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Here are 10 things the Government promised to do in its first 100 days. How are they getting on?

The Programme for Government was published back in May, promising to make society fairer – has it delivered?

Image: RollingNews.ie

ONE HUNDRED DAYS have passed since Enda Kenny was re-elected as Taoiseach, so we thought we’d check in to see how his government is doing at sticking to its promises.

In the Programme for Partnership Government, released back in May of this year, Enda Kenny and his Fine Gael-led minority government promised the public 89 new actions, ten of which would be delivered within the first hundred days of government.

These promises were seen as being more urgent than the others, with most related to the current housing problem, and was labelled as ’First 100 Days Action’.

Although this may seem like an arbitrary figure, the first 100 days of government have been traditionally used as a measuring stick of a new cabinet’s effectiveness. Knowing how the government is doing is especially important for the 32nd Dáil, because of the diverse range of politicians and opinions that are holding it up.

So with this in mind, here are the ten promises that the Government made, and TheJournal.ie’s assessment on whether they’ve completed what they set out to do.

1. Appoint a Cabinet Minister for Housing

Done

Simon Coveney was given the new portfolio for Housing in the first few days of the new government. Coveney said that he specifically asked for the housing portfolio because he believed he could make a difference.

In June, less than a month in his role as Minister, Coveney said that there was an unexpected problem with the First 100 Days Action deadline:

One of the problems around the 100 day target is that it lands right in the middle of August. For obvious reasons, that poses a problem because many people are not focused on work in the middle of August.

Previously the portfolio fell under the remit of the Junior Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal. When the new Dáil was formed, the Department for the Environment was renamed as the Department of Housing, and Environment functions moved to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

2. Set up an Oireachtas Committee on Housing

Done – kind of

The Committee for Housing and Homelessness was set up in April of this year – before the Programme for Government was released. The fourteen members from the cross-party committee presented the report to the Dáil on 17 July, and it separated afterwards.

The report had a range of recommendations, including building 10,000 houses a year, and making rent prices more affordable by linking them to the Consumer Price Index, which would be reviewed annually.

19/7/2016. Rebuilding Ireland Programmes Housing minister Simon Coveney. Source: RollingNews.ie

The Oireachtas Committee on Housing were also tasked with examining “other tax-relief proposals to encourage the supply of private-rented accommodation”. Although the report recommended a wide-range of tactics to tackle the housing crisis, there were no new tax-relief proposals made.

3. Review the role of the Housing Agency (and get the green light from Europe to devote more of the budget to building new housing)

Not done

The Housing Agency’s role is to support the local authorities and the Department of Housing, and its function of providing social housing was to be reviewed.

This, according to a spokesperson, has not been done.

The agency has however gained a number of new functions, including a €70 million fund to buy vacant properties for social housing purposes.

1/2/2016. Building New Houses For the Homeless Source: RollingNews.ie

In relation to getting the go-ahead from Europe to spend more in order to build badly-needed accommodation, a previous TheJournal.ie FactCheck has shown that building social housing with funds from NAMA would probably go against EU regulations.

No harm in asking though.

4. Publish a new Action Plan for Housing

Done

Originally, Minister Coveney said back in June that the plan would be delayed until the end of this month, due to people not being “focused on work in the middle of August”.

He also said:

We could launch it at the end of July before everybody heads off on holidays, but that is not the kind of momentum we want the project to generate.

After coming under pressure from the media and the public, Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness was then released at the end of July.

The 115-page document laid out its strategy in four main pillars, and promised various timelines for each action, with the latest deadline occurring at the end of 2021.

This included promises to build 10,000 new houses a year, to spend over €5 billion on social housing in the next five years, and to implement measures that stop people from being evicted, such as increasing the Rent Supplement and HAP limits.

19/7/2016. Rebuilding Ireland Programmes Source: RollingNews.ie

5. New ‘cost rental’ option for low-income families to be introduced

Not done

Although the Housing Action Plan outlines the ‘cost rental option’ – which they call the Affordable Rental Scheme, and which means having affordable rental options for people on lower incomes – it says that a timeline and details for the project will not be available until the end of September.

The plan is, however,  at “an advanced stage of development”. Once it’s finished, it will be offered to potential housing providers, and €10 million in annual funding will be delivered to “at least 2,000 rental properties over a range of projects by 2018″.

While the Housing Plan has a whole section on how to increase social housing, there are no specific details on how they will increase the number of ‘cost rental’ (or affordable) housing for low-income earners.

6. League of Credit Unions to be given help from Department of Finance

Doesn’t look like it

The exact promise was that the Department of Finance would “help” the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) develop their housing proposals, as the ILCU are eager to offer funding for social housing and have said this repeatedly to the Government.

What the ILCU will be doing, according to a spokesperson, is working with the Irish Council for Social Housing to provide new financial options for people to be able to pay for their housing.

7. Expand access to tenancy-related advice and support services

Some progress made

In the Programme for Government, they promised to roll-out the Tenancy Protection Service throughout the country. According to the recently published housing plan, this has only been extended to four new regions.

The Tenancy Protection Service provides advice and support to individuals, couples and families living in private rented accommodation who experience tenancy problems or whose tenancy is at risk.

The Threshold Tenancy Protection Service, which originally operated in Dublin City and Cork City, has recently been extended to Galway City and counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. Building on this, the service will be extended nationwide by the end of the year.

8. Establish a mobile phone and broadband taskforce

25/09/2014. Heather Humphreys. Pictured Minister f Minister Heather Humphreys Source: RollingNews.ie/sam boal

Done

Ministers Denis Naughten (Communications) and Heather Humphreys (Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht Affairs) co-chaired the first meeting of the taskforce on 27 July this year.

The taskforce includes members of Teagasc, business representatives based in rural Ireland, various government departments and transport groups.

Their aim is to find quick and practical solutions to broadband and mobile phone coverage across the country, which is expected to be presented to the Dáil before the end of the year.

9. Set-up a Prevention and Early Intervention Unit

Not done yet

As part of the Children and Youth Affairs section of the Programme for Government, the Fine-Gael led coalition promised to set a group up that would form “policies that can improve the life outcomes” of children and the quality of life of older people with long-term conditions.

The Department of Public Expenditure is still in the process of forming the unit.

10. Three-year strategy for Department of Education to be drawn up

Not done yet

The government promised to produce a three-year strategy for the Department of Education and a “framework for measuring its progress”.

Although a spokesperson for the Department says the framework is “well-advanced” and will be “highly ambitious”, it hasn’t met the 100-day deadline.

So how do you think the government is doing? Are you getting what you wanted out of your vote?

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

Read: Here’s what the government plans to do about housing and mental health

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