Ireland Vol.4 (Manifesto 2016 of Fine Gael – Irish ruling party since March 2011)

Here is Fine Gael’s manifesto in February 2016. After the eletion, the party formed a minority government. Excerpts are on our own.
@FineGael GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTO 2016 – LET’s KEEP THE RECOVERY GOING [PDF]

[The Long Term Economic Plan – Three Steps to Keep the Recovery Going] p.9-10

[Agriculture and Food] p.13-15
By 2025, we will deliver:
• An increase in value of exports by 85% to €19bn
• An increase in value added by 70% to €13bn
• An increase in value of primary production by 65% to almost €10bn
• The creation of a further 23,000 jobs in the agri-food sector

Farm Gate Investment: Fine Gael has committed €4bn to on-farm investment through the Rural Development Programme (RDP). Schemes like GLAS, TAMS, the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, locally led environmental schemes, knowledge transfer programmes, horticulture, organics and Areas of Natural Constraint are being rolled out as a priority…

Beef:… The Beef Data and Genomics Programme will spend over €300m on modernising and improving efficiency in the beef herd as well as supporting farm incomes. This, in tandem with the introduction of a framework for producer organisations and knowledge transfer schemes (discussion groups), will support farmers in increasing efficiency and profitability.

Dairy: The abolition of milk quotas continues to represent the biggest opportunity for the Irish dairy sector and, as markets stabilise, Fine Gael will ensure that Irish producers are best placed to benefit from this, on the back of prudent investment. We will continue to convene a dairy forum to manage growth, ensure sustainability and address challenges within the sector. Fine Gael has invested heavily in the future of this sector through supports for processors expanding their enterprises, and this is being matched by on-farm capital investment through TAMS and knowledge transfer schemes. We have also supported farmers through the recent period of market volatility with a €25m compensation fund. We will also encourage the establishment of a futures market for dairy produce and encourage price stabilisation tools to combat price volatility.

Sheepmeat: Developing the sheep sector is a key focus of the Food Wise 2025 strategy. We will improve efficiency and profitability in the sector through the knowledge transfer programme (discussion groups). We will further support sheep farmers through GLAS, the Areas of Natural Constraint scheme and TAMS…

Poultry:…
Pigmeat:…

Horticulture: We recognise the importance of the horticulture sector and will continue to prioritise capital investment for development in this area. We recognise the potential to grow the output value of this sector to over €500m in the medium term and will deliver on the actions in the Food Wise Strategy to achieve this target. We are conscious of the need to safeguard this sector from potential unfair practices in the grocery sector and will monitor the impact of new legislation in this area in that context.

Forestry: The role of forestry in the effort to mitigate against climate change is very significant. Fine Gael will implement the Forestry Programme 2014-2020. The programme targets an increase in planting each year over the lifetime of the programme, commencing with 6,000 ha of new forests in year one, increasing to 8,290 ha in 2020. The programme will aim to build on research by COFORD on the eligible land considered suitable for forestry across the country.

[Economy, Public Finances and Taxation] p.43-44
Corporation Tax: Fine Gael defended our corporation tax regime throughout the financial crisis and we are committed to maintaining the 12.5% rate into the future…

Capital Gains Tax Relief for Start-Up Companies:…Gains arising on chargeable business assets acquired from 2017 and held for 5 years will be charged at a rate of 10% on disposal, up to a maximum liability of €10m.

[Housing] p.73-74
Framework to Support Mortgage Holders in Arrears:…Fine Gael wants to keep people in their homes and, building on the progress which has seen the number in mortgage arrears decline for 9 consecutive quarters, we will continue to adapt and strengthen the existing mortgage arrears framework as necessary…

Increasing Home Building: To meet housing demand Fine Gael will support an increase in the annual housing output to a sustainable level of 25,000 by 2021. As part of this goal, we will support NAMA to deliver on their target of 20,000 residential units before the end of 2020.

Investing Strategically: Fine Gael will improve the availability of finance for new home construction, with a €500m joint venture to finance the building of 11,000 new homes through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF)…

[Jobs, Enterprise and Regional Growth] p.78-80
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs): Enterprise Ireland (EI) will support the LEO network to develop their own capacity and their range of policy tools, to grow their base of start-ups and small businesses…

Export-Led Growth:…government-supported, Irish-owned companies will grow exports by 40%, or €10bn, by 2020, by driving client companies to target new markets, and by increasing the value of sales in existing markets.

Innovating to Drive Growth: Fine Gael will implement Innovation 2020, Ireland’s 5-year strategy for research and development, science and technology. …reaching our overall goal of increasing public and private investment in research and development (R & D) to 2.5% of GNP by 2020. This will amount to an almost doubling of current levels of investment. As part of this, €1.25bn in funding will be drawn down from the EU Horizon 2020 programme…

Smart Regulation:… We will publish new guidelines, taking account of the latest EU and OECD smart regulation practices…

[Local Government and Communities] p.89
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs): Enterprise Ireland (EI) will support the LEO network to develop their own capacity and their range of policy tools, to grow their base of start-ups and small businesses…

[Northern Ireland, European and Foreign Affairs] p.92-95
Outstanding Commitments: We will support efforts to implement the unfulfilled commitments under previous Agreements, including the establishment of a North-South Consultative Forum; the establishment of a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane; and the promulgation of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Ireland-UK Relations: Building on the successful state visits of 2011 and 2014, we will continue to enhance Ireland’s relationship with the United Kingdom, including under the Good Friday Agreement, through the British-Irish Council and the annual summits between the Taoiseach and British Prime Minister. We will strengthen cooperation with all devolved administrations.

