Note:I do not make campaign promises. All my policies below are aimed at solving problems. If, when elected, the data, research, tests or trials point to new better solutions I will adopt them in order to better solve the problem at hand. I commit to solving the problems addressed below, but the means of solving them may change from my outlined proposals.This may be a unique stance but I am a different kind of politician.
€900/month Universal Basic Income
It would stack on top of pensions, disability , child welfare etc. However, programs such as the dole and student grants would be replaced.
It would cost €39 billion to fund each year. We’d pay for this by:
- 12% recouped in taxes such as VAT
- Approx 38.4% recouped in 5% of additional economic growth
- €6.5 Billion in cost reductions and second order savings
- €11.7 Billion in new taxes
- Full breakdown here
The knock-on affects of a €900/month UBI would be profound. We would essentially eradicate poverty , revitalise rural communities, have an explosion of entrepreneurship and artistry. All whilst improving our physical and mental health, curbing any economic brain-drain (and enticing citizens to return home) and by reducing financial stress even increase our functional IQ by 12 points!
In an age where 40%+ of Irish jobs are at “high risk” of automation, a UBI that makes us all more dynamic and humane is vital.
Sounds too good to be true? More info and full costings here.
Aggressively Combat Climate Change
Climate Change is worse than anyone in government believes, even the Green Party. I am committing to the most aggressive combat of climate change, here are just some of the moves I would make:
- 100% Renewable Electricity Generation by 2030
- Massive investment in wind energy, hydro and battery storage
- Carbon Tax, immediate ratchet up to €80 per tonne.
- €120 by 2030, €200 by 2050
- Some rural areas/households could be exempt or have a reduced rate
- Carbon neutral by 2040, defacto carbon sink by 2050
- Decommission all coal plants
- Ban all types of fossil fuel drilling and exploration
- Ban the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2025
- Massive investment in electric chargers across the country
- VAT exemption on electric cars, lower VRT etc.
- Free public transportation within urban areas
- More below
- Congestion charges for personal cars within certain urban areas
- Become a world leader in regenerative and clean farming
- Agriculture accounts 30% of our emissions but our farming practices are some of the greenest in the world
- We should become pioneers in solving carbon neutral farming
- Mobilise the Defense Force to combat climate at home and abroad
- Helping in building and construction of renewable energy
- Massive reforestation projects
- Help other developing nations with their climate change efforts
- Potentially inspire other developed countries to follow suit
- Mobilise a Citizens Climate Force to help the Defense Forces and Local Authorities in their Climate Change efforts
- Massive reforestation across the island
- Importantly I favour the use of indigenous broadleaf trees, not more conifer mono-cultures
- Publicly funded plastic bottle buy-back schemes
- Facilitate eco-friendly alternative housing options and building materials: off-grid, tiny houses, hemp-crete, passive houses
- Use AI to make office buildings smarter to save energy
- Requirement for new buildings, grants to retrofit
- Large tax incentives for solar or residential wind turbines
- Make planning and regulations as easy as possible
- Ban all recreational fossil fuel powered cruiseliners from docking in Ireland
- Cruise passengers have 4x the carbon footprint of average person
- All businesses must carbon offset any travel of their employees, including their commutes
- Every month all employees would confirm their home address and usual form of commute (e.g. walk, bike, car, public transport) to their employer. Each employees commutes carbon footprint would be calculated and the business would have to pay to offset.
- Possible exemptions for small businesses
- Encourage more working from home and 4 day work weeks
- If employers become financially responsible for their employees commutes it would foster a better culture for WFH and shorter work weeks as well as more lenient start times (e.g. outside of rush hour)
- Lower the voting age to 16
- Younger people will live the effects of a failed climate
- Help fund alternative non-uranium nuclear options such as Thorium power.
- More below
All of these would be largely funded by taking 14+ billion euro we have from Apple currently sitting in escrow. We need to put that money to good use while we still have some time to make a difference
The vestiges of the catholic churches influence are still prevalent in Irelands laws and institutions. To truly become the Republic we’ve always wanted to be we need to extricate the influence of the catholic church and all religious organisations from our laws.
To do this I propose:
- A referendum to remove all mentions of God or Higher beings from the constitution
- A referendum to remove or update all oath of office texts (e.g. for president, for judges) that require them to swear upon a god
- Remove the tax exemption for all churches.
