Chris Hazzard speech to live section of Ard Fheis

7 March, 2015 - by Chris Hazzard

If we are to truly build an economic alternative to austerity we must repatriate economic powers away from Westminster, we must empower the people of Ireland.

The only language that Westminster understands is power - so let us send a message into the belly of the beast - 

We, the people of Ireland will build a new democracy, and at its heart of our new Ireland will be the power to decide upon our own economic destiny. 

If we are to develop local communities, to continue to raise attainment in our schools, to tackle the effects of inequality in Irish society, then we must take economic power back from Westminster. 

Comrades, in-work poverty is one of the biggest challenges we face on this island. Half of all children in poverty today live in household where at least one parent works. 

Let us be clear - In 2015 no Irish citizen should struggle to feed their children or make ends meet at the end of the week. 

Whilst Westminster allows the minimum wage to fall behind the cost of living, Sinn Féin are committed to delivering a real, living wage for all. Putting more money in people’s pockets is the most direct thing we can do to tackle inequalities and rebuild our economy. 

There is no success in an economy of misery, distress and poverty - there is no future for inequality in Ireland. 

But as long as economic power resides in Westminster we remain locked in the Tory Trap.

We know the end to austerity will not come from anywhere but from within ourselves. 

We need to say yes to the devolution of job creating powers, social security, broadcasting, pensions and much more besides. 

Yes to a local Assembly and local people with real control of economic choices. 

The union offers the people of Ireland nothing but the abhorrent and divisive agenda of austerity. The General Election in Britain will not deliver an alternative for our people. 

We need a break from Westminster, from neoliberalism, from permanent austerity, from periodic Tory governments and from the failed polices of New Labour.

There may be a change of rosettes at Westminster but there will be no change in policy - we must recapture democratic control of Ireland’s economic resources and political institutions from a London centric-elite. 

Comrades - real leadership is about being champions of change in communities throughout Ireland. That is what Sinn Féin are about. 

Sinn Féin know that taking economic power from Westminster is the only way to improve the lives of ordinary citizens across this island - we must, and we will rise to this challenge.