Howlin criticises "do-nothing Government" at Labour party conference

He said Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and a rag-bag of Independents show no ambition

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said that the Irish people are being let down by a "do-nothing Government", at the Labour Party National Conference. 

Speaking at the conference he said "Brexit happened. Trump happened. Tomorrow, the French people go to the polls, against the backdrop of yet another horrific terrorist attack. And Le Pen might yet happen.

"People are voting, in large part, out of fear and out of hurt. There are many people, too many, happy to prey on these fears. 

"A year ago, people thought that changing the Government would make things better. They voted for change.

"Charlatans and conservatives never have. The slogans they spout are not simple truths. They are falsehoods. Complex questions don’t have simple answers."

"If all of this is true, and I believe it is, then we in Labour must step up. As a social democratic party, fear and hurt are not what we do."

Mr Howlin said "For many generations, there has been a social contract. That contract meant that every family could believe in one simple idea; Work hard, and your children will have a better life than you.

"Young people in their 20s wonder will they have job security, or a decent quality of life, or a health system that works; or a roof over their heads? It’s our job to change that."


He continued saying "yet the British people voted, in part out of fear, in part out of hurt, for Brexit. An action that will have massive implications for their future. And for ours also.

"Brexit has undermined devolved Government, in Northern Ireland, in particular. Good intentions seem to abound on every side.

"Yet the path to a borderless Ireland after Brexit is far from clear, made worse by the Tory desire for parliamentary domination.

"After Brexit, there is a space for a dialogue about this island. We who aspire to a United Ireland need to map out what it might look like. "


Speaking about President Trump, Mr Howlin said "Brexit doesn’t mean we live in a world without hope. Neither does the election of Donald Trump. I haven’t been shy about saying what I think of him.

"He's a racist, sexist and a homophobe. He doesn’t have the temperament or patience to run the world’s greatest power. He’s a danger to us all. He is already waging war on the environment."

"When he promises to ramp up the burning of coal, he gives false hope to those who have worked in mines, and gives real hope to a powerful, dirty industry.




He said that Labour intends on bringing "An end to the fallacy of the so-called rainy day fund; 3 billion euros to be kept on account, instead of being spent on infrastructure.

"On the economy, we have a single-party, right-wing, Fine Gael government. Even IBEC say the Government has an austerity fetish.

"They waste money on tax cuts that people barely notice, but provide little of the investment we need so badly.

"After everything we’ve gone through over the last 10 years, we are entitled to better. To decent hospitals. To brilliant schools. To homes we can afford.

"Ireland in 2017 is undeniably in a better place than it was in 2011. That we got little recognition for that is simply the hard truth of politics. 

Other parties 

Howlin then turned his attention to the opposition saying "Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and a rag-bag of Independents show no ambition.

"And they seem quite content about it. Leo and Simon square up to each other, playing to their base, dragging the country further to the right, pitting the private sector against the public sector once more.

"Meanwhile, Enda and Micheál are content to play for time."

He finished by saying: "Doing nothing is not something to be proud of. It means that Government begins to do actual harm."