Here are manifestos in February 2016 of the current Irish opposition parties. Excerpts are on our own.
[Fiscal Responsibility Commitment] p.2
[Our Four Core Priorities] p.3
1. Create decent jobs & support enterprise
2. Cut family costs & improve the services they rely on
3. Tackle crime & develop community services
4. Secure home ownership & tackle homelessness
[What our Priorities mean for you at each stage in your life] p.4-5
A fair start in life
The best education
Getting a decent job
Securing a home
Support with the quality & cost of living
A vibrant and safe community to live in
An independent retirement
[1. Create decent jobs & support enterprise] p.10-11
Help SMEs & Balance Regional development
Advance Science & Research
Support the Self-Employed
Bridge the Digital Divide across Ireland p.24-25
(i) Undertake a national mobile phone coverage audit
(ii) Launch a National Mobile Phone Infrastructure Plan
(iii) Secure Universal Fibre to the home broadband across Ireland
(iv) Develop Regional Digital Hubs
Secure a fair price for farmers & a successful Agri-Food Sector p.26-30
(i) Establish a national Food Ombudsman and work for new fair price legislation at EU level
(ii) Reform the inspections system
(iii) Restore Farm Assist and the Rural Social Scheme
(iv) Enhance and reform the Beef Genomics Scheme
(v) Introduce a new Primary School Farm Safety Programme
(vi) Roll out an “Island of Ireland” suckler beef label
(vii) Set up a Market Access unit in the Department of Agriculture
(viii) Fully Realise Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025
(ix) Encourage the next generation of farmers
(x) Use RDP underspend to increase payment under the Areas of Natural Constraints scheme
(xi) Review market intervention tools for the Dairy sector
(xii) Secure a strong Fisheries sector
(xiii) Secure Ireland’s place as the global leader in the Equine industry
Protect our Corporate Tax Rate & re-build the Eurozone p.31-32
(i) Protect and fully maintain our 12.5% Corporate Tax Rate
(ii) Rebuild Economic and Monetary Union to prevent a future crisis
(iii) Strengthen Banking Union
(iv) Fight for fairness on Bank-related debt
(v) Support a more substantial Fiscal and Transfer Union
(vi) Create a Rainy Day Fund
[2. Cut costs for families & improve the services they rely on] p.36-37
Reduce the cost of living
Lower childcare costs and help working parents
Create a fairer welfare system
Tackle big class sizes and create an education system for all
Support a publicly funded health care system
Reform the Public Sector
[3. Tackle crime & develop community services] p.70-71
Keep homes and communities safe
Establish a Community Services Guarantee for all citizens
Create a “Pathway to Inclusion” for people with a disability
Revitalise Irish town centres, cities & our capital
Improve the road network and protect public transport
Give local people power over local decisions
Build a strong all Ireland community p.98-102
(i) Establish a Border Economic Development Zone to foster growth in the border region
(ii) Launch Intertrade Ireland, IDA, Invest NI Joint Initiatives to attract international investment
(iii) Develop the Eastern Corridor in the new National Spatial Strategy
(iv) Secure funding for the complete development of the A5
(v) Build the Narrow Water Bridge
(vi) Increase shared Health Services
(vii) Build Education links with Dundalk and Letterkenny IT as well as opening up universities to more students from across the border
(viii) Increase Public Transport links
(ix) Work to prevent Brexit
(x) Facilitate specific Northern representation in the Seanad
(xi) Allow all Irish citizens Presidential Votes
(xii) Tackle sectarianism
(xiii) Develop the Cross Border Crime Agency
Ensure Ireland is a strong voice in the global community
[4. Secure home ownership & tackle homelessness] p.110-111
Strengthen the Right to Own p.112-113
(i) Introduce a First Time Buyers Saving Scheme for 80,000 New Buyers
(ii) Retain the Mortgage Interest Relief scheme
(iii) Tackle mortgage arrears and variable mortgage rates
(iv) Develop Credit Union Mortgage Lending
Build for families by investing in 150,000 new homes by 2021 p.114-115
(i) Establish a new Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government
(ii) Create a National Home Building Bond (NHBB)
(iii) Encourage Residential Development in Town Centres
(iv) Strengthen the right to live in rural Ireland
(v) Increase the supply of family homes
(vi) Revise Density Levels
(vii) Introduce ‘use it or lose it’ automatic planning permission zonings
Create Homes for all by building 45,000 new Social Housing Homes p.117-119
(i) Start a new €5.4bn Home Building Programme
(ii) Restore Part V in full
(III) Develop Housing Associations Finance
(iv) Create NAMA Transfer Units
(v) Introduce a new Vacant/Derelict Home Refurbishment Scheme
(vi) Create a new Green Deal
Help Generation Rent p.120-122
(i) Establish Family Tenure to strengthen security for families and long term tenants renting their homes
(ii) Delivering affordable rent units for key workers
(iii) Improving quality of accommodation with a Local Authority Quality Certificate
(iv) Strengthen tenant rights and implement rent certainty measures
(v) Overhaul the PRTB
Eliminate long term Homelessness by 2021
Establish an Independent Living Contract for older people
[Executive summary of measures] p.6-9
~ For a Fair Recovery ~
Bringing fairness to the tax system
■ We will abolish the Local Property Tax, saving 1.8 million homeowners an average of €244 per year.
