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Community News Election 2020

‘Historic coalition’ – read the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael policy document in full

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have committed to forming a “historic coalition” that “works for the good of Ireland and its people”

The Policy Framework Document agreed by the two parties insists there is “no going back to the old way of doing things” and commits to taking radical actions in government in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

“As a nation, we have a proud tradition of community, solidarity and decency.

“We have seen this in every community across our country during this emergency. Sacrifices have been made by all for the greater good,” it said.

“As has been done in so many parts of the world, we have shown, in Ireland, that we put the health, safety and security of all our people first,” it added

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreed the document with the background a of “an unprecedented moment in the history of our State” .

“Many families have lost loved ones; many more have been affected by illness; and hundreds of thousands of people have either lost their jobs or had their employment thrown into jeopardy,” it said

“There is fear and anxiety deep in every home, with grave uncertainty about the future. The global economy now faces massive challenges, with significant consequences for our small and open economy. Society and the world we once knew has been severely disrupted,” it added.

It said the government is facing “the crisis of a lifetime” and insisted the next administration must have a strong majority.

“We need a Government with a clear majority that is strong enough to develop and deliver a programme of national recovery across its lifetime – one that can channel its collective talents for the greater good,” it said.

They committed to ensuring the Opposition can not only hold the Government to account but also critique, challenge, and change policies.

“In this way, politicians across all parties and none can play their part in helping to build a better future for our country,” it added.

They said the will continue to be guided by, and act on, the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The documents says their “overriding focus is to improve the wellbeing of people” in the aftermath of the Covid-19 emergency.

“Beyond this, our focus is to respond decisively to the agenda of change in terms of housing, health, climate action and quality of life, which came through so clearly from the General Election,” it added.

To achieve this, they set out 10 new missions for a new Government:

1. Reigniting and Renewing the Economy

  • Launch a National Economic Plan
  • Prioritise capital investment in health, transport, education and housing.
  • Support businesses and self-employed people
  • Progress to a living wage
  • No increases in income tax and/or Universal Social Charge (USC) and no cuts to established core social welfare rates.

2. Universal Healthcare

  • Expand our health infrastructure and expedite the implementation of a universal healthcare service
  • Expand universal access with a focus in the first instance on paediatrics and women’s health.
  • Increase bed capacity, diagnostics and staff numbers to provide community and hospital care more quickly.
  • Ensure that all new consultant contracts in the public health service are public only.
  • Prioritise primary care.

3. Housing for All

  • Prioritise the reduction of family homelessness
  • Reduce the cost of land to improve the affordability of housing, employing all measures up to and including referenda.
  • Empower and fund the Land Development Agency to build homes on public and private land
  • Prioritise home ownership and affordable purchase schemes, which will enable more people to own their homes and increase the number of new social houses.
  • Develop the cost-rental model in all our cities and for student accommodation.
  • Create a new deal for renters

4. A New Social Contract

  • Reform and modernise the childcare sector, to improve accessibility, reduce costs, raise standards.
  • Tackle domestic and sexual violence.
  • Acknowledge the importance of carers to our society.
  • Increase parental leave, to give parents more time with their children at the start of their lives.
  • Prioritise gender equality, by involving more women in decision-making roles.
  • Ensure that every citizen has a dignified retirement and can retire in financial security.
  • Empower all people with special needs or a disability to progress, to reach their full potential, and to play a full part in society.

5. A New Green Deal

  • Set new carbon reduction targets
  • Take immediate action in response to the biodiversity crisis and protect ecosystems
  • Make Ireland a European leader in offshore wind energy
  • Deliver a strong Just Transition, which ensures that no citizen or region is left behind.
  • Invest in public transport across Ireland
  • Increase the carbon tax, in line with the agreed cross-party trajectory of €80 per tonne by 2030.
  • Plant 440 million trees by 2040.

6. A Better Quality of Life for All

  • Prioritise regional development
  • Implement the National Broadband Plan
  • Mandate public sector employers to move to 20pc home and remote working in 2021
  • Incentivise private sector employers to do likewise.
  • Reduce dereliction and bring vacant properties into use
  • Support the building of new and affordable homes in towns and villages
  • Prioritise upkeep of parks and green spaces

7. Supporting Young Ireland

  • Ensuring young people have access to affordable housing and make homeownership a realistic aspiration
  • Developing mechanisms for the voice of young people to be part of decision-making
  • Develop new employment initiatives for school-leavers and under 25s
  • Prioritise improvement in mental health services
  • Give every child the opportunity to develop their creativity
  • Reduce child poverty
  • Protect children and young people from cyberbullying
  • Responding to the challenges of addiction and substance abuse.

8. Opportunities through Education and Research

  • Supporting students in “restarting their educational journeys” post the Covid-19 emergency.
  • No increase in the annual student contribution (student fees)
  • A “long-term sustainable funding model” for higher level education.
  • Growing apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Increasing parental choice in education
  • Ensuring that “no adult is left behind” on literacy, digital and numeracy skills
  • Invest in research, development and innovation
  • Ensure special needs students are given appropriate and targeted supports.
  • Enhance and nurture creativity in the arts

9. A shared Ireland

  • Establish a unit within the Department of An Taoiseach “to work towards a consensus on a united island”
  • Prioritise protection of the peace process and all-island economy.
  • Ensure the Northern Ireland power-sharing deal is implemented
  • Expand the Anglo-Irish institutions such as the British-Irish Council.
  • Ensure mechanisms in place to deal with legacy issues, and to “deepen and strengthen” north-south health in the wake of Covid-19.
  • Enhance and develop and deepen aspects of the north-south cooperation
  • Continue decade of centenaries commemorations.

10. At the Heart of Europe: Global Citizenship

  • Achieve an ambitious, zero-tariff, zero quotas, free trade post-Brexit trade deal
  • Work with EU to respond to Covid-19
  • Contribute more to the EU budget.
  • Support further EU enlargement and integration
  • Continue to “value and enhance the close relationship” between Ireland and the UK;
  • Double Ireland’s global footprint
  • Maintain and support Defence Forces’ peacekeeping missions
  • Support efforts “towards a durable, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict”.

From The Irish Independent.