Sunday 25 September 2016

Micheál Martin hits back at FG over ghost estate election poster

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 16/01/2016 | 13:03

Michael Martin. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Michael Martin. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hit back at Fine Gael over its latest election poster which warns voters against returning the party blamed for the economic collapse.

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The poster, which is published in a number of media outlets today, depicts an image of a ghost estate with the slogan “Don’t let Fianna Fáil come back to haunt us”.

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis in Citywest, Mr Martin accused Fine Gael of presiding over a housing crisis.

“I was surprised actually that they took housing as the key feature of their advertisement this morning. Because if I was Fine Gael, the last place I would go to to highlight any issue is housing,” he said.

Mr Martin said that Fine Gael have failed “dismally” in relation to protecting people in mortgage arrears.

The Cork South Central TD gave the example of a mother of five who spent Christmas in hotel accommodation with her children.

“And above all, the absolute appalling situation in relation to homelessness where over 1500 children were in emergency accommodation this week,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Martin has defended his decision to give himself a €30,000 salary top-up through the leaders’ allowance scheme.

Read more: Fine Gael launches ad campaign targeting Fianna Fail's 'catastrophic mishandling of the economy'

The sum brought his salary up to the levels enjoyed by junior ministers.

Mr Martin said the top-up is fully taxable, is provided for legislation and was published in April 2014.

“It’s in respect of the extra duties that the leader of the Opposition has,” he said.

Asked if he ran the top-up by his parliamentary party, Mr Martin replied:

“The trustees of the party approved it.” Mr Martin is one of three trustees of the party.

Meanwhile, Mr Martin completely ruled out going into coalition with Sinn Féin.

“I know there is a lot of people out there wanting to link us and have been trying to link us for three years but I have been one of the most forceful in Dáil Éireann, holding Sinn Féin to account for a whole range of issues,” he said.

“The most recent being the unacceptable defence by Gerry Adams of Thomas Slab Murphy in relation to the tax conviction and Gerry Adams’s attempts to undermine the court system and to say the court system doesn’t apply to his supporters and to members of his party.”

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