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Labour and Fine Gael in cosy consensus with Government — Adams

10 October, 2010


Speaking this evening at a Sinn Féin selection convention that nominated Senator Pearse Doherty to contest the Donegal South West by-election, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said Fine Gael and the Labour Party were now involved in a cosy political consensus with what was probably the most unpopular Government in the history of the state.

He said only Sinn Féin offered an alternative way forward.

Congratulating Pearse Doherty on his selection, Adams told several hundred delegates gathered in Gortahork that the Sinn Féin Senator was “part of an emerging, young and dynamic leadership of Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties constructing a radical republican alternative to the failed politics of the establishment”.

“Probably the most unpopular government in the history of this state is now implementing policies for which it has no mandate”, Gerry Adams said.

“This Government is now putting the final touches to a budget focused primarily on making up the exchequer deficit by cutting public services. This will only make the country’s current difficulties worse.

The Sinn Féin leader said that those who led Ireland into the current economic crisis are not the ones to lead people out of it.

“This tired Government has no vision for Ireland’s future. It is a discredited administration, no longer fit for purpose”, he said, adding:

“Fine Gael and Labour will make the exact same cuts to public services and infrastructure spending that the current government is planning. Someone needs to shout stop.”

Adams said Sinn Féin offered a political alternative to the cosy consensus that now exists between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour, all of whom think it is a good idea to cut €3billion from public expenditure in December’s budget which he said would merely deepen the recession and lead to further job losses.

He said Sinn Féin would launch budget proposals next month as an alternative to the Government’s policy of “slash and burn”.

“We are arguing for a stimulus package to create jobs and help ordinary people.

“Sinn Féin is also calling on people across Ireland to take to the streets of Dublin on 4th December to pressurise the government in advance of the budget.

“It is time to make a stand”

ENDS 

See full text of speech below:

This country needs a change. We are in the midst of a deep economic and social crisis. Ireland is at a crossroads.

Probably the most unpopular government in the history of this state is now implementing policies for which it has no mandate.

Half a million people are unemployed. Health services are being shut down across the state. The Government has now planned drastic cutbacks to social services and supports.

Meanwhile, billions of euros of public money — your money — is being pumped into the banks that brought about the current economic disaster. The estimated cost of the bank bailout is now a staggering €50 billion.

This Government has no plan to get Ireland back to work or to begin an economic recovery.

Meanwhile the crisis deepens, the dole queues lengthen and the numbers of people emigrating grows by the day.

County Donegal knows all of this only too well. This is a county that has been abandoned by government.

For decades the policy in Dublin has left the entire western region under-developed and under-resourced

Donegal felt the recession long before it hit anywhere else. Even during the ‘Celtic tiger’ era, Donegal continued to experience unemployment levels far higher than the rest of the state.

Successive governments have failed to deliver for Donegal. Their legacy includes:

·      Over 20,000 people unemployed

·      Destruction of the textile and manufacturing industries

·      An exodus from farming and fishing

·      Local schools badly in need of extensions and refurbishments

·      The vast majority of graduates unable to find employment in their home county

·      A 30% decline in overseas visitors since 1999

·      The closure of local post offices

·      Uncertainty over the future of the rural transport scheme

·      A decline in island populations

·      Closure of regional hospitals and reduction in services

·      No rail services whatever in the county

Donegal has never been properly serviced by infrastructure or public services.

The Government is now putting the final touches to a budget focused primarily on making up the exchequer deficit by cutting public services.  Things here can only get worse.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs have never stood up for or delivered for the people of Donegal.

The Labour Party has no record of standing up for rural Ireland.

 Fine Gael and Labour will make the exact same cuts to public services and infrastructure spending that the current government is planning.

Donegal cannot afford this. Someone needs to stand up and shout stop.

If the people of this constituency elect Pearse Doherty to the Dáil he will be that person.

Pearse Doherty has an exemplary record of standing up for Donegal. 

As a Sinn Féin Senator, Pearse has used the Seanad to raise various issues of concern to the people of this county.

