The full implementation of Sláintecare, rent freezes, the use of public land for social and affordable housing and greater public investment in childcare are among the proposals in the Social Democrats' election manifesto, which is being launched this morning.

The document, entitled 'Invest in Better', is described by the party as a roadmap for what it calls a "uniquely Irish version of the Nordic model".

"We are what it says on the tin," said co-leader Róisín Shortall.

"We are for investment in public services. This is not reinventing the wheel. We're following the approach of Nordic countries that work well for everyone."

Ms Shortall said the manifesto was focused on four key areas of health, housing, quality of life and transport.

The party said it will reshape the National Development Plan to give priority to public transport and cycling, while also putting any windfall tax gains towards the DART Underground project.

Party co-leader Catherine Murphy said the election was about the next generation.

She said a whole generation had been locked out of choices in housing, which previous generations had taken for granted.

The party has also promised that laws will be introduced to entitle worker to flexible working hours if the Social Democrats forms part of the next government. 

Its manifesto proposes a right to practices including working from home, term-time working and a four day week. 

The party says such systems are successful in other European countries, and they will ensued it works for parents, for all families and for small and medium businesses. 

The party is also proposing an extension of parental leave which would ensure parents can access paid leave for the first full year of a child's life. 

The first six months would continue to be composed of maternity leave, with a further six months which can be shared by the parents.

Ms Shortall said Ireland was bottom of the league when it came to supporting new parents.

She said the average parental leave across Europe - both paid and unpaid - was 100 weeks.

She said the party was prioritising the first year but that it wished to build on the proposals to bring them into line with European norms.

The party is proposing an early years payment, which would amount to about €50 per month, as a "starting figure", as well as an extension to an entitlement to parental leave. 

On housing, the Social Democrats say they will deliver 100,000 new homes in five years by maximising the use of public lands and introducing legislation to stop land hoarding.

The party says affordability is at the heart of its housing proposals.

"You need an income in the region of €105,000 to buy an average house in Dublin. That's way beyond the reach of most people," Ms Shortall said.

Catherine Murphy referenced the Ó Cualann model of housing in Dublin's Ballymun.

"What they have established is that the build cost of a three bedroom, energy efficient home is just below €200,000. 

"It's the site cost that causes that to double. The issue is land hoarding and the fact that land is the hands of a small number of developers."

The party is proposing a model of thirds in its housing programme, with one-third of developments going to social and affordable housing, a third to a cost rental model and a third to social housing.

Ms Shortall said the mortgage on its proposed social and affordable housing would be about €800 a month, as opposed to around €1,500 for a market-provided house.

Ms Shortall said the single biggest driver of wage demands in the economy was the cost of housing.

On the banks, Catherine Murphy said the party was proposing a 'Sunset Clause' on the practice of banks using past losses to offset against corporate tax payments.

Ms Murphy said it was an immoral situation where banks could get away with offsetting their losses when there was a limit of four years in which individuals could offset losses or claim tax refunds.

"We bailed out the banks and the idea that they can get away with not contributing is immoral," she said.

Ms Murphy said such a measure had been introduced by the Comptroller and Auditor General in the UK.

The proposal is similar to that of Sinn Féin, which is proposing an outright end to the practice of offsetting bank losses against corporate tax payments.

The Social Democrats, which had two outgoing TDs, is running 20 candidates in this election.

Additional reporting Mary Regan