7th May 2002
Sinn Fein Launch Radical Manifesto For Change
Text of a speech delivered today by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at the launch of the party manifesto in Dublin.
A Vote for Sinn Fein in this election is a vote for the peace process.
It is an endorsement of our role in that process.
It is a vote for a New Ireland, a free, united and independent Ireland.
It is a vote for change.
It is a vote for a republican alternative that puts equality and change at the heart of government.
The Sinn Fein manifesto is not a wish list of election promises to be discarded after the election.
This is a political manifesto, a radical political strategy, a long-term set of commitments by Sinn Fein to transform society on this island and advance our Irish republican goals.
Sinn Fein is the only all-Ireland party in this election.
We will use our mandate wisely.
Our task as republicans is to be agents of change; it is to build equality and partnership and to empower citizens. It is to change minds and attitudes and to rebuild relationships between the people of this island and between us and the people of these islands.
Sinn Fein believes that we can use the wealth generated in recent years to tackle the inequalities at the heart of Irish society.
That is our vision.
That is what this manifesto is about.
Sinn Fein is standing in this election on our record in the peace process, our determination to advance an all-Ireland agenda, effective local representation and our desire to offer the electorate a radical alternative to conservative politics of the other parties.
The Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998, in which the overwhelming majority of people voted OYes', is evidence of the strength of support for the peace process.
This election provides another opportunity to strengthen the peace process and to endorse Sinn Fein's role in it.
So, Sinn Fein is seeking support for:
- Our peace strategy
- The full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement
- A peaceful and democratic strategy for Irish Unity
- A Green Paper on Irish Unity from the incoming Dáil.
- The appointment of a Minister of State with specific responsibility for driving forward and co-ordinating the work of the all-Ireland institutions and implementation bodies.
- And progress on northern representation in the Oireachtas.
In this manifesto Sinn Fein presents social and economic policies, built around equality, which seek a more equitable sharing of the wealth.
People want to see their taxes - their money - used to provide better public services and a better quality of life for all.
Our policies cover health, education, the environment, including waste management, childcare, taxation, the Nice Treaty, Rural development and much more.
It is a comprehensive document, which sets out our social and economic goals. Sinn Fein is for:
- The replacement of the two tier Health system with a single tier public health service
- Housing provided as of right
- Access to a decent Education
- The provision of quality affordable childcare
- The Regeneration of Rural Communities
- Upholding the Nice Treaty Referendum result
Opponents of these proposals, including those responsible for the current multiple crises afflicting our health, education, and transport services and who have overseen the mismanagement of the opportunities created during the boom years, will say we cannot afford such policies.
This is nonsense. This state has the resources.
If there is the political, administrative and legislative will to build equality and equity into social and economic policy then we can achieve the fundamental social and political change which is required.
This political manifesto is an agenda for fundamental social and political change.
That means reshaping taxation to fund these changes, as well as rebuilding infrastructure, investing in public utilities, and our public services.
It means taking up the challenge of the peace process and accepting nothing less than equality for every citizen on this island.
It means working to achieve real progress toward Irish unity.
It took political will to develop a peace strategy, which others dismissed as impossible; it took courage to pursue that strategy and build a peace process; it has taken determination and commitment to achieve the progress made so far.
In the next Dáil Sinn Fein TDs will apply all of those same qualities to the process of Building an Ireland of Equals.
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