Latest News – Fianna Fáil The Republican Party Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:55:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Co-ordinated tourism strategy needed for Galway – Connolly Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:55:05 +0000 Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway West John Connolly has called for a new tourism initiative for Galway which would bring together infrastructure, business, telecommunications and environmental groups to put a strategy in place to boost Galway’s tourism sector.

Mr. Connolly explained, “Galway has always been a tourism hotspot and has a reputation both here in Ireland and abroad as a lively, welcoming, historic and fun place to visit.  However over the past number of years problems with mobile coverage and broadband, traffic and transport, and water quality have damaged the reputation of the city and county.

“Any fall off in tourism has a major knock-on effect on the local economy and on the standard of living.  I would like to see a dedicated body tasked with identifying the key challenges to growing the tourism sector and coming up with solutions to tackle them.

“Anyone living in Galway understands the serious problem that traffic management posed.  There are daily tailbacks coming into and out of the city, which acts as a deterrent to anyone wanting to spend a day or an afternoon in the city centre.  We are actually losing visitors because of a series of delays in devising a comprehensive traffic management plan.  I have consistently put forward the idea of a Park and Ride facility, but to date this proposal has been ignored.

“The failure of Fine Gael and Labour to roll out high speed broadband has led to major gaps in the system.  Speeds are slow at best, and non-existent in many cases.  Mobile phone coverage is equally bad.  We hear promises of 3G and 4G but the reality is that the signal regularly drops, frustrating personal and business customers alike.  Unless this connectivity issue is addressed, businesses will continue to lose out online booking and shopping has now become the norm.  Fianna Fáil has committed to rolling out fibre broadband to every home and business in the country, ending the erratic provision that currently exists.

“We need to take a co-ordinated approach to boosting tourism and business in the city to ensure that we are attracting new people on breaks.  If we can tackle some of the issues that are hampering progress, we will create a better, more streamlined Galway where people want to visit and do business”.

Fine Gael and Labour have punished rather than protected older people – Chambers Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:53:52 +0000 Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo Cllr. Lisa Chambers says Fine Gael and Labour’s record on older people is reason enough for people not to return this Government for a second term in office.  Far from upholding their promises to protect the vulnerable, this Government slashed a number of key supports for older people.

Cllr. Chambers explained, “Fine Gael and Labour claim they have protected older people but nothing could be further from the truth.  Over the past five years they have abolished the telephone allowance, cut the Household Benefits Package and changed the eligibility criteria for medical cards.  Before the last election James Reilly promised to scrap the then 50cent prescription charge; the reality is that it has increased five fold under this Government.

“Under Fine Gael and Labour, the deprivation rate for the over 65s has soared – from 9.5% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2014. So claims by either party that they have protected older people are simply untrue.

“Fianna Fáil wants a fairer society, where older people are given the supports they need.  We have developed an ‘Independent Living Contract’ for older people.  This will ensure improvements in living standards and services for older people”.

The Independent Living Contract involves a number of key measures, all of which are independently costed:

– Increase the State Pension by €30 to €263
– Increase in the Living Alone Allowance to €15
– Full restoration of Housing Adaptation Grants
– Phased abolition of Prescription Charges
– Specific Employment Supports for over 50s
– New national strategy for long term care.

“Older people play a valuable role in our society and we want to empower them to live full and independent lives through improved supports and services.  We want to see fairness in society.  We want an Ireland for all”, concluded Cllr. Chambers.

Fianna Fáil economic strategy based on fair, affordable policies Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:50:54 +0000 Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has committed the party to an economic strategy based around prudence in the management of the public finances and long term investment in infrastructure and public services. This forms the backbone of Fianna Fáil’s commitment to fairness at the heart of policy making.

Unlike Fine Gael who say that their current pledge to abolish USC ranks above all others, Fianna Fáil recognises that should difficult choices have to be made in the years ahead that we will prioritise public services over tax cuts.

Deputy McGrath commented “Fianna Fáil has learned the lessons of the past. We are committed to a balanced budget and we recognise that any expenditure-increasing or revenue-reducing measures are dependent on projected economic growth. We will take a sensible approach to tax and expenditure decisions in the years ahead and prioritise public services.

“Our overall package of €8.3 billion is split 2:1 between expenditure and tax. We believe this strikes the right balance between improving take home pay and ensuring families have access to quality public services.

“Our promises are measured and deliverable. Fianna Fáil’s key pledge in relation to taxation is to abolish the Universal Social Charge for all income earners on the first €80,000 of income. We will do this by eliminating the 3 lower rates of USC (1%, 3% and 5.5%) and raising the entry point for the remaining rate to €80,000.

