Sinn Féin will deliver a New Deal for the West – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has been visiting the west. In the last 24 hours, the Sinn Féin leader has addressed packed rallies in Sligo with party candidates Chris McManus and Martin Kenny, Mayo with Rose Conway Walsh, East Galway with Ann-Marie Roche, and Roscommon with Clare Kerrane.
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Sinn Féin has a vision to make the west a sustainable place to work and live; where our young people aren’t forced to emigrate; with a health service fit for purpose; where broadband is available for families and business, and where employment opportunities are available for returning graduates.
“People in the West of Ireland are sick of being treated as second class citizens. Government policies have devastated the region. Austerity policies have hit families, public services and the local economy. Emigration has forced many to seek a new life overseas.
“Our healthcare system is in crisis. The government broke its commitments on Sligo cancer care service and emergency department services in Roscommon. As a result, Galway University Hospital suffers chronic overcrowding.
“There has been a failure to deliver high speed broadband. Consequently, communities and businesses have been hindered in their efforts to grow and create more jobs.
“Small and peripheral farmers have got a bad deal. The Gaeltacht areas have been hurt by the abolition of Údarás na Gaeltachta elections and the slashing of funding to Gaeltacht areas. Garda stations have been closed and Garda numbers significantly reduced. Many elderly people live in fear as a result. Turf cutters have been criminalised.
“These difficulties are a direct consequence of the government’s austerity policies.
“Sinn Féin believes that all of this can be reversed. We have produced a detailed plan - A New Deal for the West – which can transform life and communities in the west.
“Sinn Féin has been working north and south for rural Ireland, especially through the party’s Stormont Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development Michelle O’Neill and Leinster House spokesperson Martin Ferris.
“A Sinn Féin government would introduce a new deal for small towns and villages throughout the west. This would mean the retention of the village school, an audit of the public transport system to ensure villages’ needs are catered for, and the retention of doctors in local villages and small towns.
“Sinn Féin is also committed to supporting island communities along the west coast and making it a viable option for people to live and work on the islands. This would include a Charter of Rights for the islands.
“There should be a specific job creation strategy with targets and timescales from Údarás na Gaeltachta based on the needs of each island.
“Sinn Féin would create a Department for Fisheries, Marine and Marine Communities, with a specific Junior Minister given responsibility for islands and to promote the fishing industry in island communities we would aid cooperatives and development companies in buying fishing licences which could be licenced out to island fishermen.
“Creating sustainable employment and allowing people to have a credible career is vital. In government, Sinn Féin would develop a new enterprise strategy to orientate infrastructural development and IDA and Enterprise Ireland development in a balanced regional manner.
“Sinn Féin will improve connectivity, including broadband and transport infrastructure to the West and within the West.
“Sinn Féin is committed to recruiting 3,000 additional Gardaí over our term in government. A coherent strategy is required to maximise Garda visibility in rural communities.
“In government, Sinn Féin will tackle the current inequitable healthcare system with a universal public health system, tackling geographic inequalities in health service provision, free at the point of access. No more emergency department Bills or prescription charges, or GP charges.
“These are just some of the many proposals that Sinn Féin is committed to introducing. Sinn Féin will make no promise we will not keep.”