Gerry Adams : Sinn Féin seeks to lead anti-austerity Government

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that Sinn Féin wants to lead an anti-austerity Government after the next General Election.

Addressing a large gathering of Sinn Féin members, including TDs, Councillors and joined by MEP Matt Carthy and Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew, Gerry Adams said:

“Irish politics is undergoing the biggest shake-up since Partition.

“Our citizens are increasingly disillusioned with the conservative establishment which has dominated politics in this state since the 1920s.

“The experience of the past few years has politicised a huge section of Irish public opinion.

“The support enjoyed by Fine Gael and the Labour Party three years ago, has collapsed.

“They have no mandate for the socially destructive policies they are imposing.”

On the recent action by the ECB in relation to Greece, he said:

“The macho posturing of the ECB this week in reaction to the democratic will of the Greek people is an affront to citizens of all EU States.

“The issues which the Greek government are seeking to tackle are not a Greek problem. They are a European one.

“This state’s debt problem is not a Irish problem, it is a European one. The debt issue needs a European solution.

“The decision of Enda Kenny and his government to line up with the EU elite to put the boot into Greece is shameful. It is also detrimental to the interests of Irish citizens.

“It is further proof that Fine Gael and Labour have abandoned their responsibility to achieve an equitable solution to this state’s debt problem.

“Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan are acting as representatives of the EU elite in Ireland. They are not acting as representatives of the Irish people.”

The Sinn Féin leader said there was now unprecedented opportunity to transform the political landscape and that Sinn Féin stands ready to play its part:

“But we cannot transform politics or the social and economic situation on our own.

“We need allies, inside and outside the political sphere.

“In this regard, I welcome recent comments by SIPTU General President Jack O’Connor.

“I agree with the desirability of progressive social and political forces developing a common anti-austerity platform aimed at replacing this Government.

“I also agree that it is not be possible – in one fell swoop – to implement the changes that our society requires.

“But we can achieve these objectives by making progressive policy choices, mapping a way forward and choosing priorities.

“This has to include rebuilding our public health service, eradicating housing waiting lists and creating meaningful jobs with decent terms and conditions.

“However, this will not be advanced by the unrequited support given to the Labour Party by some in the leadership of the trade union movement.

“This misplaced loyalty to a party which has completely abandoned the interests of working people now risks the very credibility of well-meaning individuals.

“What is required is a coherent Programme for Government with clear priorities that begins the journey to a citizen-centred, rights-based society.

“That is the fundamental ideological difference between Sinn Féin and this government and their equally conservative Fianna Fáil-led predecessors.

“So too, is our deep and unswerving commitment to the achievement of a United Ireland.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin seeks to lead an anti-austerity government after the next General Election:

“We believe this is the only sure way of moving positively towards the objectives I have outlined.

“A real possibility now exists for a government that is not led by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.”

He said it was up to all those progressive forces who believe that such a goal was attainable to work together towards that end:

“In the interests of all citizens, we must seize the historic opportunity that now exists.”

ENDS

*See below the full text of Gerry Adams’s remarks

Seize the opportunity for change

A chairde,

Irish politics is undergoing the biggest shake-up since Partition.

Our citizens are increasingly disillusioned with the conservative establishment, which has dominated politics in this state since the 1920s.

The experience of the past few years has politicised a huge section of Irish public opinion.

The support enjoyed by Fine Gael and the Labour Party three years ago, has collapsed.

They have no mandate for the socially destructive policies they are imposing.

The government has used its huge Dáil majority to attack the rights and welfare of struggling families and vulnerable citizens.

This is in complete contradiction of its 2011 election promises.

The Water Charges issue has become a catalyst for popular discontent against the Fine Gael/Labour Government.

Through community mobilisations, ordinary citizens have got a sense of their own collective power.

This is genuine, active citizenship.

Those who have been politicised will not now meekly back down in the face of government bribes, slander or intimidation.

The major mobilisations we have seen are not just about Water Charges.

They are about the blind, relentless pursuit of a failed austerity agenda.

During the recent Stormont talks, the Fine Gael/Labour Government shamefully allied itself with the British Tories.

They tried to push welfare cuts and increased austerity on citizens in the North.

