Taoiseach promises to cut taxes over next three budgets
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has promised that his Government will continue to reduce income tax in each of the next three budgets.
In his first speech to a Fine Gael national conference as party leader, he also pledged to implement a 10-year plan to modernise the health service.
In a live televised address Mr Varadkar said the amount of money being taken from workers by the State was "not fair".
"The State takes almost 50% of everything you earn above that threshold, including any overtime you get, any pay increase you earn, or any extra hours you work. That’s not fair, and we’re going to change it," he said.
He told delegates: "Fine Gael believes in rewarding work. So in the budget we raised the standard cut-off point, and we will do so again in the next one - and the one after that - and the one after that."
He also promised to introduce new reforms to help young families "including paid leave which can be shared between parents in the first year of their child’s life".
He said he wanted to create a Republic which would provide opportunities for all people "Fine Gael has never been, and never will be, a party of privilege" he said.
"I want to reward work and enterprise, encourage aspiration, and remove barriers to progress" he added.
Addressing the housing crisis he said the Government’s plan is working, and labelled those who claim the crisis won’t be solved as "critics and cynics".
However there were no direct attacks on any of his political opponents. Instead he outlined how his Government was working with opposition parties on a number of policy ideas.
He said Fine Gael was the only party that could be trusted with the economy, and that the party had put long term national interest over short term political gain.
Outlining his vision for the health service he said his government would implement a ten-year plan "to modernise and streamline" the health service based on the all party Sláintecare report.
"Because a country that spends the fifth highest in the world on healthcare deserves to have a top-tier health service," he said.
On Brexit the Fine Gael leader repeated his assertion that there can be no return to a border on the Island of Ireland.
"So on this island, let’s build bridges, not borders," he said.