Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has launched a scathing attack on the record of the Labour Party and of its leader Joan Burton on the weekend of the Labour conference in Killarney.
Mr Adams is today addressing a large Sinn Féin gathering including TDs, Seanadoir, Councillors and party members from across the Ireland South region, in Cahir, County Tipperary.
The Sinn Féin leader has warned against the “next election campaign descending into auction politics with establishment parties seeking to outbid each other in terms of unsustainable and irresponsible tax cuts and election promises they will not keep”.
Gerry Adams said:
"We have come to expect conservative, right-wing policies from the Fine Gael party. That is their raison d'etre.
"But what of the Labour Party? The failure of Labour in Government has been stark.
"Labour continually tell us they are there to put the brakes on Fine Gael; that things would be far worse without them. But the evidence points to the opposite.
"Let’s not forget that Labour Party leader Joan Burton helped negotiate the Programme for Government.
"That programme saw Labour buy into the austerity policies of Fine Gael and deliberately break its election promises.
"Those policies have forced almost half a million of our people to flee abroad in search of work.
"As a senior Cabinet member, Joan Burton has overseen the implementation of Water Charges, the Property Tax, cuts to Child Benefit, removal of medical cards, cuts to health and welfare, and a succession of stealth taxes.
"In fact, Joan Burton is one of the chief architects of the Government’s austerity agenda.
"There is now a deep sense of betrayal among former Labour voters at the actions of that party in Government.
"If noises emanating from Fine Gael are anything to go by, there is a real danger of the next General election campaign descending into auction politics with various parties seeking to outbid each other in terms of tax cuts.
"This will do nothing to address the serious needs of our society.
"It will not do anything to re-build our battered public services, tackle the scandal of hospital overcrowding, or build affordable childcare provision.
"There is now a need for communities, social movements, trade unions and progressive political parties to begin a real debate about the direction our country should take and the type of society we want to build.
"Such an inclusive discussion could usefully shape, in a constructive way, the nature and tenor of the next election campaign.
"I have suggested a new Citizens’ Charter, encapsulating the fundamental principles that could take us towards a citizen-centred, rights-based society.
"I believe that a Citizens’ Charter could form the basis for a new departure in Irish politics."