Fine Gael

Fine Gael National Conference 2015


Issue polls

Poll: FG strong on economy and jobs, weak on social issues

Respondents indicate Sinn Féin best on community and protecting vulnerable

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Fianna Fáil did not lead in any category but it was second in five and its ratings spanned economic and social concerns

Stephen Collins

Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 08:15

Fine Gael outscores the other parties on major economic issues while Sinn Féin does best on community and social issues, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

In the poll people were asked which of the political groups would be best at handling 10 major issues.

Fine Gael came out well ahead of the others on four issues.

They were growing the Irish economy, creating jobs, managing the country’s relationship with the EU and keeping Government spending under control.

Sinn Féin was ahead of other parties for putting money in people’s pockets, lowering taxes, playing an active role in the community and protecting the vulnerable.

The Independents and Others were viewed as best at speaking openly and honestly. They also tied with Sinn Féin as the most likely to reform the way we do politics.

Representative sample

The survey was undertaken last Monday and Tuesday among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

Fine Gael’s rating for managing Ireland’s relationship with the EU was 26 per cent; creating jobs, 22 per cent; growing the Irish economy, 25 per cent; and keeping Government spending under control, 25 per cent.

Fine Gael’s lead on the major economic issues was based on strong support from middle-class voters and farmers.

For instance, 42 per cent of AB voters, 32 per cent of C1 voters and 44 per cent of farmers felt the party was best at growing the economy, but that view was only held by 12 per cent of C2 voters and 12 per cent of DE voters.

Sinn Féin’s best score was for playing an active role in the community, 21 per cent, followed by lowering taxes, 19 per cent, and an 18 per cent score for protecting the vulnerable in society and putting more money in people’s pockets.

Poorer voters

The party’s score was based on high ratings among poorer voters but it also had a spread across the social classes.

For instance, the party’s best score of 21 per cent for playing an active role at community level was based on a 27 per cent score among DE voters, and it got 20 per cent from C2 and C1 voters and even scored 17 per cent on this issue among AB voters.

However, on growing the Irish economy the party got just 3 per cent among AB voters, 9 per cent among C1, 13 per cent among C2 and 20 per cent among DE voters.

Independents and smaller parties had a similar rating on the economy but did best on speaking honestly and openly.

On that issue the group got 18 per cent among AB voters, 21 per cent among C1, 15 per cent in C2 and 21 per cent among DE voters.

Fianna Fáil did not lead in any category but it was second in five and its ratings spanned both economic and social concerns.

Labour had poor scores in almost all categories but did best on protecting the vulnerable in society.

John McNulty – New Seanad candidate for FG


Caught – The incredible Rock – 100 unbelieveable!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FINE GAEL LOCAL election candidate Noel Rock has admitted using around €60 worth Oireachtas envelopes that were donated to him to send out campaign literature.

Rock, who has made a high-profile pledge to take no expenses if elected to Dublin City Council this Friday, admitted that around 100 Seanad Éireann envelopes were used to send out the literature.

“This limited amount of postage, which amounted to €60, was contributed to my campaign in good faith,” Rock, who is running in the Ballymun ward, said in a statement to

He said that the use of the envelopes will be included in his statement of expenditure to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) which just last week warned TDs and Senators not to use pre-paid Oireachtas envelopes for election purposes.

Rock has pledged that he will not take what he claims is “€35,500 in tax-free expenses” if elected to Dublin City Council.

But he has come under fire from those in his own party with his constituency rival Professor Bill Tormey previously describing him as a “tosser” engaging in “a form of egregious abuse to ingratiate himself with the voters”.

Rock wrote about his pledge in a column for this website last weekend and said today that given the unhappiness with his actions he would donate €60 to a charity of their choice.

His statement added: “This donation was given in good faith, and used in good faith, to communicate with a very limited number of people – smaller than 0.1% of my local electorate.

“However, having been contacted by some people who feel unhappy at this, I have decided to donate the equivalent financial value to a charity of their choice of €60, which equates to 100 stamps”.

Property Tax – Remember the grant from the Department of the Environment will really determine the outcome of any property tax deal because the block grant from the DoE can be reduced. Anyway work it out.

FG to pledge to reduce property tax where possible

Party to launch local election manifesto next week

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: told the Fine Gael Ardfheis that the party’s council candidates would oppose “any increases in commercial rates or local property taxes” if elected to local authorities

Fiach Kelly

Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 01:00

First published: Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 01:00

Homeowners in better-off local authority areas may see their property taxes reduced, under Fine Gael’s local election manifesto.

