Dempsey stresses leadership qualities

Election preparations : As the election draws nearer the voters reserved the right to shout at the Government, to grumble and…

Election preparations: As the election draws nearer the voters reserved the right to shout at the Government, to grumble and complain, but they have every right to do so, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey told the ardfheis.

He said it was important for Ministers to listen. "Some of our sternest critics are the people, like you, who spend hundreds of hours working for the party, simply because you expect the best from us. You expect leadership from us. You expect us to take decisions in the national interest, not for vested interests."

Mr Dempsey added that now more than ever the Government needed to demonstrate the leadership quality that people recognised in Fianna Fáil, the willingness to lead and act in the national interest no matter what is thrown at us.

"People want politics to be about leadership and ideas. They want it to be about maintaining all that they have created through their hard work. They want the battlefield to be policies, stability, and leadership - not character assassinations thinly disguised as honesty. And on those battlefields I have no fear of any opposition at all. We can point to a party with 80 years of achievements"


He said the Opposition could point to nothing. "Despite their promises of 18 months ago, they have no plan, no policies. They cannot even agree that they will have a single platform for the next election.

"The public sees through it, past all the orchestrated handholding of the past few months, and know that the Mullingar experiment hasn't worked. They have nothing, and nothing will come of nothing.

He added: "In all areas of Government policy we are preparing for the future. In energy policy we have laid out a vision for the next 20 years which will see us moving from a dependency on fossil fuels to renewables.

"In communications we are committed to and delivering a rapid expansion of broadband coverage and a rate of subscriber growth twice the EU average."

He said record levels of finance had been committed to the development of fishery harbours, the fishery industry and in marine research.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times