FIANNA Fáil has promised to “smash gangland crime” and to increase garda numbers to 16,000 as they launched their election manifesto yesterday.
Among the main proposals, Fianna Fáil has promised a series of measures for childcare. Micheál Martin’s party will — if in power — lengthen maternity benefit to 30 weeks and bring in new childcare tax credits. It would also double child benefit payments for the first month after the birth of a child.
Fianna Fáil also promises to reduce classroom sizes to a class size of 20-to-one if in the next government. The party will also reduce income taxes and cut capital gains tax to 25%.
On housing, the party will introduce a first-time buyer’s SSIA-type scheme, capped at €10,000, and expand the current help-to-buy grant measures.
A tax credit of €600 would also go to renters.
It also promises to build 50,000 affordable homes for prices below €250,000 over the next five years Challenged on this, Mr Martin admitted the figures were ambitious.
“But we have a crisis,” Mr Martin added.
“That’s why are putting 2.1 billion euro into housing. We do need to build at that level. We have plans to increase the number of apprenticeships and those in the constructor sector,” he said.
A new “specific funding” stream of €168m to help fight homelessness would also be introduced.
On health, the party promises to double the national treatment purchase fund to €200m. It also promises to abolish prescription charges. Planning for the future, Fianna Fáil proposes setting up a new national infrastructure commission to decide major new projects for the country.
Launching the plans, Mr Martin said it was “time to stop the spin” and to tackle housing and health problems as well as increasing crime levels.
He said the plans would “make government work for all people.”