Micheál Martin hits out at housing emergency warning Fianna Fáil will be rewarded for its stabilising force

Micheál Martin hits out at housing emergency warning Fianna Fáil will be rewarded for its stabilising force

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says the housing emergency is worse than ever.

Mr Martin is slamming the Government's record on the crisis and has also taken a dig at Sinn Féin over Brexit.

He says even when Fine Gael ministers are willing to promise action there is a chronic delivery deficit which has turned problems into emergencies.

Addressing the party's President's dinner last night, he says we have the lowest home ownership in our history and at the same time the cost of rent is increasingly pricing young people and families out of the market.

The Fianna Fáil leader says worst of all, there are 10,700 people homeless, the highest in our history and last month alone 70 more children became homeless for the first time.

He says every positive development is one which is forced on Fine Gael and every target they have committed to has been missed.

Moving on to the next election, he says his party will be rewarded for its stabilising force during Brexit.

Mr Martin threw down the gauntlet to party members in a speech criticising the Government as the country looks to the next election, expected early next year.

The 2020 budget last week was the last that Fianna Fáil said they would agree to, as they seek to end their confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael after almost five years.

“When you look across to London and the collapse of their politics I think no one can doubt that Fianna Fáil was right in saying that we could not risk this happening in Ireland,” Mr Martin said during a speech in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin.

“In spite of many, many reasons to force an election, we said that Ireland couldn’t afford to be left without a voice in Brexit and had to show to Europe and the world that the Brexit madness would not be let into our politics.

We have put the national interest first at a critical moment. This has been no time for politics as usual and we have responded appropriately

There have been a number of reports that Fianna Fáil TDs and supporters had been unhappy with the continued backing of the Government during a number of notable scandals, including CervicalCheck and the housing emergency.

Mr Martin thanked supporters for staying the course, acknowledging the disharmony among some members.

“I know that this has been tough for many of our members because they are straining to take our message of change to the doorsteps,” he added.

Mr Martin added that there will be an election next year “unless the Taoiseach decides to try to pull a stroke of some sort because he thinks it will benefit him”.

Mr Martin has often criticised his rival for “political spin”, and last night’s speech saw Leo Varadkar come under fire for his government’s “failures” in office, which Mr Martin said was reflected in the polls in May when Fianna Fáil was the largest party in local government.

Micheál Martin hits out at housing emergency warning Fianna Fáil will be rewarded for its stabilising force

“Let’s not forget that this was done against the background of a relentless campaign of using public money to promote government,” he said.

“One of the largest and most cynical government marketing campaigns ever undertaken.

“The public didn’t fall for it, and instead chose to support our message of candidates focused on delivering community development and responsive public services.”

Mr Martin said his party’s approach to the next election will be to offer a positive alternative.

“Our country needs a change of government and we are determined to make sure that it gets a change of government,” he said.

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