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Fianna Fail and Fine Gael set out 10 core aims in joint policy document

Tax pledges, a united island and housing are among 10 core aims set out.

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving the GPO in Dublin’s city centre following the annual 1916 Easter Commemoration, which because of the coronavirus was held in the courtyard inside the building.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving the GPO in Dublin’s city centre following the annual 1916 Easter Commemoration, which because of the coronavirus was held in the courtyard inside the building.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving the GPO in Dublin’s city centre following the annual 1916 Easter Commemoration, which because of the coronavirus was held in the courtyard inside the building.

A joint document published by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael includes a Government unit to work towards a consensus on a united island, plans for affordable housing and universal healthcare.

The document outlines how the next government will navigate the post-Covid-19 emergency.

The document contains 10 key “pillars” it says will improve Irish society.

The pillars are: reigniting and renewing the economy; universal healthcare; housing for all; a new social contract; a new green deal; a better quality of life for all; supporting young Ireland; opportunities through education and research; a shared island; at the heart of Europe: global citizenship.

Below are some of the commitments outlined in the document:

– United island

The document includes a commitment to set up a unit in the Department of the Taoiseach “to work towards a consensus on a united island”.

It states: “We are committed to working with all traditions on the island, to build consensus around a shared future.

“This consensus will be underpinned by the terms and institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and by absolute respect for the principle of consent enshrined therein.”

“This unit will examine the political, social, economic and cultural considerations underpinning a future in which all traditions are mutually respected.”

– Tax

No increases in income tax and/or Universal Social Charge (USC) and no cuts to established core social welfare rates.

– Housing

The document says the government will prioritise home ownership and affordable purchase schemes, which will enable more people to own their homes and increase the number of new social houses.

It pledges to create a new deal for renters, which is focused on providing more long-term security, stable and affordable rents, and greater choice.

– Health

On healthcare, the document pledges to:

– Expand universal access with a focus in the first instance on paediatrics and women’s health.

– Increase bed capacity, diagnostics and staff numbers to provide community and hospital care more quickly.

– Prioritise primary care, so that patients can be diagnosed and receive care in the community, including mental health.

– Pledge to increase bed capacity while working towards a universal healthcare service as recommended in the Slaintecare report.

– Vow that all new consultant contracts in the public health service will be public only.

– Invest in public health infrastructure, in order to help return society to normality after the Covid-19 emergency, and to manage future public health threats, such as other pandemics.

– Environment

– The carbon tax will be increased, in line with the agreed cross-party trajectory of 80 euro per tonne by 2030.

– 440 million trees will be planted by 2040.

– Roll out an “ambitious home energy retrofitting programme.”

– Brexit

– To contribute more to the European Union’s budget post-Brexit, and to double Ireland’s “global footprint”.

– Prioritise protection of the Peace Process and the all-island economy, in the context of the future UK-EU Brexit agreement.

–  Pledge to  invest in cross-border infrastructure, such as the A5 motorway between Dublin and Londonderry, cross-border greenways, the Ulster Canal, as well as “examining high-speed cross-border rail services”.

The policy document has been circulated to TDs, senators and MEPs ahead of their parliamentary party meetings on Wednesday night.

The document will be given to smaller parties such as the Green Party, Labour and Social Democrats in a bid to convince them to join a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail coalition government.

PA