Fianna Fáil’s interests cannot trump interests of citizens - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking this evening during the Dáil debate on the government’s motion of confidence has said “Between them Fine Gael, and particularly Fianna Fáil, have been responsible for a culture of insiderism, strokes, cronyism, corruption, graft, cute-hoorism, brown envelopes, digouts and whatever you’re having yourself.”
Continuing, he said “Last year they gave it another name - ‘new politics’, but this ‘new politics’ represents the type of politics that is prepared to accept an alleged criminal conspiracy by senior Gardaí to destroy the character of a decent man doing his duty and expects the government that has allowed this to happen to remain in office.”
He appealed to TDs to vote against the government’s motion of confidence saying: “This government that is not capable of delivering for ordinary citizens.”
Teachta Adams said:
“I speak this evening in absolute opposition to the Taoiseach’s motion of confidence in himself and his government.
“He leads a government that is without purpose and devoid of direction.
“They are stumbling from one crisis to the next, and the events of the past week show it has lost any authority it had to govern. That authority of course derives from their guardians in Fianna Fáil.
“We know now that despite the Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher’s admission this morning that the government is “incoherent and shambolic”, they will continue supporting the government.
“The latest scandal to engulf the government results from Fine Gael’s perpetual disgraceful handling of the campaign of vilification against Maurice McCabe and other Garda whistleblowers.
“Fine Gael have lurched from one justice and policing crisis to another.
“Whistleblowers - brave citizens - have been the target of systematic campaigns of abuse and harassment from within An Garda Síochána.
“In no other modern State would such actions be tolerated. Yet, under the watch of two parties that have dominated politics here since partition this is the state we are in.
“Between them Fine Gael, and particularly Fianna Fáil, have been responsible for a culture of insiderism, strokes, cronyism, corruption, graft, cute-hoorism, brown envelopes, digouts and whatever you’re having yourself.
“Last year they gave it another name - ‘new politics’, but this ‘new politics’ represents the type of politics that is prepared to accept an alleged criminal conspiracy by senior Gardaí to destroy the character of a decent man doing his duty and expects the government that has allowed this to happen to remain in office.
“Maurice McCabe is a man who deserves the thanks of the people of this State. He is a man of incredible strength and he, his wife Lorraine and his family deserve our support and solidarity. Their resilience and commitment to each other has been extraordinary.
“The twists and turns, the lies and the spin, and the contradictory claims of the Taoiseach and his Ministers in recent days have heightened public outrage.
“Citizens do not have confidence in this government.
“The Tánaiste was first up last Thursday to deny any knowledge of contact between the Gardaí and other State agencies regarding Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
“Her position was contradicted by both Minister Katherine Zappone and then by Teachta Jim O’Callaghan who said they had informed her of the Tusla links in advance.
“She reiterated her position on Sunday when she said that she had no advance knowledge of the Tusla allegations against Maurice McCabe, and she has maintained that position since.
“Teachta O’Callaghan has maintained his.
“So we have a senior Fianna Fáil deputy essentially calling Minister Fitzgerald a liar over a very serious issue, yet Fianna Fáil are not prepared to do anything about this.
“The Taoiseach too has failed to clarify when and how he became aware of all of this.
“He refused again this morning. Having previously denied it, he now admits that Minister Zappone told him that false accusations made against Maurice McCabe were referred to Tusla.
“He says he assured her that all of this would be covered by the terms of the then proposed Commission of Investigation. Unless the Taoiseach had seen the protected disclosures, he had no way of knowing that false accusations brought to him by Minister Zappone were the false accusations contained in the protected disclosures.
“So both he and the Tánaiste’s positions are not credible.
“Maurice McCabe’s appalling treatment illustrates the absolute need for a culture of openness, transparency and accountability within our policing and justice systems and our political system.
“In the midst of numerous controversies, Sinn Féin have consistently called for a new dispensation and the establishment of an independent policing board, similar to that established by the Patten Commission in the north.
“Under this process the Gardaí would have been accountable to an independent policing authority, with full powers to hold the Gardaí to account. The government rejected this again and again.
“There is a policing authority yes, but the most senior Garda, the Commissioner remains accountable to the Minister for Justice.
“No police service, no senior police officer and no Garda Commissioner should be solely accountable to any one politician, no matter who he or she is; so real change hasn’t happened, not of the quality and depth that modern policing and citizens deserve.
“This government that is not capable of delivering for ordinary citizens.
“Our health service is creaking under the pressure of cuts and underinvestment. Record levels of patients are on hospital trollies. Children with scoliosis are left in pain waiting months for treatment.
“Tens of thousands of patients languish on unacceptable waiting lists.
“Front line staff are left to manage a broken system without necessary resources.
“It is clear that this government is not capable of fixing the problems in health care.
“And what of the housing emergency?
“For decades Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael abandoned the construction of social housing and surrendered the provision of social housing to the private sector.
“They have driven up the price of rents and left thousands of families without a home.
“Homelessness is now at record levels.
“Citizens cannot afford runaway rent increases, and yet the State continues to abdicate its responsibility and in this Dáil, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have contrived to vote down all attempts to bring about rent certainty and proposals to build more social housing.
“It has also refuses to adopt a position of seeking a special position for the north within the EU in the aftermath of Brexit.
“Fianna Fáil will of course continue to peddle the line that it is not in the interests of citizens to have an election.
“What that really means is that it is not in Fianna Fáil’s interests. It suits them to have a weak government in power - which they put there in the first instance and now they complain that Sinn Féin would not talk to them in the aftermath of the general election. Absolute nonsense.
“We talked to all parties and Independents that would engage with us and Teachta Martin will recall that Sinn Féin said following that in the interests of delivering change we were willing to talk to Fianna Fáil and indeed to Fine Gael. It was they who refused to talk to us.
“Instead totally contrary to what he said during the general election campaign, he put Enda Kenny back into power
“Micheál Martin knows that Enda Kenny will not resolve the homeless crisis, the health crisis or the crisis in living which many families are enduring and to its shame Fianna Fáil continues to place its own narrow party political interests above those of citizens.
“They prop up the government in an arrangement that has delivered nothing except perpetual crisis.
“This is the same Micheál Martin that lambasts Martin McGuinness because he took a principled stand and resigned because he would not put up with the type of behaviour which had brought the north’s institutions into disrepute in much the same way as this government’s behaviour has brought the Oireachtas into disrepute.
“So I call on all Deputies here to exercise their mandate and vote against the government motion”.