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Archive for the ‘Human Rights and Budget 2010’ Category

van Turnhout on Budget 2010: The Rights of the Child

December 11, 2009 1 comment

HRiI has  the pleasure of introducing a further guest blog on the impact of Budget 2010 from Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance.

Budget 2010 was the most discussed, debated, analysed and awaited Budget in the country’s history.  Never before has a Budget generated so much anticipation, concern – even fear – across all sectors of society.  At home and abroad Budget 2010 was seen as the Government’s chance to show that it was capable of leading the country out of recession; and could demonstrate to international partners that Ireland can take steps to reverse its misfortunes and emerge strong.  The McCarthy Report on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure (‘An Bord Snip Nua’ report)[1] and the Commission on Taxation Report,[2] both published in summer 2009, advised Government on how to achieve an overall budgetary adjustment of €4 billion.  At Cabinet, it was agreed that this year the focus would be on cuts, not taxation.

In total, measures announced in Budget 2010 amounted to €4 billion in savings, made up of over €1 billion from the public sector pay bill, €760 million from social welfare, €980 million from day-to-day spending programmes, and €960 million from investment projects.  With these reductions, the Government aims to stabilise the national deficit in a fair way, safeguard those worst hit by the recession, and stimulate the crucial sectors of the economy to sustain and create jobs.

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Blog Carnival Conclusion: The Human Rights Implications of Budget 2010

December 10, 2009 2 comments

This Wordle is drawn from the text in all the contributors posts.

As with all blog carnivals, my first task to is to thank those who contributed today: Elaine, Aoife, Danielle, Fergal, Eilonoir, Deirdre, Mairead and Vicky.

Please find all the blog contributions below:

Human Rights and Equality Infrastructure

Criminal Justice System

Targeting the Lost Generation

Women Poverty & Violence

Children’s Rights

The Rights of People with Disabilities

Welfare Cuts and Human Rights

The Right to Work in Ireland

The only task left to me is to close this blog carnival. Today, we have discussed the rights affected in a very academic sense. What we have done is show you the reality of this budget for a segment of the population living in the Republic of Ireland.  This budget will have a minimal impact on some, a more appreciable impact on most, and a noticable  impact on the less well off.

Rather than draw conclusions from the posts above, I will allow you to draw your own conclusions. Did we neglect to discuss the dire economic situation which Ireland is facing? Did we properly discuss the fact that billions of Euro are being spent on bank and business subsidies? Did we properly question the whole economic system upon which Budget 2010 is based? Is the economic system which much of the world has in place conducive to human rights protection?  These are issues not only for the Republic of Ireland to face, but for the globe at large.

Thornton on Budget 2010: Human Rights and Equality Infrastructure

December 10, 2009 2 comments

With the massive cuts in Budget 2009 for the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority, both bodies have maintained their much reduced budgets for 2010. The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman has also maintained its 2009 Budget.

Danielle and Fergal have discussed the impact of the budget on children’s rights here, while Vicky has commented upon the increases and cutbacks in the criminal legal aid scheme and criminal justice here. Eilonoir has noted the increases and cutbacks for those with disabilities here.

I will concentrate on the other areas within the broad human rights and equality infrastructure in this post. Read more…

Conway on Budget 2010: The Irish Criminal Justice System

December 10, 2009 2 comments

This post is contributed by our regular contributor Dr. Vicky Conway. You can read about Vicky on our Contributors page.

The most apparent implication of Budget 2010 for the criminal justice system has been the threat of strike action by members of the Garda Representative Association (covering circa 12,000 members of the force), on the basis of the public sector pay cuts. The government, on the advice of the AG has warned of the criminal implications of such action, a statement reinforced by the Garda Commissioner. Prof Dermot Walsh has argued however, that there is in fact no legal bar on strike action, only on joining a trade union. The GRA does not appear, at the time of writing, to have made a statement on the Budget, but given AGSI’s response, that it is ‘an attack on its members’, we may well see a ballot of GRA members on strike action in the coming weeks. Let’s not forget other workers, such as prison officers, who may also choose to strike. In the past prison strikes have required Gardaí to serve in prisons, which clearly is problematic if they too are striking.

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Duffy on Budget 2010: Targeting the Lost Generation

December 10, 2009 5 comments

This is our third guest post from Deirdre Duffy. You can read about Deirdre on our Guest Contributors page.

