Speech by YFG President Patrick Molloy at Fine Gael Rally

 

Paddy Molloy, President YFG Source: http://yfg.ie/euref/?p=769

The following is a speech by Patrick Molloy, President of Young Fine Gael at the National Fine Gael Rally on Sunday 27th of May.

 

On the 31st of May we have an opportunity.

An opportunity to banish uncertainty and cast aside the doubt that has plagued the country for many years and could plague this generation for years to come unless we vote yes.

In voting yes on the 31st of May we continue on the path to recovery. A path where Young Irish Men and Women will look to Ireland for their future, no longer looking for opportunities to leave, but rather taking and creating opportunities here at home.

For generations of Irish men and women Thursday’s vote will determine their future. On March the 9th 2011 Fine Gael and Labour entered into Government and took it upon themselves to reconstruct our country and our economy. We are building a new beginning.

This treaty is the continuity and certainty that this country needs but most importantly it is the certainty that my Generation needs.

We must provide a basis for strong fiscal governance that does not lend itself to short term gain at the price of a generations future. People starting their careers will have the opportunity to progress and further their ambitions in a confident and competitive Ireland. An Ireland in which fiscal governance ensures our economy can grow in a stable way.

What is being advocated by others, constitutes an act of simple self-promotion, driven by political ambition. We have a real alternative of smart fiscal governance and an insurance policy which will generate investor confidence.

People keep talking about stimulus packages but in small open economies, building investment and jobs are the only stimulus packages which work, and work right now.

We have seen many large Multi-Nationals invest in Ireland and setup or expand here. 13,000 new jobs have been created since January 2011, since 2010 jobs numbers are up 20% and for the naysayers, in the same period job losses down 25%.

These are the jobs that young Irish people want and need. These are the places where the future job creators and innovators learn the skills that help build the indigenous Irish business of tomorrow. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Paypal, LinkedIn, Intel – job creators, innovators, inspirers who instil confidence in the Irish economy and hope in the minds of my friends and I. These companies believe in Ireland and believe in the workforce we are training.

Our strength has always resided in our work ethic, our ability & willingness to trade & our openness to the future. For generations gone by, Ireland has always depended on these strengths, for our generation these are supplemented by a complete willingness to be a part of a new beginning. We must build on this new beginning and not let a single opportunity pass our country by. For my generation, these opportunities are crucial.

Young people in Ireland are deeply committed to the future of Ireland, they are innovative and invested in fixing Ireland.

We have an opportunity to build this new beginning , to compete once again on a world stage, to build towards a sustainable future where the choices people make are not dictated by the fluctuations in our economic cycles but by their own free will.

Secure this New Beginning,

Secure this future.

Secure our future,

Vote yes

Great speech!

 

Memes, Cow’s and The Yes Vote

Staying up late on Facebook (admit it you do it to), I came across a conversation between two of my friends (Lucy and Fran in UCC YFG), who have obviously being concentrating on the upcoming Treaty Referendum on May 31st as much as their exam in the morning! They produced some great Memes from a conversation about canvassing at a mart and putting rug on a calf (I’m now informed they are called calf jackets – thanks Tom!) with a slogan on it! This is what the conversation produced! I wonder what else will come out of their exam riddled brains during the campaign!

Keep up the good work girls! Good luck in the exams also!

YFG Launches YES Campaign

Young Fine Gael today launched its Yes campaign for the Referendum on May 31st. The campaign is titled “Secure our Future, Vote YES”. The official launch will take place this evening in UCD.

The campaign is structured around 3 messgaes:

  • Ireland Needs Stability & Growth
  • We need an Ireland that Competes
  • Ireland needs Real Certainty

There is a Website (with a blog), Facebook page, a Pinterest page (a first that I know for a referendum campaign in Ireland) and they are doing the Treaty in 21 tweets on Twitter!

