Dublin: Gilmore launches Labour's national election campaign
Here in Ireland the election campaigns of the main parties are getting under way this morning with a number of official launches in Dublin.
Labour party leader leader Eamon Gilmore introduced the party's 68 candidates in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin (a wonderful location).
Mr Gilmore stated that Labour could lead the change the country needed with its vision of one Ireland.He reiterated his belief that for the first time in 90 years the election was a genuinely three-way contest.
Below is his his speech:
The Dáil is now dissolved and the future of Ireland rests in the hands of the Irish people.
Many of us have watched with awe and admiration in recent weeks as people have stood up, one by one, to demand something that we, all too often, take for granted - the right to choose our Government. To shape the direction of our country.
In Ireland too, that right was hard won. And just as those who went before us faced their moments of crisis and of truth, now, once again, it falls to this generation to choose Ireland's future.
That is the great gift that is democracy. Each of us has a part to play. Each of us has a right and a responsibility. We too must stand up, one by one, and together, we can choose the future that we want for ourselves and for our children All of us, together. On polling day all of us are equal as voters, and each of us has an equal responsibility for the way we mark our ballot paper. Each of us is responsible, but its a decision that we make togetherTogether, as one Ireland. Urban and rural. Old industries and new. Public and Private. One Ireland.
This election is about who we are and where we going as a people.I am deeply, deeply proud of this country. Yes, we have problems, grave problems.
But our abilities are far greater than our problems. There is nothing that the Irish cannot people achieve, nothing that is beyond us. And yes, since the crisis has begun people have lost faith, and feel doubt and foreboding about the future. But we have also found reserves of endurance and energy and patriotism and sheer decency that we didn't realise we had.I have been struck, since the crisis began, by the number of people who have come up to me with the simple statement. 'I want to help, what can I do?' People whose sense of duty to their country runs deep. People disgusted by what has happened to Ireland, and who want to be part of the solution. Well now is the time. Now is the time to be part of the solution. None of us can change the country on our own. But together, there is nothing we cannot achieve. I met someone the other day who had just joined the Labour Party. And I was struck by the reason he gave me for getting involved. What he said was this- I have always been a Labour voter. Labour has always been the party that expressed my political values. But I have joined the party, because this time, whatever happens, it wont be because I didn't do my bit.That is the opportunity that is before us. To change our country and change its politics. To change from being the victims of change to being the drivers of change. Le Cheile. Together, we can put that energy, and commitment and pride to work.For the first time ever in the 90 year history of this State, we can elect a Government which is led by neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael. For the first time people have a choice - to elect a Government led by Labour. This is not simply a choice of party label. It is a choice about the future direction of our country.This election is a three way contest, between Fine Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. Fianna Fáil, who have failed our country. Fine Gael, who have learned nothing from those mistakes. Whose politics is the politics of the past. Who talk about re-negotiating the IMF package, but who are, in reality, comfortable with the austerity it demands.And Labour, the party that has always stood for progressive change in Ireland.Our policy platform in this campaign is simple. Labour is the party of jobs. Labour is the party of reform. Labour is the party of fairness.
That is who we are- that is who we have always been. I am proud of the professionalism and sophistication of our campaign. But I do not forget, that the people who founded this party, a century ago, came from the most humble of origins and had a simple demand. That Government is not and should not be for insiders. Government is not for the privileged few. Government is not for the special ones. Government is for everyone. That is why this Labour was founded, and that is what we are about today. Taking back our country and putting the concerns of the people at the heart of the people's Government.This campaign will be about those issues - jobs, reform and fairness. As the campaign progresses, Labour will focus on each in turn. Already we have published our plans on innovation and trade, and on better broadband. Tomorrow we will publish our fiscal strategy, setting out some €7 billion in net adjustments, after we have found the resources to invest in jobs and health reform. It will show how we can still get the deficit below 5% of GDP in 2014, if we follow the right policies.In the coming days we will be publishing a range of documents covering virtually every area of policy. We will launch a plan for a different area of policy almost every day between now and the election and on February 11th we will launch the Labour Party manifesto.
We can, and we will get through this recession. We can, and we will, get our country on the road to recovery, creating jobs and forging opportunities for our future. We can and we will change the way this country is run and fix the system that is broken.Only Labour can lead that change we need. A change of Government, and a change in the way Government works. A change in the way Government thinks. A change that brings the real concerns of the people to the heart of Government.Labour's vision is the vision of One Ireland. Where we are driven by what unites us, not what divides us. Our country is too small, and our problems are too great, to indulge in divisions, or solo-runs, or sectional interests.This is not the time for division , for divided parties, or a divided country. This is the moment we must come together, and move forward together - Le Chéile. One Ireland. Public sector and private sector. Those with jobs and those looking for work. Employers and employees. Rural and urban. Gay and straight. Now is the time to pull down the walls that stand between the people and their Government. Now is the time for Labour.