The next Taoiseach should be elected by the people of Ireland, not Fine Gael, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

Deputy Cairns said:

“A new Fine Gael leader will not change the fact that the writing is on the wall for this Government.

“Throughout their 14 years in office, Fine Gael have failed to tackle the major issues we face as a country – in housing, healthcare, disability services and climate action.

“Another Fine Gael Taoiseach is not going to address any of this, because if we are to resolve any of these issues, we need a change in approach – and that means a change of Government.

“It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the future of this Government when, four years into its term, the Taoiseach suddenly steps down.

“In that context, the next Taoiseach should be decided by the electorate, not by Fine Gael – a party’s whose time in Government has been marked by record house prices, record rents and record homelessness.

“An entire generation has been locked out of home ownership, with more than 500,000 adults still living with their parents. Housing is the number one issue facing this country – yet this Government has managed to turn a crisis into a disaster.

“In his resignation speech today, the Taoiseach spoke about how, during his time in office, the country’s finances went from a deficit to a surplus.

“That is the truly frustrating reality of Fine Gael in power. Even with an €8 billion euro surplus, our disability services are threadbare; waiting lists for assessment of need are so long that it’s preventing children from getting crucial early intervention; families cannot access Children’s Disability Network Teams; and we have the lowest employment rates for disabled people in the EU.

“Money is not the issue. Fine Gael’s approach of throwing money at the private sector to try to fix issues in all these areas has been tried and tested – and it has failed.

“We don’t need a continuation of this approach. We do not need a new Fine Gael Taoiseach. What this country needs is a new Government. We need a general election.”

March 20, 2024

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