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Green Party 2011 General Election Manifesto Unabridged Version

Green Party 2011 General Election Manifesto Unabridged Version

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Published by: greenparty_ie on Feb 15, 2011
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11/15/2011

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Playing to our Strengths – rebuilding a vibrant and sustainable Irisheconomy
Introduction
Our economic recovery must be green. Anything else will be unsustainable and will not last.Our new economy must acknowledge that we will reach a peak in oil production in the near future. Our new economic system must reject the greed of a few in favour of prosperity for all.Our new economic system must be built on solid and sustainable foundations. Our neweconomy will be green.In the past three years, despite extremely difficult economic conditions, the Green Economyhas flourished, bringing tens of thousands of new jobs with it. And the good news is that this is just the beginning, we are only getting started. The Green Party projects that over the nextdecade the Green Economy will expand to create over 80,000 jobs. We will continue to investin the programmes and technologies that allow for these jobs to be brought on stream.We know that our public finances were dangerously reliant on a limited number of unsustainable revenue streams. Our over-reliance on property as a means of funding our public services was short sighted and irresponsible. As part of the next government, theGreen will work to ensure that these failures can never happen again. We will create quality jobs in sectors that are here for the long term, we will introduce a range of taxes that are bothequitable and sustainable and we will ensure that our public finances are managed in aresponsible manner with appropriate checks and balances and independent review.
Smart Green Jobs
In Government, the Green Party has facilitated the creation of over 
20,000 Green Sector 
jobsthrough a range of green businesses such as organic farming, energy efficient construction,electric cars, biofuels, manufacturing, servicing and in the energy sectors, and particularly inthe area of green electricity.Building the new economy needs to focus on two distinct tasks:
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Stimulating domestic demand in the sectors based on our indigenous resources, and
2.
Growing international exports in the sectors based on our human resourcesTapping into the wealth of Ireland’s natural resources is our best opportunity to generatelarge-scale domestic employment and to kick-start the domestic economy once again. Our natural resources are at core of three key sectors, which will be the champions of our newdomestic economy – Green Energy, Sustainable Food and Green Tourism.As an open, trading economy Ireland has long relied on growing exports to grow its economy.We currently export €150 billion of goods each year and exports are one of the few areas of the economy that are successfully weathering the recession. By focussing on select industrieswhere we have a competitive advantage, we can build on this base and grow our tradingcapability in high-value, low-carbon products and services. That competitive advantagepresents itself most compellingly in three sectors – Traded Creative Services, High-TechManufacturing and Financial Services.
Green Energy
In Government, the Green Party facilitated the creation of over 
20,000 Green Secto
 