Party sources last night said the manifesto, due to be launched next week, will contain a commitment to reduce the property tax in areas that have high commercial rates bases.

This will favour urban councils in Dublin and elsewhere, and brings Fine Gael into line with a similar commitment already given by its Coalition partners in Labour.

Councils in mainly rural counties such as Leitrim are less likely to see a reduction, given they will need the property tax receipts to fund council services.

However, the parties committed to reducing the tax must be in control of the councils to implement their policy commitments.

While the majority of property tax collected last year went towards establishment costs for Irish Water, from this year, 80 per cent of all property tax receipts will be retained in the local authority areas where the houses levied are based.

The remaining 20 per cent will continue to go into a national pot and be allocated on a needs basis.

Each council has the power to vary the property tax by 15 per cent, and has been given until September 30th by the Revenue Commissioners to decide what level of cut, or increase, they intend to apply, if any.

However, there is still some confusion among councils as to whether any reduction will be taken from their allocation, or the national pot.

“We’d have to be in control of the councils first but it is more likely in areas around Dublin like Dún Laoghaire, which has the biggest rates base in the country,” a Fine Gael source said.

Earlier this year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Fine Gael ardfheis that the party’s council candidates would oppose “any increases in commercial rates or local property taxes” if elected to local authorities.

The Labour Party has already said it will promise voters in large urban areas a 15 per cent cut in property tax as part of its local elections manifesto.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore confirmed the commitment earlier this year, and said in large urban areas where property values were high, people were paying higher property tax than in rural areas and there was scope for a reduction.

Barry Walsh – Vote Number 1 in FG election

O’Toole on Shatter – Incomplete but accurate

This commentary is accurate but incomplete. The psychological drivers of mateship are ignored in the obvious relationship between Shatter and Callinan. Callinan’s attitudes are obviously infectious. Both should go because the issue is too serious and remember the “Heavy Gang” in the 1970s.

Shatter’s personal integrity makes the reality of this crisis far worse

Opinion: We should not worry that a police force can step out of line but about whether we have the mechanism to deal with this situation



First published: Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 12:01

It would, at this point, be a relief if Alan Shatter were corrupt or stupid or a crawler. We could then say that his behaviour in relation to the accountability of An Garda Síochána was a personal aberration.

But no one, even among his many enemies, believes that Shatter’s personal integrity is in question. Far from being stupid, he is arguably the member of the Cabinet most qualified for the job he is doing. And far from being eager to please either the general public or the powerful people he works with, one of Shatter’s most interesting characteristics as a politician is his indifference to popularity.

These are all admirable qualities in themselves, but in the context of his disgraceful response to legitimate concerns about the culture of a crucial institution, they make things far, far worse. They leave us without simple, personal explanations and force us to recognise a deeper malaise in the functioning of the State. That malaise is the insidious insistence that everything is fine because those in charge say so.

There is much that we do not know about the intertwined claims of bugging, abuse of the penalty points system, mishandling of serious crimes and ill-treatment of whistleblowers that have created a crisis of confidence in the management and oversight of the Garda. What we do know are two things. One is that the allegations are serious, substantial and made in apparent good faith. The other is that the response of the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the Government has been consistent and coherent, which is to say it has been consistently and coherently hostile, defensive and belittling.

One thing that needs to be made clear here is that there’s nothing really shameful in a democracy about the existence of some malpractice in the police force. There will always be malpractice in police forces. It is in their nature. They have extraordinary powers and, because they operate under pressure and danger, they have very strong internal codes of loyalty and omerta. This is a perilous combination. It will generate problems in the best-run police forces in the best-governed countries.

The question is not whether some people in the police behave badly. It is whether the force is capable of discovering, stopping and being accountable for that behaviour – and whether, if the force itself fails, other democratic institutions can step in. This might seem to be an abstract distinction but it is actually the fundamental difference between a democracy and an autocracy. Healthy democracies assume that the power of the State will inevitably be abused and conclude that openness, vigilance and accountability are needed to check those abuses. Autocracies, on the other hand, always insist that everything the State is doing is good and that only the malign or deluded could possibly think otherwise.

