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

The ‘partnership’ government has just published its plan of action. It might mention the word ‘fair’ a lot.

And you, and you, and you: Taoiseach Enda Kenny's new government is promising equality and fairness for all.
And you, and you, and you: Taoiseach Enda Kenny's new government is promising equality and fairness for all.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE NEW PROGRAMME for (partnership) government has just been published – and its key vow is to create a more equal and fair society.

The backlash to the election campaign slogan favoured by Fine Gael, the linchpin in this minority-led new government, has obviously been noted. Out goes ‘Keep the Recovery Going’; in comes a promise to put a fair society first, enabled by the building of a strong economy.

‘A Fairer Ireland’ is the new catchphrase and the word ’fairness’, or derivatives thereof, appear no fewer than 41 times over this 153-page document. The ‘Programme for a Partnership Government’ commits to what it calls a ‘Social Economy’.

So what does that mean to you?

TheJournal.ie team has parsed the 16 chapters of the document to bring you analysis of the key new promises (and how they might hope to keep them).

  • The whole Programme for a Partnership Government is available to view for yourself here.

There are four key crises that the government has deemed its ‘urgent’ focus:

The housing crisis 

The vow: To be building 25,000 new homes every year by 2020

Joblessness

The vow: To create 200,000 new jobs by 2020 – 135,000 of these to be outside Dublin

Public services underfunding

The vow: To spend €6.75bn more in this area by 2021 compared to 2016

Emergency department chaos

The vow: To reduce the percentage of patients waiting longer than six hours in emergency departments from 32% today to 7% by 2021. They are also vowing to cut waiting times for appointments, surgeries and tests across the entire health service.

All of these vows have a long-range deadline for delivery of success, which on the face of it implies that this government intends to see the distance in office, despite its delicate make-up.

In the first 100 days of government, here is what it is claiming it can achieve (it’s mostly to do with housing):

  • Appoint a Cabinet Minister for Housing (already done – Simon Coveney)
  • Set up an Oireachtas Committee for Housing – and get it to tackle tax-relief proposals to free up more private accommodation quickly
  • Review the role of the Housing Agency and get the green light from Europe to devote more of the budget to building new housing
  • Publish a new Action Plan for Housing
  • New ‘cost rental’ option for low-income families to be introduced 
  • League of Credit Unions to be given help from Department of Finance to play role in housing finance
  • Expand access to rent supplements for low-income families at risk of homelessness
  • Establish a mobile phone and broadband taskforce
  • Set up a Prevention and Early Intervention Unit to focus on early interventions in childhood and elderly people’s lives 
  • Three-year strategy for Department of Education to be drawn up 

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

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