Sinn Féin Launches manifesto

The Sinn Féin Website carries a speech by Mitchel McLoughlin, Real and lasting peace is the most important issue facing the Irish people today, given at the launch of Westminster election manifesto, available to download in pdf form here.

Ananova quotes Gerry Adams on the manifesto, Sinn Fein launches manifesto,

“We’re interested in persuading people on the basis of this.

“It argues for initiatives, for example, like Westminster MPs should have the right to go to the Dail (the Irish Republic’s Parliament) and take part in debates there and the Oireachtas committee on constitutional reform has already agreed to that.

“Why hasn’t the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern) brought that in? Wouldn’t it be good to see Ian Paisley in Leinster House arguing issues which effect the Common Agricultural Policy, arguing issues which effect small farmers in his constituency?

“So this isn’t about dominating as far as we are concerned. This is about going out and engaging with people on the doorsteps and asking for their support.

“We’re an all-Ireland party and what does that mean? It means we’re against Balknanisation. I heard an expert on radio actually rubbishing that more outlandish claim from Seamus Mallon.

“What’s our party about? It’s about harmony and neighbourliness on the basis of equality. We have a particular vision. We want to see a national republic on the island of Ireland.

“If others have a better idea, if Ian Paisley or David Trimble think the Union is better, then let them argue. We’ll debate them with nothing more than those arguments and whatever mandate we get in this election.”

Noel McAdam writes in the Belfast Telegraph, Sinn Fein manifesto calls for truth over collusion,

the manifesto sought to touch all the right buttons of its support base. Sinn Fein said it would challenge unionism to reject sectarianism, accept equality and inclusivity.

It would also continue to pressurise both the British and Irish governments “to deliver on their responsibilities on demilitarisation … Irish language, and justice and policing.”

In advancing the Irish unity agenda, the province’s 18 MPs should be automatically accorded membership of the Dail, with both consultative and speaking rights, Sinn Fein argued.

  • Davros

    Page 4, Equality

    “Compliance by employers with affirmative action measures”

    What is meant by affirmative action measures ?

    “Effective measures to eradicate the unemployment differential between Catholic and Protestant males within five years”

    Why specify Males and Protestant/Catholic?
    Why is there no mention at this stage of equality for women ? It finally comes up page 39.

  • barney

    Davros,

    I guess this means they’ve lost your vote. Was it the women thingy?

  • barney

    Ambrose,

    Thanks for clearing up the meanings of ‘Dail’ and ‘Taoiseach’. Is it true that ‘Dublin’ is the capital of a small North Western European country called Ireland?

  • Davros

    Very droll barney.
    I’m sure SF would be delighted if thousands of members of the unionist community read their manifesto.

    p.s. This is the really difficult one – I hate health-fascists.

    “A total ban on tobacco advertising and smoking in the workplace alongside restrictions on
    smoking in public areas”

  • Jimmy Sands

    Would the proposed tax on second homes fail to bite on those who had their holiday homes across the border?

  • barney

    Davros,

    Well done on ploughing through a fairly lengthy manifesto. I know where you’re coming from on the smoking ban, it is bound to look threatening to a wseed lover like yourself. Non-smokers are volunteering your sacrifice for the greater good, not necessarily an appealing proposition to all those affected I agree.
    BTW, “Why is there no mention at this stage of equality for women ? It finally comes up page 39.”
    Take another look at page 5 (and page 9 for that matter).

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I think the smoking ban is the one thing that all four parties agree on.

  • Davros

    I think the smoking ban is the one thing that all four parties agree on.

    That’s hardly a recommendation Henry:)

  • Davros

    Point I was making barney is that women’s rights are considerably down the agenda – and suggesting the list of importance – compared to the orange-green issue which benefits SF.

    ALL women are disadvantaged. But that doesn’t get a mention under the equality banner on page 4.

