Since re-entering politics in 2016 Justin Barrett has with faultless accuracy predicted every major issue facing the Irish people, and pointed out the obvious, though not liberal solutions. He has been Right So Far.
Ireland cannot solve the housing problems of the entire world. House the Irish first!
Justin Barrett has opposed the Lockdown from the beginning. There is a virus, yes, but no pandemic.
There are too many immigrants too fast for Ireland to assimilate without losing our national identity.
Candidate positions on the election issues:
Providing financial supports for first-time buyers is an important part of the solution to the housing crisis in the short term.
Measures such as the proposed ‘shared equity’ scheme and the ‘help-to-buy’ tax relief are aimed at helping first-time buyers to purchase a property. Critics say they contribute to the problem by driving up prices, while supporters say that they enable people who would not otherwise afford it to buy a home.
"Financial supports of the kind proposed by Government and Opposition will be eaten up immediately by inflation and be of no help to first time buyers. Only public housing or public loans will work."
The state should borrow heavily to invest in house building
Some (including the Fiscal Advisory Council) argue that current levels of debt are already too high, and additional borrowing should be limited. Others (including the ESRI) argue that now is a good time for the government to borrow heavily to invest in a large-scale house building programme.
"There is no need to borrow money to build houses if the State issued its own currency."
A rent freeze should be introduced in Dublin
Currently, rent increases are limited to 4% in ‘rent pressure zones’. A temporary ban exists on rent increases for people whose incomes were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some argue that a blanket rent freeze would drive landlords out of the sector, or that it might be unconstitutional. Others say it is needed to address the very high cost of renting in Dublin.
"You cannot just ban inflation. Either it will drive renters out of the market or they will find a way around them and increase real rents. The issue is supply and demand. Most immediately demand."
Investment funds should be prevented from bulk-buying apartments
The government recently introduced measures to discourage bulk-buying of houses by international investment funds. However, apartments are currently not covered by these measures. Some argue that apartments would not be built without these investors, while others say that bulk-buying of apartments locks individuals out of the property market.
"No foreign investment fund buying should be permitted while the crisis continues. Irish homes for Irish people. "
More accommodation for Travellers should be built in this constituency
The government makes funding available for local authorities to build Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes). Some local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition. Representatives of the Travelling community argue that more accommodation is needed.
In the wake of the pandemic, most people should have to pay more tax
Compared to other EU countries, the overall tax burden for most people is relatively low. Some argue that, particularly in light of the high level of borrowing during the pandemic and the need for additional spending in areas such as health and housing, taxes should be raised or new taxes introduced. Others disagree and think that most people already pay enough.
"The National Debt is unpayable. Any attempts to repay it or even maintain interest maintains increases the economic pain when this has finally to be admitted."
Should taxes on high earners be increased or decreased?
Earnings above €35,300 (for a single person) or €44,300 (for a married couple) are taxed at 40%. The Universal Social Charge is 8% on earnings over €70,000. Some argue that high earners are taxed too much, which makes it difficult for companies to attract talent. Others argue that high earners (e.g. annual incomes over 100k) should pay more to fund better public services.
"In general income tax is too high in this country already. Corporation tax however is too low, where it is even paid at all."
Ireland should increase its corporate tax rate to bring it in line with other countries
Ireland’s corporate tax rate is 12.5%, which is low by international standards. This is one feature that makes Ireland an attractive location for multinational companies, which are a major contributor to the Irish economy; it has also led to accusations of Ireland being a ‘tax haven’. The US and many European countries support a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%.
"There is no reason why corporation tax should be in line with any other country as such. Fix a tax policy which works for Ireland. But it is not being paid fairly at the current rate anyway. "
The Local Property Tax is needed to fund local services
The LPT is a tax that homeowners must pay, based on the value of their property. The LPT currently makes up around 8% of the total revenue for local councils and is used to fund local services. Some claim it is unfair to have a tax on the family home, while others argue that this is a significant component of people’s wealth and so should be taxed.
"Taxing property on which tax has already been paid when it was income is a fundamentally unjust tax and should be scrapped altogether."
What is your view of the mandatory hotel quarantine system?
Currently, anyone coming to Ireland from countries designated as high-risk are required to quarantine in a hotel for 11 days or more (depending on test results) at their own expense. Ireland is the only EU country with such a system. Some believe that the system should be extended to everyone coming into the country, while others believe that it is an unnecessary infringement on individuals’ rights.
