Enda Kenny on the current situation.

Dear Member,

I welcome yesterday’s announcement that the General Election will take place on March 11th.

The announcement came after events in the Dáil descended into farce as the Taoiseach desperately tried to cling to power and a series of cabinet Ministers tendered their resignation.

I had proposed, on behalf of Fine Gael, that the Dáil be suspended until the Taoiseach attended in the chamber and explained what was going on. The situation was that a sitting Taoiseach was unable to appoint ministers to cabinet as is his duty under the Constitution.

I told you last week that we would be ready whenever the call came and we are ready now that it has. Fine Gael has a serious plan and a serious team to get Ireland working again.

We have the right plans to get the country back on track and the right people standing ready to implement these plans, if the people should choose to give us their mandate. My main focus from now until polling day will be to promote Fine Gael’s extensive policy plans for the future, in particular our proposals to get the country back to work.

New Era is our stimulus and competitiveness package and includes real, costed proposals to create over 100,000 jobs. We need a new approach which will support job-rich economic recovery through higher levels of public and private investment in Ireland’s economy.

The implementation of this plan will see 40,000 people off the dole within a year. It will give the unemployed new opportunities through internship programmes for graduates and ‘second chance’ education.

My ambition is to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016, the best country in which to raise a family and the best in which to grow old with dignity and respect.

Our New Politics document proposes the biggest overhaul of the Irish Political System since the 1930’s. Key proposals include the reduction of the number of TDs in the Dail by 20, the abolition of the Seanad, and cutting the President’s term of office from seven to five years, and a raft of proposals about how the business of government is conducted.

Reinventing Government is our programme to streamline the cost and the effectiveness of the way our government is run and our public services delivered.

It has the potential to save €5bn over a period of 5 years by cutting out the back-room bureaucracy that has plagued our public service for far too long.

FairCare is Fine Gael’s plan to radically reform the Irish Health Service through the introduction of the very successful Dutch System of Universal Health Insurance and the elimination of the two-tier system that we currently have in Ireland. This would result in a more patient-focussed service for all.

Together, these proposals can radically transform our country for the better and I am asking you now for your help to make that happen. Also, please continue to send us your views at www.FineGael.ie.

Earlier today, I was in Lucan where I attended a special Fine Gael, Liffey Valley Forum. Senator Frances Fitzgerald and Cllr Derek Keating, both Dáil candidates for Fine Gael, were in attendance.

The forum was organised by Cllr William Lavelle to bring together elected representatives at local and national level from throughout the Liffey Valley area, in order to contribute to and co-ordinate delivery of Fine Gael policy on the Liffey Valley. This area is incredibly picturesque with great potential as a recreational tourism amenity.

I told you a couple of weeks ago about our proposals to place Tourism at the centre of our economic recovery. Maximizing the potential of this lovely area would be one way in which these plans could be implemented. Let’s see if we can move it on in a similar way to the very successful Dublin Mountain Partnership.

Finally, let me say this; this election is not only about complex economics and issues solely connected with banks. These matters are crucial, of course, to the well-being of our country but it is essentially about our people.

I know, from my travels throughout the country, of the many difficulties our people face. I know of the fragility and concerns of many and I hope to tell many of their stories in the course of the campaign. These are the stories that drive our politics and our policies. These are the stories of life in Ireland today.

In these circumstances, we need to speak the language of encouragement, of affection, of understanding and of generosity. The people yearn for leadership and sense of security.

I hope that, with my Fine Gael team, we can and will provide that for them. Let’s go do it!

Kind regards

Yours sincerely

Enda Kenny, TD
Leader of Fine Gael