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The Monday Blog - my final one

Posted on July 04, 2019 by Tom Healy

Publication cover - Quarterly Economics Facts - Spring 2012
Cover image for Quarterly Economics Facts - Spring 2012

Looking back over almost 8 years of working at the NERI I am glad to say that a credible and ‘alternative’ presence has been established in the world of economic research and public policy debates. Thanks to a number of pioneering trade unions the NERI was formally established in March 2012. I joined along with two other colleagues in the Autumn of 2011 to help prepare the ground. From there we built a team of researchers. Over time I believe that we have had some impact on policy debate, North and South due to the hard work of the whole team.

On a personal note, the publication of An Ireland Worth Working For in April of this year marked a point of arrival. It gathered together a diverse range of ideas and evidence to tell a story about Ireland – where it has come from and where it needs to go. Based on the ideas of the Democratic Programme (1919) it suggested a new democratic programme founded on the principles of equality, democracy and sustainability. It has been referred to as the book of threes: three big challenges alongside three big ideas and three overarching goals of work, social wage and enterprise.

Work in all of its forms is central to the lives of communities and individuals. We work to live and live to work for the good of others. I was particularly struck when someone pointed out to me during a recent visit to Derry/Londonderry that the title of the Book was about an Ireland worth working for – not fighting for in a negative and violent way.

No matter what challenges arise from global tensions to Brexit to a dysfunctional economic and social policy in the vital areas of healthcare and housing I am confident and hopeful that a way forward will be found to create a better future for our children and their children. In that regard the Irish trade union movement will play an important role. I am grateful on a personal and professional level for the support, encouragement and cooperation of so many people within the movement and beyond.

I along with other colleagues present or who have moved on from the NERI leave a legacy. Tosach maith sin leath na hoibre – a good start is half the work!

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