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KENNY GETS TOUGH ON CRIME; TAOISEACH UNDER FIRE.

Byline: SYLVIA POWNALL

FINE Gael has vowed to make Ireland's streets safer by setting up a dedicated Garda Organised Crime Unit if the party is elected to power.

Speaking at the party's Ard Fheis at the weekend, leader Enda Kenny said the country was in the grip of a "new, worse breed of criminals".

He claimed the Government was losing the war on crime and pointed out the alarming increase in gangland murders.

Mr Kenny also accused them of endless empty promises and of being interested only in themselves.

He warned more money needed to be ploughed into health and education while local hospitals needed to keep their accident and emergency units.

Mr Kenny proposed a special scheme to help first-time house buyers save for a deposit, with the Government giving equal contributions.

The leader, who celebrated his 53rd birthday at the Ard Fheis in Dublin, promised measures to help small businesses and stay-at-home parents.

He claimed the world had moved "beyond Fianna Fail's farthest horizon" but they continued to play a new game by the old rules.

He said voters had become "disengaged and disen franchised" with the Fianna Fail/PD coalition and added: "It's that same base instinct that sees them intent on rushing a referendum on June 11 to divert attention from their own broken promises.

"I agree with the objective of closing off a loophole in our citizenship laws. But I do not agree with the timing."

Yesterday, Mr Kenny opened the door to an alternative government and called for a pre-election pact with other opposition parties.

He said: "The polls show that a combination of Fine Gael, Labour and Greens actually out-poll the Government parties. Obviously there is a strategy here."

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CELEBRATION: Enda Kenny at Ard Fheis
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2004
Words:294
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