Bacik calls for an Ireland that works
Labour sets out a plan for immediate relief from the cost of living crisis
- Cap childcare costs at €200 per month
- Free GP care for all under 18s
- Unlimited public transport for €9 per month
- Drastic measures to address energy costs and climate crisis
- Taxation plan for excess profits in energy sector
Opening the annual Labour Party think-in today (Thursday, 8th September) in Wexford Town, Labour leader Ivana Bacik detailed Labour’s plan to give instant relief from the cost of living crisis, and condemned Government inaction.
Speaking about the spiralling cost of living, Deputy Bacik said people want certainty that they will be able to pay their bills in coming months; instead, there is a lack of urgency from Government on the cost of housing, food, energy, healthcare and childcare.
Deputy Bacik said:
“The number of people in employment in Ireland is higher than ever before. Yet week on week, people have less and less money left in their pockets after paying their bills. Left unaddressed, the housing, energy and cost of living crises will: force more households to take impossible decisions between heating and eating; drive thousands of working families into poverty and debt; and force another generation of young adults into emigration. Alongside my colleagues, I speak every day with individuals, both in my constituency of Dublin Bay South and across Ireland. The stories of hardship can be harrowing.
“That experience is encapsulated by the Labour mantra, ‘bread and roses’. In sum, everyone should be able to afford not only basic sustenance, but also the things that give their lives meaning and fulfilment. The nature of the current crisis deprives so many people across the country of that dignity. For them, things are simply not working – Ireland is not working for them. It’s not working for families who pay thousands in childcare costs; for those who have to think twice about paying to visit a GP when their home is touched by illness; for households who now face an average €2,000 increase in heating and electricity costs. At the end of the month, they have nothing left.
“Labour has a vision for an Ireland that works. We are looking forward to getting back into the Dáil and Seanad and holding the Government to account. In coming weeks, we will publish our alternative Labour Budget. Meantime, to relieve the real financial pressures the nation faces this winter, we in Labour have costed a number of proposals and we will be pushing the Government to adopt them in Budget 2023.
“Labour demands a cap on childcare fees of €200 per month, the immediate extension of free GP care to every child under 18, and unlimited public transport journeys anywhere in Ireland for €9 a month. We also reiterate our calls for a cap on energy costs, drastically more accessible solar panel installation, and a windfall tax on the excessive profits of energy companies. Much of the surge in energy prices can be attributed to Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine, but the increases that Ireland faces are among the highest in the European Union. Meanwhile, the corporations which sell electricity, gas and other fuels are bringing in record operating profits.
“The Government’s failed ‘market knows all’ economic policies are making this cost of living crisis unbearable. Figures from the Department of Finance show a surplus of over €6 billion this year, yet communities across the country are at breaking point. Giving relief to hard-pressed families is a question of willpower. Upon the return of the Dáil, we will continue to hold this Government to account on housing, on jobs, on care, on climate, and on the cost of living. In coming weeks, we in Labour will present our alternative Labour Budget, setting out how to create an Ireland that works for the people – all the people. In the short-term, the Government must respond to our ideas to bring about immediate relief to struggling people.”