- We will campaign for an island-wide referendum on Irish unity.
- We will introduce a Green Paper on Irish unity.
- We will ensure a senior cabinet minister has responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs and the Irish Language and establish a permanent Joint Oireachtas Committee for Gaeltacht Affairs and the Irish language.
- We will protect and restore the entire Moore Street terrace 10-25 as the site of the last act of the 1916 Easter Rising.
- Challenge the British Government to live up to their responsibilities to the peace process on legacy issues and dealing with the past.
Equality & human rights
- We will end Direct Provision and replace it with a not-for-profit model with integration and human rights best practice at its core.
- We will significantly increase funding to domestic violence support organisations and refuges.
- We will recognise the ethnicity status of the Travelling community, including their right to traveller specific accommodation.
- We will develop a working group tasked with examining what has worked best in terms of supporting survivors of wrongs or injuries for which the State is accountable.
Ireland’s international role
- We will formally recognise the State of Palestine.
- We will hold a referendum on inserting neutrality into Bunreacht na hÉireann.
- We will increase funding for ODA and bring forward a targeted plan to ensure that Ireland reaches its commitments on Overseas Development Aid (ODA).
- We will confront corruption and cronyism and overhaul appointments to State boards.
- Where tribunals make findings against individuals and produce comprehensive reports, we will ensure the State acts on those findings within the Statute of Limitations available for criminal prosecutions.
- We will conduct an independent audit of the State’s oversight agencies to combat white- collar crime.
Accountability in politics
- We will introduce a partial list system, electing one third of the Dáil from party lists and the remainder from seven-seat constituencies so that election results more accurately reflect actual voter preference.
- We will hold a referendum to reduce the voting age and extend voting rights to citizens in the North and to the Diaspora.
- We will ensure that the Seanad becomes a fully inclusive, representative and accountable institution.
For a Fair Recovery
Investing in job creation
- We will help to create 250,000 additional jobs over the next five years, through both State and private job creation.
- We will open up public procurement to small businesses.
- We will abolish upward-only rents.
Bringing fairness to the tax system
- We will abolish the Local Property Tax, saving 1.8 million homeowners an average of €244 per year.
- We will scrap Water Charges, saving a family of two adults €260 per year.
- We will make the tax system progressive by removing workers earning under €19,572 from the USC net, benefiting 277,000 employees.
- We will ease the tax burden on the self- employed, moving towards the equalisation of the Self-Employed Tax Credit with the PAYE Tax Credit.
- We will have a planned approach to economic development across the island of Ireland, including one tax system and one currency.
- We will create a Border Economic Development Zone to harmonise trade and maximise returns for border businesses.
- We are committed to the A5 funding package as set out in the Fresh Start Agreement and to ensuring the Narrow Water Bridge project is completed.
A better deal for workers
- We will increase the National Minimum Wage to €9.65 an hour and we will make the public sector a Living Wage employer.
- We will amend industrial relations legislation to provide for mandatory trade union recognition and collective bargaining rights.
- We will tackle the uncertainty created by insecure and low hour contracts by introducing legislation that provides for fair hours contracts.
- We will improve tax equality and increase the tax take, increasing the rates of Capital Acquisition Tax and Capital Gains Tax for passive investments that don’t help the real economy and examine the introduction of a Wealth Tax.
- We will ask the top 6% of earners to pay an additional 7 cent out of every euro earned on income over €100,000. This new band would be applied on an individual basis and not on the joint income of a couple.
The political system ¬– leading from the front
- We will reduce TDs’ salaries to €75,000 and Senators’ salaries to €60,000.
- We will reduce the salary top-ups of An Taoiseach and Ministers by 50%.
- We will reduce excessive pension payments to former Taoisigh, Ministers and top civil servants.
- We will cap the pay of special advisors to the Taoiseach and Ministers at €75,000.
A proper banking system
- We will not be rushed into the sale of any State asset. The decision to sell any stake in Permanent TSB, Bank of Ireland or AIB must be based on the best interests of the Irish people in the long term.
- We will immediately carry out a review of Credit Union regulations and look at lending restrictions, savings caps and restrictions on the types of investments and services Credit Unions can offer, including what more the sector can do to help develop small businesses.
Getting a better deal in debt negotiations
- We will reopen negotiations at European Union level on the State’s legacy banking debt, including preventing the sale of the promissory note bonds currently held at the Central Bank.
- We will apply for retrospective recapitalisation of AIB and Bank of Ireland through the European Stability Mechanism.
Our plan for public services and quality of life
Healthcare that works
- We will increase spending on healthcare by €3.3 billion to move from a failing, two-tier health system towards universal healthcare.