- Any charity works a religious organisation does can be registered as a normal charity and claim tax exemptions as standard. However, everything outside of that should be taxable e.g. property tax
- The government should also look to back-date this tax as much as legally possible
- A referendum to confiscate all schools, hospitals or public property that are currently owned and/or run by a church or religious organisation.
- All such buildings should be public property and run independently of any religious organisation.
- No public school time should be devoted to preparing for religious ceremonies such as holy communion
- Religion as an academic subject should be updated to focus more on philosophy and ethics
- All religious institutions must provide a way to officially leave the religion
- Criminal investigations in to the catholic churches sexual and physical abuse, rape and murder of children and reparations, paid by the church, to all those affected.
World Class Public Transport, Cycle Lanes and Footpaths
I view our ageing and inefficient public transport system and cycling infrastructure as a major problem that needs to be addressed.
Not only are peoples commutes a living hell but our public transport system is compounding our housing crises as well as climate change.
I’m calling for wholesale dramatic action to remedy this. To fund this immediately and to the appropriate level I’m suggesting we just take Apple’s outstanding tax bill of €14+ billion we currently have waiting in escrow.
I would direct a large chunk of this to solving our transport problems (and also towards fighting Climate Change).
Here are some of my proposals:
- Build the Liffey Cycle Route
- Build a Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network
- All new roads would have to have proper cycle lanes as default
- Legalise e-bikes, e-scooters etc. and include them in the ‘bike to work’ scheme
- Extend the Dublin Bikes network further afield and adopt it in other cities/towns
- Zero tolerance and large fines for any vehicles caught obstructing cycle lanes
- Reinstate law banning “close-pass” dangerous driving towards cyclists
- Adapt traffic lights to accommodate for the vast differences between car traffic and cycle traffic.
Free Public Transport Within Cities:
- Dublin: Free Buses, Luas and Dart
- Cork, Limerick, Galway: Free Buses
- Rapid transition to electric fleet where appropriate
- Ban Taxis from Bus Lanes (7am to 7pm)
- Within Dublin, buses would operate 24/7
- Funding for additional routes and better frequency
- Review of Bus routes from smaller/medium sized towns
- Mandatory Dashcams
- Within Dublin City Pedestrians would have automatic right of way(e.g. Toronto do this and works well).
- Pedestrianise large sections of Trinity/Grafton/Temple Bar area
- Aggressive Expansion of Luas and Dart lines
- Funding for full Irish Rail network e.g. expanding routes to rural areas in west, Donegal etc.
- Ban Taxis from Bus Lanes (7am to 7pm)
- Mandatory Dashcams
- Better grants to upgrade to electric taxis
- Update regulations to ensure taxi rates are better displayed in taxi
- An All-Ireland Hiking Trail Network
- Ideally this trail would be graded for hikers, mountain bikes and horse-riders
- The Pacific Crest Trail in the USA (which goes from the Mexican border to the Canadian border) is an example of a trail that does this
- Invest in more cycling greenways across the country
Don't Just Freeze Rent, Reduce It!
If we all agree that rent is too high now, then just freezing it doesn’t solve the problem.
The logic is that if we freeze rent for 2 or 3 years the prices will be become affordable over time.
Unfortunately, with the current wage stagnation what is too expensive now, will still be too expensive in 3 years.
Furthermore, to freeze the current prices legitimates the current high prices and sets them as the new default.
I am calling for a 3 year rent freeze but in that 3 year period all rental properties in a rent pressure zone will be reviewed by an independent body.
This body can make 3 recommendations:
1) The price is fair and should stay the same.
2) The price can stay the same but the landlord must make X improvements in Y months to justify this price. They can suggest a reduced rental rate until these improvements are made.
3) The price should be reduced and then set what the final rental price should be.
They can never suggest the rental price should increase.
Their recommendation will be binding (but can be reviewed). To make their recommendation the body will look at :
- The quality of the property
- The location
- Public transport in the area
- Average wages in the area
- The landlords costs
- The % of profit the landlord is making on the property
Baby Bonds Scheme
Every new born Irish citizen would be given a high interest, tax-free bank account at birth with €1000 euro automatically deposited.
Every year until their 18th birthday an extra €1000 would be added. This would compound over the 18 years and on everyone’s 18th birthday they would have access to that bank account which would have accrued approx €25,000 over the 18 years.