“We will also guarantee equal treatment for the self-employed in the tax system and increase the Home Carers Tax Credit to €2,000.

“To protect the public finances over the years ahead we will establish a Rainy Day Fund with any unexpected proceeds from corporation tax. Strict rules will apply as to the circumstances in which funds can be drawn down.

“We will also put a strong case to the ECB for Ireland to be allowed hold the promissory note bonds to maturity. The current pace of sale is almost six times faster than the level envisaged when the arrangement was put in place.”

Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson Sean Fleming stated “Targeted investment in infrastructure is central to our commitment to An Ireland for all.

“We believe that the Capital Plan as published by the government needs to be strengthened. We envisage additional capital expenditure of €2.7 billion over five years addressing key issues such as social housing, universal fibre broadband to the home and a new five year programme for research in third level institutions.

“We will improve the capacity of the health service by investing in more acute hospital beds and enhancing primary care facilities.

“To underpin this process we will establish a National Infrastructure Commission to plan the country’s infrastructure for the next 25 years and remove short term political considerations from the process. This will address key issues such as the M20 motorway.

“In addition we believe that on-going reform in the public sector is vital to the economic wellbeing of the country. Public services should be responsive to the needs of the people they serve. We will work to ensure current services and future programmes are designed to maximise ease of use and in particular IT access.

“In order to deliver full value for money across the public services we must provide clear mechanisms for performance review and greater flexibility. To this end we will standardise customer service charters across the public service.

“In relation to cost competitiveness we believe that a more hands on approach is needed by the State through ensuring competitiveness is a central consideration in policymaking, reducing operating costs, and delivering improvements in infrastructure, skills and the banking sector,” concluded Deputy Fleming.

Fianna Fáil Economic Strategy

Varadkar hospital staff comments utterly offensive – FF Sun, 07 Feb 2016 15:07:22 +0000 Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has strongly criticised comments by the Minister for Health that doctors and nurses slow down if there are more beds and resources in our hospitals.

“These comments by the Minister are as astonishing as they are offensive. It is clear that the Minister thinks that overcrowding provides the optimum working environment for a hospital.

“The fact that it has been estimated that some 350 people a year may die from ED overcrowding clearly has not featured in the Minister’s thoughts.

“Furthermore what sort of impact will this have on staff morale if the Minister for Health thinks they are a shower of shirkers who will only get the finger out if they are working in a pressure cooker environment?

“It is completely offensive and the Minister should apologise to the hard working staff in our health services.

“Might I also suggest to health staff that on February 26th they respond by voting to ensure the Fine Gael parliamentary party is left with fewer human resources.”

Fianna Fáil to target organised and gangland criminals with Special Criminal Court and new specialist Garda unit Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:42:23 +0000 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has outlined the party’s proposals to target gangland crime and organised criminals who operate with impunity.

Deputy Collins was speaking in the wake of this week’s murder at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, outside the nearby Whitehall Garda Station, closed under the Alan Shatter plan in 2013.

He commented, “The murder in the Regency Hotel shocked the entire nation and brought home in a very direct and shocking way the threat posed by these gangsters. Recognising this, Fianna Fáil is proposing to expand the use of the Special Criminal Court to tackle organised and gangland crime in Dublin.  The court has been used to good effect in the past in Limerick in this regard.

“I regard these crimes to be a serious threat to the security of the state and I believe the nature in which these criminals have operated and their complete disregard for the public requires a tougher response from Government.  I do not believe these gangs would hesitate in targeting potential jurors or witnesses and the powers and protection of the Special Criminal Court are now necessary to rid our society of what amounts to criminal terrorism.

“As well as employing the Special Criminal Court, Fianna Fáil will set up a new Serious and Organised Crime Unit within An Garda Síochána to lead the fight against criminal networks operating in the country.  The Unit’s remit will include co-operation with Interpol and other police agencies.

“A strong Garda force, built up to 15,000 under Fianna Fáil will have a much greater presence but we recognise that it’s not just about increasing manpower and visibility; it is also about expanding intelligence gathering assets as well.  Fianna Fáil will invest in the human capital and the physical infrastructure of the force to ensure it is fit for purpose.  The advanced organisational capacities of tightly organised and highly mobile gangs and their sheer brutality demands a co-ordinated, concentrated approach by An Garda Síochána and Fianna Fáil will ensure it has the power, finance and political back-up to deliver.”

