Fine Gael Ardfheis live

Fine Gael Ardfheis live

IT Fri, Mar 30
 

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  • 09:24
    Good Morning. A team from The Irish Times will be reporting 'live' from The Ard Fheis today giving you regular updates via blogs, news, audio feeds of live interviews plus video reports and interviews. Mary Minihan, Stephen Carroll and I will be supplying the news and views throughout the day.
  • 09:43
    There are a few contexts for today's events. The first is Fine Gael's historic performance in last year's election. Its percentage of the vote was not its highest ever but only once before has it won 76 seats and come so tantaisingly close to winning an overall majority.
    This is the first time since then that the party has had a chance to come together and celebrate. Ergo the mood of its first Ard Fheis in government has been buoyant and will verge on euphoric as soon as Enda Kenny enters the hall to give his leader's address tonight.
    The party had kind of dodged a bullet on the promissory note with Micheal Noonan's announcement of a delay on this month's payment. The biggest difficulty was that its payment was due to fall this weekend to coincide with the convention. The compromise will be enough to assuage critics although there's a bit of a trick of the loop to it. The ECB statement on the remaining part of the €30bn deal seemed resolute. I thought I heard a door being slammed shut.
    The biggest potential dampener is the household charge. The uptake has been very poor and has allowed a group of ULA and independent campaigners (with Sinn Fein jumping onto the bandwagon in more recent weeks) to claim they have inspired a massive boycott.
    With such a modest number of houeholds signing up, the Government cannot argue against that. The rate of registrations has accelerated in recent days but nothing at the rate required. The overall number is going to fall way short of the 1 million mark that was seen as the lowest threshold for salvaging something from the debacle.
    There is a protest outside today. Joe Higgins has promised thousands will march on the National Convention Centre later on. There were only a handful of protesters outside last night (and one very busy megaphone). We will see.
    We will report on the day's events as they happen.
  • 10:27
    Alan Shatter is not a politician who hides his light under a bushel. His 'get a life' comments on Sinn Fein and his portrayal of Mick Wallace as a "serial non-payer of debt" has got extensive coverage in all the newspapers this morning.
  • 11:32
    I have conducted a short audio interview with Tom Curran, General Secretary of Fine Gael, setting out the themes, contexts and moods of this weekend's Ard Fheis. It's available at: http://aud​ioboo.fm/b​oos/736402​-tom-curra​n-general-​secretary-​of-fine-ga​el-on-ard-​fheis
  • 12:14
    harrymcgee via Twitter Tom Curran general secretary of Fine Gael on Ard Fheis http://audioboo.fm/boos/736402
  • 12:20
    Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, making his way to the podium to deliver his speech.
  • 12:21
    "The year gone by has been a tough one for our people," Minister Varadkar tells the Ard Fheis
  • 12:23
    Minister Varadar acknowledges contribution of Labour Party ...
  • 12:24
    Quangos have been closed down and independent experts have been appointed to the Seanad, Minister Varadkar tells Ard Fheis.
  • 12:25
    "The people are still with us," Minister Varadkar tells the ard fheis.
  • 12:33
    On Twitter, Donnchadh Morgan is calling Minister Varadkar "Dr Sunshine" after his self-deprecating "glass half empty" comments...
  • 12:41
    Minister of State for Europe says "the coroporate tax issue" has slipped off the agenda.
  • 12:49
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has his specs on to deliver his speech.
  • 12:55
    Laughter and applause when Minister for Finance Michael Noonan describes himself as the economy's "mechanic". The 12.5% corporation tax is not negotiable, he says. More applause.
  • 13:00
    Minister Noonan tells delegates to encourage their family, friends and neighbours to vote yes in the upcoming EU fiscal stability treaty referendum.
  • 13:05
