Sunday 19 November 2017

Junior minister Brian Hayes is taking nothing for granted in upcoming European elections

Brian Hayes: planning to run in the upcoming European elections. Photo: Tom Burke
Brian Hayes: planning to run in the upcoming European elections. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

BRIAN Hayes has insisted that he is taking nothing for granted in the upcoming European elections as he was formally unveiled as the sole Fine Gael candidate in Dublin.

He described May's poll as a "national test" for the party, but left the door open for a future Dail run.

The junior finance minister ran unopposed at a selection convention in the Alexandra Hotel this evening.

He told delegates that Fine Gael took office when the country was being urged to "do an Argentina" and default on its national debt.

"On the international stage Ireland’s reputation was in tatters. The airwaves were filled with siren voices advocating a go it alone strategy. They were saying lets do an Argentina on it. Who would follow that advise today?"

"Three years ago during the election campaign I remember peoples anger at what FF had done? I remember the repeated message to me and my canvassers in Dublin South West "Get in there, sort it out and get the country working again" - thats what people asked us to do," he added.

The convention was attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and several cabinet members, including Phil Hogan, James Reilly, Leo Varadkar, Richard Bruton and Frances Fitzgerald.

Senator Catherine Noone, withdrew from the convention before it was opened by Phil Hogan, who took the role as chair.

She indicated that she pushing for the party to pursue a two-candidate ticket.

"If strategy had been to run two candidates...I would have added a lot to the ticket. This was not my opportunity, I accept that," she said.

Mr Hayes has left the door open for a run in the next general election, insisting that a second term in government must be the party's priority.

"I passionately want Fine Gael to do well in the elections in May. Because winning in May, means that Fine Gael can  win in 2016. And that must be our goal - two successive periods in Government.

Mr Hayes also used his speech to take a swipe of Sinn Fein, who he accused of pursuing North Korean like economics.

"Sinn Fein's go it alone North Korean economic policy, would have permanently destabilised this country. But that of course is their agenda. Every job announcement, every positive investment; is bad news for Sinn Fein. They need Ireland to fail because their political agenda is based on creating maximum political chaos."

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