There is also a few video’s from members:
Una Clarke

Patrick Molloy, President of YFG

Frankie Mulqueen,

Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/Red C April 29th

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 16:  Garda traffic cones...
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 16: Garda traffic cones prevent parking in central Dublin in advance of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's visit on May 16, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. Dublin is preparing for the Queen and Duke of Edinbugh's historic visit tommorow, the first by a monarch since 1911. An unprecedented security operation is taking place with much of the centre of Dublin turning into a car free zone. Republican dissident groups have made it clear they are intent on disrupting proceedings. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post had a Red C poll on the treaty referendum and on party support, so it made for interesting reading on the way home from Dublin (hence why this post is late). On the treaty it has shown some slight movement and it is the same story with party support.

The headline figures on the treaty are:

  • Yes 47% (-2)
  • No 35% (+2)
  • Don’t Know 18% (nc)

When the Don’t Know’s are excluded the figures are:

  • Yes 58% (-2)
  • No 42% (+2)

With the changes all within the margin of error, it is still all to play for. And with the campaign getting officially underway today expect a lot more polls!

In terms of party support the figures are as follows:

  • Fine Gael 32% (-2)
  • Labour 14% (-1)
  • Fianna Fail 17% (+1)
  • Sinn Fein 19% (+1)
  • Others 18% (+1)

All the changes again are within the margin of error.  So no major changes. Interesting to note that Government Parties support is down, while opposition is up. But with no major changes its hard to make any long term predictions on it.

Fine Gael LGBT to Launch this Weekend

On Saturday 28 April a Fine Gael Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender group will be launched in Dublin in the Ely Gastro Pub.

The event will be addressed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD.

In it it’s launch event on Facebook it explains why it is being set up,

Fine Gael is an inclusive party and has a commitment to a just society and a fairer Ireland. Now we are taking the next step.

Fine Gael LGBT is an inclusive group for party members who share a common goal of promoting full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our party, in our country and in our world.

Membership is open to all members of Fine Gael regardless of orientation.

Fine Gael LGBT aims to;

  • provide a welcome and inclusive forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of Fine Gael;
  • promote equality within Fine Gael including encouraging the adoption of equality policies as party and Government policy;
  • be a visible sign of the inclusivity and modernity of Fine Gael and in particular encourage members of the LGBT community to join and become active participants in our party.

For more see the Facebook page and the event page.

I am glad to see Members of Fine Gael spear heading this making it a ground up initiative. It now means Labour and Sinn Fein are no longer the only parties with an LGBT section, meaning that Fianna Fail are the only major party without an LGBT grouping.

I must say I am looking forward to this.

What is Joan Burton up to?

Crop of Joan Burton at launch of the Labour Pa...
Crop of Joan Burton at launch of the Labour Party's 2011 General Election campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the Minister for Social Protection, Labour’s Joan Burton, up to? First she complains loudly about Fine Gael Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan meeting Michael Lowry after the Moriarty report and a photo of taken at the NYSE involving an Taoiseach Enda Kenny and business man Denis O’Brien.

It now turns out that Joan Burton met with Denis O’Brien at that same event. Hypocrisy much?

This emerged last night at the Labour Party Conference which is currently underway in Galway.

But What she is playing at? Is she trying to split the Government? If there is some sort of controversy Joan seems to be the first Minister to the nearest microphone and spout something which may or not be related to the issue.

She did it on the Fiscal Compact drawing a comparison with a deal on the Promissory Note.

So is Joan running a long campaign for leadership or is she hoping for early elections before Labour slip further in polls.

Only time will tell.

Enda’s Ard Fheis Speech

View from my seat for Enda's Speech

I’m finally back in Cork after last weekend’s Fine Gael Ard Fheis in the Convention Centre in Dublin. It was an interesting Ard Fheis with plenty to talk about and to plan for. The highlight of course was of course Enda Kenny’s speech on Saturday night.

His speech for me summed up the change that we have seen in Enda Kenny since the attempted heave in 2010. It was measured and it contained positives and negatives. I for one was very proud of An Taoiseach during that speech.

It was a speech that was not just for the party faithful, but for Irish Citizens watching at home and he used the speech perfectly well. Have a read of it yourself.