    Who is more disadvantaged ? The female protestant with low pay because she’s a female or the male RC employee in one of the nationalist councils investigated for discriminatory employment practices ? The way the manifesto reads it looks as if she doesn’t count because she’s a protestant 😉

    Now, I know they don’t mean that, really, but it
    looks bad.

  • Keith M

    OK it’s “debunking time”; The Dáil is not the Irish Parliament, it is only its lower chamber, equivilant to the House of Commons. The bi-cameral Irish Parliament is the Oireachtas.

    “Effective measures to eradicate the unemployment differential between Catholic and Protestant males within five years”. The only way to eradicate this differential within five years is to sack Protestants based on their religeon and hire Catholics instead. Why is this not explicity stated?

    “Would the proposed tax on second homes fail to bite on those who had their holiday homes across the border?” Already many people in this country are buying property abroad. A ban on buying a second home in the Republic is simply a begrudgers tax and would increase the flow of money out of the country. A special tax could not be levied on people buying houses in EU countries, because it would infringe EU law.

    “A total ban on tobacco advertising and smoking in the workplace alongside restrictions on
    smoking in public areas. ” Exactly what public areas are not work places? Are they talking about banning smoking in the streets and parks?

  • batney

    Keith M,

    “De-bunking” or myth making?

    “The only way to eradicate this differential within five years is to sack Protestants based on their religeon and hire Catholics instead. Why is this not explicity stated?”

    It is not stated because it is not SF policy. The manifesto clearly commits to introducing “effective measure…within five years”. That is very different to eliminating the problem in five years. The effective measures may not produce the desired result for many years after their introduction.

    “Exactly what public areas are not work places? Are they talking about banning smoking in the streets and parks?” The GAA’s smoking ban in Croke Park may provide a clue here.

    “A ban on buying a second home in the Republic is simply a begrudgers tax and would increase the flow of money out of the country.” I didn’t find this in the SF manifesto, although I’m sure you are not making it up. There is something to be said for such a tax whether it’s SF policy or not. Scenic parts of Britain, such as the Lake District, have seen local comunities decimated by London weekenders buying up the local housing. Unable to compete with these outsiders, who owe no lyalty to the area, young local families are priced out of their own villages and are forced to move out to God knows where. Deprived of their most dynamic people the areas become little more than open air museums for blow-ins. Maybe not a big issue for Dublins’ middle-classes but it bothers a lot of others.

  • Keith M

    batney : Read the text again : “Effective measures to eradicate the unemployment differential between Catholic and Protestant males within five years”. The way that I (and I suggest, most people) read this is that the differential is to be erdaicated within five years through the immediate introduction of “effective measures”. Given the level of net job creation, that can only be achieved by sacking thousands of protestant men and replacing them with Catholics.

    Interestingly this is NOT a policy of the party in the Republic, where there is a similar differential between catholic and protestant men born in Ireland. Intestesting that, and quite partitionist for a party claiming to be the “the only all Ireland party” (sic).

    On the smoking ban, your “clue” isn’t much help to me. Given that Croke Park is an open air venue are SF/IRA proposing open air bans in all places of public gatherings or what?

    My line which read “A BAN on buying a second home in the Republic is simply a begrudgers tax and would increase the flow of money out of the country, should have read “A TAX on buying a second home …. The rest applies. I can see from your reply that this is indeed meant as a begrudgers tax. Taxing people for building or buying second homes in this country or in Northern Ireland will only mean that these people buy abroad. The consequences are obvious.

  • Davros

    batney (? Typo)- The manifesto clearly commits to introducing “effective measure…within five years”. That is very different to eliminating the problem in five years. The effective measures may not produce the desired result for many years after their introduction.

    What measures ? That’s the detail I’d like to know.And how does this work – on a local basis ?
    Are employment figures to reflect the local catchment area’s population, or an averaged out percentage for NI as a whole ? Should businesses in South Armagh be made to have a 55% protestant workforce ? Who decides ?

    The problem with writing something as vague as this in a manifesto is that it could, in the future, be used to justify a wide range of different policies. I don’t have a problem with affirmative and corrective employment policies, but the devil is in the detail.

