Adams: next election a chance to ‘transform Irish politics’

Sinn Féin leader accuses Government of lining up with EU elite against Greece

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that the  next general election will present the public with an unprecedented opportunity to transform the political landscape. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that the next general election will present the public with an unprecedented opportunity to transform the political landscape. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

The next general election will present the public with an unprecedented opportunity to transform the political landscape and Sinn Féin hopes to lead an anti-austerity government after it, party leader Gerry Adams has said.

Addressing a Sinn Féin meeting in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Mr Adams said Irish politics was “undergoing the biggest shake-up” since the partition of the island and it was a real possibility that the next government would not be Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil led.

“Our citizens are increasingly disillusioned with the conservative establishment which has dominated politics in this State since the 1920s,” he said, adding that the experience of the past few years had politicised a huge section of public opinion.

Mr Adams was critical of the Labour Party, which he said had “completely abandoned the interests of working people”.

He said a progressive anti-austerity platform would not be developed if the “unrequited” support given to Labour by some of the State’s trade union leadership continued. This platform should include “rebuilding our public health service, eradicating housing waiting lists and creating meaningful jobs with decent terms and conditions”.

“What is required is a coherent programme for government with clear priorities that begins the journey to a citizen-centred, rights-based society,” Mr Adams said.

“That is the fundamental ideological difference between Sinn Féin and this Government and their equally conservative Fianna Fáil-led predecessors.”

Newspaper reports on Sunday suggested the Government would not be backing efforts by the newly elected Syriza-led Greek government to secure debt forgiveness. Mr Adams said the decision of the Government to “line up with the EU elite and put the boot into Greece is shameful”.

“The issues which the Greek government are seeking to tackle are not a Greek problem. They are a European one. This state’s debt problem is not an Irish problem, it is a European one. The debt issue needs a European solution.”

A Syriza MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, on Saturday addressed a Sinn Féin conference in Dublin on the living wage.