Tuesday 11 December 2018

Fine Gael's Ard Fhéis hears rallying cry to be 'election ready'

Leo Varadkar Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Leo Varadkar Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

FINE Gael’s Ard Fhéis has heard a rallying cry to be election ready as the two day event gets underway in Dublin.

The party’s executive council chairman Gerry O’Connell opened the event by urging members to bring the message that it must be organised for an election back to their constituencies.

“The time for preparation is now over the message to take back to your constituencies is to prepare for a general election whenever it happens,” he said.

He said whenever an election is called the party will be ready to defend its position in Dáil Eireann.

Party chairperson Martin Heydon said critics of the party can’t stop talking about “our Leo” but said the party’s strengths lie in its depth and the quality of its sitting elected reps and upcoming General Election candidates and not just in its leader.

Mr Varadkar is due to address the party shortly.

In his opening address Mr Varadkar told members that the party can be proud of its record building a State which cares for families.

In his opening address at the event which sees rank and file members from across the country gather to debate key elements of the party’s platform, Mr Varadkar said he wants four new values to be adopted by the party.

He called for the ratification of four new values at an upcoming special conference in March: personal liberty, Europe and openness, the environment and compassion.

“We are a compassionate party and throughout our history we have believed that the State has a role in offering a helping hand to those that need it,” he said.

“I believe that today Fine Gael can look proudly to its record and the many steps we have taken to build a state that cares and in particular one that cares for families.

 “One that is standing up for our interests abroad, and building a better society at home.

Mr Varadkar called special attention to the area of gender equality and said Fine Gael has introduced policies that make it easier for women to work outside the home, including extending maternity leave.

He also called for the party to re-endorse and strengthen its position as a European party.

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