February 12th 2002
Adams launches Sinn Fein campaign in Dublin South West
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP MLA is in Dublin South West where he is campaigning with Party colleague Sean Crowe who is widely expected to win a seat in the upcoming general election. Mr. Adams is on a two-day visit to South Leinster. Tomorrow he visits Wexford and will in Wexford, Enniscorthy and New Ross.
The Sinn Fein leader will address a public meeting this evening in the Killinarden Community center, Tallaght. In 1992 Sinn Fein held its Ard Fheis here and launched the `Towards a Lasting Peace' strategy document which formed the core of the party's peace strategy. Speaking this evening Gerry Adams said:
``10 years ago there was a sustained effort by the Dublin political establishment to eradicate Sinn Fein. Our Ard Fheis was banned from corporation buildings .The people of Tallaght opened their homes and this community center to us.
Looking back now it seems like a different world. And in respects it was. In 1992 Section 31 meant that Sinn Fein was banned from the broadcast media. Unofficial censorship pervaded the rest of the media. Governments refused, at least publicly, to speak to Sinn Fein. We were blocked from using the Mansion House for our Ard Fheis. And our members their families and elected representatives were the target of loyalist death squads. Thursday sees the 13th anniversary of the killing of John Davey, the first of our Councillors to be killed.
But in the midst of all of this ordinary people remained sound. And this was no more evident than here in Tallaght where we were given access to this community center for our Ard Fheis, but perhaps of greater significance the hundreds who traveled here from all across Ireland were welcomed with open arms and open doors.
The people of this area where heavily criticized for the decision they took. But ten years later who was right?
Those political leaders who obstructed the development of the peace process, who actively thwarted the efforts for peace, and preferred to stick with the old failed agenda of demonizing and marginalizing people, or you the people of Tallaght.
And ten years later many of those same politicians are still speaking out of the side of their mouths.
They are telling people why not to vote for Sinn Fein and some to their shame are even falling back on the sort of allegations and accusations first dreamed up in British intelligence back-rooms and subsequently used to excuse the killing of republicans and our families.
But they are not telling people why to vote for them! They are running a negative campaign against Sinn Fein. Why? Because they are afraid of the radical alternative politics we argue for. They are not afraid of us. It is the people they fear.
They also say that Sinn Fein cannot be trusted. Some of those who are saying this now have also commended us for our stewardship of the peace process in the north. The ending of conflict and the saving of lives has to be the most important thing that anyone can be trusted with. Others are consistent at least on this issue. They were always against the peace process and Sinn Fein's involvement in it.
I believe in people. I believe that they see through this nonsense. I also believe that the story of this election will be the growth of the Sinn Fein vote and the increased number of seats that we will win in Leinster House.
The issues for the electorate are equally clear cut - health care, childcare, public housing, rural redevelopment, the peace process, the Nice Treaty and a fairer and more equitable distribution of the wealth created by the Celtic Tiger economy.
There is also a rejection of the corruption that has marked political life in the 26 counties for a very long. The reality is that there is no difference between the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum politics of all the main conservative parties. At one point or another in the past 10 years all of these parties have been in coalition with each other, sharing power, and sharing in the benefits of power. But they have failed to deliver the standard of health care, the standard of education, of housing, of jobs that people need. They have refused to abide by the democratic decision of the people of this state to reject the Nice Treaty. They have squandered the unique opportunity provided by a strong economy to ensure that people enjoy a health service that provides health care from the cradle to the grave; to end poverty; to abolish waiting lists for homes, to cherish all the children of the nation equally.
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