Speech Delivered to the Fine Gael Selection Convention – Auburn Lodge Hotel – Sunday, 12th December 2010.

December 17th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Mr Chairman, Deputy Carey, Councillors, members of the press, Ladies and Gentlemen.

This evening Delegates, I thank you for coming out in such large numbers.

I would like to thank my good friend Cllr Oliver Garry for proposing me and my good friend from O’Callaghan;s Mills Matthew McMahon for seconding me.

Little did I think that when I stood before you in 2001 and 2006 that in 2010, I would be speaking to all of you in the midst of the greatest economic recession that our Country has ever suffered since the foundation of our State.

Delegates, while the People will decide, I believe Our Great Party is on the verge of forming the next Government, while our task will be hard and difficult over the next few years, I believe that a new start which places honesty, integrity, accountability and hard work at the centre of Irish Politics and which will remove the parish pump, nod and wink style politics is now needed to steer this Country out of these troubled times.

LET ME TELL YOU DELEGATES

When Fine Gael left Government in 1997, we left the Irish Economy in a very healthy State:

*The 1st Government in 27 years to return a Budget Surplus

· Inflation WAS at a record low of 1.6%

*We were creating 1,000 jobs a week. 13 years later under a Fianna Fail Government we are losing 1,200 jobs a week.

The people of Ireland have been betrayed by this Government.
Our Economic Sovereignty handed over to the IMF and to the EU and Our International reputation has been tarnished.

Tarnished by a Government who overlooked the reckless lending practices of the Banks.

Tarnished by A Taoiseach more interested in digging out his Galway Tent Cronies than digging out his Country.

And Now, he has tarnished the Office of the Taoiseach, again, popping out of a Cupboard just like a Cuckoo Clock.

I have a message for those bankers here today; Fine Gael in Government will hunt you down. The Rule of Law should apply to everybody equally and we must make sure that those who do the crime; do the time.
This Government has let down this Country and they have let down this County.

v Unemployment in this Clare has increased by 128% over the past two years.

v Passenger Traffic Figures have plummeted at Shannon Airport;

v Air Routes have been axed

v The Tourism and Aviation Industries are in Freefall;

v 24 Hour A&E Gone at Our Hospital

v And in the Next few Months Our Cardiac Services will be Gone.

v Gone also our Local Agriculture Office – even though we had a Local Minister in the hearth of the Agricultural Department.

This Government has let down our Farmers and now the only time we see the Minister for Agriculture is when he Pops up to offer free Cheese to this Disadvantaged.

We have a proud and great Nation which I love and cherish. Throughout our History Irish Leaders like Collins, Costello, Cosgrove and Fitzgerald have shown tremendous capacity to cope and deal with a crisis.

A Fine Gael led Government under Enda Kenny, with Noonan and Bruton will show that same leadership and we will be a Nation once again.

Fine Gael will restore confidence and certainty:

We have a Recovery Plan.

NewEra will radically reshape the Irish Economy creating 100,000 jobs.

Reinventing Government will radically reform our public services, cutting the waste and making the Government more efficient.

FairCare will make Universal Health Insurance affordable for all.

And we have a Four year Plan that will put growth and jobs at the centre of our economic strategy.

A Plan which will deliver real public sector reform and which will protect our Carer’s, our Blind People and our People with Disabilities. A Plan that will get this Country back to work.

One of my Favourite Michael Collins Quotations which I mentioned in my Dail speech last week is and I quote:

“Give us our future, we have had enough of your past. Give us back out Country to live in, to grow in and to love”.

Delegates, The only way that we will get this country back is to get them out. The Election of a Fine Government will provide the hope, inspiration and certainty which this Country needs right now.

We all remember the Fianna Fail Slogan “A lot Done, A lot more to do”. The actual slogan should have being “A lot of Damage Done, A lot more Damage to do.”

We owe it to ourselves, we it to our Party, but most of all we owe it to our Country to ensure that there is no repetition of this.

Delegates, I am standing on my record of hard work at both local and national level.

Over the last five years, Joe Carey and myself have worked hard as a team.

I want be part of that team, heralding not alone a victory for our Team here in Clare but contributing to a National Victory of our Great Party.

I want to be part of a Team that works together and will put this Country back on the road to Recovery.

I want to be part of a Team that places place integrity, honesty and public service at the heart of Government.

Thank you very much and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.