This CESR briefing analyses Ireland’s social and economic policies since the financial crisis took hold. The document, produced as part of CESR’s ongoing work on the human rights impacts of the global economic crisis, explores both the causes and consequences of Ireland’s recession from a human rights perspective. It is intended to support the advocacy efforts of Irish civil society in the context of Ireland’s appearance before the United Nations Universal Periodic Review.
CESR’s research shows that the recovery policies implemented in the wake of the collapse have been markedly retrogressive in character, severely undermining what gains had previously been made in realizing economic and social rights. A series of austerity budgets, drawn up in conjunction with the IMF and EU, have been characterized by harsh cuts in social spending and a pronounced aversion to tax increases, despite the fact Ireland remains one of Europe’s lowest tax economies. Moreover, the fundamental human rights principles of transparency, accountability and participation were largely ignored in crises response measures that promise to limit Ireland’s economic wellbeing for many years to come. More worrying still is the fact that when the crisis first broke state institutions responsible for the protection of human rights were immediately subjected to disproportionate reductions in funding.