Monday, February 21, 2011

Fine Gael will protect the frontline, modernise public services and ensure pay is not hit

Labour and Fianna Fáil will hit the pay packets of all workers hard

Fine Gael’s 5 Point Plan will get Ireland Working and will modernise public services, protect the frontline, ensure public sector pay is not hit and support the taxpayer according to Fine Gael’s Meath East Regina Doherty.

“A key element of Fine Gael’s 5 Point Plan to get Ireland Working is to modernise our public services and reward effort and innovation while penalising waste and inefficiency.

“Fine Gael is committed to the public service. In a time of austerity when cuts are being made across the board, Fine Gael is determined to protect vital frontline services in the public sector provided by doctors, nurses, teachers, Gardaí and local authority workers.

“Other political parties scaremonger and tell lies. Fine Gael is offering a serious plan. Under our plan, the frontline will be protected, there will be no compulsory redundancies and pay will not be hit.

“The reality is quite stark: if we do not make savings in our public sector, then all staff will end up with their pay being hit or their taxes being hiked. We believe we can save over €5 billion, or 1 euro in 10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency. We recently set out how we anticipate making significant savings through:

• Streamlining processes by the creation of a Single Public Entitlement Service, Business Inspectorate and Licence Authority;
• Abolishing over 145 Quangos, State bodies and companies;
• Dismantling the HSE;
• A one third reduction in civil service back office staff;
• Streamlining services.

“In contrast, Labour and Fianna Fáil are determined to tax all workers far more severely. This means that all workers, including those in the public sector, will see their pay packets hit hard by Labour and Fianna Fáil.

“The public sector has a key role to play in rebuilding Ireland. We believe the vast majority of public servants do an absolutely vital job and recognise that many public servants feel they are being unfairly targeted as a result of a crisis they did not create.

“Fine Gael has already committed to not increasing income tax rates, bands or allowances for all workers. In order for us to deliver on this commitment, we must make savings across the system. If those savings are to be made we are absolutely committed to protecting the frontline service providers.”

FG to help mortgage holders as numbers in arrears spirals upwards

Fine Gael will provide assistance for struggling homeowners as the number of people in mortgage arrears continues to spiral upwards, Fine Gael candidate in Meath East Regina Doherty has stated today (Monday).

“The number of people unable to meet their mortgage repayments for the past three months has reached 45,000.  This is a clear indication that Fine Gael’s proposals for homeowners need to be implemented to help ordinary people cope with unsustainable mortgage repayments. 

“Fine Gael has outlined its commitment of making the banks work for the people, and to bring some much needed relief for the negative equity generation who have been hit hardest by the property bubble. 

Fine Gael will benefit mortgage holders by:
1. Increasing mortgage interest relief to 30% for First Time Buyers in negative equity who bought from 2004 – 2008.
2. Introducing a Deferred Interest Scheme enabling borrowers to pay at least 66% of their mortgage interest for up to five years.
3. Putting a stop to banks penalising mortgage holders who have rescheduled their debt by putting them on a higher cost rate.
4. Introducing a trade down option to produce a reduction in mortgage debt and more affordable monthly payments.
5. Amending legislation to allow people access to their pension funds to service their mortgages.

“Irresponsible lending, facilitated by a Fianna Fail led government, has left people in fear of losing their homes. Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan will ensure that the banks and the government will work for people who are faced with mortgage arrears, and share the burden of negative equity.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FG target €1bn saving in welfare fraud crackdown

A core objective of Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan to Get Ireland Working is to create a smaller, more efficient and better public sector, Fine Gael Meath East Candidate Regina Doherty said today (Saturday).

“Fine Gael believe we can double the outgoing government’s existing target for fraud of €500 million, by introducing a range of targeted new policies. In the same way that Fine Gael has declared ‘all-out’ war on white collar crime and rogue bankers, we will target welfare fraud and secure savings of €1 billion by year three of a new government,” Cllr. Doherty said.

Among the measures planned is the creation of a single Payments and Entitlements Service (PES), along the lines of the very successful Australian ‘Centrelink’ scheme, that will merge or rationalise the existing 20 Government bodies which process welfare payments to the public.

Cllr. Doherty said: ‘Fine Gael has a new solution to tackle social welfare fraud and make the system much more efficient. Fine Gael will create a new ‘one-stop shop’ Payments and Entitlements Service (PES) to process citizen entitlements’.