"It’s absolutely bizarre and amounts to imprisonment without trial or even a crime."
Covid-19 emergency powers should be ended immediately
During the pandemic, legislation was passed to give the Minister for Health the power to make regulations such as restricting travel, stopping public gatherings, and closing premises. The Gardaí were given additional powers to fine and arrest people for breaching Covid-19 regulations. These powers are currently due to be in place until November, but some argue they should be ended sooner.
"These measures should never have been introduced. The longer they remain the more damage they do."
Pandemic unemployment payments should be reduced in the coming months
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a social welfare payment for people who were prevented from working due to Covid-19 rules, with rates varying from €203 to €350 per week. Some argue that it the PUP is acting as a disincentive to get back to work and should be wound down, while others argue that the scheme should be extended until all Covid-related restrictions end. Under current plans, rates will be reduced from September and the scheme will end in February.
"Pandemic payments can be reduced with re-opening. In fact hey will not be needed since there never was a pandemic. But the Government has destroyed the livelihoods of many and cannot simply abandon them."
How do you feel about the pace of reopening?
From the 5th of July, restrictions are as follows: house visits are limited to people from 3 other households; indoor events (including weddings) are limited to 50 people; most outdoor events are limited to 200 people; public transport is limited to 50% capacity. Indoor dining and drinking is not permitted, except for overnight guests at hotels. Fines for non-essential international travel are in place until 18th July.
"There never was a genuine case for Lockdown in the first place. But given where we are the only way to limit the damage is a complete return to normality now."
Congestion charges should be introduced in Dublin
Congestion charges are charges on vehicles entering a city at busy times. They are currently under consideration for Dublin. Opponents say they put an unfair economic burden on people who have to drive to the city, while supporters say that they contribute to cutting emissions and make cities more liveable.
"No one can drive anywhere in Dublin at 30 km/h during the day as it is. No point in virtue signalling with limits that are never reached."
Too many cycle lanes are being built in Dublin
A number of new cycle lanes have been rolled out across Dublin recently, and more have been planned. While this is a welcome development for the growing number of cyclists in Dublin, it will also mean fewer traffic lanes for cars and less space for on-street parking.
"Cycling is neither the problem nor the solution."
More Dublin streets should be pedestrianised
A number of streets in Dublin city centre have been pedestrianised recently. Some argue that pedestrianisation has gone far enough and motorists must be catered for, while others argue that it should be extended further to facilitate more outdoor dining and to improve the experience for pedestrians.
Speed limits of 30km/h should be introduced across most parts of Dublin
Dublin City Council proposed reducing the speed limits on many roads from 50km to 30 km/h, but the proposal is currently on hold due to local opposition. Opponents say it will slow traffic too much, while supporters say it will improve road safety.
"No one can drive anywhere in Dublin at 30 km/h during the day as it is. No point in virtue signalling with limits that are never reached."
The proposed MetroLink from Swords to Charlemont should go ahead as planned
MetroLink is a planned high frequency rail line from Swords to Charlemont (near Ranelagh), via Dublin Airport. It would run mostly underground. Some people oppose the current plans because of the disruption it will cause, and some advocate alternative routes. Supporters say there have been enough delays and want to see the planned project implemented as soon as possible.
"Dublin should always have aimed at an underground transport system. The MetroLink is little and late but it is a start."
The proposed BusConnects plan should go ahead
BusConnects is a planned overhaul of the bus network in Dublin, involving new orbital and spine routes that avoid going through the city centre. Opponents of the plan cite the loss of direct routes and the need to change buses more often on your journey, along with the disruption and loss of trees that implementing the plan will involve. Supporters point to the increased capacity and bus frequency and the easing of congestion in the city centre.
"Public transport in Dublin is already a mess. Why make it worse?"
Carbon taxes should continue to increase each year
Carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, petrol, diesel, and gas. It recently increased from €26 to €33.50 per tonne of CO2, with further increases planned every year until 2030. Critics argue that carbon tax disproportionally impacts those on low incomes, while supporters say it is necessary to effect behaviour change and so reduce emissions.
"There is no evidence that Ireland can effect positive Global Environment events through carbon reduction. It is simply another reason for tax."
Do current commitments to halve emissions by 2030 go too far or not far enough?
The recent Climate Bill commits the government to reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This is to involve carbon budgets every five years. Some argue that these targets are not ambitious enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, while others argue they go too far and will entail too much economic damage to certain sectors.