- We will roll out free GP care at a rate of almost a quarter of a million more people each year and make prescription drugs free for everyone.
- We will end two-tier access to hospital care, reduce waiting times and deal with the trolley crisis.
- We will recruit 6,600 additional frontline health workers, including consultants, nurses, midwives, dentists and allied health professionals.
- We will increase the mental health care budget in year one by €35 million.
- We will award an automatic medical card to every child with a serious illness or disability and tackle the poverty trap by introducing a new secure medical card for adults with disabilities, based on medical need.
- We will abolish the €100 charge for the use of Emergency Departments and the €75 per day charge for inpatient care.
- We will invest in our ambulance services.
- We will support older people by increasing home help hours, respite hours and by providing additional nursing home beds.
- We will hold a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
- We will increase funding to the Public Dental Service.
Building more houses
- We will launch plans for 2030 – Project 100,000 to bring State ownership of housing stock to a minimum of 200,000. This will ensure a build of at least 70,000 social units and at least 30,000 cost purchase and cost rental housing units by 2030.
- We will commit €5 billion (A cumulative €2.2 billion more than the government’s commitment) in capital spending in 2016-2021 and strengthen Part V to ensure the delivery of 36,500 social and affordable houses.
- We will review all property-related tax reliefs that encourage speculation for profit.
- We will re-examine urgently the practice of capping rent subsidies – simultaneous to the introduction of rent regulations, to ensure rents demanded by landlords do not escalate to meet any increase in the rent cap.
- We will create rent certainty by linking rent increases to inflation.
- We will make an additional €30 million available to local authorities and homelessness agencies in year one of government to house the homeless in emergency accommodation.
- We will empower the Central Bank to set caps on mortgage interest rates chargeable by banks.
Ensuring community safety and justice
- We will recruit 3,000 gardaí over our government term to restore An Garda Síochána force levels to 14,250.
- We will reverse the closures of garda stations.
- We will empower the Policing Authority to oversee the implementation of recommendations from Garda Inspectorate reports.
- We will introduce a Sentencing Council that issues sentencing guidelines to the judiciary to ensure accountability and consistency in sentencing.
- We will integrate restorative justice processes into the existing criminal justice system.
Equality in education
- We will reduce class sizes and gradually reduce the ratio of pupils to teachers from 27:1 to 20:1, beginning with one point in year one and a further point in year two.
- We will increase the capitation rates for primary and secondary schools by 10% over the term of the government and for Youthreach, VTOS and PLCs by 5%.
- We will defend small schools by reversing changes to the staffing schedule for schools with less than 85 pupils.
- We will reverse the cuts to guidance counselling and ensure at least one guidance counsellor per 500 pupils ex-quota.
- We will end the laws that allow for religious discrimination against children in school admissions and we will support increased diversification of patronage.
- We will abolish student fees over a term of government by incrementally reducing the student contribution.
- We will place on a statutory footing school guidelines on anti-bullying and addressing diversity as well as guidelines on mental health and suicide awareness policies.
Prioritising children and childcare
- We will extend maternity benefit by 6 weeks in year one, bringing it to 52 weeks over the lifetime of government, and increase the rate of maternity benefit to €260 per week.
- We will cap maximum fees for childcare costs at €180 per week in year one and move to €150 per week (€3.75 per hour) over the term of government.
- We will work towards a 60% degree-led ECCE workforce by 2025 as recommended by the EU, i.e. that 60% of all supervisors, managers, etc, hold degrees.
- We will provide an additional 1,000 SNAs.
- We will increase capitation grants for the Free Pre-School Year by €5 per week to €67.50, and by €9.50 for the higher capitation rate to €82.50.
Protecting our environment
- We will introduce a full legislative ban on fracking.
- We will bring the Sinn Féin Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014 to committee and remaining stages and introduce proper regulation of wind turbines.
- We will bring in staged tax measures on offshore oil and gas fields, as outlined in the report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
- We will engage with climate change experts to set specific targets and create a roadmap to reduce CO2 emissions.
Building flood defences
- We will regulate planning to prevent areas at risk of flooding being built on or developed and we will invest in flood defences.
- We will ensure that affordable, capped insurance cover is provided to domestic households and SME properties against high flood risk.
- We will establish a single Shannon River Authority to ensure that there is proper coordination and a robust response from the various agencies responsible when flooding occurs and also that necessary steps are taken to minimise the risk of flooding in the future.
Tackling barriers for people with disabilities
- We will give An Taoiseach specific responsibility for Disability Inclusion and for driving the cross- departmental National Disability Strategy Implementation Plans.
- We will extend an automatic full medical card to every child qualifying for the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) and introduce a secure medical card for people with disabilities, immune from changes to household finances or employment status.
- We will tackle further barriers to employment for people with disabilities.
- We will deliver further on the EPSEN Act 2004, prioritising entitlement to an Individual Education Plan with associated resources for every child with a disability.
- We will make funding such as the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with Disabilities payable to voluntary housing agencies and private landlords who are willing to adapt to the requirements of a long-term tenant.
- We will fully integrate supported housing for people with intellectual disabilities and for people who experience mental illness in the community, and increase support for sheltered accommodation schemes.
- We will introduce a scheme to refund VRT/VAT for taxi drivers who purchase a wheelchair- accessible vehicle with a clawback provision should they cease to operate within a certain timeframe.
- We will roll out a major infrastructure programme to make all public transport services fully wheelchair accessible.
A new deal for rural Ireland
Addressing the imbalance
- We will introduce a Rural Equality Bill to provide for carrying out rural impact assessments where measures affect rural areas.
- We will develop a new enterprise spatial strategy to orientate infrastructural development and IDA and Enterprise Ireland development in a balanced regional manner.
- We are committed to keeping open post offices, libraries, garda stations and other services that connect people with their local towns.
- We will make up the shortfall in cuts to the Leader funding at EU level.
- We will strive to ensure all householders and businesses have access to a minimum broadband speed of 100 Mbps.
- We will introduce a pilot scheme for rural resettlement. This will provide a relocation package of up €5,000, including return flights for qualifying emigrant families to return to rural Ireland.
- We will increase funding for the rural transport programme and provide a funding package for improving the condition of rural roads.
- We will restore funding to local authorities for the LIS community involvement scheme for non-council roads.
- We will ensure the retention of domestic turbary rights for families in the West of Ireland who cut turf to heat the family home, as has been part of Irish tradition and heritage for centuries.
A good deal for fishing and coastal communities
- We will repeal the current penalty point system that criminalises fishermen and devalues their business.
- We will fight for an adequate quotas and ensure their fairer distribution amongst Irish fishermen.
- We will oppose further cuts to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which exists to give financial assistance to coastal communities and the fishing industry.
- We will pursue at a European level restrictions on factory vessels and super-trawlers in Irish waters.
- We will negotiate a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and related legislation to simplify regulations and put an added emphasis on development in coastal communities.
Fairness for farmers
- We will implement the Charter of Rights for Farmers so that direct payments and farm schemes can be delivered to farmers efficiently and speedily.
- We will establish a €12 million compensation fund for Hen Harrier designated conservation lands.
- We will maintain the concept of income averaging for taxation purposes to compensate farmers for extreme income volatility.
- We will work for the simplification of the Beef Data Genomics Programme to encourage wider uptake.
- We will publish clear guidelines for farmers applying for Areas of Natural Constraint payments to avoid the lengthy waiting period thousands of farmers endured in 2015.
- We will continue to oppose the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
- We will establish an all-island agri-food label for Irish produce.
- We will reintroduce the Groceries Order with immediate effect to combat below-cost selling of products to ensure fair prices for producers.
- We will restore €5 million of Farm Assist and create an additional 500 places on the Rural Social Scheme, expanding the current number of scheme places by 20%.
Sinn Féin’s Health Policy
Sinn Féin have launched their comprensive health policy document detailing their strategy to tackle the acute health crisis. We would proritise:
- Automatic medical cards for children with disabilities
- Free GP care for all, starting with lower income households
- The abolition of prescription charges
- Extension of free prescription drugs to all
- The removal of hospital charges
- The rollout of universal dental care
- The expansion of ambulance services
Sinn Féin in government would also prioritise ending two-tier access to public hospital care. We are also proposing the creation of integrated hospital waiting list management system to cut waiting times.
Sinn Féin’s Housing Policy
Sinn Féin’s housing policy outlines a fully costed 15 year plan for transforming the dysfunctional housing system created by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour into a modern housing system with provides all people with good quality, secure and affordable accommodation irrespective of their income. The 37 page policy document, Better4Housing, outlines our commitments on social housing, the private rental sector and the private for purchase market.
- A 15 year plan to fund and build 100,000 social and affordable Council houses across the state. This would also reduce the pressure on the private rental and first time buyer markets resulting in reduced rents and house prices.
- Tighter regulation of the private rental sector including the linking of rents to the Consumer Price Index and limiting the grounds on which landlords can issue Notices to Quit.
- A commitment to increase central government funding to address the homeless crisis by €30m
Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget Proposals for 2016