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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 27 May, 2016

Fine Gael has a go at Fianna Fáil over ghost estates

Shots fired.

Updated 2.38pm 

FINE GAEL HAS hit back at a Fianna Fáil ad that brought up a promise Enda Kenny made in 2007.

The billboard, unveiled earlier this week, mocked Kenny’s 2007 promise to “end the scandal of patients on trolleys”.

It depicts Kenny promising that he WON’T end the trolley crisis and will instead prioritise tax cuts for the wealthiest.

The promise came in an election that Fianna Fáil won and Fine Gael has come out with this image in retaliation:

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Health Minister Leo Varadkar says that the image of a ghost estate in Leitrim is a reminded that the party “cannot be trusted to manage the economy”.

“As we approach the election let no one forget that Fianna Fáil brought this country to the brink of collapse, wasting years of prosperity and then mis-managing the crisis when it came.

Fianna Fáil have no plan for the economy, or job creation, and cannot be trusted to keep the recovery going. They failed in Government and now they have failed in opposition.

13/1/2016 Fianna Fail General Election Starts Fianna Fáil's poster which was unveiled this week Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Varadkar said that the Irish people “cannot go back to Fianna Fáil’s boom and bust cycle”.

Fianna Fáil members have already responded, pointing out that Fine Gael was the largest party on ten county councils from 2004-2009 and 24 between 2009 and 2014, when many planning applications were approved.

Leitrim County Council went from Fianna Fáil control in the first period to Fine Gael control in the second. Available records only show that the estate in the picture, the Waterways in Keshcarrigan, was planned over five years ago, but not when.

Broken promise

Speaking to reporters at his party’s Ard Fheis today, Martin said that the Taoiseach’s “promise” to avoid negative campaigning has already been broken.

He said it was surprising that the party choice to housing a key feature of the advertisement:

If I was Fine Gael, the last place I would go to highlight any issue is housing because they have by any objective analysis failed miserably in relation to housing policy.

Martin highlighted the difficulties facing those in mortgage arrears, criticism over a lack of new social housing, and the “appalling situation in relation to homelessness”.

He recalled a woman who approached him in a shopping centre in Cork recently, who had spent Christmas in a hotel with her five children.

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher told Fianna Fáil delegates that the party’s own campaign poster was about “highlighting broken promises”. He said:

The point that we’re making in that ad, and on the broader policy basis, is that you cannot sustain public services and fund them in the way we expect and at the same time keep cutting the tax base and stockpiling that burden on the lower and middle incomes and giving those on the higher incomes those kind of tax breaks.

- additional reporting by Nicky Ryan and Hugh O’Connell at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

Originally published 11.29am.

Read: Fianna Fáil’s new ad lashes Enda Kenny’s infamous promise

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