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These are the 89 promises for you to hold the government to account on

The Programme for Government was launched today.

THE PROGRAMME FOR the new government was officially released today, 10-and-a-half weeks after the general election.

The 155-page document contains a massive number of commitments, pledges and promises that the Fine Gael-led minority government will pursue over the next five years.

If you want to read the whole document, it’s here, but we at TheJournal.ie have gone through it and picked out the key points.

The programme is broken into 16 chapters and here are the key promises.

1. Making Partnership in Democracy Work

  • Relaxation of whipping arrangements across all parties
  • The concept of ‘good faith and no surprises’ will be central in new government.
  • The government will develop extended opposition Dáil time.

2. Ending the Housing Shortage and Homelessness

31/3/2016. Housing Forum Conferences Source: Sasko Lazarov

  • 25,000 new homes built every year by 2020, with higher targets thereafter.
  • An Action Plan on Housing to be published within 100 days.
  • 18,000 additional housing units by the end of 2017.
  • 17,000 additional housing units by the end of 2020.
  • A new model of affordable rent by working with housing associations and local authorities to develop a “cost rental” option for low income families within the first 100 days.
  • Pledges to “end the use of unsuitable long-term emergency accommodation, such as hotels and B&Bs, for homeless families by, in part, delivering 500 rapid-delivery housing units”.
  • A new Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers.

3. Creating a Social Economy

  • Eliminate the remaining Government deficit by 2018.
  • Get unemployment down to 6%.
  • New tax on sugar sweetened drinks.
  • Maintain Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate.

4. Jobs and Rural Development

  • Renewal of towns and villages to be ‘top priority’ for new minister.
  • 200,000 extra jobs by 2020 – 135,000 of which will be outside Dublin.
  • A broadband plan within 100 days.
  • “No town, village or parish to be left behind” when it comes to broadband – 85% of premises to have broadband in 2 years, 100% in 5 years.

5. Health

File photo:It is 'plausable' the HSE is manipulating patient waiting times Source: RollingNews.ie

  • The HSE will become a Health Commission, with hospital groups to become standalone statutory trusts.
  • A single all-party Oireachtas committee is to come up with a plan for health over 10 years.
  • A new independent patient advocacy service.
  • Another attempt to shift people away from emergency departments – by making GPs the frontline for ‘delivering chronic care’: getting GPs access to X-rays, ultrasounds, defibrillation etc.
  • Reduced prescription charges for medical card holders.
  • Beaumont to get a new emergency department (a new one is currently being designed for Galway Hospital, and Limerick, Drogheda, Wexford new EDs to open soon/next year).
  • Ireland to be tobacco-free (less than 5% of the population smoking) by 2025.
  • Opt-out register for organ donation by end of 2017.
  • Legislating for injection rooms.
  • Pressing ahead with plan to phase in free GP care to under 18s, and new dental health package for the under 6s.

6. Mental Health

  • Tackling the access to crisis mental health care, especially through GPs.
  • An expert review of current status of response to mental health issues in Ireland will advise on how to increase 24/7 support.
  • Make sure every Emergency Department has a team of clinical nurse specialists in psychiatry to provide rapid response to cases of self-harm.
  • The subject of Wellbeing will be introduced to the Junior Cert in 2017.

7. Improving the Lives of People with Disabilities

  • All means testing to be brought under a single national body so there is just one application process for services or entitlements.
  • An increase in Disability Benefit and Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Allowance and Blind Person’s Pension.
  • New mobility scheme and personalised budgets with an individual with disability so they can shop beyond traditional service providers.

8. Children and Youth Affairs

Launch of GIY & innocent ' Children from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Drimnagh launch the GIY & Innocent Sow & Grow 2016 event in March. Source: /Photocall Ireland

  • An independent review to take place of the cost of quality childcare in private and community settings – and ‘support’ introduction of subsidised high quality childcare for children from 9-36 months (but no detail of by how much and how and when).
  • New system to be introduced to support afterschool care for school-aged children – plan says this should be provided in school buildings.
  • Increase paid parental leave in the first year of birth.
  • Increase in home carer’s credit to benefit stay-at-home parents too.
  • Tackle child poverty by increasing community-based early intervention programmes.
  • PE to be brought in as a full subject available in the Leaving Cert.

9. Older People

  • Increasing pension and living alone allowance.
  • Protecting older people and the Free Travel Pass.

