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Labour Party asks Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil five questions on government formation

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are due to respond to the Greens’ questions in a letter to be sent this afternoon.

Image: Leah Farrell

THE LABOUR PARTY has responded to the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael framework document with five questions for the two parties. 

The framework document was given to smaller parties in a bid to convince them to join a coalition government made up of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The document outlines how the next government will navigate the post-Covid-19 crisis, with a concentration on improving Ireland’s health services, a new Green Deal, and a promise to tackle the insurance industry.

The letter from Labour Leader Alan Kelly addressed to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar asks how much the government is prepared to borrow in 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively to maintain public services and secure additional investment. 

The Labour Party also wants to know what taxation measures Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are prepared to consider, and how they propose to guarantee that a radical programme for government can be implemented over the next five years without increases in taxation for high earners.

The letter also asks what spending cuts to departments and agencies will be considered and whether the current public sector pay deal will be honoured.

The future approach to negotiating a follow-on agreement, including equality of pay and conditions for our Defence Forces, also needs clarification, said the letter.

“Will you commit that the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment will continue at the current rate for workers who have lost their jobs in affected sectors?” asks Kelly in the letter.

He also states that an understanding on the approach to future Budgets would “provide the Labour Party with the framework to consider the compatibility of our vision for Ireland’s future with what you have proposed to date”.

A further 21 Labour principles are outlined in the document, including the roll out of Slaintecare, calls for a Living Wage, direct State provision of childcare as well as housing built on publicly owned land.

Kelly states that his party made it clear that it is the primary responsibility of other parties who received more votes in the general election to ensure that Ireland has a stable government. He adds there are four parties in the Dáil with more TDs than the Labour Party. 

“However, I have said that we will talk to other parties. The Labour Party will continue to play a constructive part in the response to Covid-19, and it is my goal that we will have a robust role in the recovery of our country after the pandemic,” states the letter.

Kelly also welcomes that the framework document states there is an “importance of the well-resourced, properly functioning and responsive State has never been clearer”.

“The Labour Party welcomes this bold social democratic statement, but what is not clear to us is how the policy goals will be resourced and what fundamental choices such a government would be prepared to take,” said Kelly. 

The response to the framework document by the Labour Party comes after the Green Party’s response last week, which sought the answers to 17 questions, including whether a 7% annual reduction in emissions would be committed to. 

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are due to respond to those questions in a letter to be sent this afternoon. 

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