This 25k number only assumes a 3% interest rate which is conservative over an 18 year period. We could negotiate with banks to get the best possible interest rate for this ongoing fund, so ideally it could be even higher than 25k.
When in full swing, looking at current population trends, this would cost around €1.2 billion to fund each year (1.2 million citizens under 18 * €1000). However, when current newborns turn 18 (in 2038) the combined total released each year would be €1.25 billion (50,000 approx turning 18 each year * €25,000).
The vast majority of this will be spent directly in the Irish economy as all the 18 year olds spend their money, going to universities, starting businesses, buying property, saving or even just sowing their wild oats.
Like with UBI a large % of this money will be immediately recouped in taxes such as VAT and the second order effects of this money circulating in the economy will increase economic growth.
In the interim years between 2020 and 2038 the returns would be modest at first. e.g. 2021 a simple €1000 for each 18 year old. This would compound over time as the money in every child’s account gets longer to gather interest.
This staggered rollout also acts as a bulwark against creating any generational resentment e.g. if we didn’t stagger the rollout and instead one year every 18 year old got €25,000 then that generation would have an unfair advantage for the rest of their lives over those who didn’t receive it.
As the Greeks used say “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit”.
Free Public Transport
To help combat climate change and better incentivise the adoption of public transport all buses, trams and light rail within Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway should be made entirely free.
Public Car Insurance
Sadly, the car insurance incentives are still geared towards fleecing the average consumer. You can’t blame the insurance companies for this, they are bound by their shareholders and doing what any amoral corporate entity would do. As such, government policy is required to realign the incentives of the industry.
A public insurance option would be the best way to achieve this. Such models already exist in some provinces in Canada.
Essentially, since car insurance is legally mandated for consumers the usual free-market economics can’t work as standard. The public insurance option would operate like a normal car insurance company but would be backed by the Irish government and run on a not-for-profit model.
Citizens would still need to pay for insurance but since it would just need to break-even the premiums would be lower.
The ultimate aim is to provide a better service for a cheaper price. This would then properly incentivise the private car insurance companies to either adapt or die.
Legalise, Decriminalise and Regulate Drugs
Opioids and heroin should be decriminalised for personal use. If the Gardaí find an individual with heroin on them they should be referred to treatment, not a jail cell.
The government should provide safe injection sites and provide clean and chemically pure opiods for addicts with the aim of preventative treatment.
Mushrooms, Psychedelics, Ayahuasca, MDMA, Ectasy etc. would be legalised on a tiered licensing basis. Essentially, before you could buy any (only at designated government points) you would have to get a license to do so. Getting this license would involve education, psychiatric testing and at least one onsite observed use of the drug in question. Once the person has their license they could buy individual quantities for recreational use.
Overtime, if they demonstrate they function adequately whilst taking the drugs in question their license could be updated to be valid for higher individual quantities.
A similar system would be in place for cocaine and other highly addictive substances. However, the criteria for these would be much more stringent due to their highly addictive nature.
Anyone found guilty of selling or importing/exporting drugs outside of the above criteria would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
All personal use of drugs, even if a user doesn’t have the appropriate license would be decriminalised but citizens could be referred to mandatory treatment. Anyone abusing their drug license e.g. sharing drugs could be fined or suspended.
All tax revenue generated from the sale of these drugs would be pumped back in to treatment. Whilst there may be an initial cost in setting up the programs once in place it would be revenue-neutral.
The second order affects of such a policy would be profound:
- Removes a core revenue stream for criminals
- Frees Gardaí time and resources to tackle more serious crimes
- Fewer ODs and drug deaths
- Lower addiction rates means a healthier population
- Alleviates a key pathway to homelessness
- Alleviates stress on prison and court systems
An All-Ireland Hiking Trail Network
Ireland is one of the world’s most beautiful countries and boasts some of the most hospitable people to boot.
Whilst we do have many great hiking trails scattered across Ireland (The Wicklow Way starting right here in Rathdown) there isn’t a reliable infrastructure in place to make it a truly attractive place for hiking.
As such we need to do three things:
- Invest in a series of connected way-marked hiking trails that run through all 32 counties in Ireland
- Create a network of simple huts and rain barrels (for drinking water) every 10/20km
- Introduce right to roam and camp laws like they have in Scotland and Sweden e.g. allow anyone to pitch a tent for a night so long as they’re 500m from a road, house etc.
