Labour sees red as FG reaches for the stars… and cameras

Fine Gael is trying to award itself “medals” for completing a year in government, a senior Labour source has said.

Labour has expressed criticism of a photo opportunity being held by its coalition partners today in Dublin’s Merrion Square which will see Fine Gael TDs and senators “hold coloured stars detailing significant Fine Gael achievements in Government”, according to a Fine Gael press notice.

It comes ahead of the first anniversary tomorrow of the coalition taking office.

A senior Labour source said the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had already held a press conference yesterday to issue a business-like update on what the Government had achieved in its first year and set out priorities for the period ahead.

It was “inappropriate” and “misguided” for Fine Gael to hold an additional photo opportunity whereby TDs and senators would hold coloured stars as if they deserved medals for completing a year in government.

The Labour source said the Coalition’s first year in office had been about achieving “stability” and “nothing more”.

“One-upmanship” by either party would serve only to irritate the public when there was so much work yet to do, he added.

“It is inappropriate. It is utterly misjudging the public mood… We’ve a huge job of work to do for the next four years and we’re concentrating with getting on with that rather than awarding ourselves medals,” he said.

“The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste did a [press conference]. They marked the occasion… jointly on behalf of the Government. All the public are short is one-upmanship [by either coalition party] saying ‘I’m a great fella because I did this’ and ‘I’m a great fella because I did that’ in Merrion Square. As far as the public are concerned, we should get on with the job. It’s ill-judged and misplaced.”

However, Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Charlie Flanagan said the first anniversary of the Coalition provided “a great opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made over the last year”.

“The Irish people gave the Government an overwhelming mandate to fix our broken economy and return this country to prosperity.

“A huge amount of work has been carried out over the 12 months and while we still have a difficult road ahead, I believe we are back on the right track.”


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