    The session on jobs and the economy is just coming to an end. The format was staple for Ard Fheis TV coverage, a panel of ten (revolving every half an hour) and a "personality" poltiician (in this case the velvet-smooth former TV presenter Mairead McGuinness) doing the MC.Every so often a senior Minister stood to deliver a stump speech.
    The most anticipated contribution was that of Peter Matthews who's often off message on Government banking policy but he too stayed with the script. There was nothing amazingly new in any of the speeches or contributions, reiterations in the main of Government policy.
    Michael Nonan described himself as the economy's mechanic and predicted that "mainstream Ireland" would stay loyal to the Government as long as it believed it was acting fairly.
    Off camera at the end, you could hear Richard Bruton praising McGuinness: "Well done Mairead, a tour de force".
    The best Presidential candidate Fine Gael never had!
  • 13:14
    Bit of a lull in proceedings...time to go mingle with delegates.
  • 14:20
    So...the crowd of protesters arriving at the Fine Gael ard fheis was small to begin with but has grown and grown. We did have a good view from the press room black out blinds have been brought down now. A security person said it was at the request of gardai because people looking out the window was causing problems. We can still see out the front of the building. Delegates are lined up at the windows to watch.
  • 14:41
    Aternoon session begins as thousands of anti-household tax protesters gather outside the National Convention Centre. I can't remember such a large rally outside any national conference of any party.
    The household charge tax has been a big setback for Phil Hogan and for the Government.
    The uptake was terrible... so poor that no compensating gloss could be put on it.
    And its timing compounded Fine Gael's difficulties. Unfortunately for Big Phil and for the party the deadline (with all its negative connotations) fell on the exact same day as the main event of the Ard Fheis.
    The location too played into the hands of the protesters. It's the first time it's been held in the city centre for a long time. The National Convention Centre is a very alluring venue - all gleaming glass and clean lines and as befits a new Government. But it also makes it way more convenient than, say, City West, or Killarney for busloads of protesters.
    Fair play ot the ULA and independents (and more latterly, Sinn Fein). They have made this issue their own and can claim their victory.
    Getting 4,000 plus people to protest outside the convention hall also sends out very powerful signals not just in Ireland and abroad.
    You would probably need a very detailed survey to dig into why people have not paid the tax. In the absence of it, the notion of a mass boycott cannot be contradicted.
    As I write, I am looking at Simon Coveney on screen, setting out his (admirable) vision for agriculture - he is also the party's director of elections for the referendum and is a good choice.
    But in the background, I can hear the roars and chants of the crowed.
    Fine Gael's first Ard Fheis in government for almost two decades may be drowned out and eclipsed by the controversy over the household charge.
  • 14:58
    Lively crowd of protesters cheer as Fine Gael and "their Labour lapdogs" are denounced outside.
  • 14:58
  • 15:10
    Protesters on Guild Street outside convention centre
  • 15:10
  • 15:10
  • 15:20
    Hard to capture crowds on iPhone but here's another picture of protesters outside
  • 15:20
  • 15:25
  • 15:28
    Came back inside for quick stand-up interview with Taoiseach Enda Kenny - we'll blog about that in a moment - but just wanted to tell you a bit about the protest outside. The protesters mostly moved down Guild Street (that's the street on the northside coming off the fancy new-ish bridge). The Garda presence means they won't get any closer to the Convention Centre, but I had no trouble getting access to them. They had set up a platform from which speakers denounced Fine Gael and "their Labour lapdogs" and booed various ministers. The mood was pretty calm, just plenty of noise, although some protesters shouted "Shame! Shame!" at delegates making their way towards the Convention Centre. They said the same to this journalist (doh! shouldn't have worn my blue suit...)

