Fine Gael launches ad campaign criticising Fianna Fáil's "catastrophic mishandling of the economy"

Fianna Fáil kicked off its own campaign with an ad against Fine Gael earlier this week

Fine Gael has launched a new advertising campaign criticising Fianna Fáil's economic policies in government.

The party says the new campaign is aimed at reminding voters "of the catastrophic mishandling of the economy".

The first advertisement shows three unfinished houses from a ghost estate in Leitrim, with a caption reading 'don't let Fianna Fáil come back to haunt us'.

Announcing the campaign, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said, "as a result of Fianna Fáil’s disastrous mis-management of the economy, the deficit ballooned to €18 billion in 2010, but we’ve now reduced that to €3 billion. They brought the country to the brink of ruin by building an unsustainable boom on the back of property and debt.

“Fine Gael has a long term plan to keep the recovery going. Our plan will deliver more and better jobs, make work pay and deliver affordable, sustainable investments in services using the resources from a growing economy and increasing employment," he added.

The advertisement comes only days after Fianna Fáil kicked off its own campaign with an 'attack ad' against Fine Gael.

The billboard features a large picture of Enda Kenny with the message "I won't end the scandal of patients on trolleys. Tax cuts for the wealthiest come first".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said neither he nor Fine Gael will engage in any personal attacks in the general election campaign.

The Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin says the new ad is a breach of the Taoiseach's promise to keep away from negative campaigning.

But he has also questioned the decision to attack Fianna Fáil on housing when the Government's own record is debatable.

Mr Martin said Fine Gael "can have all the ads you like... but have some respect for the people who could badly do with a house".