■ We will scrap Water Charges, saving a family of two adults €260 per year.
■ We will make the tax system progressive by removing workers earning under €19,572 from the USC net, benefiting 277,000 employees.
■ We will ease the tax burden on the self-employed, moving towards the equalisation of the Self-Employed Tax Credit with the PAYE Tax Credit.
■ We will have a planned approach to economic development across the island of Ireland, including one tax system and one currency.
■ We will create a Border Economic Development Zone to harmonise trade and maximise returns for border businesses.
■ We are committed to the A5 funding package as set out in the Fresh Start Agreement and to ensuring the Narrow Water Bridge project is completed.
A proper banking system
■ We will not be rushed into the sale of any State asset. The decision to sell any stake in Permanent TSB, Bank of Ireland or AIB must be based on the best interests of the Irish people in the long term.
■ We will immediately carry out a review of Credit Union regulations and look at lending restrictions, savings caps and restrictions on the types of investments and services Credit Unions can offer, including what more the sector can do to help develop small businesses.
~ Our plan for public services and quality of life ~
Building more houses
■ We will launch plans for 2030 – Project 100,000 to bring State ownership of housing stock to a minimum of 200,000. This will ensure a build of at least 70,000 social units and at least 30,000 cost purchase and cost rental housing units by 2030.
■ We will commit €5 billion (A cumulative €2.2 billion more than the government’s commitment) in capital spending in 2016-2021 and strengthen Part V to ensure the delivery of 36,500 social and affordable houses.
■ We will review all property-related tax reliefs that encourage speculation for profit.
■ We will re-examine urgently the practice of capping rent subsidies – simultaneous to the introduction of rent regulations, to ensure rents demanded by landlords do not escalate to meet any increase in the rent cap.
■ We will create rent certainty by linking rent increases to inflation.
■ We will make an additional €30 million available to local authorities and homelessness agencies in year one of government to house the homeless in emergency accommodation.
■ We will empower the Central Bank to set caps on mortgage interest rates chargeable by banks.
~ A new deal for rural Ireland ~
Addressing the imbalance
■ We will introduce a Rural Equality Bill to provide for carrying out rural impact assessments where measures affect rural areas.
■ We will develop a new enterprise spatial strategy to orientate infrastructural development and IDA and Enterprise Ireland development in a balanced regional manner.
■ We are committed to keeping open post offices, libraries, garda stations and other services that connect people with their local towns.
■ We will make up the shortfall in cuts to the Leader funding at EU level.
■ We will strive to ensure all householders and businesses have access to a minimum broadband speed of 100 Mbps.
■ We will introduce a pilot scheme for rural resettlement. This will provide a relocation package of up €5,000, including return flights for qualifying emigrant families to return to rural Ireland.
■ We will increase funding for the rural transport programme and provide a funding package for improving the condition of rural roads.
■ We will restore funding to local authorities for the LIS community involvement scheme for non-council roads.
■ We will ensure the retention of domestic turbary rights for families in the West of Ireland who cut turf to heat the family home, as has been part of Irish tradition and heritage for centuries.
A good deal for fishing and coastal communities
■ We will repeal the current penalty point system that criminalises fishermen and devalues their business.
■ We will fight for an adequate quotas and ensure their fairer distribution amongst Irish fishermen.
■ We will oppose further cuts to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which exists to give financial assistance to coastal communities and the fishing industry.
■ We will pursue at a European level restrictions on factory vessels and super-trawlers in Irish waters.
■ We will negotiate a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and related legislation to simplify regulations and put an added emphasis on development in coastal communities.
Fairness for farmers
■ We will implement the Charter of Rights for Farmers so that direct payments and farm schemes can be delivered to farmers efficiently and speedily.
■ We will establish a €12 million compensation fund for Hen Harrier designated conservation lands.
