Belfast Telegraph

Economy top of Fine Gael agenda

Job creation and restoring the economy will be top priority at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis this weekend, it has been revealed.

As the party launched the Clar for its 76th annual conference, taking place on Friday and Saturday, a spokesman insisted the event will not be triumphalist.

"This is the first time we have been in Government in 14 years and that will be readily acknowledged, but that will not in a any way be triumphalist," said Fine Gael head of media Tom Fabozzi.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who has just returned from a trade mission to China, will give an opening address on Friday night. He will then give a keynote speech on Saturday night.

"The Taoiseach having returned from China will be updating the Ard Fheis on the latest developments in restoring our international representation," said Mr Fabozzi.

"He had a very successful trip to both the US and China. He and his ministers have been traversing the globe to secure investment for Ireland in an attempt to repair what was a very damaged reputation."

The Fine Gael representative added that the party is confident adequate security measures will be taken at the conference on Saturday, when thousands are expected to stage a protest against the implementation of the household charge.

Items on the agenda include debate on child protection, getting Ireland back to work and constitutional reform, which could involve discussions on gender quotas in the Dail.

"This Ard Fheis is about marking the space that we have moved into in the last 12 months," Mr Fabozzi went on.

"The Government doesn't see its job as being even remotely done. It's a case of plotting how far along we are and plotting what we intend to do over the next few years."

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