Tuesday 17 October 2017

Fine Gael faithful nominates housing as party's top priority

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Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Fine Gael grassroots have overwhelmingly rowed in behind the areas of housing and health as the top spending priorities for next week's Budget.

Fine Gael ministers have also been told that investment in roads should trump areas such as rail, water and public transport when it comes to the upcoming National Development Plan.

Fine Gael TDs, senators, councillors and constituency branches were all surveyed about spending priorities ahead of the Budget on October 10.

In a document presented to the parliamentary party last night, and obtained by the Irish Independent, the area of housing, planning and local government was the firm favourite for spending next year.

Almost 30pc of the thousands of Fine Gael members consulted selected this option as their area of choice. This was followed by health; transport, tourism and sport; communications and climate change; and education and skills.

No branch chose the option of community and rural affairs or defence.

Another option extended to Fine Gael members relates to infrastructure.

According to the survey, over 40pc of members chose roads as their top choice.

The presentation was delivered last night to the Fine Gael parliamentary party by head of research and development Terry Murphy.

It is the first time a Fine Gael leader has sent such a survey to his entire party ahead of Budget day.

Senior Government sources say Mr Varadkar will impress on Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe on the need for the views of the Fine Gael grassroots to be reflected in the Budget.

Only one constituency, understood to be Carlow /Kilkenny, failed to reply to the Taoiseach's survey.

Irish Independent

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