Pearse Doherty TD- Árd Fhéis- Fair Recovery Speech
Let me paint for you a picture of Irish society in this, the year 2016.
It’s an image far from that peddled by those who’d have you otherwise believe that Ireland and her people, having spent several years in the perils of economic abyss, now find themselves having re-emerged and on the righteous road to recovery.
This fallacy spun by the very elitist factions who helped to create the chaos of recent years, stands in stark contrast to the present state of play – a society broken, divided and bereft of equality.
The Ireland of 2016 is not the Ireland for which the true sons and daughters of Éire both fought and died. The Ireland as proclaimed by the rebels of the Rising 100 years ago, sought to guarantee the Irish people’s unfettered control of Irish destinies.
Instead, through failures of Governments both past and recent, the only thing unfettered is the burden now placed on a citizenry of having to repay a debt which isn’t theirs.
It’s one in which, on any given day, three evictions take place as people are forced from their homes by the very banks and institutions which they themselves were tasked with saving.
It’s where for the more than 88,000 families facing into mortgage arrears, the realities of an uneasy future dominate their thoughts and subconscious.
While for the 140,000 people who, as we speak, lie motionless on local authority housing lists, the long and painful wait for somewhere to call home goes on: a wait both moving and unmoved.
For them, and for the ordinary man, woman and child of this state the supposed recovery, while hard fought, has been anything but fair.
This much lauded capitalist construct embraced by, Fine Gael and Labour, has merely served to further deepen the great economic and social divisions which continue to divide and impoverish a proud and resilient people.
Now, as the election dust settles, in what was a clear rejection by the people of the right wing austerity devised by conservative Civil War politics of old, these very same parties, neither of whom know their fiscal space from their fiscal elbow, are now negotiating – in everything but name – a programme for Government.
And while this courtship continues; so too does the suffering of ordinary people living through an unequal recovery.
Sinn Féin fought the recent election with a campaign committed to delivering a fair recovery for everyone: one which placed the individual and collective needs of citizens above all else.
We understand that to cherish all the children of the nation equally you must first have the plans in place to do so.
Sinn Féin is the only party with a credible and realistic plan for fair economic recovery, not based on fleeting Corporation Tax receipts or tax breaks for the wealthy.
But one based on sustainable public investment in our roads, in our schools, in our hospitals and in the betterment of our people.
Ours is a vision for an island transformed: one which remains true to the ideals of the brave men and women of 1916, and that incorruptible dream of a nation in which fairness, equality and justice reigns absolute.
Comrades, the single greatest travesty ever committed by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has not been the fiscal deficit, but rather, their creation of a deficit of hope.
A chairde, a fairer and more inclusive Ireland can be ours should we only choose to dispel the myth which says it cannot be done.
Belief and hope are the two single greatest powers which any of us can ever dare to possess.
That sense of belief; that indefinable instinct that exists in all of us and which lets us know that, even without ever having seen it, or ever having touched it, that a better way can and does exist.
Bobby Sands himself once wrote about this instant, when he spoke of hope and the existence of there being an inner thing in every man: he said “It lights the dark of prison cell, and thunders forth its might, it is the undauntable thought, my friend, that thought that says ‘I’m right…’
We are right. A better Ireland is possible.