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Adams calls for plans to celebrate James Connolly's 90th anniversary next year

1 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP today attended an event to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the death of 1916 Rising leader James Connolly and to mark May Day. Speaking at the event Mr. Adams said there is an urgent need to restore political institutions in the Six Counties and to end the assault on frontline services by British direct rule ministers. He also called on republicans and socialists in Belfast to begin planning events now to mark James Connolly's 90th anniversary next year.

Mr. Adams said:

"James Connolly came to Belfast in 1911 as Belfast Organiser of the ITGWU. He remained in the city for two years until he returned to Dublin to help in the 1913 Lockout and was instrumental in the establishment of the Irish Citizens Army. He was a republican and a socialist who believed that a radical alternative was possible. Our demands, as James Connolly put it back then, remain most moderate. 'We only want the Earth. Together we can achieve it.'

"Sinn Féin is about building a radical alternative. Our primary political objectives remain, an end to partition, an end to the union, the construction of a new national democracy - a new republic - on the island of Ireland, and reconciliation between orange and green. But we also want change in the here and now. We are not prepared to wait until we have achieved these goals for people to have their rights to a decent home, to a job and a decent wage, to decent public services like health and education, and a safer cleaner environment.

"Ever since the British government unilaterally suspended the political institutions, their direct rule ministers have led an assault on frontline services such as education, health and the community sector and they are trying to privatise public utilities such as water by the backdoor. The best way to stop these policies is to back those who are putting forward an alternative and get the political institutions restored.

Mr. Adams also backed calls by the Trade Union groups in relation to the plight of migrant workers. Mr. Adams said:

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly raised our concerns for the welfare of migrant workers throughout the island. Discrimination at the hands of the state and the exploitation of migrant workers, such as that which has come to the public attention in recent weeks, needs to end. I want to call on the Irish government to bring forward legislation to reform the work permits system so that it is held by the employee rather than the employer and to call for all those working in this country to have the same rights and entitlements." ENDS

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