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28 November 2002 Edition

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Budget for an Ireland of Equals

BY ROBBIE MacGABHANN


With difficult workloads, demands from constituencies and the wider party, it takes a lot to get the five Sinn Féin TDs together. Last week, however, the five were present as Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin launched the party's most comprehensive pre-Budget submission ever.

Ó Caoláin said that this reflects the work of our elected representatives in the community, our all Ireland agenda and our determination to provide real and effective leadership in opposition to the government.

According to Ó Caoláin: "The forthcoming Budget needs to be seen in the context of the last five years of squandered opportunities. The government failed to use unprecedented prosperity to create a better quality of life for all. The difficulties we now face do not come about simply because of the shortfall in the public finances which have arisen in 2002 - they result from mismanagement and the squandering of the unique opportunities of the past five years.

"Sinn Féin makes no apology for presenting again in our Pre-Budget submission many of the demands we raised in the years of record budget surpluses. These are issues of social justice. They cannot be set aside because we now face the results of government mismanagement. They must remain on the political and economic agenda."

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