Ep.66 – Using Social Policy to Shape Social Justice Change – Dr Seamus Taylor

This Reboot Republic podcast talks to Dr Seamus Taylor, head of the Department of Applied Social Studies Maynooth University. Seamus was formerly a researcher with the ESRI, a social worker with the London Irish Centre Charity, and Director of Strategy at the Commission for Racial Equality in Britain from 2000-2003.

He worked on the public sector’s role in promoting equality and good community relations, involving diverse communities in policymaking, violence against women and in developing strategies to tackle hate crime. He talks about his experiences, about how in Ireland we have good policies on equality and human rights but lack implementation, he also outlines discrimination in Ireland and how the proposed hate crime legislation in Ireland must be fit for purpose and effective, and he sets out a human rights and equality proofing proposal for all Government measures that would use indicators of inequality to ensure policy really tackles our problems of inequalities and injustices. He also outlines the impact of COVID on social policy and its potential for a reshaping towards social justice.

Seamus finishes by outlining the contribution of social science and the Department of Applied Social Studies to educating critically engaged citizens. A great listen.

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4 Comments

  1. I have just listened to this excellent pod cast. I loved the critique around the implementation of policies and holding services to account and the culture in Ireland of not taking that too seriously. The dullness and challenge of daily delivery…I like that and the links to resources to make it bite. The part on hate crime and vulnerability…characterized as wounded and victims v situational vulnerability …. A deficit concept rather than looking at the hostility systemically faced by people. It suits government policy makers to focus on individual rather than the systematic / structural issues as part of post identity politics. I liked the concept of Recklessness and impact …it reminded me of conversations about racism and focusing on impact rather than intent or motivation in developing anti racist practice. I thought the demonstration of hostility really helpful to focus on. I work in social work in England for 20 plus years. The aspiration of Social Workers being critically engaged citizens…..my experience sadly is that the politics has been taken out of SW training in England. As a profession we are so full of bureaucracy following a battering from endless child death enquiries ….I think the concepts of social justice and compassion but sadly feel like they are being eroded and there is very little radical social work now in terms of challenging issues like poverty,discrimination. This was really thought provoking podcast…the balance of an excellent critique with positive ideas on how to address problems and change things going forward is inspiring

  2. What a breath of fresh air this speaker is. Not only he brings in the expertise of having worked across levels of government but his honest reflections expressed through the lens of policy making and delivery are worth noting. I wish I could see more of him on various panels of debates and discussions on various media in Ireland. Seamus has the innate and natural ability to provide balanced view of the current state of play of social justice in Ireland. I have never heard anyone who can be constructive in criticism while being appreciative of the progress, carefully weighing against the long history of the Irish state. The wit and eloquence of Seamus is second to none. I really enjoyed this podcast despite my professional background in something totally different to mine.

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