RTÉ leaders' debate: Ruth Coppinger promises to nationalise the construction industry

Gabija Gataveckaite

SOLIDARITY PEOPLE before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger has promised to nationalise the construction industry.

During a televised election debate on RTÉ, Ms Coppinger said her party would nationalise the construction sector if elected to power.

"I think the state should set up its own construction company," she said.

She said the State agency would focus on building social housing to bring an end to the homelessness crisis.

"We're not going to nationalise chip shops or anything like that, we're talking about the big construction companies," she added.

She was joined on the Prime Time debate by the leaders of the smaller parties including the Green Party's Eamon Ryan, Roisin Shortall from the Social Democrats, Labour's Brendan Howlin and Aontu's Peadar Toibin.

Mr Toibin said that parties in government are "in a cartel" with each other when asked about his past in Sinn Féin, for which he was member of for 21 years.

"In most of the political system here there is a cartel, there is a group think," he said.

"There's a section of Irish society who have no voice in the Dail," he added.

Mr Howlin admitted that the party has made mistakes in the past.

"Of course we make mistakes but we fessed up to that.

"But every time we have been in government, things were better when we left.

"We put more than more than 200,000 back to work," he said.

"We're a party of do-ers and finding practical solutions."

Meanwhile, the issue of wolves being reintroduced to Ireland was once again raised with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

He explained that the party has "ambitions in forestry", which include "a really rich diverse forestry" which "stores carbon" and "self re-generates".

"That's the part that i was referencing the wolves to," he said.

Roisin Shortall insisted that the Social Democrats want to bring "integrity and honesty to politics" and that reform is urgently needed in a "decent public health service".

"We need to start that reform quickly and move towards a lower cost of care," she said.

"We’re very proud of the role we played in initiating role in Slaintecare.

"We need reform and new services and funding,” she added.

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