Programme for Government fails utterly to deliver radical change on housing, health, climate and the cost of living that the people demanded on Feb 8th.

Solidarity- People Before Profit TDs have said that the Programme for Government (PfG) document, agreed between the negotiating teams of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green party, fails utterly to deliver radical change on housing, health, climate and the cost of living that the people demanded on February 8th and is just a rehash of the same old failed policies.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “It was clear in the election that the people demanded radical change on health, climate, housing and the cost of living. The PfG produced by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens delivers none of the radical change that the people demanded.

“In the area of housing, instead of delivering much needed public housing on public land, this agreement will continue to funnel public land into private hands through the Land Development Agency. It also contains no actual plan for affordable housing.

“In health, we need a National Health Service and yet, amazingly, the PfG contains overt commitments to return to the two-tier health system and the further reliance on the private sector through the National Treatment Purchase Fund. The plan also provides absolutely no remedy for the extortionate cost of childcare for people.”

Bríd Smith TD said: “This deal ignores the science of climate change and the reality that we need systemic change to achieve the kind of reductions in CO2 needed. It pretends that we can continue with business as usual but do it with a coat of greenwash. It admits it will not deliver 7% reductions, it doesn’t affect existing licences for oil and gas exploration and it doesn’t rule out LNGs if they import non-fracked gas.

“To me this says that this document is a masterpiece in spin designed to encourage Green party members to prop up the two right wing parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael so that those two parties can rehabilitate themselves before the next general election whilst delivering very little by way of emissions reductions or challenging the big emitters in society.”

Gino Kenny TD said: “The exclusion of the Occupied Territories Bill in the PfG is a major blow to the hopes of the Palestinian people seeking international solidarity in the wake of emboldened Israeli expansion.

“It is interesting that the Occupied Territories Bill was excluded from the PfG whilst in the same week a major vote will take place at the UN on Ireland’s bid to become a member of the Security Council. Ireland had the chance to be a world leader in opposing oppression and, in that regard, this prospective government has failed at the first hurdle.”

Mick Barry TD said: “The PfG makes provision for an increased role for the state but in large measure this translates as an increased role for the state in propping up private sector business. What is needed at this time is direct state investment and nationalizations – the situation at Aer Lingus is a case in point.

“Here we have a company cutting staff pay unilaterally by 70% which made €276m profit last year, €305m profit the year before, has reserves of €900m and whose parent last year made more than €3bn.

“The airline industry has been hit hard by Covid and the future is uncertain, but this is a company exploiting a crisis to drive through an agenda cooked up well before Covid. The workers and their unions should reject this plan and we are calling for the opening of the company’s books and the re-nationalization of the airline.”

Paul Murphy TD said: “There is nothing for workers and their rights in this Programme for Government. Incredibly, there is not a single mention of trade unions, nevermind commitments to give them the right to access workplaces and the right of workers to collectively bargain.

“There is an alternative if grassroots Greens reject the offer to be a mudguard for this right-wing government. They should join with the left in campaigning for climate, housing and social justice. With people-power campaigning we would be able to win victories, like we have won on Repeal, marriage equality and water charges. We would then be preparing the way for the left-wing government with eco-socialist policies which is desperately needed.”