Saturday 20 January 2018

Michéal Martin: Former Cabinet members will be considered for ministerial roles if Fianna Fail regain power

Fianna Fáil Leader Michéal Martin. Pic Steve Humphreys
Fianna Fáil Leader Michéal Martin. Pic Steve Humphreys

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

Members of the Cabinet that oversaw the economic collapse will be considered for ministerial positions again if Fianna Fáil is in government, party leader Michéal Martin said today.

Mr Martin said that anyone elected to the 32nd Dáil will be in the running for promotion if he is Taoiseach – even if they served as ministers in the disastrous Fianna Fáil/Green Party government.

The Fianna Fáil leader made the pledge as he launched his party’s General Election manifesto in Dublin City today.

The party has pledged to increase the old age pension by €30, child benefit by €10 and the introduction of a €2,000 childcare credit.

The manifesto also commits to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000 and retaining the Special Criminal Court.

But the manifesto launch was dominated by questions on future coalitions.

On health, the party says it will bring in a six hour waiting time limit in emergency departments  and abolish perscription charges.

A first time home buyers is also being pledged, while Fianna Fail says it will abolish Irish Water and ensure there is no charges for at least five years. On several occasions, Mr Martin declined the opportunity to categorically rule out doing business with Fine Gael, saying he "does not contemplate keeping Enda Kenny in office".Meanwhile, Mr Martin hit out at “election slogans” which call for changes to the country’s abortion laws.

He said such slogans are not an “appropriate mechanism” to deal with the divisive issue of the Eighth Amendment.

Mr Martin added that his TDs will be given a free vote on any changes to the abortion laws, adding that his party believes in “freedom of conscience”.

But Mr Martin defended the fact that his manifesto makes no reference to the issue of the Eighth Amendment.

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