Labour Leader Faces The Change
The Labour Leader gave his first speech to the Labour Party Conference as Táinaiste in Galway tonight. He started his speech by telling delegates that Ireland is a great country and that Ireland will "pull out of these tough times". He ended his speech by telling delegates that "We will succeed."
His speech was broadcast live in Ireland on the National Broadcaster RTÉ. In his speech he reiterated that the government was a National Government, rather then a grand coalition. Where the two largest parties had come together " in partnership to fix the crisis, repair our country, and to restore hope and confidence". He told of how he and the Taoiseach had been landed with a crisis and a debt that no new government in the history of the state had seen before.
He spoke of how Fianna Fáil had handed the economy over the the EU and IMF, how they had been unable to borrow due to high costs and bank bailouts. He spoke of his fears that the country might collapse during those final months of the previous government. Again he repeated that the new National Government had succeeded in bringing the country back from the edge. He stated that he would not exaggerate the Governments achievements and that he would not underestimate the bad decisions and things that have yet to be done.
He told delegates that Ireland was seeing some recovery, and some shoots in the last year, after four long years of a downturn and a major political and economic crisis. He told delegates how Ireland relies on foreign direct investment and exports and that Ireland had to re-build its reputation. Pointing to new investments coming into the country and increases in exports.
He spoke of the Jobs Action Plan, which has been rolled out to tackle unemployment, help small businesses and start-ups. That the government is working to get a stable property market, where banks are willing to loan to families.
Tackling the issue of the Household Charge he spoke of the placards telling people not to pay. He said it is neither smart nor a solution to the problem. Saying how can we refuse to pay and then expect to borrow in the future. He told delegates that the state had to pay for public services.
He finished by telling delegates that Ireland needed to regain its economic independence and say goodbye to "troika". He is committed to getting Ireland out of the EU/IMF programe in two years time and to allow Ireland stand on its "own two feet".
On the Stability treat he said "That is why it matters, personally, to each of us, that we pass the referendum to ratify the Stability Treaty. This Treaty is about bringing stability to the Euro. We do not claim it is the sole answer to Europe's economic problems, but it is a crucial part of the solution and it is necessary to restore confidence in the Euro."
He then spoke of the historic 100 years of labour that has seen, the 1913 lockout, the sinking of the titanic, The First World War, 1916, Independence and The Civil War. 1912 saw James Connolly and Jim Larkin setting up the Irish Labour Party.