Election Campaigns Spring Into Action

The main Irish political parties have launched their election campaigns this morning, each toting a new message, and even a new look.

The three main parties, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour have each redesigned their websites into campaign pages and launched tirades against each other's policies.

This morning, the new leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin outlined his approach to the campaign saying that if the election was to mark a genuine move forward for the country then Ireland needed new politics, "not old fights".

"From the moment the economic crisis developed Dáil debates were full of opposition parties talking tough about the general situation but avoiding every hard decision. Labour wanted the financial system saved but maneuvered against everything required to save it. Fine Gael made sure that the Budget would be passed and then voted against it."

Speaking about the Opposition parties, Mr Martin went on to accuse Fine Gael and Labour of the false promises on unilateral debt renegotiations [sic], a compulsory health insurance scheme being sold while the details of its cost remain hidden and criticised "the man who claims he’s ready to be Taoiseach", Enda Kenny, for refusing to accept his invitation to a live television debate.

Fine Gael are leading their campaign with the slogan "let's get Ireland working", and asking the public for their opinions. Mr Kenny is to visit Fine Gael's election headquarters at 11am to outline the party's "five-point plan".

Eamon Gilmore, Leader of the Labour Party, said that the future of Ireland rests in the hands of the Irish people and said it was the first opportunity in the 90 year history of the State that the people could elect a Government led by neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael.

"For the first time people have a choice - to elect a Government led by Labour.

This is not simply a choice of party label. It is a choice about the future direction of our country."

In an inventive move, the Labour Party is also the first to develop an Iphone application that will give users "everything you need to canvas for and support the party… available in the palm of your hand".

According to Labour this morning, the app includes Interactive maps showing local candidates and events, news, photos and videos, a real-time updated policy section, and the ability to donate, share views, or contact the party at any time.

Meanwhile, the Green Party's deputy leader Mary White TD has today called on RTÉ and other broadcasters to schedule debates between just the leading female representatives of political parties during the forthcoming election campaign. Ms White said the move would raise the visibility of women in politics.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said the dissolution of the Dáil was long over due and that the party was proud of its record in defence of people’s rights and its role in bringing an end to the Fianna Fáil/Green Government.

A poll in this morning's Irish Independent indicates a fall in support for Fine Gael and a rise for Sinn Féin since the last poll by MillwardBrown Lansdowne two days ago.

Fine Gael support fell four points to 30%, while Sinn Féin has gained three points to 13%. Other parties are unchanged with Fianna Fáil at 16%, Labour at 24%, the Green Party on 1%, and Independents and Others at 15%.


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