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Adams - Irish Government has no appetite to take on challenges facing the country

19 October, 2007


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is in Kerry for a series of events and will tonight address an event to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Thomas Ashe. Speaking at the event Mr. Adams said "This government has come back into office complacent and arrogant. They have shown no appetite for taking on the challenges facing ordinary people across the country. And it is these people who are now bearing the brunt of government incompetence. This government needs to be challenged and held to account." Mr. Adams also called on people across Munster to attend tomorrow's rally in Limerick City in support of Shannon Airport and wider regional development. Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 20th) Mr. Adams will attend Slógadh Shinn Féin which is taking place in Howth, County Dublin.

Mr. Adams said: "Thomas Ashe was an Irish language activist, a teacher, a trade unionist and a fenian. The great deprivations and injustices he saw in rural Ireland and the abject poverty that he witnessed in Dublin exerted a huge influence on him. In 1913 he supported the Dublin workers during the lockout and was present at the founding of the Irish Volunteers. He was one of a small number of leaders to survive the Rising. Following his death on hunger strike, his funeral became a mass demonstration of opposition to British rule. Thousands of trade unionists, representing every craft in Ireland, participated led by the Citizen Army. A year later Sinn Féin won the 1918 general election and the ground was laid for the events of the following years.

"Today Ireland is a different place from when Thomas Ashe and the other leaders of the Rising assembled on that Easter Monday. It is a different place also from when Bobby Sands and his comrades died on hunger strike 26 years ago. But our core values and objectives remain -- a genuine all-Ireland republic. "The peace process has shown that a better republic, more equal and fair, is possible; that we can roll back decades of political failure and build a new Ireland. The resources exist to build this republic. It is not a pipe dream. The template is there in the Proclamation and in the thoughts and words and ideals of people like Thomas Ashe.

"What is needed is political will and vision. And it that which is missing.

"This government has come back into office complacent and arrogant. They have shown no appetite for taking on the challenges facing ordinary people across the country. And it is these people who are now bearing the brunt of government incompetence.

"You only have to look at what is going on right across Munster. There have been serious job losses in many communities from Youghal to Tralee, which now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at almost 15%. The rate across the state is 4.5%. "There has been no proper response from the government -- no new strategy to attract investment, no meaningful regional development strategy. This government has no coherent strategy for rural regeneration. And in a reckless move this week the government took €10 million from the budget for information and communications technology which will impact directly on broadband roll-out and further hinder job creation. Their handling of the Shannon-Heathrow link has also been disastrous. They have overseen the privatisation of Aer Lingus and handed over the regions strategic air links to private interests. And this week Noel Dempsey, the Minister who is supposed to be in charge, tells us that he didn't even know what the board of Aer Lingus was up to in relation to Shannon. Nobody in government knew what was going on.

"This government needs to be challenged and held to account. There are people the length and breadth of the country campaigning every day of the week for the maintenance of essential hospital services, for decent roads and public transport, for a school place for their children, for a job with a proper wage.

"One thing is certain. The time has come for an alliance for change. If campaign groups began working together and collectively use their power -- they can make the government listen, they can bring about change." ENDS

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