[Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness rallies a crowd of 250,000, by some estimates, English anti-austerity protestors right in the heart of London. A remarkable, emblematic change in the political landscape which few of us here in Ireland could ever have imagined not so long ago. – ed]
“I am delighted to be here and I bring solidarity from Ireland and from all of us fighting right wing Thatcherite policies on both sides of the Irish sea.
“Sinn Féin is an anti-austerity party.
“We stood for election on an anti-austerity platform and we are mandated by our electorate to oppose austerity.
“Sinn Féin is in coalition government in the North of Ireland. I am the deputy First Minister in that government. And in government we blocked the Welfare Bill and the welfare cuts that the Tory led coalition demanded we impose on the most vulnerable.
“We said no to the coalition government and we are saying an unambiguous, unqualified and uncompromising ‘no’ to this new Tory government.
“The Tories have no mandate for austerity in the north of Ireland. They stood in the elections and they were trounced in every constituency.
“But in Britain the Tories were elected on the lowest share of the vote ever for a Tory government – just 24 per cent of the electorate. 24 per cent is no mandate for austerity.
“Sinn Féin will not do Tory austerity. Unlike the Tory millionaires, I live in the heart of the proud working class community of the Bogside in Derry. The people the Tories are targeting are my friends, my neighbours, my family. They are fine, hard-working, proud and decent – just like our people in working class unionist communities.
“They are not parasites or spongers. It is Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires who are the real spongers given free rein to live out their Thatcherite fantasies at the expense of ordinary, decent communities throughout these islands.
“Austerity is devastating these communities.
“The working poor, public sector workers, the disabled and the vulnerable are the hardest hit by this bankrupt and ideologically driven policy.
“In the North of Ireland, where we continue to build the peace and a fragile economy, their policies threaten the power-sharing institutions of the Good Friday agreement.
“Those institutions – which have underpinned the peace process for almost two decades – are now on the brink of collapse because of Tory recklessness.
“In the south of Ireland we have witnessed at first hand the brutality of austerity. The debts of private business, of banks and developers were passed on to the people.
“Generations will be paying of the debts of the greed of the few.
“Austerity has failed. It has failed our young people, our public services and our economy.
“It is the communities of Dublin, Derry, Dundee, Cardiff and London that are paying the cost of Tory austerity while the wealth of the few continues to increase.
“Austerity means inequality, poverty and despair.
“The alternative is investment and growth, equality and prosperity, the safety net and the helping hand.
“I am heartened by the huge numbers here today. Because it reminds us all that we are not alone in this fight. We are strong if we unite and act together.And, by continuing to stand together, we can succeed.
“Defeat is not an option. Austerity is not an option.
” Today we send a powerful message to the Tories that we will not be cowed, threatened, bullied or bribed.
” I congratulate you all for taking this stand and I look forward to continuing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you during the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Source: Sinn Féin Newsroom