Thursday 23 May 2019

Adams hits out at FF and Martin over Kenny talks

ARD FHEIS: Gerry Adams targeted the FF leader in his speech. Photo: Reuters
ARD FHEIS: Gerry Adams targeted the FF leader in his speech. Photo: Reuters
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams hit out at Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Independent TDs in his speech to his party's ard fheis last night - but targeted most of his ire at Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

Mr Adams claimed that Sinn Fein had been "willing" to talk to Fine Gael and Fianna Fail "in the interests of delivering change" but that "they refused to talk to us".

He accused the two parties, and Mr Martin's Fianna Fail in particular, of "nasty little soundbites" that would "make the DUP blush" and said these were aimed at suggesting that Sinn Fein wasn't fit for government.

Mr Adams said Mr Martin had said he would not put Enda Kenny back into government but claimed that that was now "exactly what he is doing" by engaging in minority government talks.

The Sinn Fein leader claimed that Mr Martin "knows" that a government led by Mr Kenny won't resolve crises in homelessness and health and that the leadership of Fine Gael "have little interest in Irish unity".

He said that Mr Martin would prefer to return Fine Gael to government "as part of his effort to counter the growth of Sinn Fein."

Mr Adams said had a message for Mr Martin.

"You promised in your manifesto to abolish Irish Water and to scrap water charges. Water charges must go. Irish Water must go."

Mr Adams also took a swipe at Independent TDs involved in government-formation talks.

People thought they were voting for an alternative when they supported Independents, he said, adding: "Some of these TDs now stand with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. How independent is that?"

Mr Adams noted that 100 years ago last night "small groups of men and women were making their final preparations for the Rising" and that on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, they "took on the largest empire in human history".

The Louth TD lashed out at what he described as "shameful revisionism" and attempts to "denigrate the heroes of 1916". He noted that revisionists were arguing that the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond, who opposed violence, was right on Home Rule, that James Connolly and Padraig Pearse were wrong and that the British would have granted independence anyway.

According to Mr Adams, this was "nonsense" and he asked were not Redmond and the unionist leader Edward Carson men of violence for encouraging Irishmen to fight in World War One.

He rejected suggestions that the vision of the Proclamation had been fulfilled, saying: "No republic worthy of its name would tolerate partition, mass emigration, poverty and homelessness."

Mr Adams went on to criticise Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail for what he claimed were their views on Ireland's struggle for freedom.

He said Sinn Fein was "proud" of that struggle and argued that it included the Troubles in the North.

"We are not Fine Gael or Labour. We are proud of the men and women of 1916. We are not Fianna Fail. We are equally proud of the men and women of the H Blocks and Armagh and of the 1981 hunger strikers and of the patriotic dead from our time."

Sunday Independent

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