Just over a year ago, the Irish people turned to Fine Gael and the Labour Party at a time of national crisis.

We told the people then that it was time to get Ireland working again and that our plan was designed to make that happen.

The Irish people gave us their support and their trust in historic numbers.

I thank you for your trust.

Thank you for your belief, and for your patience, and for your sacrifice.

You gave us a mandate and a responsibility to clear away the air of fear and uncertainty.

To get our country moving in the right direction again.

Therefore, as we gather at this Ard Fheis, our purpose cannot be one of celebration.

We will not celebrate until Ireland has reason to celebrate. Tonight, unemployment remains too high. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many worry about losing their homes. Too many of our children are still moving away.

Our purpose now must be to redouble our efforts, to work even harder to deliver our plan.

To get Ireland Working.

To retrieve our economic independence and take back our country.

These tough times require straight talk.

So we will continue to be straight and honest with the people.

To tell them what we have done to meet our pledges, and how much work remains to be done.

To explain to people the scale of the challenge that remains.

This government has made a solid start, but we have a long way to go. Fine Gael and Labour are providing Ireland with a strong and stable government.

Our first priority was to stabilise the economy. That meant a tough Budget in which we had to make very difficult choices.I know that for many people, the measures we have had to take have been painful.But we are doing the best we can to protect the most vulnerable by reversing the cut in the minimum wage; by protecting basic welfare payments; and by exempting 330,000 low paid and part-time workers from the Universal Social Charge.

The public finances are coming under control, and the budget deficit will be down to 3% of GDP by 2015. We have downsized and recapitalized the banking system. Investor confidence is starting to return. Deposits are flowing back into our banks and several multi-national companies have announced investments to create further jobs, and others intend to follow.

Exports are performing strongly due to our improved competitiveness. Ireland’s international standing is being restored.

Over the past year, the Tanaiste and I, along with the other members of the Government, have worked hard to convince international political and business leaders that Ireland now has a serious government with a serious plan.

A government that can be trusted.

Crucial to that mission has been proving our determination to tackle the economic problems we inherited.

Our commitments under the EU/IMF agreement are being delivered in full and on time. The interest rates on these loans have been reduced, saving us €10 billion. The interest rates on Irish government bonds have fallen steadily. We have made a start on jobs.

Our first Budget saw no increase in income tax. Because taxing work damages jobs.

Our first jobs initiative helped create 6,000 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Already, 20,000 men and women have taken up training places on schemes including JobBridge and Springboard. We have made it much easier for foreign investors to visit and create jobs in Ireland.

Yes – this is a start.

But there is so much further to go, with so much more effort and imagination required.

We have also made a start on reforming the political system itself.

We cut ministerial pay and transport costs. The entitlements of former Taoisigh have been withdrawn. Work is continuing on legislation to reduce the size of the Dáil, and to prepare for a referendum for the abolition of the Seanad. I believe that more women should become involved in Irish politics.

To encourage more women into politics we are linking State funding of political parties to the level of female participation in elections. Parties, including our own, will be penalised if they do not fulfil these conditions.

We are continuing to reform the wider public sector. We are reducing the size and cost of the public service, and radically cutting the number of state agencies.

We need to reform the way we deliver our essential public services like health, education and justice. We must provide people with the quality services they deserve at a lower cost. To achieve this, we need the continued support and co-operation of those who work in our public service and the unions that represent them.

The shameful and corrupt practices revealed in the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunal Reports must never be allowed to happen again. That’s why this Government is taking firm action to break the link between business and political funding. That interaction should be based solely on achieving economic recovery through creating jobs.

Our new laws on political funding will ban corporate donations over €200 to a political party unless they are registered and declared.

We will create a register of lobbyists and enact new laws to give protection to those who discover and report unethical behaviour. These long overdue reforms, along with other measures being considered by Government, will help to put integrity, transparency and honesty back at the heart of public life.

While the steps we have taken in the first year have brought stability, we recognise that some of the pledges we made have not been delivered.

