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The Social Democrats will this week take part in a series of separate policy discussions with both Sinn Fein and the Green Party aimed at trying to agree common approaches on a  number of key issues. The party’s co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall said that the party’s priority is to ensure that a social democratic agenda frames both the discussions and the policy approaches.

The Party’s priorities, as outlined in the manifesto put before voters, are to prioritise better public services for all instead of tax cuts; to end the privatisation of public services; to have open, fair and objective decisions on all public spending; to bring about institutional reform and honest politics, including tackling vested interests and to tackle corruption and white collar crime; and to reduce the cost of living and implement measures to achieve a much better work life balance for all those who struggle with childcare and other caring responsibilities, work, commuting and increasing basic costs.

With that in mind the party has put forward a number of specific topics for these discussions which it says are imperative to delivering a strong and fair society, and a vibrant economy which are underpinned by an honest politics, with a clear focus on delivery. Those topics are:

  • Housing & Planning
  • Health – specifically the full implementation of Slaintecare and mental health initiatives
  • Objective Resource allocation – to ensure fair and evidence-based allocation of public services and other key resources. The party says this is crucial for transparent and fair spending of public monies.
  • Disabilities
  • Measures to tackle corruption and white collar crime alongside institutional reform and honest politics.
The Social Democrats specifically zoned in on the above topics as a means of ensuring the conversations are framed on a bedrock of a social democratic approach. Other topics also agreed for discussion in both sessions include climate and biodiversity, childcare, taxation, Brexit, education, and measures to help improve work/life balance.

The discussions this week will focus on areas of commonality and difference in approaches to each of these key topics to see if it is possible to find agreement on solutions as well as agreement on a realistic and viable fiscal approach to resourcing them.

02nd March 2020

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