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Ireland is split between people who have good jobs – and people who don’t

Ireland is ‘divided between people with good jobs – and those without them’, an economic expert says.

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IRELAND IS SPLIT between people who have good jobs – and people who don’t.

That’s the opinion of the director of the progressive think-tank TASC, Dr Nat O’Connor, who said today that improving infrastructure and incomes, access to education, health and social care services along with reforming the tax system are central to tackling inequality.

He believes that Irish society is split between those with ‘good jobs’, full-time on good pay, and those without work or those in low-paying, part-time or irregular jobs.

Challenge of economic inequality

Dr O’Connor will speak at TASC’s fifth Annual Conference, The Challenge of Economic Inequality to Recovery and Wellbeing, which is being hosted in conjunction with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in Croke Park today.

The keynote address at the conference will be given by Thomas Piketty, Associate Chair, Paris School of Economics and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank, will deliver the response to his address.

Dr O’Connor describes getting good quality employment as remaining the primary equaliser for many people.

If you can get one of the increasingly elusive good jobs, then you can probably afford the car, the house and to bring up your family with some dignity. But there are simply not enough jobs to go around and the forces of globalisation and technological change help explain why this has happened with computers reducing the need for clerical workers.

He said that extreme inequality “has very real consequences”.

How can things be changed?

Dr O’Connor will unveil a series of proposals at today’s conference aimed at solving the issue. These include:

  • Targeted investment in key infrastructure like clean energy, providing training for people who are long-term unemployed and provision of local authority rental housing
  • Ensure all workers receive at least a living wage from full-time employment.
  • Enshrine trade union rights, including collective bargaining, in law.
  • Accelerate the drive to a universal system of health care in Ireland.
  • Improve childcare and elder care.
  • Further reform the education system.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive social and affordable housing strategy.
  • Ensure everyone has sufficient income.
  • Pension policy reform is also needed, including reduced tax breaks and an increased tax-funded basic state pension.
  • Reduce the cost of living.

He will also call for adjustments to be made to Ireland’s tax system so that the proposed improvements to our public services can be paid for.

What do you think of Dr O’Connor’s proposals? Tell us in the comments.

Read: Poor us: Ireland is less wealthy than the EU average>

Read: What can be done to help Ireland’s “unacceptable” rate of jobless households?>

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