1 February 2016 Edition
Leading a progressive government
Vote republican. Vote for change. Vote for fairness and equality. Vote for unity. Vote Sinn Féin.
The Fine Gael/Labour coalition has presided over an unprecedented housing and homeless crisis, chaos in our hospitals, increased taxes on struggling families and workers, regressive Budgets, the dismantling of vital public services and the abandonment of rural communities
IN the Dáil general election, the Establishment parties of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour seek a continuation of ‘business as usual’. That means continued political cronyism and policies that entrench inequality and unfairness.
The Fine Gael/Labour coalition has presided over an unprecedented housing and homeless crisis, chaos in our hospitals, increased taxes on struggling families and workers, regressive Budgets, the dismantling of vital public services and the abandonment of rural communities.
Fine Gael is clearly advocating a return to reckless ‘boom and bust’ policies which previously caused the collapse of the economy.
The result will be further destruction of public services and increased hardship for ordinary, working people.
The so-called ‘recovery’ they wish to sustain is a recovery only for those who have already benefited – high earners, bankers and property developers.
This Government has continued to protect the Golden Circle. Just like Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have continued political appointments to state boards and refused to act on high salaries for politicians, in banking and on state bodies.
Meanwhile, they have ignored the demands of hundreds of thousands of citizens who have taken to the streets again and again to demand the scrapping of domestic water charges.
This Government has also refused to engage with the British Government in the consistent strategic way that is required to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements.
A vote for Labour in this election is a vote for a Fine Gael-led Government. Labour Party figures claim they are in Government to put the brakes on Fine Gael’s right-wing impulse. We’ve heard it all before, and all the evidence demonstrates the opposite.
Labour ministers have been the most enthusiastic proponents of vicious cuts to the welfare of ordinary families.
As a senior Cabinet member, Joan Burton oversaw the implementation of water charges, the Property Tax, cuts to child benefit, removal of medical cards, cuts to health and welfare, and a succession of stealth taxes.
Indeed, most people no longer see any point of having the Labour Party in Government.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil cannot provide a credible opposition to the present Government which is merely implementing a policy plan laid out for it by Fianna Fáil.
Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin sat around the Cabinet table for 14 years, developing the very policies now being implemented by Fine Gael and Labour. Domestic water charges were Fianna Fáil’s brainchild.
By ruling Fianna Fáil out of Government, and putting his party ahead of the needs of citizens, Mícheál Martin has made Fianna Fáil irrelevant to the election campaign.
So this election boils down to a choice between two different visions for Irish society.
It is a choice between a Fine Gael-led Government which will continue unfairness and inequality or a Sinn Féin-led Government committed to a recovery for all citizens – in other words, a genuine republic.
• Gerry Adams
Such a progressive government will end water charges and the family home tax.
It would make the economy serve society, not the other way around.
It would prioritise investment in jobs and public services and implement a fairer tax system to sustain a more equal society.
Among Sinn Féin’s priorities is the delivery of universal healthcare – this means free GP care, free prescriptions, ending two-tier access to hospitals and dealing with the trolley crisis.
We would build 100,000 social and affordable homes and tackle the scandal of banks charging extortionate interest rates on variable mortgages.
Sinn Féin would seek to end corruption in politics and cut politicians’ salaries.
We would reduce and eventually abolish third-level fees, invest in decent childcare, disability and mental health services.
Ultimately, this election is a choice: a choice between the failed politics of conservative parties who have ruled the state since partition or a genuine republican alternative that offers the prospect of radical political change.
In this centenary year of the 1916 Rising, it is important to remember that the ideals of equality and social justice at the heart of the Proclamation are required more than ever.
Ireland today needs once again the spirit and vision, the selflessness and generosity of those who struck for freedom and justice 100 years ago.
The core values of the 1916 Proclamation remain the mission statement of Irish republicanism today.
Unlike Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or the Labour Party, Sinn Féin has a vision grounded in these values.
We have a plan for a fair recovery that will benefit all our people equally.
Our aim is a united Ireland and a new republic on this island which cherishes all our people in all their diversity and puts the interests of citizens first.
The Government’s refusal (and the failure of successive governments) to develop the historic Moore Street battlefield site as a historic quarter and a fitting memorial to the men and women of 1916 illustrates how embarrassed Fine Gael and Labour are by the centenary of the Rising and the social and economic intent of the 1916 Proclamation.
Sinn Féin is the only party that can lead a government to transform the political, social and economic life of citizens. We are advancing credible policies to build a better, fairer Ireland
Another Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael-led government merely offers more of the same.
So in this election – vote republican. Vote for change. Vote for fairness and equality. Vote for unity. Vote Sinn Féin.