Programme for government: Referendum to be held on extending presidential vote

International policy: Defence Forces commission to be set up to review pay and retention issues

The proposed new government will establish an independent Commission on the Defence Forces looking at arrangements for the effective defence of the country at land and sea.

The commission will consider a number of areas including allowances and composition of the force as well as recruitment and retention. It will also look at the role of the Reserve Defence Forces. It will be established by the end of the year and report within 12 months.

A pledge is also made to develop a new Institute for Peace Support and Leadership Training in the Curragh.

The new government commits to holding a referendum on extending the franchise at presidential elections to Irish citizens living outside the State.


It will also publish a new diaspora policy in 2020. The document also aims to develop a new strategy to increase the presence of Irish people in the senior ranks of the EU institutions, “targeting an increase in the number of young Irish people applying for internships and working with Irish officials and universities on outreach”.

The final document does not reference the Occupied Territories Bill. It makes a specific pledge to honour a commitment to recognise the State of Palestine as part of a lasting settlement of the conflict “or in advance of that, when we believe doing so will progress efforts to reach a two-state solution or protect Palestinian territories”.

A new government would continue to oppose any annexation or plans to apply Israeli sovereignty over territory in the West Bank that is part of the occupied territories. It re-asserts a commitment to a two-state solution.

Ireland will reach its 50th anniversary during the lifetime of the proposed government. On EU issues, the document expresses “clear support for free trade while insisting on high environmental and labour standards and fair trading practices”.

Targets include ensuring Ireland’s interests and values “are reflected in any proposals for EU strategic autonomy in response to Covid-19, such as incentives to produce certain goods within Europe”.

Government policy will remain pro-enlargement and support the western Balkan countries in particular to progress along the accession path.

The government will develop the “Ireland House” model, bringing all State agencies and government departments based abroad together under one roof to encourage joined-up thinking, it continues.

It aims to reach UN overseas aid donation target of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income by 2030.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times