Young Fine Gael Youth manifesto

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This manifesto sets out our plans for creating jobs and a future for all Ireland’s young people. Fine Gael’s main priority is to create the jobs that will allow our young people to stay at home in …

This manifesto sets out our plans for creating jobs and a future for all Ireland’s young people. Fine Gael’s main priority is to create the jobs that will allow our young people to stay at home in Ireland, where they want to be and where they want to create their future

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  • 2. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING ENDA KENNY TD LEADER OF FINE GAEL Fine Gael Plan to Get Young Ireland Working The Fine Gael Youth Manifesto is about giving hope to young people. We need a new political plan so a new government can engage, again, with a people whose hearts have been broken, whose dreams have been ruined, whose trust has been shattered by old government, old politics, an old ‘system’ that has proved to be elitist, divisive, corrosive and self-destructive -and absolutely defunct.Young people have been the hardest hit by the blatant mismanagement of the economy. Their future hasbeen mortgaged to finance the lavish lifestyles of others.It’s time to put an end to that. Fine Gael offer strong stable Government that will create jobs, reform thepublic sector, the health sector and politics. We will introduce fairer budgets, keeping taxes low. Ourpolicies will keep young people at home in Ireland with their families and friends.We will put quality education at the heart of plans for economic recovery, giving equal access to third leveleducation for all students.There is a way out of the situation into which Ireland has been led. This is an opportunity for strongleadership to bring fundamental change to the way our country works.Fine Gael will take on vested interests and won’t bow to sectoral interest groups, bankers or developers,who are no friends of ours.We ask for a strong mandate from young Ireland to bring fundamental change. The need to restore trusthas never been stronger. Irish young people deserve better, this Manifesto is designed to give them better. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto |1
  • 3. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING ERIC KEANE PRESIDENT YOUNG FINE GAEL The recession has hit every home in our country and almost nobody has been immune to it. Young people have been especially affected. Too many of our young people have either lost their jobs or cannot find one when they finish school or college. Too many are being forced to emigrate in the hope of getting a job. This manifesto sets out our plans for creating jobs and a future for all Ireland’s young people. Fine Gael’s main priority is to create the jobs that will allow our young people to stay at home in Ireland, where they want to be, where they want to create their future. We want to instil in young people the hope that Ireland, their country, offers them a future. We will provide investment in the areas of broadband, renewable energy and water which alongside our jobs plan “Working for Our Future” will create 100,000 jobs. We will take 45,000 young people off the dole and give them access to internships or allow them go back to college. We will radically reform the way politics, government and our health system works. Most importantly, we want our young people to believe in Ireland, to be proud of it and to see her prosper once again. This manifesto intends to give young Ireland that opportunity and that hope. Eric Keane2 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 4. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING KEY THEMES4 ECONOMY AND JOBS 11 ENVIRONMENT • Getting our young people back to work • Tourism 12 FIRST TIME BUYERS • Emigration Management Companies6 AGRICULTURE 13 HEALTH Mental Health6 ALCOHOL AND ALTERNATIVES TO ALCOHOL Sport and Recreation 14 RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY7 CHILDREN 14 VOTING AND POLITICS8 DRUGS AND THE COMMUNITY 15 YOUTH WORK AND VOLUNTEERISM8 EDUCATION • Early Intervention • Innovation in Education • Third Level EducationNote: This manifesto contains the most relevant parts of Fine Gael’smanifesto proposals to young voters. Many proposals contained in theFine Gael manifesto relate to young people and a more comprehensivedetail of our policies in the areas of job creation, health, environmentand reforming politics can be found there. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto |3
