Joan Burton announces scheme for first time buyers and pension increases at Labour national conference

Labour held their National Conference in Mulling on Saturday, where the Tanaiste gave her keynote speech

Joan burton, Labour, national conference,

Image: Rolling News

Labour leader Joan Burton addressed the party's national conference on Saturday evening, as the party gears up for the general election. 

Speaking in the keynote speech at the ceremony, the Tánaiste emphasised the need for balance as the country moves forward, something which had also been a theme of her opening address that morning

Similarly, the party leader had harsh criticism for Fianna Fáil, stating that it "inherited a boom and blew it". 

Burton stated that espite all the battles the country and people have found, more remain, and while there's a decade of opportunity within our reach, there are risks along the way. 

The Tánaiste said the true test of any Government is whether it leaves the country in a better place than it found it, something which she believes the Labour party has done, saying that they inherited a ruin, but have been able to rebuild it.

Image: Rolling News

Also addressed in the speech were the party's plans should it return to government after the general election, which included the announcement of an SSIA-type savings top up scheme to help first time buyers with a deposit.

Burton also and promised an increase of five euro a week in welfare pensions each year of the next Government. The pension plan is set to cost just over €100m a year every year - meaning it would cost over €1.5bn in five years, but stated that it is a worthwhile use of public money:

The Tánaiste spoke about abortion and the 8th amendment, stating that "sending women abroad was the 20th Century answer, and the wrong answer", promising that the party would deliver a referendum on the issue if returned to government. 

Burton announced plans to reduce the cost of childcare for families with young children by two euro an hour, to extend free GP care to everyone, and abolishing the Universal Social Charge for the first €72,000 of a person's income, although added that the wealthiest in society would pay their fair share.

Furthermore, she announced plans for an apprenticeship scheme that would see 50,000 placements created for young people starting out in their careers, with the goal being to create a job for everyone who wants one by 2018.

The speech also highlighted of the 1916 celebrations, and how the people of Ireland would be welcoming their loved ones home, as the recovery continued, to commemorate the centenary "with our economic freedom restored". 

In closing, she urged voters to stay the course and give a mandate to the party to "finish what we started". 

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