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John Downing: 'Big promises may be central to our elections - but leave the door ever-more open to a return to economic ruin'

John Downing


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Tough times: Michael Noonan canvassing in Boyle, Co Roscommon, in 2002. Photo: James Connolly / Picsell8

Tough times: Michael Noonan canvassing in Boyle, Co Roscommon, in 2002. Photo: James Connolly / Picsell8

Tough times: Michael Noonan canvassing in Boyle, Co Roscommon, in 2002. Photo: James Connolly / Picsell8

'I think Fine Gael should set up a sanitation department, we have had to clean up after Fianna Fáil so often."

That was one of Michael Noonan's killer lines in his leaders' speech at the Fine Gael Árd Fheis back in February 2002. The Limerick veteran, who is now quitting Dáil politics after almost 40 years, did in fact wind up leading a massive post-Fianna Fáil clean-up - but a decade later, and in circumstances few of us in the crowd at the Citywest conference centre that night could have anticipated.


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