Helen McEntee and Leo Varadkar on RTÉ in May 2019
Minister of State for European Affairs and Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee was interviewed on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.
Mr O’Rourke asked Ms McEntee if it’s correct that Fine Gael’s election slogan is “A Future To Look Forward To”.
The minister largely repeated what Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told RTÉ’s This Week on Sunday.
His main points were that it took seven years for Fine Gael to fix the economy; as a consequence of that, the party could only invest in public infrastructure over the past two years; that the party acknowledges its shortcomings and failings; and that it’s asking the electorate to allow it to continue doing what its doing.
Later, Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath quipped that Fine Gael’s slogan should be “Keep The Arrogance Going” – in a nod to the party’s previous 2016 election slogan “Let’s Keep The Recovery Going”.
In 2011, the party’s election slogan was “Let’s Get Ireland Working” which was very similar to the title of an weekly Irish Sun jobs supplement “Get Ireland Working” at the time.
From Mr O’Rourke and Ms McEntee’s exchange:
Seán O’Rourke: “Helen McEntee, is it correct that the Fine Gael slogan in this campaign is ‘A Future To Look Forward To’?”
Helen McEntee: “Well I think what we’re focused on is a future for everybody to look forward to. As I’ve said we have made huge progress but it’s not enough and we acknowledge, in particular, and the Taoiseach, over the weekend, acknowledged that we still had massive challenges.
“In particular in health and housing.
“But we are actually starting to see progress and listening to [Sinn Féin TD] David [Cullinane] there you would assume that nothing has happened. No houses have been built, and there is nothing being invested in our health service.
“We have the largest health budget than ever before. While we know that we have difficulties, particularly in our emergency departments, we’re investing in our primary care centres, in our community teams across the country and things like that take time to start filtering through into our hospitals.
“In terms of our houses, we’ve built, as I’ve said earlier on, it’s only in the past two and a half years that we’ve had money, that we’ve only in the past two and a half years probably had a construction sector that was able to function, given the fact that it was so decimating because of the Fianna Fáil previous government.
“But we have now built and brought 50,000 houses into the market. We will have 10,000 further social houses this year. And this is because we have a plan for our housing sector.
“We have a plan for the health sector, we have a plan for childcare, for climate change….”
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Earlier: Saturday, February 8
Pic: Eamon Melia