Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin spoke at Ógra Fianna Fáil’s annual conference in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone last Saturday.
Deputy Martin used the platform to celebrate the party youth organisation’s recruitment throughout the year, and to lambaste the current Fine Gael led Government’s results on several key issues.
Deputy Martin drew attention to the achievements of previous Fianna Fáil governments, saying: “While we have made mistakes, many of the strongest parts of today’s Ireland come from our work in more recent governments.”
He referred to the party’s achievements, including Bertie Ahern’s work in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement, now under threat from Brexit, and went on to blame Fine Gael for six years of a “dysfunction of relations in Belfast,” and for their part in failing to push for a functioning government in the North.
Deputy Martin continued his attacks against the Government, calling Taoiseach Leo Varadkar a man “obsessed with spin” and blasting the new Taoiseach’s “obsession with trying to divide society into the deserving and the rest.”
Varadkar’s response to the homelessness crisis, the housing crisis, the rising costs of higher education, and the healthcare crisis were all put in the firing line, and Dep Martin concluded that “The day is not far off that no matter how aggressively they brief or how much public money they spend promoting themselves the public will stop listening.”
The Fianna Fáil leader went on to promise to continue proposing better alternatives to Fine Gael policy, starting in the next four months with a comprehensive plan for helping people under 30 access education, training, and employment.
“It’s not about presentation, it’s about substance, it’s about renewing the public belief that politics can deliver for them,” he concluded.