Today, the 32nd Dail is meeting for the first time.
Speaking in the chamber for the first time since the General Election, I said that while The Labour Party had sought a mandate to continue in government with Fine Gael to rebuild our economy and our society, we accepted that that proposal had not won the support of the Irish people. Nevertheless, we are proud of our work over the last five years. We are proud of how we pulled the country back from the brink, got people working, and delivered a growing economy.
Tánaiste Joan Burton said: “Labour is the only party offering this progressive policy choice and the only party willing and able to deliver it in Government. I want to see us deliver on this programme by returning the current Government.
The Labour Party is the party of work and opportunity, the party that stands up for working people. The recovery we’re driving has already created more than 135,000 new jobs and we will shortly have more than two million people at work.
Speaking at the visit of Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Tánaiste Joan Burton complimented the work of Jack and Stephen Teeling on making a real Irish success story.
"In the immediate future we could forget about Repealing the 8th. We would also be faced with complete stasis on one of the great scandals of modern Irish life: the control exerted by religious vested interests over Irish schools, an issue on which neither of the dominant political parties will take any risks whatsoever. We could also look forward to a wave of privatisation; the ongoing, abysmal treatment of refugees; further cuts in social welfare – and so on.
This morning we launched our plan for equal access to education with Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister Kevin Humphreys in Shellybanks Educate Together in Dublin 4
For the Labour Party, equality is the keystone of what we believe. To ensure every child has equality of opportunity, to ensure every child has the chance to achieve in life, equal access to school is vital.
This afternoon we launched our plan to increase your take home pay for low and middle income earners with Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister Aodhan . We want to make sure work pays. That is why we want to abolish the Universal Social Charge for everyone earning under €72,000. This change will increase an average retail workers yearly take home pay by over €1,000 and a teachers by over €1,700.
We have a proven track record of making sure work pays. We have increased the minimum wage by 20% since 2011 – which means that someone who works on the minimum wage is €3,000 a year better off because of Labour’s influence in government.We have also taken 700,000 people out of the Universal Social Charge.
Today we launched our Standing up for Public Services plan in our Campaign HQ with Minister Brendan Howlin and Minister Ged Nash.
We plan that for every €1 in tax cuts, we will spend €3 on schools, childcare, and healthcare. These are the vital local services that all families and communities need. Families endured a lot during the economic downturn and deep recession. Now that we have a recovery, it is time to make sure it reaches the kitchen table.
If re-elected to Govenment, we will tackle gender pay issues by ensuring large companies and public sector employers make public the details their own internal pay gaps in order to stimulate stronger action towards pay equality.
Today we launched our plan to hold a referendum to repeal the 8 th Amendment. Minister for Communications, Alex White, Minister for Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and Senator Ivana Bacik outlined how the party would deliver a referendum, and campaign strongly to repeal the 8 th amendment, if returned to Government.
Speaking at the launch in Labour’s Campaign HQ this afternoon, Minister for Communications, Alex White, said: “It’s high time that this generation was given the right to choose – through a referendum – whether the 8 th amendment should remain in our Constitution.
The recovery we have achieved together has been stable and it has been balanced. It has also been fair.
Only Labour can provide a fair government that will ensure that tax cuts are focused on low and middle income families, that there is proper investment in schools and healthcare, and that we can have a modern and progressive Ireland.
We need to keep building the strong economy so that we can have a decent society.
In this election, other parties are trying to undo all that we have achieved together. We cannot allow them to play with the recovery.
Tonight's Party Election Broadcast demonstrates this simple message. Please watch and share it with your friends, family and colleagues.