By Elaine Loughlin, political reporter
Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin has hit out at a Fine Gael negative campaign poster against his party claiming it is “disrespectful” to homeless families desperate to be housed.
The government party this morning published an advertisement featuring a ghost estate which warns people not to let Fianna Fáil “come back to haunt us”.
Reacting to the pointed ad, which appeared in a number of national newspapers, Mr Martin said he had recently met a mother who had been forced to spend Christmas in a hotel with her family and said the poster shows no respect for people like her.
Mr Martin said: “I was surprised that they took housing as the key feature of their advertising this morning because if I was Fine Gael the last place I would go to to highlight any issue is housing.
“Last Saturday I was in a shopping centre in Cork and a woman came to me with her children and she came from a housing perspective but she said to me ‘Michéal I have spent the last two months in a hotel’ and I said ‘Did you spend Christmas in a hotel?’ and she said ‘I did’.
“So I would respectfully say to Enda Kenny you can have all the ads you like making digs, but have some respect for people who could badly do with a house and could desperately do with a house right now.”
He said that by “any objective analysis” it is clear that they have failed to address the housing crisis “whether it’s in relation to mortgage arrears, whether its in relation to protection people who were taken over by vulture funds, whether it’s I relation to neglect of social housing and the construction of social housing and above all the absolutely appalling situation in relation to homelessness where over 1,500 children were in emergency accommodation this week.
Mr Martin added: “Like most of Enda Kenny’s promises, he has promised about a negative campaign, and that’s the first promise he has broken.”
Speaking after the negative advertisement appeared in the national media this morning Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said the campaign was aimed at reminding voters of the “catastrophic mishandling of the economy” by Fianna Fáil and the fact they cannot be trusted to manage the economy.
“As we approach the election let no one forget that Fianna Fáil brought this country to the brink of collapse, wasting years of prosperity and then mis-managing the crisis when it came.
“Fianna Fáil have no plan for the economy, or job creation, and cannot be trusted to keep the recovery going. They failed in Government and now they have failed in opposition. They have offered nothing over the last five years and have failed to take responsibility for their disastrous record in office. They are a real risk to the recovery and now is no time for risk taking,” the Fine Gael TD said.