Fine Gael has this morning launched its new political plan, Taking Ireland Forward Together.
The document, launched at the party’s Árd Fheis, is the second iteration of Fine Gael’s rolling political programme which sets out a path that will take us forward as a country and continue our work in building a modern, prosperous and caring Ireland.
When An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was elected Party Leader, he committed to ensuring that everyone’s voice would be heard and respected, and that we would make a genuine effort to include our members and elected public representatives in the work of policy formulation and campaigns.
Fine Gael members were consulted on the first version of our rolling plan, ‘Building a Republic of Opportunity’ and we want to hear their views on this second iteration ‘Taking Ireland Forward Together.’
The party will hold a special conference in March to consider changes to the Fine Gael Constitution, to debate this document ‘Taking Ireland Forward Together’, and to renew Fine Gael’s values.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “At our March special conference I want to hear from members and their ideas for our policy platform.
“Today we publish the second version of our rolling political programme. This is an opportunity for our members to consider it and debate what’s in it. We can decide how to strengthen it and arrive at an agreed programme for the future.”
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, said: “In this document Fine Gael commits to open new pathways to education, by doubling the number of apprenticeships and traineeships and by linking all 185 disadvantaged post primary schools to higher education institutions, to develop access programmes that break down barriers to entry.
“We will incentivise after-school services in schools or community hubs to offer a range of family focused measures, which can involve the provision of PE, homework clubs, speech and language therapy, etc.
“We will extend the HPV vaccination programme to boys, and prioritise achieving 95% coverage among children of all elements of the Childhood Immunisation Programme, ensuring herd immunity is achieved.
“A new all of government plan to ensure Ireland is a leader in responding to climate change will be developed.
“We will move to a total contributions approach for State Pension (Contributory) for the newly-retired by 2020, which will specifically acknowledge and allow for time spent caring, whether for our children or elderly loved ones. We will introduce auto-enrolment into pension schemes for all workers under the age of 60 who are not already in a pension scheme. Contributions will be made by employees, employers and topped up by the Exchequer.
“This will achieve universal pension coverage and act as a major bulwark against pensioner poverty. There will be an opt-out for employees and an option for the self-employed, homemakers, carers and others. This will be in place by 2022.
“These are just some of the exciting new initiatives in our living, breathing political plan which sets out how we want to take Ireland forward.
“Fine Gael is a party that listens to people, that encourages debate and discussion around the big issues of the day. We look forward to collaborating with members to debate this document and renew Fine Gael’s values.”