LAOIS/Offaly independent candidate James Fanning has joined forces with other independents around the country to establish a new political party called the National Reform Party. “The goal is to push for economic and political reform,” explained Fanning.
“The citizens of Ireland cannot rely on institutionalized TDs from institutionalized political parties to reform the very institutions which the citizens of Ireland have to pay for. The National Reform Party will be the only group whose core values begin and end with a need to reform our political, legislative and financial system so that we have services which are value for money, an economy we can sustain and afford, and a level playing field for businesses and citizens with an end to tribalism, favouritism, and cronyism. We need to see Economic Reform in order to re-establish growth. This can be done by various incentives and new policies:
“Job Growth – We need to get rid of red tape for employing unemployed and part time workers. We need to bring in work schemes for all on social welfare as an incentive to get back to work. The longer people remain unemployed the more likely they will become unemployable.
“Tax Grants – Companies who wish to expand should be given tax credits by the government in order to encourage companies to employ. This has been used very successfully in Germany. Why are we not doing this?
“Educational Grants – For a smart economy to work, we need more high educational institutions. Particularly in the midlands, as we have only one Technical College in Athlone. In my constituency of Laois/Offaly, I am asking for Gurteen College in Birr to be upgraded to a fully fledged Technical College. I am also proposing a new medical college for Tullamore, in order to produce the type of graduates that we need for the high end pharmaceutical companies and research centres for start ups and established pharma companies.
“Business Grants – this needs to be expanded to take in factories lying empty.
They could be offered rent free by government agencies in order to stimulate growth. There are too many factories lying empty in Birr. This is a scandalous state of affairs.
“Political Reforms – The Senate needs more powers and should not scrapped as put forward by Fine Gael. We need more accountability and not less. We must have a Senate Committee to scrutinize appointments to semi-state bodies. By doing so, we can avoid conflicts of interest like the recent revelations of a legal corporate adviser to NAMA who, only after he was appointed, was discovered to be having millions of Euros of property debts himself.
“It is inevitable that semi-state bodies will be put up for sale to reduce debt. This must be done in an open, transparent way. What many people in Laois/Offaly don’t realize is that all the money has been spent and that Fine Gael will be forced to sell assets like Coillte and Bord Na Mona, on top of the ESB and Bord Gais (which they have already stated they will sell Off), as there is not enough money for them to do what they want to do and grow the economy.
This debate has been deliberately avoided. As Fine Gael knows it is a controversial one. In the meantime Fianna Fail has been secretly putting up Coillte land for sale, as again they know that people will object to it. Yet at the same time they have the audacity to say that they object to Fine Gael’s plans of putting the ESB and Bord Gais up for sale. What we need is honesty and transparency from all parties concerned.
“Legislative Reforms- We need more power for backbenchers, opposition and Senators to scrutinize legislation and more free votes in the Dail.