Adams says voting No 'patriotic and positive' action
IT IS A good, patriotic and positive action to vote No to the fiscal treaty, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told delegates at the party ardfheis in Killarney, Co Kerry.
Mr Adams called on delegates and voters to reject the “austerity treaty” on Thursday. “Austerity isn’t working, and won’t start working on June 1st,” he said.
He also stated that republicans must work to persuade unionists that a united Ireland “makes sense”, and touted a €13 billion stimulus package which he said could create 130,000 jobs directly.
More than 1,000 Sinn Féin delegates gathered in the INEC centre in Killarney, Co Kerry, on Saturday evening to hear Mr Adams make his pitch for a rejection of the treaty.
“Right now if you do not like the policies of the Government you can sack them or re-elect them. You won’t be able to do that with unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Frankfurt and Brussels,” Mr Adams said. “That is undemocratic. Don’t give up your power. Don’t give your democratic rights away. And don’t write austerity into the Constitution.”
Mr Adams, whose speech was carried live on RTÉ, dedicated almost four minutes to urging a No vote; Taoiseach Enda Kenny was permitted similar time on RTÉ yesterday to make the Yes case.
“It is a good and patriotic and positive action to say No to a treaty that is bad for you, bad for your family and community, bad for society and entirely without any social or economic merit,” said Mr Adams. “Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have not offered any positive arguments in favour of this treaty. The Taoiseach won’t even debate the issue. That’s not leadership.
“That’s not showing citizens the respect they deserve. Instead Mr Kenny, Mr Gilmore and Mr Martin are trying to scare people into voting Yes. Whether it was British rule or a domineering church hierarchy, Irish citizens have had enough of being ruled by fear. We are done with that.”
Mr Adams, proposing a €13 billion three-year stimulus programme, called on the Government to implement a job-creation strategy. This programme would create 130,000 jobs, he said.
“There are funds available – in the National Pension Reserve Fund, in the European Investment Bank, in the private pension sector and in Nama,” he added.
Mr Adams said 70,000 people were emigrating each year and this was “forced emigration, not a lifestyle choice”. Rural Ireland, particularly the west, was being devastated.
“It is an indictment of the two men from the west who lead this bad Government. Shame on you Taoiseach. Shame on you Tánaiste,” he said. “Forced emigration is one of the huge damning failures of this State. Citizens are angry.”
He said Fine Gael and Labour had been elected to change the “disastrous policies” of Fianna Fáil, but instead they had embraced these policies.
“They have cut public services and wages, attacked the rights of the most vulnerable, and introduced new stealth taxes – the household charge, water charges, septic tank charges, VAT and fuel increases. What is the point of the Labour Party in this Government? What would James Connolly think of the Labour leadership’s implementation of right-wing austerity policies?”
Mr Adams also said Sinn Féin wanted to demonstrate to unionists that a united Ireland was also in their interest. “A single island economy makes sense,” he said.
“It does not make sense on an island this size . . . to have two states, two bureaucracies, two sets of government departments, and two sets of agencies competing for inward investment.”