At this time of hardship, unemployment, emigration and even negative equity, the Greys have secured a famous victory and guaranteed their place in history. Last night, in a nail-biting near-finale they and their coalition partner FF The Corruption Party forced through a vitally important Bill to save Ireland from the terrible fate of Stag Hunting. The victory was not achieved without suffering however when two FF The Corruption Party TDs (members of parliament) were expelled from their party.
The Greys are well on their way to saving the country as they promised in their party manifesto. In fact, only one major hurdle remains before complete victory – the dreaded Dog Breeding Bill. Dogs all over Ireland are trembling in their dog-baskets at the prospect.
Then the Dáil (parliament) will rise for what is laughingly called ‘the summer recess’ but which does, in fact, extend well into the autumn (in fact, the Dáil barely has time to sit down before it has to stand up again for the Christmas break).
The anti-stag hunting legislation and the Dog Breeding Bill mark two huge milestones in the Grey Party list of priorities. Other less-important priorities, according to their 2007 Manifesto are as follows:
- Housing – Ensure the delivery of 10,000 social and affordable housing units a year until the housing waiting lists are cleared.
- Health – Provide an additional 4000 beds to cut A&E queues. Introduce medical cards for children under 6.
- Child Care – Replace the Early Childcare Supplement with a higher Refundable Parenting Tax Credit available as a cash payment or used to reduce income tax bills.
- Education – Invest €1 billion in education for the first year of the next Government to front-load educational priorities. Provide 2,400 extra teachers at primary and secondary levels.
- Transport – Prioritise the Dublin Metro and Luas extensions, provide Luas-type lines in Cork and Galway and introduce commuter services on existing railway lines in Limerick and a line to Shannon.
- Energy/Climate Change – Seek an all-party approach to cut carbon emissions by 3% annually through renewable energy and improved building standards.
- Tax - Reduce both VAT rates by 1%. Index-link tax credits and bands to protect workers from inflation and avoid taxation by stealth.
- Social Welfare – Benchmark the lowest social welfare payment for a single person at 50% of average income.
- Crime – Provide for a systematic increase in Garda numbers – at least 15,000 are needed. Establish an Organised Crime Agency.
- Environment – Increase spending on sewage treatment infrastructure in key towns and villages under development pressure.
- Political Reform – Ban corporate donations to political parties.
- Carers – Abolish means-testing of the carers’ allowance.
- Pension – increase the basic pension from 30% of average income to 60%.
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