We had intended to legislate to end upward only rent reviews, but this has proven to be impossible because of constitutional difficulties.

We kept our promise to increase mortgage interest relief for people who bought their homes at the height of the property boom, but mortgage arrears remain a serious problem for far too many families.

We have made some progress in reducing the penal burden on the Irish people of the previous Government’s bailout of the banks.

Through a combination of burden sharing on junior bondholders, private investment and avoiding asset fire sales, we have more than halved the cost to tax payers envisaged in the original plan.

But despite these improvements, this burden remains too heavy.

Let me be clear. I will not throw away the progress we have made in the last year by reneging on our international commitments.

Ireland will NOT default.
But we are determined to ease this burden on our people.

That’s why we are negotiating with our Troika partners to find a cheaper way of financing the cost of bank recapitalisation.

That’s why the €3.1 billion promissory note payment due to be paid to Anglo Irish Bank on Monday is not being paid.But is being replaced by a long-term government bond and the wider negotiations will continue.

The year ahead is a crucial one for rebuilding and recovery.

An essential first step – and the Government’s immediate priority – will come at the end of May when the Irish people vote on the European Stability Treaty.

Throughout my recent visits to the United States, and to China this week, the consistent message from both political and business leaders is that they see Ireland’s place as a fully committed member of the Eurozone as a crucial element of Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for investment.

I cannot over-state it.

In this referendum, we have a brilliant opportunity to say to the world that Ireland believes in the future of the Euro, that Ireland is central to the future of the Eurozone, that Ireland is four-square with Europe, as together we build a system that will bring responsible budgeting to Euro governments and Euro nations across the entire Eurozone.

This commitment is an investment in our children’s future, and in our country’s future.

Never again will a government be able to behave recklessly and arrogantly with the people’s money.

In recent months alone numerous multi-national companies have shown their confidence in Ireland by committing to new investments here.

I want to continue and grow this strong flow of inward investment in the future…for our future.

I want Ireland to have the same access as other countries to the insurance policy of the ESM – a critical reassurance for investors.

We can do this, we can achieve this….by voting YES.
Yes to Europe.
Yes to Jobs.
Yes to Ireland.
YES on May 31st.

As you know, my message while abroad recently has been strong and clear – Ireland is open for business.

Now is the time to invest in our recovery.

I recently signed economic co-operation agreements with China and the United Kingdom, both of which offer significant potential for the future.

We must translate that rising international confidence into more jobs all across this country.

We are a nation of doers and entrepreneurs. But there are still too many obstacles to job creation – too much red tape, too many high costs and too many archaic regulations.

The measures taken in the Jobs’ Initiative last May have helped. But this is not nearly enough.
I always said that this was only a first step towards my commitment to make jobs the top priority of this Government.

Jobs are about more than work. Jobs are about dignity, incentive, pride.

More jobs mean better lives, stronger communities, more resources for public services, and less debt.That‘s why last month, this Government published our Action Plan for Jobs.

We aim to create 100,000 extra jobs by 2016. The plan contains 270 separate actions to remove the barriers to job creation. Actions to cut the cost of red-tape by a quarter. Actions to cut the different employments-rights bodies from five to two.

Banks must become part of the solution to the jobs crisis by meeting their agreed lending targets.

The Partial-Loan Guarantee Scheme will give existing companies more and better access to bank credit. We will stimulate investment in infrastructure by using some of the proceeds from the disposal of State assets to pay for extra investment in areas like water and energy that can boost jobs and growth.

We will make it easier to expand into overseas markets, for example with tax reliefs for companies sending sales-people to the rapidly-expanding economies of China, Brazil and India.

We will also support traditional sectors of the economy, such as the plan to double food exports by 2020.

Action will be taken to ignite new sectors of the economy – such as cloud computing, digital gaming and data content storage.

I believe that in the next five years, Ireland can become a global hub for cloud computing.
The key to the success of this jobs plan is in the title – ACTION.

