Fine Gael Ard Fheis 2012
Fine Gael Ard Fheis 2012 takes place today. The conference will celebrate the achievements of the Fine Gael party in Government and over the past year. It is the first Ard Fheis for the party since they entered government. It is expected to be a fairly happy affair with Ministers and TDs wanting to show what is best about the party.
Fine Gael remain high in opinion polls, with many giving the party a 34% share of the vote. The main government party will be addressed in a keynote speech by party leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny. It is expect that he and his Fine Gael ministers will outline the work that they have done over the past year and what they are planning to do over the coming 4 years with their junior government partners (The Labour Party).
The big issue will be the new Household charge, which has been badly promoted by the Fine Gael minister Phil Hogan. Minister Hogan has been accused of not handling the promotion of the new tax correctly and providing misinformation to the public about the tax. Today is the final day for payment of the new tax, which the party view as a progressive tax and one that the government wants to use to fund Local authorities and facilities. A planned protest of the tax will take place today with protestors being supported by TDs from the United Left Alliance. The tax has been slammed by them as regressive.
The EU Fiscal Compact referendum will also be discussed. The party will be looking for a yes vote in the referendum. They will state that the referendum is a vote on the Euro, is a vote on jobs, is a vote on recovery and that all of the terms have already been signed up to, but that the new rules will be enforced. Implementing rules and laws that are already there but have been ignored by the EU in the past.
The Ard Fheis will take place in Dublin in the National Conference Centre.