1. Jobs: Get Ireland Working by Creating Jobs.
Jobs are at the heart of Fine Gael’s plans for our recovery. To protect existing jobs, to create new jobs and to keep talented young Irish people at home, a coherent jobs strategy is vital. This means getting finance to small businesses, investing in sustainable enterprises, supporting job opportunities in areas of Irish competitive advantage, ingenuity and creativity. To create an average of 20,000 jobs in each of the next 4 years, Fine Gael will invest an extra €7bn from the sale of state assets and from pension funds. The investment will be in essential new broadband, green energy and water networks infrastructure. We intend to cut employers’ PRSI, change the welfare system to encourage job creation and abolish the airport departure tax.
2. BUDGET: Fix the Deficit and No Income Tax Increases.
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 solution 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 tackle social welfare fraud, cut the waste in our public service and keep all taxes as low as possible.
3.PUBLIC SECTOR: Smaller, BetterGovernment.
Ireland needs a smaller, more efficient,better public sector. To protect public services, especially those delivered by our teachers, nurses, doctors, local government workers and Gardaí, our public sector must be more efficient.Vital services have to be prioritised while duplication and waste are eliminated. Fine Gael will reform the public service. Through streamlining, making managers more accountable and by eliminating red tape, the cost of the Public Sector can be reduced by 10% (€5bn). Over the next four years, we will abolish 145 Quangos and we estimate 30,000 unnecessary administrative positions can be removed through natural wastage and voluntary redundancy. The Government’s annual budget will be replaced with a better, more open and transparent system to manage the nation’s finances.
4. Health: Get the Healthcare System Working.
Our Health system costs a staggering €17bn every year. It’s money spent on a system that doesn’t work for the people who need it most. Fine Gael’s FairCare Health Strategy will cut 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!
5. NEW POLITICS: Start With Politicians.
Fine Gael believes that politicians should lead the way in Ireland’s recovery. Fine Gael’s Strategy for New Politics 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. 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.