Kenny should resign and let citizens choose new government – Adams
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton to resign and call a general election allowing citizens to choose a new Government to take society in a fairer direction.
Mr Adams was speaking during a Government motion of confidence in itself, which was tabled after Sinn Féin had put forward a vote of No Confidence in the Taoiseach.
Gerry Adams said:
“Sinn Féin had put forward a vote of No Confidence in the Taoiseach, to be debated this week. But you were determined, at all costs to stop this.
“So, the Government overturned the entire Dáil schedule without any consultation with the Opposition, to put down your own motion of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government.
“This is yet another sign of a Government that, despite an unprecedented Dáil majority, is deeply unsure of its own position - a Government that knows full well that it has lost it's mandate.
“A Government that is so frightened at the mere prospect of debating an opposition motion, is not fit to lead this State through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
He said the over-riding theme of the Government was its pursuit of a deeply unfair economic policy:
“You have imposed brutal and destructive austerity measures on struggling families and vulnerable citizens.
“This Government’s Budgets have been among the most regressive this State has ever seen. Budget 2015 is the fourth regressive budget in a row. It widened the rich-poor gap and deepened inequality.
“For God’s sake what is the point of Labour in Government if they don’t uphold equality?”
The Sinn Féin Leader said the Government had used its huge majority in the Dáil to force through policies which had increased poverty, inequality and social exclusion on a scale never witnessed in this State:
“Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been forced to emigrate on this Government’s watch. In cut after cut, the Labour Party, in particular, has attacked the very people who they have always claimed to protect.”
The Sinn Féin Leader said that despite Government “reform” of the discretionary medical card scheme, people on discretionary medical cards are still in danger of losing them. He said the Troika was now gone and the Government could no longer blame outsiders for their policies:
“Your cutbacks to funding for health services, education and training as well as drug and alcohol addiction services will have and are having dreadful social repercussions. So too is your refusal to build adequate numbers of social housing.”
Mr Adams said Sinn Féin voices the concerns of countless thousands of citizens but the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste would not answer a straightforward questions put to them:
“Citizens are not stupid. They have seen right through these patronising antics. The actions of the Government in this chamber in failing to be straight with the Opposition or with the citizens is damaging faith in the political system.
“Every time the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste evade questions and duck and dodge their responsibilities, they merely expose this Government's arrogance and incompetence.”
He said the Government’s approach to the North and the Peace Process has been inadequate:
“The Government sees Sinn Fein only in terms of electoral competitors and not as partners in peace. This is a profound mistake.
“It has failed to stand up to the British Government as equals when it comes to this issue and to the implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent Agreements of which you are co-guarantor.
“For many Irish citizens, the success of the current discussions will be judged by their ability to deliver truth and justice to the many families injured and bereaved during the conflict.
“But the British Government, in a current paper to these talks, has invoked a national security clause to block victims and survivors accessing information and keeping the truth hidden.
“The Irish Government cannot be complicit in this and must seek to have the national security clause removed. The families of Dublin/Monaghan, of Pat Finucane, Ballymurphy and others expect nothing less.”
But the Louth TD said it was the Government’s imposition of domestic Water Charges, in the face of such widespread opposition, that is proving to be the final straw for many:
“This Government's Frankenstein creation - Irish Water, has been characterised by excessive spending on consultants, bonuses and cronyism. It is synonymous with everything that is wrong with this Government - cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and escalating taxes on struggling families.
“Irish Water is now a toxic brand. The Government should reverse its water policy and scrap water charges. It is time for the Government to reverse its unjust water policy and abolish water charges. Tomorrow’s massive demonstration outside the gates of the Dáil will leave you on no doubt where citizens stand on this issue.
“From the very beginning, you have entirely underestimated the level of public anger at the imposition of Water Charges. And you are ignoring the reality for many, many citizens who simply cannot pay your unfair tax. Your attitude stands in stark contrast to the deferential way you deal with the elites – within the EU or in the Banking fraternity.
Mr Adams said a complete change of political direction was needed:
“A fairer way forward, involving economic stimulus, investment in public
services, progressive taxation, and the abolition of Water Charges & the
Property Tax is now urgently required.
“The fundamental ideological difference between Sinn Féin and this deeply unpopular Government is that we believe in a real republic - a citizen-centred, rights-based society. That message is finding a deep resonance among citizens.
“The policies of this Government have been rejected and Fine Gael and Labour are now facing widespread public anger. Its support with the public has now been eroded beyond the point where you can claim a mandate for what it is doing.”
He said the Taoiseach had characterised the coming General Election as a choice between a Fine Gael led Government or one led by Sinn Féin, adding: “You should have the courage of your convictions. You should allow citizens to make the choice.”
Gerry Adams called on the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Government to resign and allow citizens have their say in a General Election.