SJI warning to Govt over social dialogue that benefits richMonday, May 28th, 2012
The Director of Social Justice Ireland has warned the Government that any attempt to introduce a process of social dialogue, which benefits the rich and excludes the rest of society is, “totally unacceptable.”
Fr Seán Healy was explaining his rejection of a proposal for a union/employer forum with the Government, as put forward by IMPACT General Secretary Shay Cody. However, Fr Healy welcomed Taoiseach, Enda Kenny’s comments in which he said he sees, “an important role for social dialogue in helping to broaden understanding about what needs to be done.”
SJI's director also welcomed the Taoiseach's insistence that social dialogue “must facilitate, not strangle or frustrate, change and reform.”
In a statement on Sunday, Fr Healy said, “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.” He added 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 warned.
He underlined that the Government needs to engage all sectors of society, not just trade unions and employers, in addressing the huge challenges Ireland currently faces.
Meanwhile, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland, Michelle Murphy, warned, “If the Government wishes the rest of us to take responsibility for producing a more viable future, then it must involve the rest of us”.
Fr Healy added, “Responsibility for shaping the future should be shared among all stakeholders.”
Saying there are many reasons for involving all sectors in this process, he said one is to ensure priority is given to well-being and the common good; another is to address the challenges of markets and their failures; and another is 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,” Fr Healy suggested.
The Marist priest added that SJI looks forward to concrete proposals being produced by the Taoiseach to advance social dialogue at this very difficult moment in Ireland's history.
Last week, the Taoiseach addressed the biennial delegate conference of Impact in Killarney. He said that social dialogue between the Government, unions and other groups has an important role in generating fresh thinking and new ideas.
He also suggested that organisations of strategic importance in Irish life should have opportunities to engage in discussion with the Government when it was appropriate.
Social Justice Ireland is a non-governmental organisation of individuals and groups committed to working to build a just society where human rights are respected, human dignity is protected, human development is facilitated and the environment is respected and protected.
More info: http://www.socialjustice.ie/
By Sarah Mac Donald