Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hit out at the Taoiseach for “insulting the electorate” by sending the Health Minister out to fight his battles for him.
Mr Martin took a personal swipe at Enda Kenny ahead of a speech delivered to party members in Dublin tonight.
He said Mr Kenny was “ducking and diving and running away” after he was the only main party leader not to appear on RTE’s Six One news tonight.
He said he was “taken aback” that Mr Kenny had not appeared on the programme.
“The idea that we pick and choose our battles, the idea that we pick and chose the interviews we do, we pick and choose the debates we do, the ducking and diving and running away.
“All of that says to me that this is designed not to have a proper debate, not to have proper engagement with the public about the issues, and it’s not good enough.”
He also singled out “media star” Health Minister Leo Varadkar, claiming the Irish health system has deteriorated further under his time in the Department.
Mr Martin said: “They put all the blame on James Reilly and handed the Department to their media star – and things have got even worse.
“The highest overspend in the history of the health service and desperate attempts to keep lists under control until after voting is Fine Gael’s record.
“On Saturday one half of the Government announced free GP care for all as on the way – and on Monday the other half was forced to admit it can’t be done.
“Their policies on health are a shambles and causing immense harm,” he told supporters.
Speaking to party members in Swords Mr Martin said Fine Gael’s five Budgets gave priority to the wealthiest.
“It is Labour ministers who recently described Fine Gael as ‘Thatcherite’ and ‘Tory’.
“This is nothing compared to what they want to do in the future. Just like the Tories showed a mild face in their last election but followed it with deeply unfair policies this is what Fine Gael is offering.”