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Micheal Martin backs manifesto promising rent freeze and ending Direct Provision

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has not signed up to the manifesto.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Niall Carson/PA)

The leader of Fianna Fail has signed up to a Feminist Manifesto that sees politicians commit to ending Direct Provision and a rent freeze.

The Women’s Council of Ireland General Election 2020 – Feminist Ireland Manifesto has seen 47 candidates across 23 constituencies sign up so far, committing to policies on ending violence against women, climate change and safe and local access to abortion.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin is one of the candidates who has signed up to the wide-ranging manifesto, which includes:

– End the housing and homelessness crisis
– Introduce an emergency rent freeze
– End direct provision
– End support for new fossil fuel projects and reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 8% annually
– Introduce universal, free contraception
– Introduce safety zone legislation for abortion providers
– Improve flexible working and move towards a four-day week

Mr Martin’s inclusion in the manifesto comes one day after his party decided against supporting a long-debated rent freeze.

The party had been accused of changing stance on the issue a number of times, until eventually citing legal advice the party had received suggesting the freeze would be unconstitutional, despite voting for the Sinn Fein-proposed emergency measure in the Dail last year.

He has also signed up to ending the Direct Provision system for housing asylum seekers, introduced under a Fianna Fail government in 2000, and has long come under criticism for being inhumane.

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Micheal Martin’s inclusion on the Women’s Council of Ireland Manifesto website

Micheal Martin’s inclusion on the Women’s Council of Ireland Manifesto website

Micheal Martin’s inclusion on the Women’s Council of Ireland Manifesto website

Last year, Mr Martin told the media he was “not clear” on what alternatives there are to the direct provision system.

The promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 8% annually would mean “immediate radical measures”, according to environmentalists – including reducing the national herd, retrofitting homes and significant investment in public transport.

The Women’s Council of Ireland says that candidates are encouraged to read the manifesto and then sign up to work towards fulfilling the policy promises when and if elected TD – and are informed of this when asked to sign up.

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has not signed up to the manifesto.

A Fianna Fail spokesman told the PA news agency: “The policy objectives of the NWCI manifesto are objectives that we share, subject to the constitutional, legal and fiscal challenges faced by any government.

“Fianna Fail’s manifesto will be published tomorrow and is the definitive statement of Fianna Fail policy.”

PA