Labour tells canvassers to target Sinn Féin

Party guide outlines script for election workers ahead of local and EU polls

The Labour Party is recommending canvassers  tell voters that Sinn Féin is aligned to “marginal extremists in the European Parliament, some of whom wish the Berlin Wall had never come down”. Photograph: Getty

The Labour Party is recommending canvassers tell voters that Sinn Féin is aligned to “marginal extremists in the European Parliament, some of whom wish the Berlin Wall had never come down”. Photograph: Getty

Wed, Apr 23, 2014, 01:00

The Labour Party is recommending its canvassers to tell voters during the local and European election campaigns that Sinn Féin is aligned to “marginal extremists in the European Parliament, some of whom wish the Berlin Wall had never come down”.

The party’s canvassers’ guide lists messages to sell on the doorstep about its performance in Government as well as lines of attack against Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, a vote for the latter described as “a vote for those who brought us to ruin”.

“Sinn Féin have never supported the European project,” it says. “They are a Euro-sceptic party opposing every EU referendum.”

It also claims Sinn Féin supported the bank guarantee and implements “austerity in Northern Ireland”.

In turn, Sinn Féin is telling its candidates and activists “to highlight Labour’s failures in Government, particularly on water meters and housing. And the fact that Fianna Fáil led us into economic ruin, while the current Fine Gael and Labour Government are following the same policies.”

Fine Gael has also issued briefing documents to its campaigners, including a defence of its performance in Government as well as attacks on Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and Sinn Féin. The party has also issued a DVD advising campaigners about how to behave on the doorsteps.

The Fine Gael document states: “Fianna Fáil in government repeatedly lied to the Irish people about the state of the economy” and includes a list of quotes from “their current leader Micheál Martin”.

These include claims from Mr Martin in 2011 that the economy would grow by 3 per cent that year, and one from September 2010: “We will not have to [go to the IMF] . . . absolutely not.”

Quotes from other former Fianna Fáil ministers are also included.

“Let’s not forget about Fianna Fáil’s coalition partners in the worst government in the history of this state – the Greens, ” notes the document. “They say that this Government is ‘heartless’ and that it doesn’t have the interests of the people at heart.”

It then criticises the Green Party for a number of policies implemented by the last government, such as the creation of the National Asset Management Agency, and states: “Several years after sneering at the view from ‘Planet Bertie’, they became citizens of ‘Planet Bertie’.”

“Their core ‘achievements’ in government were the introduction of a ‘carbon tax’ (increasing fuel prices for consumers), the ban of stag hunting, a watered-down Climate Change Bill (which included measures completely opposite to their avowed principles) and banning the building of a road to protect a type of slug in counties Cork and Kerry.”

Fine Gael also tells its canvassers to point out that Sinn Féin is implementing austerity in Northern Ireland.

Fianna Fáil sources indicated they had issued no such documentation to candidates and campaigners.

The Labour document also states that it wants to reduce taxes where possible, while Sinn Féin says it is “highlighting our proposals to get Ireland back to work.

“We stand apart from the three establishment and pro-austerity parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.”