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Left-wing TDs push Sinn Fein to bring in €15 'living wage'

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Solidarity TDs Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mick Barry

Solidarity TDs Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mick Barry

Solidarity TDs Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mick Barry

Left-wing TDs want a minimum wage of €15, the State pension age restored to 65, and the abolition of third level fees and property tax in return for supporting a Sinn Fein-led government.

Proposals from seven TDs were submitted to Sinn Fein in March as part of efforts to form a left-wing minority government without Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Other measures being sought include free public transport, dropping the Apple tax case and a referendum to enshrine public ownership of water utilities in the Constitution.

The proposals are outlined in a document, dated February 27, endorsed by People Before Profit TDs Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith and Mick Barry, RISE's Paul Murphy and Independent deputies Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle.

The talks were halted following the Covid-19 lockdown.

The document calls for the €10.10 minimum wage to be hiked to a "living wage" of €15 per hour. This is more than Sinn Fein's manifesto commitment to a living wage of €12.30.

Loopholes

Other measures sought by the TDs include restoring the age at which the State pension is paid to 65 as well as the extension of paid parental leave and increasing parental benefits to two-thirds of a worker's take home pay.

The document outlines a series of other costly spending measures which would be paid for by closing "tax loopholes benefiting vulture funds, banks and big corporations" and increasing taxes on "the wealthy".

It also calls for an immediate rent freeze, rent controls, an evictions ban, the abolition of the property tax and a major local authority-led public housing programme.

On health, it calls for legislation for a national health service and a lifting of the recruitment embargo.

Sinn Fein lead negotiator Pearse Doherty said he would not comment on "confidential negotiations" but insisted his party still wants to form a government with like-minded parties and TDs.