As we know, the Taoiseach views the North as a foreign country.

But at the Stormont talks, he and his Government sought to ‘nationalise’ their austerity policies.

They were doggedly opposed by Sinn Féin.

As we see, the growing mood for political change and rejection of austerity is not confined to Ireland.

The macho posturing of the ECB this week in reaction to the democratic will of the Greek people is an affront to citizens of all EU States.

The issues which the Greek government is seeking to tackle are not a Greek problem. They are a European one.

This state’s debt problem is not a Irish problem, it is a European one.

The debt issue needs a European solution.

The decision of Enda Kenny and his Government to line up with the EU elite to put the boot into Greece is shameful.

It is also detrimental to the interests of Irish citizens.

It is further proof that Fine Gael and Labour have abandoned their responsibility to achieve an equitable solution to this State’s debt problem.

Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan are acting as representatives of the EU elite in Ireland.

They are not acting as representatives of the Irish people.

This Government continues to try and cut its way out of recession.

This can’t be done.

We need to grow our way to recovery.

And any recovery must be a recovery for all, not merely those at the top.

The government’s favouring of tax cuts for the wealthy over rebuilding our battered public services will not do this.

Sinn Féin is a pro-enterprise party.

To develop the prosperous society Sinn Fén advocates, to sustain decent public services accessible to all including those in rural Ireland, and to protect vulnerable citizens, we need a strong economy.

Foreign Direct Investment is a crucial part of Ireland’s economic mix.

But the biggest employers on this island are small and medium enterprises.

SMEs have made huge sacrifices throughout the recession.

128,000 jobs have been lost in this sector since 2008.

There has been very little debt write-off and few legislative changes to assist SMEs.

There has been lack of focus from the government on this issue.

The greatest potential for jobs growth in this economy, especially in rural Ireland, remains within the SME sector.

Sinn Féin has proposed 10 steps to assist SMEs and create jobs.

These include abolishing upward only rents, resolving SME debt distress and prioritising access to credit.

We also need to eradicate unfair cross-border practices and tackle the costs of doing business along the border.

There now exists an unprecedented opportunity to transform the political landscape on this island, North and South.

Sinn Féin stands ready to play its part but we cannot transform politics or the social and economic situation on our own.

We need allies, inside and outside the political sphere.

In this regard, I welcome recent comments by SIPTU General President Jack O’Connor.

I agree with the desirability of progressive social and political forces developing a common anti-austerity platform aimed at replacing this government.

I also agree that it is not be possible – in one fell swoop – to implement the changes that our society requires.

But we can achieve these objectives by making progressive policy choices, mapping a way forward and choosing priorities.

This has to include rebuilding our public health service, eradicating housing waiting lists and creating meaningful jobs with decent terms and conditions.

However, this will not be advanced by the unrequited support given to the Labour Party by some in the leadership of the trade union movement.

This misplaced loyalty to a party, which has completely abandoned the interests of working people now risks the very credibility of well-meaning individuals.

What is required is a coherent Programme for Government with clear priorities that begins the journey to a citizen-centred, rights-based society.

That is the fundamental ideological difference between Sinn Féin and this government and their equally conservative Fianna Fáil-led predecessors.

So too, is our deep and unswerving commitment to the achievement of a United Ireland.

That United Ireland is one based on tolerance, pluralism and mutual respect between all traditions on this island.

Sinn Féin seeks to lead an anti-austerity government after the next General Election.

We believe this is the only sure way of moving positively towards the objectives I have outlined.

A real possibility now exists for a government that is not led by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

As we approach the Centenary of the Easter Rising, the possibility exists to bring about the democratic and egalitarian vision of the Proclamation.

On Friday, Sinn Féin launched an extensive programme of events as part of our contribution towards marking the Centenary.

In this era of austerity and partition, the Proclamation remains unfinished business.

We need the spirit and the vision; the selflessness and generosity of those who struck for freedom almost 100 years ago.

Our goal, like theirs, is to build a new future, a new Republic.

It is up to all those progressive forces who believe that this is attainable to work together towards that end.

In the interests of all citizens, we must seize the historic opportunity that now exists.

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