Our Plan for Building An Economy For All
Equip the Workforce
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Maintain Foreign Direct Investment
Equipping the Irish Workforce
Growing Irish Enterprise
Supporting SMEs and the Self-Employed
Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility
We strongly support human rights and accountability across business – we should have a level playing field for all businesses and ensure that communities who have been exploited can access justice.
To achieve this, we need a global approach to address the adverse human rights impact of corporations. The Social Democrats want Ireland to be a global leader in this regard. The Human Rights Council has developed an intergovernmental working group to develop legally binding rules to regulate the actions of transnational corporations.
This is a historic opportunity to develop a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights which will benefit communities and human rights defenders throughout the world.
Ireland should support the UN Treaty process and champions global accountability, ensuring access to remedy for victims of human rights violations.
Ireland should also ensure that Irish companies are not complicit in human rights violations, either directly or indirectly through business relationships. This would require human rights due diligence which is not being undertaken systematically across Irish corporations.
As part of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Ireland should implement mandatory human rights due dil, including reporting on human rights practices outside of Ireland.
Background: Ensuring human rights at the heart of business
Jobs and economic growth allow communities to escape poverty. However, the absence of a comprehensive global legal framework on business and human rights has allowed businesses to exploit communities. Businesses operate across borders and countries compete for investment from companies often richer and more powerful than they are.
The vast majority of human rights violations perpetrated by corporations go unpunished and impunity regarding human rights abuses by companies is increasing.
The actions of irresponsible businesses and complicit governments are resulting in the displacement of communities, violent evictions, pollution of land, destruction of livelihoods and loss of shelter, with a disproportionate impact on women and indigenous communities.
We believe the violence being faced by human rights defenders who are trying to protect their communities and the environment is unacceptable.
Since 2015, more than 1,400 attacks on activists working on human rights issues related to business have been documented.  In 2018, 321 human rights defenders were murdered, 77 per cent of whom were working on land, indigenous peoples and environmental rights. 
Further Policy commitments:
- The Social Democrats want to see Ireland more actively supporting and contributing to the development of a UN binding treaty on business and human rights to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
- We support the proposal for a Treaty that will include provisions to ensure the prevention of human rights violations, access to justice (address jurisdiction, corporate liability issues and access to information), the primacy of human rights over trade and investment agreements, protection of human rights defenders, inclusion of a gender perspective and strong enforcement mechanisms.
- We will seek to ensure that the European Commission secures a mandate for the negotiation of the Treaty from the Council.
- We will progress mandatory human rights due diligence in Ireland – following similar developments in other European countries.
- We will implement a progressive Irish National Plan on Business and Human rights with a comprehensive gender analysis.
 Business and Human Rights Resource Centre  ‘Corporate impunity is common & remedy for victims is rare – Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing’.
 See Business and Human Rights Resource Centre database.
 Frontline Defenders  ‘Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2018’.
Alternative Budget 2019
Our plan for the economy aims to deliver a fairer society where living is affordable and public services are delivered efficiently and to the highest standards.
Our proposals are for a Budget that works in the interests of everyone in our society.
You can read our proposals below – and watch Catherine Murphy TD and Róisín Shortall TD explain our proposals in the video.