Beyond the 7% year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions (ably covered by Gavin Nugent in a great Twitter thread), here are a few thoughts on the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael reply while Green TDs consider whether or not to keep talking to these two parties.
A week ago they asked for commitments in five key areas. There was positive language in some areas, which is really welcome. But few of the commitments sought were actually given. This isn't just about the magnificent 7%. We need to talk about the other questions that were slapped down, most of which were about a fairer society.
1/4 climate action
2/4 housing and planning
1/4 social justice
This is my take - it's harsher than some of the national press, and more generous than some of my party colleagues, so let's look at some detail.
Take housing, the cause célèbre of the 2020 General Election. Our policy is cost-rental public housing on public land. That wasn't the ask, though.
We wanted a commitment that public land wouldn't be used for private housing. 'Public housing' (as opposed to social housing) is designed to be open to all Irish people, regardless of their income; however, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael replied (with no apparent hint of self-awareness) that building public housing on public land was unfair, because then it couldn't be used for new-builds for people in the top 30% of incomes (the non-affordable bracket).
We stand for social justice and climate action. I fear that we aren't going to be offered either one.
Lots of people are coming around to public housing, but if you haven't heard of the cost-rental model and want to learn more, here are some articles:
- “Housing as a basic human right”: The Vienna model of social housing, New Statesman (UK) 2019
- Dublin turns to Vienna for affordable housing solution, Irish Times 2019
- Vienna’s Affordable Housing Paradise, Huffington Post (US) 2018