Sinn Féin councillors will be obliged to do everything in their power to root out corruption during the next council term, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said.
Launching his party's local election manifesto today, Mr Adams said that planning corruption became so entrenched in the State for so long that nobody was prepared to call a halt to it.
He criticised the record of the Government on this issue. He said that former minister for environment John Gormley had ordered an investigation into seven councils but his successor Phil Hogan had terminated the reviews.
Mr Adams said his party was “putting the Government on notice” that Sinn Féin councillors across the State will rigorously pursue evidence of corruption.
When it was put to him that one of the seven councils investigated was Monaghan County Council, where Sinn Féin had a not inconsiderable presence, Mr Adams said that the party had been shut out from decision-making in most councils, as happened in the North with Belfast City Council. Asked was he satisfied that no Sinn Féin councillor in Monaghan or elsewhere was party to inappropriate or bad rezoning decisions, he said he was satisfied.
“We are very forensic about this... If it’s proven that any member of our party anywhere is responsible for a corrupt decision [the party will take action].
“The record in Monaghan will show that we were blocked out of any committees by other parties,” he said.
Mr Adams was one of several party representatives who spoke at a media conference today.
Rose Conway Walsh from Mayo pointed out that a third of the party's candidates were female. Other speakers, including Conor Murphy, outlined the party's policies on water, social housing and its initiatives on stimulating jobs and small businesses at local level.
Asked did he agree with commentators who said Sinn Féin may triple its number of councillors from 54 to over 150, Mr Adams said he was not going to get carried away by opinion polls.
“There is clearly a swing towards Sinn Féin. Not one vote has been cast in the European and local government elections. We are not taking anything for granted. He said that the party would be willing to from strategic alliances with other parties.