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Enda Kenny says there's only one question in this election

In his last major speech before the election, the Taoiseach urged the public to re-elect the government.

Enda Kenny speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis this weekend
Enda Kenny speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis this weekend
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

ADDRESSING THE ELECTORATE during his Ard Fheis speech this evening, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said voters are facing “only one question” in the upcoming election.

That question he says is,  ‘who will keep the recovery going?’.

The final four words of that question are set to be Fine Gael’s election slogan and Kenny repeated them nine times during the course of his speech.

To the main hall at Citywest in Dublin, Kenny did not give a date for the election, saying only that it would be “in a few short weeks”.

In contrast to last night’s introductory address, Kenny did not dwell for long in attacking Fianna Fáil, mentioning Micheál Martin’s only when criticising the party’s cut in the minimum wage and the introduction of the Universal Social Charge (USC).
http://vine.co/v/iiu6HmXlH9A

Kenny described the USC as a “penal tax” and said Fine Gael would abolish it if it is re-elected.

“If we are re-elected by the people, just as we said goodbye to the Troika, we will say goodbye to the USC,” he pledged to applause from delegates.

Over the next five years, the USC will be abolished – with measures to limit the benefits for high earners.

Kenny also made a range of other commitments including the hiring of, “10,000 gardaí, teachers, doctors, nurses and other front-line staff by 2021.”

Repeating a theme that he touched upon in his opening address last night, Kenny said Fine Gael’s “long-term economic plan” is based on three strands: job creation, making work pay and investing in public services. He said:

A strong economy. Because a strong economy delivers jobs. A strong economy delivers work that pays. A strong economy delivers the services we depend on and need in our day-to-day lives.

Repeatedly using the word “recovery” throughout his speech, Kenny said that this was not “a political prize, or a global headline”.

‘Job not yet complete’ 

The speech also spoke directly to potential voters who Kenny said, “do not yet feel, the benefits of a recovering economy”.

I know that, for many people watching tonight, economic statistics mean very little. Too many families and older people are still struggling to make ends meet.  Too many families are still missing a son or daughter who has had to leave Ireland to find a job.

“That’s why the job is not yet complete,” he said.

Earlier, on the second day of the party’s Ard Fheis, Kenny said if re-elected he would serve a full second term.

Seeking to become the first Fine Gael leader to be re-elected, he says that he has been humbled to serve as Taoiseach since 2011.

In the conclusion to his keynote address tonight, Kenny said:

Personally and politically, I have always tried to do my best for you and for Ireland. I am humbled, touched, and deeply privileged to be your Taoiseach.

Read: ‘Total disaster’: Enda lashes Fianna Fáil as he rallies the troops >

Read: Enda was asked whether he’d work with Michael Lowry, he didn’t say no>

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Rónán Duffy

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