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Six key policy areas in Fianna Fáil's election manifesto

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Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin.Friday January 24, 2020. Photo credit: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin.Friday January 24, 2020. Photo credit: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin.Friday January 24, 2020. Photo credit: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil launched its 'An Ireland for All' election manifesto this afternoon.

Here are six key policies and the promises they are making to voters ahead of polling day on Saturday, February 8th.

Health

Fianna Fail's key health policy is to double investment in the National Treatment Purchase Fund to €200m, which the party says will significantly reduce waiting lists for operations. They are also promising to spend €310m on increasing bed numbers to end the scandal of people being forced to wait on hospital trolleys.

They will spend €223m adding 1,000 hospital consultants and €212m on 4,000 new nurses to the health system over the next five years . Fianna Fáil will abolish prescription charges (€68m), scarp hospital car parking fees (€12m) and reduce the drug payment scheme threshold to €100 (4.3m).

The party is also promising to make Ireland a tobacco free country by 2030. There is also commitment for major investment in mental health services.

Housing

Their signature policy is a a SSIA-style savings scheme for first times buyers which would see the State give mortgage savers €1 for every €3 they save. The scheme will be capped at €10,000 per person and will apply to all homes costing less than €500,000. They will retain and expand the Help to Buy scheme.

The party is also pledging to provide 50,000 affordable homes which will all cost less than €250,000. They will also introduce legislation which will clampdown on cuckoo funds bulk buying apartments and houses for rent only.

The party will also launch what they are calling a €214.6m "new deal for renters" which will include a €600 tax credit for tenants and a ban on co-living developments. They will also strengthen rent pressure zones and overhaul Rental Tenancy Board.

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Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin. PA Photo. Picture: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin. PA Photo. Picture: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin speaking during the Fine Gael Irish General Election manifesto launch at City Assembly House in Dublin. PA Photo. Picture: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Tax

The party is proposing a 4:1 ratio on spending on services to tax cuts. Fianna Fáil will reduce the 4.5pc USC rate to 3.5pc and increase the standard rate income tax band by €3,000 for a single person and €6,000 for a couple.

They will also increase they home carers tax credit to €2,000 and increase the earned income tax credit to €1,600. There will also be an increase in the income tax exemption limits for over 65 by €500 for a single person and €1,000 for married couples. There will also be a €2,000 child minders tax credit.

The manifesto pledges that there will be no "significant" increases in local property tax. They will also establish a new commission on taxation to review the country's tax system.

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Older People

Fianna Fáil has ditched its 2016 manifesto pledge to raise the State pension by €30 and opts instead for a promise of a €25 increase over the next five years.

Addressing one of the major controversies of the election so far, it is also promising a transition pension for those forced to retire at 65 and will set up a new pensions commission, while deferring next year’s planned increase in the pension age to 67.

There are also plans to increase the budget housing adaptation grants by €20m and provide five million home extra help hours.

The free travel scheme, introduced by Charlie Haughey 53 years ago, will be protected.

Childcare

The universal childcare subsidy will be increased from €20 per week to €80 per week at a cost of €81m under a Fianna Fáil government.

The party will also consider capping fees for childcare services and will introduce a new childcare price register for parents.

A new tax credit for registered childminders looking after children up to the age of 3 will be introduced, Fianna Fáil promises. The party says this will be worth €2,000 for average income households.

There will be two extra weeks added to the early childhood care and education programme under a Fianna Fáil administration. The party is also promising that maternity leave will be increased to 30 weeks and paternity benefit will be doubled from two weeks to four.

It is also pledging to reform Túsla and carry out a review of the Childcare Act.

Climate Change

Despite doubts about its legality, Fianna Fáil has pledged to introduce a nationwide ban on smoky coal and bring in a Clean Air Act to improve local authorities’ enforcement of environmental standards.

The party will continue with the cross-party plan to increase carbon tax to €80 by 2030 with vague promises to protect those on low incomes and retrofitting social housing.

The Sustainable Energy Authority will be tasked with giving low cost loans to homeowners and landlords to invest in green initiatives like retrofitting. At the heart of this will be a pay as you save mechanism where reduced energy bills are used to repay the original loan, Fianna Fáil says.

A €5 million fund for local authorities to address dog fouling is also promised

The party has set a target of 2035 - and not the current government’s 2030 pledge - for the complete removal of fossil fuel cars with promises to continue with grants and a rollout of charging points.


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