Labour Party pledges a job for all by 2018
The Labour Party has pledged to provide a job for everyone who wants one by 2018.
That is despite the Taoiseach saying before the New Year that 2020 was a more realistic target.
Joan Burton also says she wants to create 50,000 apprenticeships and to increase the minimum wage again to €11.30 an hour.
Labour has also pledged to provide high-speed broadband to every home, school and business in the country by 2020.
Separately, Fine Gael finally lifted the curtain on its much-vaunted long-term economic plan.
The three-pronged approach focuses on job creation, income tax cuts and public sector recruitment and pay.
The party pledged to create 50,000 jobs every year between now and 2020 - cutting the unemployment rate from just under 10% to 6% of the workforce.
The new jobs would also entice 70,000 people who fled the country during the economic crash back home, the party claimed.
Fine Gael said it would make sure the job creation was evenly spread throughout Ireland.
It vowed to axe the unpopular universal social charge within four years.
Under the plan, it would also bring in “targeted measures” to help parents return to work and overcome welfare traps.
This would include cutting childcare costs, scrapping GP fees for children and introducing a new “working family payment” to ensure every parent working 15 hours or more a week takes home at least €11.75 per hour.
The party said it would support “sensible increases” in the minimum wage helped by cuts in the lower rate of Employers’ PRSI.
If returned to power, Fine Gael said it would also spend €4.2bn on public services, including the recruitment of 10,000 new doctors, nurses, gardaí, teachers, social workers and other frontline workers.
They would also bring in “targeted improvements” to welfare payments and services for the elderly, disabled, sick and carers.
In the plan, Fine Gael also promised to set up a “Contingency and Stability Reserve” in three years’ time as an insurance policy against future economic shocks.