance of Budget 2023 a network of 32 national community and voluntary organisations has called on the Government to urgently respond to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on those on the lowest income who are the worse effected, but to also tackle the ongoing issues that have enabled inequality and poverty to become ingrained and grow in our society.

The Community Platform, a network of 32 national organisations working to address poverty, social exclusion and inequality, has published Four Tests which it will use to assess Budget 2023.

Launch of Principles for a Public Childcare Model

Invitation to the online launch of:

Principles for delivering a high quality, inclusive and accessible Public Childcare Model

Thursday 11th November @ 11:30

Register Here

The Community Platform believes that the progressive delivery of a high quality, inclusive and accessible public childcare model is urgently needed. Lessons from the past, and reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, show the important role of the state in providing key public services and in ensuring universal access. A properly designed and delivered public childcare model can play an important role in addressing poverty and disadvantage. The Six Principles for a Public Childcare Model are:

  1. Child centred
  2. State Responsibility
  3. Investment
  4. Quality, inclusion and accessibility
  5. Equality
  6. Decent working conditions

Following the presentation of the Platform’s Principles the launch will have speakers outlining their support for a public model of childcare from their perspective as parents, childcare providers and professionals. This includes

  • Bróna Ní Chobhthaigh, South Inner City Community Development Association, perspective of community childcare provider
  • Mick Kenny, Association of Childcare Professionals – Perspective of Childcare professionals
  • Vicky Wall, Waterford Women’s Centre Childcare – Parent perspective

A panel of speakers, including representatives from the community sector, trade unions and political parties will then respond to these proposals and perspectives. The panel includes:

  • Orla O’Connor, NWC
  • Dr Laura Bambrick, ICTU
  • Ivana Bacik TD – Labour
  • Richard Boyd Barrett TD – People Before Profit
  • Kathleen Funchion TD – Sinn Féin
  • Jennifer Whitmore TD – Social Democrats

Anyone requiring Irish Sign Language contact communityplatform@eapn.ie

The event is online by zoom: A link will be sent to those who register closer to date of the launch.