Returning to normal following the coronavirus pandemic would be failure, a social justice think tank has warned.
Social Justice Ireland has urged government to do better on housing, healthcare, and climate change as it published Social Justice Matters: 2021 Guide to a fairer Ireland.
The group has set out five goals which include a thriving economy, decent infrastructure and service, just taxation, good governance and environmental, social and economic sustainability.
A return to the pre-Covid-19 ânormalâ would be a pathway to continued failure. Building a better future is meaningless unless âbetterâ means fairer, more just and, therefore, more equal #socialjusticematters— Social Justice Ireland (@SocialJusticeI) March 23, 2021
It has also urged government to introduce a social housing target of 20% of all housing by the year 2030, up from 9%, an integrated training and labour market programmes to tackle youth unemployment, transformation of the health service and a new National Index of Progress encompassing environmental and social indicators of progress as well as economic ones.
Chief executive Dr Sean Healy said the last 12 months has “shown that change is possible”.
“Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated weaknesses that already existed in Irish society: a totally inadequate supply of social housing; a two-tier healthcare system; climate change; growing inequality; homelessness; environmental goals not being met, to name but a few,” he said.
“But the past twelve months has shown us that change is possible.”
Dr Healy said a new social contract is needed.
“In responding to Covid-19, Government made the changes required to protect both society and the economy. Changes, some of which were dramatic, were delivered,” he said.
“The common good featured prominently in planning and delivery. The State, the only institution with the required capacity to address the pandemic, expanded to meet the challenge.
“This is in stark contrast to the approach taken after 2008. Yes, mistakes were made. But lessons were learned; protecting jobs, services and a minimum standard of living were priorities. Now is the time to build on this progress.”