Thursday 22 February 2018

Micheal Martin plays down idea of Fianna Fail supporting minority government

Micheal Martin canvassing
Micheal Martin canvassing

Sarah Jane Murphy

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin played down the idea of supporting a minority government, as suggested by his former cabinet colleague Dermot Ahern this morning.

When asked about the possibility of support a minority government, as proposed by former Fianna Fail MinisterDermot Ahern, he played down the idea.

"I read the article that Dermot Ahern wrote this morning - there will always be opinion columnists and people writing articles, but what's important to me is that the people have a choice.

"They can choose between a Fine Gael led government which will look after the wealthiest in society, and a Fianna Fail led government that will be fairer and create a more decent society.

"The underlying mood among the electorate is one which says we want change and we believe we have a choice," he said.

Speaking outside Waterford University Hospital he said he prefers to focus on what people tell him on the door-step rather than rely on opinion polls.

"Opinion polls will come and go.

"Of all political leaders I've knocked on more doors than anyone else in the last four or five years.

"There's a terrible tenancy to ignore the fact that the people haven't voted at all yet, they have three weeks to make up their mind," he said.

Mr Martin referred to BBC having to apologise in the aftermath of the General Election in Britain in 2015, as they had relied on polls too heavily in their coverage, and added that in America it is widely believed that polling has lost all credibility.

"No matter what the polls say the people are sovereign at the end of the day," he said.

The energetic TD then hit the road, and began canvassing with local candidate Mary Butler in the Viewmount housing estate on the outskirts of Waterford City.

Moving at a lively pace they shook hands and shared plenty of smiles with home-owners as they spoke to residents.

One woman who did not wish to be named told Mr Martin that her husband, who suffers from alzheimer's, has been refused a medical card three times.

He listened to her for several minutes as she relayed her frustration at the medical card system.

"Send me on his details and we will look into it," he said.

Another Viewmount resident, Patrick Walsh (63), quizzed Mr Martin on Fianna Fail's position in relation to water charges.

"So you're going to abolish the water charges but are you going to do it for definite or will we have to pay for it in the future?" he asked.

Mr Martin reassured him that if Fianna Fail are in government there will be no water charges for the lifetime of the next government but after that "we'll have to look at it again."

"He's the first leader to call to my door and it's very much appreciated, he's welcome here any time, he comes across very well," Mr Walsh said.

During a walk-about in Waterford City Centre Mr Martin was greeted warmly by shoppers and only had to contend with one instance of heckling when a man advised him to "Get back to Dublin and tell that Enda Kenny he's a clown."

Next up was the seaside town of Dungarvan where Mr Martin visited a pub, a chemist and a shopping centre.

He declined an offer of a photo with a life sized Mickey Mouse who was greeting customers outside a fast food restaurant.

"Come over to me and we'll have a photo," Mickey said.

"You're all right thanks," said Mr Martin firmly.

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