“This may come as news to Fine Gael, but Ireland in 2015 is a very different place to 2002. The statistics speak for themselves. During the period 1998 – 2007 Fianna Fáil consistently increased social welfare payments to ensure that the real living standards of people who depend on the State were improved. As a result Ireland in 2011 had a progressive tax and welfare system which reduced income inequality and mitigated the risk of poverty. This is something Fianna Fáil is proud of. However, much of this has been undone by the current government who have created significant poverty traps as a result of their policy decisions, particularly for lone parents.
“We as a party are serious about looking at ways to rebuild a fairer society and we are prepared to investigate further whether a basic income system can help achieve that. By contrast, every budget that Fine-Gael Labour has introduced has been regressive and targeted what extra cash there was to the benefit of those who already have the most. Fine Gael’s effort to ridicule the idea of a basic income system demonstrates their lack of interest in working towards any sort of equality or fairness in Irish society. Labour’s scared silence in the face of this arrogance tells its own story.”