Friday 23 March 2018

Fine Gael hits back at Fianna Fáil as campaign keeps getting dirtier

Micheál Martin. Photo: Mark Condren
Micheál Martin. Photo: Mark Condren
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael has hit back at Fianna Fáil with its own negative advertising campaign.

The move comes just days after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin targeted Taoiseach Enda Kenny's record on the health service and tax promises.

But Fine Gael has also been accused of breaking a key election promise and plagiarising a major element of Fianna Fáil's tax policy.

The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that Finance Minister Michael Noonan plans to announce a wealth tax on incomes over €100,000 once his party abolishes the Universal Social Charge (USC).

Fine Gael had promised the "hated" USC would be done away with over the next five years if it is re-elected.

Fianna Fáil has now claimed Mr Kenny's party is effectively copying its tax proposal just days after attacking it.

The Opposition party has pledged it will get rid of USC for all workers earning up to €80,000. Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath told the Irish Independent all of Fine Gael's election promises should be "taken with a large pinch of salt".

"Anyone who thought Fine Gael would have learned the lessons from all its broken promises in 2011 will feel badly let down. This time, they have broken their first promise before the campaign has even officially started," he said.

Mr McGrath said his party's commitment had always been to keep a clawback tax on high earners: "Fine Gael attacked our plans earlier in the week but now look set to copy them."

Fine Gael has launched an advertising campaign in the Irish Independent today that party sources say will offer "a stark reminder of the disastrous legacy of Fianna Fáil in government".

The adverts show a ghost estate, with the caption: "Don't let Fianna Fáil come back to haunt us."

A Fine Gael source said the party hoped the adverts would make sure "nobody forgets" how Fianna Fáil "wasted years of prosperity".

"Fianna Fáil have no jobs plan and no economic vision," the source added.

Irish Independent

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