Fine Gael focus on farming and rural communities ahead of 2024 elections

Fine Gael Focus On Farming And Rural Communities Ahead Of 2024 Elections
Food, farming and rural communities are among the themes the party is highlighting as it prepares for an Ard Fheis in April 2024.
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Fine Gael put a spotlight on farming and rural issues as the political system gears up for an “election year”.

Party leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that after no elections for “a number of years”, Ireland will be in a “unique” position of having a series of ballots in a short period of time in 2024.


He was speaking at a Fine Gael special conference in Maynooth, Co Kildare where hundreds are in attendance.

Food, farming and rural communities are among the themes the party is highlighting as it prepares for an Ard Fheis in April 2024 and the local council and European Parliament elections in June.

There is strong speculation that a general election could also be held towards the end of 2024, ahead of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition expiring in the spring of 2025.


Asked about a possible date for a general election, Mr Varadkar said: “Sometimes elections happen on you, and sometimes you get to call them.”

He said he had not had any “detailed discussions” with Fianna Fáil leader and Tánaiste Micheál Martin, nor the Green Party leader Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan about when an election would be held.

Mr Varadkar said the Government was spending “99 per cent of our time” on the cost-of-living crisis, taming inflation, building homes and keeping the economy strong.



Mr Varadkar’s party has been in government for more than 10 years, and the Dublin West TD is in his second term as Taoiseach.

“2024 is an election year, we’re going to have local elections, we’re going to have European elections and we’re going to have an election for the Limerick mayor. So that’s actually our focus.

“I don’t know when the date of next election is, that hasn’t been decided yet, but it will certainly be no later than March 2025, and there’ll be presidential election as well in 2025.”

He said the party had selected 70% of its candidates for the local elections due to be held in June.

“We’ve almost all our candidates now selected for local elections – I think we’ve got 70% – so we’ll have them pretty much all done by Christmas.

“Just under 90 per cent of our councillors running for re-election – and then a huge number of really interesting new candidates, young, old, male, female, some really impressive people who, I think quite frankly, are future TDs and senators if they can get over the first hurdle of getting elected to the council next June.

“And then of course, after that we will focus on plans for the general election, but it’s the Europeans and locals that come first.”

Ireland’s EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, who was standing next to Mr Varadkar during the media event, was asked whether she intended to run for the presidency in 2025.

“I’ve said very publicly that I am willing to serve again, but that’s a decision of the government, and beyond that, who knows.”

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