Ahead of negotiations which open tomorrow on a new national agreement on pay and social inclusion, the Community Platform (CP) suggested the Government must choose "to invest in a just and equal society".
CP is made up of 24 national organisations and represents hundreds of thousands of people. It will take part in the national negotiations along with the other interest groups which include trade unions, employers, farmers and the Government.
Last April, the group walked out of the final meeting of the last national agreement.
This protest was because the Government rolled back the equality and rights agenda by introducing legislation which had not been agreed in partnership.
Among its 14 demands, CP will renew its drive that vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, Travellers and asylum seekers be provided with a range of services by right.
"We will demand government policies which prioritise people who have
benefited least from economic growth," said CP spokesperson Donal Toolan at a press conference in Dublin. Spokesperson Frances Byrne said its specific demands would include:
An increase in the level of social spending by the Government.
A fair deal for those on social welfare.
Improved childcare, eldercare and support for people with disabilities.
In addition, the platform wants greater access to education for the most disadvantaged; measures to increase access to employment for low-income, and strategies to address social issues The platform also believes that it will be necessary for the Government to borrow to fund key social infrastructure projects in the National Development Plan. Senator David Norris, who chaired the launch, said community, voluntary and non-governmental organisations made a disproportionately valuable contribution to Irish life.
"The Community Platform represents those who often don't have their voices heard and I, and my colleagues in the Senate, are always happy to receive briefings from these organisations so that we can urge government support for their invaluable work."