"We won't cut taxes, but we'll reduce the cost of living" - Social Democrats launch their election campaign

Newstalk's Sean Defoe reports from the front line

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The new Social Democrats grouping at their launch in 2015 with (L TO R) Roisin Shortall, Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The Social Democrats won't be one of the long line of parties queuing up to abolish the dreaded Universal Social Charge.

They say they don't want to erode the tax base by cutting the USC.

Instead their big promise is to reduce the cost of living and to spend that tax money on measures that will ease the burden on people.

They've committed to a spend of between €500-600 million on a range of measures to ease the cost of living.

These include providing a full year of parental leave, investing €103 million on providing fully free primary education and providing free GP care for all children.

They've also committed to cutting fees for students by a third - down to €2000 euro a year.

Measures to directly affect costs voters face every day include abolishing the water charges, giving subsidies to public transport operators to reduce fares and bringing in measures to reduce car insurance.

The Soc Dems say they'll do this by cutting down on insurance fraud and legal costs in personal injury cases, which they hope will lead to reduced premiums.

It's the first election for the party - led by the trio of Stephen Donnelly, Roisin Shorthall and Catherine Murphy.

They now face the real prospect of propping up a government with poll figures suggesting that Fine Gael and Labour won't reach a majority, and Enda Kenny this morning ruling out any deals with Independents.

They've claimed that they're not running their campaign on the basis of getting ministerial positions.

But Shorthall - who was briefly a member of the current government - said that from her experience there is no point in being in government if you don't have power.

Should they be in the position to be king makers after the election, expect them to demand a price for their support.