GERRY ADAMS HAS said that the left-wing must unite around “viable alternative policies” as he called for it to challenge the establishment political parties, in his keynote address at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis tonight.
In his speech to delegates at the Wexford Opera House, the Sinn Féin president indicated that the State could have a government without its two dominant parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, calling for the left to unite and take on “the conservative establishment”.
“If we are serious about changing the country, the left needs to come together around viable alternative policies and take on the conservative establishment, who brought the economy to its knees and created the toxic culture that we are trying to break free from,” he said.
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Adams pointed out that Sinn Féin is a growing political force on both sides of the border, describing it as an “expanding organisation which transcends partition”. He said the party, for the first time, will have candidates in every constituency on the island in May’s local elections.
His wide-ranging speech focussed considerably on the current coalition government as he repeatedly criticised broken promises, arrogance of ministers, and austerity which has led to mass emigration where “ten people [are] emigrating every hour”.
Adams accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of “insulting” families of those who have emigrated by dismissing this “as a desire of young people to travel”.
The Louth TD claimed that his party would not break election promises, saying: “Sinn Féin will not made election promises that we cannot keep and Sinn Féin will keep every commitment that we make.”
He said that the tax burden should be eased on working people and called for the abolition of the property tax.
Adams also repeated his call for the government to resign, for a referendum on uniting north and south or a Border Poll, and for the Shannon Airport activist Margaretta D’Arcy to be released from prison immediately.
The party president said that many of the problems that exist in Irealnd are as a result of the “toxic political culture, which arose from the couter-revolution that followed the 1916 Rising and the Tan war”.
He said this “copper-fastened partition and the two conservative states, which it created” linking this to the numerous scandals that have befallen the State in previous decades in Church and State-run institutions.
“Sinn Féin is committed to taking on this toxic culture,” he said.
Speaking about the North, and the recent failed Haass talks on the contentious issue of flags, parades and the past, Adams said that “obstacles” would not stop change. He also said that he would be happy to meet the Orange Order, saying the organisation is “one of our national traditions”.