The newly formed Fine Gael-Labor Coalition government will change the way Ireland is governed with immediate effect – with 25,000 civil servants set to lose their jobs as a result.
Details of the programme for government agreed by the two parties were rubber-stamped at Special Delegates meetings of both Fine Gael and Labor in Dublin on Sunday.
Enda Kenny will be elected Prime Minister and Labor’s Eamon Gilmore his deputy when the 31st sitting of the Irish parliament meets for the first time on Wednesday.
But those appointments are only the tip of the iceberg as far as the governance of Ireland is concerned according to the 64 page document outlining the new agreement between the Coalition partners.
Key details of the new deal include:
- The Department of Finance will be split into two Ministries, focused on fiscal planning and the banking sector
- A Fine Gael Minister will lead the fiscal planning Ministry, most likely Michael Noonan
- A Labor Minister will take charge of the banking sector, most likely Joan Bruton
- An Economic Council will be set up to ensure an equal decision making process between the two parties and to determine economic policy
- The two parties have agreed to reduce the national deficit to three percent by 2015 in line with the EU/IMF bailout
- The new Coalition will adhere to the first two year outline of the outgoing Fianna Fail-Green government’s four year plan
- Income tax will not be increased
- Social Welfare payments will not be cut
- Public Sector numbers will be cut, by 21,000 workers by 2014 with a further four to five thousand job cuts to follow
- Child benefit will not change in the immediate future
- Funding for Third Level education will be examined but any changes will not affect access to further education for all students
- The number of TDs will be reduced in line with the 2011 Census
- Ministers’ salaries will be cut, political expenses will have to be vouched for and severance payments for ministers will be cut
Fine Gael spokesman Phil Hogan told RTE: “The new government is going to hit the ground running to get confidence going again in the economy.”
Labor Party negotiator Brendan Howlin also admitted that the incoming Coalition needs to repair ‘broken bridges’ with Ireland’s EU partners as it attempt to renegotiate the EU/IMF deal.
The Coalition deal was discussed and endorsed by Fine Gael and Labor Party delegates in Dublin on Sunday.
Further talks began on Monday to sort out how many Ministers will represent each party in the 31st sitting of the Irish parliament.