All Government Ministers and State Agencies are committed to the delivery of this plan. My Department of the Taoiseach will drive its implementation throughout the public service.

In fact, the idea of ‘drive’ is behind every aspect of what this government is undertaking.
And this drive makes sure that economic recovery does not by-pass those who have lost their jobs, their wealth and even their self-confidence in this recession.

People on the live register must be put at the top of the queue to fill newjobs as they arise.

Ireland hasn’t been good enough to, or strong enough for its jobseekers. The supports have been too passive and too scattered. The vast majority of people who are out of work want a hand up, not a hand out. These men and women know the dignity of work, and feel its absence in their lives. Our Pathways to Work Plan will help those people.

From now on, the day a person loses their job is the day the State starts helping them to find another job, or to train for another job.

In place of FAS there will be a one-stop-shop for job-seekers where welfare claims will be processed thoroughly and quickly.

This new person-centred system will identify and help those most at risk of being unemployed long-term. With all the difficult consequences of that. Because of our duty to help people find work and to use their talents for their own good and for the good of the country, we will give employers additional incentives to hire people who are currently out of work.

That means extending the employer PRSI exemption scheme from 12 to 18 months.

This Government wants work to pay. It has to be seen to be a more attractive option than staying on the dole.

That is why in the last Budget we delivered on our commitment not to increase taxes on income and work.

Now we will ensure that the social protection system incentivises, rather than discourages, people from returning to work.

Reforms to the jobseekers’ schemes are being introduced to ensure that people in part-time employment are encouraged to take up full-time employment whenever possible.

We also need to show the debt-distressed in our communities that there is light at the end of tunnel.
For too many people, the only escape from unsustainable debts is long-term bankruptcy, economic inactivity or emigration.

I know this.

I’m frustrated that we haven’t been able to move as fast as we wanted to, to tackle the mortgage crisis.

So, I’ve appointed a temporary Cabinet Committee, which I chair, to drive action in four vital areas:

Firstly, we will work with the Financial Regulator to encourage banks to offer “negative equity mortgages”, whereby families can, depending on their circumstances, trade up or down.

Secondly, we will finalise and enact a Personal Insolvency Bill designed to rebalance the rights of the borrower and lender, in a fairer way.

Thirdly, we will expand the use of “mortgage to rent” for families who can no longer afford their mortgages, to allow them to sell their houses and rent them back at affordable rents.

Fourthly, to free up the housing market, we are giving additional mortgage interest relief to first time buyers who buy their homes before the end of 2012.

These steps are to protect our families and to keep our children in the most powerful and precious place they will ever have in their lives: HOME.

This is a great country with unlimited potential. We are now regarded the world over as being a country on the way back. We have the best young generation on the planet. Our challenge is to harness all these qualities together and nothing will stop us.

We’ve overcome hardship and adversity in the past. We’ve overcome poverty and deprivation in the past. We’ve beaten all these difficulties.

I don’t have all the answers but I do know this: a government that works hard, that brings honesty, clarity and decisiveness in its service of the people will not fail.

It is my privilege to lead such a Government and I am proud to do so.

And I look forward to achieving my ambition that by 2016 we will prove to be the best small country in the world to do business, the best country in which to raise a family, and the best country in which to grow old with dignity and respect.
My Government will work with you to fulfil these ambitions in the interest of our future, our country and our children.

YFG to hold Human Rights Session at Fine Gael Ard Fheis

As part if the 76th Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Young Fine Gael will be hosting a session on Saturday afternoon on the topic of Human Rights. The session will discuss Human Rights at home and abroad. The Session will include discussion on how human rights should become central to our society and political system, the media treatment of human rights, children’s rights and the Children’s Referendum, and advocacy for people with disability.

Speaking about the Session, Young Fine Gael President, Patrick Molloy said:

“This is a great opportunity to bring YFG members together with key opinion makers campaigning for human rights in Ireland. The Session will enable our members better understand future changes in major issues like marriage and adoption rights for LGBT individuals in Ireland, children’s rights, and disability rights, and also how these issues develop in the political and media sphere. Our members will also have an opportunity to engage with speakers about these topics.”