    My colleague Marie O'Halloran, who was also outside, told me the gardai were estimating the crowd at between 4 and 5,000. The protesters will put that figure much higher.
  • 15:45
    Phil Hogan spoke a short while ago. Most attention naturally focused on what he would say about the household charge. The Department of the Environment is claiming that over 650,000 have registered, but that's still a third.
    For obvious reasons there has been almost as much focus on the Minister for the Environment as there has been on the Taoiseach.
    The excuses are now being rolled out.
    "This household charge is a legacy left behind by the last Government that this Government had to deliver as part of our agreement with the Troika..."
    And
    "This type of charge and the voluntary nature of the registration are completely new by Irish standards and mark a complete departure for funding local government and services."
    And the claim of success: "Despite the financial pressure, despite the newness, despite the time pressue... the Irish people have stepped up and registered in their hundreds of thousands."
    Problem is that not enough Irish people have stepped up.
  • 15:47
    Remember at the time of the Coalition negotiatons last year, Eamon Gilmore warned his Labour colleages that they would face “forests of placards” protesting at future decisions. Fine Gael faced them first.
  • 15:47
  • 15:47
    I wonder could the black-out blinds be raised in the press room at #fgaf12 now given that the crowd has dispersed...?
  • 15:51
    In the main auditorium now, where Minister of State for Europe Lucinda Creighton is speaking to delegates about the upcoming fiscal treaty referendum. Former taoiseach John Bruton has just got a warm round of applause.
  • 15:59
    Fine Gael has a proud legacy of responsible governance, Lucinda Creighton says
  • 16:00
    Minister of State for Europe Lucinda Creighton accuses protesters of "abusing good and honest members of Fine Gael on their way into this Ard Fheis".
  • 16:02
    A prominent member of Fine Gael complained to me earlier that the seats in the auditorium were maybe that little bit too comfortable when organisers want a lively crowd!...The seats are pretty cushy I must say...
  • 16:04
    Minister of State Lucinda Creighton says a Yes vote will ensure Ireland will have a source of founding avaliable at all times. "We are determined to re-enter the markets", she says, but this is like an insurance policy. Those opposing must explain where the money could come from, she adds. Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is director of elections for the referendum campaign btw.
  • 16:06
    People advocating a No vote in the upcoming referendum are actually advocating "greater and more austerity", former taoiseach John Bruton tells delegates.
  • 16:16
    Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton tells delegates "we need to put in safety nets...we need to ensure the Eurozone can be stable going into the future". That's what the referendum is all about, he tells delegates. Ireland is one of the countries most dependent on foreign investment, he adds. "We are locked out of the borrowing markets."
  • 16:20
    "If we don't vote yes the train will leave the station without us," MEP Jim Higgins tells delegates.
  • 16:26
    Director of elections for Fine Gael's referendum campaign Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, says it was a huge honour to get a phone call from Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday morning asking him to take on the job. "Referenda have a habit of upsetting the establishment in Ireland. People seem to enjoy using referenda at times as a way of giving a Government a bloody nose," he says. "The only people that will suffer if we do not deliver a Yes vote here are ourselves."
  • 16:31
    Fine Gael's director of elections in upcoming referendum Simon Coveney denounces protesters outside the ard fheis at the Convention Centre. "The people who are outside today protesting carrying our flag as if they are somehow greater patriots than the people in this room...well they are not." Hear, hear, say clapping delegates.

