Ireland is in the middle of the biggest crisis in the history of the State. There are no easy answers or quick fixes. But we are optimistic that the road to recovery is there with the right leadership and the will to reinvent, re-imagine and reform our nation. It is going to take hard work to get the country back on an even footing and to get Ireland working again. Fine Gael believes we can get Ireland working together. It is vital that the next government is given the backing to do the job.
Fine Gael has the plan to get our country back on track. We have both the leadership and the people to implement the plan successfully. We are asking for the support of Irish voters to allow us to do the job properly.
Here are the 5 points that we believe are absolutely essential to get Ireland working again – we call them our 5 Point Recovery Plan.
1: Jobs – protecting and creating jobs
Job losses are destroying families and crippling the economy. A new government must protect existing jobs and create new jobs as we close the budget gap and give people back their dignity. To realistically plan for job creation in the future, Fine Gael will invest in new energy, water and telecoms infrastructure and generate thousands of new jobs.
Over the next four years, Fine Gael’s Growth and Jobs Strategy will add on average 25,000 jobs each year.
We intend to cut employers’ PRSI and change the welfare system to encourage job creation. We will abolish the airport departure tax. And we will invest an extra €7bn over the next four years to build essential new infrastructure in broadband, green energy and water networks.
2: Fixing the deficit – jobs protected by no income tax increases and cutting waste
Fine Gael will fix Ireland’s budget deficit by prioritising cutting waste over raising tax. This way jobs are protected while discretionary public spending is reduced. Cutting waste will form the biggest portion of the fix and income tax will not be increased.
Unlike the other parties, Fine Gael will take on the big vested interests that have contributed to the current crisis – the bankers, the bondholders, the developers and the unions. And we will aggressively cut the waste in our public service to keep all taxes as low as possible.
3: A completely new Health System
Our Health System costs a staggering €20bn every year. Its money spent on a system that doesn’t work for the people who need it most.
Fine Gael’s FairCare Health Strategy will eliminate long waiting lists, end the unfair public-private two-tier system and replace it with a universal health insurance system based on the renowned Dutch model. FairCare offers equal access to all. There will be a greater emphasis on diagnosis and treatment in the community with increased chronic illness care and more rehabilitation and convalescence facilities ensuring shorter hospital stays. Funding of hospitals will be radically overhauled where money follows the patient – so no patient means no payment for the hospital!
4: Smaller, Better Government – Services you need are prioritised over back-room waste
Our public sector is too large, too inefficient and too expensive. Fine Gael will improve the quality of public services by prioritising frontline services- that’s teachers, health professionals Gardaí, Local Authority services etc, and will streamline systems, eliminate red tape and waste and managers will be accountable.
The outdated and inefficient annual budget system will be replaced with an open and transparent system to manage the nation’s finances.
Fine Gael’s Public Sector Strategy will reduce the cost of the Public Sector by 10% over the next four years. This will save €5bn by eliminating waste and abolishing 145 Quango’s. We estimate 30,000 administrative and bureaucratic positions can be eliminated by natural wastage, voluntary redundancy and relocation to create a better, more efficient and more customer focused public service.
5: Politics – taking the lead
Fine Gael we believe that politicians should lead the way in Ireland’s recovery.
That means taking responsibility and taking cuts right at the top. Fine Gael’s New Politics Strategy will reduce the number of politicians by 35%, have a referendum to abolish the Seanad, impose a ceiling on salaries for politicians and right across the public sector and replace State cars for current and former officials with a car pool system, saving taxpayers millions every year.
As well as saving money, Fine Gael’s political reforms will make the whole political system better, more transparent and make politicians and other decision-makers more accountable to the public. A reformed Dáil that can truly challenge Government decisions, better local government and a Citizens’ Assembly will be established to address major issues like Electoral Reform and Constitutional change.
For more information on Fine Gael’s 5 Point Recovery Plan, and for all Fine Gael’s policy plans, see www.finegael.ie
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