FF has 'much more to do' to regain trust
Micheal Martin said focus of the conference would be the 'most critical issues facing young people', mental health and youth unemployment
Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin has said the party has "much more to do" before it rebuilds the public's trust.
He was speaking tonight as more than 500 young members of the party gathered for its national youth conference in Sligo, a "key event" in the Party's renewal, leader Mr Martin has said.
In a speech to the convention tonight Mr Martin said the Party had "much more we have to do before we rebuild the trust which was always the hallmark of our relationship with the public. We understand that and we also know that there’s a long time between now and the next general election".
"We’re taking nothing for granted. As I’ve said time and again, whether they’re up or down the polls don’t count. We have the same job to do no matter what," he added.
Mr Martin said those who talk of "how dare" people think of voting for the Party were "making the mistake of taking the people for granted – of assuming that they should just quietly go along with whatever the conventional wisdom of the moment is"
The party offered a "very different approach to opposition" compared to the Government parties
What Fianna Fáil has done is to offer a very different approach to opposition. We have rejected the Gilmore model of total opposition. We have also rejected the Fine Gael model of opposition of trying to be on all sides of every issue at the same time.
"We’ve staked out our position as a centre-ground alternative. When we support a government proposal we actually say this out loud and vote accordingly. However, when we oppose we do it strongly and offer an alternative. People see this and they’re responding," he said.
Mr Martin said that while people are told the younger generation is "disillusioned by politics", he believed in the "value of young people engaging in the democratic process, making their voices heard and contributing to their communities, their schools, their colleges and their workplace".
He said the focus of the conference would be the “most critical issues facing young people today", mental health and youth unemployment.
“The jobs crisis has had the greatest impact on the younger generation, with almost one out of every three young people out of work and thousands forced to emigrate,” Senator Marc MacSharry said as he opened the conference.
Guest speakers include chief operating officer at Headstrong Joseph Duffy and former USI President Gary Redmond.
An Irish Times poll conducted on February 4th and 5th showed Fianna Fáil had recovered ground to become the best supported party in the State for the first time since the economic crisis struck almost five years ago. The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll found supprot for Fianna Fáil at 26 per cent (when undecideds excluded) with Fine Gael at 25 per cent and Labour at 10 per cent.