 jobs
through a range of green initiatives. One of the most successful schemes initiated by EamonRyan as Minister for Energy was Ireland’s first National Retrofit Programme. €100 million isinvested annually in retrofitting some 50,000 houses a year and 5,000 construction jobs havebeen created in the process.
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The Green Party wants to go further. By drawing an additional €500 million from the NationalPension Reserve Fund, we intend to scale up the National Retrofit Programme so that wedouble that figure to 100,000 premises retrofitted every year. This will mean that 1 million of the 1.8 million homes in Ireland will be insulated by 2020, making it the most innovative,ambitious, energy-related initiative ever introduced in Ireland. 25,000 new jobs will be createdunder the Programme.During our time in Government, we oversaw the generation of 15% of our electricity fromrenewable sources in 2010 and put Ireland on track to meet our 40% target by 2020. Thedevelopment of renewable energy resources that can be sold to both the national andinternational marketplace is crucial to generating local employment.Ocean and tidal energy is already proving itself to be a rich source of FDI, wealth and jobcreation. SEAI have calculated that a potential €120 billion and 70,000 jobs can be generatedbetween now and 2050 with the right ambition and policy framework.We have some of the best wind resources in the world and thanks to the Greens inGovernment we have already begun tapping into them. It is estimated that by 2030 more than375,000 people will be employed in the European wind energy sector. We will also work toachieve the 2020 targets for bioenergy production set out in the Bioenergy Roadmap. This willcreate 8,000 new jobs, particularly in rural and farming communities, while at the same timeavoiding in excess of 11 million tonnes of CO2 each year.All of this natural power requires a state-of-the-art transmission, distribution and storagenetwork. Whilst Minister, Eamon Ryan secured a €30 billion investment by 2025 in the energynetworks, smart grid, smart meters, renewable energy and energy efficiency by our Stateenergy utilities.Underpinning the national infrastructure plan is Ireland’s participation in the North SeasOffshore Grid Plan. We will turn this Plan into a reality and ensure that Ireland emerges as anet exporter of renewable power to the planned European Supergrid.The Green Party will:
Using €500 million from the National Pension Reserve Fund, scale up the NationalRetrofit Programme so that 100,000 premises will be retrofitted every year. This willmean that 1 million homes will be insulated by 2020 and 25,000 new jobs will becreated under the Programme.
Develop and deliver a roadmap which allows for the development of ocean and tidalenergy, with a potential yield of €120 billion to the local economy and those 70,000 jobs.
Ensure that Ireland participates in the North Seas Offshore Grid Plan.
Green Tourism
Tourism in Ireland is a €5 billion industry and helps support 119,000 jobs. While the sector hasundergone contraction over the past few years, the Green Party believes tourism remains oneof our most important sources of local employment and wealth creation. We are committed tomaking it strong once more. Our unrivalled reputation as the ‘Green Isle of the thousandwelcomes’ puts it in prime position to establish Ireland as a world-leading Green holidaydestination. This much neglected sector has the potential to reinvigorate local economies andstimulate job growth.The Green Party will:
Introduce a Green Star rating system for Eco Tourism in Ireland.
Establish an Eco Tourism unit within Fáilte Ireland to coordinate, certify and promotethe Green Star initiative.
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Launch a ‘Proud Cities’ Programme, involving projects such as major new parks,traffic-free areas and eco-communities to demonstrate the benefits of sustainableliving.
Develop the potential for “Food Tourism”, starting with “food trails” and the provisionof food in public houses, particularly in rural areas.
Promote the development of cycling as a growth area for tourism.
Introduce an All-Ireland Walkways Development Plan, mapping out infrastructuralneeds and routes and maximising their use. We will pursue the possibility of usingformer railway infrastructure as recreational trails for walking and cycling etc. inpartnership with Iarnród Éireann.
Position the suite of 
Discover Ireland 
websites as exemplars for an information,content and reservation tourism system, with ease of booking and comprehensivelinkages to industry platforms.
Promote the creation of marinas and youth and child friendly water sports toencourage activity and awareness of our maritime country.
Sustainable Food
Irish farming already boasts an €8 billion export market based on the richness of our land andthe talent of our people. This sector employs around 110,000 both directly and indirectly.Farming remains the lifeblood of our rural economy.We can expand this sector by harnessing and growing our international reputation as ‘theGreen Isle’. By positioning ourselves at the premium quality end of the market, we can in factcreate more jobs and more value through lower intensity farming methods.As part of the next government the Green Party will ensure that organic agriculture accountsfor 5% of our land. We will declare Ireland a GM-Free Zone and introduce a voluntary GM-Free logo for use in all relevant product labelling and advertising, thereby optimising Ireland’scompetitive advantage as a GM-Free country.We will introduce new public procurement guidelines that give greater weight to local produceand we will promote a network of farmers' markets at Local Authority level to encourage moredirect selling from producers to consumers. These two initiatives will boost both local demandand local employment.The Green Party will:
Ensure the achievement of the target of 5% of land in organic agriculture and meetthe growing demand for domestically produced organic produce by providingadequate resources and supports for the achievement of the target, with a focus onimport substitution in areas where Ireland is under-producing at present e.g.horticulture. Beginning in 2010, and rising in subsequent years, we will step upsupports for the Organic Farming Scheme for conversion to organic production,Capital Grants for the Organic Sector and Non-Capital costs.
Declare the Republic of Ireland a GM-Free Zone, free from the cultivation of all GMplants.
Optimise Ireland’s competitive advantage as a GM-Free country, we will introduce avoluntary GM-Free logo for use in all relevant product labelling and advertising,similar to a scheme recently introduced in Germany.
Conduct a review of our National Food Security Policy to develop resilience in foodproduction capacity to future proof against substantial rises in price and diminishingavailability of oil and to meet the challenge of Climate Change.
Increase horticulture production to meet the requirements for Irish- produced fruit andvegetables, in line with recommendations in the Obesity Report.
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