May 1997


A Chara,

As we approach the new millennium, we need to consider what we expect as a nation. Are we to accept the continuation of division in our society, between north and south, east and west, young and old, wealthy and poor, men and women ?

Or should we not, instead, embrace a vision for the future which puts people first and seeks an end to the divisions which diminish us as a nation ?

Our vision is of a future in which people are united, in which there are no borders and no limits on progress towards a just society based on equality, respect for difference and the protection of the weak and vulnerable.

Our vision is of a future where communities are empowered to take greater control over developments which effect their lives.

Our vision is of a future in which people, whatever their social or economic status, feel that they are part of a Nation which accords them opportunity, dignity and the right to participate in the processes of power which effect their lives. It is a republican vision.

Sinn Fein is a party committed to real social, economic and political change. Play your part in creating change and in strengthening the nationalist position in peace negotiations by voting Sinn Fein No. 1 on June 6th.

Is mise,
Gerry Adams MP


A New Opportunity for Peace

This general election could be the last of the twentieth century. It will be a historic election in many ways as it will set the pattern for government in this state as it enters the next century.

For Sinn Fein the priority is the establishment of a just and lasting peace. The conflict in the north and the continuing divisions in our country have had a profound effect on the political, social and economic life of the 26 Counties. The prize of peace has dividends for all of the Irish people.

A new opportunity for peace exists. The election of two Sinn Fein MP's, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and the results of the council elections in the north have strengthened Sinn Fein's hand in pursuing our strategy for peace and will have an impact far beyond the constituencies they represent. 40% of northern nationalists have endorsed Sinn Fein's peace strategy and our commitment to achieving peace.

This election provides a further opportunity to strengthen the voice of nationalist Ireland by endorsing Sinn Fein's analysis and electing Sinn Fein TD's.

The great hope and expectation of August 1994 was dashed by 18 months of stalling by a British government which put the short term survival of the Conservative government before peace. John Major sold out the peace process to buy unionist support at Westminster.

The status quo in the north, illustrated by the events at Drumcree cannot continue.

There is an alternative. There can be a peace settlement worked out through real negotiations which address the issues of concern to all parties.

There is a new government in Britain. That Labour government, with it's clear majority holds the hope that the peace process can be rebuilt on an inclusive basis.

The new Irish government will also have a vital role to play in making this opportunity for peace a reality. They must avoid at all costs the mistakes of the last number of years.

Having Sinn Fein representatives in Leinster House will ensure that Sinn Fein will be part of those negotiations. We seek your support in our efforts to end conflict for good and to go into the next century with a Ireland united and at peace.

A vote for Sinn Fein is a vote


Irish Political Prisoners

International experience shows that it is imperative that the issue of political prisoners be addressed during the process of conflict resolution. There are currently 380 Irish Republican Prisoners Of War being held in jails in Ireland, Britain and the United States. 73 of these are serving life sentences while 80 are serving sentences of 20 years or over.

The treatment of Irish political prisoners in English jails seriously deteriorated following the IRA cessation of August 1994. Of the 28 Irish political prisoners in England, five are into their 22nd year of imprisonment and 14 are being held in solitary confinement in Special Secure Units (SSU's). Those held in SSU's are subjected to an inhumane regime of 23 hour lock up, constant cell searches and are subjected to closed visits.

All 41 Republican prisoners in Portlaoise jail are currently engaged in a ``non co-operation protest'' following the decision of the government to deny access to compassionate parole to a republican prisoner, serving a forty year sentence, following the death of his mother. There are four Republican Prisoners serving forty year sentences in Portlaoise. One of these men has served over sixteen years while the other three have served almost thirteen years.



Sinn Fein is committed to the maintenance of positive neutrality and an independent foreign policy. Neutrality is as valid today as it has been in the past, as this generation of Irish people have invested it with new meaning, relevant to the challenging international situation that they face.


Empowering Communities
the Fight against Drugs

The drugs crisis is now one of the major challenges facing Irish society. Radical action is necessary to fight the spread of drugs addiction, overdoses, anti-social crime, associated high rates of imprisonment and an increase in HIV and AIDS related illnesses and deaths. The scale of the drugs problem today is a direct result of the failure to introduce the measures necessary to tackle the problem.

Sinn Fein has a track record of campaigning against drug abuse. In October 1996 Sinn Fein launched a comprehensive set of recommendations to tackle the drugs problem. Although some of these proposals were implemented by the government much more needs to be done.



With both urban and rural areas experiencing increases in crime it has become a major social and political issue. There are no instant solutions, no easy options. There are many different types of crime, and different types of crime have different potential solutions. Crime will decrease when there is a co-ordinated response - social and economic, as well as law enforcement - to deal with the many causes of crime.

