SDLP facilitating "negative alliance" - Adams
Speaking today in Co Tyrone at the election launch for Westminster candidate, Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:
"The recently announced unionist electoral pact for the Westminster election is a negative alliance.
"It is aimed at preventing equality of citizenship, frustrating political progress and imposing a Tory austerity agenda.
"Unfortunately, the SDLP leadership has actively facilitated this by refusing to talk to Sinn Féin about how to counter the threat to pro-Agreement, progressive politics.
"It is a monumental strategic blunder by Alasdair McDonnell to spurn engagement with Martin McGuinness on this crucial issue.
"His elevation of petty self-interest above the wider needs of society and the future of the political process is a failure of political leadership.
"For Sinn Féin's part we are focussed on continuing the process of political and social change, not just in the North, but throughout this island.
"Talks have intensified this week in an effort to secure the implementation of what was agreed at the Stormont House Agreement and key to this for us is to achieve the protections agreed for the most vulnerable in society.
"Yesterday's huge turnout of citizens in Dublin to protest against the imposition of Water Charges shows that, despite all the claims of the Government, opposition to this unjust and unfair tax has not gone away.
"Meanwhile today's revelations that there are no records and no minutes of meetings held in 2012 between former Minister Phil Hogan and key players in Irish Water raise serious questions for the Government, particularly in light of the scandal around the huge sums of public money spent on consultants.
"There also remain unanswered questions around Phil Hogan's cancellation of inquiries into planning problems at six local authorities. This was his first act as Minister when this Government took office.
"This is particularly serious considering the failure to implement key recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal into corruption in the planning system and the fact that we know this issue was not confined to Dublin.
"The most effective way to oppose austerity and reaction, North and South, and to build a fairer, equal society and a new republic on this island is to maximise the Sinn Féin vote."