Wednesday 7 December 2016

Party policy snapshots: Day 3

Published 06/02/2016 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil environment spokesperson Barry Cowen at the party’s launch of its plan to secure home ownership and to tackle homelessness. Photo: Damien Eagers
Fianna Fáil environment spokesperson Barry Cowen at the party’s launch of its plan to secure home ownership and to tackle homelessness. Photo: Damien Eagers

Fianna Fáil

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Fianna Fáil has said it will introduce measures to "beat" banks into slashing variable rates for mortgage customers in a move that has placed the party on a collision course with the Central Bank. 

During a press conference on housing, Senator Darragh O'Brien said he disagreed with Governor Philip Lane's claims that banks cannot be compelled into rate reductions, adding: "Phillip Lane isn't the oracle."

The party says its economic plan, due to be published next week, will contain a pledge to introduce "strong deterrents" aimed at stopping banks from charging excessive rates.

The party has also outlined a housing plan that pledges to build 45,000 social housing units and to restore Part V, which obliges developers to set aside units for social housing, to the 20pc level. A senior Housing Minister will also be appointed if FF is in government.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that the Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil manifestos were "a lie" and called on the three parties to withdraw them.

And Mr Adams accused the outgoing Coalition parties of "cooking the books".

He also ruled out being a junior member of a government led by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, arguing this was the first chance for voters to elect a Sinn Féin-led government as they run 50 candidates in this election.

But Mr Adams pointedly did not rule out any other coalition option - provided his party was the senior partner.

He also stressed that Sinn Féin members would have to vote on any coalition option at a special Árd Fheis.

And he pointedly did not rule out joining with Labour.

Renua Ireland

A public commission to investigate the feasibility of a flat tax rate is among Renua Ireland's red-line issues for supporting the next government. Party leader Lucinda Creighton yesterday unveiled 10 issues she says will be considered non-negotiable for the party.

Renua also wants to strengthen the Fiscal Advisory Council's remit, give tax equality to the self-employed and replace Cabinet confidentiality with "government in the sunshine".

"We mean business. We intend to be in government. We believe we could hold the balance of power after this election and we will not abuse that like others have done in the past. We will use it for the benefit of our citizens," Ms Creighton said.

Renua also wants the next government to pump €700m into "ending Ireland's childcare mess" and promise a €2bn investment plan for managed housing they say will end the supply crisis.

Social Democrats

The Social Democrats' Catherine Murphy refused to be drawn on sharing power with Fine Gael after Taoiseach Enda Kenny put them and smaller parties in the frame yesterday.

The co-leader ruled "no party in or out" as potential government partners, after Mr Kenny said he won't offer a deal to Independents, opening the door for smaller parties.

"We're certainly not going to be a mud guard for anyone. If the money is fully spent before we get started, you're only looking at crumbs from the table," she said. Ms Murphy was speaking at the her party's General Election campaign launch, at which it pledged to slash the cost of living by keeping current tax levels, end water charges and provide free GP care for all children.

Stephen Donnelly insisted people understand what the party is but are "getting their heads around it", as they "never had it before".

Irish Independent

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