SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams appealed to all left-wing parties – including Labour – to unite in forming a government without Fine Gael or Fianna Fail after the next election expected in 2016
In his address to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis, he said partition led to the creation of two conservative Irish states north and south in the early 1920s. These states were dominated by elite groups who generated and sustained ‘a toxic political culture’.
“An elite, politically represented by the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail leaderships, often supported by the Labour Party, oversaw a culture of corruption and golden circles. These are the same interests that collapsed the Irish economy six years ago,” Mr Adams said.
During the speech in Wexford, the veteran SF president mounted a series of scathing attacks on Labour along with Fine Gael for breaking promises in Government. But party officials insisted that he was including the Labour Party in his broad appeal to all parties of the left to form the next government based on human rights and equality issues.
“If we are serious about changing this country, the Left needs to come together around viable alternative policies and take on the conservative establishment, who brought the economy to its knees and created the toxic culture that we are trying to break free from,” Mr Adams said.
“The conservatives, the right-wingers consistently unite around their issues. Those of us who have a different vision – a progressive, rights based vision must do the same,” he continued.
Mr Adams said Fine Gael and Labour had come into government in 2011 promising radical change from the Fianna Fail-led government. “They promised to transform political culture and to end cronyism,” he said.
But he said that instead of driving promised changes the FG-Labour Government had broken a whole series of promises. They cut benefits and services and brought in new unfair taxes, closed rural garda stations, presided over crippling bank debt, rampant emigration, and consistently high long-term unemployment.
“Our society has become increasingly polarised between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, ruled over by a government which is increasingly arrogant,” he said.
Mr Adams delivered a stinging attack on Health Minister Dr James Reilly saying Ireland was ‘the worst small country to be sick in’. He said it would not be enough for the Taoiseach to move Dr Reilly from the Health Department.
“Minister Reilly has to go. But this Government has to go with him,” the SF leader said.