Govenment says it is focused on first 100 days in office
Initial focus on housing, health, broadband, budget reform and childcare, says Kenny
The Cabinet at its first full meeting on Wednesday.
The Government has outlined a range of measures designed to tackle the housing crisis which it says will be initiated in its first 100 days in office.
The final programme for government agreed between Fine Gael and some Independents was published on Wednesday, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the new minority Government would focus on housing, health, rural broadband, budgetary reform and childcare in its first 100 days in office.
The Cabinet, which held its first full meeting on Wednesday, approved the formation of two subcommittees – one on health and one on housing.
Mr Kenny’s spokesman also said on Wednesday that the economic management council (EMC) – the four member subcommittee that was in place during the Fine Gael-Labour coalition – had effectively ceased to exist.
All Cabinet subcommittees are dissolved when the government they serve no longer holds office, and the EMC was one such committee.
The programme for government published by Mr Kenny is called A Programme for a Partnership Government.
Extensive The Taoiseach said the document was “extensive” but had a simple objective at its core, which is “to make people’s lives better in every part of Ireland”.
Programme for Partnership Government
The document went through numerous drafts last week as Fine Gael concluded its negotiations with the Independent deputies who joined the Government.
Mr Kenny outlined the five priorities for the Government’s first 100 days in office. The first is reaching agreement with the Oireachtas on reforming the budgetary process, as well as publishing a spring statement and a new round of national economic dialogue, the process initiated last year which sought opinions on how to shape a budget.
An action plan for housing is also to be published in the first 100 days and a taskforce on mobile and broadband coverage in rural areas will also be established.
The other initiatives to be undertaken in this period are the reactivation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund to reduce waiting lists, as well as preparing a winter emergency- department plan, and engagement with education organisations on after-school childcare arrangements.
The full programme for government published yesterday is largely the same as drafts circulated to Independents last week, and it also outlines a number of commitments to be completed within the first 100 days, many of which are in the housing area.
One such action is an assessment of the function of the Housing Agency, which was established to support councils, housing bodies and government departments with their housing functions.
There is also a commitment to “engage with European authorities on the budgetary treatment of new housing development”.
Tax-relief proposals The new Oireachtas committee on housing will also be asked to examine other tax-relief proposals “designed to encourage a greater supply of private rented accommodation for tenancies supported by housing assistance, longer-term leases and support more medium-term emergency accommodation for homeless families”.
A new model of affordable renting for low-income families will be included in the action plan for housing. Minister for Housing Simon Coveney will “set out a plan on how we will scale up the number of cost rental housing units in the years ahead”.
“Cost rental will help to keep rental costs manageable for tenants and allow them to avoid future rental increase shocks.”
In a statement, Mr Kenny said: “This Government is ambitious and optimistic. Politics is always about what is possible. That sense of possibility is the touchstone of this partnership Government for a fairer Ireland.
“The Government will work with all members of the Oireachtas and with wider society to deliver real and positive change for the people of Ireland.
“The Irish people have worked hard for the progress the country has made and together we can build a better future for all our people in a fair society underpinned by a strong economy.”