■ We will maintain the concept of income averaging for taxation purposes to compensate farmers for extreme income volatility.
■ We will work for the simplification of the Beef Data Genomics Programme to encourage wider uptake.
■ We will publish clear guidelines for farmers applying for Areas of Natural Constraint payments to avoid the lengthy waiting period thousands of farmers endured in 2015.
■ We will continue to oppose the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
■ We will establish an all-island agri-food label for Irish produce.
■ We will reintroduce the Groceries Order with immediate effect to combat below-cost selling of products to ensure fair prices for producers.
■ We will restore €5 million of Farm Assist and create an additional 500 places on the Rural Social Scheme, expanding the current number of scheme places by 20%.
[Five years of Fine Gael and Labour chaos and broken promises] p.10
~ Chaos in Health ~
■ 601 patients on trolleys on one day alone.
■ 4,154 fewer nurses in the public health system.
■ 68,824 patients waiting for inpatient treatment.
■ 385,507 patients waiting for a hospital outpatient appointment.
■ 20% of people with absolutely no medical cover.
■ €159 million cut from the budget for disability services.
■ Only one in three cases, classified as serious, reached within the target time by the National Ambulance Service.
~ Chaos in Housing ~
■ 1,500 – the number of children sleeping in emergency accommodation every night.
■ 89,872 – the number of households on Local Authority waiting lists.
■ 92,291 – family homes in mortgage arrears in the 3rd quarter of 2015.
■ €1,358 – the average monthly rent in Dublin, with people paying on average over €1,000 in the rest of the State.
■ 1.8 million – the number of households paying an average of €244 a year in property taxes.
■ €2,000 – what a 1% reduction would save on average in annual interest payments for a family with a €200,000 mortgage if the government had taken action on interest rates.
■ €340 million – the subsidy paid by the State per annum to private landlords to house rent supplement recipients.
~ Chaos in Families ~
■ 200,000 – the number of young people who have emigrated since 2010.
■ 1.5 million – the number of home-help hours slashed.
■ €120 – the annual amount cut from the fuel allowance for the elderly and most vulnerable.
■ €36.80 – the amount slashed from the weekly invalidity pension for 65-year-olds.
■ €4,000 – the annual amount of money saved per garda station closed by this government. They shut down 139 stations.
■ €800 to €1,100 – the monthly cost of childcare for one child.
~ And through it all, they protected the Golden Circle ~
■ €156,380 – how much Enda Kenny pays his special advisors, breaching his own pay caps.
■ €12,000 – how much the Taoiseach will pocket through the abolition of the USC.
■ 250 – the number of individuals who saw their wealth increase by 16% to €75 billion in 2015.
■ €11 million – how much NAMA spent in wages for property developers in one year. Fifteen were paid between €150,000 to €199,000 per year.
[Balance sheet] p.11
[CASE STUDIES] p.12-13
[Part 1 – Better for Ireland] p.25-
[Part 2 – For a fair recovery] p.33-
[Part 3 – Improved public services and quality of life] p.43-
[Part 4 – Rural Ireland] p.53-
1. A STRONG ECONOMY FOR A DECENT SOCIETY
2. STANDING UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE
2.1 A new deal on income tax
p.17: In response to the economic crisis Fianna Fáil introduced the Universal Social Charge. The USC applied to all income provided the individual taxpayer earned more than €4,000 a year. Labour in Government increased this threshold to €13,000 and removed 700,000 taxpayers from the USC net. We have also reduced the rate of USC payable on the first €70,000 of income…
p.18:… The third part of our tax plan is to target additional relief at low and middle income working people, earning between €18,305 and €36,608. In the last Budget, we reduced the burden on low and middle income workers by introducing PRSI relief…
2.2 Improving living standards for working people
2.3 Making homes affordable
2.4 Providing security in retirement
3. STANDING UP FOR JOBS & OPPORTUNITY
3.1 A job for everyone who wants one by 2018
3.2 A skills revolution
3.3 Support for start-ups and small business
p.37:… The State currently owns 15% of Bank of Ireland, 99% of AIB, and all of Permanent TSB. We will proceed as planned with the planned disposal of 25% of AIB shares this year and will also initiate a strategic review of the Irish banking system… Within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund we will create a €1bn dedicated Green Infrastructure Fund to invest in clean public transport and energy efficiency projects. This will be funded by €500m from the proceeds from the sale of bank shares, combined with private sector leveraging…
3.4 Bringing the recovery to every corner of Ireland
p.40 : Labour in government has prioritised balanced regional development and the rural economy. Our leadership on the implementation of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) report and the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ), injected nearly €4 million into our rural economy. The Regional Action Plans for Jobs have been rolled out and we have delivered funding of €250 million for LEADER programmes in rural communities between 2014 and 2020. Our National Broadband Plan will deliver universal high-speed broadband access by 2020. We have delivered a thriving tourism sector through the introduction of the 9% VAT rate and scrapping the Air Travel Tax, The Gathering initiative, the development of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and more cycling greenways…
3.5 Investing in infrastructure
p.46: Labour in government launched a capital investment plan worth €17 billion in 2012, and in 2015, we launched a follow-up, six-year plan worth €42 billion. That plan represents over 3.5 percent of GNP each year between 2016 and 2021, and it will support more than 45,000 construction-related jobs.
