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Sam Boal/
Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis

Irish politics divided into problem solvers and problem exploiters, says Taoiseach

Micheál Martin was addressing the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS in Dublin, where the party’s identity was central to discussions.

POLITICS IN IRELAND is divided between those who want to tackle the country’s problems and those who want to exploit them, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has claimed.

Martin was addressing the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS in Dublin, where the party’s identity and what it stands for formed a key pillar of discussion.

It was Martin’s first and only in-person Ard Fheis as Taoiseach, since the event was moved online during the pandemic.

He was met with applause when he told members: “There is no doubt that today we face real and urgent challenges. There are many in our society who need our help – but those who dismiss the progress we have achieved and seek to tell a story of Ireland as some type of ‘failed state’ are deliberately misleading our people and selling our country short.

Perhaps the greatest divide in our politics today is between those who want to tackle our country’s problems and those who want to exploit them

“Between those who see politics as the means to advance the interests of the nation and those who only care about attacking others.

“Let no one be in any doubt where Fianna Fáil stands – we believe in taking action.”

fianna fail 78 copy Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

The Ard Fheis comes as Government housing policy faces scrutiny, following new figures which show that homelessness is at an all-time high.

An Ireland Thinks/Sunday Independent opinion poll published this evening puts Martin’s party as the third-most popular in Ireland, with 17% support, an increase of one percentage point. Sinn Féin has hit its highest-ever rating in such a poll, with 37% – also up one percentage point.

Earlier today, Martin insisted he had confidence in Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and the Housing for All plan.

In his speech, the Taoiseach conceded that Ireland’s level of homelessness was “unacceptable”.

“Our action on housing is not being felt by everyone yet … but there are immediate actions which are being taken.

“The emptiness of the opposition’s policy, their lack of a credible alternative shows that they know that our plans will deliver and they are doing everything they can to block them.

“They claim to care about housing but have objected to 6,000 homes in Dublin alone in the last two years.” (The Journal’s FactCheck has previously examined this claim and found it to be misleading.)

War in Ukraine

Martin was met with applause and some attendees rising to their feet when he addressed the Ambassador to Ukraine, who was in attendance “I want to assure you that this party will not waver in our support for you and your future as a member of the European Union.

100Fianna Fail Ard Fheis Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

“”We understand what it means to be a small nation seeking freedom and defending its culture. That’s why as a country we have been so open and strong in our support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.”

He said price hikes due to the war will “hopefully be short term in their impact”, particularly energy prices, but “others will likely be more permanent.”

Shared island

Taking place on the same day as the Ard Fheis was Together We Can, a conference on Irish unity organised by the Ireland’s Future group. The Taoiseach made reference to the future of Northern Ireland in his speech:

The harsh reality is that too little has been done to bring communities together. Opportunities to tackle disadvantage and to tackle sectarianism have not been taken, and remain unfulfilled.

Referring once again to Fianna Fáil as a party of “real action”, he said: “There has been a lot of talk about unity and reconciliation but very little work done to actually build the bridges which make it happen.

“Central to our identity as a party is that we believe in the Republican vision set out in 1916 of a country which truly unites all the people of our island, which respects diversity, different identities and puts behind it the divisions of the past.

And we believe that it is the duty of every one of us to do the hard work of building understanding, unity and a sense of shared community.

“That is our work. That is our commitment.”

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