“The PES will use international best practices to cut down on fraud and mistakes. It will introduce:

• A ‘Smart Identity System’: We will pilot new control systems which store a photograph of the owner of each PPS number on a secure central database accessible by social welfare staff. The photograph confirms the identity of the claimant before the payment is processed;
• Risk Based Enforcement: We will adopt sophisticated risk identification techniques, such as using information from credit rating agencies, to detect fraud and errors;
• A ‘Rights and Obligations Campaign’: We will pilot public information campaigns which emphasise the rights and obligations of claimants, but which warn of the consequences of defrauding the system. This approach has been shown to cut fraud among high risk groups in other countries;
• A National Fraud Helpline: We will establish a national fraud helpline and undertake a long-term publicity campaign to change people’s attitudes about the acceptability of fraud;
• Penalties and Prosecutions: We will introduce new powers to withdraw or reduce benefit for people convicted twice of a benefit offence, and the power to target employers who collude in welfare fraud.

“Entitlements are currently processed by more than 20 different government bodies. This is extremely inconvenient, confusing for the applicant, a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, and results in vast amounts of fraud and error.

“The new ‘One Stop Shop’ will begin processing supplementary welfare allowances managed by Community Welfare Officers in the HSE (mortgage interest supplement, rent supplement, back to school schemes); medical card applications administered by the HSE; higher education grants administered by local authorities; housing supports administered by local authorities; legal aid services administered by the Legal Aid Board; welfare allowances administered by the Department of Social Protection; and employment referral and training supports provided by FÁS and many more."

“RTE’s Prime Time Investigates programme in December 2009 estimated that between one in ten and one in seven social welfare payments could be fraudulent, costing the taxpayer between €2.2 billion and €3 billion per year. We have to stop this.

“At best, therefore, there is a 90% accuracy rate on social welfare payments in Ireland. By setting up Centrelink, Australia managed to increased accuracy to 95%. If Ireland could achieve similar levels of accuracy, we could achieve €1 billion in fraud savings.

“Fine Gael is determined to slash the waste in the system so that we can keep taxes as low as possible and support jobs. One way to do this is to go to war on welfare fraud. We are convinced that €1 billion can be saved by year three of this campaign. That type of saving will go a long way to protecting payments to the most vulnerable, and allow us to keep income tax rates at the levels they are today.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Videos

My Story

Regina Doherty A from Fine Gael on Vimeo.

Fine Gael and Me

Regina Doherty B from Fine Gael on Vimeo.

Our Plan

Regina Doherty C from Fine Gael on Vimeo.

Leaders Message

Fine Gael's 5 Point Plan to Recovery from Fine Gael on Vimeo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fine Gael pledges law to tag sex offenders within 12 months + ‘Sarah’s Law’ on sex offenders

Cllr Regina Doherty welcomed today the Fine Gael plans to tag convicted sex offenders within 12 months of forming a new government.“In 2010 there were nearly 2,400 sexual offences recorded in Ireland. Yet sex offenders are being granted remission and released back into our communities often without having received rehabilitation and without proper supervision on release.“More than 98 sex offenders will be released this year. Only 22 of them have undergone rehabilitation therapy. While tagging cannot be implemented retrospectively, this situation should never have evolved. Fine Gael will, if elected, introduce legislation to address the issue as a matter of urgency. In Ratoath last year we had a case where a sex offender was to be housed to allow him to be  “reintegrated” back into society, without the knowledge of the residents of Ratoath.  This is not acceptable and will not happen under a Fine Gael governenment.”  “As far back as January 2009 former Justice Minister Dermot Ahern promised to legislate for the introduction of electronic tagging but like many of his promises it never happened. If elected Fine Gael will do what the current Government could only talk about.“Fine Gael has long held the view that the tagging of sex offenders is the only foolproof way of monitoring the movements of convicted sex offenders on their release from prison and is the best means of protecting people in our communities.“We also believe that Gardaí need every power to collect ‘soft information’ related to child offenders. Accordingly, we will adopt into Irish law the provisions of the UK ‘Sarah’s Law’. This will allow parents, guardians and carers to ask Gardaí whether people who have access to their child have committed child sexual offences. Gardaí would then have the option to reveal the information, or take further action if they believe there is further risk.”

