The Main Points

 

The main points of the new programme for government summarised

TAXATION

–Abolition of the PRSI ceiling for employees

–Introduction of water charges

–“Simplification and rationalisation” of levies into the income tax system from 2010

–Introduction of a single 30 per cent rate for tax relief on private pensions

–Carbon tax in the 2010 budget

–Elimination of “unnecessary” tax reliefs

–Reform of residency rules so that “those who benefit from living in Ireland are subject to taxation in Ireland”

–Introduction of a site valuation tax for non-agricultural land, to provide “a fair and stable basis for offsetting stamp duty”

Enhancing Democracy and the Public Services

–“Further” reform of expenses for TDs and Senators to make them “transparent, vouched and open to scrutiny”. Expenses would be regularly published

–An independent electoral commission with enhanced powers of inspection

–This commission to report within 12 months on the feasibility of allowing Irish abroad to vote in presidential elections, and extension of franchise for local elections to 16-year-olds and up.

–Mechanisms to “facilitate a system where donations from private bodies, including businesses and corporations, can be made to a political fund which will be distributed to political parties in accordance with their electoral performance in the previous Dáil election”.

–Consideration of “mid-term” and staggered elections

–A ban on political donations from outside Ireland

–Introduction of a register of lobbyists

–A more transparent system for appointments to public bodies

–Review of fees for freedom of information applications

–Further action on basic pay rates for TDs, Senators, Ministers and office-holders

–Review of public servants’ expenses to save money

A cooling-off period for all retiring or resigning public servants to prevent conflicts of interest

Enterprise and Jobs

–1,000 graduates to be employed in Government departments

–Banks participating in Nama will be obliged to offer a deposit account to consumers, to be ring-fenced, for lending to Green projects

–Independent review of the effectiveness of State agency support for enterprise

–Appointment of a chief information officer to develop information and communications technology

–Delivery of high-speed broadband [100MB] for all second-level schools

–Broadband for every house, subject to EU funding

–Implementation of new postcode system

Green Economy

–Development of a plan for an offshore electricity grid to enable Ireland to export electricity in future

Agriculture, Food and Forestry

–Declaration of the Republic as a GM-free zone

–Meet the target of 17 per cent forestry cover by 2030 and tax incentives to increase new planting to 10,000 hectares a year

Tourism

–Introduction of an All-Ireland Walkways Development Plan

–Tourism Ireland to open a new hub in Dubai

Banking and Debt

–Nama legislation to be amended to ensure the levy payable if it makes a loss is on a statutory basis

–New measures to protect families having difficulties with mortgage repayments andprovide “more flexible mechanisms” to avoid foreclosure

–A Debt Enforcement Office to remove many debt proceedings from the courts

“A More Caring and Just Society”

–Reduction of processing time for jobseekers’ claims

–More flexibility with the back-to-work allowance

Health

–Expansion of colorectal screening and cervical vaccination programmes “at the earliest opportunity, in accordance with clinical priorities”

–Improvement in income eligibility limits for medical cards for children with intellectual disabilities

– A “bio-monitoring” programme to measure fluoride levels in the general population

–Increased research and development in the health sector

Equality, Disability and Children

–Introduction of the Civil Partnership Bill to the Oireachtas before the end of this year

–Introduction of legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals

–The holding of a referendum to broaden the reference in the Constitution to the role of women in the home “to one which recognises the role of the parent in the home”

–Prioritisation of the interests of people with disabilities

Justice and Crime

–“We will ensure that every effort is made to pursue perpetrators of white-collar crime”

–Development of a White Paper on crime

–The holding of a constitutional referendum to establish a Court of Civil Appeal

Environment

–Introduction of a Climate Change Bill

–Phasing out of fur farming over three years

–Ending of stag hunting

–A new licensing and planning scheme for quarries

–Introduction of a scheme for the licensing and inspection of septic tanks and wastewater treatment systems

–Development of a strategy to reduce food waste

–Increase target for recycling packaging waste to 75 per cent by 2013

–Replacement of culling of badgers with more effective and humane methods of control

Infrastructure

–Ratio of spending on Transport 21 projects to be 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads programmes

–Delivery of a faster and more transparent system for granting bus licences

–Fast-tracking and prioritising of Dart interconnector and Metro North projects for completion in 2016

–Review of 94 outstanding roads projects

–“This Government will not advance the Eastern Bypass”

–Allocation of proportion of road improvements budget to provision of new footpaths

–New trains to have “extensive” bicycle capacity

–Bray to Balbriggan and Oranmore to Barna cycle and pedestrian routes to be developed

–Development of a long-term strategy of land acquisition

–Mandatory display of Building Energy Ratings (BERs) in sale or letting advertisements

–Amend Data Protection Act to allow the publication of the property sale prices

“A Learning Nation”

–“This Government will not proceed with any new scheme of student contribution for third-level education”

–Funding for 28 additional school psychologists

–“No further increase in the pupil-teacher ratio in primary and second-level schools for the lifetime of this Government”

–500 new teaching posts over the next three years

–Standard capitation grants to be maintained, with an extra allocation for grant assistance for books

–Examination of potential for greater co-operation and/or amalgamations between institutions

“A Vibrant Ireland”

–Assessment of the GPO with a view to locating the Abbey Theatre there in time for the centenary of the 1916 Rising

–Maintenance of Irish Film Board supports

Ireland’s International Role

–Setting clear targets showing how Ireland will meet its commitments on overseas development aid

–Building of a new Irish Arts and Business Centre in New York

–Review and change, if necessary, of legislation on use of civilian aircraft for rendition