  • 16:34
    "We have an army of supporters that we need to mobilise and motivate," Simon Coveney says. "Domestic issues" are causing people "stress and emotion", he acknowledges.
  • 16:36
    Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe wraps up discussion on upcoming fiscal treaty referendum concludes. No dissenting voices.
  • 16:39
    Interesting motion on same sex marriage being debated in Wicklow Hall of convention centre. It calls on government to ensure that Constitutional Convention prioritises an analyse of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland. There was a similar motion at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis that was passeed. I cannot see this motion being blocked here either.
  • 16:51
    A news story on the content of Enda Kenny's press conference will be up on the site shortly. He is defending the photography from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in which he and businessman Denis O'Brien appear.
  • 17:39
    Simon Coveney will be the party's director of elections for the referndum. He is a good choice. He doesn't ruffle feathers like some of his more, erm, caustic colleagues.
  • 17:43
    A lull again. Protest has all but finished save for a few stragglers. It's a nice evening in Dublin with magnificent views over the Liffey and the City from the National Convention Centre.
    I see Ruth Coppinger of the anti-household campaign issued a statement saying that 10,000 people had attended. Figures from the gardai earlier said 4,000.
    The politics of issues extends to numbers with wide divergences of estimates. It's nigh impossible in any instance to calculate head count at such events. There may have been 10,000 in the city centre but there was certainly nothing lnear that at the convention centre.
  • 18:26
    Guest Harry, to be fair the Gardai stopped people from getting any closer. The protest extended up the quays which was outside of the view you'd get from your location. 10,000 is a maximum, but the figure of 4000-5000 is just unrealistic.
  • 18:26
    Guest Lads, the 5000 figure for the protest is a joke. It was closer to twice that. Just look at the pictures.
  • 18:26
    Free_Eire Just about where the protesters are now is where their forefathers queued to board the cattle boats to UK to find work, Ironic
  • 18:26
    bradeog any word of taking pensions of those who landed us in this swamp?(ie last government members who signed us out to banks )or even thos found corrupt by Mahon
  • 18:30
    Fine Gael delegates queue for Taoiseach Enda Kenny's address
    Fine Gael delegates queue for Taoiseach Enda Kenny's address
  • 18:37
    Chairman Charlie Flanagan chats to delegates on way to Leader's speech
    Chairman Charlie Flanagan chats to delegates on way to Leader's speech
  • 19:42
    Hi from inside the auditorium at the Fine Gael ard fheis. The build up to the leader's speech will be getting underway shortly. Meath East TD Regina Doherty has been selected to compere the proceedings. She's one of the 'new' deputies, one of the party's "commuter belt" TDs. She's already at the podium.
  • 19:45
    Regina Doherty opening proceedings
    Regina Doherty opening proceedings
  • 19:46
    Regina Doherty introduces herself as the host of finale of the 76th Fine Gael ard fheis...praises the loyalty of members "that kept alive Fine Gael during the many years that we were exiled to the Opposition benches". But now Fine Gael is "the party of the future", she says.
  • 19:47
    Michael Collins is remembered in a montage shown in the auditorium.
  • 19:48
    The "reluctant Taoiseach" John A Costello is remembered...
  • 19:49
    Colour footage of Liam Cosgrave around the time of Sunningdale shown on big screen.
  • 19:50
    "Progressive views and powerful intellect" of Garrett FitzGerald remembered. Footage of his "load of codswallop" remark to Charlie Haughey provokes laughter from delegates...warm applause for John Bruton.
  • 19:51
    Montage of current Taoiseach Enda Kenny concludes the film shown to delegates. (Rosaleen Linehan the actress narrated the film).
  • 19:52
    Applause for former leaders John Bruton and Alan Dukes who are in the auditorium. Regina Doherty remembers "the leading lights in Fine Gael" who pased away recently, beginning with Garrett.
  • 19:53
    Declan Costello also warmly remembered...
  • 19:54
    And Liam Coady...
  • 19:57
    Regina Doherty celebrates Fine Gael's blend of "old and new" TDs. The class of 2011 who she said were part of "Team Enda" was made up of 34 new TDs and 14 new Senators, who provided a new energy and democratic. Delegates watching a film now featuring Peter Matthews (who is applauded), Simon Harris, Mary Mitchell O'Connor and others...
  • 20:01
    Senator Eamon Coughlan - Fine Gael's latest recruit - is applauded. An Olympian joins the GAA allstars in the party, says Regina Doherty.
  • 20:02
    Aine Collins from Cork speaking about her daughter Lily being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and the "celtic gene".
  • 20:03
    Aine Collins says she was "asked" to stand for Fine Gael.
  • 20:06
    "Healthy competition" within Fine Gael keeps us all focused and driven, Aine Collins tells delegates
  • 20:06
    Cork TD Aine Collins addressing the ard fheis
    Cork TD Aine Collins addressing the ard fheis
  • 20:08
    "The rules were re-written in General Election 2011," Regina Doherty says. No longer would Irish people stand for "lazy" or "self-serving" leadership. Another photomontage is shown on the big screen. Ministers, TDs and Senators sitting on the stage twist akwardly to see the screen...
  • 20:10
    Chairman Charlie takes the stage
    Chairman Charlie takes the stage
  • 20:11
    A "gentleman of impeccable political pedigree" is introduced: Chairman Charlie Flanagan...Now we're getting into it. Going in hard and heavy against former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his "fairytale" explanations to the Mahon tribunal, which recently published its final report. "He now offers his economic wisdom in exchange for political asylum in Nigeria." The delegates like it.
