Fine Gael can offer stable leadership, says Creed

A “ragbag coalition” combining Fianna Fáil, Labour, the Social Democrats, Independents, or others will not offer the country stability, agriculture minister Michael Creed has warned.

Fine Gael can offer stable leadership, says Creed

A “ragbag coalition” combining Fianna Fáil, Labour, the Social Democrats, Independents, or others will not offer the country stability, agriculture minister Michael Creed has warned.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Creed said Fine Gael’s role in restoring the economy would be front and centre of it general election campaign.

“We will be going to the electorate on our record — a decade of transformation,” he said.

The minister said voters would treat the national election differently from the recent four by-elections. These saw no wins for Fine Gael, as candidates in some areaplaces finished third or worse.

Nonetheless, Mr Creed is adamant that the electorate will choose Fine Gael’s offering of a stable Government as opposed to a new mix of parties under the main opposition, Fianna Fáil.

“What is the alternative to the current arrangement?” he asked.

“Is is the ragbag option of Fianna Fáil, the Fianna Fáil gene pool of Independents — the Healy-Raes, the Mattie McGraths, etc — aligned with the Greens, the Social Democrats, the rump of the Labour Party? Is that a recipe for stable government? I don’t think so. I think the public will reflect long and hard on that critical issue as they vote in the next election.”

Fine Gael will tell voters that Ireland has been transformed in a decade under its stewardship in the election.

“The country is an entirely different place now than it was 10 years ago,” said Mr Creed.

“Not just in terms of economic recovery, but even five or six years ago in terms of a whole host of other issues in social policy. I mean, the Taoiseach himself is probably the living embodiment of a more inclusive Ireland that has been fashioned and shaped by a Fine Gael-led government.

All of those issues cumulatively tell a story of a country transformed over a decade of Fine Gael leadership. And I think people will reflect when they go to the polls on a whole host of issues. The economy will be front and centre stage, but they will look at other issues as well, such as housing and health.

While Mr Creed did not rule out Fine Gael working with Labour or the Greens after the election, he said Sinn Féin had too much “baggage” to share power in Government

Meanwhile, Mr Creed has rubbished claims by British prime minister Boris Johnson that an EU-UK trade deal can be hammered out by the end of 2020.

Mr Creed said it was in the interests of the EU and Ireland that a trade deal was as close to the status quo as possible.

However, when asked if this could be reached in 2020, he added: “Not a chance.

“It’s just not doable,” he said. “If you look at trade deals that we’re familiar with — the EU-Japan, EU-Mexico, the Ceta trade agreement [with Canada] — these have been years upon years in the making.

“There’s just absolutely no way a trade deal will be done in 20 months.”

Elsewhere, Mr Creed called on farmers to accept the need for sustainability.

Increasingly, what they [the market] ask about is: ‘What are you doing a year on year progressively to enhance your sustainability credentials from a climate point of view; from a carbon footprint point of view; from a biodiversity point of view?’.

“We need to drive the climate and sustainability agenda on every individual farm across the country.”

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