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Basic income is not a utopian dream

By Cian Molloy - 21 November, 2016

“Ireland in 2016 has the resources to implement a basic income system,” says Fr Seán Healy.

What would Irish society be like if everyone had an adequate basic income from the state? That’s the question being explored at Social Justice Ireland’s conference in Croke Park this Tuesday.Money - euro

Delegates will explore whether the basic income model is a utopian dream or a practical real world solution, says Fr Seán Healy.

Under a basic income system, every resident in the country would be entitled to a state payment, on an individual basis, without any means test or work requirement. It would be sufficient to live a frugal but decent lifestyle without supplementary income from paid work.

The conference on Tuesday 22 November will look at how Ireland’s complex and cumbersome social protection system could be reformed, how all forms of work – paid and unpaid – could be equally valued, how we might foster increased creativity and innovation, and, ultimately, how we might pay for a basic income system.

“The conference will explore current thinking on basic income and its links to citizenship within Europe,” said Fr Healy. “It will also have specific insights from the practical implementation of basic income programmes in the Netherlands and Finland.”

“Ireland in 2016 has the resources to implement a basic income system. Our conference will illustrate how this can be achieved in Ireland today. Speakers will give practical details of costings, feasibility and pathways to implement a basic income system. Papers will also include some innovative proposals in the areas of housing and tax credits.”

The conference programme is available here.

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