  • 20:13
    "The State was never top of Fianna Fail's agenda. This great country of ours was sacrificed on the altar of personal gain", says Chairman Charlie. "Fianna Fail were in power for 62 years of the last 80".
  • 20:14
    Chairman Charlie Flanagan going back over the decades of Fianna Fail rule...but now turning his ire on Sinn Fein. "They may have transformed to having blood on their hands to having ink on their hands..."
  • 20:17
    Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan has made the delegates sit up and take notice a bit..."our task colleagues is to lay the foundations for a renewed Republic".
  • 20:19
    Enda Kenny says no exultation just sober reflection at Fine Gael Ard Fheis. It will be hard for the emotion not to be whipped, however, up during the speech. Just 10 minutes or so to go.
  • 20:21
    Fine Gael delegates are shown (another) film of recent highlights...Regina Doherty introduces "unique figure" of Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Standing ovation from delegates before he's said a word.
  • 20:21
    Minister for Finance addresses Fine Gael ard fheis
    Minister for Finance addresses Fine Gael ard fheis
  • 20:23
    The delegates love Minister for Finance. He has them rolling in the aisles, despite the seriousness of the subject matter as he remembers the arrival of the IMF in Ireland. "Every taxi driver that came from Dublin airport knew the IMF was in town. The only people who didn't know was the Government...AJ Chopra was more popular in Dublin than Matt Talbott".
  • 20:25
    The previous Government struck a bad deal with the IMF, Noonan says. He's keeping it very simple. "We'll pop the champagne corks the night the Troika leave the town." (The delegates love it). Says he's been through a number of recessions in his political life. This one is different. After other recessions the goal was to return to what had gone before. This time it's different.
  • 20:27
    Delegates in the auditorium responding well to Noonan's confident tone. "I'm so confident about this country at present...We will not fail," he says. "Let's all pull together and get on with the work." Warm applause, but they don't get back up on their feet.
  • 20:29
    Next speaker "successful businessman...shrewd negotiator...gentle giant". Regina Doherty is talking about Dr James Reilly, the Minister for Health.
  • 20:29
    Minister for Health Dr James Reilly warming up the crowd ahead of the leader's speech
    Minister for Health Dr James Reilly warming up the crowd ahead of the leader's speech
  • 20:31
    Dr James Reilly says the Taoiseach has hosteed the vice president of China, the Queen of England and President of the USA. Recalls Enda Kenny's promise to "electrify" the party and says he has achieved that. "Enda simply never countenanced the possibility that Fine Gael would not return to Government." The delegates say: "Hear, hear".
  • 20:32
    Delegates on their feet for Taoiseach Enda Kenny...making his way through the crowd to the stage...whistles and whoops from the crowd
  • 20:32
    Rock music blaring for Taoiseach Enda Kenny's entrance
  • 20:33
    Enda Kenny on stage
    Enda Kenny on stage
  • 20:33
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny sounds slightly breathless...
  • 20:35
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny keeps the tone modest to begin with. Stresses his awareness of the difficulties people face. His coded message is encouraging delegates not to go too crazy as the cameras roll. “Our purpose cannot be one of celebration. We will not celebrate until Ireland has reason to celebrate. Tonight, unemployment remains too high. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many worry about losing their homes. Too many of our children are still moving away,” he says.
  • 20:37
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny outlines measures "to protect the most vulnerable", to mildish applause from delegates. Ireland’s international standing is being restored, he insists. Delegates like his line that "Ireland now has a serious government with a serious plan."
  • 20:39
    Taxing work damages jobs, Taoiseach insists. He outlines reforms: “Work is continuing on legislation to reduce the size of the Dáil, and to prepare for a referendum for the abolition of the Seanad.” Seems that referendum is still on then!
    Gets some applause when he says he believes more women should become involved in Irish politics and mentions gender quotas. "To encourage more women into politics we are linking State funding of political parties to the level of female participation in elections. Parties, including our own, will be penalised if they do not fulfil these conditions.”
  • 20:41
    The Taoiseach has got his breath back. Going at a steady pace. Turning to Moriarty and Mahon now. Shameful and corrupt practices must never happen again, he says to strong applause. "That’s why this Government is taking firm action to break the link between business and political funding. That interaction should be based solely on achieving economic recovery through creating jobs.” Now turning to proposed legislation on lobbyists. “We will create a register of lobbyists and enact new laws to give protection to those who discover and report unethical behaviour. These long overdue reforms, along with other measures being considered by Government, will help to put integrity, transparency and honesty back at the heart of public life.” The delegates clap whenever he pauses, really.
  • 20:42
    This is interesting, as the Taoiseach concedes that some pre-election promises have not been fulfilled. “While the steps we have taken in the first year have brought stability, we recognise that some of the pledges we made have not been delivered," he admits.

