Fianna Fáil in government is working through the current period of economic transition and uncertainty to ensure that the vision and goals set down in Towards 2016 can still be achieved.
We are building to stabilise the public finances and improve competitiveness, supporting those who become unemployed, and supporting Irish business and multinational companies.
We are building for the future through investing in research and development, incentivising multinational companies to locate more R&D capacity in Ireland, and ensuring the commercialisation and retaining of ideas that flow from that investment.
Fianna Fáil believes that we must restore stability to our finances in order to achieve economic recovery. The tough decisions that are taken are necessary to safeguard the gains that have been made in the past two decades.
Fianna Fáil is fully aware of the importance of investment for Ireland’s future economic well-being. Our goal is to maintain our position as an attractive destination for investment. The Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal (December 2008) shows Fianna Fáil’s determination to meet the severe short-term challenges we face. It also shows our determination to introduce the changes which will ensure that Ireland emerges from the global downturn in a position to benefit strongly from revived international growth.
We will maximise the potential for growth by building on our strengths in innovation and research and development; address the huge market for environmental and energy-related products, services and innovation; invest in critical infrastructure and support more employment-intensive activity; and reform the Government’s programme to have a more efficient and effective public service supported by good regulation.
Fianna Fáil is maintaining the largest capital investment programme in Europe. Our spending on capital is over 5% of GNP - the appropriate stimulus package for a country facing difficult economic times. Fianna Fáil will continue to invest in roads, public transport, schools and social housing in an effort to provide a necessary stimulus for the economy.
Fianna Fáil is committed to creating a dynamic and sustainable future for Irish agriculture, in which the family farm remains viable and our rural communities can prosper. We will continue to initiate policies to ensure that the safety, quality and security of Irish food production are enhanced and that the rural environment is protected.
The agriculture sector in Ireland plays an important role in our country. Fianna Fáil believes that the future of the sector is vital not only for our rural communities but for our economy as a whole. We are determined that the agriculture sector has a solid and favourable framework for development in the years ahead.
There are challenges ahead which offer both opportunities and threats. Fianna Fáil is constantly striving to ensure that agriculture is sufficiently strong and competitive to meet these challenges and to grow and prosper in the future.
Fianna Fáil believes in improving participation and achievement at every level of education. We believe that every child should be educated in appropriate and comfortable facilities. We are in the middle of the largest and most sustained programme of school modernisation in the history of Irish education. Forty-three major school building projects are to go to tender and construction in 2009, creating more than 19,600 places in new schools, extensions to existing schools and refurbished schools.
Fianna Fáil believes in education, both as a means of enabling all individuals to reach their full potential and as a major contributor to our country’s success. These two key priorities underpin our approach to education.
Fianna Fáil is reversing the historical under-investment in school buildings, improving services for children with special needs and ensuring a multi-faceted approach to enabling children from disadvantaged areas to make the most of the opportunities available to them at school.
We are meeting challenges such as catering for the needs of an increasingly multicultural society, preparing young people for the knowledge society and building the research base that will be central to our ability to attract high skills jobs in the future.
Fianna Fáil is fostering a spirit of partnership with all the stakeholders in education - parents, teachers, school patrons/trustees, management bodies and the community - to deliver on the goals of creating the best education system possible.
The development of a world-class public health service is a core objective for Fianna Fáil. We believe we are making progress in improving our public health services. Overall we are providing more and better quality services to more people than ever before. We want to make the full range of cancer services available and accessible to patients throughout Ireland in accordance with best international practice.
Fianna Fáil has put the interests of children at the heart of Government. This has been reinforced by the creation of the Office of the Minister for Children, who sits at the Cabinet table. This ensures the interests of children are taken into account in an unprecedented manner across all areas of government.
Fianna Fáil believes that Ireland’s future lies firmly at the heart of Europe, and is constantly working to increase our role in European affairs. Our nation’s interests are best served by being a positive member of the European Union.
Ireland has been transformed since joining the European Union in 1973. For 36 years, the European Union has been the key framework within which Ireland has developed economically and politically.
A major factor in our evolution was access to the EU market that now numbers some 500 million consumers. This was a key plank of our export-led growth.
Since we joined the EU, Ireland has benefited from major funding, including more than €41 billion from the CAP. In the period from 2007-2013, Ireland can expect to receive approximately €12bn in funding. The financial support from Europe has contributed to the development of our roads, environmental services, public transport, education and training.
Fianna Fáil believes that we have derived great benefit from Europe and we want to retain our reputation as an active and committed EU Member.