21 May 2009 Edition
Sinn Féin launches all-Ireland EU campaign
BY SINÉAD MÁIRE Ní BHROIN
THE all-Ireland campaign by Sinn Féin for the European Parliament elections was formally launched in Dublin at the weekend as Gerry Adams welcomed the party’s candidates arriving on the campaign ‘battlebus’.
Sitting MEPs Bairbre de Brún and Mary Lou McDonald arrived with candidates Pádraig Mac Lochlainn in North West, Toiréasa Ferris in South, Tomás Sharkey and Kathleen Funchion in East.
Getting down to business at the launch, you just had to take one look at the top table to know that Sinn Féin is fielding the strongest team of all parties in the EU election. Our candidates are young, energetic and offer a fresh alternative in Irish politics. Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brún have garnered a wealth of experience over the last five years and their record speaks for itself.
The message from Gerry Adams throughout the launch was a straightforward one. The 26-County elections on 5 June will be a verdict on the Government, so if the people want change they need to vote for change.
“Sinn Féin offers people the chance to change politics for the better,” Gerry Adams said. “We offer voters a strong, principled voice on their behalf in Europe and in Ireland. This election won’t just be about Europe. It will be a verdict on the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government which has driven the country to the brink of economic ruin. If voters want to send this government a clear message they should vote for Sinn Féin.”
Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald added:
“Over ten years of increased Exchequer returns, this incompetent and uncaring government failed to invest in public services or in the future economic welfare of this society. Their latest policies to save the banks from a mess of their own making will see generations of young Irish people face debt for many years to come.”
FINE GAEL NO ALTERNATIVE
The Dublin MEP reminded the media that the Government have stood idly by while 200,000 people lost their jobs over the last 12 months, adding:
“Now they are levying working families who can least afford it to plug the hole in the state’s finances.”
Critical to Mary Lou’s analysis was the fact that Fine Gael offers no real political alternative.
“Fine Gael’s policies of sacking thousands of public sector workers, slashing social housing funds and reintroducing student fees will hit ordinary people very hard. And, like the Government, Fine Gael has ignored the people’s will on the Lisbon Treaty. So there is a choice in this election and a real opportunity to build an alliance of the Left in Irish politics. Sinn Féin has stood up for communities in the face of the most savage cuts this state has seen in decades.”
Gerry Adams wrapped up the proceedings with a rallying call to voters:
“Sinn Féin has called for an economic stimulus package and direct government intervention to ensure people’s jobs are saved and new jobs are created. We have campaigned for 21st century, European-standard public services, paid for through a fair, progressive taxation system.
“On the Lisbon Treaty we said a better deal was possible and the public agreed with us. In this election voters can send this government a clear message that ‘enough is enough’. Staying at home on 5 June is not an option. Don’t let this government off the hook. Vote for a better, fairer way forward. Vote Sinn Féin.”
FRESH ALTERNATIVE: Kathleen Funchion, Tomás Sharkey and Toireasa Ferris