Build on progress made in growing jobs in the regions. Unemployment is down in Cavan & Monaghan by about one third - I want to continue that progress.
Ensuring rural families feel the recovery by strengthening supports to farmers & SMEs & improving links between businesses and the education sector.
Continue to increase investment in our arts, cultural and heritage sectors, which are so important to local communities right across Ireland.
Party positions on the election issues:
These positions were provided by the party
Budget and taxes
What should the priority be in the next budget?
With a growing economy, government revenue is increasing. This can be put back into the economy in the form of tax cuts or increased spending on public services, or it can be used to reduce the national debt.
"We don't believe tax cuts and spending on public services are mutually exclusive. Our Long-Term Economic Plan will create more jobs and make work pay by cutting income tax. The boost to the public finances from increasing numbers at work will allow us to fund improvements in key public services."
Should high earners pay more tax than they currently do?
There are two income tax rates: the standard rate of 20% applies to all income up to a certain amount (€33,800 for a single person); and the higher rate of 40%, applies to all income earned over that amount. The Universal Social Charge is also payable at different rates depending on income.
Yes, to reduce economic inequality high earners should pay more tax
No, high earners pay enough at present
No, to reward work high earners should pay less tax than they do now
None of the above
"ALL workers should pay less income tax than they do currently. If re-elected we will abolish the USC, to encourage work and effort and to keep the recovery going. We will also ensure Ireland’s income tax system remains one of the most progressive in the EU. Those on €33,800 are not 'high earners.'"
No, it is high enough; further increases could mean fewer jobs
No, the minimum wage is too high and should be decreased
None of the above
"We are committed to sensible increases in the minimum wage. We will cut employer’s PRSI to mitigate the cost of minimum wage increases. We will also introduce a Working Family Payment to eliminate welfare traps and ensure that work always pays more than welfare."
Yes, employees who want it should be given a guaranteed number of hours
Employers should try to provide guaranteed hours to staff, but the state should not intervene
No, employers sometimes need flexibility in order to stay in business
None of the above
"It is important to strike a balance between ensuring that workers are provided with the best possible conditions and recognising that employers in some sectors require flexibility in order for their businesses to remain viable."
The Department of the Environment provides funding to local authorities for Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes), but many local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition.
Yes, health care should be free for all, even if it means higher taxes
GP care should be free, but universal health care would cost too much
No, those who can afford to pay should not have free health care
None of the above
"We will introduce free GP care for all children. Our plan is for Universal Healthcare – for access to quality preventative, primary, curative, rehabilitative and end-of-life healthcare that is timely and affordable for everyone. Further work needs to be conducted on the costs of various models."
Should the state do more to cover the cost of childcare?
The cost of childcare in Ireland is high by international standards. From September 2016, children over the age of three will be entitled to free pre-school for three hours a day. Beyond that it is up to parents to pay.
Yes, schools should be able to serve their own religious community first
Yes, but only if there are suitable alternatives (e.g. non-denominational schools) in the area
No, religion should have no place in school admissions policies for state-funded schools
None of the above
"The Equal Status Act permits schools in which the objective is to provide education that promotes certain religious values, to admit a student of a particular religion in preference to others. Fine Gael supports real parental choice within a more diverse system of school patronage."
Should we accept more refugees in Ireland than we currently do?
In response to the migrant crisis, the current government has agreed to accept more refugees. However, Ireland still takes a relatively small number of refugees compared to some EU countries (such as Germany and Sweden).
Some argue that greater integration is necessary to tackle EU-wide issues such as the financial crisis and the migrant crisis, while others believe that the EU interferes too much in the affairs of member states.
Should we sign up to the EU’s targets on reducing emissions?
The European Commission wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Some groups are opposed to this because they believe it would have a negative impact on certain sectors, such as agriculture.
Yes, we should do what it takes to reduce our emissions in line with EU targets
We should seek to reduce emissions, but these targets are too ambitious for Ireland
No, we do not need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
None of the above
"We have committed, with our EU partners, to a collective target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030. Ireland’s national long-term vision is presented in climate legislation, which sets out our intention to substantially cut CO2 emissions by 2050."
Yes, TDs should take instruction from their constituents or follow their conscience on all matters
TDs should be given a free vote on ethical issues, but on other matters the whip is needed
No, government parties need to be united in order to implement their policies
None of the above
"The whip system is an essential feature of almost all parliamentary democracies. Relaxing the whip in certain instances is something FG would certainly consider on an all-party basis. Abolishing the whip completely however is a recipe for a mixture of legislative paralysis and chaos."
Currently only the government can call a referendum. In some countries, citizens can initiate a referendum to introduce or overturn legislation or amend the constitution, once a certain number of signatures are collected.
Yes, allowing citizens to initiate referendums would empower the people
Yes, but only for referendums to overturn legislation (not to amend the constitution or introduce new legislation)
No, citizen-initiated referendums would be costly and potentially chaotic
None of the above
"Referendums are already relatively common in Ireland and there is nothing to prevent citizens presenting petitions. We have substantially opened up the legislative process to citizens both via the work of the Constitution Convention and with the various packages of Dáil reform introduced since 2011."
No, there should be a greater focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment
None of the above
"We have been tough on repeat offenders and will continue to focus on tough penalties for reoffending, and widen the range of serious crime categories who can receive tougher sentences. At the same time we will also increase the use of supervised community sanctions for non-violent and minor offences"
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This policy explains what information we collect about candidates who use our website and how we use it. Any questions should be sent to email@example.com.
