Wednesday 22 November 2017

Day 12 of General Election 2016 campaigning and the bunfight between the parties escalated

Campaign: Senator Catherine Noone. Photo: Tom Burke
Campaign: Senator Catherine Noone. Photo: Tom Burke

David Young

The bunfight between the parties escalated.

  • Welcoming her party's commitment to beefing up guidelines around the sale of fatty and sugary foods around schools, Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone stressed the need for "no fry zones".
  • The Dublin west candidate's remarks came after Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister Leo Varadkar outlined their plans to fix the health service. Among the policies to improve the waistline of the nation is a sugar tax.
  • Fine Gael may have been urging others to avoid the frying pan, but Sinn Fein insisted Michael Noonan was still in the kitchen, "brazenly cooking the books".
  • Referring to the Finance Minister's warning about replicating Portgual's economic slump, Mary Lou McDonald told him his time would be better served getting "his sums rights" in Ireland.
  • Labour, for its part, turned to the drink, H2O to be precise, as it claimed Sinn Fein's proposal to axe Irish Water was illegal. Ridiculing the idea, deputy leader Alan Kelly said: "It shows the perspective that Sinn Fein would bring to a government."
  • Labour leader Joan Burton was more focused on after dinner reading. As she and fellow candidates assembled in the grounds of a college campus in north Dublin for the party's manifesto launch, she pointed out a nearby hotel and said: "That featured in Ulysses." The party faithful no doubt hope their new policy document is not quite as impenetrable as Joyce's classic.
  • Top of the menu for Fianna Fail was a paper on improving rights for mortgage holders. The party promised a crackdown on rip-off rates and claimed it would address the problem of arrears and repossessions.
  • The party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath said: "Over 300,000 households are paying rates that are double the European average for equivalent mortgages."
  • Finally, the Green Party's bid to secure a last minute place at the dinner table failed when a High Court judge rejected its challenge against the lack of invite to the second leaders' debate.
  • Ms Justice Marie Baker found that selection criteria used by RTE were not unfair.

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