Fine Gael Minister Simon Harris seemingly took a subtle shot at his coalition partners in Fianna Fáil this week, when he made remarks about the years of repairs that had been needed after historical “economic mismanagement” of the country.
The comments were made during a press event at Leinster House on Tuesday, during which Harris was asked about a new report by Eurostat – the EU’s official statistics body. The report found that 68% of Irish adults between the age of 25 and 29 were still living at home with their parents last year – compared to the EU average of just 42%.
When asked if this reflected negatively on his party of Fine Gael, who have been in government for over a decade, Harris seemed to blame the slow progress on the aftermath of the recession.
Without naming Fianna Fáil, the Higher Education Minister said it took “many years to fix, to repair those deep scars from the economic crash and economic mismanagement of this country.”
“I remember when I was first elected to Dáil Eireann and sitting in my constituency office in Bray and I remember conversations around massive mortgage arrears,” he said.
“I remember conversations about whether people would be able to keep a roof over their heads. I remember programmes about ghost estates.”
He added that he remembers the “entire construction industry collapsing” during the crisis, with many skilled tradespeople emigrating abroad or changing career path.
Similarly, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said that it was inevitable that any economy undergoes a financial crisis has to go through a prolonged period of being unable to invest in important social projects like home building.
This isn’t the first time a major figure in one of the two major coalition partners has taken a swipe across the aisle at their new allies.
Last month Ógra Fianna Fáil called on Fine Gael Justice Minister Helen McEntee to resign amid rising crime rates, saying: “We have no confidence in the ability of Fine Gael to effectively and properly manage the Justice Ministry.”
Ogra Fianna Fail calls on Helen McEntee to resign amid rising crime levelshttps://t.co/lv8qEmzGzf
— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) August 1, 2023
They added that Fine Gael has been in charge of justice and policing for 12 years in Ireland, and that during that time the standard of law and order has fallen “far below that which is owed to the public.”
“It is clear to us in Ógra Fianna Fáil that Fine Gael have failed to combat these issues and continue to avoid addressing the same. It is a sorry state of affairs to say our capital city is unsafe.”
Just a few days later, the group called on the government to halt the hate speech bill, which was initiated and largely driven by Fine Gael, with “immediate effect.”
“At a time when the Minister for Justice can’t police our streets, why are we trying to police speech?”: Ógra Fianna Fáil has called for Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s hate speech bill be to be “halted with immediate effect.”#gripthttps://t.co/ryfV5Pf5OX
— gript (@griptmedia) August 3, 2023