At present, young people, particularly young men under 24 are the biggest losers in the economic downturn. The generation who entered the workforce in a period of unprecedented growth now make up the largest proportion of Ireland’s unemployed. Like their predecessors in the 1970s and 1980s, they will not only suffer the brunt of the economic downturn but it is likely that the career pathways and prospects of many members of this group will never recover. Already Ireland is experiencing a new wave of economically-driven emigration, many of whom will never return. At the sake of being accused of alarmism, Ireland is steadily allowing a generation of young people to be pushed to the sidelines and facing a return to the culture of exit, of emigration, endemic to Irish society until the 1990s.

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Enright on Budget 2010: Women, Poverty & Violence

December 10, 2009 2 comments

This post is HRinI’s final contribution to the 16 days campaign. It relies heavily on the National Women’s Council of Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2010. Whether or not this budget represents a last ‘big push’ towards economic recovery,  for many Irish women it is not a push from manageable to bearable. It is a push from just about bearable to unsupportable.

Women had tended to enter this recession on a weak footing, because many women work ‘flexible’, informal and part-time jobs which enable them to find time for caring responsibilities within the family; these, of course, are still a significant factor in women’s career decisions. Women in such jobs have tended to lose ‘hours’ as a result of the economic downturn. (Caring responsibilities have also exerted pressure from another direction as some employers have cut back on supports for family women in an effort to save money).

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Kennan and Landy on Budget 2010: Children’s Rights

December 10, 2009 1 comment

You can learn more about Danielle Kennan and Fergal Landy on our guest contributors page.

Before reviewing the child specific impact of the 2010 budget it is important to take a whole child/whole system approach by highlighting the overall impact on low income families and the knock on effect this will have on children. TASC, an independent economic think tank, describes this budget as ‘particularly harsh for those struggling to survive on low incomes’, as ‘reinforcing inequality’ and delivering ‘cuts that will impact hardest on those at the bottom of Ireland’s incomes heap’. Over the coming weeks the potential impact of cuts on children that are not immediately evident require a comprehensive child impact assessment of this budget using the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a reference point.

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Flynn on Budget 2010: The Rights of People with Disabilities

December 10, 2009 4 comments

This is our first guest post from Eilonoir Flynn. You can read about Eilonoir on our Guest Contributors page.

Yesterday’s budget has had an obvious impact on people with disabilities by reducing disability-specific payments, such as the disability allowance and disablement pension; however, some indirect cuts, particularly in transport and education could well have a disproportionate effect on the rights of people with disabilities.

First, the direct cuts should be addressed. The reduction of the disability allowance from €204.30 to €196 and of the disablement pension from €235.40 to €226 may not seem unduly drastic; but given the additional cost of disability, these are sufficiently serious to warrant attention. These cuts run contrary to the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly with regard to the right to an adequate standard of living and social protection in Article 28.

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Nolan on Budget 2010: Welfare Cuts and Human Rights

December 10, 2009 1 comment

This post is contributed by our regular contributor Dr. Aoife Nolan. You can read more about Aoife on our Contributors page.

Last month, I blogged in relation to reports on significant reductions in social welfare spending in the 2010 Budget.  In that post, I highlighted some of the implications that the threatened cuts would have for the realisation of government’s obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The rights protected by ICESCR include the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to adequate housing, food, water and clothing. The rights to work, social security and education, trade union rights and the right to the highest attainable standard of health are also provided for in the instrument.

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Dewhurst on Budget 2010: The Right to Work in Ireland

December 10, 2009 1 comment

This is our second guest post from Dr. Elaine Dewhurst. You can read about Elaine on our Guest Contributors page.

In 2009, the International Labour Organisation reported (World of Work Report 2009) that over 6.1 million jobs had been lost in the EU with an increased unemployment rate across the EU of 9.3% and the average number of working hours per person decreasing to 40.3 hours. The ILO warned that these statistics revealed that the labour market in the European Union was making a “sluggish” recovery and that the European Union faced the risk of increased long-term unemployment resulting in skills deterioration and labour market detachment, particularly in groups such as older workers and young people. So how could states ensure a broader global recovery?

The Budget 2010 sought to take “bold, decisive and innovative steps to manage [their] way through this crisis”. This amounted, in reality, to a cut of €4 billion euro to Government spending. This contrasts starkly with the advice of many international bodies, including the International Labour Organisation who argued that the only sustainable way out of the present crisis in the European Union in general was through “Employment-Oriented Measures” including the development of public infrastructure, social protection, support for vulnerable groups, labour market skills and training programmes and initiatives for “greening” the economy.

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