Introduction from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD
Fine Gael members are the party’s greatest resource. When I was elected Leader, I committed to ensuring that everyone’s voice would be heard and respected, and that I would make a genuine effort to include our members and elected public representatives in the work of policy formulation and campaigns.
In spring 2019 the party will hold a special conference to give effect to that commitment. That conference will consider change to the Fine Gael Constitution, it will debate the second iteration of our rolling political programme, and it will renew Fine Gael’s values.
Fine Gael’s values are:
- Equality of Opportunity;
- Enterprise and Reward;
- Hope; and
I stand by these values but I believe that they now need to be added to as we face the challenges of the 21st century. Democracy, the European Union, internationalism and personal liberty cannot be taken for granted.
So I propose to add four new values:
- Personal Liberty: Fine Gael believes that individuals and families know how best to organise their own lives and make decisions for themselves.
- Europe and Openness: Fine Gael is a party of Europe. We believe that Ireland’s future lies at the heart of Europe, a common home we are helping to build. We believe in global free trade, greater freedoms, fewer borders and barriers.
- Protecting the Environment: Our environment is under threat from global challenges like climate change and local issues like bad planning. Protection of our environment and building sustainable communities for our families should influence all policies.
- Compassion: We are a compassionate party that affirms the role of the state in offering a helping hand to those that need it.
At our spring conference, I want to hear from members about what our values should be. What values need to be added and what should change, and at that conference I want us to ratify and approve those new values.
I also want to hear from members about their ideas for our policy platform.
When I was elected leader, I set out my intention that Fine Gael would have a rolling political programme that details Fine Gael’s position on the key issues of the day. At last year’s National Conference we published the first iteration of that rolling political programme. Now we publish the second iteration. Between now and the special conference I want you, our members and public representatives, to take this document away and to consider it, to debate it internally and externally, and then at our conference to propose how it can be strengthened.
I want to unleash the enormous talent and ability available to us in Fine Gael, so that we can take Ireland forward together and provide the leadership this country needs for the next generation.
I look forward to seeing you again this spring and to a robust and engaging discussion.
Leo Varadkar TD
Fine Gael Party Leader and Taoiseach