Attacks on elderly support schemes has to end - Micheal Martin
Micheal Martin has pledged that Fianna Fáil will prioritise the needs of the elderly and of the coping middle classes in negative mortgage equity.
The Fianna Fáil leader slammed stealth tax increases which have left people with no disposable income.
"At the heart of rising public anger at the raft of new taxes and charges is just how unfair they are," he said.
"No matter what your income is, what pressures you are dealing with, you get the same bill," he added.
Mr Martin criticised the government's banking policy which he claimed is solely about "returning the banks to the stock market".
In his presidential address at the party's Ard Fheis, he also pledged that Fianna Fáil would fully support the upcoming gay marriage referendum, adding that this was compatible with true republicanism.
He began his speech by heavily criticising the budget measures that have impacted on pensioners.
"In such a society, there is no greater responsibility than supporting the elderly to live as full a life as they can. It is absolutely right that they should receive a priority – and the ongoing attacks on support schemes for the elderly have to end," he told delegates.
Mr Martin also said his party would oppose the government's controversial Universal Health Insurance (UHI) policy.
Fianna Fáil opposes a privatised health care system, according to the Cork TD.
Some 3,000 delegates were present at the INEC in Killarney for the final Ard Fheis of the year.
Much focus was paid to the local and European elections, which are just over eight weeks away.
At the Ard Fheis today, Galway TD Eamon O Cuiv said these elections were the "most crucial in the history of Fianna Fáil".