Labour call on FF to deliver in Confidence and Supply Talks

Labour Trade Unionists
23 October 2018

Labour representatives Jan O’Sullivan TD, Sen Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Sen Ged Nash have called on Fianna Fáil to deliver for the people of Ireland in the negotiations on the Confidence and Supply agreement, and provide real opposition.

Labour want to see all agreements with Independent TDs published, for opposition legislation to be respected, and have also listed 16 key policy initiatives we want to see delivered.

Sen. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called on Fine Gael to publish details of all arrangements with Independent TDs. He said:

“There are clearly a number of unpublished agreements now with Independent TDs, to ensure their support for the Government. Fine Gael should publish details of all of these.

“We want to see transparency on all contacts, including any calls received, meetings organised, or constituency demands that Fine Gael Ministers are delivering for Independent TDs.

“It was a key commitment of the original Confidence and Supply arrangement, that all agreements with Independent TDs would be published.”

Sen. Ged Nash also called on Fine Gael to stop blocking legislation and respect the voice of the Oireachtas. He said:

“The Confidence and Supply agreement committed to allow any opposition bill that passed 2nd Stage to proceed to Committee Stage within ten weeks. That has now become a graveyard for bills as measures that don’t suit the Government are left to wither.

 “For example the bill to ban microplastics, proposed by Séan Sherlock TD has been stuck at committee stage since May 2017. It passed committee scrutiny but is awaiting a money message from Government. The Government now proposes to bring forward its own bill which is making a mockery of new politics.

“Another example is the legislation to ban zero hour contracts. Despite passing the Dáil, this has not gone on to the Seanad because the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection is not happy with some of the amendments passed in the Dáil. The Government is dragging its feet, and not respecting the Oireachtas.

Labour Housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan said:

“If Fianna Fáil wants to see the critical delivery deficit in housing addressed, it must stop relying on the private sector for solutions. The so called ‘Housing Budget’ provided tax breaks for landlords and subsidies for developers, but nothing to protect renters, or deliver real affordable housing.

“In particular, Labour is calling on Fianna Fáil to stop the sale of publicly owned lands to developers through the Land Development Agency; for rent increases to be capped and changes to the law to restrict the conditions for evictions.

“We also want to see the Rainy Day Fund invested into affordable housing. Labour has proposed a €16 billion, five year plan to deliver over 80,000 homes.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

FINE GAEL MUST DELIVER ON THEIR POLITICAL COMMITMENTS:

Two key commitments made by Fine Gael in the Confidence and Supply agreement have not been met, namely:

1. To publish all agreements with Independent Deputies and other political parties in full.

2. To allow any opposition Bills (that are not money bills) that pass 2nd stage, proceed to Committee stage within 10 working weeks;

Labour is calling on Fine Gael to publish the agreements they have with all Independents, including on a verbal basis, and commit to publishing details of all communications, contact and commitments given by Ministers to Independent TDs who support the Government.

Labour is also calling on the Government to stop blocking legislation. For example, our Bill to ban the use of microplastics has been held up at Committee Stage awaiting a money message since last year. There are six Labour Bills that have passed second stage waiting on progress.

So called new politics is not delivering. Substantive bills are being blocked at committee stage, while it is clear there are secret arrangements in place with Independent TDs.

FIANNA FÁIL MUST PROVIDE REAL OPPOSITION:

FF has said it wants action on the ‘critical delivery deficit’ in housing, health, broadband and Brexit.

The solutions being proposed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil rely too much on the private sector.

• On Housing we’ve seen tax breaks for landlords and subsidies for developers;

• On Health a reliance on the National Treatment Purchase Fund rather than investing in public services.

• On Broadband, the tender process is contaminated; and the State should now build out the network itself.

• On Brexit, the Taoiseach said the backstop was bulletproof and cast iron but that is obviously not the case.

LABOUR IS CALLING ON FF TO SECURE THE FOLLOWING COMMITMENTS IN THE NEGOTIATIONS:

• ECONOMY: Stop calling for income tax cuts, and invest in public services.

• ECONOMY: Commit to a living wage of €11.90 across the public service, and in public contracts, and ensure the Low Pay Commission mandate is revised to provide a timeline to achieve this in the private sector.

• ECONOMY: Deliver on the failed objective to tackle high variable interest rates, and ensure families who have engaged with lenders are not evicted from their homes.

• CLIMATE CHANGE: Commit to radical measures to address Ireland’s growing carbon emissions and a programme of increases in the Carbon Tax over future budgets.

• HOUSING: Stop the sale of publicly owned land to developers through the LDA.

• HOUSING: Invest the Rainy Day Fund into affordable housing.

• HOUSING: Cap rent increase and restrict eviction conditions

• HEALTH: Stop the further privatisation of health services through the National Treatment Purchase fund, and invest in public facilities and staff instead.

• HEALTH: Commit to a new GP contract that invests in primary care, alongside making GP care free-of-charge for all children.

• EDUCATION: Live up to the Constitutional commitment to make primary education free-of-charge.

• EDUCATION: Rule out third level fees, commit to public funding of higher education and reductions in the registration fee.

• BREXIT: Ensure that Ireland makes radical efforts to prepare for a Hard Brexit including upgrading Rosslare to a Tier One port, and commitments from the EU for state aid rules to be waived from March.

• BROADBAND: Build a publicly owned broadband network in rural areas.

• CHILDCARE: halve the cost of childcare for working families.

• TRANSPORT: Invest 10% of the transport budget in cycling, electrify the bus and rail fleet, and commit to a freeze in fares.

• ARTS: Publish a roadmap to double funding for the Arts.

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