I welcome the new programme for Government and compliment the negotiating teams from both Fine Gael and Labour.
The agreed programme takes account of the difficult economic environment yet also prioritises job creation and economic stimulus.
In my view both Fine Gael and Labour have demonstrated in the past that they can provide strong effective government, and that both parties will form a National Government having received a strong mandate from the people.
Both Parties share common ground on key issues such as tackling unemployment, addressing political reform and transforming the health system.
The new programme for government offers a genuine new start for this country and a break from the tired and failed politics of the past 14 years. Our new plan outlines key actions on political reform, job creation and fixing our broken healthcare system. While inevitably compromises on certain issues have been made, this programme for Government offers a stable platform for a reforming and pioneering government for the next five years.
We will, within the first 100 days, resource a Jobs Fund which will
- Provide resources for an additional 15,000 places in training, work experience and educational opportunities for those out of work;
- Cut the 13.5% rate of Vat to 12% up to end 2013
- Halve the lower 8.5% rate of PRSI up to end 2013 on jobs paying up to 356 per week;
- Reverse the cut in the minimum wage;
- Abolish the Travel Tax as part of a deal with airlines to restore lost routes;
- Secure additional resources for the national housing energy retrofitting plan
- Expand eligibility for the back to education allowance
- Accelerate capital works that are ‘shovel ready’ and labour intensive including schools and secondary roads
The first 100 days will see the new administration hitting the ground running. There are important discussions to take place in Europe over the coming weeks as we seek a better deal for Ireland and a lessening of the burden on Irish taxpayers. I am confident that this programme for government will deliver the changes in Ireland that the public wants.
The Mid-West, more than most regions, needs political change and renewed confidence. Together with my Oireachtas colleagues, I aim to work to deliver this transformation.