Economic Cooperation: Fine Gael pioneered trade missions jointly led by Jobs ministers north and south. …boost economic growth in the North West through the North West Gateway initiative, the upgrading of the A5 road and the further development of the Ulster Canal…

Narrow Water Bridge:…
Atlantic Youth Trust Initiative:…

North South Ministerial Council: …(NSMC) and harness the potential of the Stormont House Agreement to develop new areas of cooperation in areas such as trade, health, tourism, sport and security.

EU Supports: …benefit from EU funding through the INTERREG and PEACE programmes.
Addressing External Threats:…
Effective Institutions:…
UK Membership:…
The European People’s Party (EPP):…
Taxation:…
EU Competitiveness and Growth:…
Trade Missions:…
New Cross-Sectoral Trade Strategies:…
Continuing Reform and Modernisation:…

[Public Sector Reform and Public Procurement] p.105
Better Regulation: We will mandate the Cabinet Secretariat within the Department of An Taoiseach to act as a centre of expertise for, and enforce compliance with, the regulatory impact assessment procedures for all major regulatory and legislative proposals. To promote the better regulation agenda the Taoiseach will also host an annual meeting of economic regulators to discuss ways to promote greater efficiency in the regulated industries.

[Rural Ireland] p.111-114
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) (see the Jobs, Enterprise and Regional Growth chapter for further detail):…
Agriculture (see the Agriculture and Food chapter for further detail):…
Technological Universities:…
Rural Transport:…

Community Involvement Schemes (CIS) and Local Improvement Schemes (LIS): We will provide funding for Community Involvement schemes and Local Improvement Schemes, on an annual basis. As part of our commitment to local government reform we will also give councils greater discretion in how they spend their money on local and regional roads.

Greenways (see the Tourism and Sport chapter for further detail): During a second term of government, Fine Gael will build on the success of the development of the Greenway network and establish a central fund for supporting the network across the country. While we will continue to expand the network, we are also conscious of the rights of farmers and landowners and will work with them to ensure that the expansion of the network is beneficial for both users and landowners.

Regional Airports (see the Transport chapter for further detail): We will invest €28m under the Capital Plan for safety and security enhancements across the regional airports. We will also look to establish a fund to assist developing new flight routes from all airports outside of Dublin.

Spreading Growth in Tourism throughout Ireland (see the Tourism and Sport chapter for further detail): During a second term of government we will build on successes such as the Wild Atlantic Way to drive tourism to all parts of the country, in accordance with their potential.

Post Offices:…

[Seafood and the Marine] p.115-116
FOOD WISE 2025 – SEAFOOD
One of the most significant growth areas in our strategy for the agri-food industry, Food Wise 2025, is the seafood sector. With an increase of 37% in seafood exports since 2011 and an estimated 40 million tonnes of seafood required globally by 2030, our target is to increase the share of value-added seafood by 30-50%, maximising the value from our raw material base.
We will invest €24m from the Seafood Development Programme in seafood processing to support investment in capital infrastructure, innovation and business planning, scaling and new market development.

INVESTMENT and LEADERSHIP
Fine Gael has secured an EU co-funded Seafood Development Programme worth €240m, which will be central to achieving our ambition for growth in the seafood sector. This is more than double the size of the previous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) fund. This investment will be targeted at a range of supports for fishermen to adapt to the challenges of the new CFP, seafood processing and marketing, aquaculture, inshore fisheries, Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGS), data collection and enforcement.

THE NEW COMMON FISHERIES POLICY (CFP)
Ending Discards:… €45m will be made available to support the industry in adapting to the new CFP. Additional quota to cover the increased landings has been negotiated. For 2016, this uplift has resulted in a 10% increase in whitefish quota, with a value of €9m.
Setting Quotas Based on Science:…

[Transport] p.125-126
Public Transport Investment: We will invest €3.6bn across the lifetime of the next Capital Plan to enable a number of major public transport projects to proceed, and to fund additional capacity to meet existing and future commuter needs…

Sustainable Transport:… Under the Capital Plan, €100m is being committed to smarter travel and carbon reduction measures, including Greenways, to ensure that the transport sector makes a major contribution to climate change mitigation targets.
Electric Vehicles:…
Roads Investment:…

[Tourism and Sport] p.128-129
Dublin Airport:…
Cork Airport:…
Shannon Airport:…
Regional Airports: Fine Gael understands the continued importance of Donegal, Kerry, Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) and Waterford airports, due to the level of international connectivity that they bring to their respective regions, both in terms of tourism and business. To this end, we will invest €28m under the Capital Plan for safety and security enhancements across the regional airports. We will continue to provide funding to assist developing new flight routes from all airports outside of Dublin. This would be similar to a recent UK initiative which has been shown to be permissible under EU rules.

[Appendices] p.134-136


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