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Government will not get away with 'broken promises' - Micheál Martin

Delivering his opening address at the party’s Árd Fheis, he said “reconnecting with the people” would take longer “than we have had”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin speaking to the media at its Árd Fheis in the RDS.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin speaking to the media at its Árd Fheis in the RDS.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said that its success in “reconnecting with the people” would take longer “than we have had”, but remained adamant that the party would not let government get “away with their growing list of broken promises.”

Delivering his opening address at the party’s Árd Fheis in Dublin’s RDS, Martin said Ireland needed a party that could “learn from the past but is focused on the future.”

He also said that this weekend would mark the completion of the largest reform in the party’s history.

“For the first time in our history all voting this weekend will be on the principle of one member, one vote,” he said.

The party leader said that Fianna Fáil needed to become a “more activist party” by re-establishing the “link with people which was once our proudest boast.”

Criticism of the coalition

Martin went on to criticise the Fine Gael/Labour coalition, saying that the public had now seen that the current government had been “elected on the basis of promises it never intended keeping.”

Speaking of the party’s resurgence, he said that this had led to attacks from “the usual suspects” in opposition.

“They don’t believe that anybody has the right to challenge them,” he said. “They think that they can just keep rerunning the last general election and everything will be fine for them.”

Well their rising unpopularity and falling support shows that the public is not interested in their politics as usual – it wants parties which are focused on responding to the issues of today and the future.
What our opponents and many others don’t understand is that we are not trying to restore the old political balance.

Critical of the current government, Martin said that the only list that the Minister for Health James Reilly had managed to improve was the “one for a new primary care centre in his own constituency.”

Reducing the deficit

Martin said that his party had “adopted a constructive approach” from its first day in opposition. “We have been consistent in our support for bringing the deficit down and have not opposed reasonable measures to achieve this,” he said.

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Looking to the future

“Fianna Fáil isn’t focused on the past,” Martin said. “We are not trying to recreate the old political balance. We are focused on the future and that’s what people are engaging with.”

“The process of renewing Fianna Fáil is well underway. In a short time we have achieved a lot more than most people expected – but our work has only begun.”

He concluded by saying:

We must be true to our founding values and show the people our way to recovery, our way to a fairer recovery. That is our business at this Árd Fheis and it must be our business every day.

Read: Micheál Martin gives Taoiseach an E- grade on jobs >

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Paul Hyland

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