Party Profile: Fine Gael

This can be described as a liberal Conservative party, similar to Christian Democratic parties of continental Europe such as Angela Merkel’s CDU in Germany, and also like the British Conservative Party, which has given advice to Fine Gael in the lead up to this election.

It has overseen a moderate recovery in some sectors of society and the economy in e last five years, much of which is a result of exchange rates and interest rates (something not controlled by the Irish government) and also broader recovery globally. Many more people are in work now and unemployment is down, however the quality of these jobs are often poor, many lack security and/or are only part-time. Part of the cause of a drop in unemployment figures, measured by the unemployment benefit register, is the return of many people to full time education, and also the use by the government of dead-end job/retraining schemes such as Job Bridge.

Fine Gael has also overseen the implementation of marriage equality and legislation for transgender people, which has actually placed Ireland at the very top in this regard. However, this is largely a result of pressure from their coalition partners Labour, as well as charities, lobbyists and other parties and politicians. Fine Gael has at the same time resisted taking a stance and acting on the issue of abortion, has refused to tackle religious discrimination in our schools, and has left it so gay/lesbian teachers can be fired by religious schools on the basis of their sexuality.

Some TDs have proved exceptionally effective as constituency representatives, such as Andrew Doyle (Wicklow) who is one of the few TDs to go out of his way to advocate on behalf of farmers, and Brendan Griffin (Kerry) who helped pressure the government to provide better protections for same sex couples and their children in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, as well as criticising the government’s position on water charges.

Homelessness has increased, reliance on foodbanks has increased, universities are suffering under the burden of growing debt, hospitals are in a worse situation now than they were in 2011, and thousands are facing repossession proceedings in the next two years. Home repossessions in the first 9 months of 2015 were up 80% on the whole of 2014, and homelessness in Dublin was at an all time high. Has also failed to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance, putting an increased tax burden on low and middle earners, while also attempting to fuel another (disastrous) housing boom.


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