Doing these 3 simple steps would have massive cultural and economic benefits for the entire island. As well as for our own physical and mental health too.
For example, on the Camino de Santiago for every euro a hiker spends along the trail it generates up 18% in local employment in rural areas.
On the Appalachian Trail in the USA, which goes through 14 states and has between 2 and 4 million hikers every year, they found that rural towns near the trail each received up to $2 million from the hikers passing through every year.
On the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, which spans the entire country, from just the 1200 people who hiked the whole thing last year they generated $12 million NZD , all pumped backed into the local rural economies.
VisitScotland in 2015 found walking tourism generated £1.26 billion to the Scottish economy. There is no reason Ireland couldn’t do the same.
Ireland is a perfect location for such a trail because:
- We’re damn beautiful
- We’re damn friendly
- We speak English
- We have a temperate climate (can hike all year round)
- We don’t have any dangerous animals (such as bears, snakes)
- We have a large diaspora who want to explore our country
Whilst a lot of the economic benefit comes from international hikers coming to explore Ireland, there would also be great benefits for all Irish citizens who would know that, in any county in the country, they could hike to anywhere else they wanted to, safely.
As well as ensuring that everyone has a trail nearby if they just want to hike for an hour or a night. The mental health and health benefits of being out in nature can’t be overstated.
The trail could also be graded for bikes and/or horses. The Pacific Crest Trail in the US, which goes from the Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border, is an example of a trail that is graded for hikers, cyclers and horse riders.
It would also be a great partnership project for Ireland and Northern Ireland to work on to ensure all 32 counties have connecting hiking trails.
Data as a Property Right
Google, Facebook, Amazon and all these big tech companies are making billions off of our data. Our data is literally worth more than oil currently. This trend is only set to increase over time.
Our data should be our own property and if companies are going to profit off of it they need to first get our consent and also share the profits with us directly.
Everyone should have the right to opt-out entirely from their data been sold by such companies.
However, if someone opts-in to let the companies sell their data then the companies should be required to give us a % of the profit they make.
Ireland has an inordinate amount of power when dealing with these big tech companies since many have their EU HQs based here. In this matter, we should be the pioneers in the EU and the world.
Incentivise 'Working from Home' and 4 Day Work Weeks
The environmental impact of commuting can’t be understated, likewise with the mental and physical health impact on many people. Whilst working from home and/or 4 day work weeks might not be practical for all jobs, where it is possible we should encourage it.
One way to do this is to provide tax grants to companies who introduce WFH policies.
On top of this we should make companies financially responsible for carbon offsetting their employees commutes; this would encourage them to promote WFH, shorter work weeks and more flexible commutes.
Lower the Voting Age to 16
16 year olds can pay taxes but can’t vote. They have the most to gain/loss from an election since they will be here the longest.
As well as this, 18 is one of the worst years to start voting. You’re either in your final year of school and super busy with the leaving cert or you’re just start out in life in a new job, new college and possibly in a different county. The rate of changes in the average 18 year olds life pushes the priority of voting down, so many don’t ever bother.
Research shows the earlier you vote the more likely you are to continue voting throughout your life.
At 16 most people will be in transition year and so will have the time to properly explore the politics of the day.
Mandate All TDs to Divest All Their Businesses Whilst They Serve as TDs
A TD investing in, running or operating a business whilst in a position of power is a clear conflict of interest.
I suggest that before any citizen becomes a TD or an elected member of government or council they must divest themselves from any business and/or put their businesses in a blind trust. Meaning they would have no control or say in any of the businesses.
This would apply to landlords too.
If you aren’t willing to divest before taking your seat then you probably shouldn’t be a TD in the first place.
Higher Property Tax for Second Homes, Landlords and Idle Homes
We have a housing crisis across the country. To help with the supply the property taxes for peoples second (or more) homes should be higher. If the houses are idle then their should be an even higher rate of tax. This would ensure anyone with multiple properties pays for that privilege .
Become a Full Member of CERN
Ireland currently isn’t a member of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
To become an associate member costs a measly €1.25 million approx.
To become a full member would cost around €12.5 million, with a once off joining fee of €15.6 million.
CERN is where the world wide web was created and where much cutting edge science is done in the EU (such as the large hadron collider). If Ireland is truly a knowledge economy it’s imperative we join CERN and other such institutions so our citizens can adequately contribute to the future of science.
