The Sinn Féin leader was in Leitrim and Roscommon on Thursday for a series of meetings with community and voluntary groups. The focus of the visit is the impact of the government’s austerity policies and the likely effect of the Austerity Treaty on rural Ireland.
Teachta Adams meetings over the two days are part of a consultation process which Sinn Féin has begun with rural Ireland with the aim of producing a plan for the regeneration and growth of rural communities.
Last night several hundred citizens packed into the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon to discuss these matters and the referendum on the Austerity Treaty.
The Sinn Féin leader accused Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil of “running a negative referendum campaign which is about confusing and scaring citizens. At the same time the Yes camp is planning to hand Irish fiscal sovereignty over to European bureaucrats while imposing a further €6 billion in austerity cuts and taxes beyond the current Troika bailout cuts of €8.6 billion.”
Teachta Adams said: “Travelling through Leitrim and Roscommon today I met embattled community activists struggling to maintain local services for our elderly, young and disabled whose budgets have been repeatedly cut.
“The policies of austerity are stripping local communities of essential services – of schools, of guidance counsellors, hospitals, post-offices and garda stations. Small villages and towns see businesses closing and their young people emigrating.
“As one community leader told me in Mohill austerity is ‘cutting the heart out of our community’.
“And all of this will worsen if the Austerity treaty is ratified on May 31st.
“I also found a great resilience and a spirit of hope in Leitrim and Roscommon. That spirit is alive across rural Ireland. I met many optimistic citizens who have faith in our communities and our future. They know austerity is not working.
“Irish citizens have the chance to make a stand also against austerity on May 31st.
“The referendum provides us with an opportunity to join the growing European wide movement that is demanding an end to austerity, as well investment in jobs and growth.
“A No vote is also a clear rejection of a Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil agreement to hand over fiscal sovereignty to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in the EU.
“If these parties have their way, key fiscal decisions on taxes – including corporation tax - and welfare payments affecting Irish citizens will be made in future in Brussels and Strasbourg – not the Oireachtas.
“The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said last week that within ten years of the Austerity Treaty there will be fiscal union which will require national governments delegating fiscal sovereignty to.
“The government claims that the Treaty is about balancing the state’s books but its endorsement of the Fiscal Compact means that in ten years the books will be in the hands of an EU central authority not an Irish government!!
“Enda Kenny cannot claim to want to be the Taoiseach who restores Irish economic sovereignty while at the same time pursuing a course that gives it away.”
Note to editors: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is in Cavan this morning.