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Ferris - Fianna Fáil needs to reject PDism

4 September, 2006

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Martin Ferris TD has said that if Fianna Fáil is serious about renewing its appeal to its traditional supporters it needs to reject the undue influence that the Progressive Democrats have on current Government policy. Deputy Ferris was speaking as Fianna Fáil begins a two day meeting in Mayo ahead of the new Dáil session.

Deputy Ferris said: "Last year Fianna Fáil recognised the damage done to it in terms of public support by its subservience to the PDs' right wing agenda by inviting Fr. Sean Healy to address its meeting in Inchydoney. Following that, Brian Cowan's budget attempted to reposition itself by a series of social welfare increases. The extent to which that was successful must be questioned given the party's recent performance in opinion polls. The extent to which its sensitivity to the concerns of working class voters is genuine must also be called into question given its continued adherence to PD led policy across a range of issues, most recently with regard to the proposed privatisation of Aer Lingus.

"In farming and rural development, Fianna Fáil also continues to adhere to a laissez faire approach that is condemning thousands more farm families to failure, while the withholding of necessary investment in schools, transport and other areas is undermining the quality of life in many rural areas. If the future of Irish agriculture is allowed be dictated to by EU policy aimed at 'liberalising' markets, and if the Irish Government fails to frame a proactive strategy itself, then the future for most Irish farm families is bleak. The PDs, with its right wing ideology, may be content that this will be case, but this small party cannot be allowed dictate the future." ENDS

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