3.6 Growing the green economy
p.50:… Labour in government enacted the State’s first climate change legislation and we have published a White Paper with ambitious proposals on the future of energy security and supply. We created a national mitigation plan to reduce emissions and a national adaptation plan to address the symptoms of climate change.
The 2015 Energy White Paper sets out a path to transform Ireland’s energy system. Our vision places citizen engagement at the heart of our energy future and its implementation. Over the next five years we will take the steps needed to make that transformation happen. In particular, we will encourage an increasing role for smaller, community-level renewable energy projects. As part of this, we will facilitate grid access for small-scale renewable energy projects. …
4. STANDING UP FOR FAMILIES & COMMUNITIES
4.1 Making all schools fit for the digital age
4.2 Quality childcare affordable for everyone
4.3 A new National Community Health Service
4.4 Improving quality of life in our communities
4.5 An age-friendly society
4.6 Independent living for people with disabilities
4.7 Action on child poverty
5. STANDING UP FOR A MODERN IRELAND
5.1 True equality for all
5.2 Law reform
5.3 Opening up government and empowering citizens
5.4 Constitutional change
5.5 Arts, culture and heritage
5.6 An active role in the world
p.119-120:… The Political Union and engagement with EU citizens must be strengthened. Labour wants to see a more effective role for national parliaments. We support a strengthening of the “yellow card” procedure, whereby national parliaments can question the merit of proposed European legislation, and the trialling of a “green card” procedure, where a number of national parliaments can come together to propose legislation at a European level.
The EU must also strengthen its response to the migration crisis and provide further relocation and resettlement of refugees. It must also provide greater assistance to bring peace and stability to war-torn countries in the region.
We will support social democratic efforts to reform the investor state dispute resolution mechanism within the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. In this way we can ensure that member states enjoy benefits of free trade with North America, without running the risk of undermining our essential consumer protections.
We believe that it is in Ireland’s interests and in the interest of the EU as a whole that the United Kingdom should remain as a full and positively engaged member of the Union.
We will facilitate the negotiations with the UK insofar as it lies within our power to do so, provided that any negotiated arrangement with the UK does not infringe on the fundamental values and cornerstones of the Union. We will oppose any arrangement which serves to erect, whether by design or otherwise, barriers of any kind between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
We will work with our sister parties in the Party of European Socialists, including the British Labour Party, to ensure that the threat of UK exit is not exploited by conservative or xenophobic parties who might seek to weaken standards of workers’ rights, consumer protection, environmental law and the basic rights and protections guaranteed by the treaties to EU citizens.
Labour is committed to a strong all island economy and society. As we enter into a decade of commemoration in 2016, Labour wants to commence a national conversation about the future of our island and within it our many diverse communities.
This new national conversation must explore the potential for greater co-operation in developing our common languages, our many sporting and artistic organisations, increased interaction at local authority level and between state agencies.
Labour continue to support the Good Friday Agreement and the institutions created under it and we will press for the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement to deal with outstanding issues and for securing agreement on key issues among the parties in Northern Ireland. …
6. LABOUR’S ECONOMIC PLAN & COSTINGS
p.123: Our Proposals
• Balance the budget and reduce our national debt to 75% of GDP by 2021
• Invest €3 in services for families and communities for every €1 reduction in tax
• This means that we will invest an additional €8.368bn in the services families and communities need and reduce tax by €2.866bn for low and middle income earners. …
Macro economic forecasts
p.124:… Labour is committed to tackling the national debt. EU fiscal rules require us to reduce our debt to GDP ratio by 1% a year over the lifetime of the next Government. However, we propose to achieve this at a faster rate of 3%, in order to get the debt ratio back to 75% or below by 2021. …
A balanced budget
Sustainable national debt p.125-126
Labour’s economic plan p.127
Improving living standards for working people
Investing in the services families & communities need