Ireland in Social Europe

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Overview

In the context of growing economic and social uncertainty, Ireland is facing new challenges, many of which are shared with our European neighbours, however in recent years the added value of a European response to social inclusion has become less visible.  At a time of national reflection on Ireland’s role within the European Union, the upcoming European Elections in 2009 and the 2010 European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion offer an opportunity to promote a national debate on Ireland in Social Europe.  Ireland’s engagement with Europe overall and with the Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (OMC) played a critical role in supporting and developing social inclusion strategies in Ireland, however measuring the impact of this European participation is not straight forward.  By promoting a national debate on the EU added value past and future, this project seeks to develop innovative strategies to reinforce the OMC in Ireland and in Europe.

Objectives

  • Enhance understanding of experiences of poverty in Ireland and promote a national debate on its implications for national and European policy.
  • Raise awareness of the added value of a European approach to ending poverty and social exclusion during and in the run up to 2010.
  • Promote innovative strategies for how the EU, through the Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, can add more value to the fight against poverty in Ireland.


Project Themes

The project will adopt a thematic approach, structured in the context of the current debate on active inclusion, the project will focus on the three strands of: (1) income; (2) services; and (3) labour market activation.  This thematic approach will be underpinned by supporting activities intended to actively create the conditions for a substantial debate at national level on poverty and social inclusion and the EU dimension.  These conditions will be achieved through strategies to (a) support people who experience poverty and the groups that work with them; (b) foster cooperation and dialogue with politicians and officials; and (c) raise public awareness of poverty and its policy implications.

The development of the project’s thematic and supporting activity will be structured with reference to the three key stakeholders: (i) people who experience poverty and the organisations that work with them; (ii) politicians and officials at European, national and local levels; and (iii) the broader public.

Partnership

The project will be implemented through the development of a partnership structure.  This partnership structure will realise the implementation of specific activities under each thematic priority, as well as in the implementation of supporting activities.  In implementing the project EAPN Ireland will have four main partners: Vincentian Partnership for Justice (income); Community Workers Cooperative (services); Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed (activation); and the Northern Irish Anti Poverty Network (supporting activities).  The project will also be implemented in partnership with a number of local authorities in the context of activities linked to the 2010 Year.

Activities on Income Theme

  • Research study on adequate minimum income for rural households.
  • 12 Focus groups with people experiencing poverty (focus on rural contexts).
  • Training with 8-12 individuals experiencing poverty who are interested in participating in national policy structures and debates, including the development of training material on national and European Policy.
  • Burning issues paper on income highlighting the issues raised during focus group/training discussion.
  • Establishment of working group to develop income targets on the basis of the results of the research conducted by the Vincentian Partnership for Justice.
  • 3 regional and 1 national roundtable debates on minimum income and the EU dimension.
  • Key messages/story for public awareness initiative in context of 2010 Year.


Activities on Services Theme

  • 6 focus groups on services with people experiencing poverty.
  • Training with 8-12 individuals experiencing poverty who are interested in participating in national policy structures and debates, including the development of training material on national and European Policy.
  • Burning issues paper on services highlighting the issues raised during focus group/training discussion
  • 3 regional and 1 national roundtable debates on services and the EU dimension.
  • Key messages/story for public awareness initiative in context of 2010 Year.


Active Labour Market Inclusion Theme

  • 6 focus groups on activation with people experiencing poverty
  • Training with 8-12 individuals experiencing poverty who are interested in participating in national policy structures and debates, including the development of training material on national and European Policy.
  • Burning issues paper on activation highlighting the issues raised during focus group/training discussion
  • 3 regional and 1 national roundtable debates on activation and the EU dimension.
  • Key messages/story for public awareness initiative in context of 2010 Year


Ireland in Social Europe Closing Event:

You may now view presentations, videos and reports from our “Ireland in Social Europe” closing event from June 2011 here.