The first one came out last night. In what I can only guess is a policy to gain the youth vote. The removal of Irish as a mandatory subject for the Leaving Cert. This policy is an interesting one. Most people come out of the school cycle with a hatred of the Irish language. As it is drilled into people. Irish is beginning to make a resurgence in this country nowadays and this policy may backfire. But giving students the right too greater choice in leaving cert subjects is in my opinion a good thing. However if this is aimed at improving Irish it has a long way to go(article).
So then came the party conference and the leaders address (Article about Berties conference). Enda Kenny came out to the podium to Here come the good times by Ahouse. This is straight from the Ronald Regan and Tony Blair school of conference. Where Ronald Regan and Tony Blair chose anti-war and pro-drug songs by mistake. To my knowledge Here comes the good times is a safe choice. The real line that they were aiming for I think was “here comes the good times for a change”
The conference hall was not as full as it could have been. Fine Gael showing that they could not manage to muster the same numerical party support that Fianna Fail can.
So then Enda Kenny told us he was going to “Take you on a journey “ So for the next few minutes he rabbited on about the same old stuff. Caring society, honest leadership , cut down on private interest, we made Celtic tiger, Rip off, projects on time, Broken promises etc. Great sounding but basically devoid of anything of note.
Then in what I assume is pointing at various Fianna Fáil ministers he said that he will not tolerate waste in any Fine Gael minister”. And any minister that delivers something like PPARS system will be shown the door. This is indeed an interesting promise but will he keep it. I would nearly would like to see him in office just to see if he will keep that promise. Remember this one.
So then came some of his policies. A national screening programming with free regular health checks for men and women. This is a very good idea and is needed. With cancer and obesity being major killers in this society something needs to be done. Then in Irish the rest of the health policy. This struck me as a very strange for a party that seems to be for all ethnic minorities in this country would outline the main parts of the health policy in a language that is not maximising viewers understanding. Does that mean that the people who don’t understand i.e. the non-Irish shouldn’t have the same health provisions. This was the message I was getting from it. If he wanted to talk in Irish he should have left it to a time when he was talking about party rhetoric not announcing policy. I think it is telling that it is called the National Conference and Fianna Fails is called the Ard Feis
Then for the second time in his speech he spoke of a need address suicide figures. This is needed.
With lack of childcare topping many polls it was wise that Fine Gael came out strong with child care. Announcing to increase paid leave by 10 weeks in the first year of a childs life. Also to support quality care and pre-school education by up to €3500 a year. With the polls pointing at this surely the government already have something along these lines already in the budget. Wait for the Fine Gael coming out with “You’re steeling our ideas”
The next interesting policy was about making parents responsible for their teenager’s actions. This is an interesting idea. However they gave absolutely no idea of how this would operate so I really can say anything about it. Then came the usually we will put more Gardaí on the streets lines.
Then out came the Eddie Hobbs factor. Saying that they will have a strong competition authority and break up monopolies etc. Great in speech but can they deliver that.
Then came the real part of the speech . The lets get the Green Party onside part of the speech. Talking about the need to bring emissions down. How we are going to have to pay 400 million euros if they are not brought down. Rebalancing energy towards renewable sources. Mainly it seems bio fuels. He spoke of the wish to incorporate bio fuels with Petrol and Diesel to reduce the dependence on oil and lower emissions. I have to say I’m all for this as. The oil is running out and alternatives need to be found . Also this would create a new market for farmers. Also a change in the vehicle registration tax to favour cleaner engines.
And so ended Enda’s speech he hinted at some very good policies, showed that he is willing to compromise to other parties hinted that he will not tolerate failure and showed that he doesn’t know when to speak in Irish and when not to. But overall what I got from it was that he showed that even though Mario Rosenstock of Gift Grub might do the best impressions of Bertie and Rory Keane in Ireland Enda Kenny does the best impressions of a plank of wood devoid of charisma.