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A Better Ireland: The Green Party’s plans to create a fair and sustainable society

A Better Ireland: The Green Party’s plans to create a fair and sustainable society

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Published by: greenparty_ie on Feb 17, 2011
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03/16/2011

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A BETTER IRELAND
The Green Party’s plans to create afair and sustainable society.
vote.greenparty.ie
RENEWINGIRELANDON FEB 25TH VOTE GREEN
 
1
A Better Ireland – Creating a fair and sustainable society
 
Introduction
 
For a time, a myth abounded that the Celtic Tiger years were good for all our citizens,bringing prosperity to all sections of society, improving the lives of all our citizens. Weknow that this was not true. In fact, during the boom years we became a moreunequal nation, with the gap between rich and poor widening.The last few years have been difficult for all of Irish society. Adjusting to our changing economic situation has challenged everyone in Irish society, particularly for those who have lost their jobs and experienced the most dramatic changes to their incomes and lifestyles.The Green Party will work to ensure that our economic recovery and future prosperityare built on solid and sustainable foundations. We will prioritise fairness andsustainability at all times.We have a vision of an Irish society where all our children are cherished andprotected regardless of their background or circumstances, where our older population is truly valued for its contribution to society and can retire in comfort andsecurity, and where discrimination and exclusion are not tolerated. This is what wemean by creating a fair, safe and sustainable society, and we believe we have thevision and the experience to deliver it.
1
.
Reform of the Social Welfare System2. Protecting Fairness
 
3. Better Communities
 
2
1.
 
Reform of the Social Welfare System
Protecting Incomes
 
Over the last number of years, most Irish people have seen a loss in living standards.Falling wages and higher taxes have a put a strain on family finances. But it is thosewho have lost their jobs and those already dependent on the welfare system whohave fared the worst. Unemployment has risen to over 288,000
1
persons and theunemployment rate now stands at 13.4%
2
.
 
Due to plunging tax revenue since 2008, it was necessary to make a number of cutsto basic welfare rates. This was regrettable but the Green Party has consistentlysought to keep these cuts to a minimum. Throughout the financial crisis, pensionershave maintained their benefit level as a result of their specific vulnerabilities, a policywhich the Green Party consistently supported.
 
The Green Party proposes that no more than
 €
800m be cut from the social protectionbudget over the next three years. Savings in this area should be achieved throughfurther anti-fraud measures and through the integration of the taxation and socialwelfare system, which will not only save money, but will lead to a more fair and moretargeted welfare system.
 
While it is clear that we must continue to find savings in the social welfare budget, wemust also be careful to protect the continued existence of much needed programmesand universal payments such as child benefit, ensuring that the system remainsrobust.
 
With rising unemployment and decreasing tax revenues, social protection policy over the past two years focused on retrenchment. It is now time to turn the focus fromwelfare cuts to reform, ensuring that our welfare system is more accessible, flexibleand empowers people to improve their skills and return to work.
The Green Party pledges:- No cuts to basic social welfare payments- No cuts to the state pension
1
Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) September 2010
2
CSO, January 2011

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