News & Media

Taoiseach is out of touch says Howlin

6 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to the speech by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Fine Gael presidential dinner, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, said that the Taoiseach had shown himself to be out of touch with the how the failures of Fine Gael policy were affecting people’s daily lives.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The main thrust of Leo Varadkar’s speech was to frame the upcoming general election in terms of a battle between him and Micheál Martin to lead the next government. What he forgot to mention is that between them, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil got less than half of the total vote in the last general election. 

“There is clearly a strong appetite in Irish politics for an alternative to the free market ideology shared by Martin and Varadkar. Labour wants to see the emergence of a genuine progressive alternative in Irish politics. That means a politics that will make meeting people’s basic needs into the top priority. That’s why I’ve called for people voting Labour to continue their vote for other progressive parties and independents. The more progressive TDs elected to Dáil Éireann the better.

“Leo Varadkar complained about Fianna Fáil’s over-promising spending for everyone, but what about his repeated promise to cut income taxes for the top earners, when over 10,000 people are homeless, including record numbers of children living in emergency accommodation. While Fianna Fáil do over-promise public spending, Fine Gael over-promises on results but only delivers endless PR and glossy ad campaigns. Rents are still rising, housebuilding is slow, hospitals are overcrowded before the winter begins, four regions have unemployment above 6% and one in four workers is on low pay.

“Even when facing the storm of a no deal Brexit, Leo Varadkar was more concerned about mentioning ‘targetted’ tax cuts rather than concrete measures to protect vulnerable jobs.

“Rather than make the ridiculous claim that Fine Gael is the ‘underdog’ coming into the next election, Leo Varadkar should reflect on the fact that his party has had eight years in government, including at least three when the economy was back on its feet. The fact that so much is not working in relation to housing, healthcare and low pay suggestions that the Taoiseach is out of touch with reality.”