Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Does Fine Gael deserve Ireland?

I see Fine Gael yesterday launched a campaign on the issues they believe could lead them to success in next year’s General Election.

I figured I'd give my thoughts on their proposals.

Health, crime and the waste of public money will be the themes of posters and billboards appearing around the country in the next six weeks as part of a Fine Gael initiative termed "Ireland Deserves Better".

Commenting on the plans which he will outline at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis on May 5 and 6, party leader Enda Kenny said:

"Ireland deserves better than rising crime and falling detection rates. It also deserves a Government that uses the taxpayers’ money wisely and well. And, most certainly it deserves better than a health system that regularly sees hundreds of people stranded on hospital trolleys for days on end.

"On foot of repeated comments at public meetings and constituency clinics about these issues we have put together a campaign."

Vote for me, you know you want to...

Mr Kenny outlined that the first phase of the campaign identifies real fears, frustrations and grievances that taxpayers face while the second phase of the campaign will include a national series of public meetings centring on the solutions offered by Fine Gael. He added that the final phase of the campaign will run from the end of May into June and will involve more public meetings and a summary of their proposals for up to 500,000 households.

Hmm. As someone who is quite sympathetic to the idea of a change of government, I must say I'm not terribly impressed with this plan by Fine Gael. I feel this campaign is somewhat of a microcosm of the party in general - too much emphasis on detail and not enough action.

For example, let's look at the lethargic campaign slogan: "Ireland deserves better". Gee, really? How insightful! What a groundbreaking idea it is for a party in opposition to claim that the country could actually be in better shape. My stars!

Then we have this 'phase one' guff about how Fine Gael understand the problems of Irish society etc. Yeah well, so do we! Give us your solutions from the off and repeat them all the way to the Ard Fheis and beyond.

I'm someone who would consider voting for Fine Gael but I don't know what their solutions are for the country. I'm aware that they want to change the status quo so I don't need to hear about that. Focus on the main points - the ineptitude of the current administration.

We have a government that is presiding over an absolutely shambolic health service with people stuck on trolleys instead of hospital beds and we have had criminal gangs come to the forefront of Irish society in the last few months. Tackle Bertie's boys on these matters for goodness' sake. Take the gloves off and give them a hammering.

Right now there are real question marks over whether Fine Gael can be trusted in power. After all, it's easier to criticise and point out flaws than it is to correct them so if Mr Kenny can't do the former, how can we be sure he can do the latter?

This country is crying out for an alternative. Fine Gael don't need to tell us they understand that, they need to instead start concentrating on providing that alternative.

"Ireland deserves better", goes the Fine Gael cry but the real question is, does Fine Gael deserve Ireland?


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