Today we launched our plan for promoting arts, culture and heritage in the Project Arts Centre with Tánaiste Joan Burton, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Kevin Humphreys and Tony Award winning director Garry Hynes.
Ireland is a country with an extraordinarily rich heritage on which to base our cultural identity. Who we are as a people is firmly grounded in an outstanding foundation of artistic and cultural achievement and excellence. We believe that participation in and enjoyment of the arts and our cultural institutions should be for the many, not the few. That’s why we will push for greater access and more innovative uses of our artistic and cultural resources to the benefit of all our citizens.
Today the Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister Jan O'Sullivan launched our Standing up for Education plan in Limerick. Among the commitments in our plan for education include delivering the smallest class sizes in the history of the State, ending the use of prefabs in schools, reducing school costs for parents, doubling the number of multi-denominational schools by 2021 and amending the Equal Status Acts so that local children can access local schools.
The Labour Party has delivered a stable and balanced recovery. In five years, we have rebuilt our economy from the ruins that Fianna Fail left it in.
We've created almost 140,000 jobs. We've cut the USC and increased the minimum wage. We've introduced free GP care, and we've passed a referendum on marriage equality.
We can look forward with hope and optimism, and begin to make Ireland a great country to live, work, and raise a family.
All this has been achieved by managing the economy responsibly and fairly. But, at the moment, storm clouds are gathering over the international economy. There is a lot of uncertainty about the wider economic outlook.
At this time, we cannot allow others to play with the recovery that we have delivered. This simple ad shows how Labour has delivered a stable and balanced recovery and how we cannot let others put that at risk. Please share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáín spoke about our plan to indroduce a new and comprehensive approach to dealing with drug addicition - "We will put the Drugs Cort on a statutory footing and expand its remit. We must also ensure that the resources of the criminal justice system are targeted at drug pushers and those that wish to damage our communities, not their victims."
Today we launched our plan for moving towards a new National Community Health Service in Cork with Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister Kathleen Lynch and our candidate in Cork South-Central, Ciarán Lynch. By 2021, we will achieve significant steps towards the full rollout of Universal Health Care. We will provide free access to GP care, develop more nurse-led services, lower the cost of medicines and increase funding for primary care, community care and our hospitals.
Before the launch both Ministers headed along to the former Tait Clothing site where 82 new units are currently under construction. In our housing plan we want to build more social homes and will deliver 1110,00 social housing units by 2020. Right now, over 5,000 social homes are under construction and in the last year, over 420 local authority staff have been added to housing sections all around the country
Today we launched our plans for affordable and high quality childcare with Tanaiste Joan Burton, Deputy Ciara Conway and Cllr Mark Wall. Our plan whic h includes capping the cost of childcare for parents to €2 per hour by 2021 and an increase in paternity leave by three months.
As a father our candidate in Kildare South, Mark Wall knows the importance of good childcare provision "Today we are also proposing that parental leave is extended by 3 months, to be shared by both parents. We recognise that fathers should have the opportunity to bond with their new-born children – it’s why we introduced two weeks of paternity leave in the last Budget, which will happen in September."
Today we launched our plan for a living wage and investing in skills in one of Ireland's living wage employers - Clúid Housing with Tánaiste Joan Burton , Minister for Business Ged Nash and our candidate in Dublin Central Joe Costello TD.
We will introduce a Living Wage of €11.30 per hour by 2021 and we will make the State a living wage employer by 2021. Our plan commits to creating 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places by 2020 and100,000 new free part-time education places.