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Economy dominates Fine Gael think-tank

Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Meeting
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS An Taoiseach Enda Kenny chairs the first round of meetings at the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Meeting at Knockranny House Hotel yesterday afternoon.?Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Economy will dominate Fine Gael think-tank

Áine Ryan


TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has already conceded that this Dáil term, which will culminate with the December budget, will prove to be the toughest in the government’s lifetime. So while Fine Gael party chairman, Charlie Flanagan TD told reporters yesterday afternoon, outside Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, that the parliamentary party’s two-day think-thank was an opportunity for backbenchers to regroup ahead of the political term, he also echoed his party leader’s sentiments about difficult times ahead. Deputy Flanagan also said the gathering would give members a chance to look at the Croke Park agreement
In an earlier statement, he said: “The over-riding focus of this Party meeting is jobs. The next stage of our economic programme will be converting the improved national economic stability and confidence achieved by Fine Gael and Labour in Government over the last 18 months into more jobs across the country.”
“The discussions will focus on how to fix the deficit and reform the way Government works in a way that supports hard-working families and the ability of both small businesses and international investors to create more jobs here,”  he continued.
While the agenda is dominated by the economy, it also features the forthcoming Children’s Rights referendum. Yesterday’s sessions were addressed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
Speaking on Mid-West Radio yesterday afternoon, Minister Bruton, who was involved in a leadership challenge two years ago, praised Enda Kenny, saying he was doing ‘a fantastic job’.
Other contributors yesterday were former IMF Deputy Director, Dr Donal Donovan, Dragon’s Den panelist, Seán O’Sullivan and Geraldine Kenny of Microfinance Ireland. Today’s (Tuesday) seminars will focus on child protection and other government priorities for 2012. Speakers will include the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Geoffrey Shannon.
Farmer’s meeting
MEANWHILE, Mayo IFA held a meeting last night in Westport to impress on government key issues that must be pritoritised after the worst summer experienced by the farming community in over 30 years. The meeting was due to be addressed by the Junior Minister for Agriculture, Shane McEntee and was expected to be attended by senior IFA figures from around the country.
Furthermore, Shell to Sea protestors were removed by gardaí from Knockranny House Hotel before noon yesterday.

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