Conor Murphy's speech to the Ard Fheis 2015 live section

7 March, 2015 - by Conor Murphy

What does the union with Britain mean for the north of Ireland, and this island?

Slashed local budgets ?

A greater gulf between rich and poor ?

Children and families reliant on food banks?

If that's the price of the union, and we believe it is, then it’s up to us to put a stop to it for good.

It is better for all of us if decisions about Ireland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Ireland – we, the people who live and work here.

Westminster says that it is reforming our system of social security.

It isn't.

Westminster wants to destroy our system of social security.

Sinn Féin have not let that happen

In the north Sinn Féin have ensured that the most vulnerable people in our society will not pay for the economic crisis

But without having control over our own economic power we cannot completely halt austerity in its tracks.

British Government policy, led by a group of Tory millionaires, is about cutting public spending, attacking the Welfare State and forcing ordinary people to pay for the economic mess they have created.

Sinn Féin has shown consistently what we can do when we have the power of decision-making.

We have been able to protect our Health and Water Services from privatisation.

Protect core services in our education system

Protect people from water charges and prescription charges

Ensured that older people benefit from free transport

Sinn Fein is part of a growing tide of anti-austerity movements across Europe.

So in case the message hasn't got through, let me say it again, loudly and clearly.

British government erosion of public services in the north of Ireland hurts everyone and is not wanted.

Be under no illusion. If we don't secure economic power from Westminster they will continue to turn the screw.

And the price of the union will continue to be exposed for all to see.

The Executive in Stormont has the power to distribute money.

But Westminster decides the total budget.

And we know this much: there are MPs in Britain itching to cut our budgets

By taking economic power from Westminster we will place job creation and improved living standards at the heart of our economy.

It is about the chance to take responsibility and build a better society.

We have the choice between one of two futures.

The north of Ireland’s future in London’s hands.

Or Ireland’s future in Ireland’s hands.