  • Davros

    batney – why is any unemployment differential between protestant and RC women less important ?
    Tempted to assume that it’s good old-fashioned Irish
    Male Chauvinism ……

  • Davros

    The GAA’s smoking ban in Croke Park may provide a clue here.

    Barney – why should people reading a manifesto have to play guessing games ?

  • barney

    Davros,

    I am ‘batney’ – shouldn’t be on the phone and typing at the same time. You ask a lot of very good questions but they appear to be based on the limitations inherent in any poltical manifesto. No party is naive enough to supply hostages to fortune in their manifesto and SF are no exception. But, at 56 pages, they have told us more about their program than most (any?)other party even if it’s still miles away from giving any real detail.
    I’m not too sure where you’re going with the ‘anti-woman’ rhetoric. Clearly SF have singled out the employment disparity between Catholic and Protestan males but, sadly, I don’t know what the figures are to warrant that and I won’t be looking them up today. It is a very interesting question though.

    KeithM
    “The way that I (and I suggest, most people) read this…” Sorry Keith, I can’t help you to read. Too busy struggling with my own typing.

    “Taxing people for building or buying second homes in this country or in Northern Ireland will only mean that these people buy abroad. The consequences are obvious.” Yes, communities in scenic areas will have a chance to survive when the D4 Blow-in effect is diluted across Europe. One mostly-empty retreat in Bulgaria will not cause the same local devastation as a mostly-empty village in Kerry. But, I’m told earnings from the old place in Bulgaria can already be taxed back home.
    Are you against the smoking ban in Croke Park? Of course you’ve never been to Croker but how do you feel about the principle?

  • Keith M

    barney, in this country we are bringing in legislation on making hosing affordable in touristic rural aras. This can be achieved with taxing people.

    As for a smoking ban, I don’t care what they do in Croke Park. I would treat tobacco in the same way as I would marijuana. I would only allow it’s consumption in the privacy of people’s own homes. I would perscribe it and only allow legal sale from designated outlets. I would raise the price of a packet of cigareetes to €20 and put the money raiseed into the health service.

  • Davros

    Thanks Barney. I’m glad you realise I’m asking questions because I’m interested rather than with negative or destructive intent. I realise an awful lot of work has gone into producing this manifesto.

    Possibly some of the questions I have will seem to have obvious answers to those on the other side of the fence, but part of our politicians’ problem ids that they forget that things that might be obvious to them look different and possibly sinister when seen from a different perspective.

    re the protestant/Catholic and male/female thing – I was reading last month that an attempt to join feminism and class-conscious politics in Ireland a few decades ago foundered when it was asked who was more disadvantaged – a middle class female or a working class male 😉 We enter into much the same territory. Certainly I wouldn’t have a problem if a spokesman for SF laid it on the line and said that in view of our difficulties the party took the view that sectarian discrimination WAS a higher priority than gender discrimination – while both are to be deplored and opposed.
    Clarification is the name of the game.

    God Bless.

  • Davros

    re the smoking ban in Croke – wouldn’t bother me at all LOL There’s worse – Dip and chewing tobacco ! Ever watch baseball on TV ? 😉

  • barney

    KeithM,
    “barney, in this country we are bringing in legislation on making hosing affordable in touristic rural aras. This can be achieved with taxing people.” Either there’s a typo in the second sentence or you are supporting SF’s proposal. Apart from taxation, always a blunt instrument, what other measures do you suggest for safeguarding isolated indigenous communities? Previous Irish legislation aimed at forcing developers to include affordable housing in their schemes has failed miserably. That’s a difernt issue of course but my point is that legislation, however well meant, cannot guarantee the desired result whereas taxation might just work even if it has the side effect of pissing off a lot of people.

    I’m not up for a £20 pack of fags as it would drive the trade underground and rob the exchequer. The tax has to be set at the point where it hurts without attracting large scale criminality. Anecdotal evidence sugests it’s not too far off that point right now.

