Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD tonight addressed a public meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon on the impact of the government’s austerity policies on Rural communities and families.
The Sinn Féin leader was joined by party colleagues Mary Lou McDonald TD; Pearse Doherty TD; Matt Carthy MEP and Michael Colreavy who is TD for Sligo north Leitrim, and spokesperson on Energy, Communications and Natural Resources.
Speaking on the situation in the North the Sinn Féin leader urged the Taoiseach and new Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flannagan TD to become champions of the process.
Mr. Adams said:
“The Irish Government is a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. It rarely acts like that. It is time the Irish government lived up to its responsibilities.
There is an onus on the Irish Government to take a lead in defending the Peace Process and to ensure that the pace of change in the North is re-invigorated.
The Taoiseach and the new Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flannagan need to be champions of the process.”
Commenting on the new Labour leadership and its relationship with Fine Gael the Sinn Féin leader said:
“Fine Gael’s continual outmaneuvering of the Labour Party has been a feature of this Government from day one.
“In 2011 Fine Gael wanted to control the Department of Health brief and they got it. They wanted the Jobs Ministry and they got it.
“In the latest Cabinet reshuffle the Labour Party has again been outmanoeuvred by Fine Gael.
Labour wanted the Jobs Ministry. Kenny said No.
“Labour said they want the EU Commissioners job for Eamon Gilmore. Kenny said No.
“Labour wanted a Low Pay Commission. When I asked the Taoiseach about this during the week it was clear that they have done no work on this either. There is no timeframe or terms of reference.
“Labour did get the Environment Ministry and that means it has responsibility for sending you your water bills and property tax bills.
“Under Eamonn Gilmore Labour played second fiddle to Fine Gael.
“Under Joan Burton Labour is still playing second fiddle to Fine Gael.
“And its role will be to bolster Fine Gael and austerity for the next 20 months.
“Labour needed a change of direction. It needed to get back to its radical roots. Instead it backs right wing conservatism and attacks on low and middle income families. Shame.”
Speaking on rural Ireland Gerry Adams said:
“This event is an opportunity to discuss the crisis facing rural Ireland and rural communities. Many of these stem from the austerity policies of the Fine Gael/Labour government but they are also rooted in the bad policies of previous governments.
“Leitrim, like my own constituency of Louth, is a border county and that brings with it specific and additional difficulties of transport, investment, and the provision of public services, including health and education.
“There are also concerns about the government’s despicable attitude to turf cutting in Roscommon and major concerns on water quality.
“Let us be clear that Sinn Féin s opposed to fracking north and south and we will use our political strength to resist it.
“As a result of the short sighted policies of Fine Gael and Labour rural towns and villages are in crisis.
“Sinn Féin believes that sustainable rural economies, that can offer employment to young people, can be built.
“Sinn Féin believes that rural Ireland can best be protected and enhanced by implementing six simple principles.
- A fair deal for rural households.
- That there are Job opportunities in rural Ireland.
- Protect rural schools.
- Ensure equal access to health services
- Support Gaeltacht areas.
- Introduce proper management and exploitation of natural resources”