General Election Special 2011: Fine Gael

Fine Gael (FG) will contest this General Election focussing on five major policy areas to rebuild Ireland; Jobs, Fixing the Deficit, Health, Public Sector and Politics. Unfortunately, they can’t be described fully here but visit www.finegael.org for more details.

WORKING FOR OUR FUTURE – Fine Gael’s aim here is simple: create 80,000 jobs over four years, focussing on and investing in areas which have most potential for job creation, and making it easier for employers to create jobs. FG will invest €7bn in water, green energy and broadband, providing essential infrastructure, and creating jobs in the construction sector with spin-off employment in the services sector.

FG also plans to cut employers PRSI, abolish the departure tax, aiding the tourism sector and change the welfare system to encourage employment. We will reverse the cuts to the minimum wage, as it does nothing to encourage job creation and only hits the most vulnerable straight in the pocket. Up to 60,000 unemployed graduates will emigrate this year. That’s why FG plans to create a National Internship programme where unemployed graduates can gain valuable experience, while continuing their study, being paid for the job they are doing.

FIXING THE DEFICIT – Over the next four years we need to slash our budget deficit. We need to reduce it by €15 billion over this period, and we can do this in one of two ways, increasing tax, or reducing expenditure. FG will make sure cutting wasteful expenditure takes priority, and will not increase income tax.

Other areas key to FG’s plan for recovery are vital to reducing the deficit, especially reform of the public sector, reducing wastage and duplication and to ensure Government departments are run efficiently, with the relevant minister held to account if they don’t. FG will take on the big vested interests that have contributed to the current crisis, the bankers, the bondholders, the developers and the unions.

FAIRCARE – FG’s health plan means we will treat patients according to need, not how much money is in their back pocket. We are spending €17bn every year on a system that doesn’t work and needs reform. Our aim over a 10 year period is to introduce Universal Health Insurance, modelled on the Dutch system, ranked number one in Europe, despite not spending any more than we do.

This will lead to a single tier health system where all patients are treated equally, and will provide free GP care for all. FairCare will slash hospital waiting lists, free up hospital beds, introduce “Money follows the patient” budgeting for hospitals and introduce a proper system of primary care with greater emphasis on diagnosis and treatment in the community. Ireland needs a healthcare system it can be proud of. FairCare gives us that.

REINVENTING GOVERNMENT – Our public sector is too large, too expensive and inefficient. FG will improve the quality of public services, prioritising frontline services – that is teachers, health professionals, Gardaí, Local Authority services and will streamline systems, eliminating red tape, duplication and waste.

We will make managers accountable for their areas and ministers accountable for their departments. FG’s Public Sector Strategy will reduce the cost of the Public Sector by 10% over the next four years. This will save €5bn by eliminating waste and abolishing 145 quangos. We propose 30,000 administrative and bureaucratic positions can be eliminated by natural wastage, voluntary redundancy and relocation to create a better, more efficient and a more customer focused public service.

NEW POLITICS – FG has ambitious plans for rebuilding the country, but we must first start with our Government. This will be the first step towards creating the Ireland we all want.

FG’s strategy is to reduce Oireachtas members by 38%, cap their wages, as well as those of public servants, hold a referendum to abolish the Seanad and replace State cars for Ministers with a car pool system.

We will also reform the Dáil itself. We will make it more transparent and make politicians more accountable to the Dáil and to the people. We will provide a reformed Dáil that can challenge Government decisions, better local government and a Citizens assembly will be established to address major Constitutional issues.

UCC Young Fine Gael Society

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