  • Keith M

    “This can be achieved with taxing people.” should of course read This can be achieved withOUT taxing people.” Note to self : No morning posting without caffine in advance!

  • George

    I assume that when they mention introducing an all-ireland currency, SF mean the euro or would we be dusting off Nano Nagle and reviving the auld punt?

    Keithm,
    I see you are for the one-off housing. Personally, I am too. For generations you couldn’t get people to stay on the land for love or money and now when people finally do, they are refused planning permission.

    But would you be in favour of making those who buy a second house pay for the installation of utilities etc. on that second home instead of local councils having to foot the bill as is the situation now.

  • Keith M

    George “I assume that when they mention introducing an all-ireland currency, SF mean the euro or would we be dusting off Nano Nagle and reviving the auld punt?”. I assume the latter seeing as they opposed every referendum on Europe in this country. The irony is of course that the only way Irish unity is ever likely to be achieved is as part of a federal Europe.

    “But would you be in favour of making those who buy a second house pay for the installation of utilities etc. on that second home instead of local councils having to foot the bill as is the situation now.” Yes, what people get for nothing, they do not appreciate. That’s why I support the bin taxes and (metered) water charges.

  • barney

    New one-off housing is not the real problem with regard to maintaining local communities in scenic areas. Outsiders buying up cottages and farm houses as weekend bolt holes are the real cancer. Every time a house slips from the culchies’ clutches a little part of rural Ireland dies. Designated areas of outstandng natural beauty should be set up and protected by high deterrent taxes which only apply to outside “investors” (spits) This should give locals a little edge when bidding against the armani hordes. It’s more civilised than the pyromania championed in Wales.

  • George

    Keithm,
    water is the cheapest part of supplying drinking water so metering doesn’t matter in terms of cost to the user. Meters are installed in new estates in the Irish Republic to check for usage and leaks etc. Much more sensible I think than the outlay for millions of meters which costs more than you save.

    Anyway, only businesses pay water rates down south although the EU are on our tails to introduce the charge.

    On waste, what I find very interesting is that Dublin Corporation has said that bin charges (my mother’s bin is weighed for Christ’s sake) will start dropping from 2009 once the waste infrastructure is upgraded (full garden waste recyling coming next) and the Ringsend incinerator is online.

    In Cork, they have said nothing. I have to pay €255 flat rate and €5 every time I put my 240 litre non-recylables bin out. Certainly got me recycling, I’ve only put it out twice so far this year.

    The NIO or whoever should make it clear that once the water infrastructure in NI has been upgraded that the rates will start to drop off again.

  • George

    Clarification: 1 meter to measure the entire estate’s usage rather than individual houses.

  • Mick Hall

    Nine out of ten people may well claim they are buying a holiday home, but in reality they have brought it as an investment, a home should be to live in, fullstop. If we are not careful a new generation will be forced to emigrate or travel great distances to work. This already happens in London and Paris. Many of those with ‘Holiday homes’ contribute little to the community in which their second house is situated, do the majority even pay council tax? During the week I travelled from Paris to the south of France and whole villages are boarded up, apart from the elderly. The same is true of areas of England and Ireland. With the new technology there is an opportunity for high tech industries to provide employment in remote areas. Yet youngsters are being forced to move out due to house inflation. Key workers cannot afford to live in Europe’s capital cities whilst freeloaders can. One is taxed on investments thus it is time government stopped pandering to the middle classes and `closed this loophole.

    regards to all,

    Mick

  • Davros

    second homes – 95% tax on profits on sale of house, after allowing for background rate of inflation and
    the cost of alterations made which have had planning permission.

  • Keith M

    Davros : You really want to see money flooding out of the country?

  • Davros

    Keith – The money flooding into second homes is making life harder for ordinary people. I think housing is a basic human right and those who speculate on property, especially the euphemistically named developers, are parasites. There’s nothing in my proposal to discourage those who genuinely want a holiday home or want a second home. The only ones disadvantaged would be the blood-suckers. I don’t care if the wealthy or very wealthy do a bit worse if the poor do a lot better.

