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Greens plan for ‘decade of change’ in election manifesto

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The Green Party has launched its General Election manifesto, proposing to “make Ireland a better, fairer place to live”.

The manifesto – entitled Towards 2030, A Decade Of Change – concentrates heavily on the climate, public transport and young people.

In it, the party states: “We need to rethink how we live, how we travel, how we work and how we consume.

“We, the Green Party, have a special role to play in this decade of change, because we have spent 40 years thinking about how we can protect the environment while simultaneously advancing social justice, nurturing our economy and building our communities.”

Among the key pledges outlined in the manifesto, the party vows to:

– Urgently build public houses on public land to alleviate the housing crisis.

– Invest in GP services to ease the pressure on hospital waiting lists.

– Get Ireland moving by doubling investment in public transport, while committing 10% of transport funds to cycling and 10% to walking.

– Reduce pupil-teacher ratios, invest in third-level institutions, and end pay inequality in education.

– End the issuing of oil and gas exploration and extraction licences and stand firmly against the importation of fracked gas from other territories.

– Future-proof Ireland’s energy system with a massive investment in offshore wind.

– Reward farmers for sequestering carbon, restoring nature and producing clean energy, through a reformed Common Agricultural Policy.

The party also vows to spend 50 billion euro on retrofitting homes over the next 20 years, which it says is necessary to wind down the use of fossil fuels.

A Universal Basic Income payment to all citizens without means-testing, lowering the voting age, and a referendum on housing are also laid out as policy objectives.

The party has enjoyed election successes over the last year and is tipped by pollsters to continue the trend of the “Green wave” currently sweeping across Europe.

The party has recently worked hard to counter the idea that its policies will be harmful to rural Ireland and farmers, and the issue was highlighted by leader Eamon Ryan again on on Saturday.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Senior Greens outline the party’s manifesto (Caroline Quinn/PA)</figcaption>
Senior Greens outline the party’s manifesto (Caroline Quinn/PA)

He said: “The fallacy that this is not going to be good for rural Ireland has to stop because I think people in rural Ireland want to be part of this, and have as much sense as anyone else that they have a role to play, and we have a role to play by listening and realising it has to come from the bottom up.”

He also criticised rival parties who were promising “handouts” in their manifestos, adding the Greens cannot guarantee tax cuts, and he said forming the next government is likely to be a long and complicated process.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both signalled they would look to the Green Party in the likely event that they do not win a majority.

Mr Ryan said: “I think the bigger picture is what is the strategic direction we want to take the country.

“It’s not the exact figures, it’s the policy.

“The disagreements with other parties on climate and domestic issues isn’t just on the figure but it’s the big policy issues that need to be addressed.”