A new year message from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD
Bliain úr faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.
As we embark on a new year, the Irish people face major challenges. The policy of austerity being pursued by conservative governments in Dublin and London and by the European Union is strangling the Irish economy and causing severe hardship for Irish families.
Economic circumstances have meant that thousands of our young people left Ireland in 2011. Unfortunately many more are preparing to emigrate in 2012. A whole generation is leaving. Mass emigration wasn’t acceptable in the 1950s or 1980s and it is not acceptable today.
Despite promising change, the new Fine Gael/Labour Government has continued to implement the failed policies of the previous Fianna Fáil-led administration, which seek to make ordinary citizens bear the burden of the economic and fiscal crisis while protecting the interests of those who caused it.
Money needed to run vital public services such as health and education is being paid to unsecured bondholders. Sinn Féin will continue to lead the campaign against this obscene policy including the handover of €1.2billion in January and the payment of €3.1 billion on the promissory note on 31st March next. We will also continue to oppose the unfair Household Charge.
Seasann Sinn Féin leis na gnáth theaghlaigh ar fud na hÉireann atá faoi ualach throm mar gheall ar an ghéarchéim eacnamaíoch. Leanfaidh Sinn Féin ar aghaidh ag tabhairt ceannasaíocht pholaitiúil agus ag cur ar fáil roghanna malartacha ar chuid polasaithe déine Bhaile Átha Cliath, Londain agus an AE.
The new government has failed to stand up for Ireland in Europe. We face the prospect of more powers over decisions affecting all our lives being handed to an increasingly centralized and undemocratic EU working to the direction of France and Germany. Sinn Fein will resist this.
The recent deal struck by 26 EU leaders in Brussels will not solve the Eurozone crisis. It will make matters worse. It will mean more austerity budgets, will block economic growth, lead to greater poverty and unemployment and continue to destabilise the single currency. Irish citizens must have their say on any Agreement with such far-reaching consequences. The Government must commit clearly to a referendum on this issue.
The decision by the Tory led Government in London to slash £4bn from the block grant to the North underlines the need for fiscal powers to be transferred to the northern Executive. Sinn Féin in the Executive will continue to promote growth and jobs and to protect frontline public services.
Big challenges remain. Tackling sectarianism and building a shared future are priorities for Sinn Féin. Outstanding aspects of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements must be implemented including a Bill of Rights. Much progress has been made on the important issue of policing in recent years. This needs to be consolidated and built upon.
An as an Irish republican party whose primary political objective is a united Ireland, Sinn Féin will ensure that the issue of Irish unity is on the political agenda in the year ahead. Sinn Féin is also committed to delivering for citizens in the here and now, North and South. In 2012 we will continue to provide a coherent opposition in the Dáil and to deliver on an agenda of equality, progress and change in government in the North.
Despite all the difficulties we face as a people, 2012 does offer hope and opportunity. The Irish people have faced severe difficulties in the past and we have come through them. We can build a better Ireland. Working together we can bring about the change that is needed for economic recovery and a united Ireland built on the foundations of equality and social justice. That will be the focus of Sinn Féin in the year ahead.
For now I want to wish everyone a happy and peaceful New Year
Ádh mór agus dea-ghuí do chách.