    “We had intended to legislate to end upward only rent reviews, but this has proven to be impossible because of constitutional difficulties."

    Silence from delegates.

  • 20:44
    The Taoiseach's insistence that “Ireland will NOT default” gets applause. This comes after he said: “Through a combination of burden sharing on junior bondholders, private investment and avoiding asset fire sales, we have more than halved the cost to tax payers envisaged in the original plan. But despite these improvements, this burden remains too heavy.”

    Turning to the promissory note deal. Applause when he says the €3.1 billion promissory note payment due to be paid toAnglo Irish Bank on Monday is not being paid, but is being replaced by a long-term government bond and the wider negotiations will continue.




  • 20:45
    Taoiseach describes the upcoming referendum as a "brilliant" opportunity for Ireland. Casting it as a positive, rather than a negative. "Never again will a government be able to behave recklessly and arrogantly with the people’s money," he says, which goes down well with delegates. The pace is still slow and steady. All very calm.
  • 20:46
    Taoiseach advocates a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum: “We can do this, we can achieve this....by voting YES. Yes to Europe. Yes to Jobs. Yes to Ireland. YES on May 31st.”
  • 20:47
    “We are a nation of doers and entrepreneurs,” Taoiseach tells delegates, but admits there is still too much red-tape making things difficult for business.
  • 20:48
    I've lost count of the number of times the Taoiseach has said the word "jobs" now..!
    Meanwhile a stern message to the banks goes down well with delegates. “Banks must become part of the solution to the jobs crisis by meeting their agreed lending targets,” he says. "Hear, hear," respond applauding delegates.
  • 20:50
    "Cloud computing, digital gaming and data content storage" join food exports as important part of getting Ireland out of the crisis, according to the Taoiseach. Now he's attempting to reach out to the unemployed: "Ireland hasn’t been good enough to, or strong enough for its jobseekers.The supports have been too passive and too scattered. The vast majority of people who are out of work want a hand up, not a hand out. These men and women know the dignity of work, and feel its absence in their lives."
  • 20:52
    Taoiseach says Government wants to give employers additional incentives to hire people who are currently out of work. "That means extending the employer PRSI exemption scheme from 12 to 18 months." The whole thing feels quite downbeat. I've never heard a leader's speech like this. But then the subject matter is so serious.
  • 20:55
    Taoiseach attempts to offer hope to the so-called negative equity generation, saying banks will be encouraged to offer “negative equity mortgages, whereby families can, depending on theircircumstances, trade up or down". First time buyers who purchase their homes before the end of 2012 will get additional mortgage interest relief.
  • 20:55
    "We have the best young generation in the world," says the Taoiseach, adopting a slightly more upbeat tone to which the delegates are responding quite well. "I don't know all the answers," he admits. Like Noonan, however, he insists the Government "will not fail". His voice is booming now. Ah, there's the "best small country in the world in which to do business". We've heard it so many times, but the delegates here like it!
  • 20:57
    Taoiseach concludes. A firm handshake from Michael Noonan. Delegates up on their feet whooping and hollering. Taoiseach looks up to the balcony and acknowleges applause.
  • 20:58
  • 21:00
    Senator Eamon Coughlan, newest Fine Gael recruit, and Health Minister James Reilly are in key position for the final 'doughnut' shot on the telly. Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is at her leader's left hand. Noonan is on his right. Taoiseach appears to wipe the sweat off the back of his neck, and puffs out air. His handlers will be hoping the TV cameras had stopped rolling!
  • 21:00
  • 21:00
    Taoiseach reaches into crowd to shake hands.
  • 21:02
    Taoiseach exits stage left
    Taoiseach exits stage left
  • 21:12
    Believe it or not, Taoiseach Enda Kenny still hasn't left the stage. Continuing to shake hands with well-wishers. Taking his cue from Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, he delivered an understated, almost workmanlike address tonight with no fancy flourishes or promises of any kind. And no mention of the issue of the moment: the household charge. He dropped the tub-thumping delivery we've come to expect from the Taoiseach when addressing his own, probably because this address reaches a wider audience because of the long-standing arrangement with RTE to live broadcast leaders' speeches.

  • 01:02
    Goodnight, thanks for reading.