10. Education

3/6/2015. Junior Certificate Exams Begin Junior Certificate take exams in Trinity School, Ballymun last year. Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

  • €500 million for subventions including speech therapists and psychologists.
  • A three-year strategy within 100 days.
  • Increasing the mandatory schooling age to 17 and a new school completion plan.
  • Non-denominational schools to reach 400 by 2030.
  • An Education Ombudsman who parents can complain to on foot of a decision by a board of management.
  • No small school to close against parents’ wishes.

11. Crime Prevention, Justice and Equality

23/11/2009 New Criminal Justice Buildings Source: RollingNews.ie

  • Garda numbers to rise to 15,000 (no date by when).
  • Double the Garda Reserve.
  • Increased CCTV on roads and urban centres.
  • The Legal Aid Board will be able to compel criminals to contribute.
  • Public Defender system to be examined within six months.
  • Electronic tagging for those on bail at request of gardaí.
  • Violent home robberies may carry a mandatory sentence.
  • Post-release supervision of sex offenders.
  • A reform of Direct Provision.
  • Wage transparency will require companies with 50 or more to complete a wage survey.

12. Agriculture and the Marine

  • Lowering the cap on the Basic Payments Scheme from €150,000 to €100,000.
  • Focus on the beef markets of Turkey and Egypt.
  • €300 million to improve and modernise the beef herd.

13. Climate Change

30/5/2014. Poolbeg Power Stations Source: Sam Boal

  • The plan says that Ireland should be “repositioned to give global leadership in this area”.
  • The new government will agree Ireland’s first statutory National Low Carbon Transition and Migration Plan within 6 months.
  • Establish a National Dialogue on Climate Change so that there’s much better engagement with citizens and communities about the energy policy decisions that affect them.
  • Work with local authorities to improve the carbon footprint of social housing, including the replacement of oil heating with other fuels such as natural gas or woodchip where possible.
  • Update the planning guidelines for wind farms within 3 to 6 months to offer a better balance between the concerns of local communities and the need to invest in indigenous energy projects.
  • Up to 8,200 hectares of new forest a year by 2020.
  • €430 million for flood mitigation initiatives to protect at-risk areas. This new government will spend more on flood relief over the next 5 years than has been spent in the last 20.
  • Voluntary property relocation scheme for properties which are affected by repeat flooding.

14. Investing in Society: Urban Regeneration

  • Cut the cost of childcare, increase the number of subsidised childcare places and introduce a second free pre-school year.
  • Provide support for the Men’s Shed network.
  • Fund schemes to encourage disadvantaged young people and make them more employable.
  • Minister for Housing will ramp up the supply of private housing.
  • Minister for Housing will accelerate the delivery of the €3.8 billion on social housing.
  • Minimum wage increased to €10.50 per hour by 2021.
  • A new Working Family Payment that “promotes work over welfare” by supplementing, on a graduated basis, the income of a household.

15. Ireland and the World

1/9/2015 LE James Joyce Naval Ceremonies Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

  • Buy a new naval ship.
  • A 20-year strategy for the Irish language to increase the number of speakers every day and to make it more visible in Irish society.
  • Support EU/UN efforts to tackle radicalisation outside the EU’s borders

16. Political and Constitutional Reform

30/3/2016. Abortion Protests Issues Source: Leah Farrell

  • Hold a referendum on Article 41.2.1 on a woman’s life in the home, Article 40.6.1 on blasphemy, Ireland’s participation in the Universal Patent Court, and giving the Ceann Comhairle constitutional standing.
  • A Citizens’ Assembly within six months to look at a limited number of issues (not just constitutional ones), including the Eighth Amendment, fixed term parliaments, and the possibility of ‘super referendum days’ with lots of referendums on one day.
  • Government to consider directly elected mayors in cities
  • New system to monitor committee attendance and participation.
  • More technical groups to be allowed to smaller parties and independents get a fuller role in the Dáil and on committees.
  • A new committee with TDs from each party and grouping to agree the Dáil’s weekly agenda.
  • No more guillotining of bills unless it’s urgent. The Attorney General will have to sign off on any proposals to guillotine a debate on a bill.
  • Votes to be held at fixed times to support family-friendly working arrangements, plus the introduction of abstentions.
  • Reforming the Budget.
  • Establish an Electoral Commission to a) examine voter registration process and see if PPS numbers could be used to automatically add people and b) look at ways to increase participation.

With reporting by Christine Bohan, Susan Daly, Isabel Hayes and Paul Hosford

Read: Fair play? New programme for government is promising equality for all

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