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Martin to fight election on health, housing and education as Fianna Fáil launch 2020 bid

Martin to fight election on health, housing and education as Fianna Fáil launch 2020 bid

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin intends to fight the general election on issues such as health, housing and education and has already dismissed his political opponents promise of a better future.

Responding to the Taoiseach's decision to hold the general election on February 8, Mr Martin said that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were “neck and neck” going into the campaign now.

Speaking in Leinster House he said it was “time for a change” in government and a new administration.

Although Mr Martin said he had no problem with February 8 as voting day, he said he hoped thousands of people would not see their vote lost after being placed on the electoral register but not before February 15.

Mr Martin said that voters, particularly young home buyers who could not afford a home, were "angry".

The Opposition leader opened his party's election battle by attacking Fine Gael's newly released slogan for the campaign.

Fine Gael's slogan, which has been launched in a video with Mr Varadkar today, says the party is campaigning and offering voters “a future to look forward to.”

However, Mr Martin took issue with the slogan and said the Fine Gael-led government had in fact “created an uncertain” future for people in Ireland, particularly when it came to housing and healthcare.

He said he was not so certain that people would look forward to housing problems, health issues, as well as childcare and insurance costs and education delays.

However, Fianna Fail will use its 2016 slogan an “Ireland for All”, which Mr Martin defended saying the party wanted to be all inclusive, particularly when it came to rural communities.

His party would be competing for second and third seats in constituencies and would build on its results in 2016 where it won 44 seats, from the drop to 22 in 2011.

Mr Martin also said he would travel the country during Fianna Fail's campaign.

Mr Martin also rejected Fine Gael claims that he and his party must take responsibility for the financial crash.

Fianna Fail during crash had set the platform for “fiscal recovery”, he argued.

Mr Martin also said he would prefer a one-on-one debate with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during t5he campaign. But he also said he was open to debates with all party leaders.

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