  • 5. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING ECONOMY / JOBS We risk losing our young talent to emigration. Emigration of young Irish people doubled in the last two years. The equivalent of an entire cohort of school leavers in one year will emigrate this year alone. To provide a wider range of opportunities, Fine Gael will create over 45,000 additional work experience, training, and internship opportunities. In addition we will create 20,000 jobs each year for the next five years. • We aim to restore confidence in, and funding to, the Irish economy and bring the day to day public finances back into balance by 2016. • Drawing from international best practice, we will protect jobs as we cut the deficit by limiting tax increases to at most one-third of the total deficit-reducing measures. • We will not increase direct rates of tax on income, employment and enterprise investment, and we will re-structure the VAT system to help shift consumer spending from imported goods into labour- intensive services. Fine Gael Plan to Get Young Ireland Working 300,000 jobs in Ireland - 14% of the total – have been wiped out since the recession took hold. This is the biggest fall in employment of any advanced country since the crisis began. Unemployment has hit the young hardest. One in three young men under 25 are unemployed. 84% of job losses have been among those aged under 35 and 55% of them among those aged under 25. This is what has been feeding the surging emigration numbers. Fine Gael will create 20,000 jobs each year for the next five years. In addition, we will remove 45,000 people from the Live Register by the following measures: National Internship Programme (23,000 places) This will offer part-time one-year placements in the public service, private sector and voluntary sector for unemployed graduates to gain valuable experience while studying for a masters or diploma. They will be paid the entry-level going rate and will get a €3,000 bursary to help fund their higher education. Among the positions available will be classroom and teaching assistants in schools and nursing assistants in hospitals. IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland will be explicitly mandated to develop 5,000 work experience placements in the companies that they support. Second Chance Education (17,000 places) This will offer former retail and construction workers that did not finish school or attend college ‘back to education’ placements for two years. Participants will receive a premium payment of €20 per week on top of their social welfare payment, a €500 contribution to book costs, and a €3,000 completion bonus. Apprenticeship Guarantee (700 places) This will offer unemployed craft apprentices direct employment by the state, agencies or semi-states until their apprenticeship is completed. Community Employment (CE schemes) (5,000 places) This will offer community employment places to people currently on the Live Register. We will reform CE to make it more market-orientated with many more placements in private sector businesses. With this in mind, we will cut the length of the standard CE Scheme to six months, except for specific progression purposes, and strengthen the programme with regard to job search support.4 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 6. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGA new “One Stop Shop” for Welfare and Job and Training Referral. We will create a new ‘one stop shop’for getting back to work, the Payments and Entitlements Service. It will provide extensive skills assessment,training guidance and job referral services to the unemployed, as well as other welfare and serviceentitlements. Many job-seekers will continue to be referred to existing FAS training centres and services,which will operate under a new slimmed down governance structure. Community Employment schemeswill be maintained and expanded but will be managed by local authorities.Further job creation measures, which will create jobs for people of all ages, are contained in the FineGael Manifesto.TOURISMYFG recognise the fact that many young people work in the tourism industry in part-time and inseasonal jobs.Our tourism industry sustains jobs, generates significant revenue and sells a positive image of the Irishbrand globally. Under Fianna Fáil’s watch, visitor numbers have reverted back to 1998 levels and revenueis down by €1.8 billion since 2007.Fine Gael will develop Ireland’s potential as a tourism destination. We will make travel in Ireland easierthrough modern technological means. Travellers arriving at the airports or sea ports will be encouragedto download mobile applications that will make it easy for them to plan journeys and access informationabout accommodation nearby.Bringing Tourists BackTravel Tax: International access is vital to Irish economic recovery. That is why Fine Gael will abolish the €3travel tax subject to a deal being agreed with Aer Lingus and Ryanair to re-open closed routes and bringmore tourists into Ireland. If no deal can be done, there will be no reduction in the tax.Keeping costs down for tourism businessesAt the heart of our tourism sector are thousands of small businesses that are being crippled under thecurrent economic climate.In Government, Fine Gael will:Reduce the 13.5% VAT rate to 12% for a period of two years which will benefit tourism businesses.We will halve the Employers’ PRSI on jobs paying up to €356 per week for two years. This will reduce byover 4% the cost of employing people in low paid sectors.Introduce a partial loan guarantee scheme for small and medium sized businesses, which will overcomesome of the market failure in providing credit to sustainable small and micro businesses.Review and renegotiate Employment Regulation Orders (ERO) imposed on sectors such as hotels and restaurants.London Olympics: We will develop and effectively market a London Olympics 2012 strategy to bring asmany tourists as possible to Ireland during the event. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto |5
