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Political system has failed Ireland, time to build a new Republic – McDonald

10 February, 2011

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s election manifesto in Dublin this morning party Vice President Mary Lou McDonald outlined a number of measures for reform of the political system in Ireland and said building a better Ireland must include the reunification of the island.

Ms McDonald said:

“Sinn Féin wants to build a new republic

“There is a real appetite amongst the public to change Ireland - to build a better and fairer Ireland.
It is time to look at the kind of Ireland that we want and how we get there. For Sinn Féin that is an Ireland that is united and has fairness at its core; that has a political system that serves the people and ensures that democracy is representative and where the Irish language is restored as the spoken language among the majority of people of Ireland. Rights, particularly of minorities, need to be recognised and upheld.

“The political system has failed the people of Ireland. A large proportion of those eligible to vote don’t vote. This will be a real problem election where the level of public cynicism with politicians and the political system is at an all time high. This must be addressed.

“Political reform for Sinn Féin has to mean increasing voter participation. Sinn Féin wants to see electoral reform including putting the progressivity back into our system of PRSTV by increasing the number of seats per constituency and electing one third of the Dáil through a list system. These changes must also involve giving consideration to reducing the number of TDs in the Dáil.

“We believe that the voting age should be reduced to 16. We set out our commitment to cut the salaries of TDs and Ministers and to increase the powers of TDs and opposition parties to hold the government to account.

“Building a better Ireland must include unification of the island. Sinn Féin is the only party with a strategy to deliver a United Ireland. This is now within reach. As we say in the manifesto it is going to happen and we should plan for it.

“Key steps that need to be taken now include the integration of public services and infrastructure on an all-Ireland basis; co-ordinating economic planning on an all- Ireland basis and appointing a Government minister with specific responsibility for driving forward the measures required to ensure a successful transition towards a united Ireland, the referendum on Irish unity and negotiations with the British Government and elected representatives from the North.

“Northern representing in the Oireachtas is something that must be delivered in the new Dáil. Other parties, including Fine Gael and Labour, who have played a role in blocking northern representation in the past, must state clearly if they will deliver on northern representation in the new Dáil.” ENDS

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