Election outcome highlights demand for far reaching political change
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in advance of the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration, which will take place in Bodenstown this weekend said: "When the people went to the polls last weekend they were demanding far reaching political change. That is why more than 342,000 people across Ireland voted for Sinn Féin, making us the third biggest party in the 26 Counties and on the island."
Mr. Adams said:
"When the people went to the polls last weekend they were demanding far reaching political change. That is why more than 342,000 people across Ireland voted for Sinn Féin, making us the third biggest party in the 26 Counties and on the island.
"For decades successive governments have pursued right wing policies with vigour -- they have failed to properly address the crisis in the health service or to tackle the vested interests that are forcing so many young people out of the housing market. Instead they rewarded big business and property developers. With the onset of the celtic tiger all of this came into sharp focus. At a time of great affluence, poverty and inequality increased and public services diminished. Instead of using the wealth to look after the disadvantaged, governments made up of all the main parties rewarded their cronies.
"The reality is, it wasn't that the establishment wasn't listening to the people, they were simply ignoring them.
"While Fine Gael had a good election, the fact is they were only stemming the tide. Their vote increase was only 1.6%. Labour is already signalling that it is once again looking to Fine Gael as partners in government -- a party whose policies are actually in line with the current government on social and economic issues.
"Labour should learn the lessons of the election. They should work with others to build a real left alternative, which would also have a progressive position on the national question. The history of Labour throughout its existence has been that it has taken the completely wrong position on this question. While undoubtedly there are sincere elements within the party who are committed to progressive policies there are also those who appear to be only interested in getting their bums on Ministerial seats.
"A radical agenda to end inequality and advance the peace process and Irish unity is urgently required. I believe that those who are committed to ending inequality need to come together in a broad alliance for change. This must include not merely political parties but community groups, voluntary organisations, trade unions, farmers' organisations, campaigning groups and human rights bodies.
"Sinn Féin's successes should not be judged merely by how many votes or seats we win. Our success has to be judged on the amount of change we bring about. Quite significantly we have the capacity to set the political agenda. So while other parties are bigger than us, already many Fianna Fáil representatives have realised that the Government's inability to tackle the issues of poverty, hospital waiting lists and the housing crisis needs to be rectified. If one of the outcomes of the election is that the government is forced to deal with these issues then that is a very positive development.
"Of course Sinn Féin doesn't have all the answers but we have a commitment to equality, to building the peace process and to pursuing the democratic objective of unity and independence. I would invite everyone whether they are in other political parties or not to join us in that endeavour. They can do so by joining Sinn Féin, and we will be launching a national recruitment drive in the near future, or they can do so by working with all of us fighting for equality through their own organizations or as individuals.
"Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Sinn Féin and we are going into that year determined to see our agenda for change implemented."ENDS