The Life Cycle Perspective on Social Inclusion in Ireland: An Analysis of EU-SILC

The principal objective of this study is to develop an understanding of the role that life cycle factors play in shaping patterns of poverty and social exclusion in contemporary Irish society.  The NESC (2005) report on the Developmental Welfare State drew attention to the need for policy makers to recognise the varying needs and expectations of individuals concerning income and other forms of provision at different stages of the life cycle. Reference to the ‘life cycle’ has also become increasingly prevalent in discussions relating to the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (NAPinclusion) 2007-2016. The life cycle perspective recognises that risks are linked across problem areas while difficulties experienced at any specific life cycle phase may be either a consequence of earlier difficulties or a precursor of later problems. Welfare state redistribution has always been predominantly across the life cycle rather than between socio-economic groups. In practice the manner in which social protection is designed shapes the social meaning of age by helping to define the balance between work and family relationships.