Not being a member is a signal of an insular Ireland.
Internet as a Basic Utility
Broadband internet is now on par with basic commodities such as water and electricity.
The recent rural broadband plan is a start, though to my mind it is too expensive.
We should explore low latency VLEO satellite arrays (such as SpaceX’s Starlink) to provide 100% internet coverage to rural Ireland. Unlike current satellite broadband (which is in geo-stationary orbit) low latency VLEO is much closer and will actually be faster than fiber cable (as light can travel faster in the vacuum of space).
Prepare for Reunification
The choice to reunify is first and foremost with Northern Ireland. However, it’s quite likely that a border poll will happen within the next 20 years.
We should prepare for possible reunification by illustrating what a possible united Ireland could look like.
Policies such as:
- A universal basic income
Could assuage many of the fears and concerns of those living in Northern Ireland while at the same time making us stronger, regardless of reunification or not.
Beyond that, a commission to outline a set of proposals and what cultural aspects could be changed in preparation for reunification should be created.
This commissions recommendations could then be used by those in Northern Ireland to better inform their decisions when it comes to voting on the border poll .
Offer asylum to Whistle-blowers
Political whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange should be offered asylum in Ireland.
Subsidized Gym Membership
A fit society reduces the cost of healthcare for everyone. A €25 per month stipend that could be used on any approved gym, personal trainer, fitness class or even personal equipment would be made available to every citizen 13 years and older.
There will also be an optional clause for people who need extra incentives to go the gym; if you don’t go to the gym X numbers of time per month your stipend would be revoked for that month and you’d have to personally pay.
Every extra hour we can get people in gyms and being active the better for our collective physical and mental health and saves us money in the long run.
Better Public Dental Cover
Similar to car insurance, the private dental industry prices have skyrocketed in Ireland. We should invest in increasing coverage of public dental options as well as higher tax rebates for a wider array of procedures.
Measure Reality , Not Economic Vanity Metrics
We use GDP as a barometer for success in our country, even though this number is a terrible number for national well-being.
We should focus on the real data to get a better picture of how we’re doing. Life expectancy, child mortality, clean air, % of clean energy, mental health, suicide rate, wealth inequality. These, and many others, are the real measurement of how we’re doing.
We should compile a list of all these metrics and weight them accordingly to achieve a single national well-being number, that we can track and monitor over time.
We could then offer tax incentives to companies who can prove they are positively improving this number. e.g. if a company invests in their local community and improves air quality, they could get some tax rebates for doing this work.
Tax Credits for GAA Players and Other Amateur Athletes
Artists currently don’t pay income tax on the first €50,000 of any income they earn.
I propose a similar system to be put in place for certain athletes like senior county GAA players or athletes training for games like the Olympics.
There are a few ways to achieve this but one could be a tax credit on, for example, the first €50,000 of income an eligible athlete makes. This income could come from any source, not just sports, as many GAA players and athletes have normal full-time jobs.
The cultural impact such athletes have on the nation more than justifies the state helping them out in this small way.
Such a tax credit will offer a little respite for those amateur athletes in training and who knows may even lead to even more sporting success stories.
Free Vitamin D for Everyone
Some studies shown that as much as 12% of the Irish population is deficient in vitamin D. In the long run this is cost us millions in healthcare which could be stopped at the source.
I propose simply offering free vitamin D supplements to anyone who wants them. Simply walk into any hospital, GP, pharmacy give them your PPS number and they’ll give a few months supply for free.
Ban General Election Political Posters
Every election our beautiful country and cities are plastered with the faces of politicians. No one wants this, they should be banned from public places.
They are bad for the environment, obstruct traffic-light/signs, fall and obstruct roads and footpaths.
Candidates would still be allowed to use standard billboards and encourage supporters to place yard signs in their own private property.
1% of Income Tax to Chosen Area of Government
At the start of every year you should be able to assign where 1% of your tax is allocated for that year. If you’re worried about the national debt, help pay it off. If you’re worried about climate change, help fight it.
A Bank Holiday Every Month (At Least!)
We currently have at least one bank holiday in January, March, May, June, August, October, December and sometimes April depending on how Easter falls.
I would suggest we make Valentine’s Day a bank holiday on February 14th or alternately February 2nd to celebrate James Joyce’s birthday.
