Saturday 22 October 2016

Renua plans to reform Leaving Cert and bring in public vote for mayors

Published 04/01/2016 | 02:30

Manifesto launch: Renua leader Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Colin Keegan
Manifesto launch: Renua leader Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Colin Keegan

Renua Ireland plans to abolish the current Leaving Certificate, introduce directly elected mayors, and outsource the setting of public pay increases to an independent body.

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Lucinda Creighton's party will be the first out of the election blocks today when it launches its manifesto at an event in Dublin.

Among the more notable measures is a proposal to effectively restructure the Leaving Cert if the party gets into government.

Under Renua's plan, a new marking system would be introduced whereby 30pc of school-leavers' grades will be based on exams while the remainder will be on practical tasks.

"The current Leaving Certificate is not fit for purpose. It does not teach the skills that are necessary for success in a modern economy. We will be failing our young adults if we decide, for convenience sake, not to reform this system," Ms Creighton said.

The idea is based on similar systems in Poland and Germany, which, the party will argue, better prepare people for careers in tourism, hospitality, retail, fashion and design, agriculture, car maintenance, or crafts and trades such as woodwork, metalwork and construction.

Renua will highlight childcare and housing in its manifesto as the "biggest social challenge of our generation".

They propose a €500m tax cut for working parents and diverting €200m collected from the property tax into childcare facilities.

In relation to the public sector, Ms Creighton said the party is "very concerned" that increments are largely based on length of service.

"That's actually ignoring the talent and the huge amount of hard-working public servants who, because they are not there long enough, don't get the recognition they deserve," she told the Irish Independent.

Renua wants the Fiscal Advisory Council to decide on pay rates and a strong system of "meritocracy" rather than blanket pay increases.

"Anybody who believes they work hard and are good at their job has nothing to fear. They are rewarded under our plan," she said.

Renua says that it will reverse Phil Hogan's abolition of town councils and give residents of Dublin, Cork and Limerick the opportunity to directly elect their own mayors. In a move that the party says is likely to be opposed by "the current bureaucratic elites", the mayor will become the effective CEO of the council.

"To date, all the promised reform of local government has resulted in a further centralisation of power," Ms Creighton said, adding that Renua's plan would bring transparency to local government.

Other initiatives in the manifesto include a ban on personal guarantees by banks for business loans, a 23pc flat tax, an end to tax discrimination against the self-employed and zero tolerance sentencing for serial offenders.

Irish Independent

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