independent

Thursday 21 September 2017

'Costing our manifesto would give false view' - Social Democrats

Stephen Donnelly,TD,the Social Democrat co-leader (centre) pictured with candidates Glenna Lynch, Dublin Bay South and Liam Coyne, Dublin South-Central at the launch of the Social Democrats 'Backing Irish Business' policy which is part of their election manifesto at the Whiskey Museum,Grafton Street. Pic Tom Burke
Stephen Donnelly,TD,the Social Democrat co-leader (centre) pictured with candidates Glenna Lynch, Dublin Bay South and Liam Coyne, Dublin South-Central at the launch of the Social Democrats 'Backing Irish Business' policy which is part of their election manifesto at the Whiskey Museum,Grafton Street. Pic Tom Burke
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Social Democrat co-leader Stephen Donnelly has defended the lack of costings in their manifesto, saying they would give people a "false impression".

The Wicklow TD said the party is not going to lead the next government so putting out a full-list of costed promises is not necessary.

"Coming out with a document that says 'well actually if we were in charge here's what we would do' and it all adds up you could see what we could do, it would give people a false impression. That's not going to happen," he told the Irish Independent.

The Social Democrats have said they will not abolish the Universal Social Charge as its €4bn income is necessary to fund services.

The want to create a publicly funded Irish National Health Service that is "accessible to all" while they want to introduce supports to help Small and Medium Enterprises create 100,000 jobs.

The manifesto also includes the creation of a Department of Housing Communities and Planning as part of a package of measures to "make housing affordable".

The party promised to end the "idiocy" of water charges they say costs as much as is being collected.

In Education, they say they would invest €103m to save parents the cost of transport and school books and would cap third level fees at €2,000.

Mr Donnelly said their plan for a long-term one and making predictions for years ahead was impossible.

"The manifesto is a 10 year political manifesto. It's not a budget document," he said.

Asked about a 2011 Dáil speech during which he described the USC as "a bizarre and regressive tax that runs contrary to our social values", Mr Donnelly said he couldn't recall the debate.

The Social Democrats' manifesto states the USC "is a significant sum of money that we believe would be best used for strategic investment in repairing and building top quality public services.

Mr Donnelly accused Fine Gael of running focus groups and then deciding "the entire show was going to 'abolish the USC'".

"We were the only group to come out and say 'no, don't'.

"They probably expected us to be dismissed by the public but actually the opposite has happened."

Irish Independent

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