A new social contract, a fairer taxation system, a universal healthcare system and more action on climate change were all raised as part of discussions on the second day of the National Economic Dialogue.
The Dialogue, which is being held online this year, is a forum for employer groups, unions and representative bodies to discuss economic and social issues as part of the budgetary planning process.
In a moderated discussion this afternoon, several participants highlighted the need for more action to achieve Ireland's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030.
The CEO of the Irish Exporters Association, Simon McKeever, said businesses are not prepared for the level of detailed change which will be needed to adapt to climate targets.
He called for detailed engagement between government and business to 'take place now’ in the same way that Brexit preparations were undertaken.
Sadhbh O’Neill of Stop Climate Chaos said it was time ‘to get off the balcony and on to the dance floor’ and urged the Minister for Finance to move beyond taxation and subsidies in this year’s budget to tackle activities that are damaging to climate goals.
Pat McCormack, the President of the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) said he lamented that farmers are now seen as ‘environmental destroyers’ and that the story of Irish farmers as the most efficient producers of beef and dairy ‘has been lost.’
The implications of changes to international tax rules were also raised.
Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said he believed the proposed tax changes are a threat to our Foreign Direct Investment and more investment is needed in skills for smaller firms.
Sandra McCullagh of the National Women's Council of Ireland said investment in childcare would be recouped in allowing more people to return to work.
She also said not enough of the training budget was allocated to sectors where women predominate, like the care sector.