Ireland remains ‘profoundly unequal', 100-group strong march warns

Despite our current roaring economic prowess, Ireland remains a “profoundly unequal place”, an event on the Sustainable Development Goals heard today.  

Speaking in advance of at an event in Dublin to mark the third anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Niall McLoughlin, CEO of World Vision Ireland said “The Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a transformative agenda to end poverty, address climate change and build sustainable and peaceful communities. Yet widening inequalities, which we see both in Ireland and overseas, in our work with the poorest and most marginalised communities, threaten to undermine the achievement of the 17 Global Goals and the promise to Leave No One Behind”.

Three years ago, today, on the 25th of September 2015, 193 countries around the world came together to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals [1]. As part of this Agenda, the historic “Leave No One Behind” promise ensures that the Sustainable Development Goals can only be considered met if they are achieved for all nations, peoples and segments of society, and that the poorest, most deprived and marginalised will be reached first. 

The event today as part of a Global Day of Action, brought together over 100 civil society groups who highlighted the importance of the promise to Leave No One Behind and ensure that the poorest, most deprived and marginalised sectors of society, both in Ireland and across the world, are reached first. [2] 

Worldwide, major events took place across 123 countries, to press for the implementation of the SDGs. In New York, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney joined the annual global Central Park concert to mark the anniversary and will also speak at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival on Saturday. 

Michael Ewing of the Irish Environmental Network - a coalition of national environmental groups – told the crowd that marginalised groups in society need to have their voices heard on how future plans and policies on the Sustainable Development Goals should look. 

He added that meaningful participation across Irish society is “crucial to combat exclusion” and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals “for all people, everywhere”. 

To achieve real progress towards the SDGs, Niall McLoughlin then commented “robust Policy Coherence across and within government departments is needed to ensure Ireland’s actions in all areas of government, do not exacerbate inequality and exclusion. For this to happen, a concerted all-of-government and all-of-society approach is essential to achieve the SDGs and Leave No One Behind”.

The civil society groups were joined by members of the Irish public, as well as ambassadors from Belgium, Malta and Spain.

The march continued on to the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square where two people living in Direct Provision led a spoken word performance.