Adams calls on Labour to leave Government ‘on principle’

Sinn Féin leader says Fine Gael could govern with support of Fianna Fáil


Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called on the Labour Party to leave Government and let Fine Gael continue with the support of Fianna Fáil.

In his presidential address to his party’s árdfheis in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Mr Adams said a “real” Labour Party with a “principled” leadership should not be in Government with Fine Gael.

“If Fine Gael is set on implementing Fianna Fáil policy then let them do that with the support of Fianna Fáil. Whatever the case for entry into coalition after the last election, there is now only one principled position for Labour,” he said.

“Leave this Government and leave it now.”

Mr Adams likened the ideology of the Irish Government to that of the British Government.

He said his party was opposed to social welfare cuts in Northern Ireland, “exactly the same way that we are opposed to the cuts being introduced by our own Tories in Dublin”.

On the issue of abortion, Mr Adams said successive governments had failed to legislate for the X case.

“The people have spoken and firmly placed the responsibility upon their Oireachtas representatives to legislate on this issue. It is time doctors had legal clarity. It’s time for protection for pregnant women whose lives are at risk,” he said.

He paid tribute to the “grace and great dignity” of Praveen Halappanavar and extended sympathy on the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin was “totally opposed” to the property tax, “and in government we will abolish it”. He also expressed opposition to water charges and said the party would resist any legislation to introduce them.

Turning to the situation in the North, Mr Adams said loyalists and unionists had more in common with their republican neighbours than they might realise.

He said dialogue was essential and called on his supporters to build alliances on social and economic issues with “working class” loyalists and unionists, “challenging though it may be”.

Mr Adams said: “The Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist people are not going away. And Sinn Féin doesn’t want them to go away. They are part of what we are and we have to get to know each other better, to listen and take heed of what is being said.”

He reiterated his belief that a border poll, or a “referendum for Irish unity”, should be held.

Mr Adams said there was still work to be done to ensure policing in the North was non-partisan and civic. He claimed recent decisions by the PSNI “have failed this test”. He also insisted there were elements within the Northern Ireland Office “who are uncomfortable with the new dispensation”.

The Sinn Féin leader called for a “victim centred” truth and reconciliation process and said republicans would not shirk from their obligations to those who died as a consequence of the conflict. He concluded by extending “love and solidarity” to Nelson Mandela.