Micheál Martin has warned of the damage that “unchecked anti-EU politics” can cause ahead of next year’s European elections.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil ard fheis in the Dublin Royal Convention Centre, the Tánaiste said the European Union faces “dramatic threats” and that “Ireland must stand with Europe”.
“Ireland must stand against the corrosive euroscepticism and anti-democratic regimes which seek to undermine the union,” he said.
“We can see in our nearest neighbour the damage which unchecked anti-EU politics can cause. We respect their right to leave, but we must never, ever allow euroscepticism to go unchallenged.”
Martin said the European elections are “so vital” and warned that many of Ireland’s current batch of MEPs are “aggressively anti-EU”.
“It is time for all of us who value the European Union, who see it as vital to Ireland’s interests, to stand up against those who want Ireland to take a radically damaging anti-EU direction,” he added.
Martin also criticised people who “always talk down our country” and who “claim that nothing has been achieved in a hundred years”.
He said those who engage with this narrative are “not serious about trying to help people, they are only serious about playing politics”.
“When you see how far our country has come, you see a country with the capacity to achieve great things,” he said.
“We can and will reduce pressure on people facing major price rises today, and work to make key services more affordable on a permanent basis.”
Martin said Fianna Fáil will deliver more affordable housing, more social housing and direct support for renters.
He said the party will expand and make more accessible public services such as health and education.
Martin described Ireland as a “diverse democracy” which means governing involves finding compromises.
He said Fianna Fáil respect their partners in government and said all three parties have a “common commitment to working constructively together”.
“Fianna Fáil is not in government to deliver just for those who voted for us. We are there to deliver for all of the people of our country. That is why we sought the toughest ministerial challenges,” he said.
Martin said we are living in a “unique moment in our history” which has seen the population rise by over a million people in 20 years.
“People are living longer and healthier lives. Demand for expanded and improved public services is rising all of the time. The need to be more inclusive and to address the needs of all of our people is as important as ever.”
Martin also said Ireland’s economic success cannot be taken for granted.
“Fianna Fáil is very clear on what we believe needs to be done. We want to invest in, to modernise and to expand key public services. We want to help people to be able to afford homes, to buy or rent and to have access to social housing when they need it,” he added.
Source : Independet