[Sinn Fein]

8th March 2002

Sinn Fein committed to Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Dublin this morning prior to attending an International Women's Day meeting on the under representation of women in Irish politics said:

``Sinn Fein's commitment is to ``Building an Ireland of Equals''. For Irish women in this state, this means real and substantive support for women as workers, pensioners, students, homemakers, carers and mothers.

``Economic growth has created wealth yet voluntary agencies caring for the most vulnerable women are seriously under funded for example Women's Aide and the Rape Crisis Centre . Funding has been promised fmi9semisedor childcare initiatives but there has been a failure in the delivery of funds. There needs to be a central unit to handle government strategy and funding.

``A programme for government must include real commitment to the visible implementation of its National Development Plan for women. Real needs must be prioritised:

Sinn Fein believes that social policy must get priority in a Programme for Government. The balance in spending on social policy must be reflected in the annual budgets.

``A future government must anchor delivery of the National Development Plan for Women in the Department of the Taoiseach and establish a gender and equality- monitoring unit at the centre of government. Only then can all government policy be gender and equality proofed.

``Sinn Fein is committed to pursuing these objectives and indeed putting our own house in order. Using funding received under the ``Equality for Women Measure'' our party has appointed an equality administrator. She has launched a programme using surveys and training to examine our practices, develop our policies and most importantly encourage and facilitate our women members and supporters into positions of power and responsibility.

``We are committed to improving opportunities and life for women in our party and society.

``We are proud to have a team of strong determined political leaders in our work on the peace process, together; with a dedicated team leading the election campaign in this state, republican women take their central place on the road map to an Ireland of Equals.''

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