News & Media

'No Going Back' a Manifesto for Recovery

27 May 2020

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly has this morning endorsed the radical report 'No Going Back' from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, describing it as 'the recovery plan Ireland needs to support workers and families by renewing the social contract with a commitment to well funded universal public services'.

The Labour Leader specifically pointed to the permanent nationalisation of private hospitals and public funding of childcare worker salaries as proposals that are now needed to rebuild the social contract.

Deputy Kelly said:

"If we are to be truly revolutionary in these exceptional times, then we need a new social contract between the people and the State. The comprehensive proposal from Congress today is a manifesto for recovery that draws on many policy ideas that the Labour Party has long argued for. I endorse this new deal, and call on others to add their support.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has converted many free market advocates to social democratic Labour policies that for years they opposed. The social contract should be a given. If you work hard, pay your taxes, contribute to society, then the state should assist you with housing, healthcare, childcare, education and a system of decent public services on which you could rely.

"But right now, it is not. Too many working people have too many worries. Too many people are running to stand still, and the Covid-19 crisis has shown the need for a new deal for a safe and secure future.

"The report calls for a universal public healthcare system. It notes the temporary nationalisation of private hospitals. It is my view that if we want a universal single tier system then we must permanently nationalise private hospitals to give us the extra capacity we need.

"The private childcare system is failing parents and staff, and the Congress proposals match our own. Now is the time for affordable care and salaries that value the work of staff.

"People also deserve to be able to access a secure home, and we can build those on publicly owned land. Parents should also be able to know that their children will be provided with a good education in a properly funded system. They need to also know that public transport will accessible to them and that our environment will be protected. That is not the case in the Ireland of 2020.

"I also welcome the focus in the report on a voice for workers, the need to tackle bogus self-employment, provide a living wage , collective bargaining and ensure all State recovery supports to private enterprise are linked to trade union access and recognition. These are core Labour policies, and we will champion them in the Oireachtas to deliver a more secure workplace.

"As the party of work, I look forward to campaigning with Congress on this ambitious policy platform, that has the potential to transform our island. However as I have articulated in recent weeks, it is irresponsible for other political parties who claim they want to introduce policies like the Labour Party has called for, and this report from Congress today reiterates, that can only be introduced with additional taxation measures."

ENDS