“For thirty years we have been told that there is no alternative.
Governments led by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with the active support of Labour, the Greens and a motley crew of independents ran the economy in the same way.
Tax take as a percentage of GDP was kept significantly below the EU average.
Investment in vital public services – like health, education, childcare, and community services was kept low.
Investments in small and medium sized enterprises were kept low.
The consequence was a two tier society and a two tier economy.
People with money and wealth could secure quicker access to better resourced services.
The rest of us had to get in line.
When the crash came it exposed the lie that was the Celtic Tiger – Fianna Fail hadn’t discovered the recipe for economic success.
They built an economy on inequality and risk
When it came crashing down people expected a real change – they thought that Fine Gael and Labour would do things differently.
They have been sorely disappointed.
Instead of providing a real alternative they are implementing the same failed policies as their predecessors.
Just as Fianna Fáil built a two tier Celtic Tiger so Fine Gael and Labour are building a tow tier recovery.
But the test of a real recovery is not rising GDP or falling bond yields – it is whether people’s lives are getting better or worse.
Fine Gael and Labour may be delivering a recovery for some – but for far too many things are getting worse.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There is a better, a fairer way.
Since 2011 Sinn Féin has shown that with the right policies social and economic recovery for all sections of society is achievable.
Our costed alternative budgets offered Government real choices.
Fine Gael and Labour refused to listen; they set their face against fairness; but the next Government can do things differently.
We urgently need a change of direction
We need a new model of social and economic development
Sinn Féin is committed to building a strong and courageous state - investing in secure well paid jobs; investing in universal public services; investing in strong and vibrant communities.
This means real tax reform to generate the revenues needed for social and economic renewal. Sinn Féin will scrap water charges and the family home tax. But scraping unjust taxes is not enough. Social and economic recovery must be paid for.
People who want high quality services know that - but they also want the bill to be shared fairly across society.
To achieve this we must rethink and reshape the fiscal rules that are currently enshrined in our laws and those of the EU.
We will implement real solutions and devise real strategies to deal with our unsustainable public and household debt, reducing both its scale and cost.
We will remove the veto from the banks, give greater protection to family homes and reduce the bankruptcy term from three years down to to one.
We will also apply for retroactive recapitalisation of our banks from the ESM and place debt sustainability at the core of our negotionation with our EU partners
We will craft a new approach to economic policy that is socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.
We will reform our political institutions and practices, making economic and social policy more democratic, accountable and transparent.
Crucially we will make the ending of poverty and gross inequality core objectives of social and economic policy.
People are still hurting from the broken promises and failed policies of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.
These families need hope, they need real alternatives, and they need to believe that a better, fairer way is possible.
Sinn Féin is offering that better Ireland.
Sinn Féin is offering a fair recovery.
Sinn Féin is offering an Ireland which truly cherishes all of its children equally.”