WhichCandidate is an independent website that aims to provide information to voters on the policy views of election candidates and political parties in Ireland during specific election campaigns. The policy positions of candidates are provided by the candidates themselves or by their political party.
WhichCandidate is run by academics at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick as an educational tool, provided free of charge to voters.
Legal Basis for Processing
WhichCandidate relies on the following legal bases for the processing of personal data:
Consent of candidates through their voluntary submission of their personal data so that we may fulfil our purpose outlined above.
The performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
What types of information do we collect on candidates?
WhichCandidate aims to provide a profile page for all officially registered candidates in a given election. The default information provided on these profile pages are
A photograph of the candidate (from the candidate’s official twitter account or campaign website, both of which are publicly available)
Links to candidate’s official and publicly available social media or web sites
For party-affiliated candidates, the positions of the candidate’s party on a range of policy issues. These positions are supplied to us by the parties who respond to our policy survey.
All officially registered candidates can voluntarily register on our site using their personal email account and edit their profile page. Candidates are responsible for keeping their user passwords confidential. By registering on the site, candidates can provide voters with information about their campaign. Candidates can also complete the policy questions, or they can alternatively continue to have their party policy positions displayed on their profile page. Candidates can also choose to provide their contact information on their profile page, such as email address.
If you have a profile page on the site, you can edit your information at any time by logging in, or you can withdraw your consent to processing and request to have your profile removed by contacting Rory Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is information on candidates used?
This information will be publicly available on the website for the purposes of informing the general public. An anonymised version of the completed questionnaire will be stored in a secure location by the University of Limerick and may be used for research purposes, for example research on political representation.
Candidates’ email addresses, used to log-in to the site, will be stored in a secure location at the University of Limerick and will not be shared with third parties. Candidates’ email addresses will only be used for the purpose described above and will stored only as long as the candidate has a profile page on the website.
Candidates are responsible for keeping their user passwords confidential. The operator reserves the right to delete a candidate’s account or to block content in the event of incorrect information or misuse of any kind. The operate assumes no liability for errors in information entered by candidates on their profile page.
What type of information is collected from visitors to the site?
WhichCandidate does not collect any identifying information about web visitors on this website. If you answer the policy survey on the website, or if you complete the optional questionnaire at the end of the survey, we will retain this information for research purposes (described below). None of these questions ask for information that could identify the user.
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How is information on website visitors used?
The anonymous information collected on web visitors is used for the following purposes:
Answers provided to the policy questions are used to provide information to users on their match with election candidates.
Answers provided to the policy questions and to the optional questionnaire are used for academic research on public opinion and political representation.
Answers provided to the policy questions and to the optional questionnaire are shared with election candidates on an non-partisan basis, at no charge, to help improve the policial system.
Information collected by New Relic is used to monitor technical performance of the website.
For technical reasons, we use session cookies on our website, which are stored on your hard disk for the duration of the link. We also use session cookies to retrace usage behaviour in anonymised form. The anonymised usage data is recorded, processed and used only in order to gear our website to users' needs. These session cookies are not used to collect any personal information about you. Session cookies are automatically deleted as soon as you leave our website or the dialog is ended. When using our website, you can decide whether you wish to accept or decline these cookies by modifying the settings in your browser. However, if session cookies are disabled on your browser, you may not be able to use certain features or sections of our website. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org/.
You have the right to withdraw your consent to processing and request to have your candidate profile erased/deleted by contacting Rory Costello at email@example.com
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Frequenty Asked Questions
What is WhichCandidate?
WhichCandidate is a ‘voting advice application’ that allows voters to compare their own policy views with those of the candidates standing for election.
It aims to inform voters about the policy positions of candidates and to help voters to make a more informed voting decision.
How does it work?
A set of relevant policy issues are selected by the research team in advance of the election. Election candidates are contacted to complete a questionnaire on these issues. Each participating candidate is given a public profile on the website, incorporating their answers to the questionnaire.
Voters who visit the website are asked the same set of questions, and their answers are compared with the answers of the candidates. A customised results page is then presented to each user, containing a ranking of candidates ordered by how closely their answers match.
How is the ranking calculated?
First, we calculate the proximity of a user to a candidate on each question. To give an example, a question might have three answer options: Agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Disagree. Proximity can in this case be either:
1 (if the user and candidate select the same answer)
0.5 (if one selects the middle option and the other selects Agree or Disagree)
0 (if one selects Agree and the other selects Disagree)
We then take the average proximity between the user and candidate across all the questions that the user has answered. If for example a user has a proximity score of 0.5 to a candidate across all questions, the overall match with this candidate is expressed as 50%.
Some issues are more important to me than others. Can this be taken into account?
You first select the issues that are important to you, and you are then presented with questions related to those issues. You will only be matched with candidates on those issues. In addition, if there are any specific questions that you are not interested in, you can simply select 'no opinion' and they will be excluded from calculation.
Some candidates appear to be missing
We endeavoured to contact all declared candidates. Some candidates have declined to share their policy views with us and are not featured on the website. If you would like to see more candidates from your area on the website, please urge them to contact us and complete the survey.
If you are a candidate and were not contacted by us, please let us know.
Is it independent?
WhichCandidate is not associated with any political party or election candidate. It is run by researchers at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick. It is supported by funding from the Irish Research Council.
Who do I contact?
Any queries or feedback on WhichCandidate can be sent to Rory Costello at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick