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Anti-austerity and pro-life protests expected as Fine Gael conference begins

Thousands of Fine Gael delegates are gathering in Limerick today as the two-day national conference gets under way.

Enda Kenny tries to calm crowds at the party's Ard Fheis in Dublin last year.
Enda Kenny tries to calm crowds at the party's Ard Fheis in Dublin last year.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

ANTI-AUSTERITY and pro-life protestors are expected to descend on Fine Gael’s national conference which gets under way in Limerick later today.

More than 2,000 delegates are expected at the Fine Gael conference being held at the South Court Hotel on the outskirts of the city as the party members gather this evening.

Protests will include many from pro-life campaigns such as Youth Defence which is angry with the party over the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill which passed into last earlier this year.

The tw0-day conference will hear from party leader Enda Kenny on both nights with the Taoiseach set to give his keynote address to delegates tomorrow night with live coverage on RTÉ.

Talk of next Tuesday’s Budget is likely to dominate the next few days with Cabinet ministers having to delay one of their final pre-Budget meetings until Sunday due to the conference.

With that in mind sessions planned this weekend include a televised discussion on ‘jobs, recovery and exiting the bailout’ involving Ministers Michael Noonan, Richard Bruton, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.

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Discussions on health, political reform, farming, and The Gathering are also planned tomorrow afternoon.

The party is also holding a special meeting to review its constitution and rules tomorrow with a number amendments proposed including altering the way a candidate is selected to run in the presidential election.

The party is also proposing to abolish its Trade Union Council and its Women’s Group and to designate that its executive council examine the potential to create “new Organs of the Party”.

More: Pro-life campaigners to hold protest ‘witness’ at Fine Gael conference

Read: Taoiseach clashes with Fine Gael TD over Seanad referendum campaign

Read: Jigsaws, ‘The Beatles’ and €20m: Fine Gaelers rue ‘dreadful’ Seanad abolition campaign

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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