Delegates gather for Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis

The Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis – the largest political gathering in Ireland this year – gets underway in Dublin today.

The Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis – the largest political gathering in Ireland this year – gets underway in Dublin today.

It will be the last major setpiece event held by the party as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern eyes an historic third term in power after the general election.

Hundreds of delegates are expected to attend the two-day programme of debates and workshops at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel, themed: Leading Ireland Forward.

Protests are planned outside the event by the Anti-War Movement and victims of the 1981 Stardust nightclub fire who are seeking a public inquiry.

Mr Ahern is expected to use his opening address tonight to make a major policy announcement.

He will also set out key election promises to delegates during his keynote televised speech to delegates tomorrow evening.

With predictions of seat losses, the party will be keen to emphasise its role in managing the economy and promoting social justice over the past decade in power.

Mr Ahern said: “In the weeks ahead, Fianna Fáil will set out a platform for Ireland’s success not just for today but also far into the future.”

He added: “We will seek a mandate to lead Ireland forward on a progressive course. We will do this by being imaginative in our policies, focused in our goals and by being responsible with the public purse.”

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