Young Fine Gael
|Young Fine Gael|
|Headquarters||51 Upper Mount Street,
|Mother party||Fine Gael|
|European affiliation||Youth of the European People's Party|
Young Fine Gael (YFG) is the autonomous youth wing of the major Irish political party Fine Gael. It offers its members scope to assist in formulation of political policy, and the day-to-day running of the senior party. It is a founding member of the Christian Democratic centre-right pan-European organisation, Youth of the European Peoples Party, which is the youth wing of the European Peoples Party. YFG's constitution however allows for the organisation to act on its own, independent from its parent party, enabling it to promote its own political objectives.
Young Fine Gael was formed in 1977 as part of the internal reforms to Fine Gael instigated by Garret FitzGerald, who had become leader of the party that same year. They grew rapidly with over 100 local branches of YFG being formed by 1978. During the 1980s they pursued a fairly liberal agenda, supporting the repeal of Ireland's homosexuality laws; a ban on the state funding on single-sex schools; and greater family planning options. Nowadays there is a broad range of political viewpoints held by members, ranging from centrist and social-democratic to the more conservative.
At its most recent national conference, it carried motions supporting the Fine Gael position on making Irish optional in the Leaving Cert, to allow gay couples to adopt, to introduce a cap on welfare payments at the average industrial wage, and for a complete renegotiation of the promissory note requiring the state to pay the debts of Anglo-Irish bondholders.
YFG is organised at a national level by its National Executive, elected at National Conference, held every 16–22 months; by regional councils, currently based on European Parliament constituencies; and locally by branches. Committees may also be established at a national level, accountable to the National Executive. Officers of all units work with the Fine Gael National Youth Officer, Kate Acheson, who is based in party headquarters.
The last Conference took place in Waterford City, Co. Waterford, 22–24 November 2013. The President, the Vice President and the first candidate elected on the panel sit on the Executive Council of Fine Gael.
- President: Dale McDermott
- Vice President: Robert O'Sullivan
- National Secretary: Padraig O’Sullivan
- Director of Membership & Branch Development: Ciara McMahon
- Director of Policy: Stephen Spillane
- Director of Communications & Campaigns: David McManus
- Communications Officer: Marian O'Donnell*
- North West Regional Organiser: Shane Lynott
- Ireland East Regional Organiser: Ciaran Allen
- Dublin Regional Organiser: David Higgins
- Ireland South Regional Organiser: Michael O Herlihy
*Co-opted by the President in February 2014
The basic unit of organisation in Young Fine Gael is the branch. These are organised in every constituency in the country with some constituencies having more than one YFG branch. YFG also has prominent branches in most of the country's third level institutions to provide a forum to interested students in areas of political discussion, policy, debate and social activities.
Young Fine Gael's (YFG) International Committee deals with all of YFG's international relations and foreign policy. It is also responsible for the development and maintenance of relationships with other youth political parties worldwide, particularly those in the European Union. YFG is a founding member of the Youth of the European People's Party (YEPP), the youth organisation of the European People's Party. YEPP is Europe's largest youth political organisation, bringing together 57 member organisations from 39 countries. Colm Lauder, the Secretary General of YEPP, is a member of YFG.
Recent National Campaigns
- Homeless Solidarity Campaign (2003 & 2004). Sleep-outs in Dublin, Cork and Limerick to raise awareness of Irelands' homelessness problem.
- Better Deal for Young Drivers (2003): To campaign for action on road safety, motor insurance for young drivers and reform of the diver education/testing system. This campaign included 20 public meetings nationwide and a local media and internet publicity drive.
- Housing Tax Campaign (2004): Nationwide petition campaign to raise awareness of the government's excessive tax take on new homes for first-time buyers.
- Talk! Campaign (2005): To raise awareness of Mental Health and Suicide 
- Voter Registration Campaign (2006): To encourage Youth Participation in Politics
- Lisbon Treaty Campaign (2008): Campaign to seek a Yes vote in the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
- Get Ireland Back to Work Campaign (2010): To raise awareness of Fine Gael's policies on job creation including New Era & Hope for a Lost Generation, policies drafted in response to the financial crisis and recession.
- Fair Fares Campaign (2014): A campaign to highlight the anomaly that students aged between 16–18 years of age pay an adult far instead of a student far. This campaign also called for the universal acceptance of school ID's as proof of identity.
- Break the Ban Campaign (2014). A campaign that calls for the repeal of the legislation that bans the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.
- Priorities for Young Ireland (2014). A policy document launch that summarises all YFG policy. This document was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Royal College of Surgeons on St. Stephen's Green in May.
In 2008, Young Fine Gael was accused of being "cheap and sexist" by Finian McGrath, TD, after it published pro-Lisbon Treaty posters. The first depicted a scantily clad male model in a tight pair of EU boxer shorts with the words "Enlarge your opportunities" emblazoned across them. The second poster showed a young woman holding a pair of melons close to her chest with the slogan "Increase your prospects." Mr. McGrath said he considered the campaign ""tacky and childish" and accused YFG of attempting to degrade the seriousness of the debate.
- Irish Examiner. .Retrieved on 1 July 2009
- RTÉ Website. On Homeless campaign. . Retrieved on 1 July 2009
- RTÉ Website. On Youth Depression and Suicide Campaign. . Retrieved on 1 July 2009
- RTÉ Website. On the YFG Lisbon Treaty Campaign. . Retrieved on 1 July 2009
- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Enda%2c+werent+you+briefed+on+Lisbon+posters%3f+Eye-catching%3a+But+are+the+...-a0187331331 Enda, weren't you briefed on Lisbon posters?
- Young Fine Gael
- Fine Gael
- UCC Young Fine Gael
- UCD branch of Young Fine Gael
- UL Young Fine Gael
- WIT branch of Young Fine Gael