Costed alternative to budget being prepared, says Adams


SINN FÉIN THINK-IN:SINN FÉIN is preparing its own costed and practical alternative to the forthcoming budget, said party president Gerry Adams in Dublin yesterday.

The forthcoming property tax was a “most unfair” measure, he said.

“We don’t think it makes economic sense. We have argued very strongly for a wealth tax which would be means-tested and would be for property, apart from working farm land, [valued at or above] €1 million and would bring in €800 million.”

At the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann building in Clontarf he said “it would be fair, it would be equitable, as opposed to what the Government is doing”.

The Louth TD was speaking at the start of a one-day meeting of the party’s TDs, Senators and councillors to plan their approach to the Dáil term which starts today.

Topics on the agenda also included the party’s campaign to defend low- and middle-income earners from the Government’s “cutback agenda” and its project of promoting a united Ireland.

Mr Adams said it was going to be a very difficult autumn and winter for those who were likely to be affected by budget measures.

The party had to meet the challenge to deliver core republican values in a contemporary context. The Sinn Féin “mission statement” was the 1916 Proclamation. “What does it mean in the year 2012?” he asked.

“This is a bad government,” he continued, claiming that the Coalition had torn up every single election promise.The Government, he said, “doesn’t have the stomach to take on the vested interests” and found it much easier to go for weaker sections of the community.

Sinn Féin was working on three initiatives: “We will launch a job-creation and job-retention document; a rural regeneration document; and costed, practical submissions for a fair budget.”

Mr Adams said the party had no confidence in Minister for Health James Reilly. Sinn Féin tabled its own Dáil motion to that effect, but a similar motion from Fianna Fáil had been given priority.

Party vice-president Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Adams, NI Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and herself would represent Sinn Féin on the constitutional convention.

With the expert group on abortion due to report soon, she added: “We’ve had the same position for the past 20 years in respect of the X Case. We have argued very strongly for a long time that that has to be legislated for.”

She hoped the Government would act “very speedily” on the report when it came out.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Mr Adams, are to meet in a head-to-head debate tonight on Prime Time.

The invitation came from the RTE current affairs programme and the issue for debate will be who is the real leader of the opposition in Leinster House? The programme starts at 9.35pm.