  • 7. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING EMIGRATION Employment is key to halting the new wave of emigration, which is resulting in the desertion of our communities. Fine Gael’s focus in Government will be job creation, providing new opportunities for young and old to live and work in their own communities. Helping those who have had to leave: We will establish an Executive Office for the Irish Abroad within the Department of Foreign Affairs that will deal with the needs of Irish Emigrants in the UK, USA and young emigrants leaving Ireland today. AGRICULTURE Young Farmers: Fine Gael will increase the educational opportunities available to young people interested in a career in farming or in the agri-food sector through our agricultural colleges and third level institutions, as well as practical workplace opportunities in agri-food businesses. To promote Farming as a career Fine Gael will: Encourage the take up of shared farming arrangements with a view to bridging the demographic problem in agriculture while maintaining the family farm structure. Introduce a single food label for all Irish produce, which will be used on Irish food in domestic and international markets. We will seek final agreement at an EU level on the extension of country of origin labels to a broader range of food products. Conduct an audit of existing regulations for farmers, and we will investigate the levels of red tape attached to EU Directives. Introduce a partial loan guarantee scheme for small and medium sized businesses to overcome the market failure in providing credit to sustainable small businesses. Ensure small Irish businesses including those in the agri-food sector are given every opportunity to win valuable public sector contracts for goods and services, worth €16 billion annually. Provide a broader range of educational opportunities for young people interested in a career in farming or the agri-food industry through our agricultural colleges and third level institutions, as well as practical workplace opportunities in agri-food business. ALCOHOL AND ALTERNATIVES TO ALCOHOL We will challenge the permissive, harmful attitudes to alcohol abuse. We believe that in addition to measures to cease alcohol use by young people that they must be provided with outlets to meet and socialise in a non-alcoholic environment. We will publish a National Sports Facility Audit to identify gaps in sporting infrastructure, this audit will inform any future investment in sports infrastructure.6 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 8. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGWe will explore the use of school facilities on a daily basis so that schools can act as community hubsgiving young people a social outlet and helping to eliminate anti-social behaviour. Possible uses of facilitiesinclude Chill Out areas and Youth Cafés.We will ban the practice of below cost selling of alcohol.SPORT AND RECREATIONSport in Schools: We are committed to ensuring that all primary and secondary students have two hoursof physical education per week and PE programmes are properly implemented in all schools.Increasing Participation: We will encourage greater co-ordination between National Governing Bodiesand Local Sports Partnerships to increase participation in sports and reaching out to under-representedgroups and the unemployed.Representative Bodies: We recognise the role of the various sporting organisations in developing highperformance individual athletes and sporting participation at all levels across the country and will ensureavailable funds are distributed fairly amongst those in most need of assistance.IRFU: We will not implement ‘free to air’ proposals on Six Nations and Heineken Cup games.CHILDRENProtecting ChildrenReferendum: As a priority Fine Gael will ensure children’s rights are strengthened through aConstitutional referendum.Reforming Child Protection Services: Fine Gael will fundamentally reform the delivery of childprotection and welfare services to achieve a better and more effective service for children that is fullyaccountable to the Dáil. We will enact legislation that will significantly increase the power and functionof the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.Children First: Fine Gael will put the Children First national guidelines on the protection and welfareof children, that apply to individuals and agencies dealing with children, on a statutory footing so thatthey are effectively and consistently implemented throughout the State.Vetting: We will enact legislation to facilitate the use of soft information in vetting individuals workingwith children. We will also seek a review of the Garda Vetting Unit with a view to improving applicationprocessing times.National Children’s Strategy: Fine Gael will review and update the National Children’s Strategy2000-2010. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto |7
