Sunday, November 13, 2005

Highlights of the policies from National Conference

After arriving back from Millstream and getting to a computer, I can now happily blog about a couple of the policies I think are really interesting from yesterday's conference.

  • Green Ireland and a new super food agency - so this means the rolling up of Food Safety Authority, Bord Bia and Teagasc with authority to direct the existing bodies avoiding the lack of knowledge and disorganisation which exists between the separate bodies. The Green Ireland brand is a new Irish Quality food authority charged with awarding a new label which is 100% traceable "farm to fork", meets EU standards and has sub-labels such as Green Ireland Organic, Green Ireland Free Range, or Green Ireland Low Fat etc. It will use a Starbucks Coffee model of distribution and marketing. The brand will replace all other Irish brands so it is simple one brand image for Irish product.

  • No increases Personal, Corporate or Capital taxation

  • End of the Budget Day and publish budget plans in September with a full and open process to examine and evaluate them.

  • Free GP services for children under 5 years of age

  • Restore the value of tax credits and tax bands to their value in 2002

  • Expand the role of the Comptroller and Auditor General to allow them to prevent failutres rather than just reporting on them

  • The removal of all excise duty on bio-fuels produced from all renewable energy crops

  • Capital Start-Up Grants for Bio-fuel Processing Plants

  • A reduced rate of VRT for eco-friendly vechicles and penalising larger gas guzzlers

  • Provide every child a childcare and early education credit of €2,500 for every child during their pre-school year, and €1,500 in each of the years

  • Amend the National Spatial Strategy to include major renewable energy infrastructure projects

  • Benchmarking Awards must be firmly rooted in this programme of public service reform

  • A stronger Competition Authority by doubling its budget but they would also be obliged to complete different stages of investigations within set time limits. The real gem is that powers would be given to theCompetition Authority so it could impose fines on individuals and businesses in breach of the Competition Act, without the necessity for a court hearing

  • A National Health Screening Programme so all adults will be offered regular health checks to screen for diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems, lung disease and certain cancers

  • 50 ‘Linked’ Primary Care Teams will help GPs with out of hours cover and provide them with extra primary care supports in addition to ensuring many treatments are done locally rather than in hospitals.

  • Vastly improve First Responder Schemes with the aim to have a defibrillator and other essential equipment like emergency oxygen in local areas

  • Increase paid Maternity leave to 26 weeks (+8 weeks)

  • Allow for 1 week of paid Paternity leave

  • Also have 1 week of paid Parental leave (either parent could avail of, in addition to their existing leave)

That is by no means everything, its merely the salient points I can recall (for greater detail). It was definitely not an election set of policy proposals and I think it could safely be said that these will be all included with whatever policies are produced in cojunction with Labour as part of Fine Gael's next election manifesto. Even if it wasn't the vista of policies the press were demanding, I'm quite happy with the suggestions and innovations as they would all be welcome changes to the current jalopy that seems to be the current government. The next year will bring many more joint policies as they're finalised with Labour and I'm looking forward to reading them given the energy, freshness and direction of change I found from these policies.


  • Any idea where any of the money is going to come from. not having a budget day is plying into the hands of the vintners allowing them to stop any changes to drink tax.
    some good policies though. Kenny needs some media lessons though

    By Blogger Simon, at 6:35 p.m.  

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