April 13th would be to commemorate Seamus Heaney’s birthday.
Then the first Monday of July and the last Monday of September.
Finally, we’d move the Halloween bank holiday to the Friday and add a November bank holiday to the Monday for a 4-day weekend. There will be occasions when this will result in the 2 bank holidays occurring in October and none in November but I don’ think anyone will complain.
I also propose we officially make Good Friday a bank holiday, not an optional day as it currently is.
February 29th, every leap year, should also be made a bank holiday. Why we working an extra made up day? It should be used as a day of reflection on the last 4 years and 4 years ahead.
This would increase our number of national holidays from 9 to 15, 16 every leap year. This would be beneficial for our collective physical and mental health, parental time spent with children and boost local economies across the country.
Automatic Voter Registration
In Australia voter registration is automatic for all citizens. As well as that, if you don’t vote you have to pay a small fine (something trivial like €10). This has increased voter turnout massively. We should adopt the same policy here.
Take Apple's €14+ Billion and Fund Fighting Climate Change/Public Transport
We currently have €14+ billion waiting in escrow for us. We should take this and put it to good use.
Decriminalise, Legalise and Regulate Prostitution
Decriminalisation and legalisation of prostitution has had positive impacts in places it has been tested (Germany, Nevada USA etc.).
There is a significant decrease, almost to the point of zero, in the transfer of STDs.
It also drastically lower the rate of human trafficking of sex workers.
The sale of sex should be decriminalised and legalised. The purchase of sex should also be legalised at designated areas.
The cost of this would be taxed heavily. The majority of the tax raised from the purchase of sex would then be made available to prostitutes who want to leave the profession e.g. education grants, relocation grants, small business grants etc.
Anyone found running a brothel or purchasing sex outside of the designated government areas would be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
The right to die with dignity and at a time of ones choosing should be legalised and made available to all citizens.
Doctors, however, would not be legally bound to perform the procedure if they are morally opposed it.
Free State Funerals
The loss of a loved one, a spouse, a parent, a sibling or a child is likely the worst moment of many peoples lives. In such moments most people are incapable of being an informed consumer. As such the government should set price controls on the services offered by undertakers and funeral directors and provide a stipend for every funeral that would cover: embalming, placement of ad in local paper and online and a coffin or cover the cost of cremation. Whilst this won’t replace anyone’s loss it will help those bereaving ensure they don’t encounter financial stress after the fact. As well as ensure every citizen is laid to rest with some dignity.
No Legal Waiting Period For Divorce
If both parties want a divorce there should be no need to wait before it can be made official. It’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise and the government should have no place in mandating a waiting period.
Proportional Speeding Fines
If you are given a speeding or parking ticket, the fine imposed on you should be proportional to your means. We would keep the fine levels at the current price and then increase them by 5% for every 10K you earn above the median annual salary.
So if you getting a speeding ticket of a 100 euro and you earn below 50k (or whatever the median happens to be) you just pay 100 euro. If you earn say 75k you would pay 115.76 euro (a compounding 5% per every 10k).
If someone has an income €1 million, a €100 fine would become €10,303.47
Accessible Data of Public Revenue and Expenditure
The current budgetary information of the Irish government is, in my opinion, intentionally obfuscated behind technical jargon and rambling wordy documents. This deters average citizens from exploring where exactly we’re getting our revenue and what exactly we’re spending it on.
I would mandate that with every budget the government of the day would be required to publish a simple profit and loss document. Simply showing the countries incomes and expenses in one place.
Don't Publish Employees Names Who Take Legal Action Against Employers
Employees who take legal action against their employers should not have to publish their name if they go to court. This massively disincentives employees to hold employers accountable as no one wants to have their name made public lest it hamper their future employment prospects.
Ensuring no employees name is published is a small price to pay to make sure we all have the power to keep employers in check.
24/7 Public Transport in Dublin
Luas and Dublin Bus should operate 24/7. There might need to be reduced services at night but all routes should operate at least once a hour.
Better Regulate Overdraft Fees and Grace Period
Current overdraft fees are extortionate. I would introduce legislation so that the fees could only be a very small % of the total overdrawn.
I would also introduce a 3 day grace period where the bank couldn’t charge you any overdraft fees. In case money was accidentally withdrawn from your account e.g. online fraud etc.