  • 9. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING DRUGS AND THE COMMUNITY Fine Gael will not stand by as communities are destroyed by the scourge of drugs as they were in the eighties. Drug addiction has spread beyond cities to become a countrywide concern and is rapidly turning into an epidemic which will result in years of social and financial repercussions for families and the State. Fine Gael will show strong leadership in tackling the escalating problems of drug and alcohol addiction head on and protect communities from the destruction of drug abuse. A crisis response National Addiction Strategy: We will publish a National Addiction Strategy which deals with both drugs and alcohol addiction. We consider the first step in implementing a successful strategy will be to outline key priorities for short-term implementation underpinned by a realistic timeframe and targets. Preventing the next wave of drug addiction Education: Education is key to preventing addiction. We will work with Local and Regional Drug Task Forces to implement effective programmes aimed at preventing addiction in schools. We will require all local and regional drugs taskforces to build on the success of Education Prevention Units in other task forces. We will update outdated drugs awareness programmes in schools to reflect the current attitudes and reality of recreational drug use amongst teens. Voluntary Drug Testing: We will introduce a voluntary drug testing code in schools where the boards of management, teachers, parents and pupils agree to take action to prevent the infiltration of drugs on school premises. EDUCATION Supporting our Schools High standards of education will be at the heart of Ireland’s long-term economic prosperity. Finland’s deep recession in the 1990s led to a transformation of their education system. We will draw from the success of the Finnish system by prioritising two key fundamentals to strengthen our schools; teacher quality and local autonomy. Fine Gael will prioritise the frontline and support schools to inspire and equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge needed to rebuild our country’s future. Early Intervention In Government, Fine Gael will: Maintain the free pre-school year in early childhood care and education to promote the best outcomes for children and families. Publish a plan for the implementation of the EPSEN Act 2004 to prioritise access for children with special needs to an individual education plan. Through our Fair Care plan we will revolutionise the healthcare service and ultimately this will result in better and earlier access for children to speech and language services.8 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 10. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGINNOVATION IN EDUCATIONBroadband21st Century Learning - Investing in Next Generation Broadband: Fine Gael in Government will co-operate and co-invest with Eircom, UPC and other telecommunications companies to provide NextGeneration Access (high-speed broadband) to every home and business in the State. Our NewERAstimulus plan will invest over €2 billion in broadband development to ensure that at least 90% of homes,schools and businesses have access to fibre-powered broadband.We will give greater autonomy to school principals and boards to incentivise innovation, new thinking andprogressive approaches to learning and to free up restrictions in the day to day running of schools.We will seek industry support to finance and develop a range of e-initiatives, such as:Learning Lighthouses: A pilot programme, developing ‘learning lighthouses’ in a number of schoolswhere students are equipped with an iPod , iPad, laptop or tablet pc. Teachers in these schools will begiven specialist training and the pilot will be used to test new online learning initiatives.Digital School: A new Digital School Resource will be used to develop new, cost effective approaches tolearning languages from a younger age and provide schools and students with new learning methodstargeting areas such as reading and maths.Online Textbooks: We will engage with the publishing industry to develop more online learning resourcesand new mediums for their learning materials.Technology Awards Programme: We will establish a new awards programme for students, rewardingstudents who use their interest in technology to develop individual or group enterprises.Bonus Points for Maths: We will introduce a system of bonus points for maths in the Leaving Certificatelinked to specific maths or science courses to encourage greater participation in courses where skillsshortages currently exist.We will also invest available resources in professional development for mathematics teachers.Quality Teachers: Fine Gael’s priority in education is to recruit, train and support the highest calibre ofteachers. We will investigate new policy approaches to ensure more teachers are qualified to Masters levelin their area of expertise.Curriculum Reform: It is of great concern that the school system is leading to a dependency on rotelearning and is not equipping students for third level and beyond. We will review the Junior Certificateand Leaving Certificate systems in Government and outline any reforms necessary to encourage greaterinnovation and independent learning. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto |9
