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"Make 2011 a year of real change" - Ó Caoláin

31 December, 2010

In a New Year message Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that 2011 should be a year of real change that must go beyond removing the Fianna Fail/Green Government and electing a new administration. He also called for voting rights for Irish emigrants across the globe. He said:

"On behalf of Sinn Féin I extend New Year greetings to all, especially to those who are experiencing hardship in the current economic recession and in the follow-on to the recent harsh spell of weather.

"We think especially of older people living alone and their continuing need for support after the festive season. A new factor this year is the increased number of young people who have had to emigrate, including those who were lucky enough to visit home for Christmas and who are now returning abroad. This is a terrible indictment of the failure of the political and economic system here.

"We need the talent and enthusiasm of these young people to contribute to economic recovery. The least that can be done for them is that they be given the right to vote in this jurisdiction. Provision should be made for Irish citizens living outside the 26 Counties to vote in elections in this State, a right that is commonly exercised in states throughout the world.

"If we are to have hope of social and economic recovery then we must make 2011 a year of real change. The first requirement of course is an early General Election and the removal of the Fianna Fail/Green Government. The election should take place in January.

"Whenever the General Election takes place we in Sinn Féin are confident that we will return with a greater mandate, based on the strategy for recovery which we have put forward and which has won significant and increasing support.

"Real change must go beyond removing the current Government and electing a new administration. We need fundamental policy change, something which a Fine Gael/Labour Government has no prospect of delivering. They are still part of the Consensus for Cuts.

"Real change can only come about through people power with individual citizens, the community and voluntary sector, the trade unions, campaigning groups and parties of the left combining to push for progressive demands. These include the total rejection of the IMF/EU deal, an end to the current deranged banking policy and the establishment of a viable State bank, a coherent job creation strategy, taxation justice and the protection of vital public services and of the pay and working conditions of workers in both the private and public sectors.

"Sinn Féin will campaign ever more vigorously in support of these demands and we look forward with confidence to 2011 as a year when progress can and will be made.

"Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh go leir." ENDS

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