Thursday 22 February 2018

Party set to reveal plans for water and housing

Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly pictured speaking to the media before the start of the Labour Party national Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney
Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly pictured speaking to the media before the start of the Labour Party national Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney
John Downing

John Downing

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is preparing a nationwide building programme with social houses to be built in every county bringing thousands of jobs.

Mr Kelly last night said the Government social housing strategy would see a €4bn capital investment over the next five years, bringing 29,000 jobs. He said plans to refurbish and develop will see €4.8bn being spent up to 2020 and creating 39,000 jobs.

"If elected we intend to continue the major public investment programmes in housing and water infrastructure. This will prove a major boost to the economies of the areas affected in terms of both housing provision and providing clean and safe water systems," Mr Kelly told the Irish Independent.

Environment Department officials said councils across the country had last week forwarded their housing plans to the department. Mr Kelly is expected to complete county-by-county plans in the coming weeks.

Labour Party delegates at their conference will today hear of job-creation efforts from their five ministers as Labour attempts to reposition itself "as the party of work". Mr Kelly said all ministers had job-creation capabilities within their own departments and these would be deployed in the coming months.

The job-creation effort will be coupled with all-out attacks on "so-called hard left" and Sinn Féin as parties "seeking to perpetuate a welfare model".

Mr Kelly said people who are unable to work for whatever reason require support. "But we need to have a conversation about work and the value of work. Everybody has to make a contribution to society," he said.

Welcoming delegates to INEC conference centre in Killarney last night, party leader Joan Burton listed 10 achievements of the party in government over the last four years. These include protecting the old age pension; securing legislation for the X-Case; and the planned €4bn social housing package.

Monster

But Ms Burton admitted the party faces "a tough battle" to secure participation in a second consecutive government term. She praised her predecessor, Eamon Gilmore, and former leader and minister Pat Rabbitte.

Ms Burton said Fianna Fáil "created the monster that was the bank guarantee" and Sinn Féin also voted in favour of this. "Unlike Gerry Adams, I'm good at maths. I knew the bank guarantee was a bust and I shouted as much from the rooftops," the Labour leader said.

Ms Burton said that on entering government in 2011, she feared it would take five years for Ireland to emerge from the bank crisis and associated recession. But in fact it was achieved in three years. She said almost €4bn had been cut off the 2010 Troika deal done by the Fianna Fáil-led Government.

John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015

The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.

Irish Independent

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