Pippa Hackett launches the Green Party's rural policy in Portlaoise
Laois Offaly Green Party candidate says there is more to her party's politics and General Election policies than the environment and climate action.
In a statement, the outgoing senator Pippa Hackett some of her party’s policies in relation to health, education and childcare.
“We are not all green. As a mother myself, these aspects are hugely important to me, and I believe the Green Party has the solutions to many of them.
“If you take a look at our manifesto, you will see that we have extensive policies on health, housing, energy, transport, employment, enterprise, innovation, social protection, sport and recreation, equality, education, justice, arts, heritage and culture, and foreign affairs to mention a few.
In relation to the health service, the Edenderry-based politican backed Sláintecare and opposed wasted spending.
“I believe that Sláintecare is the beginning of a solution to the crisis that is health. But it needs to be properly implemented, and by people who are innovative and are capable of thinking ‘outside the box’. We do not need another series of useless ‘Think Tanks’ which have been used as an excuse by successive governments to mask their inability to solve, even the smallest problems in the system. We have one of the highest per capita investments in health in the EU, yet the system is overflowing with mismanagement and wastage of funds.
"Meanwhile people are dying from misdiagnoses, being treated on trollies, and waiting inordinate times to see consultants. Disability and mental health services have been starved of funding, and this is having a negative effect throughout our society. Of course, the ones who bear the brunt of this mismanagement are our frontline health workers. Do those at the top even care, or does it occur to them that eventually these everyday heroes will, through sheer exhaustion and utter frustration will grind to a halt? Well I care, and my party cares," she said.
The former Offaly county councillor backed pay equality for teachers alongside smaller class sizes.
"In education, it is imperative that action is immediately needed on pay parity for our teachers. We need to employ enough teachers to ensure that the pupil-teacher ratio is reduced to a level conducive to proper learning and classroom safety, for both teachers and their student. We need to recruit more special needs assistants. Many of our schools are no longer fit for purpose, and need to be renovated or replaced. We intend to implement our policies, as laid out in our manifesto, to solve these problems," she said.
Her statement made a number of points on childcare.
"Without proper childcare policies and facilities, little can be achieved. Families are struggling with the cost of bringing up the next generation: commuting long distances and working long hours that don’t fit into a creche system. While parents and relatives remain the predominant form of childcare used in Ireland, formal childcare settings are becoming more prevalent. The State has encouraged this by penalising non-formal childcare, while also failing to respond adequately to support families with the cost of creches, and this has left many families in limbo.
"Our policies seek to balance benefits for parents who care for their children themselves, have relatives care for them, or avail of formal childcare facilities. It is imperative that all children with disabilities, or who have other additional needs, get access to early years support services. We want to establish a comprehensive framework for the early education profession, including qualifications, professional development and remuneration, ensuring that childcare workers are incentivised to stay in the sector after graduation," she said.
Her statement concluded that these are just some of our policies that if elected she pledged to "fight tooth and nail" to ensure that they are implemented for the people of Laois and Offaly.