Article Category: Poverty & Inequality

‘Frontloading’: The Case for Legal Resources at the Early Stages of the Asylum Process

In 1992, fewer than fifty people came to Ireland seeking asylum. From 1995, however, there was a rapid increase in the numbers applying for asylum, reaching a peak of 11,634 in 2002. Following the Citizenship Referendum of 2004 and subsequent legislative changes, and consistent with underlying trends internationally, the number of asylum applications fell significantly. By 2008, applications had declined to a total of 3,866 for the year, representing a 2.9 per cent decrease on the total of 3,985 in 2007, and a 200 per cent reduction on the 2002 figure.

9.12.05.Dublin. Protest in support of Irish Ferries workers. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Temporary Agency Work: Labour Leasing or Temping?

The word ‘temping’conjures up an era when young secretarial workers moved from assignment to assignment, almost like a rite of passage, until it was time to take up a desirable employment opportunity and settle down. Nowadays, people in skilled occupations such as nursing and information technology often avail of the services of temping agencies as a way ‘to see the world’.

19.4.05. Dublin. Protest by Nigerian asylum seekers outside Leinster Hse & Dept of Justice asking for the right to stay & work and contribute to Irish society and some to stay with their families and Irish born children. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008: Well-Founded Fears?

Context The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008 has come before the Dáil at a time when there has been a significant reduction in the number of new asylum claims being made in Ireland. In line with European trends, applications have dropped from a peak of 11,634 in 2002 to fewer than 4,000 in 2007.… Read more »

How Much Equality is Needed for Justice?

Critics of Ireland’s decade-long economic boom often, with an eye to justice, express considerable concern about ‘rising inequality and about the core features of the strategy adopted by the Government to combat poverty’.1 This is so despite the fact that since 1994 the percentage of the population living in ‘consistent poverty’ appears to have fallen from 16 per cent to 7 per cent.2 However, since the late 1990s, ‘relative income poverty’ has persistently remained around 20 per cent, higher than it was in 1994.3 Would it be more just to return to a poorer but more equal Ireland, or is this the wrong kind of question to ask? Can we say instead that this is not a choice Ireland needs to make?

Poverty and Inequality

Ireland has seen a dramatic economic boom over the past decade, with unprecedented levels of growth in employment and living standards. Unemployment has fallen very sharply and substantial numbers of migrants have been attracted to Ireland to work. Despite this, the numbers ‘at risk of poverty’ have grown – the ‘risk of poverty’ being a key measure of poverty among the EU’s indicators of social inclusion.1 There has also been considerable concern expressed about rising inequality and about core features of the strategy adopted by the Government to combat poverty.

Development

Introduction The Government’s performance in recent years in relation to development cooperation has been hailed in many quarters as a considerable success. The decision in 2005 to re-instate the commitment to meeting the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNP on development aid, and the achievement of the first interim target of 0.5… Read more »

Budget 2004 – Small Change for the Poor

The day after Budget 2004, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, was on the defensive. The Budget, he declared, would dispel the myth that this was a right-wing Government which cared only for its rich friends. He talked about the increase in social welfare payments and the concentration of income tax cuts on the incomes of… Read more »

Including Older People in Irish Society

We didn’t have to be told. The health service is in a mess, number 21 out of 22 in the “Western World”. When we look at the financial resources devoted to health (based on 2001 figures), Ireland is the lowest spender, along with Finland, devoting 7.3% of GDP to public spending on health compared to… Read more »

A European Exchange: People in Poverty – Partners in Europe

This meeting had taken place during a European Exchange gathering in Dublin in June 2003 that brought together people facing poverty, social exclusion and homelessness in Belgium, Scotland and Ireland, and people who support them. Organised by ATD Fourth World(i), together with a dozen other community and voluntary groups, the three-day event in June saw… Read more »