Standardised List of Banned Dark UI Patterns
A dark UI (user interface) pattern is a term used in the tech world. It’s related to intentionally designing a web-page or app to mislead the user into doing something they didn’t intend.
A classic illustrative example would be if a company made a pop-up appear and the user had to click an ‘X’ to close it but instead was brought to an ad. The company could gain revenue from the user clicking on the ad even though the user never had any intention of clicking an ad.
That might be an extreme example but the internet is littered with these dark UI patterns. Some more subtle than others but all intended to extract something from everyday people.
I would sit down with leading UI and UX researchers and create a list of dark patterns that should be banned.
Any website/app found to be displaying these patterns to Irish/EU users could then be fined.
Simple Cancellation of Online Services
Following on from the dark UI patterns, is the intentional obfuscating of contact with an online company. Some companies make it intentionally hard for you to figure out how to contact them.
I would introduce some simple rules such as if you offer an online service you must offer a way to cancel/edit/delete that service online. Who wants to call anyone on the phone these days? In 2020!
Invest in Seaweed Farms
Seaweed is the future! In terms of agriculture and even human food. It is an industry ripe for Ireland to get involved in. We should offer grants to help build the industry up.
Later Secondary School Start Times
The science is clear, teenagers just naturally need more sleep. Secondary School start times should move to 10am.
Scrap the TV license, Pay in General Taxation
TV license is a dumb idea and the enforcement is a joke. It should be scrapped and just paid through general taxation.
Stop Funding Horsing/Dog Racing Industry
We currently subsidise the horse and dog racing industries to the tune of €84 million a year. There is no reason for the government to subsidise these industries.
This money can be better spent on improving our public transport and/or fighting climate change.
Increase Duty on Gambling
There is currently a 2% duty on betting. This should rise to 5%+.
Invest in Proper Cycle Lanes in All Major Cities
To help promote cycling and to combat climate change Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway should all have full separate cycle lane networks. If this means banning cars on certain roads, so be it.
Transition to Electric Bus Fleet
All public transport buses should be electric and we should be aggressive in the adoption rate.
Better Incentivise Electric Taxis
Tax breaks/grants to tax drivers who transition to electric cars
Include E-bikes/Scooters in the Bike to Work Scheme
E-bikes will become more and more common and should be included in the bike to work scheme. Since they can travel faster/further than a manually powered bike including them in the scheme could encourage previously hesitant cyclists to start biking to work.
Have Common Sense University Admissions Criteria
If I fail maths in my leaving cert, I should still be allowed to study English at University. Likewise if I fail Irish but ace Maths I should be allowed to study engineering.
The current criteria makes no sense and helps no one. Whilst I believe English, Maths and another language should be mandatory to study in secondary school, if a student can still make the required points but fails a core subject not required for the university course, they should be allowed to attend.
With the rollout of full broadband across the island (see above), in some rural areas it may make sense for citizens to be able to call tele-doctors remotely for initial check-ups/questions instead of relying on in-person visits or out-calls.
The government should facilitate this through regulation and funding.
Create a Network of Public Saunas
Saunas are going to be to be a vital part of maintaining proper public health.
The health benefits of frequent sauna use are quite astounding. For example:
- Reduced risk of all-cause mortality & fatal cardiac incidents (heart attacks). Using sauna 2-3 times per week at 174 degrees F reduces risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Disease by 27% and 4-7 times per week reduces risk by 50%
- Growth hormone increases by 200-300% after a single sauna use, which helps with reducing muscle atrophy.
- Reduces incidences of Alzheimer’s by 65%
The government should fund more public saunas to help the population enjoy these health benefits.
AI is coming and needs to be regulated to ensure nothing crazy is accidentally released.
Whilst many will say the big leaps in AI technology are decades away it’s prudent to take action now just in case it comes earlier, as the consequences of something going wrong could be dire.
Also, any meaningful AI regulation will have to be global so it’s better to start getting regulation on individual countries books now in preparation. AI research might be slow but it’s not slower than global bureaucratic legislation
Ban Facial Recognition AI
The government and companies should be banned from using facial recognition AIs from the purposes of law enforcement or marketing etc.
Permanent Citizens Assembly
A permanent citizens assembly should be established. They would have no legislative power but would be chosen randomly to represent the demographics of the country and could issue recommendations to the government of the day on any issues they saw fit.
