Fine Gael and Labour differ on almost half of election issues - survey

Clearest divisions emerge on social, ethical issues such as school admissions, abortion

While Fine Gael and Labour have made it clear they hope to go back into government together there are significant differences between them on 10 of the 22 issues.

While Fine Gael and Labour have made it clear they hope to go back into government together there are significant differences between them on 10 of the 22 issues.

 

Clear differences exist between Fine Gael and Labour on a range of election issues such as taxation, abortion, education and zero-hour contracts, a survey of political parties shows.

The survey – 22 questions on a range of policy areas – was distributed to all of the parties and election candidates. Their answers are available on the website whichcandidate.ie, and voters can take the same survey to see which party they are most aligned with. The website is run by the department of politics at the University of Limerick in conjunction with The Irish Times and with funding from the Irish Research Council.

If the issues of water charges and local property tax are excluded, the survey finds Fine Gael is closest to Fianna Fáil, while Labour is closest to Sinn Féin.

Statements

While Fine Gael and Labour have made it clear they hope to go back into government together there are significant differences between them on 10 of the 22 issues.

The clearest divisions emerge in relation to social and ethical issues such as school admissions and abortion. Fine Gael, for example, believes schools should be allowed to give preference to children based on religion (once there are suitable alternatives in the area), while Labour believes religion should have no place in admissions.

Status quo

The two parties also diverge significantly on economic policy. Labour says high earners should pay more tax while Fine Gael says they should pay less (citing the abolition of the USC as the means to achieving this). Labour wants to legislate on zero-hour and “if and when” employment contracts, while Fine Gael is reluctant to intervene on this issue, saying employers require flexibility.

Both parties agree on areas such as rent control, water charges and property tax. Rory Costello is a lecturer at the department of politics and public administration in the University of Limerick

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