A SENIOR Fine Gael MEP has referred to a recent visit to Auschwitz to warn voters that they must be "very careful of our democracy" and how they vote in this Saturday's general election.
Mairead McGuinness made the comments at a Fine Gael campaign event in Virginia, Co Cavan where Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also spoke on Wednesday night.
Ms McGuinness spoke of her recent visit to Auschwitz in Poland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi-run concentration camp.
"I have to say it was one of the most moving things I have done in my political career. And I gave a speech outside with the Jewish community, and we were reflecting on when democracy fails and when people are marginalised and dehumanised," she told Fine Gael supporters.
"And I suppose essentially, the message I would say to you is that we have to be very careful of our democracy. We have to nurture it, respect it, and we have to vote. Vote in a way that we know is best for our country, and for our communities.
"And 75 years is not a long time in history. And I suppose it spurs me on in the work I do in the European Parliament on your behalf- so that we have a community of nations, 27 now sadly, so they can work together."
Speaking afterwards to Independent.ie, the four-term MEP said remarks about that visit were not directed at any party in particular and that they were about democracy.
She said she has referenced this in multiple speeches in recent weeks since her visit there.
The election rally was also addressed by Business Minister and local TD Heather Humphreys who told the audience: "When we entered Government, the house was burning down around us.
"Fine Gael have put out the fire and rebuilt the country. Do not hand the box of matches back to Fianna Fail this weekend!"
Mr Varadkar said he was “more concerned about the future of our country than at any point since the economic crash” and warned against the prospect of putting Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin in government.
He claimed Sinn Féin tax policies would lead to many companies leaving Ireland and said this would be a “gift to Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain”.
He said Fianna Fáil’s SSIA scheme for first-time buyers is "reminiscent of the Galway Tent and everything that comes with that".