On Saturday morning, we held our Labour Conversations moderated by Norah Casey which outlined how we are going to Stand up for Ireland's Future through four different panels- Standing up for Working People, Standing up for Jobs, Standing up for Families and Standing up for Modern Ireland.
Minister Brendan Howlin opened the session by talking about how far we have come in the past few years and how we now have a stable economy. Minister Howlin warned conference about the instability that would ensue if Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin were in government. We have come too far to risk the recovery we have carefully restored.
Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin launched the Dublin Action Plan for Jobs in Butlers Chocolate in Coolock. The Dublin Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the capital over the coming years which will result in 66,000 additional jobs by 2020.
Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly has written in today's Irish Independent about the devastating flooding that has happened in the last few months and how we need to prioritise a long-term plan for flood prevention. You can read the original article here.
Last night at our Connolly Cafe with Labour Youth , Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan announced if re-elected to Government Labour will create 50,000 additional apprenticeship places by 2020.
Since entering government in 2011 Labour Ministers for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn and Jan O'Sullivan have made significant reforms in modernising the existing apprenticeship system through the work of the Apprenticeship Council. The planning and development of 25 new apprenticeship programmes is currently underway and will lead to a number of these progressing to enrolment later this year.
Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party, Joan Burton together with Minister for Communications Alex White, John Lyons TD and Cllr Pamela Kearns launched our ‘Standing Up For Working Families’ campaign this afternoon.
The campaign is comprised of a series of meetings which will take place across the country over the next two weeks to highlight the ways Labour has and will continue to stand up for working families.
Today Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan launched the Pathways to Work 2016-2020 strategy at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
The Pathways to Work strategy is a plan that will enhance employment, education and training services for jobseekers, continue reforms to make work pay and to increase engagement with employers to provide greater opportunities for those seeking work.
Since the first Pathways to Work strategy was introduced at the peak of the unemployment crisis, unemployment has significantly fallen from 15.1% to 8.8%.
The Workers Charter strikes the right balance between the needs of business and a worker's right to basic job security and a decent rate of pay. It will form a key plank of the party’s manifesto in the upcoming general election.
Tánaiste Joan Burton has spoken about how Labour in Government is standing up for women and how if re-elected we will continue to stand up for women and their families.
Today the quest for gender equality is far from over. We have a wide range of issues to tackle, starting with work and pay.
As Tánaiste and Labour leader, I have always believed that fairly paid and secure work is the single best protection against poverty.
Two-thirds of low-paid workers in Ireland are women. That is a key reason why we have twice increased the National Minimum Wage.
Under Labour in Government, it has risen by more than €3,000 a year – money that makes a real difference to a low-paid worker and their family. The Minimum Wage was designed, of course, as a basic rate, a floor beneath which pay should not fall.
If returned to government, we intend to steadily increase the Minimum Wage so that it becomes a Living Wage. And we will work hard to close the pay gap between men and women. We will also deliver more measures to help families.
In the most recent Budget, we introduced two weeks’ paid paternity leave, which will commence from September next. It’s a modest first step, but designed to acknowledge that men are parents too.
In a second term, we will extend this paid paternity leave and also introduce three months’ paid parental leave to be shared by both parents by 2020. Raising living standards for workers and families is absolutely essential.
But we will also focus on important constitutional change. I know that many of you here tonight feel strongly about the 8th Amendment, and it would be remiss of me not to mention it on such an occasion.
Let me be clear: to attempt to deal with women’s reproductive rights in the Constitution was a bad idea in 1983 and it remains a bad idea today. We want the 8th amendment completely removed from our Constitution.
But we are also pragmatic – we know that in order to win a referendum we need to bring people with us step by step. I welcome the contribution of Labour Women who have published draft legislative proposals to deal with this complex issue.
We in the Labour Party have always stood up for women when it comes to their reproductive rights. And we are the only party that will ensure that a referendum on the 8th Amendment takes place.
The Labour Party will continue to stand up for the rights of women. We will fight to ensure that the Hidden Ireland truly is behind us, and that we build a modern, progressive – and equal – Ireland.