Be Part of Team Sinn Féin

Become an Online Supporter

Cabinet Reshuffle: Different Folks,Same strokes - Gerry Adams TD

11 July, 2014 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking to the Taoiseach today in the Dáil following his announcement of a Cabinet reshuffle and new priorities for the government said:

“Citizens kept a report card on your government and they marked it clearly. They marked it, Failure.”

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“Taoiseach, today you had the opportunity to change political direction; to be socially conscious; to be fair; to set a new direction; to make the rhetoric of your March 2011 speech a reality.

“For struggling families a cabinet re-shuffle is of no consequence unless it can bring positive change to their daily lives. The new Cabinet you have announced is no different in political outlook or approach from the outgoing Cabinet.

“It in turn was no different from its Fianna Fáil predecessors. And that has been the tragic record of politics in this state for decades. Three years ago your rhetoric was all about a democratic revolution. But it hasn’t turned out that way. Instead this Government has broken one election promise after another.”

Mr. Adams added: “Sinn Féin cannot and does not welcome this Cabinet reshuffle. It is a mediocre piece of political drama. Different folks – same strokes. In keeping with your government’s record there is little of substance in today’s manoeuvre. What citizens want, what they need and what they clearly voted for in May, as they did in the General Election in 2011, was political change.

“Your government has not delivered this. Your Government has let the people down. You have no mandate for what you are doing. So instead of reshuffling your Cabinet, you should give the people their say. You should call a General Election.”

Commenting on the absence of any comments by the Taoiseach on the north Gerry Adams said:

“Your Government needs to be seized by the urgency of the current situation. There is an onus on the Government to take a lead in defending the peace process and ensuring that the necessary momentum of change in the North is re-invigorated. In the time of your Government the North has generally been mentioned in the Dáil by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil in a futile attempt to attack Sinn Féin.

“That is not the way to deal with Partition and its consequences and the necessary job of building good relations with our Unionist neighbours. Nor it is the way to keep the British government to its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

“This forms no part of the priorities you set today. Taoiseach, that is not good enough. You are a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. It is time you lived up to that responsibility; not just on the day before the Twelfth but every day.”

Finally, the Sinn Féin leader directly addressed the Labour Party: “When will the Labour Party wake up to the unmistakable message delivered by the voters in May?

When will the Labour party end its fatal embrace of Fine Gael? You need to decide now on a radical change of strategy. That will mean more than changing your party leader.”

The full text of Mr. Adams speech in the Dáil:

Check against Delivery:

Taoiseach, this morning I went back to the speech you made on the 9th March 2011 on the nomination of your Government.

Three years is a long time in politics.

In that time all your fine words have faded.

Mar a deir an seanfhocail, 'is maith an scéalaí an aimsir'.

Then you told us that “We are on the threshold of a new era of achievement, prosperity and potential”.

You talked about how “our republic was betrayed”.

How “people are frightened of losing their homes, of parents rendered speechless at the sight of their children boarding planes to countries” – and here you waxed lyrically “where Spring is Autumn and our today is their tomorrow”.

You went on about workers “praying for invisibility as they queue for the Dole and the worry that neighbours might see the St Vincent de Paul calling at the door”.

You promised that “what was done will most certainly not be done again”.

You committed to “create a new Ireland that works. That is fair, that is honest”.

You spoke of a “covenant with the Irish people”.

You promised“to close the gap between politics and the people, between the Government and the governed”.

But Taoiseach you did none of these things.

In truth you did the opposite.

And the people are not stupid.

That is why the Government parties did so badly in the recent elections.

Citizens kept a report card on your Government and they marked it clearly.

They marked it, ‘Failure’.

On your watch, the Peace Process is facing fresh challenges and anti-Agreement elements are renewing efforts to undermine and destroy the power-sharing and all-Ireland political institutions.

Taoiseach, your speech of March 2011 didn’t mention the North.

While I welcome the comments of the Tánaiste today, your speech today again did not mention the north.

Your Government needs to be seized by the urgency of the current situation.

There is an onus on the Government to take a lead in defending the peace process and ensuring that the necessary momentum of change in the North is re-invigorated.

In the time of your Government the North has generally been mentioned in the Dáil by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil in a futile attempt to attack Sinn Féin.

That is not the way to deal with Partition and its consequences and the necessary job of building good relations with our Unionist neighbours.

Nor it is the way to keep the British government to its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

This forms no part of the priorities you set today.

Taoiseach, that is not good enough.

You are a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

It is time you lived up to that responsibility; not just on the day before the Twelfth but everyday.

Taoiseach, today you had the opportunity to change political direction; to be socially conscious; to be fair; to set a new direction; to make the rhetoric of your March 2011 speech, even belatedly a reality.

Theip ort é seo a dhéanamh.

Tá daoine fós ag fulaingt.

For struggling families a cabinet re-shuffle is of no consequence unless it can bring positive change to their daily lives.

The new Cabinet you have announced is no different in political outlook or approach from the outgoing Cabinet.

It in turn is no different from your Fianna Fáil predecessors.

And that has been the tragic record of politics in this state for decades.

Three years ago your rhetoric was all about a democratic revolution. But it hasn’t turned out that way.

Instead this Government has broken one election promise after another.

When the Troika was here, even though you embraced, and continue to embrace austerity with a passion, you dishonestly blamed the Troika for your decisions.

Your Government has been the EU’s good little boys and girls, doing it Frankfurt’s Way by giving the people’s money to the banks and heaping private banking debt on long-suffering families.

