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It’s received little attention so far but five motions to the Labour Conference 2012 which were adopted unanimously have considerably strengthened Labour’s position on equality by a) placing inequality of income centre stage, b) making its reduction an objective during the lifetime of this government, and c) deciding to prepare the data necessary to having budget discussions that focus on income inequality.

The motions were no. 28 (Donnybrook, Dublin SE,) no. 30 (Hugh Geraghty CDW, Dublin SC), no. 87 (Ashbourne, Meath E), no. 94 (Labour Youth) and no.132 (Labour Equality).

I’ve looked at these motions and found them in general agreement. There are minor differences as to which of the measures of income inequality should be used and over techniques/terminology around “equality auditing”, “equality reporting” etc. However, the position in summary seems to be this:

  1. Labour has made the reduction of inequality of income not only a short term objective but also a measure of the party’s performance in government.
  2. Labour wants all policy and particularly budgetary measures audited so as to make it absolutely clear what effect they are likely to have on income inequality.
  3. In the event of  Labour’s partners in government declining to effect equality auditing,  it is Labour’s position to press ahead using whatever resources are available and to have the information so generated inform Labour’s cabinet contributions and public debate.


The full texts of the motions can be found here If I’ve misinterpreted or made some other error, I’ll be happy to be corrected.


  1. The most patriotic thing they can do is leave government and stop the pretense, the party voted in the measures which produced income inequality.

  2. Anne, That is simply untrue. Irish levels of inequality may have increased under this government but inequality in Ireland is not that recent. I would regard it as success if every budget from now on was equality audited. That is the Labour position since conference 2012 and I’d like to see it implemented.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Time to prioritise | Colum McCaffery's Weblog on 17 Jul 2013 at 9:18 pm

    […] Ireland needs to talk about economic inequality but not in vague terms which allows conservatives to pose as egalitarians. It’s time for socialists and other progressives to make the reduction of inequality of income the prime objective. The Labour Party now favours equality audits before budget and policy decisions ***** but the party in government continues to talk about economic recovery and fairness as if they were prime considerations, and most of the government’s harshest critics on the left share that agenda. _______________________________________________________________ * ** *** **** *****… […]

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