Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin blasted Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Government as being “arrogant and out of touch” in his last ard fheis speech before the general election.
Mr Martin also attacked Fine Gael for denouncing the policies of the late Brian Lenihan when in opposition, only to adopt them when they came to power.
“In opposition they voted against every single measure proposed by Brian Lenihan. Then they denounced him — today they try to claim credit for his work,” he said.
Continuing personal attacks on Mr Kenny, Mr Martin said the Taoiseach is fond of telling stories about men with pints and the army at ATMs.
“But the biggest fairytale of all is his claim to have delivered recovery,” he said.
Mr Martin said the Government “want a coronation, not an election” and his party would campaign to provide “An Ireland for All”.
“This Government didn’t deliver recovery — it delayed it and made it more unfair,” he said. “And it refused to tackle any problem until it became a crisis.”
Mr Martin said Fine Gael’s tax proposals would provide a harsher, unjust Ireland. He said it would mean “tax increases for lower and average families and huge tax cuts for the top few percent”.
“It means hikes in charges and taxes on water, property, prescriptions, education, and other basic items,” said Mr Martin. “But even more seriously, it means a major and permanent cut in public services. Less for pensions, for schools, for hospitals, for fighting crime, for supporting new business and for every other public service.”
Mr Martin vowed Fianna Fáil would be the first party to have their election promises independently costed.
“We’re going to take a lead and do something no party has done before,” he said. “We are going to get an independent analysis of our commitments which reviews the accuracy and affordability of our costings and their impact on economic growth.
“There will be no auction politics. No uncosted promises. No proposals which could damage the economy.”
Mr Martin argued that Fine Gael and “its cheerleaders relentlessly like to push the line that we can’t risk change”.
He told the audience that Fine Gael and the Labour Party introduced 45 taxes and “ignored the basic the principle of ability to pay”.
He said Fianna Fáil would create jobs and support enterprise, while cutting costs for families and improving services.
The party would abolish Irish Water, create a new childcare support, increase rent supplement and expand maternity leave.
Mr Martin said it will increase rent supplement and will use the Strategic Investment Fund to provide for 45,000 social houses.
A help-to-buy scheme will be provided for new home owners, the bankers’ veto will be removed to assist those in mortgage arrears and mortgage interest relief will be extended.
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