Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has said that it is time that Enda Kenny came out from behind the protection of set piece events and anonymous briefings and face him in proper debate.

Deputy Martin was speaking following the Taoiseach’s Ard Fheis speech where he made a series of claims about the Fianna Fáil party and a series of reports that Mr Kenny’s strategy is to intensify his attacks.  He commented, “”At least twice in the last week, Enda Kenny has launched a series of tired, inaccurate and clichéd attacks on my party.  All of this is standard FG fare and no more than we have come to expect from a party that has no vision of its own and no message other than negative attacks on others.

“The fact is that Mr Kenny resorts to these attacks because his mandate is based on a series of falsehoods.  He went into the last election having voted against the key economic stabilisation measures that he now claims credit for.  He directed his party to support the Bank Guarantee that he now rails against.  He made promises to voters across the country in the full and certain knowledge that he would not be keeping them once elected.  He stands in Castlebar and tells the country that he leads a tax cutting Government, when the reality is that he has introduced no fewer than 13 tax increases during his time as Taoiseach.

“Mr Kenny’s time as Taoiseach has been marked by his continued refusal to engage in open, honest debate on any of these issues.  He now appears to hope that he can secure another term in that office by launching unsubstantiated attacks on his opponents. He does not seem to realise that the Irish people want more from their leaders.  I stand ready to meet the Taoiseach in open debate at any time, but I am not optimistic.  The sad fact is that the Fine Gael party, in the absence of any vision for the future, want to base the upcoming election on a distorted and patronising analysis of the past.  Mr Kenny will continue to run from debate because he has calculated that him to have any chance staying in the Taoiseach’s office, he must avoid honest debate and limit his exposure to genuine challenge to the absolute bare minimum.”