SINN FÉIN leader Gerry Adams has said that the current coalition, like the one before it, has failed the Irish people.
Delivering his “presidential address” at the close of the party’s Ard Fheis in Co Mayo, Adams, called on Labour to “leave this government and leave it now.”
“A real Labour Party with a principled leadership should not be in government with Fine Gael,” he said.
If Fine Gael is set on implementing Fianna Fáil policy then let them do that with the support of Fianna Fáil.
Outlining the cuts made over the last two years, Adams said that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition had “no problem putting taxpayers money into the pockets of bankers and financiers” and that the people who “created the mess have been untouched.”
Despite all the election rhetoric from Labour and Fine Gael this is still the best small country in the world for big bankers, crooked developers or corrupt politicians.
‘Elites and the fat cats’
Adams went on to assure those in attendance that his party would “put manners on the elites and the fat cats”, adding that the party would abolish the local property tax when “in government”.
Acknowledging the fact that Ireland’s deficit “must be tackled”, the Sinn Féin leader said that this would be done in a fair manner, and that “those with the broadest shoulders must bear the heaviest load”.
In a fair Ireland the weak, the vulnerable and the least well-off would be protected. If this was a real republic working people would not be punished for the greed and corruption of others.
If the Proclamation of 1916 was a reality families would not be punished. Women would not be punished. Children would not be punished. Citizens with disabilities would not be punished. People in rural Ireland would not be punished. The poor would not be punished.
‘Change cannot wait’
Adams continued, saying that the change that Ireland required could not wait “until there is a real republic”.
Included in these changes was a reversal in the cuts to gardaí, which Adams said his party would propose in the soon to be published report “Standing up for Rural Ireland”.
Mentioning the victims of the Magdalene laundries, along with those of the Bethany Home, as well as those who underwent symphysiotomy operations, Adams said that justice was required in all these cases.
Savita Halappanavar was also mentioned, with Adams saying that he extended his solidarity to “Praveen and his family and friends”.
“It is time doctors had legal clarity,” he said. “It’s time for protection for pregnant women whose lives are at risk.”
The Sinn Féin leader said that the party was opposed to austerity across the entire island of Ireland, saying that the “so-called Welfare Reform Bill is another example of the English Tory Agenda.”
Continuing his focus on Northern Ireland, Adams said that the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist people were not going away. “And Sinn Féin doesn’t want them to go away,” he added.
They are part of what we are and we have to get to know each other better, to listen and take heed of what is being said.
I commit our party, without preconditions, to be part of such discussions as we face into the Orange marching season, and to find solutions to contentious issues and to tackle economic disadvantage.
A truth process
Saying that Ireland’s civil war had left a “bitterness and a legacy that still shapes politics to this day”, Adams said that this, and the events that followed needed “to be faced up to”.
Sinn Féin has argued for the establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission. The two governments; former combatants, and those in leadership across Ireland and Britain need to be part of such a process.
There can be no hierarchy of victims.
I am prepared to meet with victims’ families in this state if they believe this will be helpful. Irish republicans will not shirk from our obligations to those who died as a consequence of the conflict.
Calling for an end to partition in Ireland, Adams called on those in attendance to “imagine the unity of orange and green”.
Describing the party’s vision as being based on equality, Adams said that this meant “equal rights for citizens in same sex relationships, ethnic minorities and those of all creeds and none.”
In closing, Adams said that he wanted to extend his best wishes to the party’s “friend and comrade” Nelson Mandela.