Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Eoin Ó Broin TD-Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2016-Public Services

23 April, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

One hundred years ago this weekend Irish republicans set out a vision for a better Ireland

The Proclamation promised to cherish all of the children of the nation equally

More than any other line, this promise is the benchmark against which we must judge Ireland today

So, after a century of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael rule how do the children of the state fare

Tonight 2,000 children will sleep in emergency accommodation

Many will be trapped in hotel or hostel accommodation for 18 months

Across the state children with special needs will wait up to 24 months for speech and language therapy

One in ten children leaving school have serious literacy difficulties

In disadvantaged areas the figure is one in every three

The most shocking figure of all is that 140,000 children in this state are living in consistent poverty

We live in a society of enormous wealth and yet children are going hungry

Living without adequate housing, health care, or education

These realities are not an accident

Poverty and inequality are not forces of nature

They are the direct result of policies implemented by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for decades

They are the result of a model of social and economic development that looks after the rich and leaves the rest of us to look after ourselves

A model which gives generous tax breaks to the super rich while starving our public services of much needed investment

A government which looks after Denis O’Brien and Google but not the children of Clondalkin or Ballymun

In Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s Ireland access to housing, health care and education are determined not by need but by ability to pay

And now they want to add water to that list

That is why we have a two tier health system

That is why so many children can't read or write

That is why so many children are living in poverty

But things do not have to be this way

We do not have to live in an Ireland which denies so many children the chance to live a bigger and better life

We do not have to condemn hundreds of thousands of children to a life of unemployment, poor health and poverty

We can build a better fairer Ireland

But only if we change the model of social and economic development

Only if we start to invest in our public services

This requires a tax system that is fair, sustainable and raises enough revenue to fund our schools and hospitals

This requires a commitment to universal, free at the point of delivery health and education

This requires increasing investment in those communities and families who have suffered worst at the hands of Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin

This requires making a very simple choice

Are we on the side of Denis O’Brien and Mark Zuckerberg or are we on the side of Erica Fleming and her nine year old daughter Emily

The reason why I am proud to be a member of this party is because I know that every single Sinn Fein activist in this room does not even need to think about the answer of that question

We are on Erica and Emily's side

We are on the side of every single one of those children who are today being left behind by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael

We are on the side of investing in public services and building a better more equal Ireland

The backdrop behind me calls on you to join the rising

This is not just a slogan

It is an invitation to play your part in building a united and equal Ireland

One that truly cherishes all of the children of the nation equally

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