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Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Labour Party

Bacik tells Labour conference Varadkar resignation 'ultimate' vote of no confidence in Government

Ivana Bacik, speaking in the Helix in Dublin this evening, said that the housing crisis was the “social issue” of the current generation of Irish people.

THE LABOUR LEADER has told her party’s conference that Ireland is not working and that the Taoiseach’s resignation was the ultimate “no confidence” vote in the Government.

Ivana Bacik, speaking in the Helix in Dublin this evening, said that the housing crisis was the “social issue” of the current generation of Irish people.

Bacik attacked the Government’s record on housing, climate change and workers’ rights. 

The Labour Leader said their plan would see a new building agency to construct one million homes in ten years, more gardaí on the streets and a new department to prepare for a united Ireland. 

She lashed out at Sinn Fein’s group in the European Parliament who she said vote “against nature restoration laws and tacitly endorse Putin’s brutal regime in Russia”.

“Across Ireland and Europe, many want to sow division and distrust.

“But our mission in Labour is to deliver positive change, to build an Ireland that works for all,” she said. 

Bacik also spoke about a “jubilant” Far Right and said it was on the rise across the country. 

“They seek to target the most vulnerable, and the government is letting them away with it.

“They have no plan to put in place the support and shelter that is needed for refugees – left out in the cold, while vacant buildings lie empty. By contrast, we in Labour have a clear plan.

“To end Direct Provision and deliver a fair and effective policy on migration,” she added. 

Ivana Bacik recalled in her address the experience of her Czech grandfather Charles Bacik during her speech and said that Irish people need to show solidarity with migrants. 

Social contract

Bacik said that there was a “broken social contract” and that Ireland faces “huge challenges”. She claimed that the cost of living crisis was caused by “ponzi scheme” politics. 

“This is the reality of modern Ireland. No security, no certainty – a new Precariat.

“Our country – which has come so far in so many ways – is now losing some of our best people.

“Who could blame younger generations for looking beyond these shores?” she said. 

Housing

In housing she said that Labour’s housing plan would see one million new homes in a decade. 

“That’s 50,000 new builds and 50,000 deep retrofits per year for ten years – recognising the real scale of the need for housing and to meet our climate targets.

“We can find enough construction workers to deliver both, but the government won’t even pay apprentices the minimum wage, let alone mount a proactive recruitment campaign,” she added. 

Bacik said that young people were stuck in “arrested development” because of the housing crisis.

Bacik said the Government has attacked her party’s ambition but said their strategy would regulate short term lets, make homes from derelict buildings and protect renters by reinstating a no fault eviction ban.

Labour would also increase funding for adaptation grants provide dedicated housing for older people and people with disabilities.

NO REPRO FEE Labour Party National Conference-41 Ivana Bacik's colleagues join her on stage for her address to the Labour party. Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The party’s plan would see the Land Development Agency transformed “into a state construction company to build the homes we need”.

“These are our red lines for government. Because we will never solve the supply and affordability crisis with subsidies to developers.

“It’s time for stronger state action. Action that this government cannot be trusted to deliver,” she added. 

In regard to workers’ rights she said that the Government “can’t be trusted either to deliver”.

She said that there was a need to ensure that workers benefit from “Artificial Intelligence – rather than being displaced by an algorithm”.

Climate change

In regard to climate change the party said Ireland’s electricity prices were the highest in the EU “while fossil fuel companies make record profits”. 

She said the party’s plan would be to focus on cutting energy costs for families by “up to €700 per year”. 

Under the Labour plan, Bacik said, there would be limits on SUV’s, a ramping up of State involvement in renewable energy, and affordable public transport. 

Childcare

On child care, Bacik said that Labour would deliver a guaranteed pre-school place for every child.

“And we would introduce a new fair deal scheme to support older people to remain living at home.

“Because so many people are terrified of ending up in an overcrowded Emergency Department like Limerick and Cork,” she added. 

Bacik said that Labour would roll out free GP care, lift the HSE recruitment embargo and “reverse the privatisation of healthcare”. 

The Labour leader said that her party respects the recent Referendums but said that the key message from the result was that there must be “a new bill of disability rights”. 

In other social issues Bacik said there would be a repeal of drug possession and that the party would legislate for assisted dying. She also said they would place gardaí on the streets.