Saturday 22 October 2016

Micheal Martin rejects accusations Fianna Fail engaging in negative campaigning

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 13/01/2016 | 12:14

The campaign launch today
The campaign launch today
The campaign launch today

FIANNA Fáil Michéal Martin has rejected accusations of engaging in dirty and negative-style politics after his party unveiled an election poster attacking Taoiseach Enda Kenny's record on health.

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Mr Martin today accused Fine Gael of reneging on its "solemn promise" of ending the scandal of patients lying on trolleys.

But the party's first poster of the campaign raised eyebrows for featuring a prominent picture of Mr Kenny and the Fine Gael logo.

The poster also contains the phrases: "I won't end the scandal of patients lying on trolleys" and "tax cuts for the wealthiest come first".

The only mention of Fianna Fáil poster is a link to the party's website and the phrase: "There's a fairer way",.

During a robust press conference with the media, Mr Martin rejected suggestions that he is engaging in negative style campaigning, similar to that employed in the US.

The campaign launch today
The campaign launch today

"That's a positive campaign because its highlighting a fundamental policy issue," he said.

But the Fianna Fáil leader, who set up the HSE when he was Health Minister, refused to commit to ending the trolley scandal if in Government.

He said there has been record numbers of people on trolleys in 2015 and continued under-funding of hospitals.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has laughed at Fianna Fáil’s advertisement, saying: “Should I be terrified?”

He accused Micheal Martin of turning the election campaign into a personal one.

“Nobody in my party will indulge in personal attack,” he said.

Mr Kenny said the advertisement made the point that tax cuts are underway and there is a need to invest in public services.

He said that Fianna Fail had “fell flat like docile does in front of the Troika” and Mr Martin had failed to end the trolley crisis during his time as Minister for Health.

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