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Renua says Fianna Fáil copied its policy... but it's actually the other way around

Someone should have checked.

LAST MONTH, A row broke out between Fianna Fáil and Renua after the former accused the latter of ripping off its policies.

Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary claimed that two Renua policies, on public procurement and small businesses, were almost identical to his own party’s proposals.

Renua deputy leader Billy Timmins insisted this was not the case but also said that other parties were welcome to take on Renua policies as their own.

screenshot.1441627169.53588 Source: www.thejournal.ie

Perhaps with this in mind, Renua released a statement late on Saturday night commending Fianna Fáil for “its decision to follow our policy lead by suggesting that party election manifestos should be measured by the Irish Fiscal Council”.

However, the statement went on to get in more than one dig at Fianna Fáil:

Renua Ireland would like to stress we are pleased Fianna Fail is following our lead. Some parties might shout ‘rip off’ when it comes to the ‘borrowing’ of original policies from other parties, but we believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
We would though like to express our concern that this is evolving into a bit of a trend. Renua Ireland notes for example that Fianna Fail’s recent SME policy bore a remarkably close resemblance to earlier an earlier policy document produced in May.
Again whilst we are delighted to be of help to older parties when it comes to the difficult task of producing original policies Renua Ireland will not tolerate any ongoing pattern of ripping off original Renua Ireland ideas and dressing them in Fianna Fail duds.
Renua Ireland would like to remind Fianna Fail that when it comes to the issue of political copyright those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones.

File Photo: Michael McGrath, FF spokesman on Finance has said it would be arrogant of his party not to consider going into government as a junior party. Michael McGrath Source: Mark Stedman

The only problem is that Fianna Fáil did not copy this Renua proposal. If anything it might be the other way around.

Fianna Fáil has in fact been proposing that the Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) cost manifestos and other policy proposals long before Renua.

On 27 May, the party’ finance spokesperson Michael McGrath published legislation to give IFAC more powers, saying:

Our legislation would mandate the Fiscal Council to carry out analysis on behalf of qualifying political parties in relation to the effect that manifesto proposals would in the opinion of the Fiscal Council have on the budgetary position of the State in advance of a General Election.

Renua’s proposal in this area wasn’t published until 17 August.

A policy paper entitled ‘Better Budgets and Modern Governance’ called for the powers of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) to be radically expanded.

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In a one-page position, Renua said IFAC should be able to cost parliamentarians’ proposals, party manifestos and any programme for government.

policy renua

Fianna Fáil got there months before Renua.

So, as you might expect, a Fianna Fáil spokesperson took a dim view of Renua’s claims. They said: “[Our] legislation is on the Dáil order paper and amounts to a lot more than a few paragraphs published in August to grab some headlines.”

And with some digs of their own, the spokesperson added:

By any yardstick Fianna Fáil has produced more legislation, more policy documents and more proposals than any other opposition grouping. We look forward to Renua’s continued ‘borrowing’ of our policies, there’s plenty on the record for them to choose from.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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