What is the difference between a 'red-line' issue and a 'core priority'? Between you and me the answer would have to be definitely 'None'. However, since Fianna Fail galloped into second place in this years Irish General Election race, with a grand total of 44 seats, (6 fewer than the front runner Fine Gael), party members are falling at the first hurdle, including leader Micheál Martin. They are tripping over themselves and are trying to say that there are no red-line issues in their negotiations for government.
Setting out our stall
Before any more party political manoeuvres and Fianna Fáil's shifting of fences, let us set out our stall by stating that abolishing Irish Water and water charges was a key election issue, one that the electorate voted for and one that put the majority of successful candidates into the 32nd Dáil Éireann.
Let us remind all those TDs about their manifesto promises and in particular, Fianna Fáil whose 'An Ireland for all' manifesto states that their core priorityincludes 'Abolishing Irish Water and Water Charges' page 38, section 'Cut costs for families & improve the services they rely on'.
Fine Gael's Trail of broken Promises
Cllr Jack Chambers wrote in Fianna Fail's web page accusingFine Gael/Labour Government of leaving a 'Trail of Broken Promises', Feb 14, 2016. He continued by listing ten top broken promises by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition and finished by saying " It's easy to make promises on the campaign trail, but the facts don't lie. Fianna Fail has an independent costed and completely verified alternative'An Ireland for all'. "
Fianna Fáil's position is clear
Fianna Fáil, in their social media page, today answered a query from James Duffy who asked "I understood from Barry Cowan that if FF enter government, IW will be abolished and we wont be paying water charges" by stating
" Our position on the abolition of Irish Water is completely clear. It is detailed in our Manifesto which can be found here: https://www.fiannafail.ie/.../An-Ireland-for-all-Fianna... "
Micheál Martin Presidential Address Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis
Micheál Martin said in hispresidential address at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis on Jan 16, 2016 in Dublin, (see Fianna Fail.ie/presidential-address )
"But of course I know people are cynical about political promises. They will ask ‘why should we believe you after the broken promises of Fine Gael and Labour?’
That’s why we’re going to take a lead and do something no party has done before. We are going to get an independent analysis of our commitments which reviews the accuracy and affordability of our costings and their impact on economic growth. We will publish this with the manifesto. There will be no auction politics. ... And we will scrap Irish Water and the failed, loss-making charge which funds it."
Ok!, that's clear,
Fianna Fáil is not going to break promises, they are going to have a fairer Ireland, they are committed to four key priorities. All set out in their 2016 independent costed manifesto 'An Ireland for All'. And if it is not clear enough in the actual manifesto, all the core principles are fully explained and signed by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in this web page An Ireland for All
Four Core Priorities
On page 3 of Fianna Fáil's manifesto they present their four core priorities. Notice number two'Cut costs for families and improve the services they rely on'. Go to page 38. Under the heading 'Reduce the Cost of living, section (ii)' you will find 'Abolish Irish Water and end Water Charges'. It is not hidden away. It is in full view and there is no sigh of small print or addendum.
An Ireland For All Section 'Cut costs for families'
Page 38 of the Fianna Fáil manifesto 'An Ireland For All' clearly and unequivocally states abolishing Irish Water and ending water charges is a core priority.