  • 11. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING AN GHAEILGE Tá Fine Gael go láidir ar son forbairt na Gaeilge agus na gceantracha Gaeltachta Aithnímid luach agus tábhacht cultúrtha ár dtraidisiúin Ghaelaigh agus ár n-oidhreachta agus táimid diongbháilte go bhfuilimid chun a chinntiú go mairfidh agus go mbeidh borradh ar an teanga agus ar na ceantracha Gaeltachta. Straitéis Náisiúnta: Táimid ag tacú le mórán gnéithe den straitéis fiche bliain do thodhchaí na Gaeilge agus tabharfaimid i gcrích na spriocanna gur féidir agus na haidhmeanna atá curtha chun tosaigh. Oideachas: Tacaíonn Fine Gael le forbairt leanúnach na nGaelscoileanna agus aithníonn sé an ról suntasach atá ag gluaiseacht na nGaelscoileanna in athbheochaint na Gaeilge taobh istigh agus taobh amuigh dena ceantracha Gaeltachta. Chomh maith le sin, oibreoimid lena Coláistí Samhraidh chun níos mó scoláirí a mhealladh go dtí an Ghaeltacht. Táimid meáite ar athchóiriú a dhéanamh ar an mbealach ina múintear an Ghaeilge sa chóras bunoideachais agus sa chóras iarbhunoideachais, chun féachaint chuige go bhfuil múinteoirí in inmhe grá don teanga a spreagadh sna scoláirí go léir agus go bhfuil an curacalam leagtha amach ar bhealach a ghríosóidh na scoláirí chun an teanga a labhairt tar éis dóibh an scoil a fhágáil. Creidimid má dhéanaimid athchóiriú ar an mbealach ina múinimid an Ghaeilge go spreagfar níos mó scoláirí chun staidéar a dhéanamh ar an teanga agus chun í a úsáid taobh amuigh den chóras oideachais. Creidimid nár chothaigh an Ghaeilge éigeantach fás na teanga nó grá don teanga. Déanfaimid athchóiriú ar an gcuracalam dara leibhéal agus scrúdóimid go criticiúil an tionchar atá ag na modhanna oiliúna do mhúinteoirí atá i bhfeidhm i láthair na huaire. Ní bheidh an Ghaeilge mar ábhar roghnach go dtí go mbeidh cainteanna ar an dá ábhar tugtha i gcrích. Bronnfaimid 50% dena marcanna ar an mbéaltriail. Déanfar iniúchadh ar churacalam dúbailte go dtí an Ardteist, ceann amháin ar an gcóras reatha agus ceann eile ar an nGaeilge chumarsáideach. Déanfar iniúchadh ar phoinntí breise sa chóras iontrála go coláistí tríú leibhéal. Déanfaidh Fine Gael lion na ndaltaí atá ag gabháil don chúrsa Ardteiste Ard leibhéal a mhéadú faoi dhó faoin mbliain 2018. Cruthú postanna sna ceantracha Gaeltachta: Cabhróidh ár bpleananna Ré Nua agus Ag obair don todhchaí chun fostaíocht sna ceantracha Gaeltachta a chur ar fail, Déanfaimid infheistíocht i mbonneagair fuinnimh, leathanbhannda agus uisce, chun an bonneagar atá riachtanach chun comhluchtaí agus postanna nua a mhealladh agus a choimeád a chruthú. Tabharfaimid tacaíocht láidir do chruthú postanna sa turasóireacht agus i ngníomhachtaí mara. Scála Líofachta Náisiúnta: Déanfaimid iniúchadh ar fhorbairt scála líofachta náisiúnta don Ghaeilge. Chuirfeadh an scála deich gcéim seo ar cumas gach saoránaigh measúnú d’fháil ar a chumas agus úsáid a bhaint as modhanna nua-aimseartha múinteoireachta agus as an nua-theicneolaíocht chun feabhas de réir a chéile a chur ar a líofacht de réir mar a oireann dó féin. Oileáin: Creidimid go láidir go gcaithfimid pobail a chothú ar na hoileáin agus oibreoimid chun feabhas a chur ar na seirbhísí riachtanacha dona hoileáin i dtreo is go mbeidh fail cuí ag pobail na n-oileán ar sheirbhísí sláinte agus ar sheirbhísí sóisialta eile. Acht um Teangacha Oifigiúla: Déanfaidh Fine Gael athbhreithniú ar na dualgaisí faoin Acht um Teangacha Oifigiúla chun a chinntiú go bhfuil an caiteachas ar an teanga dírithe ar fhorbairt na teanga ar an mbealach ia éifeachtaí.10 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 12. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGA QUALITY THIRD LEVEL EDUCATIONGraduate Contribution: Fine Gael will develop a fairer funding system for third level to ensure everystudent has access to a high quality education. This will involve a graduate contribution from students ofroughly a third of the cost of their course. The contribution will be made by new entrants to publicly-funded third level institutions after the student graduates, enters employment and reaches a definedincome threshold.Third Level Efficiencies: We will not increase the student registration fee further. Instead, we will pursuegreater pay and non-pay efficiencies in the third level system through greater flexibility in workingarrangements, in line with the Croke Park Agreement.Phasing Out the Student Registration Fee: As the student contribution model begins to return funds tothe third level sector, we will phase out the student registration fee as an upfront charge.Student Loan System: In the intervening period, we will establish a subsidised loan system for studentsand their families that are struggling to pay the student registration fee.Speedier Student Grant System: We will introduce a faster and more cost effective system for payingstudent grants through the one-stop-shop Payments and Entitlements Service.Quality and Standards: We will give students a better third level education by repositioning ouruniversities and institutes to become world leaders in education through greater collaboration,specialisation and focus in every educational institution.Improved Accreditation: We will ensure the training scandals of recent years are consigned to the past byoverhauling the accreditation system for courses