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State is crucial in creating a low-carbon economy

Posted on April 06, 2017

As a party, Labour is committed to State activism and intervention. The role of the State will be particularly critical in our transition to a low-carbon, and ultimately zero-carbon, economy. The market alone will not deliver the fundamental change that needs to happen.

Sustainable energy is worth €1.5bn to the economy and employs 18,000 people. This can only increase. It will more than compensate for the inevitable loss of employment in older energy sectors, playing a huge part in a just transition for workers in these sectors.

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Keeping it in the ground

Posted on April 04, 2017

If we believe that by 2050 “fossil fuels will be largely replaced by renewable energy sources”, then we must right now accept the scale of the changes required and start making decisions.

Moneypoint is one such decision. Bord na Móna is another. Its ‘Sustainability 2030’ plan is an important step towards adaptation, but it has been criticised as insufficiently ambitious.

Do we make the case for accelerated change, given the serious challenges that the country and the company both face? We will continue to advocate a partnership between the company, its workers and trade unions and with the midlands communities who will be most acutely affected by the inevitable changes to come.

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Exchequer funding for energy efficiency measures is a ‘no-brainer’

Posted on April 03, 2017

The International Energy Agency recommends energy efficiency as the ‘first fuel’ in a country’s energy mix: the most cost-effective energy is the energy we do not use. IEA analysis also shows that energy efficiency has the potential to support economic growth, enhance social development, advance environmental sustainability, ensure energy system security and help build wealth.

Industrial efficiency can play a significant role in this area. SEAI advise that all significant industrial plants should be able to aim for 100% efficiency by converting waste energy to useful purposes - these can include conversion to electricity or district heating projects.

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We must seek a new Irish protocol to the EU Treaties

Posted on March 31, 2017

There is no simple solution to resolving the problems that our island will face when the UK exits the European Union and the potentially devastating impact it will have on Northern Ireland and the Peace Process. The Labour Party supports the call by our sister party, the SDLP, for special status for Northern Ireland within the EU. However, with no settled position among the NI parties and the absence of a power sharing Executive, combined with the stated intention of Prime Minister May for the UK to exit the single market; a possible path forward has been outlined, but with no leaders from the region in a position to advocate within the EU for it. The Labour Party believes there should be a separate strand to the Article 50 negotiations to deal specifically with Ireland-UK issues, and Northern Ireland. Failing that, EU consent should be granted for a bilateral agreement to be negotiated between the two jurisdictions to address border issues. This must be addressed when Donald Tusk and the EU Council provide its negotiating priorities to the EU Commission.

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We must protect CAP from #Brexit fallout

Posted on March 30, 2017

The €1.5 billion received by Irish farmers annually must be guaranteed in any post-Brexit adjustments to the EU Budget and the Government must ensure other EU funding streams are protected.

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We need to overhaul the Stability and Growth Pact and the Fiscal Rules

Posted on March 29, 2017

There is now an urgent need for increased investment in Ireland to Brexit-proof our economy, and put a greater emphasis on social progress. EU member states must be given more flexibility, particularly when it comes to social investment to tackle the rising tide of anti-EU sentiment. The Rainy Day Fund must be applied to meet the challenge of Brexit.

While the broad outlook for the Irish economy over the coming years is generally positive there will nevertheless be a negative impact from Brexit. The Department of Finance has already estimated a loss of 0.5% of GDP growth alone in 2017 before the UK’s exit has even happened.

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Ivana Bacik on Labour's #Brexit Campaign

Posted on March 29, 2017

In June 2016, I was delighted to be appointed Labour Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs. Since then, I have been raising issues relevant to Brexit in the Seanad and in my capacity as a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This week, as the British government triggers Article 50, we in the Labour Party are publishing a detailed and comprehensive policy paper outlining the actions we believe are necessary on the part of the Irish government to face the challenges Brexit will present.

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Regional Brexit Action Plans are needed

Posted on March 28, 2017

We propose the setting up of a number of regional fora to examine how the regions can prepare for and minimise the impact of Brexit. The Regional Action Plans for Jobs must be updated and revised to respond to Brexit, taking into account the policy initiatives that have been proposed.

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We need to establish a Brexit Early Warning System

Posted on March 27, 2017

The Government should respond positively to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ proposal to bring together trade unions, employers and other stakeholders and establish a ‘Brexit Early Warning System’ to identify sectors and firms at particular risk of Brexit. There are models from other European countries that can provide guidance here.

The Labour Party has also called for the re-establishment of an Employer-Labour Conference which would complement and support the work of Government and current industrial relations institutions, and is aimed at promoting industrial peace and stability. It previously provided a forum for discussion and review of developments and problems in incomes, prices and industrial relations.

With the advent of Brexit such a forum for social dialogue is critical to address issues as they arise.

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#ClockedOut by the gender pay gap

Posted on March 15, 2017

Yesterday our friends in IMPACT launched their #ClockedOut campaign to highlight the gender pay gap in Ireland. Because of the gender pay gap Irish women who work 9-5 work the last 71 minutes of their work day for free. The Labour Party has published legislation that aims to drive efforts towards closing the gender pay gap in Ireland. The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 requires medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys that would highlight any difference in pay between their male and female employees

 

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