The 1980s in Ireland was a time of change in many ways in Irish society. The people of the state were beginning to become annoyed and left out of the policy making process, of which all the policies affected the people. The people of Ireland in the 1980s were educated and ready for a modern Ireland whose policies were outdated and many people felt as though they had no voice in the democratic government. So in this essay I, the author will investigate how the political elite aimed to include the community and voluntary sector in the Irish social partnership process and will from there evaluate their effectiveness in the Irish social partnership process.
During the 1980s Ireland had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the Eu or the European Community as it was known at the time. As we had an increasing population but no jobs for the people, there was unrest amongst the majority of people who were unemployed. It was a Fianna Fail government in 1987 which had no option but to introduce cutbacks in public spending. Cutbacks in public spending and limiting wage increases have been identified as one of the reasons for transforming the Irish economy. According to MacSharry and White (2000) they identified 'fiscal stability and social partnership' as 'critical pillars' in transforming the economy (Allen. 2000, p.12).
As we can see from the above that from 1987 it was a time of change and the governments which followed realised that the development of social partnership is a tough and complex process of negotiations and interactions between the main pillars of social partnership.
A definition of social partnership is as follows '"Social partnership is a process by which issues of social policy can be agreed between the Government and the social partners. The social partners include trade unions, employers, farming organisations and the community and voluntary sector." (Citizens Information 2008). Social partnership is made up of four pillars from which...