But since the Troika left, even though its mentality is alive and well in the Cabinet room, you have steadily lost control of political events as your Government stumbles from one embarrassing debacle to another.

This is probably best represented by your handling of the crisis in the justice system and the Gardaí.

You spent months Taoiseach defending a dysfunctional system and attacked the Opposition for asking entirely legitimate questions.

You strongly rejected suggestions that the Justice Minister should resign in the face of mounting scandals.

You adopted the same attitude in relation to the Garda Commissioner before he too had to go.

You ignored, dismissed and ridiculed warnings from Sinn Féin and others about the way your Government was reacting to these serious issues.

Arrogance has crept into the way this government does its business.

That arrogance is evident in the appointment of political cronies to state boards in the run up to today’s Cabinet reshuffle.

In the dying days of the last government, Fianna Fáil packed State boards with their cronies.

They were loudly and rightly criticised at the time by you.

Yet, here are you doing the very same thing.

You also sought to retain control over the Banking Inquiry by stacking it with Government TDs and Senators.

Your Ministers have favoured their own constituencies in funding.

You also said you would not cut child benefit or supports for citizens with disabilities.

You have done both.

You said you would get a deal on banking debt. You failed.

But what have you delivered?

Cuts to living standards and vital public services.

An unsustainable banking debt for decades to come.

Ten people, mostly young people, emigrating every hour.

Hundreds of thousands of families in mortgage distress.

A homeless crisis.

A health service that is crumbling.

A Family Home Tax.

Water Charges.

Buille ina dhiadh buille tubaisteach eile dírithe ar ghnáth daoine an stáit seo.

Thug sibh cosaint don ciorcal órga.

Lots of money for consultants, investors, bankers and politicians but little for children with disabilities.

Special Needs Assistants cut back.

Senior citizens hit by the Government again and again and again.

Most citizens understand that people would have to shoulder their share of the burden of recovery, given the way Fianna Fail left things. People know that.

What they resent is the unfair way this is being done by a Government which is clearly ruling in the interests of the elites.

For some parents, all their children have left.

They are the Skype generation, the scattering.

These people and their families know exactly who is responsible for their forced emigration.

Taoiseach, the Cabinet reshuffle today changes none of this.

Being in government is about making choices.

This Government could have made different choices.

Tá bealach níos fearr ann.

Last October, Sinn Féin put forward budgetary proposals based on fairness.

These would have reduced the deficit, reduced tax on families, protected public services and invested in jobs.

The Government chose a different route which has led to widespread hardship for ordinary citizens.

It is time now that this Government gave ordinary families a break.

October's budget must give something back.

It must ease the tax burden on working people.

It must distribute the burden of recovery more fairly.

But people have lost hope that you will do any of this.

Since the elections, Fine Gael and Labour say they will subject Sinn Féin’s economic policies to greater scrutiny.

I welcome that. There is an urgent need for a real and genuine discussion about a different economic approach.

But of course your view of the economy is based on your core political values.

If you are for privatisation, if you don’t believe in the right to public services, you will have a particular view.

That is the view best represented by this Government’s austerity policies.

However, if you believe in a real republic, if you believe in a citizen-centered, rights-based society, if you believe in the right to a home, to universal health services, to access to education, to freedom and equality, if you believe in solidarity, then that too will shape your economic policy.

That is the ground that Sinn Fein stands on.

During the period of the Celtic Tiger Sinn Féin pointed out the dangers of the developing property bubble and the potential for an economic crash.

We warned of the over-reliance on taxes from the property sector; of over dependency on construction; of the danger of auction politics.

We argued that the wealth of the Celtic Tiger should be invested in sustainable jobs, the health service, and in infrastructure.

Sinn Féin was ridiculed by the same people whose flawed, greedy, self-serving policies collapsed the economy, forced hundreds of thousands out of work and almost half a million of our young people overseas.

Taoiseach, Sinn Féin was right then and Sinn Féin is right now.

We believe that it is possible to make the necessary deficit adjustments without harming families or frontline services by creating jobs, asking the wealthiest to pay more and by cutting waste from public spending.

The Property Tax, Water tax, removal of medical cards, mortgage distress and lack of social housing have pushed working people to the limit.

So, let’s see some scrutiny of the policies of Sinn Féin and let us also see scrutiny of the policy of Fine Gael, of Labour and Fianna Fáil which says that for decades to come, our children and our grandchildren should be forced to pay for the greed of the bankers, developers and corrupt politicians.

That’s not right. That’s not fair.

You should have put a stop to it.

The reality is that there is no real difference between the leaderships of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on economic matters.

Athnaíonn ciaróg, ciaróg eile mar a deirfeá.

You are two sides of the one economic coin.

But Labour should be different.

Labour could be different.

When will the Labour Party wake up to the unmistakable message delivered by the voters in May?

When will the Labour party end its fatal embrace of Fine Gael?

You need to decide now on a radical change of strategy.

That will mean more than changing your party leader.

Sinn Féin cannot and does not welcome this Cabinet reshuffle.

It is a mediocre piece of political drama.

Different folks – same strokes.

In keeping with your government’s record there is little of substance in today’s manoeuvre.

What citizens want, what they need and what they clearly voted for in May, as they did in the General Election in 2011, was political change.

Your government has not delivered this.

Your Government has let the people down.

You have no mandate for what you are doing.

So instead of reshuffling your Cabinet, you should give the people their say.

You should call a General Election.

Go raibh maith agat.

Videos

Frontline services protected in budget agreement – McGuinness


Photos

IMG_9167