  • barney

    Davros,

    couldn’t agree more. And let’s not forget the ‘developer’s’ evil twin – the ‘investor’. It’s at the stage in Dublin that you can’t risk buying a flat in a new development as the chances are all your neighbours will be drifters renting from an assortment of f**king investors. The place next door could be a brothel one week and a crack house the week after. Great fun for everyone apart from the unfortunates who actually live there.

  • Davros

    Good grief barney – are we allowed to agree ? 😉

  • Keith M

    Davros, I can only speak for the Republic on this one. I’m not close enough to the property market in NI or the rest of the UK, to make a comment on what is going on there.

    This country has traditionally had one of the highest level of home ownership in the Europe. Relativly few people rent. Paradoxically we had one of the lowest rates of second home ownership. On the continent it is far more common for people to have a holiday home as well as their main place of residence.

    As we have become richer, people want to buy second homes, most for rental incomes or for their own holidays. If you choose to put a begrudgers tax on either the purchase or sales of a second home, it is as certain as night follows day that people will buy abroad rather than in Ireland.

    I speak from personal knowledge here. Within the next 18 months I’m going to pay off the mortgage on my current home. I will hopefully then buy a second property. I have a choice or either buying something here or looking abroad. If for a moment I thought a tax as you have detailed it above was going to come into play at any stage in the future I would certainly not buy in Ireland.

    If we have a problem with affordable housing and you want to target property developers they tax you have outlined won’t do it. People will simply “sell” their second houses to family members for a price which will not incur tax. Then these family members (all notional first time buyers), can simply sell the price for its real market value in due course.

    The way to tackle affordable housing is the way we are doing already here, by insisting that new schemes include a set number of affordable units in every major development. Also efforts like the shared ownship schemes which local authorites use and not taxing people where they rent out rooms in their houses will do much more than your blunt tax idea.

    Regarding rural areas which have a different problem and where there are no major schemes in which put affordable housing, the removal of the nonsensical ban on one off housing will help there. The ban was a blatant interference on the laws of supply and demand.

  • Keith M

    barney “The place next door could be a brothel one week and a crack house the week after. Great fun for everyone apart from the unfortunates who actually live there.” I would agree on this, but the worst culprits are often the local authorities buying houses and apartments and putting totally unsuitable people in for short term rentals.

  • Davros

    No offence Keith, but if you buy housing other than to live in yourself, in my book you are a parasite.
    I’m not worried about the haves. They are doing “nicely”. I don’t see why they should be allowed to do nicely at other peoples expense. Ireland – and to a lesser extent the rest of the archipelago – had lost a lot of it’s landlords. I don’t think it’s a welcome step that we are encouraging a whole new generation of Rachmans.

  • barney

    keith,

    We buy homes to live in, not for rental. Buy-to-rent is politely called an investment but it’s really just speculation. It damages the economy, distorts the local market and exploits the have-nots. By all means go abroad to buy your ‘second home’, the must have accesory of pringle-man. You’ll do less damage there than here.

    “The way to tackle affordable housing is the way we are doing already here, by insisting that new schemes include a set number of affordable units in every major development.” My understanding is that the scheme did not work and is due to be scrapped.

  • George

    Barney,
    you are correct and Keithm is so far off the mark on this one it is not true.

    In many cases, developers have figured out it is better to pay off the council for the 20% social housing they are supposed to build than have their properties sell for less because of the “affordable housing” within the development.

    For example, number of affordable houses built in Offaly in the first four years of this scheme (2000-2004)?

    Answer: zero.

    I’d like to hear Keithm explain how this is a success for the people of Offaly waiting on affordable housing or is there no poor people in one of Ireland’s poorest counties?

  • barney

    George,

    I think you have tipped off Keith that Offaly is to place for buy2rent. Thanks! It might save Laois from his ‘investment’.