* It would be totally unacceptable for Government to introduce a process of Social Dialogue that would benefit the rich and exclude the rest of us.
* Any proposal for Social Dialogue involving trade unions and employers only, and excluding large parts of society, would be a recipe for ensuring that most of Ireland's resources in the coming years would be captured by the public sector – the major beneficiaries would be the better paid in the public sector.
* The Community and Voluntary sector is currently the haven of last resort for many middle and low-income people who lost out in the recession. It has a great deal to contribute to rescuing Ireland from its current mess. It should be included in any process of Social Dialogue developed by Government.
"It would be totally unacceptable for Government to introduce a process of social dialogue that would benefit the rich and exclude the rest of us” – Fr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland, said commenting on a proposal presented by the General Secretary of Impact, Mr Shay Cody, over the weekend.
While rejecting Mr Cody's proposal for a Union/Employer forum with Government, Fr Healy welcomed Taoiseach, Enda Kenny's comments that he saw "an important role for social dialogue in helping to broaden understanding about what needs to be done”. He also welcomed the Taoiseach's insistence that social dialogue "must facilitate, not strangle or frustrate, change and reform”.
"Any proposal for Social Dialogue involving trade unions and employers only, and excluding the rest of society, would be a recipe for ensuring that most of Ireland's resources would be captured by the public sector. Not just that; if past performance were to be a guide, it would mean that the major beneficiaries would be the better paid in the public sector. Such an approach would simply lead to deepening divisions and growing inequality in Ireland” Fr Healy said.
All sectors should be involved
"Government needs to engage all sectors of society, not just trade unions and employers, in addressing the huge challenges Ireland currently faces. If government wishes the rest of us to take responsibility for producing a more viable future then it must involve the rest of us” according to Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland.
"Responsibility for shaping the future should be shared among all stakeholders” according to Fr Healy. "There are many reasons for involving all sectors in this process e.g. to ensure priority is given to well-being and the Common Good; to address the challenges of markets and their failures; to link rights and responsibilities.”
"When groups have been involved in shaping decisions they are far more likely to take responsibility for implementing these decisions, difficult as they may be. A process of Social Dialogue is a key mechanism in maximising the resources for moving forward. Social Justice Ireland looks forward to concrete proposals being produced by the Taoiseach to advance Social Dialogue at this very difficult moment in Ireland's history.”