IRELAND: Largest Opposition Party Fianna Fáil to Include Basic Income in General Election Manifesto

Willie O'Dea, Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Social Protection and Social Equality

Ireland’s Fianna Fáil party will include a commitment to a Basic Income of €230 a week in its manifesto for next year’s general election.

The news was revealed by Fianna Fáil spokesperson for social protection and social equality, Willie O’Dea in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper. O’Dea said that he will outline the plan in the party’s social protection policy document, which is due to be published in a few week’s time.

This commitment makes Fianna Fáil the most significant party in Ireland to support Basic Income, they are currently the largest opposition party and are usually the third largest party in opinion polls, not far behind those in front. The €230 Fianna Fáil proposal is also higher than that suggested by Social Justice Ireland, who presented a Basic Income affordability study at a BIEN conference in 2012. The Green Party also supports Basic Income but has never campaigned on it nor laid out a concrete proposal.

In terms of costing, the document says that refunding tax credits would be the first step to a Basic Income and that “Any income earned above [the Basic Income] would be taxed at a new single rate.”

The policy document will also outline some of the justification for Basic Income, making a number of criticisms of Ireland’s current taxation and social welfare system, noting that social work such as caring and volunteering go financially unrewarded. It will further mention that “It would promote gender equality, as all forms of ‘work’ are rewarded, not just paid employment.” and that “It would remove poverty traps and unemployment traps, as seeking paid employment or increased income would still be worthwhile.”

The inclusion in Fianna Fáil’s manifesto reflects the increasing political support Basic Income has been receiving worldwide in the last year.

About Liam Upton

has written 107 articles.

Creator of the Basic Income Now activist website, moderator of the reddit /r/basicincome community and active member of Basic Income Ireland.


  • This is great news. The only downside I see is the phrase, “first step.” So many parties say, “we’re for basic income,” and then say, “well…that’s a long-term goal,” “let’s have a pilot project,” or “let’s take a really small step in that direction.” We need Basic Income Now: 230 Euros a month for every man, woman, and child, now.

  • Yes I agree that their should be a fixed wage based on the cost of living,if you expect households to pay today for rates,water,and basic living things you first must take into account the amount of money coming into that house!you can’t get blood from a stone,I think that firstly they should look to income related families that don’t need chrildren allowance if the family are wealthy,they should be asked to forgo the benefit ,it’s like the government afraid to tell bondholders to take a hike during the bank guarantee,it’s the same situation,if you don’t give the working class a living wage ,theyhave to forgo food to pay bills,that’s the bottom line,
    Yours,Liam Hynes Leixlip Kildare

  • Well, at Basic Income Ireland we made a few further enquiries and it is not at all certain that FF will commit to Basic Income in their manifesto, though they may well commit to further investigation of BI. But their interest is certainly welcome. In relation to Karl’s and Peter’s comments above, as Liam Upton’s article says, the figure mentioned in the article is €230 a week. Social Justice Ireland’s proposals on Basic Income make it clear that a BI at this level would have to be supplemented for various categories of people – the most salient issue at the moment is rent supplement, since a BI €230 is not enough to cover housing costs in many areas of Ireland. In relation to Liam Hynes’s comment, one of the central features of BI is its universality, i.e. it goes to everyone regardless of means, but of course it is also part of its operation that the better-off pay additional taxes that more than compensate for the BI they receive, so its results are in many ways similar to those of a means-tested benefit. The key administrative differences are that recipients do not have to prove their neediness as a condition for receiving BI; instead, the administration needed to claw back BI from well-off people is part of the existing taxation system.

    • Mike

      Great reply. Just cos a person is wealthy does not mean they will always be wealthy ubi should be for every citizens young old rich or poor. It is a payment for a more equal country. I liked the report aswell good read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *