[Sinn Fein]

5 November 2000

Gerry Adams replies to Mary Harney's attack today on economic policy

The Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams MP, has hit back at the attack in a Sunday newspaper* by Progressive Democrats leader Mary Harney on Sinn Fein's economic policies.

Mr Adams said the PDs are motivated by concern for a rich and privileged elite rather than the community as a whole.  ``Mary Harney is jointly in charge of a state with unprecedented wealth from a boomng economy but cannot manage the crises our people have to cope with every day in transport chaos, education, housing and hospital waiting lists.''

Mr Adams said:

``Mary Harney may be worried about Sinn Fein's economic policies, but what is there to fear in building the houses, paying the worker an adequate wage, educating our children and ensuring that each day they can look forward to proper clothes, nourishing food and warm homes?  What is wrong in wanting to ensure equity in education and health care?

``The PDs think it is wrong because their party and their policies are for the rich, the economic establishment that is benefiting from the economic boom oblivious to those being exploited by it and, worse still, indifferent to those left behind.''

``Mary Harney believes that the last 13 years of the 26-County state has created an  economic miracle. Everybody recognises the huge strides made by the 26-County economy over recent years - but the difference between Sinn Fein and the Progressive Democrats is that Sinn Fein can clearly see that not everyone is enjoying the `miracle'.

``How is the miracle going to help the 40,000 people on local authority waiting lists with little hope of having a proper home?

``How is it going to help the tens of thousands of people who have seen their rents double and double again?

``How is it going to help the people who have found work but have also found themselves condemned to a life-time of low pay and a subsistence standard of living?

``Mary Harney promises that those on the minimum wage will be taken out of the tax net during the life-time of this government.  This could have been done with Charlie McCreevy's first budget in 1997. Instead he chose to reward the well-off and the rich. He cut the higher rates of tax, halving Capital Gains Tax, while leaving the lowest section of society out of the bonanza. Mary Harney went along with this inequity.

``At least 170,000 children are today living in poverty.  Thousands more are suffering deprivation according to research recently published by Combat Poverty.  How will Mary Harney's miracle help these people? She has clearly failed them.

``Central to creating an equitable society is the need to Share the Wealth.''

* Ireland on Sunday, 5 November 2000

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