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Saturday 10 December 2016

Kenny ramps up fear factor as Fine Gael dips to 26pc

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams accused the Coalition of resorted to scare tactics
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams accused the Coalition of resorted to scare tactics

The Taoiseach injected the fear factor into the election campaign as he ramped up warnings about the consequences of the Coalition not returning to power.

Enda Kenny claimed there was a risk of a flight of capital and jobs if Fine Gael and Labour do not win a second term.

The escalation came after a rocky start to the campaign that has seen Fine Gael's support plummet to 26pc in a RedC/Irish Sun poll to be published today. That's a drop of five points since a poll by the same organisation earlier this month.

Fianna Fail, Mr Kenny argued, were "handed a good country in 1997 and in 10 years they had wrecked the economy".

Sinn Fein, meanwhile, had "opposed everything that will create further jobs," he said.

Fianna Fail said Mr Kenny's remarks were "bogus", while Sinn Fein accused him of "scare tactics".

The Taoiseach's warnings came before news of the disastrous poll broke last night.

Jargon

Serious questions had already been raised about Mr Kenny's performance on the election trail.

It took him 10 days to rule out a deal with Independent TD Michael Lowry, and he made a gaffe on the opening day of the campaign when he questioned if the public understood "economic jargon".

He also allowed confusion to reign at the weekend over his stance on a Fine Gael coalition with Fianna Fail before he ruled it out on Monday.

Asked if he accepted that his handling of these issues had distracted from Fine Gael's message he replied: "I accept that I was the first leader to rule out Fianna Fail and I've been very clear about Independents being ruled out.

"I don't think I can be any clearer than that, and that's where we are."

Mr Kenny insisted he would "finish very strongly" in the remainder of the campaign and went on the offensive.

"Half the Fianna Fail party want to join with Sinn Fein," he said, adding: "There are consequences to the alternatives and I do not want to see the flight from this country of either capital or jobs and a lack of investment coming in here."

He said the Coalition has "a proven track record" and had brought the country to a "sound position".

The Taoiseach was speaking at the launch of Fine Gael's plan to help create 200,000 jobs.

The opposition parties hit back at his warnings.

"Enda Kenny's claim that there will be a flight of capital if the Coalition is not re-elected is completely bogus and lacking in any foundation," Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath said.

"Fianna Fail has stated clearly that we will not take risks with the public finances and we are committed to a balanced budget, unlike Fine Gael."

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams accused the Coalition of resorted to scare tactics.

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