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