We have made clear that we don't believe there is enough space for any tax cuts in this Budget. Instead, we have argued for the construction of 5,000 public homes, and the funding of Sláintecare (a new national strategy to build our public healthcare system) as the central points of our proposals.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are having a phoney war over tax cuts that will amount to between €2 and €4 per week for middle-income families. We have said that cutting school costs, reducing college fees by €1,000 next year, eliminating hospital inpatient charges, and increasing the public subsidy of childcare would save families a lot more
Five years ago, Fianna Fáil was struggling. They were attracting less support than they had received even in the 2011 election, and they were riven with internal divisions that resulted in Eamon Ó Cuív being sacked from the Fianna Fáil frontbench.
That a party which so spectacularly mismanaged our economy and oversaw the arrival of the troika has once more gain significant public support is encouraging for those of us in the Labour Party who worked to undo that damage, and who believe the the values of social democracy endure.
Joan Burton TD held a seminar in the Mansion House on the spring economic outlook. In this very well attended meeting we heard speakers from ESRI, IBEC and UCD. Joan also made the case for Ireland to have a special status in Brexit negotations.
Today we launched our plans for affordable and high quality childcare with Tanaiste Joan Burton, Deputy Ciara Conway and Cllr Mark Wall. Our plan whic h includes capping the cost of childcare for parents to €2 per hour by 2021 and an increase in paternity leave by three months.
As a father our candidate in Kildare South, Mark Wall knows the importance of good childcare provision "Today we are also proposing that parental leave is extended by 3 months, to be shared by both parents. We recognise that fathers should have the opportunity to bond with their new-born children – it’s why we introduced two weeks of paternity leave in the last Budget, which will happen in September."
Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party, Joan Burton together with Minister for Communications Alex White, John Lyons TD and Cllr Pamela Kearns launched our ‘Standing Up For Working Families’ campaign this afternoon.
The campaign is comprised of a series of meetings which will take place across the country over the next two weeks to highlight the ways Labour has and will continue to stand up for working families.
As the new Minister for Labour Activation, Kevin Humphreys is tasked with helping jobseekers get access to the best quality training, education and activation schemes including Community Employment and JobBridge, so they can get the position they want.
He has embarked on a natiowide tour, to start a national conversation about activation schemes. Over the next couple of months, he will travel the country, talking to employment and community groups, and see first-hand the excellent work that’s being done in such centres. He’ll hear the views of frontline staff and jobseekers on how the different schemes are working, and where they can be improved for the benefit of jobseekers.
Minister Joan Burton has announced the first phase of a new childcare scheme project which was announced in the Budget.
The scheme will be rolled out from the end of April in 7 areas across the country, Finglas, Dundalk, Tralee, King’s Inn Street (Dublin city centre), Cork City, Mullingar and Limerick City. Up to 500 childcare places will be made available to people who have been long-term unemployed, or were former recipients of the One Parent Family Payment and who have got a job offer or who have significantly increased their part-time hours.
Today is one of those days when I'm delighted to be part of a government with Labour at its heart. Our Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton has published the Bill which will see a €1 hourly increase in the minimum wage after the 1st July.
This measure means a lot to the thousands of people who are struggling to make ends meet; to pay rent and mortgages and to put food on the table for their families.
Opposing the guillotine on the Social Welfare Bill 2010, the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD drew the house's attention to the contrasting ways in which different sections of society are treated by the Government.
He said: "Yesterday, the Government announced another €250million for the EBS and the chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank told an Oireachtas committee that the lion's share of the €22billion put into his bank will never be seen again.
"Its seems there is no end to the billions the Government will commit when it comes to the banks and the better off in our society but it will literally not give the poorest the time of day because it is guillotining the debate on issues of concern to them."
The Bill we are publishing today will bring our law and practice into line with the reality of life for many thousands of families in Ireland.
The emphasis in our Bill is not on competing or conflicting rights of parents, but rather on the rights of the child to the care and responsibility of both parents - married or not.
Largely because of the peculiarly strong Family provisions in Article 41 of the Constitution, we have failed to recognise that very many people nowadays live in stable and loving relationships and families which are not families in the traditional sense.