Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Fein 'Agenda for Change' hitting home

7 June, 2004


Sinn Fein North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty, addressing public meetings in Galway today, has said that the 'Sinn Fein Agenda for Change is hitting home with people throughout the North West of Ireland'. Mr Doherty said:

"Throughout Ireland people are rejecting the failed politics of the establishment. They are rejecting the cronyism and the right-wing agenda of the government that has failed to share the wealth generated in the last decade.

"Everywhere people are saying it is time for change. It is time that we had politicians who listened to people and took their views seriously. People want to see an end to the corruption and sleaze that has become the trademark of the establishment politicians and their friends.

"People are telling me that Sinn Fein's 'Agenda for Change' is something that they believe in and that they believe that Sinn Fein will stand up to the vested interests in the war on inequality.

"When people like the PDs say they want inequality. Sinn Féin reject that type of politics. That is why they are worried.

"At the heart of Sinn Fein's election campaign has been our commitment to the agenda for change; our determination to challenge the status quo and our promise that we will not take people for granted.

"Sinn Fein is determined to see official status for the Irish language. This alone can only be a first step - much greater commitments are required to see our native language further develop. Sinn Fein wants to see real investment to meet the needs of the North West now. Not more empty promises about investment in some far off distant future.

"There are also huge changes in terms of agriculture and fishing that will have an enormous impact on rural Ireland. These communities must be an equal partner in developing the new common agricultural and fishing policies.

"We will only deliver that future for the North West if we have an agenda for change that challenges the way things have been done in the past. The Sinn Fein 'Agenda for Change' is hitting home. It has our political opponents worried. They are right to be worried because the stronger the mandate for Sinn Féin the greater our ability to bring about change." ENDS

Full text of Speech

Throughout the island of Ireland people are rejecting the failed politics of the establishment. They are rejecting the cronyism. They are rejecting the

right-wing agenda of the government that has failed to share the wealth generated in the last decade.

Everywhere I have been - and I have crisscrossed these nine North West counties many times over - people are saying the same thing to me. It is time for

change. It is time that the North West received its fair share of investment. It is time that we had politicians who listened to people and took their views seriously.

People want to see an end to the corruption and sleaze that has become the trademark of the establishment politicians and their friends. People are telling me that Sinn Fein's 'Agenda for Change' is something that they believe in and that they believe that Sinn Fein will stand up to the vested interests in the war on inequality. When people like the PDs and their friends say they want inequality. Sinn Féin reject that politics. That is why they are afraid.

At the heart of Sinn Fein's election campaign - at EU and at local government level has been our commitment to the agenda for change; our determination to challenge the status quo and our promise that we will not take people for granted; that we will deliver for marginalised communities.

The EU election comes at a crucial time in the development of Europe. I know that many people do not share Sinn Fein's sense of urgency when we say that it is vital that the current direction of Europe is questioned.

Yes Europe has brought many important advances that have benefited people in Ireland, particularly in terms of EU funding and important steps forward in

the protection of workers rights, for women, disabled people and the elderly and also in terms of the environment and the benefits of Objective One status.

There are also many serious questions about how the EU wants to develop. And there are many powerful vested interests that will not specifically work in

favour of the sovereign rights of smaller nations. There are those who want to dilute the protections of rights for ordinary people in favour of big business and the interests of some of the larger economic powers.

This election is about the choice of electing someone the EU that will not disappear off into the Euroland - the chance to elect someone who will make

the EU and the important decisions that are taken there real and relevant to people here in the North West of Ireland where they will have a huge impact.

As I have said the EU has delivered benefits and there are great opportunities to bring further benefits to the North West. But the full potential of these benefits has not been realised.

The North West has not had the investment in infrastructure that was promised and is required to sustain and bring in new jobs. In my on townland

in Donegal unemployment is four times the national average. We have had the empty promises and they have been nothing more than that. This government

has delivered nothing except empty promises that mean nothing the day after the election.

The Hanly report threatens regional hospital services across Ireland. Housing stands as a national disgrace. Communities have not seen the commitment to education, to jobs, to the social infrastructure that they need to allow them to get up off their knees. Yes the rich have got richer. But that is not sustainable.

Getting it right locally, nationally and in Europe will all create the opportunity to bring about real change right here for communities in Galway; or in Donegal, Mayo, Clare or Belfast, Dublin or Derry.

Sinn Fein is determined to see official status for the Irish language. This alone can only be a first step - much greater commitments are required to see our native language further develop.

Sinn Fein want to see real investment to meet the needs of the North West now. Not more empty promises about investment in some far off distant

future.

There are huge changes in terms of agriculture and fishing that will have an enormous impact on rural Ireland. The experience and expertise - the voice

of these communities must be taken as an equal partner in developing the new common agricultural and fishing policies.

I want a future for myself and the community I live in. That means that people need to use the power they have. In this election there is

the democratic opportunity to make a real difference. Not just be giving Sinn Fein your first preference in the EU and local government election but

maximising your vote and backing every candidate that will delivery for the communities and parts of this island that have been marginalised and ignored.

We will only deliver that future for the North West if we have an agenda for change. An agenda that challenges the way things have been done in the past.

Everywhere I have been these last couple of months I can see that people want change. That the Sinn Fein 'Agenda for Change' is hitting home. It has

our political opponents worried. And they are right to be worried because the stronger the mandate for Sinn Féin and others who oppose the establishment the greater our ability to bring about change. ENDS

Note to Editors

North West EU election candidate Pearse Doherty was joined on the campaign trail by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP and local government candidates (Sinn Fein are standing in 10 out of 11 local government electoral contests in County Galway) in Galway City on Monday 7th June. Campaign trail

itinerary: Arrival Galway Airport; Public meeting, Ballybane Community Resource Centre; City Centre Canvas; Public meeting, St Josephs Community Centre.

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