CORI calls for Government to focus on ‘fairer society’

 

The Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) Justice Commission has today called on the incoming Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrat Government to give priority to developing a fairer society in the years ahead.

In its initial comment on the new Programme for Government, CORI claims that the economic growth of recent years and the policies that accompanied it, failed to produce a fair society for all of Ireland's people.

CORI have called for the next five years of government to focus on developing "a fair society that balances economic development, social equity and sustainability".

"The benefits of the economic growth of recent years have been unfairly distributed with those already better off being the major beneficiaries. A new approach is required to ensure a fairer future for all," said Fr Seán Healy of CORI.

While welcoming the commitment in the new Programme to meet National Anti-Poverty Strategy targets, CORI say "more than 70 per cent of those living in poverty are living in households headed by a person who is not in the labour force". Consequently, it claims, the Programme for Government strategy that sees "a job is the best poverty fighter" is of little relevance in the new situation.

"The lowest social welfare rates must ensure that all people in these categories are provided with sufficient income to live life with dignity," said Fr Healy.

"While the failure to give priority to reducing the numbers living in relative income poverty is very disappointing, if Government meets this commitment on social welfare then there will be a substantial reduction in the proportion of the population living in relative income poverty.

"Such a development would be good for all in Irish society and the commitment on social welfare rates is very welcome," said Fr Healy.