Over the last month, we’ve seen a glimpse of what it’s like to live in an autocracy. In a functioning democracy, the raising of allegations of misconduct within the Garda would be given a kind of rueful welcome. Rueful because, of course, the reputation of their police force matters greatly to most Irish people. But welcome nonetheless because we’ve all learned the hard way that the best approach to maintaining the reputation of an institution is to be open about its failings. In an autocracy, on the other hand, any suggestion that a key institution has serious problems cannot be entertained.

This is what makes the official response to the current set of allegations so deeply worrying. It has betrayed an autocratic instinct. Running through all the individual responses has been the classic autocratic delusion: we know for a fact that everything is fine and it follows that anyone suggesting otherwise is stupid, ill-intentioned or both. Their motives must be impugned: Sgt McCabe is insubordinate; GSOC is paranoid and foolish; the Committee on Public Accounts is impertinent. There is even a hint of the autocratic desire to airbrush the historic record: Oliver Connolly, the Garda confidential recipient, had to be fired because he would not “repudiate” statements he had made, apparently in good faith, to Sgt McCabe. Perhaps Comrade Connolly might be invited to a self-criticism session?

This is scary stuff. If Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan don’t go, the autocratic mindset will be more deeply entrenched. But even if they do go, we still have to ask how it has come to this, and why the natural impulse at the top is to treat legitimate concerns with such enraged hostility. I suspect the root of the problem lies in the way government and officialdom have become used, in the broader arena, to insisting that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Compulsory optimism cannot abide contradiction.

Noel Rock – Disconnection from the Truth is Unfit for purpose

FG candidate for the Ballymun ward distributed the following in a leaflet in Drumcondra last week.

It was headed ” Rock: I’m taking no expenses saving Dubs €60,000 per councillor”

The text included
” I will be saying “no thanks” to the €60,000 per annum in expenses which is taken by the average
councillor. And that’s just the average councillor, be assured that some take more than that.

Councillors are paid €16,753 per annum plus €583.00 per month (€7000 per year) as expenses.  In addition Councillors can avail of expenses to attend conferences and this figure can amount to between two and three thousand extra per year. So in total City Councillors can avail of a maximum €10,000 and not €60,0000 in expenses.

Rock has engaged in a form of egregious abuse to ingratiate himself with the voters. He obviously lives on Mars because mere earthlings would cop-on that 60k per year in expenses for a councillor would be impossible to justify or sustain.

Ironically, he is paid as a Senate assistant to Senator Catherine Noone. He should tell the voters who pays for his colour brochures and who are his main donors.

Naoise O’Muiri

This Galway Blazer is the brightest star in FG in Dublin City Council. He has the pace, temperament, ability and general education to be good for this country. He is in the Varadkar zone for IQ points as is Lucinda. Naoise is relatively unobtrusive and is very focused on whatever is his immediate target or objective. He is the sort of person that FG needs for government over the next 20 years because he is clearly competent.

He has always encouraged me to stick with Fine Gael and fight within for change. I like the way he respects other councillors like Christy Burke, Vincent Jackson and Mannix.

Naoise was very good as Lord Mayor except for the ghosts episode! Bring back Charles Dickens and the ghosts of Christmases past.

Fine Gael

Overall Fine Gael is doing a good job in government in my opinion. Over a year ago, I told Marc Coleman that it is necessary to wait until the Spring/Summer of 2013 to see the direction and the results. The country is still in the mire but there is evidence that the policy of steady as she goes is working slowly.

I am unhappy with many details but if I was in there myself, I would not be very different as regards the FG portfolios (except in health where I would make many different decisions but I’m not going to detail the reasons because James Reilly won the election and I was hammered.

However, I have no doubt that I would do things better and differently.

Hint – less administration, more co-operation, more medical and nurses voices, better hospital governance, less infections, (Oh! and Jimmy Sheehan would be on board), bin the consultant contract as against the public interest, TV in hospitals, licenced medical facilities and public institutions which would force change quickly, respect for GPs and primary care, and reallocation of the army of managers in the HSE.

In Dublin, the Mater must be split from Vincents and linked to Beaumont and Connolly. Connolly should be developed as a major Biomedical Campus and linked to all medical schools. Connolly should be a major A&E hospital on the M50 and Beaumont should be mainly elective which would massively increase efficiency.

The new IT system for hospitals should be country wide and PPS numbers should replace hospital numbers unless patients choose to opt out to safeguard confidentiality. Money should follow the patient when the IT system is live and only then.

I could go on and on and on.