Events; News & Events

DUBLIN, IRELAND: “Can Ireland afford Universal Basic Income?” – a Public Debate (Feb 21)

The Dún Laoghaire branch of the Social Democrats will hold a public debate on basic income on Tuesday, February 21. The discussion will be chaired by Social Democrat TD Róisín Shortall and speakers will include Eamon Murphy and Sean Ward, both from Social Justice Ireland, and Anne Ryan and Sinéad Gibney, both of Basic Income Ireland.

The event page calls universal basic income “a new way to provide the people of Ireland the freedom to control their lives. It has the potential to help deliver on our ideals of a society based on values of equality, dignity and fairness, built on a strong and sustainable economy.”

This discussion will address how basic income would work in Ireland – what existing social welfare payments would be subsumed, how it would be financed and potential consequences.

The Social Democrats are a new centre-left party, founded in July of 2015. At present, it holds two of 158 seats in Dail Eireann, the lower house of the Irish government.

Given the affiliations of the speakers, it is fair to presume that the discussion will be fundamentally accepting of the idea of a basic income. It is possible, then, that the debate might focus on the details of implementation, rather than the general idea of basic income.

Basic Income Ireland is the Irish affiliate of BIEN. It has been active in promoting the idea of basic income in Ireland since the 1990s and hosted the BIEN international conference in 2008. They host monthly meetings in the Dublin Institute of Technology, the next of which will be at 6pm on February 15.

Social Justice Ireland, an independent think tank and justice advocacy organisation, recently published a social policy book titled “Basic Income – Radical Utopia or Practical Solution?” (available as a free PDF here), which was presented at their conference of the same name last November. Social Justice Ireland supports a basic income and is on the steering committee of Basic Income Ireland.

The public debate kicks off at 19:30 (UTC) and is scheduled to last an hour and a half. More information is available on the event’s Facebook page. While admission is free, the organisers request that attendees reserve tickets on their Eventbrite page.

Social Democrats Dún Laoghaire – “Can Ireland afford Universal Basic Income?” – a Public Debate, Royal Marine Hotel, Marine Road, Dublin, February 21, 2017.

Read more:

Basic Income – Radical Utopia or Practical Solution?”, Social Justice Ireland, December 13, 2016.

Kate McFarland, “IRELAND: Papers and Cartoons from “Basic Income – Radical Utopia or Practical Solution?” conference available”, Basic income News, January 4, 2017.

Kate McFarland, “IRELAND: Social Policy Conference on Basic Income (Nov 22)”, Basic Income News, November 9, 2016.

Reviewed by Kate McFarland

Photo: Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, CC 2.0 by William Murphy

About Genevieve Shanahan

Genevieve Shanahan has written 20 articles.

Genevieve is a graduate of University College London, with an MPhil in philosophy. She currently works at the Grenoble Ecole de Management, assisting with research on young people and work in Europe, and otherwise reads and writes about basic income.

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