Monday 20 November 2017

Who got the most from FG-FF deal?

Fine Gael's negotiating team Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Paschal Donohoe and Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Arthur Carron
Fine Gael's negotiating team Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Paschal Donohoe and Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Arthur Carron Newsdesk

Taxation - FF: Reduce and eliminate USC for low and middle-income workers up to €80,000. FG: Abolition of USC over the next five years. Result: Reduce USC on a fair basis with emphasis on low and middle-income earners. Winner: Fianna Fáil.

Industrial Relations

FF: Fully implement the Lansdowne Road Agreement and return to “normal industrial relations mechanisms” for setting pay.

FG: Honour the Lansdowne Road Agreement and create a independent pay commission to plan for post-2018.

Result: Lansdowne Road Agreement to be fully honoured and a Public Service Pay Commission will examine pay levels across the public sector.

Winner: Fine Gael sees this as its big win because with the economic recovery, demands for pay increases are expected to put huge pressure on the next government.


FF: Retain mortgage interest relief until 2020, tackle high variable mortgage interest rates and hike rent supplement by 10pc.

FG: A code of conduct for mortgage switching, tax relief for landlords who accept rent supplement and increase home building.

Result: Increase rent supplement by up to 15pc, retain mortgage interest relief until 2020 and a commitment to take action on high variable mortgage interest rates.

Winner: A major win for Fianna Fáil.


FF: Improve the HSE, abolish prescription charges, reactivate the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and recruit 500 consultants and 4,000 nurses.

FG: A five-year budget for health, 4,400 new frontline staff, €50m to reduce waiting lists and dismantle the HSE.

Result: Maintain a humane approach for discretionary medical card provision and ring-fence €15m in 2017 for the NTPF.

Winner: Health is the most vague area in the FG-FF deal. The NTPF is a win for Fianna Fáil but €15m won’t go far. The lack of detail means Fine Gael wins this one.


FF: Increase garda numbers to 15,000, launch a Garda Inspectorate report into reopening garda stations, establish a new sentencing council, increased mandatory sentences for attacks on elderly people, set up a Serious and Organised Crime Unit and invest €275m in garda IT.

FG: Increase garda numbers to 14,000, invest in CCTV on roads, tougher sentences for repeat offenders and €46m for garda cars and increased patrols in rural Ireland.

Result: Increase garda numbers to 15,000, invest in CCTV and a review of the boundaries of Garda districts and the locations of garda stations.

Winner: Fianna Fáil

Rural Ireland

FF: Fully realise Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025, secure a strong fisheries sector, increase LEADER funding to €350m and improve broadband and other services to end rural isolation.

FG: Promote Food Wise 2025 and fishery industry. Ensure LEADER funding brings maximum benefit, support young farmers and invest in broadband and other rural services.

Result: Increase funding to LEADER, prioritise regional development, fully implement Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025, secure the future of family farms and support the fishing industry. Also increase capital investment in transport, broadband, education, health and flood defences.

Winner: No huge differences between the two parties, but the language used in the deal is more closely aligned to the Fianna Fáil manifesto.


FF: Reduce class sizes to 23:1, ensure free education for everybody, guidance service for every school and reintroduce post-graduate grants. 

FG: Reduce class sizes for junior and senior infants to 18:1, commitment not to close small schools and more exchequer funding for third-level institutions.

Result: Reduce primary school sizes, reintroduce guidance counselling to secondary schools and increase financial supports for post-graduate students.

Winner: Fianna Fáil made guidance counsellors a major issue in the talks and can therefore claim victory.

Water charges

FF: End water charges.

FG: Maintain water charges at their current rate until 2018.

Result: Water charges to be suspended for at least nine months while a commission studies the best model for funding water infrastructure. Charges cannot be reintroduced without a vote in the Dáil.

Winner: A win for Fianna Fáil – although the party faces a backlash over how to refund people who have paid.

Irish Water

FF: Abolish Irish Water and set up a slimmed down agency to deliver water infrastructure.

FG: Maintain Irish Water.

Result: Irish Water to stay but a new oversight body set up to review its work.

Winner: Fine Gael.

Irish Independent

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