People Before Profit today launched their Manifesto for General Election 2016. Attending the launch were Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire), Gino Kenny (Dublin Mid-West), Bríd Smith (Dublin South Central) and John Lyons (Dublin Bay North).
Richard Boyd Barrett spoke about the wealth gap in Irish society that must be decreased; he said- “This election is a massive opportunity for the people of this country to make a fundamental change in the direction of Irish society. Currently we have a situation where wealth is being transferred from the majority of people to the minority- the most wealthy. We are proposing a progressive taxation system that will tax those earning over €100,000 on a sliding scale basis. We will make the corporations pay the corporate tax rate of 12.5%. We would introduce a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions. This money, along with the estimated €8-17 billion owed to this State by Apple, would be used to reduce inequality, fund vital public services such as health, education and generally move us towards a fairer society”.
Speaking about the massive levels of inequality in Irish society; Bríd Smith said- “We live in a deeply unequal society. In our schools we have an admissions policy that is faith based- this is totally discriminatory. A family should be able to send their child to whatever school they want and not have to be concerned if the child is baptized, or of any faith or none. We will stop the discrimination in our schools by removing religious patronage. We also support the demands of the Travelling community to get full legal recognition as an ethnic minority and to their right to properly funded appropriate accommodation.”
“Women in this country are also treated as second class citizens. We must repeal the 8th amendment because it equates the life of a woman with the life of a foetus. We must legislate for a woman’s right to choose. As it stands now in Ireland men have the ability of absolute bodily autonomy and the right to make whatever decision they want with their bodies. The 8th amendment denies women from bodily autonomy. We are making the call for the full repeal of the 8th amendment”.
Gino Kenny spoke about People Before Profit’s housing policy; he said- “The issue of homelessness is the one of the biggest issues in General Election 2016. The government of Fine Gael and Labour have presided over this crisis which has gotten worse under their watch. In our manifesto we have outlined our alternative housing programme. We would call for a national housing emergency to be declared in regard to homelessness. We would build 50,000 social houses, 10,000 per year for the next five years. We would force NAMA to hand over 20,000 of its residential stock for the purpose of social housing. We would end the discriminatory practice of ‘rent allowance not accepted’.”
John Lyons spoke about the health system and some of the proposals People Before Profit have developed, he said-
“Our health system is crumbling. Under this government the numbers of people on trolleys has gone up drastically. Our young nurses are having to emigrate. People are on very long waiting lists for serious operations. We have a cartel of insurance companies, in league with the government, making vast profits of this situation.
“We envisage a health system like the NHS in the UK that is free at the point of use and available to everyone. We believe that health care is a right and access to it should be determined by how sick one is not the size of one’s wallet. We are calling for a constitutional amendment to prevent the privitisation of our health service. We need to develop our capacity for preventative medicine- which in the long run would pay for itself”.
Read Manifesto HERE