“As Fine Gael work with Labour in government, Young Fine Gael are advocating that human rights are kept central to our policies and goals and this Ard Fheis Session is an opportunity for our members to have their say on human rights in Ireland and abroad.”

The speakers will include

  • Tanya Ward, Children’s Rights Alliance
  • Carl O’Brien, Irish Times
  • Simon Harris TD
  • Colm O’Gorman, Amnesty Ireland

It will be an interesting session and I for one am looking forward to it!

Facebook Event

YFG Press Release

Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/Red C 25th March 2012

There is an interesting poll in tomorrows Sunday Business Post by Red C on both Party support and the fiscal treaty referendum. It is worth nothing that the poll was taken before the announcement on a deal on the Promissory Note and the Mahon Tribunal Report .

The top-line figures for party support are as follows:

  • Fine Gael 34% (+4)
  • Labour 15% (-1)
  • Fianna Fail 16% (-1)
  • Sinn Fein 18% (nc)
  • Ind/others 17% (-2)

Fine Gael manage get to get a four point bump in the poll this month. I am not sure exactly why considering all the major developments happened after the respondents were polled! Of course with the Ard Fheis next weekend there has been some mention of that.  Labour and Fianna Fail both continue their slow slide, but of course the next poll will the most important one for Fianna Fail. If their move to kick Bertie Ahern and others mentioned in the Mahon Report  are the right moves to keep support from the voters. Also it shows the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis and the apology has not helped with the polls.

Labours as the junior coalition party seem to be the ones suffering from policies implemented as there voters do not seem to agree. Of course with their National Conference coming up they could manage to stake out their own course after that.

Sinn Fein hold on to their support level as they start their campaign against the Fiscal Compact Treaty. Independents and others are the ones who are down two points as can happen when a party gets a boost larger then 2 percentage points.

On the treaty referendum the poll found the following:

  • Yes 49% (+5)
  • No 33%(+4)
  • Undecided 18% (-9)

When the undecided’s are excluded it is

  • Yes 60%
  • No 40%

Which is no change from the polls earlier this month. The campaigns have yet to get under way, but with the undecided’s splitting evenly at the moment it might not be tight, but lets not get complacent!

Sinn Fein to lead the No Campaign – but will the message change?

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17:  (AFP-OUT) Former Sinn ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Sinn Fein have, as expected, come out against the Fiscal Treaty and aim to lead the No campaign in the upcoming referendum. They claim that  passing the referendum on the fiscal treaty will seriously undermine Irish sovereignty. But is that not what they said during Lisbon? Or Nice? Or Maastricht? or any treaty on the European Union that I remember anyway.

Stephen Collins writing in yesterday’s Irish Times points out that the No side have come out with many slogans in past referendums but have any of them come true? He quotes Tainiste Eamonn Gilmore speaking as at the Forum on Europe back in 2008.

Ireland had not been reduced to a province of a European empire; conscription had not been introduced for young Irish men and women; Ireland had not been forced to join any imperialist wars; the nation’s population had not collapsed; Irish culture had not become a thing of the past; trade union rights had not been abolished; abortion and euthanasia had not been introduced; and religious freedom was not suppressed.

“All of these firm fear-inducing predictions were made again and again, and every one was proved to be groundless and inaccurate. They are being made again today by the same individuals, and they are just as unfounded and misleading,” said Gilmore.

The latest claims are of course saying that this treaty will outlaw Keynesian economics as well as undermine our sovereignty. But are they right? Will the treaty do that?

I don’t think so. A cursory reading of the treaty, which is readable thankfully, shows that is highly unlikely that either of those claims are true.

Of course what this means is that the Yes campaign have to be quick to knock down false claims by the no side. But when issues like sovereignty are brought up, it is very hard to argue  it. Abstract ideas like sovereignty are debates suited to philosophical debates rather then the doorsteps and streets of a referendum campaign.

The sooner the referendum campaign starts the better!