Saturday 1 October 2016

Our policies are not just clones of Fianna Fáil ideas, insists Renua

Published 18/08/2015 | 02:30

Billy Timmins and Terence Flanagan at the launch of Renua’s proposals on Dail reform. Photo: Damien Eagers
Billy Timmins and Terence Flanagan at the launch of Renua’s proposals on Dail reform. Photo: Damien Eagers

Renua Ireland has rejected claims by Fianna Fáil that it is "ripping off" the party's policies and repackaging them as its own.

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Speaking at the launch of Renua's third policy document in two weeks, deputy leader Billy Timmins made light of the accusation. "Having been part of constructing our recent policies, we were not even aware that Fianna Fáil had policies in these areas," he said.

FF's Dara Calleary claimed that two policy documents launched by Renua this month - one on public procure- ment and the other on SMEs and the self-employed - were almost identical to ones Fianna Fail had put before the Dail.

Arriving for the launch of a policy document entitled "Budgets & Modern Governance", Mr Timmins joked: "I was going to say we are now going to launch policy number 41 belonging to Fianna Fáil.

"Fianna Fáil were in government for a long period of time. I thought they would have had all progressive policies implemented. From our point of view we are quite happy to see any policy, be it ours or others, implemented if it is progressive.

"When we launched the party on March 13 we had 16 policies. Three of them have been launched since in a fanfare by the Government. It may have been coincidental or it may have been otherwise, but we don't care once it is progressive."

Mr Timmins said that in the last Dáil he brought forward a Good Samaritans Bill that Fianna Fáil had since taken on as its own.

Renua's latest policy is a four-point plan to overhaul the budgetary and estimates process.

Overhaul

Mr Timmins called on the Government to overhaul its method of financial planning by engaging in real-time budgetary review processes as distinct from a month-long Budget "seasonal soap opera".

"The budgetary process is a rubber-stamping exercise in which neither government TDs nor the Opposition have any opportunity to contri- bute or exert influence," he said. "It does not serve the public interest and it needs to be modernised."

Renua wants legal powers of budgetary oversight and scrutiny for Oireachtas committees and training and technical support to help Oireachtas members undertake their work through the committee system.

The party is also calling for the existing method of budgetary accounting to be replaced with an accruals-based system, and for an expansion of the powers of the Independent Fiscal Advisory Council to provide independent economic analysis of policy proposals.

"At present, the Irish electorate is forced to take the promises of political parties at face value," said Mr Timmins.

"The voter has no indication if estimates are fact or fiction."

Irish Independent

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