The country faces a “two-tier recovery” with many being left behind while others prosper, the Fianna Fáil leader said in his televised address on the bailout exit.
Micheál Martin did not acknowledge his party’s role in presiding over policies that resulted in the economic collapse, or in seeking external assistance in Nov 2010. But he said “important progress has been achieved over the past five years” through “the hard work of the Irish people”.
The opposition was given the opportunity to respond to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s televised address on Sunday night in which he said the exit of the bailout was a signal that Ireland was “fighting back”.
Speaking on RTÉ at 9.30 last night, Mr Martin welcomed the exit, but said fixing the public finances was part of “a much broader set of economic and social challenges”.
He said the recovery needs to be “fairer” and “the current evidence is that we risk a two-tier recovery — where some prosper but many are left behind”.
Medical cards are being taken from “those who need them most,” he said “children with special needs, people with multiple medical conditions and the elderly”.
Speaking on behalf of the technical group, Independent TD Shane Ross said that voters should choose a “fairer way, a radical way, different from the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour way”.
He said the bigger parties are “joined at the hip” and strongly criticised what he described as the “patronage” in appointing judges.
The Dublin South TD said: “Political appointments to the judiciary continue to poison the administration of justice. Friends, funders, and followers of the Coalition end up as judges on a scale that would make Fianna Fáil blush.”
In his address just before the Six One News, Mr Ross said Independent TDs “must now form meaningful alliances to offer a radical but workable alternative to tribal and troika politics”.
He said the recent resignation of the board members of the Central Remedial Clinic was an example of the establishment being held to account by the Independents.
He urged voters to: “Support us in cleaning out more boards, in fighting for the underdog, in crusading to reform the charities and banking sectors. Support us in protecting victims of the troika’s austerity programme.”
Mr Ross said the bailout exit “may bring political satisfaction to the Government, but it would be premature to hold a national celebration.”
He said “political insiders” had insisted the Coalition had little alternative to the politics of austerity and were “merely travelling the road that Fianna Fáil would have followed to the letter”.
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