Fianna Fáil: A ‘shiver’ will go around country at FG election slogan

Martin attacks Fine Gael campaign mantra ‘a future to look forward to’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin : ‘Fine Gael have made the future of many people in this country very difficult’ File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin : ‘Fine Gael have made the future of many people in this country very difficult’ File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said a “shiver” will go around the country after Fine Gael announced its slogan for the general election campaign, which is now underway.

Fine Gael’s campaign mantra, “a future to look forward to”, was unveiled on Tuesday.

“I think there will be a certain sort of shiver going around the country when they contemplate the prospect of a Fine Gael future,” Mr Martin said. “I think it reveals the essence of this Fine Gael party. Everything is a way into the future. But people in an emergency department today can’t wait for Fine Gael’s future. Fine Gael have made the future of many people in this country very difficult and uncertain, particularly in terms of high rents and in terms of the number of children homeless.

“Fine Gael have created an uncertain future for many people in this country. I am not so sure that Fine Gael’s version of the future is something that the Irish people would necessarily look forward to.”

He said Fianna Fáil’s decision to use the same slogan as the 2016 general election, “An Ireland for All” was taken because “it is not a slogan, it is a philosophy, it is a viewpoint. We want to bring people in from the cold.”

Mr Martin described this election as “vital” and highlighted issues such as housing and health as party priorities.

“We are facing enormous challenges, particularly in terms of housing, the inability of people to afford houses, housing prices and rents are simply far too high and there is a deep crisis for homelessness.

“In health, we have again a very serious crisis in terms of emergency departments and in terms of people waiting far too long for operations, procedures and for outpatient departments.

“In our view, it clearly is time for a change of Government.

“Fine Gael has failed, particularly in terms of housing and health and one only has to look, for example, at the National Children’s Hospital and the extraordinary way that ballooned out of all expectations in terms of cost, and broadband again going from €500 million to nearly five times that again, it is extraordinary. People are angry.”

Mr Martin said he would welcome a one-on-one TV debate with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

He also said he believes Fianna Fáil has a stronger team of candidates than it had in 2016, adding that 2016 was “an election of recovery for the party”.

“In this election, we will be far more competitive for that second seat and indeed that third seat in others. We will be on the doors. I will be travelling the country as in previous campaigns.”