There is fairer way of doing things - Adams
Addressing a Sinn Féin Think-In in County Louth today in advance of the resumption of the new Dáil term, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:
“Today and tomorrow for the first time, Sinn Féin elected representatives from the Dáil, Seanad, Northern Assembly, Executive, Westminster, our local Councillors groups north and south, and the European Parliament – along with the teams of activists who support them, will meet to discuss and plan our work for the year ahead.
“Over the next two days our goal is to develop solution-focused, constructive proposals aimed at improving the position of citizens throughout this island and furthering the goal of a united Ireland and a new republic with equality and social justice at its core.
“We will discuss how best we can hold the Government to account.
“In nominating of Minister Hogan to the EU Commission, the Taoiseach is repeating the mistake he made in blindly defending Alan Shatter.
“Fine Gael and Labour are impervious to the obvious crippling effect on citizens and families of the property tax, water tax and a range of other stealth charges.
“Struggling families will not accept talk of a recovery unless they see evidence of it in their daily lives.
“The Government’s grand plan for reforming our crumbling health service, previously pursued with great arrogance by James Reilly, lies in tatters since his successor Leo Varadakar, in his first act as Minsiter, was to shelve the coalition’s so-called ‘big idea’ of universal private health insurance. Yesterday Minister Varadkar was publicly chastised by the Taoiseach.
“The forthcoming Budget is now the subject of sustained spin by the government parties. More specifically it is an acute test for Labour’s new leader, Joan Burton and will underline the truth that changing faces without changing direction is pointless.
“Let’s not forget that Joan Burton helped negotiate the Programme for Government which saw Labour buy into the austerity policies of Fine Gael an deliberately break its election promises.
“She was a member of the Cabinet which implemented that Programme for Government. Those policies have pushed up unemployment and forced almost half a million of our young people to flee abroad in search of work.
“As a senior Cabinet member Joan Burton has overseen the implementation of water charges, the property tax, cuts to child benefit, removal of medical cards, cuts to health and welfare, and a succession of stealth taxes.
“For our part, Sinn Féin is focused on demonstrating to citizens and families throughout the State that there is a clear, workable and fairer alternative to the way this government is doing things.
“We in Sinn Féin seek a mandate to take our society and our economy in a different direction.
“Next week Sinn Féin will seek to move the writs for the Roscommon/South Leitrim and Dublin South West by-elections. We will be asking the Government and others in opposition to support this.
“I believe the by-elections should be held at the earliest possible opportunity. There is no reason to delay them. While these seats remain vacant constituents remain under-represented.
“Sinn Féin is ready to go out into these constituencies, to put forward our alternatives and to ask the people of Dublin South West and Roscommon/South Leitrim to make the change and to vote for Cathal King and Martin Kenny.
“We will fight these campaigns to win and to bring another two Sinn Féin TDs to join our Oireachtas team. We also believe that we can win these two seats.
“Fianna Fail has not and cannot provide a credible alternative to the Fine Gael/Labour government because Fine Gael and Labour are implementing Fianna Fail policy.
“Fianna Fail is an integral part of the 'Consensus for Cuts'. The water tax, for instance, was Fianna Fáil’s idea.
“I agree wholeheartedly with those who, in recent days, have said that the people are not ready to put Fianna Fáil into Government again.
“Sinn Féin will present its alternative budget in October. This will again demonstrate how we can achieve a fair and equitable recovery which protects the most vulnerable and defends low and middle-income earners.
“It will spell out our continued opposition to the water tax and the family home tax. We will argue for budget resources to be targeted at supporting job creation and stimulating economic growth across all regions.
“Sinn Féin will seek the adoption of a housing policy which delivers the necessary social housing stock to meet the needs of those languishing on waiting lists. We will support those in mortgage arrears.
“We will oppose further cuts to the health budget, push for increased funding for mental health provision and for a resolution of the government’s continuing Medical Cards debacle.
“Sinn Féin will continue to argue for radical political and institutional reform which addresses the lack of accountability and transparency within the Oireachtas, government departments and in the policing and justice system.
“As everyone knows, the political process in the North is currently in serious difficulty. A negative political axis is currently seeking to undermine the Good Friday Agreement and turn back the clock on the progress of recent years.
“We now have the ludicrous position of unionist leaders, who repeatedly walked away from talks, asking for new talks!
“Unionist political leaders may hanker after a return to majority rule in the North but that is never, ever going to happen. The Orange State is gone forever.
“However, rather than seek to bring them to their senses, the British Government’s interventions to date have merely encouraged unionist intransigence.
“Sinn Féin is open to negotiations and dialogue and we have been very clear that the Irish and British Governments and the US administration should be involved.
“Recent comments by Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan in relation to current difficulties have been very unhelpful.
“Minister Flanagans’s inaccurate portrayal of current difficulties appear to have more to do with Fine Gael’s narrow electoral considerations in this State than with the needs of the peace process. His comments were inappropriate for a Minister for Foreign Affairs who should be conscious of his Government’s responsibilities as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Féin will defend the power sharing and political institutions.
“Sinn Féin is opposed to Toryism North and South. We are against austerity from David Cameron as much as we are against austerity from Enda Kenny and Joan Burton. This has nothing to do with electoralism or a failure to take difficult decisions.
“Martin McGuinness has shown the way to put the common good before personal or political interest.
“Over the forthcoming Dáil term, citizens can be sure of one thing - Sinn Féin will continue to robustly hold this Government to account. We will continue to honour the mandate we received - to defend the interests of those on low and middle incomes, to protect and support the most vulnerable of our citizens, to continue developing credible, alternative policies and to show that there is a better, fairer way of doing things.”