Call for referendum to enshrine social and economic rights

Community Platform demands lone-parent cuts be reversed and LGBT equality legislation be brought in

A referendum should be held to enshrine economic, social and cultural rights in the Constitution, a network of advocacy groups has said.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

A referendum should be held to enshrine economic, social and cultural rights in the Constitution, a network of advocacy groups has said. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

A referendum should be held to enshrine economic, social and cultural rights in the Constitution, a network of advocacy groups has said.

The Community Platform on Tuesday called for progressive taxations in line with the EU norm, along with investment in communities and public services “to undo the damage of policies that have deepened poverty and inequality”. It also said the reduction in lone parent payments should be reversed.

In a new report the platform recommends the amendment of equality legislation for LGBT employees working for employers with a religious ethos, and also the restoration of full social welfare payments to those aged under 26.

The platform has 28 national members working to address poverty and inequality, which include Focus Ireland, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Women’s Aid, Age Action Ireland and Pavee Point Travellers Centre.

It highlighted the need for fresh dialogue between the State and the community sector regarding the value of community development work for social inclusion.

The report called “The Future’s Perspective” says the rate of deprivation has increased as a result of austerity policies in the past six years, from 13.7 per cent in 2007 to 30.5 per cent in 2013.

The paper also states that the gender pay gap has widened from 12.6 per cent to 14.4 per cent, and that the top 20 per cent in Irish society hold the same share of wealth as the bottom 60 per cent.

Edel McGinley, platform spokeswoman, said “there is no evidence of recovery for many people and that low income families are struggling to survive”.

The network says the report “sets out a roadmap to build a more equal, inclusive and sustainable society,” and that it will be passed on to political parties ahead of the general election.