and providers. We will merge the existing accreditationauthorities; the National Qualifications Authority, FETAC and HETAC to increase transparency.Applications for University Status: We will amend the Universities Act 1997 as necessary to facilitateapplications for University statusENVIRONMENTInvesting in Clean, Green Infrastructure: Fine Gael’s NewERA plan will help transform Ireland into a lowcarbon and competitive economy by investing €7 billion into new modern infrastructure in areas such asenergy and broadband.Climate Change Targets: Fine Gael is committed to meeting both the Kyoto and EU2020 carbon emissionreduction targets.In addition we will:Merge Coillte and Bord na Móna to form a new commercial State company BioEnergy & Forestry Irelandto exploit Ireland’s natural advantage in biomass.Engage in a 15,000ha per year afforestation programme to facilitate a roll out of combined heat andpower technology.Aggressively incentivise consumers to switch to zero emission transport by providing an ambitious roll outof electric transport charging points. We will invite companies from the private and public sector to rollout these charging points. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto | 11
  • 13. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING Double funding for home energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes until the end of 2013. Push for organisations involved in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to be allowed to fund new forest carbon sinks in Ireland in lieu of purchasing foreign carbon credits. REFORM OF GOVERNMENT – A NEW DIRECTION Fine Gael and YFG believe that reform of the political system is central to the transformation and recovery of Ireland. We can never again have the interests of small powerful elites take precedence over the wider community. This is why Fine Gael and YFG believe we must reform politics from the top down immediately. Therefore we will implement the Fine Gael ‘New Politics’ proposals which include: Abolishing the Seanad: We will hold a referendum to ask the Irish people if they want to retain or abolish the Seanad within 12 months of forming the Government. Reducing the number of TDs in the Dáil by 20. Establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to consult with the Irish people on reform of the electoral system. Reversing the gag Fianna Fáil placed on Freedom of Information and make government more accessible and transparent. Cleaning up State Boards to ensure that their governance is transparent and effective. Developing a significantly enhanced Dáil Committee system with powers to investigate Government and State bodies on their performance and activities. State Cars: We will halve the cost of the provision of Stare cars to current and former State officials through the introduction of a Government Car Service Pool arrangement. A Ban on Corporate Donations: Fine Gael will introduce the necessary legal and constitutional provisions to ban corporate donations to political parties. Severance Pay and Pensions: Fine Gael will abolish severance pay for Ministers. We will restrict the payment of pensions to politicians so that a pension can only be received after someone has ceased to be a TD and reached the national retirement age (currently 65). We will cap taxpayers subsidies for pension schemes for politicians (and indeed for everybody) that deliver income in retirement of more than €60,000. FIRST TIME BUYERS Mortgage Lending to First Time Buyers: The housing market will not recover unless First Time Buyers have access to mortgage credit. Working with the regulatory authorities and the industry, a Fine Gael Government will encourage new funding for Irish mortgage lending again by drawing a line under past practices and creating a new brand or status around the Irish mortgage market that puts the quality of Irish mortgages beyond any question in international markets. With this aim in mind, and drawing from12 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 14. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGbest international practice, we will introduce new universal Mortgage Indemnity Insurance that providesadequate security for prudent lenders and borrowers against future risks of negative equity.Fine Gael will increase mortgage interest relief to 30% for First Time Buyers in 2004-08 (from the currentsliding scale of 20% to 25% depending on the year the mortgage was taken out), financing in part bybringing forward the abolition of relief for new buyers from June 2011.Management Companies: We will reform the laws relating to apartments so that owners and tenants areprotected.The reforms will include:Developers will have to fix the management fee for three years so that it cannot be increased.For every three-year period the management company must determine what the management fee will beso that owners and tenants can plan ahead.The management fee will not be fully payable until managing agents are in place.An adequate sinking fund must be funded from day one, so that any damage to the building can be fixedwithout delay.Developers must hand over the freehold of the apartment complex when it is 50% built.