FG prioritises job creation & economic growth

Tuesday 15 February 2011 22.53
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Enda Kenny - 'Immoral' to write more blank cheques for banks (Pic: Liam Sweeney)
Enda Kenny - 'Immoral' to write more blank cheques for banks (Pic: Liam Sweeney)
Micheál Martin - Launched political reform proposals
Micheál Martin - Launched political reform proposals
Debate - Party leaders avoided slip-ups
Debate - Party leaders avoided slip-ups

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said maximising job creation, economic growth and the modernisation of the public service were the key planks of his party's election manifesto, which was published today.

The party has also vowed to stamp out white collar crime and to bring rogue bankers to justice.

Speaking about the economy, Mr Kenny said it would be immoral for the country to continuing writing blank cheques for the banks, and also reaffirmed the commitment to reducing the Budget deficit to 3% by 2014.

There was also a warning that on future budgets there would be no soft option.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said he did not agree with the view that everyone would have to suffer economic cuts.

At the launch of his party's proposals for political reform, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he believed that the Order of Business in the Dáil was the most ridiculous show in town.

He said his party was committed to radically changing the way politics operated.

Mr Martin insisted that all parties, including Fianna Fáil, became lazy during the boom years and failed to challenge the political and economic orthodoxy.

He has said a clear difference has now emerged between Fianna Fáil and the other parties over political reform.

Mr Martin said the other parties proposed to leave the current system of cabinet Government unchanged, while Fianna Fáil proposed that ministers would not serve in the Dáil while serving in Government.

The Fianna Fáil leader also said that every time Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams spoke about fraud or corruption during the election campaign, he would challenge him.

Meanwhile, Labour's Pat Rabbitte has said that Fine Gael cannot claim to be a low-tax party, and if it was to become a low-tax party, there would have to be spending cutbacks.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Rabbitte also claimed that Fine Gael's economic calculations do not take into account that another €5bn has to be found.

However, Fine Gael Finance Spokesman Michael Noonan rejected his claims, which he described as 'bizarre', and said Labour misunderstood Fine Gael figures.

Mr Noonan said both Fine Gael and Labour were working on the same overall growth projections.

Elsewhere, the Green Party has launched its transport policy and said that the Metro North project in Dublin should go ahead.

Ciarán Cuffe and Eoin Ryan said the party would prioritise the upgrade of secondary roads rather than building new motorways.

Fine Gael maintains lead in latest poll

Fine Gael retains a commanding lead in the latest opinion poll, which is due to be published in tomorrow's Irish Independent.

However, despite a poor showing by Fianna Fáil, the Millward Brown Lansdowne poll gives party leader Micheál Martin the highest satisfaction rating.

There were 1,000 voters polled around the country between Saturday and Monday and the results are very similar to other recent polls.

Fianna Fáil is on 12%, which is down four points since the last Irish Independent poll a fortnight ago.

Fine Gael is up eight points to 38%, while Labour drops one point to 23%.

The Green Party is unchanged on 1% and Sinn Féin drops three to 10%. Independents and others increase one to 16%.

However, Mr Martin has the highest satisfaction rating of the party leaders at 42%, which is down two points.

Labour's Eamon Gilmore is down five at 41%. Enda Kenny is the only leader to increase and goes up three points to 30%.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is down five to 26% and Green Party John Gormley drops one to 13%.

Elsewhere, an opinion poll in Dublin shows Labour in the lead in the capital, closely followed by Fine Gael, with Fianna Fáil in fourth place behind Sinn Féin.

The Millward Brown Lansdowne poll for the Evening Herald is based on a sample of over 1,000 voters.

It shows Labour on 31%, Fine Gael on 29%, Independents and others on 16%, Sinn Féin on 11%, Fianna Fáil on 10%, and the Greens on 3%.

No knockout blows in second debate

Political party leaders held the second televised debate of the General Election campaign last night.

Read the RTÉ Leaders' Debate - As it Happened

Topics including the economy, health and political reform were discussed, and the leaders challenged each other's policies.

Two more debates between the leaders of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil are scheduled before polling day.