By Elaine Loughlin, political reporter
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin chose to attack the “arrogant and out of touch” Government at the launch of his party’s election campaign.
Speaking from his party's election headquarters on Dublin's Mount Street Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil would not enter into any coalition with Sinn Féin and would not be collectively campaigning for a repeal of the Eight Amendment.
But instead of focusing on Fianna Fáil policy he spent much of his time attacking the Fine Gael and Labour coalition.
He hit out at the Government for “consistently refusing to even acknowledge problems until they were allowed to reach emergency level”.
Mr Martin, whose party are putting forward 70 candidates said: “Five budgets out of five were in favour of the wealthiest and 45 new taxes and charges were imposed with no concern for the basic principal of ability to pay.
“This government didn’t deliver recovery, it delayed it and it made it more unfair and it refused to plan or tackle any problem until it became a crisis.
“I hope that over the next three weeks there will be proper space for a meaningful debate on the substance of how our country should move forward.”
Asked about Fianna Fáil’s stance on repealing the Eight, Mr Martin said his party had been given the freedom to vote with their conscious.
“No campaign slogan of repeal the 8th is going to resolve that.
“It’s not as simple as a campaign slogan.
“We have made it clear that a judge-led commission should be appointed and the issues of legal social ethical should be teased out.
“As a party we will not be campaigning for repealing the Eight collectively,” he said.