Rabbitte ups the ante on the campaign trial Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:16:24 +0000 Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway East Cllr. Anne Rabbitte has been hearing from local businesses and farmers in Loughrea as she intensified her campaign in the run up to the General Election.  She was joined by two former Galway East political stalwarts Joe Callanan and Michael Kitt, who was back out canvassing only one day after retiring.

Cllr. Rabbitte commented, “I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support for my campaign here in Loughrea.  People here have been badly let down by this Government and there is a real hunger for change.  I met with local business owners who have been crippled by rising rents and rates and who feel abandoned by Fine Gael and Labour.  These businesses feel as if they have been forgotten by this Government, which has done nothing to improve supports for self employed people.

“Likewise homeowners are disillusioned with the lack of progress on the mortgage arrears issue.  This Government made a raft of promises before the last election but unfortunately they have been forgotten.  The social housing list numbers have rocketed – with more than 3,400 waiting for a home in Co. Galway in 2015 – an increase of 80% in a two year period.

“I chatted with farmers at Loughrea Mart who want to see a greater focus on primary producers.  Minister Simon Coveney has allowed beef processors and the large retailers dictate the market, which has resulted in lower prices for the average farmer.  Many have been badly affected by the latest flooding, which the Government has forgotten about, now that its out of the national headlines.  This is simply not good enough.

“Fianna Fáil’s message of fairness and equality is really resonating with people here in Galway.  I along with my party want to see better public services, more Gardai on the streets, a health service we have faith in.  We want an Ireland for all”.

Burton has placed families in jeopardy – Chambers Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:05:39 +0000 Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Jack Chambers
Dublin West

06 February 2016

Burton has placed families in jeopardy – Chambers

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin West Cllr Jack Chambers has accused Labour Leader Joan Burton of failing to protect vulnerable families and said that Fianna Fáil will restore the One Parent Family Payment.

“The cut to the One Parent Family Payment is symptomatic of the two tier recovery that this government has been pursuing. This payment is a key support for vulnerable one parent families across West Dublin and the rest of the country. This cut was callous. Joan Burton said she would protect the most vulnerable but she has failed to do this. In fact her actions have placed more families in jeopardy.

“The One Parent Family payment is a lifeline to many families, and still this government cut it back to when the youngest child in the family was seven. This has placed huge financial hardship on these families who were already disproportionately at risk of poverty.

“Fianna Fáil will restore this payment initially to when the youngest child is 12 and then we will seek to extend it to 14 year olds. The coalition has presided over a new regime where the wealthiest feel the benefit of any recovery, to the detriment of everyone else.

“The Government will have you believe that this is by chance, and not Government policy, but the reality is that this was a deliberate policy choice of the current government. Joan Burton promised a ‘Scandinavian’ style childcare system, but like many of her promises nothing has come of this. Her legacy as Minister for Social Protection is that the consistent poverty rate for lone parent households is 22%, while the deprivation rate is 59%.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to a fair recovery, which will include lone parent families, not just a recovery for the privileged few,” vowed Cllr Chambers.


McAuliffe calls for emergency meeting of Dublin City Policing Committee in wake of shooting Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:00:45 +0000 Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Paul McAuliffe
Dublin North West

06 February 2016

McAuliffe calls for emergency meeting of Dublin City Policing Committee in wake of shooting

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin North West Cllr Paul McAuliffe is calling for an emergency meeting of Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee following yesterday’s fatal shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin.

“The Council and the Gardaí need to immediately address the safety issues of the homeless families living in the hotel and also to ensure that Gardaí have adequate resources to deal with the scourge of criminal gangs.

“Yesterday’s shooting in the Regency Hotel once again highlights the difficulties being faced by the Gardaí in Dublin. They are under staffed, under resourced and under pressure. What is even more startling is that the shooting took place just yards from the former Whitehall Garda Station which was shut down by this government.”

“The shooting put children at risk and that is just not acceptable. Dublin City needs the Fianna Fáil proposed dedicated garda unit to tackle gun crime. Shootings in the city in recent times have shaken the confidence of people who live and work here. We need to remove the guns from our streets, and give Gardai the resources to do that job.”


Labour channel Cromwell with flawed rural Ireland plan – Ó Cuív Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:51:58 +0000 Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has slammed the Labour Party’s plan for rural Ireland, saying that it fully exposes Labour’s lack of interest in rural towns.  The Galway West TD says the policy is an “insult to people living in rural areas”

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “It is clear from the Labour plan that the party wants to denude the rural countryside of its population and force everyone to live in major towns or cities.  This implication is evident in the detail of the plan.

