Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Pearse Doherty TD- Árd Fhéis Speech- The Economy

23 April, 2016 - by Pearse Doherty TD

The heart of every society is its people. 

And the purpose of economic policy should be to serve the interests of society as a whole, and not the other way around.

The establishment parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have cast this fact to one side, and have done so either through ignorance or self-interest or both.

 Either way, the result has been the same.

The people of Ireland have been locked out of their own future.

Sinn Féin will tackle this head on through its economic and social policies.

Our policies are not made up merely of numbers and statistics, of GDP and bond yields, although of course these are important.

They are policies that recognise that there are real people behind the numbers, and real communities that are struggling to survive. 

They are policies that recognise that without a long-term vision for your society you cannot have a long-term vision for your economy.

They are policies that recognise that it not possible to cut taxes and cross your fingers and hope that everything works out ok, which is what Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil want to do.

Or leave all things to the market , when  there are some things that the market sees as commodities to be bought and sold regardless of long-term social and economic consequences.

You cannot treat a hospital bed the same way as a mobile phone.

You cannot have an economic policy that treats social cohesion as something that just gets in the way.

The problems we face as a people are far too great, they run way too deep, to be fixed with such empty and futile gestures as tax credits and modular homes.

Níl aon dul as againn: Ní thig linn neamhairde a thabhairt do na fadhbanna fhíora fhuathúla seo, agus iad ag déanamh dochar dúinn mar mhuintir is mar thír.

Fine Gael would rather see people languish on trolleys than invest in a health system suffering from decades of underinvestment from Fianna Fáil.

This is because they, just like Fianna Fáil before them, want to hand over the health system to private interests.

The homelessness crisis didn’t happen by accident.

It was the result of government policies that placed the private needs of landlords and developers over the needs of ordinary citizens.

As with health, this was done for reasons partly to do with ideology - the market must decide regardless of the social cost - and partly to do with the protection of vested interests from the establishment who keep politicians like prizes in their pocket.

The way of doing politics by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is the way that is rooted in short-termism, political patronage and a recklessness of a conservative ideology.

And Sinn Féin utterly rejects it.

We are committed to a progressive, fair and sustainable socio-economic agenda that is capable of providing new fiscal and economic solutions which serve everyone - rather than just the few.

The natural question to ask here though is, how is Sinn Féin able to make these commitments?

How is Sinn Féin able to say that in government it would deliver on these promises, in areas where the other parties have failed?

And the most important thing is that we are not part of the establishment.

We cannot be bought by those vested interests.

That is why they attack us at every opportunity.

 Our policies are not for sale.

What could they possibly offer Sinn Féin that would make us forget that in order to fix the crisis in health, in housing, and in child care you need to invest.

And that is why we are committed to building 100,000 social and affordable units.

To increasing the spend on healthcare by €3.3 billion and move from a failing, two-tier health system towards universal healthcare.

To increase capitation grants and bring the cost of childcare to €150 or below per child.

In order to build the future, delegates, you need to have a vision of the future, one that sees social and economic growth as mutually beneficial.

And for all of this we need a fair and progressive tax system.

Ireland needs new, long-term economic thinking and a sustainable social and economic model which is fair, progressive and stable.

And to get these things you need people in government who are not beholden to the protected interests.

Sinn Féin is that party.

We have the vision. Tá fís úr againn.

There is a popular line in politics that goes, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

We know, this country knows, that really, “It’s society, stupid.”

We are nothing as a people if we are not each other.

 Sinn Féin will never forget this.

It frames our social and economic vision.

That is our promise.

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