herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

FG members got rail deal for Ard Fheis

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

FINE Gael members travelling to the party's national conference in Mayo have been offered cut price tickets by Irish Rail.

But the 20pc discount on rail tickets is not available to the hundreds of protesters expected to descend on Castlebar this afternoon to picket the Ard Fheis in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's hometown.

A special promotional code for booking tickets online between Tuesday and Friday this week was offered in the brochure for the 2015 Fine Gael national conference.

Irish Rail said it regularly offers discounts to groups travelling to major events, including to political party conventions, to make rail travel a more attractive option to travellers.

"Groups come to us who are organising events and if it is going to a rail destination we sometimes offer a discount for a limited time online," a spokeswoman said.

Irish Rail said it offered discounts to people travelling to LGBT events and Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed conferences.

A ring of steel was erected by gardai around the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre yesterday afternoon as hundreds of protesters are expected to demonstrate the party convention.

The conference kicked off last night with a speech from the Taoiseach who revealed China had lifted a ban on Irish beef.

"This is a fantastic breakthrough for the Irish farming and food industry. China, with its 1.35bn people is the biggest individual market in the world," Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny also said "too many families" had yet to feel the benefits of the economic recovery.

Members also heard from local TD Michelle Mulherin who was engulfed in controversy last month over a massive €2,000 bill she clocked up at the taxpayers expense calling a close friend in Kenya.

Invest

Former Mayo football manager and TD John O'Mahoney called on ministers to focus more on investing in rural Ireland, which many felt had been left behind during the recession and the good times.

A full day of debates will begin today and significant announcements are expected from Cabinet ministers.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar will announce plans to hire an additional 500 nurses, which will be seen as a much needed boost for the health service.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will reveal more details of the Government's plan to tackle crime including the establishment of 'Burglary Reponse Units'.

The theme of the conference is securing the recovery and avoiding putting the country at risk through political instability. There will also be a focus on job creation and the Government plans to create at least 40,000 new jobs in 2015.

hnews@herald.ie

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