Mainstreaming social justice in the governance of Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Church Action on Poverty gorup reports on a campaign action they have been involved in.

On 24 May 2011, the Social Justice Network forwarded an iPetition to the First and deputy First Ministers calling on the new Northern Ireland Executive to place social justice and the eradication of poverty centre-stage in the new Programme for Government.

The petition was composed by Professor Colin Harvey and Revd Dr Scott Peddie on behalf of the Social Justice Network, an informal grouping of individuals and organisations united in their desire to see poverty eliminated across all communities in our society.

The petition calls on all political parties to commit to the following four key areas:

  1. The principle that social justice should be the cornerstone of the new Programme for Government.
  2. Development of a Programme for Government that contains detailed costed proposals on how poverty and social exclusion are to be eradicated. These proposals must contain key milestones and targets.
  3. The principle that cross-departmental collaboration on all social justice issues should be an in-built requirement of any future strategies.
  4. Development of a robust and transparent system of ministerial and collective accountability to ensure the effective outcome of any social justice agenda can be realised.

Commenting on the petition, Dr Peddie, who is Chair of Church Action on Poverty NI, said:

"Llooking at the list of signatories to our petition, it is clear that our concern is shared by many leading figures from civic society including leaders from across the Christian denominations - Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Moravian and Non-Subscribing Presbyterian - as well as elected and non-elected representatives from many of Northern Ireland’s political parties."

Professor Colin Harvey, Chair of the Social Justice Network, added:

"Eeven in these difficult and challenging times we hope that the new Executive will ensure the needs of the marginalised and most vulnerable in our society are mainstreamed in the life of this Assembly. The Executive is right to focus on building a vibrant and diverse economy, but this must go hand in hand with a meaningful commitment to social justice. We want to make the new Northern Ireland a better place for everyone. It is time to mainstream social justice in the governance of Northern Ireland."

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