Sinn Féin Agenda for Government
For immediate release: 17th November 2003
Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness speaking at the launch of the party's Agenda for Government said:
Sinn Féin's Agenda for Government is the most comprehensive manifesto ever produced by our party. It sets out our policies for the incoming Assembly and Executive and our action plans in terms of the peace process and Irish Unity and Independence. It also reflects our record in Government, on the Executive, the all-Ireland bodies and the All-Ireland Ministerial Council and the lengthy negotiations, which have taken place with the Irish and British governments and other parties. Later this week we will be launching our Womens Manifesto - Clar na mBan and our Irish language manifesto.
There has been enormous progress across Irish society over the last ten years. There has been a political transformation. Sinn Féin has been at the heart of this process of change. Our peace strategy is delivering.
In this election we are asking people to endorse our work and to increase our mandate to enable us to achieve more -- to secure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The electorate has backed Sinn Féin in growing numbers making us the third largest party on the island. This allowed us to return to the negotiations stronger and enabled us to achieve more. This election is crucial.
The success of our party can be measured by the extent of the changes that we have delivered. For decades the Unionist parties and the SDLP did not deliver. Sinn Fein has been a catalyst for change. We have used our electoral support to make a difference.
It is critical that Sinn Féin returns to the negotiating table in December with a renewed and strengthened mandate. Sinn Féin is the engine for change. When others gave up, Sinn Féin did not. We demanded and then secured commitments from the British government on policing, demilitarisation, Irish language, equality and human rights.
Sinn Féin also initiated an unprecedented dialogue with Unionism. We want to build on that in the time ahead. It is the key to future progress.
A Vote for Sinn Féin in this election is a vote for the peace process. It is an endorsement of our role in that process It is a vote for a New Ireland, a free, united and independent Ireland It is a vote for change. It is a vote for a republican alternative that puts equality and change at the heart of government.
At the core of our Agenda for Government is equality. Equality in terms of the peace process, investment in public services, tackling the crisis in rural communities, ending child poverty and in bringing an end to years of structural inequality in many urban and rural communities and West of the Bann.
Sinn Féin is seeking support for:
- A Sinn Fein First or Deputy First Minister
- Irish Unity and Independence
- Full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement;
- A new beginning to policing, including the transfer of powers on policing and justice;
- The restructuring of the Human Rights Commission;
- Representation in the Dáil and Seanad and voting rights in Presidential elections for Irish citizens living in the North;
- A Green Paper on Irish Unity by the Irish government;
- The ending of the academic rejection of 11 year old children;
- Proper access to acute services for the people of County Tyrone and South Derry;
- Transfer of the 1.4 billion British Military budget to special job creation;
- Opposition to the introduction of water charges;
- Immediate negotiations to ensure that full decoupling of EU farm payments is implemented on an all-Ireland basis;
- Targets and timetables to achieve equality of representation for women in public life;
- Measurable targets for the eradication of child poverty;
- Implementation of a Charter for Senior Citizens
- Rights of the disabled to be given full priority;
- All Political Parties in Ireland to sign an anti-racist pledge.
This political manifesto is an agenda for fundamental social and political change.
I want to appeal to voters today to put Sinn Féin in the position to elect a first or deputy first minister post, and to allow us to continue the work that we started in Education and Health. Sinn Féin will be seeking these Departments once again in the new Assembly.
"Sinn Fein is standing 38 candidates across all 18 constituencies and on November 26th I am asking the electorate to endorse our efforts, to ratify and validate what we are trying to do."