Taoiseach Micheál Martin has accused political opponents of trying to exploit the country’s problems and misleading people by labeling Ireland a failed state.
In his first and only speech to the Fianna Fáil ard Fheis as Taoiseach in this government, Martin hailed the coalition’s progress on a number of areas, including overcoming the pandemic “faster than any other country in Europe”.
“Over 400,000 more people are working this month than the day this government took office,” he told delegates at the RDS in Dublin.
The Taoiseach received a standing ovation from around 2,000 delegates upon his arrival and at the end of his televised address, which largely focused on his past accomplishments in government.
“The only way to tackle the unacceptable homelessness in our country is to urgently move these plans forward.”
He pledged to address the deepening housing and homelessness crisis by providing more social and affordable housing, and to make health care more accessible and affordable by providing more hospital beds, more doctors, nurses and health professionals.
While not naming other parties, he criticized, “Those who dismiss the progress we have made and who try to portray Ireland as some sort of ‘failed state’ are deliberately misleading our people – and selling ours land under value.”
He suggested that the biggest divide in Irish politics is between those who “want to tackle the problems of our country and those who want to exploit them” and between “those who see politics as a means to advance the interests of the nation.” , and those who only care attack others”.
Acknowledging the cost-of-living crisis, he said the government had launched the “biggest direct family and business support program ever”. He acknowledged that the coalition’s action on housing “isn’t being felt by everyone yet,” but said the number of new builds and renovations has increased by every measure.
“The only way to tackle the unacceptable homelessness in our country is to urgently move forward with these plans – but immediate action is being taken,” Martin said.
“That’s why we’re investing major new resources in working with the people who are on the front lines of helping the homeless.”
On climate change, he said the Government is determined to ensure it is remembered for transforming Ireland’s energy sector by “bringing the benefits of clean, reliable and affordable energy to every part of our country”.
On Northern Ireland, he said too little had been done to bring communities together.
Education Secretary Norma Foley introduced the leader of Fianna Fáil to the conference and launched a sustained attack on Sinn Féin, describing her as “negative, spineless, baseless opposition”.
Earlier, delegates at the party’s 80th ard fheis failed to pass a motion to introduce a new income tax rate of 30 percent on all income above €40,000 and up to €60,000 a year – a measure sought by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
Fianna Fáil members also voted against abolishing USC and passed a motion calling for the end of lower standards in developments for rent than in units for sale by owner-occupiers and returning them to “one standard”.
Elsewhere, there was a surprise appearance from Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry, who said he intended to return to the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party before the end of the year.
MacSharry resigned from the Parliament Party last year and has been an outspoken critic of Micheál Martin’s leadership in recent years.
According to internal party rules, he would have to win a proposer and a second for an application for readmission.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/opponents-are-talking-the-country-down-and-misleading-public-micheal-martin-tells-fianna-fail-ard-fheis-42032952.html Opponents are beating down the country and misleading the public, Micheál Martin tells Fianna Fáil ard fheis