Martin Luther King once said:
“Many white Americans of good will - have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice - but they tolerated or ignored economic injustice”.
In Ireland, and across Europe, many parties stand accused of tolerating or ignoring economic injustice – but not Sinn Féin!.
We know that equality is more than one man one vote.
Equality is about the right to a home, health and education.
Equality is about having the means to participate in society.
And it is about jobs!
Quality, well-paid jobs, with secure contracts and decent working conditions!
That is why I have challenged the austerity agenda in Europe.
For the first time in 56 years the EU Budget is being cut.
This will mean less money for our rural and coastal communities, less money for infrastructure, for research, and for small businesses.
And all this adds up to LESS JOBS.
The Fine Gael/Labour government that negotiated this cut should hang their heads in shame.
As should their allies for austerity - Fianna Fáil and the Unionist parties - who supported them every step of the way!
We need to be clever about accessing the EU money that is available.
I have been promoting the funding opportunities available and advising people where to look.
I have held over 50 meetings with small businesses and groups and organisations from both traditions exposing the funding opportunities to them.
In two weeks’ time I will take a 25 strong delegation of the three sporting codes – GAA, soccer and rugby to Brussels to explore the potential funding for sports organisations and the young people they serve.
We are not just living through a deep economic crisis - but also a deep social crisis.
Young people are voting with their feet and emigrating, which has a devastating effect on families, on communities and GAA organisations across Ireland.
In the South the state will be punished by the EU if it departs from the austerity programme being enforced by the European Commission.
And in the North we will be financially penalised by the British Government if the Executive does not implement Welfare Reform.
The austerity policies of London, Dublin and Brussels have to change!
There is another way!
Invest in jobs and growth!
Invest in small businesses, in infrastructure, and in clean, green industries!
Give our young people reasons to stay not reasons to leave.
Elect Sinn Féin MEPs to stand up for you in Europe!