Pearse is one of the few people in the Oireachtas to bring forward a vision for the west in the report he produced entitled ‘Awakening the West’.

He is currently battling to force the Government to hold the Donegal South West by election and has brought them before the High Court on this issue.

That by-election is hugely important.  Along with voters in Waterford and Dublin South, the people of Donegal South West will be given a unique opportunity to give their verdict on this government, on their mismanagement of the economy and on their response to the unemployment crisis.

The same people who led us into the current economic and fiscal crisis are clearly not the ones to lead us out of it. The reality is that this tired Government has no vision for Ireland’s future. It is a discredited administration, no longer fit for purpose.

Sinn Féin’s record, during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era of highlighting the mistakes that were being made and the wrongs that were being done to our economic base and our social infrastructure is there for all to see.

Over those years our Dáil team has been to the fore in challenging the Government about the effects of their policies in fuelling the property bubble and the dangers of the overdependence on revenue related to construction and consumption.

But Sinn Féin is not interested in merely saying ‘we told you so’. What we are interested in is getting this country back on it’s feet. And let there be no mistake — there is a better way. Together we can change Ireland. Now, in this time of crisis, we can start building support for a better, fairer Ireland.

Sinn Féin offers a political alternative to the cosy consensus that exists between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. These other parties all think it is a good idea to cut €3billion from public expenditure in December’s budget. But this will merely deepen the recession and lead to further job losses.

What we need is a stimulus package to create jobs and help ordinary people.

Jobs can be created. The solutions do exist. 

Sinn Féin believes that the creation of jobs must be at the core of any economic recovery plan.

We have outlined proposals for the creation of jobs across the agri-food, tourism and IT sectors.

We want to ensure that would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses are facilitated in accessing credit.

The major costs facing households must be tackled.

This includes the amount which those on low and average incomes pay on mortgage repayments.

Sinn Féin’s alternative involves reducing the social welfare bill by creating jobs rather than by cutting welfare payments. Pushing people into poverty will not lift us out of recession.

The rural economy including the agri-food sector must be at heart of Ireland’s economic recovery. Sinn Féin’s alternative involves protecting rural life including vital rural services such as bus services, post offices, Garda stations and primary schools. 

Cronyism and the existence of a ‘golden circle’ was a key factor in the failure to regulate the banks and the development of a property bubble.

Government policy was designed to help developers and speculators to make huge profits for which the ordinary people are now expected to pay.

Sinn Féin is determined to end corruption and get rid of the golden circle.

Ninety years of partition has been detrimental to our country in a myriad of ways. The negative consequences of partition have been felt acutely here in Donegal.

Uniting Ireland is at the heart of everything that Sinn Féin does.

Donegal needs an all Ireland economy – it needs Irish unity. We need Sinn Féin Ministers in the North’s Executive working with Sinn Féin TDs for the betterment of Donegal and its people.

Donegal South West needs a strong, principled voice in Leinster House.

It needs a TD who will argue for a United Ireland, for increased and accelerated all-Ireland integration, the creation of employment opportunities and infrastructural development in Donegal; who will defend local health services and who will put forward imaginative, realistic and constructive solutions that will enhance the tourism and agriculture potential of this beautiful part of the world.

Pearse Doherty can be that voice.

Pearse Doherty is part of the emerging, young and dynamic leadership of Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties who are constructing a radical republican alternative to the failed politics of the establishment.

He is an important member of our Oireachtas team who will maintain the pressure on this terrible government in the days and weeks ahead.

Sinn Féin’s priority is to get rid of this government as soon as possible.

The Government is running scared of the electorate. and have denied democracy by refusing to hold the three outsanding by-elections.

Pearse Doherty is keeping the Government under pressue by taking it to court again on October 18th to demand that the Donegal South West by-election goes ahead.

In November Sinn Féin will launch a budget alternative to the Government’s policy of slash and burn. We are arguing for a stimulus package to create jobs and help ordinary people.

Sinn Féin is calling also on people across Ireland to take to the streets of Dublin on 4th December to pressurise the government in advance of the budget. 

It is time to make a stand.

We can best do that by getting Pearse elected. 

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