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Micheál Martin challenges Kenny to face-to-face debate

Meanwhile Gerry Adams described Kenny’s speech last night as a “backslapping exercise”.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via Photocall Ireland

GERRY ADAMS BELIEVES the next election will leave Irish voters with one choice: between a Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government.

The Sinn Féin leader made the comment while responding to the Fine Gael leader’s comments at his party’s Ard Fheis in Mayo last night.

In his speech, Kenny had hailed Ireland’s recovery under the Labour-Fine Gael coalition.

He also said that next year’s general election will be “a clear choice between stable and coherent government; or chaos and instability”.

Meanwhile Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said that it’s time “Enda Kenny came out from behind the protection of set piece events and anonymous briefings and face him in a proper debate.

Kenny’s time as Taoiseach has been marked by his continued refusal to engage in open, honest debate on any of these issues. I stand ready to meet the Taoiseach in open debate at any time, but I am not optimistic.

“Kenny will continue to run from debate because he has calculated that him to have any chance staying in the Taoiseach’s office, he must avoid honest debate and limit his exposure to genuine challenge to the absolute bare minimum.”

A ‘stark’ choice?

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said the next election would be “a choice between a Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government with very different visions for Irish society”.

Deputy Adams described the Taoiseach’s speech as “merely a back-slapping exercise which failed to address the growing polarisation in our society under Fine Gael and Labour and no new vision for the future”.

He claimed the Ard Fheis saw “unbridled arrogance from Government Ministers entirely insulated from the effects of their policies”.

Kenny meets Adams Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Adams said that in the next election, “it is a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society”.

He described Fine Gael’s way as meaning “further inequality, the continued pursuit of austerity with a continuation of cuts and charges aimed at low and middle income families”, as well as “the destruction of public services”, negative impact on farmers, and continued emigration.

Unsurprisingly, Adams said that under his party Sinn Fein, things would be radically different. He claimed that Sinn Féin’s way “means growing our economy out of recession, a recovery for all, real jobs with proper terms and conditions, decent public services accessible to all” and “the building of a United Ireland and a citizen-centred, rights-based society”.

He also criticised the Taoiseach for “barely” mentioning the North in his address, claiming this was “because he views the North as a foreign country”.

Additional reporting by Cliodhna Russell 

Read: Enda: “It’s about your right to say two small words, made up of three simple letters – I DO”>

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