“Today’s numbers offer further evidence of the strengthening of the centrist consensus in Irish politics. Since the last general election both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have seen their support grow, slowly but steadily. Both parties are now five points ahead of their result in the last general election.
That time, in February 2016, the two old Civil War parties struggled to hit 50 per cent of the vote – a far cry from the days when they commanded 80 per cent between them. Their opponents hailed it as further evidence of their irreversible decline and the end of the old duopoly. And that’s how it looked.
But that decline has proved not so irreversible. Now their combined support is at 60 per cent. Throw in the Labour Party, the Greens and a lot of the Independents and you have well over two-thirds of voters aligned to broadly centrist politics.”
Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar TD at the 2017 Fine Gael Autumn Think- In in Clonmel , County Tipperary this morning
At the Fine Gael think-in, Clonmel, County Tipperary
“This ambition to build the Republic of Opportunity is in many ways the modern iteration of the Just Society. It combines the best ideas from the right with the best ideas from the left. It is the politics of the new centre.
It is also the politics of progress and change. So, when we say the centre must hold, we do not mean that things should stay the same.
We mean that we will lead change not from the extremes but from the centre. Giving people, families and businesses the certainty with which they can plan for the future.
….Where we have scope in the budget, it will be used to reward work and enterprise, and will benefit those on middle incomes who pay the highest rates of tax on far too modest incomes.
We will back business, farmers and enterprise.
High taxes on the middle classes are a barrier to opportunity and to work. They are a cap on aspiration and there should be no cap on aspiration in the Republic we wish to build…”
“…You can tell a lot about a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. We have provided medical cards to all children with severe disability irrespective of their parents’ income, because we know they will need more regular access to health care, and parents shouldn’t have to worry about the costs.
And every working day, we provide housing for 80 individuals and families. There are 20,000 new tenancies a year because we believe everyone should have a home.
So when people mention style, I think of all that substance.
The Republic of Opportunity is not a slogan or empty PR. It is a way of thinking about how to improve people’s lives and we’re only getting started…”
“…Some political parties – especially those on the left – believe in a culture of dependency and victimhood. They like it when people are down and dependent. They want the system to fail so they can build influence and support.
Fine Gael will never talk down to people. We will always try to offer people a way up and way forward.
Committing to build a Republic of Opportunity means that we are proud of our ambition to create a culture of aspiration. Where people are encouraged to be the best they can possibly be. Encouraged to reach their potential and to make a better life for themselves and their children.
That is why I joined Fine Gael, and I’m sure why you did too.
For me, Fine Gael is not and has never been a party of privilege.
Helen McEntee, new junior minister for European affairs, with her fellow junior ministers following their appointments yesterday afternoon with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, centre
Further to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s choice of junior ministers yesterday…
Fine Gael has released the following statement:
Fine Gael in Government has done more than any other party before it, in terms of gender equality in politics.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has maintained the highest number of female Cabinet Ministers in the history of the State – first achieved in July 2014 .
Currently there are four female full Cabinet Ministers, including the Tánaiste, and in addition, a female Super Junior Minister who sits at Cabinet.
Of the 11 Fine Gael female TDs, six are either Ministers of Junior Ministers, including the Super Junior Minister, meaning 55% of Fine Gael female TDs occupy senior Government positions. Of the five Fine Gael female TDs who are not Ministers, four are first-time TDs.
Fine Gael introduced gender quotas cutting funding to political parties if they failed to run at least 30% women candidates at the General Election.
As a result of this, the 2016 election saw 35 women elected to the Dáil. This was the highest number of women ever elected to the Dáil and a 40% increase on 2011.
Fine Gael has more women elected to the Dáil than any other party. However, there is no room for complacency and we continue to work to encourage more women into politics.
Fine Gael ran more female candidates than any other party in the last local elections of 2014. In that election we had the highest number of female candidates ever to feature on a Fine Gael ticket.
The party gave every possible support to these female candidates in their electoral bids, including training and mentoring specific to the challenges faced by women in politics.
Fine Gael is completely committed to increasing the number of women actively participating in politics and will continue to seek to boost the number of women at al levels of the party.
Helen McEntee, new junior minister for European affairs (top third front right), joins her fellow freshly-minted, all-male junior ministers following their appointments this afternoon.
Above from left: Brendan Griffin, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with special responsibility for Tourism and Sport; Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD; Michael D’Arcy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Financial Services and Insurance; Leo Varadkar; Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for the Diaspora and International Development; Jim Daly, Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People; John Paul Phelan, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform.