Sinn Féin will provide ‘most effective opposition in history of State’
Mary Lou McDonald says content of draft programme for government was ‘vague’
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks at Leinster House after Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens finalised the text of a draft programme for government four months on from the election. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sinn Féin will provide “the most effective opposition in the history of this State”, party leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.
Speaking after the emergence of the draft programme for government, she described the document as “very long, very wordy” and said the content was “vague”.
“In fact, it is an attempt to deny change. To protect the status-quo. To continue with the same broken politics that has so badly failed workers and families.”
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can delay change, but they cannot stop it.”
Ms McDonald said she believed she could see some Sinn Féin policies and language in the document but that she did not believe the new government would deliver on affordable housing or public health.
“The question is whether or not you can trust Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to deliver change that’s so evidently needed.”
Final Draft Programme For Government
“The impulse and the politics of change is still alive and well. It is not going anywhere, you know.”
“You arrive at moments of opportunity in public and political life and last February’s election opened a very dramatic possibility for the first time to have a government that reflected, and is in touch, with real life outside these gates.
“We are here and we are strong and ready for business. In the event that this government comes to be, be very sure you will see in action the most coherent and effective opposition in the history of this State.”
Labour party leader Alan Kelly welcomed “the significant movement of the two main parties on environmental issues, but expressed disappointment at a “lack of costings” and a “high level of rebranded and rehashed policies across a range of sectors”.
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said the document has “a lot of good aspirations” but there are “no indications of any timelines or indeed any indication of how it’s going to be funded . . .”.
“It’s all well and good to have lots of aspirations but unless there is a clear timeline and identified sources of funding then the reality is the measures are unlikely to be delivered.
“The issue of funding is kicked down the road with a promise of an economic plan further in the year. However, we need to know at this point what the intention in relation to government borrowing, the attitude to the deficit and drawing down EU funding programmes. Without detail on this it’s difficult to be confident that many of the measures outlined in the document can actually be delivered upon.”
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said a “strong left opposition” was needed both inside and outside the new Dáil. He said the commitment to build 50,000 social homes was “not nearly enough”.
Women for Election said the programme for government was “disappointingly vague” in its commitments to see more women elected to local government.
Chief executive of Women for Election Ciairín de Buis said the programme for government was “an opportunity to show the next government are serious about wanting to see more women running for election – we had called on the negotiating parties to commit to a 40 per cent quota for our next local and Seanad elections, a practical way to ensure parties run a balanced ticket.
“Instead we got vague aspirations. While the programme for government has the right sentiment and we very much welcome this, it falls short on practical commitments.”