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Details emerge of Fine Gael and Labour's programme for government

Details that have so far emerged include the Department of Finance being split into two, the formation of an economic council, and an agreement to reduce the deficit by 2015.

Party leaders Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny
Party leaders Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

DETAILS OF THE programme for government agreed by Fine Gael and Labour are beginning to emerge.

Speaking on RTE Radio this afternoon Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan and Labour’s Brendan Howlin outlined some of the aspects of the deal.

They include:

  • The Department of Finance will be split into two ministries with one focusing on fiscal planning and the banking sector. The other will focus on public sector reform. Fine Gael is expected to take the former, Labour the latter.
  • There will be an Economic Council set up which will be established to ensure an equal decision making process between two parties and to determine economic policy.
  • There is an agreement to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent by 2015 in line with the parameters set down by the EU/IMF bailout.
  • The first two years of the four year plan set out by the outgoing government to reduce the deficit will be adhered to.
  • There is a commitment to not increasing income tax.
  • There is also a commitment to not decrease social welfare.
  • There is a plan to reduce the number of public sector workers by between 18,000 and 21,000 by 2014 and a further 5,00o thereafter.
  • There are no plans to change child benefit.
  • Funding for third level education will be examined and a funding mechanism that will not deter access will be found.

Speaking on RTE Radio this lunchtime, Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan said the the new government was going “to hit the ground running” to get “confidence going again in the economy”.

Labour’s Brendan Howlin also told RTE that while renegotiating of the EU/IMF deal was needed the new government need to “repair broken bridges across our EU partners.”

Discussions on cabinet jobs will be concluded by tomorrow by party leaders.

Labour’s special delegate conference is meeting this afternoon to vote on the deal. A result is expected by 5pm. Fine Gael’s parliamentary party is also meeting this afternoon.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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