Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte tonight pledged not to increase taxes if his party got into Government.
In a speech which covered transport, work, health and environmental issues, he said Labour would create a fair society for hard working families.
“Let me be clear: Labour in Government will not increase tax rates for hard working families. We will not do so because there is no need to do so,” he said.
Mr Rabbitte said the party would reform the tax system to end the ‘era of the designer tax break for millionaires’.
He told delegates at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Kerry that taxpayers were entitled to both a strong society and a strong economy.
“Our society at this time of great opportunity so badly needs a change of government. Getting to work can be an ordeal; getting childcare is hugely expensive or non-existent; getting a garda is a matter of chance; getting a hospital bed is a lottery; and getting a home of your own is like winning the lottery.”
Mr Rabbitte attacked the Government for turning the ‘waste of public money into an art form’.
He cited the €52m cost of the electronic voting system, which is now in storage, the €157m spent on the National Stadium project in Abbotstown in Dublin, the Nursing homes overcharging and the tripling in cost of the national roads programme.
“Never in the history of democratic governments has so much taxpayers’ money been wasted by so few for so little return. This Government will have wasted so much taxpayers money on vanity projects that it is more reminiscent of the champagne swilling Louis XIV than of the bass-drinking quintessential ordinary man from Drumcondra,” he said.
Mr Rabbitte said the Labour party in Government would undo the damage done to freedom of information, disability rights, Overseas Development Aid and parliamentary accountability.
“And I could go on. For instance, we employ 21 Labour Inspectors to enforce the law in the workplace including tackling the abuse of immigrant labour but we employ 54 dog wardens – a strange sense of priority.”
The Labour party election manifesto will include pledges that no child in Ireland will be taught in a class bigger than 25, that citizens will have access to universal health care and that anti-social behaviour will be tackled.
“Why vote Labour? Why work for Labour? In one sentence. When Labour is at the heart of Government, the Fair Society is at the heart of Government. And nothing could be more worthwhile than that,” concluded Mr Rabbitte.