The process of change will continue
SINN FÉIN President Gerry Adams has said, “that the recent attacks on the peace process have created an unprecedented degree of unity between political parties in the north. I am confident, that without minimizing the challenges, that the popular resolve will prevail and that the process of change will continue.
“A similar approach is needed to tackle the economic crisis. This means that those parties who have an alternative vision for the future should forge an alliance for political change based on values of fairness and decency.”
The Sinn Féin President was speaking this evening in County Westmeath where he has attended a number of engagements.
Gerry Adams said:
"Figures released last week show that the public finances are in freefall and unemployment soaring to levels not seen in decades. The government has still not delivered a real plan on how it intends to reverse this trend.
"We can get through the current crisis but only if the current government delivers a plan. But let's face facts.
"There is now a real sense that a fundamental realignment of Irish politics is possible. People are re-appraising the kind of Ireland they want. They are rejecting the greed, inefficiency, waste and corruption that has been witnessed in recent years. They want a society based on values of fairness and decency.
"It is up to those parties who believe in an alternative political future to improve their message, to provide credible leadership and to forge a new alliance for change.
"In one year alone unemployment in Westmeath has nearly doubled. Unemployment figures for the county in February 2008 were 4,574. In January of this year that figure had risen to 8,042. In February that figure was 8,620. That is nearly 600 jobs lost in just one month!
"We need to remember that these are not just mere statistics but real people who have families to care for and financial commitments to meet. Due to the policies purused by the present government these commitments often include exhorbitant mortgages and astronomical childcare costs.
"Many people in towns such as Mullingar are forced to commute to work in Dublin every day. Counties like Westmeath need a government-led strategy to provide employment here in the county itself.
"Sinn Féin has called for business starter centres should to be established in towns such as Athlone and Moate to help restore employment in Westmeath. But this has to be part of a much wider drive to create and retain jobs. Action by the government is key to this.
"The Government's budget last October did nothing to stimulate the economy nor protect and create jobs. As it now stands unemployment figures will far exceed the projected figure of 400,000 by the end of the year.
"The government's almost exclusive focus on cuts is fundamentally undermining Ireland's economy. The number one priority should be retaining and creating jobs. We need a plan to hold on to or create the 1,000 jobs a day that are being lost. We need to fast track business start-ups. We need to develop our indigenous export market.
"It is time to provide hope and opportunity at this time of economic uncertainty. The government needs to act but it is failing to do so. If it cannot do the job it should step aside." ENDS