“Management” companies will be renamed “Owners Company” so that potential buyers of apartments arefully aware that the responsibility to run the management company is with the owners, not the managingagents.HEALTHFairCare – Fixing the Health ServiceFine Gael’s health plan, FairCare, represents the most ambitious plan for health service reform since theestablishment of the state. It is designed to reduce costs, increase access and make the system muchfairer. It will dismantle the dysfunctional Health Service Executive (HSE) that was created by Micheál Martinin 2004, and end the efforts of Fianna Fáil and Mary Harney to privatise the health system by favouringprivate over public care. Our ultimate goal is to establish a system of Universal Health Insurance (UHI),based on the very efficient Dutch model – but adapted to Irish circumstances. The underlying philosophy isthat the patient should be treated at the lowest level of complexity that is safe, timely and efficient.Once UHI is introduced the unfair and inefficient two-tier health system will be eliminated. Patients will betreated on the basis of medical need – not on the basis of how much money they have. The State will payfor children and students as well as those on medical cards (and their families). It will also subsidise thoseon low income. There will be one strong public health system, where the State guarantees the level ofservice and quality and competing insurance companies are responsible for much of its administration.Young Fine Gael welcomes the Fine Gael commitment to introduce a cervical cancer vaccination catch-upprogramme for all girls up to the age of 18 years. We also welcome plans to expedite the appearance ofgraphic images, such as lung damage caused by smoking, on cigarette packages to help reduce smoking.YFG fully endorses the Fine Gael faircare policy Fine Gael Youth Manifesto | 13
  • 15. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKING Mental Health Matters Fine Gael’s policy on mental health incorporates the recommendations of A Vision for Change. We are committed to reducing the sigma of mental illness, ensuring early and appropriate intervention and vastly improving access to modern mental health services in the community. Primary Care: Under FairCare modern purpose built Primary Care Centres will accommodate a range of healthcare specialists such as GPs, nurses and speech and language therapists for example, as well as mental health specialists such as psychologists and counsellors. Community Teams: Fine Gael will develop community mental health teams and specialist services as outlined in A Vision for Change to ensure early access to more appropriate services for adults and children. This staffing of these teams will be funded by a reallocation of resources within mental health services. Suicide: Fine Gael is committed to implementing Reach Out, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, and will increase funding for the National Office for Suicide Prevention to €10 million to reduce the incidence of suicide and self-harm, improve suicide prevention strategies and develop better bereavement support services. Mental Health Act: Fine Gael will review the Mental Health Act 2001 and update it in line with the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. UHI: Insurance packages under UHI will incorporate a range of mental health services including mental health assessment, access to mental health treatment and where necessary in-patient services. RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY EDUCATION All teenagers at secondary school level need comprehensive sex education. They need to be aware of how their bodies work, their reproductive organs, the risks of pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, and the need for regular check-ups with their doctor. In Government, Fine Gael will ensure that all second-level students have access to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE). VOTING AND POLITICS In Government, Fine Gael will: Ensure the Electoral Register is accurate and up to date through the automatic registration of all individuals when they turn 18 years of age and the use of the PPS system to ensure accuracy. Fine Gael will reduce the voting age to 17 and give eligible citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in the Presidential election. If this experiment is deemed a success Fine Gael will consider extending this practice to general elections14 | Fine Gael Youth Manifesto
  • 16. LETS GET YOUNG IRELAND WORKINGYOUTH WORK AND VOLUNTEERISMYouth work and voluntary involvement in community organisations is essential to ensuring thrivingcommunities throughout the country.Fine Gael recognise that youth work and youth organisations can play an important part in improvingsocial inclusion and active citizenship among our young population.We recognise the importance of youth work projects in engaging young people in their communities andwe fully support the work they do.We will continue support for social innovation projects for young people through our education,community and voluntary structures. Fine Gael Youth Manifesto | 15
  • 18. Fine Gael Headquarters51 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2Tel: 01 619 8444 Fax: 01 6225046 Email: www.