Coalition has not delivered a fair recovery - Martin

Fianna Fáil leader tells ardfheis FG-Labour take credit for Lenihan’s work

The slogan 'An Ireland for all' dominated the Fianna Fáil ard fheis in City West ahead of the general election. Harry McGee Reports. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has used his annual ardfheis speech to attack Fine Gael accusing it of taking credit for the work of the late minister for finance Brian Lenihan.

Mr Martin said the Government wanted “a coronation not an election” and that his party would campaign to provide “an Ireland for all”.

“In opposition they voted against every single measure proposed by Brian Lenihan,” he said. “Then they denounced him - today they try to claim credit for his work...Enda Kenny is a man fond of telling stories about men with pints and the army at ATMs. But the biggest fairy tale of all is his claim to have delivered recovery.”

Mr Martin said the Government “didn’t deliver recovery - it delayed it and made it more unfair” and said Fine Gael and Labour had refused to tackle any problem “until it became a crisis”.

Unjust Ireland

Mr Martin said Fine Gael’s tax proposals would provide a harsher, more unequal and unjust Ireland. He said it would mean “tax increases for lower and average families and huge tax cuts for the top few per cent”.

“It means hikes in charges and taxes on water, property, prescriptions, education and other basic items. But even more seriously, it means a major and permanent cut in public services,” he said. “Less for pensions, for schools, for hospitals, for fighting crime, for supporting new business and for every other public service.”

Speaking to party supporters in Citywest, Dublin, Mr Martin promised Fianna Fáil would be the first political party to have their election promises independently costed.

“We’re going to take a lead and do something no party has done before. We are going to get an independent analysis of our commitments which reviews the accuracy and affordability of our costings and their impact on economic growth,” he said.

“There will be no auction politics. No uncosted promises. No proposals which could damage the economy.”

New taxes

Mr Martin argued that Fine Gael and “its cheerleaders relentlessly like to push the line that we can’t risk change”. He told supporters that Fine Gael and the Labour Party introduced 45 new taxes and “ignored the basic the principle of ability to pay”.

He said Fianna Fáil would create decent jobs and support enterprise, while cutting costs for families and improving services.

The party would abolish Irish Water, create a new childcare support, increase rent supplement and expand maternity leave.

Mr Martin said it will increase rent supplement and will use the Strategic Investment Fund to provide for 45,000 social houses.

A help-to-buy scheme will be provided for new home owners, the bankers’ veto will be removed to assist the mortgage arrears and mortgage interest relief will be extended.

“On the streets of this city and throughout our country, there are hundreds of people sleeping in doorways and under bridges,” he said. “If there is the money to fund Fine Gael’s massive giveaways to the wealthiest, then there is the money to end this scandal and end the growing homelessness emergency in this country.”