Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Current Impasse in the peace process not sustainable - Adams

7 November, 2013 - by Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in New York this evening at the annual Friends of Sinn Féin dinner, warned of “continuing difficulties in the political process”.

Mr. Adams said;

“The Irish and British Governments are failing the peace process. They have failed to stand up to the orchestrated violence of loyalism. They have failed to demand that the DUP honour its commitments in government.

“And they themselves have failed to implement key elements of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements. There is no Bill of Rights for the north to protect citizens; there is no Acht na Gaeilge; there is no north-south consultative forum, and the British Government has reneged on the commitment to hold an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

“The Irish government is failing to effectively challenge the British Government on any of this. Instead of acting as a co-equal guarantor with the British Government the Irish Government is acquiescing to British policy.

“This is unacceptable. It is also dangerous. While I don’t believe that there will be a return to conflict nonetheless the current political impasse in the north is not sustainable.”

The Sinn Féin leader also spoke of the need to deal comprehensively with the issue of the past.

He said:

“One week there is controversy over events during the conflict which involved the IRA, the next week it is events which involved British forces or their lethal allies within unionism and loyalism. This bound to be traumatic for victims.

“All of these events need to be dealt with and Sinn Féin has proposed an independent process to do this.  

“But the British Government has refused to sign up for this and the Irish Government and other parities in Dublin have limited themselves to political point scoring instead of serious engagement. 

“Sinn Féin wants all these legacy issues dealt with and we are also determined that the past cannot be a pretext for not dealing with the present and the future.

“This requires the two governments delivering the outstanding elements of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements and insisting that all agreements, including those signed up to by the DUP are implemented.”


Change Cannot Be Stopped

The story of change is only beginning.

Sinn Féin will not allow Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to waste the potential, the possibilities and the aspirations of our people.

A government led by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil together does not represent the change that people voted for in February. In fact, it is an attempt to deny change, to protect the status quo and to continue with the same broken politics that has so badly failed workers and families

Sinn Féin will defend the change that the people voted for. We will continue to stand up for workers and families.

North and south, Sinn Féin is that change for a fairer, stronger and united Ireland.

Fully Supporting our Health Service and Frontline Workers

We need to ensure that we have all available capacity within our health systems, that we have sufficient ventilators and respiratory equipment, sufficient beds including ICU beds, and that our frontline workers are protected.  We need more testing and tracing and we need to ensure that we have all available capacity within our health systems, that we have sufficient ventilators and respiratory equipment, sufficient beds including ICU beds. 

The lack of protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, carers and others is causing a lot of concern – with frontline workers taking to the internet looking for resources and the government have stated that homehelp workers don’t need PPE. 

We need to see delivery of more testing across the island to tackle COVID-19 in line with the advice of WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Income Support - Protecting Workers & Families

Sinn Féin’s proposals in the south would have guaranteed 100% of income up to €525 a week for workers and the self-employed who are laid off due to this crisis.  The Irish government’s proposal comes nowhere close to that and does not go far enough. €350 is not enough for people who have lost their jobs. 

While we are supportive of the wage subsidy scheme we believe that it must be targeted and not open to abuse - employers should have to make up the rest of the 30% of the salary – under the Irish government proposal employers could put in just one cent towards their employees pay.

There are also outstanding issues including: will workers have to pay tax on this income, now or at the end of the tax year; can workers who reside in the north but pay tax in the south be able to access the PUP payment?

Protecting Workers, Families and Businesses in the North

Finance Minister Conor Murphy has introduced protections for workers, small businesses and is lobbying the British Treasury to support the self-employed. He has brought in rate relief, including a three month rate holiday for all businesses and grants to support SMEs.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has streamlined the benefit system to make it easy for those affected by COVID-19 to access benefits, including sick pay for workers.  She has also introduced support measures for the community and voluntary sector.

Affordable Housing

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot be trusted to deliver on housing. Their records speak for themselves.

Sinn Féin is committed to delivering the largest housing build in the history of the State.

Sinn Féin's "Fair Rent and Protection of Renters Bill" would prohibit rent increases on existing and new tenancies for three years and end the practice of tenants being evicted from buy-to-let properties on the grounds that a property is to be sold. These are vital protections that people need now more than ever.

In the north, Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has introduced measures to support those in the public housing sector and we have called for mortgage relief for homeowners and businesses.

Banks and the Insurance industry

It is outrageous that many people with a €200,000 mortgage will pay close to €2,000 more over the lifetime of their mortgage because the banks are not only charging interest but interest on the interest.  This is how the banks are intending to profit out of this crisis and it is outrageous. We want the Central Bank and the banks called in by the government and this to be stopped. We have been in touch with the Minister, the Central Bank and the banks on this. The fact is that they already charge twice the average EU interest rates for mortgage  - they need to waive all interest during the period of the emergency and not profit on it.

The behaviour of the insurance industry also needs to be tackled – they are failing to respond properly to this crisis.

The insurance industry is trying to find ways of avoiding providing coverage to businesses who pay very high insurance premiums and have been forced to close as a result of the crisis.  They need to be reined in by the Central Bank and taken to task over this behaviour. Nothing less than this is approach is required.