Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Principles, policies left ‘outside the door’ when Government beckons

Pringle: Principles, policies left ‘outside the door’ when Government beckons

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has supported a Labour bill to address land speculation but questioned why Labour never pushed for those changes during its years in government.

Deputy Pringle said: “I hope there is a lesson here for other parties and individuals thinking about the possibility of government: Implement what you say and make that a central plank of your policy.”

Speaking in support of Acquisition of Development Land (Assessment of Compensation) Bill 2021, Deputy Pringle said: “I read with interest the introduction of the bill by Deputy Alan Kelly. In it he outlines that this is the third occasion that Labour have introduced this bill. In 1990 and 2003 and again today it is to be introduced, and the interesting thing about these dates is that Labour are out of government.

“Maybe that is the time to do something like this. We have seen how principles and policies made in opposition are left outside the door when government beckons, supporting Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said the bill was an important one and said there was no doubt ongoing speculation and profiteering on land values must be addressed.

Deputy Pringle said: “The political system has always hidden behind a single judgement of the Supreme Court and never challenged it to provide cover for itself and ensure that policy would benefit all our citizens rather than the chosen few who own land that would never be developed.

“It generally has done this to facilitate the owners or profiteers who have been supporters of the parties in control or power.” He said since the publication of the Kenny report in 1973, from the Committee on the Price of Building Land, the party in most often power has been Fianna Fáil, but Fine Gael was in power for significant portions of that time as well.

Deputy Pringle said Fine Gael could not have been in power without Labour, “who today are lamenting that the Kenny report has never been implemented”. Labour had been in government for 19 years over the years since the Kenny report was published, most recently from 2011 to 2016, he said.

“Why could Labour not have used one of those occasions to do the right thing?” Deputy Pringle asked.

Deputy Pringle said: “That is the thing that gives politics in Ireland a bad name, when people see parties sitting in opposition espousing great policies, and what do they see when they go into government and get the opportunity to do that? They don’t actually do it. They change. Because everything is left outside.

“We’ve seen it with the Green Party in the last year, we saw it with the Labour Party before that, we saw it with the Green Party before that, and we see it continuously and it keeps repeating itself. It’s time to change that, and that’s what we need to do.”