FF says coalition campaign is based on ‘fear and smear’

Fine Gael and Labour implemented an economic ‘plan that wasn’t theirs’

The Government has ‘claimed credit for jobs they did not create’, says Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The Government has ‘claimed credit for jobs they did not create’, says Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen accused the government parties of running a campaign based on “fear and smear”.

Mr Cowen said Fianna Fáil is presenting itself as an alternative government, with Michéal Martin an alternative Taoiseach.

“It’s been about learning from the past, understanding the present situation that the country is faced with and planning for the future with real and constructive alternatives, from us as a party indicating our willingness to offer an alternative government and an alternative Taoiseach in Michéal Martin,” the Offaly TD said.

He said Fine Gael and Labour implemented an economic “plan that wasn’t theirs”.

“They claimed credit for jobs they did not create. They have imposed cuts and charges in their term in office that they did not have to and, in the past three weeks specifically, they have campaigned on fear and smear in an effort to hide the ideas that were emanating from the likes of ourselves and the lack of ideas that came from them.

“We would hope that would transfer to them (the voters) placing their trust in us and giving us their support and allowing us the opportunity to serve in government,” Mr Cowen said.

Mr Cowen was speaking at the final Fianna Fáil press conference with Jim O’Callaghan, the party candidate in Dublin Bay South.

The pair published a policy document called “ending the two tier recovery”. Mr Cowen said some areas of rural Ireland were not feeling the recovery. Mr O’Callaghan said it was a fiction to say everywhere in Dublin had felt the recovery.

The policy document included elements of the Fianna Fáil manifesto, such as reversing the abolition of town councils and protecting and strengthening the post office network.

Mr Cowen also said Fianna Fáil is the only party that had said it will protect public services over tax cuts in the event of an economic downturn.

When asked what Fianna Fáil would prioritise in a coalition government, Mr Cowen said there was a “a wide suite of measures we would like to effect, and we would want to implement in government, including the abolition of Irish Water”.

Fianna Fáil has said it is opposed to water charges during the duration of the next government’s term, but would introduce some sort of charge when it says the water system is up to standard.

Mr Cowen said he believed this would not be for ten years at least and that charges in such a scenario could be €50-€100.