“Labour claims it will invest capital spending in “key growth centres” where there is major population growth potential. Considering that the CSO is predicting that the Greater Dublin Area will account for 65% of total population growth by 2031, this commitment rings hollow. Rural parishes will continue to be left behind as secondary priority as currently the case.

“There is nothing specific in Labour’s plan on the numbers of new Gardaí they will introduce, nothing concrete on increasing the rural GP allowance; nothing on extending the DSP contract with An Post, and nothing on restoring the pupil student ratio in small schools.

“It is beyond belief that there is not one mention of improving mobile phone coverage in the entire document.

“In contrast, Fianna Fáil has a detailed policy laying out practical solutions to immediately improve the lives of rural dwellers in terms of service provision, infrastructure and employment opportunities”.

The key policy commitments outlined in our “Manifesto for Rural Ireland” include

– Reinstating a senior rural ministry and introduce a community services guarantee
– Provide top quality infrastructure roads, water, sewerage
– Restore the pupil teacher ratio in small schools & improve school transport services
– Provide universal fibre broadband and mobile phone coverage

“This anti-rural Government is continuing to leave rural parishes behind with a total absence of political action. In contrast, Fianna Fáil believes in an Ireland for all. Our rural manifesto is a real action plan which will get things done on the ground, while the Fine Gael and Labour’s rural charter is a plan to make more plans”.

Plean seolta ag Fianna Fáil chun Úinéireacht Tí a sholáthar agus chun dul i ngleic leis an easpa dídine Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:48:38 +0000 Tá plean seolta inniu ag Fianna Fáil chun Úinéireacht Tí a sholáthar agus chun dul i ngleic le géarchéim na heaspa dídine. Tá an plean mar chuid de cheithre chroíthosaíocht dá bhfeachtas olltoghcháin “Éire do Chách”. Tá gealltanas tugtha ag Fianna Fáil 150,000 teach nua a thógáil faoin mbliain 2021, 45,000 díobh sin is aonaid nua tithíochta sóisialta a bheidh iontu. Tá an bealach chun dul i ngleic leis an ngéarchéim tithíochta briste síos i dtrí réimse chriticiúla; tithe poiblí, príobháideacha agus tithe ar cíos.

Dúirt an tUrlabhraí Comhshaoil Barry Cowen, “Is mallaithe an teist í an ghéarchéim tithíochta seo ar pholasaithe an Rialtais, polasaithe a bhfuil teipthe go hiomlán orthu”  Faoi Fhine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre tá fás as cuimse tagtha ar liostaí feithimh ar thithíocht shóisialta ó 90,000 go 140,000. Tá tógáil tithíochta idir phoiblí agus phríobháideach ina lánstad; tá 1,600 leanaí ag fanacht i gcóiríocht éigeandála agus tá glúin daoine ann a bhfuil aon seans a dteach féin a bheith acu á cheilt orthu. I bhforógra Fhianna Fáil tá tús áite tugtha do chúrsaí tithíochta agus tá plean soiléir costáilte ina iomláine leagtha amach ann chun tabhairt faoin ngéarchéim seo.

1. Poiblí
– Clár tithíochta sóisialta €5.4 billiún chun 45,000 aonad tithíochta sóisialta.
– Cuid V a chur ar ais go dtí 20%

2. Príobháideach
– Roinn nua Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil a thabharfaidh ceannaireacht agus a rachaidh i ngleic leis an ngéarchéim seo.
– Banna Náisiúnta Tógála Tithíochta chun forbairtí a mhaoiniú
– Scéim Coigiltis do Cheannaitheoirí Céaduaire

3. Tithe ar Cíos & Daoine gan Dídean
– An liúntas cíosa i mBaile Átha Cliath a ardú
– Aonaid nua tithíochta sóisialta a dheimhniú ó chuid den “Straitéis Tús Áite do Thithíocht”

“Cinnteoidh na trí réimse seo go mbeidh díon os a gcionn acu ag daoine agus seans acu a dteach féin a bheith acu. Buncheist daonnachta is ea é seo; ní ceart go nglacfadh rialtas ar bith leis an toisc seo ina bhfuil leanaí á dtabhairt suas i seomraí cúnga óstáin. Tá Fine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre tar éis éigeandáil tithíochta a chruthú toisc nár infheistigh siad i dtithíocht shóisialta agus nár chuireadar borradh faoin tionscal tógála. Cinnteoimid-ne go mbeidh tógáil tithe ina thosaíocht ag an Rialtas,” a dúirt an Teachta Cowen mar chlabhsúr”.