"Irelands economy is already in dire trouble. Anything which would make this worse should be opposed. There should be no emission targets at all."
A new sewage treatment plant should be built to address pollution in Dublin Bay, even if it is in this constituency
The Ringsend sewage treatment plant is operating beyond capacity, and there are regular overflows of untreated wastewater into Dublin Bay. Efforts to build a new treatment plant have met with local objections. Planning permission for a new treatment plant near Dublin airport was overturned and is currently undergoing judicial review.
"The CSO needs to compile correct statistics before any sensible decisions on sewage treatment can be made. False population figures based on illegal immigration being ignored is a major part of the problem."
A referendum on Irish unity should be held during the next five years
The Good Friday Agreement allows for the possibility of a referendum (‘border poll’) in Northern Ireland and in the Republic on the question of a united Ireland, if there is evidence that unification is desired by a majority. Some believe that a border poll would be premature and divisive at this time, while others argue that, in light of Brexit and the changing demographics in Northern Ireland, a border poll should be held soon.
"There must be a discussion on the type of political structure we need on a politically united Ireland. This discussion can only begin when it is agreed in principle."
The reunification of Ireland would create more problems than it would solve
Some people believe that the division of Ireland is inherently wrong and that reunification is the only satisfactory long-term solution. Others are opposed to reunification on the grounds that it might increase the risk of conflict or because they believe it would be too expensive for the Irish state.
"There are no problems that cannot be solved with political courage and goodwill. The Northern Statelet has been a failure for 100 years and will always be. "
EU & international
Ireland should cooperate with other EU member states on defence
Ireland is a member of the PESCO framework, which seeks to increase cooperation between EU member states on defence. It commits members to work together on military planning and to increase defence spending. Some oppose it because they see it as a step in the direction of an EU army. Others say cooperation is necessary so that the EU can defend itself without having to rely on the US.
Some people argue that that further European integration is necessary to tackle shared challenges and for economic stability. Others argue that further integration would undermine national sovereignty and should be opposed.
"It has already gone too far. The only interest than Ireland has in the EU is a degree of free trade, and reasonable travel, though not unlimited residence. A unitary federal state will fail and fail disastrously."
Ireland should boycott Israeli goods produced in the occupied territories
The ‘Occupied Territories’ bill would make it an offence to import or sell goods and services originating in an occupied territory. Critics of the bill say it discriminates unfairly against Israel, and that it may undermine important economic and diplomatic links with the US and Israel. Those in favour argue that it will show solidarity with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
Gardaí should be given more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour
Currently, Gardaí have certain powers to tackle anti-social behaviour by teenagers and adults, including applying to the courts for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) for repeat offenders. Some argue these measures do not go far enough and new powers (such as powers to disperse groups) should be introduced. Others disagree and say that the solution lies in more engagement rather than enforcement.
"Gardaí regularly abuse the powers they already have. While there certainly is a problem with anti-social behaviour they have shown themselves most inclined to interrupt social behaviour in the past 15 months."
Should access to abortion be made more restrictive or less restrictive?
Currently, terminations are permitted for any reason up to 12 weeks in a pregnancy. Terminations are only permitted after this date if there is a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman or if there is a fatal foetal anomaly. Some argue that this system is too liberal and should be made more restrictive, while others believe it that abortion should be permitted in a wider range of circumstances.
"Abortion is murder. Plain and simple. The law should reflect the fact."
The Church has too much control over Irish schools
Around 90% of primary schools and just under half of secondary schools are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. Some argue that the Church provides invaluable services in education, while others say that a Catholic ethos is being imposed against people’s wishes.
"There is no Catholic ethos being taught in nominally “Catholic” schools. That is a liberal myth. But since the Church insists on allowing cultural Marxism to influence the real ethos taught they can not be allowed to continue to control any schools."
Should immigration into Ireland be made more restrictive or less restrictive?
Non-Irish nationals make up around 13% of the population, most of whom came from the UK or the EU under free movement rules. Work permits are issued to people coming from other countries only with a job offer in certain occupations, and the job must pay over €30,000 per year. Some believe that immigration is too high, putting pressure on services; while others argue that more immigration is needed to tackle job shortages and is positive for the country.
"Immigration is not just a matter of work permits but National identity. Immigration controls which exist need to be enforced. Failed asylum seekers should be deported immediately."
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