About thirty people attended the Basic Income Ireland website launch and participatory event at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, on March 7th, 2013.

We briefly introduced the concept of basic income, how it can be paid for and what the Basic Income Ireland network hopes to achieve.

Our chief purpose for the meeting was to consult those present about the website content and to get feedback that will help improve the website and also spread the word about basic income. After the short introduction, the audience split into self-selected groups to discuss basic income in relation to:

  • unemployment
  • employment
  • self-employment, running a business or a cooperative
  • young people
  • artistic and creative work.

Format of Evening

Each group took the relevant page from the website and used it as the basis of their discussion. Then, someone from each group made a short report back to the large group. The feedback received will allow us to improve the text on the website, to make it clearer. In particular, we perceived a need to address people in different types of employment – some secure, some not secure, some underemployed – in a more precise fashion. A number of questions arose also, which are not dealt with on the FAQ page, and we will address these shortly. 

Our guest participant on the night was Erik Olin Wright, Villas Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Envisaging Real Utopias (Verso, 2010) and many other books and articles. Erik sat for a time with each group during their discussions and made a fifteen-minute response after the feedback from each group. He emphasised the role that Basic Income can play in supporting cooperative business ventures and he also noted that, along with our work toward a basic income, there is a need for all of us to work towards a culture of contribution and responsibility in society at large. 

Moving Forward

Basic Income Ireland would like to repeat this kind of event, with any interested groups from the community, political, business or statutory sectors. Or, if you are having a conference or some other event, we would be happy to make a presentation as one part of your bigger event. 

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