A 100 citizens would be chosen for a year at a time.
Stop US Air Force Use of Shannon Airport
The US airforce and army regularly use Shannon airport as a stopover. It has been proven that even rendition flights have passed through Shannon; flights bringing prisoners for torture. We should ban all foreign military aircraft from landing in Ireland.
Explore Next-Gen Nuclear Options
Next gen nuclear plants are much safer and we should explore them as options to combat climate change.
An even more promising technology is Thorium Salt reactors. These reactors use Thorium instead of Uranium. Thorium reactors are incapable of meltdowns, can produce more energy and reduce less waste that degrades much quicker than uranium due to a shorter half-life. They also can’t be used to build weapons.
Fusion is also exciting but is likely too far away to be a viable short-term solution for climate change.
Miniaturised reactors are also an area we should explore.
We should research and explore all these options and if we find a viable option build a plant whilst simultaneously building a network of wind farms.
Climate Change Volunteer Force
We should create a volunteer force like we would in times of war to help combat climate change. This force would help reforestation projects, cleanup projects etc.
Phase Out single Use Plastics
Similar to France’s plan we should start phasing out single use plastics and work towards a comprehensive EU ban too.
Gone are the days of people getting one job and staying there until they retire. However, our pension system hasn’t changed.
The government complains about low adoption rates but they don’t make it easy.
Any citizen should be able to logon online, using there PPSN see all the pensions accrued from all their different jobs. They should see also any private pensions and should be able to merge different pensions together , all online.
Likewise with any pensions that have accrued in the EU or the UK before Brexit.
Protect Net Neutrality
Any attempt to try and dismantle net neutrality in Ireland or the EU should be opposed
Public Holiday Election Days
Since voting is mandatory election days should be a public holiday
Cinemas to Display Length of Ads Before Each Film
If a film is advertised to start at 8pm but has 20 mins of ads before it actually plays the consumer has the right to know this and this info should be displayed.
Universal Rental Lease Agreements
Tenants rights are universal, there shouldn’t be any need for a unique lease contract for each rental. This only serves to give the landlord more rights and confuse the rights of the tenant.
The universal tenant rights should be updated so all lease agreements are rolling contracts, not fixed term.
Upon taking a rental property the only variables should be the monthly cost and whether certain services are included or not (e.g. bins, bills, internet). Everything else should be standardised.
Tenant Rights to Pets
If a tenant is taking a lease for a full property i.e. not just a room within a property then they should have the automatic right to pets and do not need to disclose this to the landlord before or during the lease.
Pets are good for mental health and allowing tenants to have pets will increase stray animal adoption rates and give tenants with pets the peace of mind that if they move they can bring their pet with them.
The Homeless Rental Assessment Bureau
When a landlord puts a full property (not just a room) on the market for the first time, or after a previous tenant moves out then the property should be assessed for living conditions.
Many properties have problems that only come to light whilst after moving in e.g. freezing cold a night, loud neighbours or neighbourhood, slow drainage, poor sound proofing, slow internet, awkward placement of wall sockets etc.
The Homeless Rental Assessment Bureau would be a government agency that employs previously homeless people who are transitioning back to normal society.
They would be paid, by the landlord, to live in the new property for a full week. The homeless person would then write up a report outlining the real experience of living in that property. This report must then be available to prospective tenants before signing any new lease and would also be made public.
This provides a service to prospective tenants to improve the quality of the rental market.
The homeless person could do this job for 2 or 3 months, living in a new property each week whilst earning an income. So, in this way it will help them get back on their feet (all whilst getting a UBI of 900 euro too)
In Dublin especially, the need to start building highrise apartment blocks is obvious. Any restrictions on how high a building can be should be removed.
Obviously additional safety requirements would be implemented to ensure these higher buildings are safe etc.
Ban Semi-States from Brand Advertising
Dublin Bus, Irish Water etc. all spend hundreds of millions each year on brand advertising. These semi-states are essentially monopolies and as such should have no need to advertise in this fashion.
Limit Doctors and Nurses Max Shift to 12 Hours
Doctors and nurses work ridiculously long shifts. Not only is bad for them personally, it also impacts on the quality of their. A maximum of 12 hours should be strictly enforced.
Build a planetarium
Dublin doesn’t have any planetarium, we should build one.