AS I knocked on doors in Dublin South East over the past few months, the sense of anger was palpable. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, the sheer fury over botched policy decisions and a feeling of grave injustice in how honest, hard-working people were paying for the sins of a few -- a few who appear to have emerged unscathed and unpunished for their actions.
However, since Brian Cowen finally dissolved the 30th Dail, and set a date of February 25 for the next General Election, it has become apparent to me that voters are now looking to transcend anger and focus on solutions to sort our public finances, clean up politics and get people back to work.
That is not to suggest that people are not angry, but rather that they want to move beyond mere anger and focus on what sort of government they wish to lead this country to recovery. There is now an anxiety present as to what the future holds and what hope can be offered by political leaders. After anger and anxiety, action must come.
Communicating policies, solutions and generating hope amongst the electorate is the challenge that lies ahead for all candidates and all political parties in the three weeks until polling day. Every voter must ask which party offers the best plan for recovery. And what party will actually do what they say in government.
Naturally, my answer to the first question is clear -- Fine Gael. I joined Fine Gael many years ago because I believed then, as I believe today, that Fine Gael is the party of responsible management of our public finances, the party of fiscal rectitude. Never has this mattered more. It is clear from my canvass, that many voters now share this view.
They are inclined to support Fine Gael, because they trust us to manage their hard-earned tax revenues. They are also impressed by our strategy to grow our economy, through our plans to raise commercial investment in strategic infrastructure projects such as water, broadband and green energy. They are also attracted by our pro-enterprise agenda, which is in sharp contrast to the regulation and red tape that has strangled job creation in small businesses in recent years.
The second issue which voters are examining is the composition of the next government. My canvassers and I are sensing a growing concern about coalition government. There is a legitimate point in this. We just have to look at the chaos caused by the Green/Fianna Fail/PD/independent alliance to send shivers down our spines.
The indecision, the political wrangling, the lack of coherence and absence of any positive direction, which characterised this Government must force us to re-examine the benefits of single-party government. I am not so sure that coalition is what we need right now -- and neither are many voters.
The next government must be one with clear vision, clear purpose and a clear mandate. This will give the type of stability and the type of reform that we need. It seems logical to me that a Fine Gael majority government is the best, most desirable outcome of the next General Election. We have the people and the policies to drive this country forward. While there appears to be something of a media consensus that the next government will be a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, I suspect that the electorate is one step ahead. The appetite for single-party government is growing and I think Fine Gael must answer this call. We are hungry for change. We are anxious to put competent ministers in departments where they can get down to the business of running this country and getting it back on track. We do not need a watered-down government of compromise. Ireland needs decisiveness and a clear way forward.
We in Fine Gael have a responsibility to aspire to a one-party government. Voters must know that we are deadly serious about it. We must be willing to engage in a parliamentary arrangement to ensure that our policies can be implemented to drive this country forward on the road to recovery.
The country has nothing to lose and everything to gain. We must have the self confidence and the self belief to achieve what is necessary for Ireland. If we believe in a bright future for our Republic, and are prepared to do everything in our power to make it flourish, the public will support us in our efforts.
Enda Kenny has spent the past nine years rebuilding and renewing Fine Gael. Now I believe Enda and a strong Fine Gael government can rebuild and renew this Republic.
Lucinda Creighton is a Fine Gael candidate in Dublin South East