Fine Gael came into power in 2011 on a reform agenda, led by Enda The Braveheart, they promised to get us a better deal in Europe, to deliver a completely new healthcare system, and to eradicate the Seanad (something they never campaigned for once put to the people).
Long since then we have a completely new Fine Gael. No longer the party of reform and more like the party of maintain; it might very well be that their time is up. So let’s look at some of their policies and how they differ to the other parties.
Day 1 Climate Change
Fine Gael have a comprehensive action plan that can be summarised in two words “Carbon Taxes”. This government hasn't been very serious about climate change, but Paschal cleverly increased carbon taxes when it looked certain that we'd fail to meet 2020 emissions targets. They plan to raise €90m in carbon taxes in 2020, which will go towards funding climate action measures, but the reality is that by failing to meet our targets we will have to fork out €150 million to pay for carbon credits. So it looks like poor management has led to another bill the Irish taxpayer has to pick up, another silent theft without so much as a call for a blood soaked revolution. Rating 2/5
Labour want to achieve net carbon emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. Labour’s big idea is to introduce a diversification task force for farmers; which is presumably a team of fresh-faced UCD students knocking on farmers doors to tell them about the benefits of hemp production. They also want farmers to grow more trees and to pedestrianise Dublin City centre. Basically playing fiddle to the Dublin commuter and peddling the dream that climate change can happen in other pockets of Ireland. Rating 3/5
The Green Party support carbon taxes which would make you wary but they’ve got strong opinions on climate change action; such as divesting the state completely from fossil fuels and banning exploration & drilling. The Greens intend to transition to a 100% decarbonised power system which sounds like the fuel used in star trek but really means more solar panels and wind turbines. Rating 5/5
Interestingly Sinn Fein don’t believe in Carbon Taxes, at least not right now as people haven’t been given a fair chance to transition. They also want to ban fracking and the importation of fracked gas. Sinn Fein’s big call out is to ensure data centres are self powered by 100% renewable energy. Similar to Labour’s policy of blame the farmers except SF are targeting corporations and IT centres. Rating 4/5
Solidarity/People Before Profit: Several years to form one party and yet two websites going into election 2020, one of the most disappointing aspects of this alliance. Solidarity suggest taking the agribusiness and “big business” into democratic public ownership, I guess we’re to presume this will lead to carbon neutrality. PBP have more sensible approaches such as investing in cycling and walking infrastructure but with such universal language it’s hard to say if they have any exciting ideas of their own. Rating 1/5
It’s as if the 2020 election has taken Fianna Fail by complete surprise, their website is completely dysfunctional. Their policies are nowhere to be seen which is hysterical to members of FG but most concerning for members of the public. Presumably most of FFs vote comes from people without broadband and the web-page is for when they're on daytrips to Dublin. From the gist of what FF have posted on their news section they seem to be more aware of climate change than Danny Healy Rae but less sure about how to deal with it. Rating 0/5
The Social Democrats propose incentivising carbon sequestration through forestry and wetland initiatives. They also propose specific domestic targets on emission reduction and fossil fuel use. They want to promote the use of electric cars through better grants and charging infrastructure. The Social Dems have a lot of well meaning language in their policy document but they’re not overly convincing, for instance they say they’re in favour of legislation to restrict the use of single use plastic but they don’t expand on this or state if it’s for the commercial and/or consumer sector. Rating 3/5