Events; News & Events

IRELAND: Social Policy Conference on Basic Income (Nov 22)

Social Justice Ireland’s 2016 Social Policy Conference in Dublin will center on the topic of basic income in Ireland and throughout Europe.


Social Justice Ireland, an independent think tank and advocacy organization, hosts an annual Social Policy Conference, which focuses each year on a different issue related to social justice.

Its 2016 conference, which will take place on November 22 in Dublin, is titled “Basic Income: Radical Utopia or Practical Solution?” and will explore current thinking about basic income in both the global and Irish contexts.

Themes to be addressed include:

  • The role of basic income with respect to citizenship rights and responsibilities.
  • How a basic income provides a route to a “more inclusive, equal, and creative society.”
  • The international experience on implementing a basic income, highlighting experiments planned for countries such as Finland and the Netherlands.
  • Possibilities for implementing a basic income in Ireland.
2015 SJI Conference, image courtesy of Michelle Murphy

2015 SJI Conference, image courtesy of Michelle Murphy



Conference Speakers

The conference will be divided into two main sessions: one on the international state of the basic income movement, with a focus on experiments, and one on the potential for basic income in Ireland.

The first session, on the international context, will bring in researchers and basic income experts from throughout Ireland, the UK, and beyond:

  • Anthony Painter – Director of Policy and Strategy at the British think tank RSA (Royal Society of Arts); author of the RSA Basic Income Model.
  • Ville-Veikko Pulkka – Researcher at Kela (the Finnish Social Insurance Institution); one of the lead researchers behind Finland’s forthcoming basic income pilot.
  • Ronan Lyons – Assistant Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin.
  • Ursula Barry – Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Social Justice at University College Dublin (who has previously presented at events held by Basic Income Ireland).

In the second session, Roisin Mulligan of Basic Income Ireland and Michael Taft of Unite (the UK’s largest trade union, which endorsed basic income in July) will speak about the Irish context, as will multiple members of Social Justice Ireland (Michelle Murphy, Eamon Murphy, Seán Ward, Seán Healy, and Brigid Reynolds).


Social Justice Ireland’s Stance on Basic Income

Social Justice Ireland supports a basic income and is on the steering committee of Basic Income Ireland, BIEN’s Irish affiliate.

The organization elaborates its stance on basic income in its 2015 policy proposal on income distribution (see pp. 68-72), from which the following excerpt was taken:

“As we are proposing it, a basic income system would replace social welfare and income tax credits. It would guarantee an income above the poverty line for everyone. It would not be means tested. There would be no ‘signing on’ and no restrictions or conditions. In practice, a basic income recognises the right of every person to a share of the resources of society.

“The Basic Income system ensures that looking for a paid job and earning an income, or increasing one’s income while in employment, is always worth pursuing, because for every euro earned the person will retain a large part. It thus removes poverty traps and unemployment traps in the present system. Furthermore, women and men would receive equal payments in a basic income system. Consequently the basic income system promotes gender equality because it treats every person equally.

“It is a system that is altogether more secure, rewarding, simple and transparent than the present tax and welfare systems. It is far more employment friendly than the present system. It also respects other forms of work besides paid employment. This is crucial in a world where these benefits need to be recognised and respected. It is also very important in a world where paid employment cannot be permanently guaranteed for everyone seeking it. There is growing pressure and need in Irish society to ensure recognition and monetary reward for unpaid work. Basic income is a transparent, efficient and affordable mechanism for ensuring such recognition and reward” (pp. 69-70).


More Information and Registration

See the website of Social Justice Ireland for more information about the upcoming conference, including schedule details and bios of all speakers:

To register, go here:

According to the organizers, the conference will interest “policy makers, academics, social justice activists and others interested in looking at innovative ways of creating a more equal, just and fair society.”

Conference details provided by Michelle Murphy of Social Justice Ireland

Cover photo: Lady Justice at Dublin Castle CC BY-NC 2.0 Derek Bruff

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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