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Gerry Adams wants to see more all-island "joinedey-upness" in Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin and Fine Gael are gathering this morning for their party think-ins, taking place in Termonfeckin and Cork, respectively.

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams with Martin McGuinness.
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams with Martin McGuinness.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated at 9.41am

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has been setting out the agenda for his party’s think-in event in Co Louth.

Elected representatives from both sides of the border are holding a meeting in Termonfeckin, ahead of the start of the new Dáil term next week. Fine Gael is also holding a similar get-together, with its TDs, senators and MEPs meeting in Cork.

“We want to look forward. We want to prepare for government in this State,” Adams said, in an interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“There are difficulties in the process and the political institutions in the North,” he acknowledged, noting that Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness would speak about the issue with members at the event.

Adams also hopes to look at how politicians in different jurisdictions can work more closely together, he said:

“Because we had a very good European election and we had four MEPs across the island — we want to get some joinedey-upness between the people in the north, the south, the border corridor.

Can we avail of the mandate we have in the European Parliament to deliver for people and make things better for everyone?

Welfare issues

Adams also defended his party’s stance on welfare reforms in Stormont. Sinn Féin is refusing to endorse the plans, which come from Westminster — which has resulting in London withdrawing money from Northern Ireland’s block grant.

First Minister Peter Robinson warned this week that the Northern Executive was “no longer fit for purpose” blaming the row over welfare in particular. He said the impasse could result in the collapse of the North’s political system.

“Sinn Féin will defend the political institutions,” Adams said. He insisted the party had a record of being able to make tough decisions, pointing to McGuinness’s record on the peace process in particular.

On the issue of the welfare deadlock, he said the proposals from Westminster contradicted “the very reason for the existence of Sinn Féin, which is a republican party which believes that citizens have rights”.

Regarding the penalties being faced by Stormont if the changes aren’t  adopted he said there had been a “build-up in the failure of pol unionism to deliver on their commitments”. He also said the Irish and British governments had “not fulfilled their obligations” to the North.

The party was “not going to be involved in accepting a dictat from a Tory minister,” Adams said, insisting the stance was “about defending the rights of disadvantaged groups in society”.

‘Love-in’

Adams also took a sideswipe at recently-installed Labour leader Joan Burton as the interview came to an end, saying there had been something of a “media love-in” with the Tánaiste since she took office.

“Every single decision taken by this Government from water charges to property taxes and cuts to child benefit, to a whole range of cuts to carers allowance, Joan Burton was part of that — she took all of those decisions, that wasn’t Eamon Gilmore on his own.”

He declined to offer view on the upcoming Scottish referendum, saying the party had decided not to make any public comments about next week’s vote.

(Follow our Political Editor, @oconnellhugh and @TJ_Politics for the latest on the party think-ins throughout the day).

Read: Here’s the advice the Government was given on the Scottish referendum

Read: Joan Burton set to clear up confusion about outdoor weddings

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Daragh Brophy

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