Fine Gael will overhaul laws relating to “White Collar Crime”

Fine Gael Cllr Regina Doherty welcomed her Party’s commitment to urgently overhauling the laws relating to ‘white collar crime’ and to ensuring that all available expertise is brought to bear in securing the conviction of rogue bankers whose alleged actions have foisted a generation of debt on the back of taxpayers.“The Irish State has been brought to the edge of an economic cliff as a result of the catastrophic financial negligence and incompetence of Fianna Fáil. Their failures related not just to appalling fiscal mismanagement, but also to their gross negligence in failing to ensure the banking system was properly regulated. This failure to implement proper oversight of rogue bankers has had devastating financial consequences for taxpayers who now, unfairly, have had not just State debt but also the massive bank debt foisted on their shoulders.“It is over two years since the share dealings and financial transactions involving our financial institutions were revealed. Yet not one charge has been brought in our courts as a consequence of alleged improper financial transactions. There is understandable outrage and widespread concern that there is one law for the ordinary man and woman, and another for bankers who have to date escaped punishment for alleged crimes, the cost of which is even yet to be finalised.“Fine Gael is determined that any of those who broke the law will be brought before our courts. We are concerned at the length of time it is taking for the completion of the investigation underway by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.“We know that more than 100,000 documents, including bank records, have had to be analysed in the context of the ongoing investigation and in excess of more than 350 people have been interviewed. We are greatly concerned that there are only two civilian forensic accountants employed full time by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. Fine Gael in government will ensure that the Gardaí are properly resourced to bring this important investigation to a conclusion.“If returned to government Fine Gael will, in its first year in office, streamline and update our laws relating to corporate and white collar crime to take account of all recent advances in data retention technology. We will enact provisions to ensure that An Garda Síochána has full access to all information relevant to such investigations, and necessary expertise to access, collate and analyse crucial information.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Regina Doherty on "The Week in Politics"

Watch me on "The Week in Politics" on RTE tonight or catch me later on RTE Player 40 minutes in click HERE

Personal Debt Resolutions Must Form Integral Part of Recover Plans

The Financial Crisis which has been bestowed on us by this Government is having a drastic affect on individuals, families and small business owners alike. Looking for ways to cut our expenditure is becoming an everyday occurrence while we witness the value of our homes, pensions and investment diminish, often secured with loans far in excess of the value of these assets.

Uncertainty surrounding our finances and the high level of debt directly impacts on consumer confidence and is hugely damaging to the economy. This has a knock-on effect to small and medium business who we rely on so much for employment and a paradox situation is created. The scale of the issues and the competing nature of the demands in terms of personal debt and business needs have resulted in some paralysis at a time when stimulation is required. A well though out and integrated plan is needed to address this uncertainty.

I fully understand the enormity of the pressure that people and business are under. Under a Fine Gael Government, I want to offer a range of possible solutions for the settlement of debt due to the banks who have lets us and the Country down so badly.

We would instruct banks to restructure loan repayment by way of moratorium or variation of loan terms, all avenues should be explored. I will ensure that in government Fine Gael will address the financial situation many people and business have found themselves in through no fault of their own.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cllr. Regina Doherty
Cordially invites you to the
launch of her
Election Campaign
Ratoath GAA Club, Ratoath,
Sunday 6th February at 9pm
Guest Speaker:
Richard Bruton TD
I look forward to seeing
you on the night

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Public Sector Reform Will restore Pride to Public Sector Workers

Fine Gael candidate Regina Doherty has stated that as part of our Four Year Plan, Fine Gael are looking to reduce Public Sector numbers in the region of 30,000. Quite a number of these will be by way of normal retirements and ordinary leavers, but the remainder will be part of a co-ordinated well thought out voluntary plan and will be rolled out over the next four years.
The fiasco around the recent attempt by Fianna Fail to reduce the numbers in the HSE is proof that any plan must be well thought out and accurately timed. Voluntary redundancy and early retirement offers have to be designed with a clear outcome in mind, protection of frontline service is a priority. It makes no sense whatsoever to offer early retirement or redundancy packages to a position which is essential. It is also paramount that staff be afforded sufficient time and provided with full details in order that they can consider all of their options. The recent redundancy package within the HSE was lacking both of these vital considerations, is there any wonder it failed.
Never before has it been more important to obtain best value for money within our public service and efficiency is key. We are only a small country and certain services can be dealt with in central locations, such as Means Testing which is presently being carried out at 1,500 locations around Ireland. Tackling inefficiency, waste and duplication in our Public Service is vital, overall reform can only lead to a more streamlined and cost efficient service which will benefit everyone now and in the future. For too long public sector workers have been tarred with the brush inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Under a Fine Gael government, respect and pride will be restored alongside improved services.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cllr Regina Doherty disscusses Women in Politics on RTE's "The Late Debate"

Cllr Regina Doherty disscusses Women in Politics on RTE's "The Late Debate" 2nd February 2011

Click HERE to listen