Sinn Féin - On Your Side

A change of direction is needed - Adams

17 December, 2013 - by Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Fein has promoted a fairer way to close the deficit, retain and create jobs and regenerate the economy. A republican way.  We need fair taxes, real and meaningful investment in jobs, and a proper deal on bank debt.

The below is the full text of the address delivered by the President of Sinn Féin, Deputy Gerry Adams, live on RTÉ One this evening (17 December)

A chairde, this state was bankrupted through the recklessness, greed and incompetence of a golden circle of bankers, speculators and corrupt politicians.

Is cuma le fear na mbróg cá leagann sé a chos.

On Sunday the Taoiseach heralded the Troika's departure. But under Fine Gael and Labour, the Troika policy of Austerity continues.

Irish citizens will continue to pay back a debt that is not ours.  The old, the young, the sick, citizens with disabilities, carers and mortgage holders will still carry this unjust and unfair burden.

Public services, including health, will be cut. Wages will be lowered. Medical cards will be cut.  The Tax on family homes will increase. Water charges will be introduced.  Food and fuel poverty will continue.

Meanwhile those at the top, including the Government, pay themselves and their cronies obscene salaries and huge bonuses, in breach of their own guidelines.  This is wrong.

Tá an Rialtas ag dul an bealach mícheart.  Tá bealach níos fearr ann.

A change of direction is needed.   The cycle of austerity and inequality must be broken.  The Irish people deserve better.

Sinn Fein has promoted a fairer way to close the deficit, retain and create jobs and regenerate the economy. A republican way.

We need fair taxes, real and meaningful investment in jobs, and a proper deal on bank debt.

Our people have rights.  The right to public services.  The right to a home. The right to a job – in Ireland.  Not Australia, Canada or Britain.

This Christmas will be a hard one for many families.  Skype is no substitute for spending the festive season together.

Our history is replete with great injustice.  But Irish are no mean people.
We have come through it all.  We will come through this crisis despite this Government.  But we have to break the cycle of boom and bust, where only the elites prosper.

We need to stand united against Austerity.  Parents, carers, teachers, health workers are showing the way.

Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail must be challenged.

The Irish people deserve better.  Sinn Féin believes in the Irish people.
We want this to be the best small country for people to live in - a united, peaceful and prosperous Ireland.

B’shin an fís atá ag Sinn Féin.  An economy that serves you – not the elites.  A real republic of equals.

That requires a new Government and a realignment of Irish politics.

Join us in bringing this about.  Bígi le Sinn Féin.

Let’s have the best Christmas possible and let’s make 2014 the Year of Change.

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.