Time for a New Deal for a Fairer Ireland

12 November 2021

Ahead of the Labour Party’s 71st National Conference which gets underway in Dublin’s Mansion House today, Labour leader Alan Kelly said it’s time for a new deal for Ireland. Deputy Kelly said the pandemic showed us all the power of coming together to solve the crises of our time. By working together, Deputy Kelly said Ireland can be a fairer, kinder, more caring place rooted in care, decent housing, climate action and work that pays.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Coming out of the pandemic, into a post-Covid Ireland there can be no going back to normal. It’s not just about building back better; it’s about building back fairer. Our country is at a crossroads and there can be no going back. The Labour Party is offering people a positive alternative vision – a programme for real change based in hope and grounded in our social democratic values, a more caring and kinder politics.

“That means a New Deal for working people, a New Deal for secure and affordable housing, a New Deal that recognises the challenge of the 21st century. We want to change Ireland for the better, implement progressive economic and social policies that make a real difference in people’s lives.

“This weekend, Labour members will debate virtually and in person a range of ways in which we can make Ireland a better place. Housing is the issue of our generation and we need to push government to ensure every person in this country has access to secure and affordable housing. Our members will debate motions about a referendum to housing, taxes on vacant homes and sites, a reform of the planning system, renters’ rights and public housing.

“The pandemic pushed our care systems to their end and refocused our minds on what really matters – access to care when you need it. We believe that the State should be there for you from the moment you take your first breath to your last. That means universal public childcare, it means free education, it means healthcare when you need it. Our members will debate motions on mental health, access to medicines, disability, childcare, direct provision, school patronage and school places.

“The world of work was changing long before the pandemic hit our shores. The pandemic shone a light on the true value of some of the lowest paid workers. Labour believe in decent work at reasonable wages with strong terms and conditions for all workers. Our members will debate motions on sick pay, which this government still hasn’t delivered, on the right to switch off, which is exploiting our younger workers in particular, on the need for more public holidays, addressing youth unemployment and how we can better develop our regional economies.

“Over the past two years, there has been a global focus on protecting people against the coronavirus. Imagine if we could come together like that to tackle climate change? Cop26 has provided much hope but talk is cheap. We need action now – in a fair and rapid way. To this end, our members will debate motions on achieving a Just Transition, afforestation, public transport and active transport.

“The Labour Party is offering a meaningful alternative to the current state of Irish politics. Right now, too many people are just getting by or struggling. What people want is a chance to raise their families, buy or rent a secure home, take a holiday, change their car when they need to, get a takeaway every few weeks, take a trip with their children. We believe in an Ireland that values care, climate, work and housing and I look forward to engaging with our members on these issues over the weekend.”

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