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Sinn Féin beats Renua AND Fianna Fáil in the policy wars

The row that rumbles on.

Updated 6.38pm 

RENUA HAS HIT back at claims that it copied a Fianna Fáil policy, insisting it was first with the idea to scrutinise budgetary proposals more closely.

The two parties have been at loggerheads for weeks over claim and counter-claim that they are ripping off each other’s policies.

But this evening Sinn Féin pointed out that it beat both parties in being the first to call for the independent scrutiny of budgetary policy.

Renua said earlier this month that Fianna Fáil had followed its lead in calling for the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council to be given more powers of scrutiny over political parties’ p-pre-budget submissions and economic polices.

However, Fianna Fáil said it first proposed this idea as far back as May. The party said it had even published legislation that “amounts to a lot more than a few paragraphs published in August to grab some headlines”.

screenshot.1442306709.56411 Source: www.thejournal.ie

Renua has now insisted that it was in fact first with the proposal.

In its initial policy document, published at its launch in March of this year, the party called for Oireachtas members to get technical support in the preparation of alternative budgets and manifestos.

A Renua spokesperson said: “We did not specifically refer to the IFAC but as part of a far broader policy of political reform, none of which Fianna Fail implemented in their roughly seven decade period in power we said that it was time to ‘Provide parties in the house with access to a service to prepare their budget proposals each year’.”

renua budgetary policy What Renua's policy document, published in March, says Source: Renua

In a strongly-worded statement, the party said that Fianna Fáil is “incapable of learning” and added:

Once again they are sending out a spin on an issue that is as accurate as a scud missile. Or in their case a dud missile aimed straight at a set of feet of clay.

The spokesperson insisted that Renua is not copying Fianna Fáil policy documents given the party’s “economic opportunism semi-bankrupted the state twice before they properly finished the job off under Mr Cowen”.

“People would be better taking economics lessons from Syriza rather than this lot,” they added.

However this evening, Sinn Féin pointed out that it was in fact the very first party to come out calling for more independent scrutiny of budget proposals.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie in June 2014, the party’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty called for an independent body to cost pre-budget submissions and government policies.

Fianna Fáil has previously accused Renua of copying its policies on small businesses and public procurement.

Speaking at his party’s think-in yesterday, Micheál Martin would not be drawn on whether Fianna Fáil would consider a pact or coalition with Renua given the policy similarities.

“There’s a range of parties there,” he insisted. “There’s a lot of independents going forward as well.

“So I think its fair to say that we have a perhaps one of the more fragmeneted electoral landscapes that we’ve had for quite a a long time in Irish electoral and political history.

So it’s very open and I think I have said time and time again that Fianna Fáil will be standing on its own manifesto and its own policy platform.

Previously: Renua says Fianna Fáil copied its policy… but it’s actually the other way around

Read: Six months in, where stands Renua?

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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