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Talk of political ‘centre ground’ is merely old politics dressed up in new clothes – Adams

8 January, 2017 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking at the 60th anniversary commemoration of Seán Sabhat in Limerick today, has said that 'new politics’ is a sham and the ‘centre ground’ is merely old politics dressed up in new clothes.

On the issue of consistent political attacks from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, he said:

“Micheál Martin in particular uses the most vitriolic and bitter language.

“He spends most of his time criticising Sinn Féin, usually in an opportunistic and sometimes a quite hysterical way. He does this because Sinn Féin presents a significant threat to the conservative politics of the Fianna Fáil leadership.”

Teachta Adams continued:

“A lot has changed in the sixty years since the events in Brookeborough that resulted in the deaths of Volunteers Seán Sabhat and Feargal Ó hAnnluain.

“The two conservative parties of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who between them have dominated politics in this part of the island since the 1920’s, are now coalescing in a partnership government. We are now told: ‘Civil War politics’ is out, ‘new politics’ is in’.

“There is much talk about the ‘centre ground’ of Irish politics, but ‘new politics’ is a sham and the ‘centre ground’ is merely old politics dressed up in new clothes.

“Féach ar taifead Fianna Fáil sa tearmá seo i dTeach Laighean.

“I gcuinne a forógra agus an sainordú a fuair said sa toghcháin, tá said tar éis Enda Kenny agus Fine Gael a chur i gcumhacht arís.

“It has changed its position so often on water charges and Irish Water that no one really knows where it stands. It claims to be in favour of scrapping water charges, but when it had the opportunity to do so in the Dáil it backed the Fine Gael position.

“In the last six months, Fianna Fáil has voted against its own policy position on bin charges, the national monument in Moore Street, on protecting workers on banded-hours contracts, against rent certainty, and on NAMA. 

“They combined with Fine Gael to block Sinn Féin’s efforts to deliver additional funding to mental health services and to ensure equality in pension provision.

“Just as Fianna Fáil used the Offences Against the State Act in the 1950’s against the comrades of Feargal Ó hAnnluain and Seán Sabhat, so today Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny try to outdo each other in attacking Sinn Féin.

“Micheál Martin in particular uses the most vitriolic and bitter language.

“He spends most of his time criticising Sinn Féin, usually in an opportunistic and sometimes a quite hysterical way.

“Today, this generation of Irish republicans have created and embraced a democratic, and peaceful strategy to achieve those same objectives.

“Thus far, the Fianna Fáil leadership refuses to be part of this.

“Instead, Micheál chooses to deny historical realities and engage in the narrow-minded politics of party political opportunism.

“He does this because Sinn Féin presents a significant threat to the conservative politics of the Fianna Fáil leadership.

“Where once that party could claim to be a defender of low and middle income families, of the working poor, and of small farmers, today, its policies are a far cry from that.

“Where once it claimed to be the inheritors of 1916, today, it has no strategy for achieving a United Ireland or establishing the Republic for which the men and women of that generation fought and died.

“Fianna Fáil has, under recent leaderships, become the party of commercial interests and of the gombeen men. It’s all about sustaining the status quo. 

“Liam Mellows put it well during the Treaty debate in 1922, when he spelt out the consequences of partition and said: ‘men will get into positions, men will hold power and men who get into positions and hold power will desire to remain undisturbed…’

“And they will use any means necessary to achieve this.

“At a time when homelessness is at historic levels and people are being priced out of the rental and first-time buyers’ market, the two conservative parties spent December in a sham fight over rent certainty in the Dáil. Now, citizens face unsustainable rent hikes for at least the next three years.

“All the while, they have done nothing to tackle the scourge of homelessness, which has resulted in almost 7,000 citizens in this State sleeping in a hotel or B&B, or on our streets.

“Limerick knows only too well the extent of the crisis, where there are 219 people without somewhere to call a home. It is the worst affected area, behind Dublin and Cork. 

“On Tuesday, there were over 600 people on trolleys or awaiting admission in our hospitals. University Hospital Limerick was the worst affected hospital in the State.

“The situation is so dire that it set a new national record for citizens on trolleys, with sixty-six people waiting for a hospital bed.  

“Ten years ago, in March 2006, there were fewer than 500 people on trolleys and a national emergency was declared. It is, in fact, a national scandal.

“It is clear that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have no plan to deal with the escalating crisis and no strategy to reassure overworked staff that this will not be another year of unacceptable overcrowding. 

“None of this takes into account the huge threat to the economy of this island and to society by Brexit.

“At a time when the shortcomings of partition are so obvious, the partitionism of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael leaderships, the status quo and its maintenance, vindicate Mellows prophetic warning.” 

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