Friday 27 April 2018

Coalition is 'trying to buy' election, says Martin

Country is now 'unfair and divided'

ARD FHEIS: Michael Martin. Photo: Conor McCabe
ARD FHEIS: Michael Martin. Photo: Conor McCabe


Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin last night said "a Government of spin and broken promises" is now obsessed with trying to "buy re-election".

In his final address to a Fianna Fail Ard Fheis before the election, Mr Martin said because his party "understand the mistakes of the past" it was determined these mistakes would not be repeated.

In an impassioned plea for what he called "radical republicanism", Mr Martin said this was a moment when the future direction of our country would be shaped for decades to come.

"Fianna Fail stands for the radical republican vision of a country which unites people, not divides them," he said.

Fianna Fail would never settle for the idea that you can have either a strong economy or a fair society but not both, he said.

"Other parties see an Ireland where you pick a side - we see an Ireland where we all must be on the same side," he said.

Mr Martin accused the Government of giving with one hand and it taking back "twice as much" with the other. Families who least could afford the extra bills were "getting hammered".

He added: "We can't afford the growing social divisions, the hollowed-out services, the lack of direction."

But he said what Sinn Fein was offering was "even worse".

He said Fianna Fail would never accept the claims of a "sinister movement founded 40 years ago" to have any link with 1916.

"The Provisionals remain a movement which covers up the sickest of crimes in order to protect their members. We will never allow them to rewrite Irish history to legitimise their despicable crimes."

He said the 1916 Proclamation "challenges us" to make a republic which treats all its people fairly. "That's why, as a republican party, we must support the right of two people to make the commitment of marriage to each other, irrespective of their gender."

Mr Martin also said that a Fianna Fail government would have a Minister for Community Support and Development at Cabinet whose first job would be to prepare a Community Services Guarantee.

"This guarantee would bring together specific targets on the availability of schools, health services, sports and recreational facilities, as well as public transport," he said.

In his Ard Fheis speech, Mr Martin also addressed issues such as policing, tax reform, debt resolution, variable-interest rates and child-care costs.

He said: "They are so out of touch and arrogant that they have absolutely no idea why people are so angry with them.

"They think a press release can cover up the impact of taxes and charges which ignore your ability to pay. They think a photo op and a fist-pump can get through any problem."

He added: "Under this Government we are becoming a more divided and unfair country. And they're happy with this."

Mr Martin said: "Our economy is recovering, but it is leaving many families and communities behind. What this Government actually did was to make the recovery as unfair as possible.

"They have made us a more divided society through their sustained, relentless policy of giving priority to the wealthiest few and hitting services relied on by the many.

"A Government of spin and broken promises is now obsessed with trying to buy re-election. They just don't get it. They are so out of touch and arrogant."

Sunday Independent

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