Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has once more called for Sinn Féin to stay out of Government with both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and urged it to “look left” when making its coalition decision.
Extending free State childcare to two-year-olds with an increase to 33 hours of such care per week at a cost of €495m forms the crux of the party’s childcare policy, launched today.
At a press event in a playground on Mountjoy Square in Dublin the party said that it would “immediately invest €800m into childcare services” should it gain a foothold in Government.
TD for Dublin South Central Ms Smith said that it is “so clear that the appetite for change is massive, and there is the possibility of an alternative left Government for the first time in the history of the State”.
Speaking as to how the party’s childcare plan would be funded, Gillian Brien, PBP’s candidate in Dublin Central said that “a 2% tax on millionaires in Ireland will create €3.9bn for the Exchequer”.
Asked if such a wealth tax would not incline the wealthy to leave the jurisdiction, Ms Brien said “if that was the case ther would be no people living on the planet”. “I would completely disagree with that. If they want to leave then let them, and I would guarantee you they won’t.”
“We have to ask ourselves, do we want to invest in children and in Ireland?” she said. “Do we want to care about our children?”
On the question of Sinn Féin in Government, after an overnight Irish Times poll put the party on 25% of the vote, Ms Smith said that “the call is to encourage Sinn Féin to look left and to stay out of coalition with any of the right wing parties and to look to form a left block that could provide a real alternative”.
“It’s a historic moment, and we can guarantee that we won’t be propping up either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael in Government.”
She said that “tens of thousands of voters would be massively disappointed if either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael were back in Government after this massive swing towards the left”.
“There would be huge disappointment among voters that they didn’t manage to bury the two conservative parties that have ruled this country and made a mess of our public services for the past eight decades.”
She warned Sinn Féin to beware the lessons of history in terms of what happened with the Labour Party when they went into coalition with Fine Gael in 2011 and were subsequently decimated at the 2016 election. “If you go prop up the right wing then the compromises you have to make on your left policies are too great,” she said.
We want to see the change advance.
“It may not be this Government, but it could be the next one when you’d have a real possibility of an even further swing to the left and the real possibility of a strong left-wing Government for the first time in our history.”