Government must invest in preventative programmes aimed at removing the causes of crime. Locking more people up in ``get tough'' jail regimes is not by itself a solution. Community facilities, training and jobs are vital elements in tackling crime.

Sinn Fein supports:


The Economy
A Future for Everyone

Putting People First

Sinn Fein's overall objectives for economic policy in Ireland are to provide sustainable and dignified livelihoods for all its citizens; to develop economic resources, human and material, to their fullest; and to create an economic base which reflects the social and cultural values of all the Irish people and which fulfils their material needs and aspirations.

While wealth is undoubtedly being created in this state, the reality of the Celtic Tiger is that ordinary people and whole communities both urban and rural still endure entrenched unemployment, poverty, multi-faceted disadvantage, social exclusion and endemic inequalities. We have also faced the consequences of the litany of financial scandals that taints both public and private sector business.

Eliminating Inequality

Increasingly we have seen the acceptance of the growing economic division and the development of a low wage economy of `yellow pack' jobs and temporary employment schemes. This is not the inevitable shape of the Irish economy.


An All-Ireland Economy

It is now widely accepted that an all Ireland Economy would bring considerable benefits. The Irish state is now advocating the bypassing of the political structures in the north and south to create an `island economy' based on co-operation in the areas of trade, economic planning and infrastructural development. A more thorough economic integration would bring greater benefits.

Sinn Fein advocates:


Local Democracy

Local partnerships can allow genuine community involvement and participation in economic and social policy. Their strength lies in the origins as a community led initiative. The aim of policy in this area should be to strengthen the partnerships and extend their role.


Water Charges

The decision to abolish urban water charges and to introduce a subsidy for the provision of domestic water supply for water schemes is welcome. Service charges are an inequitable method of raising tax as they are in no way related to the ability to pay.

Since the inception of this form of double taxation Sinn Fein has consistently opposed these charges at Council and community level and have worked with many groups seeking their abolition. The Federation Of Group Water Schemes, the Federation of Dublin Anti-Water Charges and the many community groups who campaigned against water rates deserve the real tributes and congratulations for the removal of this tax. Sinn Fein re-iterate our support for equality of treatment of all citizens, whether urban or rural resident

The crisis over service charges is a symptom of the political vacuum that exists in local government. The refusal of central government to regulate for effective representative and empowered local government is the real problem that needs to be tackled.

Sinn Fein calls for:


Rural Regeneration

Economic and social problems are not confined to urban areas. Rural areas throughout Ireland have a long history of political and economic marginalisation. While unemployment is rife, there is also substantial underemployment, low incomes, high emigration and poor access to health and social services.

Sinn Fein believes that the objective for rural areas should be a healthy and diverse economic and social environment where quality of life is enhanced by equality of opportunity.



Irish farmers, their families and the rural communities they make up have found themselves in an impossible position in the Ireland of the 1990s. The years of CAP funding have created gross inequities where 80% of the benefits have gone to 20% of the farmers. Now thousands of farmers have found themselves either in debt or working holdings which have been deemed economically unviable. Teagasc the agricultural advisory body in the 26 Counties has estimated that up to 5,000 people will leave farming every year in the 1990s. Furthermore despite the fact that EU funds now account for approximately 50% of average farm income, there is no concern in government at our dependency on the EU or on its effects on the Irish economy.



The history of Irish fisheries is not a story of success. It is rather a story of a struggle for survival against political ineptness and indifference and international exploitation of Irish coastal communities and the resources they depend upon. Ireland possesses 16% of EU fishing waters yet has just .3% of the EU tonnage and 2.5% of the EU fleet

Sinn Fein proposes:



Forests occupy almost 8% of the land area of this state with planting rates now approaching 30,000 hectares per annum. While 80% of the forest estate remains in public ownership there has been a massive increase in private ownership in recent years much of which has been poorly regulated.

Much tree planting at present is being carried out in an unbalanced fashion with too much emphasis on conifer plantation and not enough on deciduous hardwood trees which are native to Ireland. Conifer trees now comprise over 80% of planting in this state.

There needs to be proper management of forestry as blanket forestry is threatening rural communities. The level of forestry has already reached saturation point in some areas leading to depopulation.

Properly controlled forestry development can be achieved by -



For too long environmental issues have been divorced from the social realities of everyday life. Sinn Fein is committed to correcting that imbalance. We cannot hope to eradicate our consume-and-throw-society overnight but we can begin by making changes at homes and in the workplace. The aim must be to create less pollution, use energy wisely, reuse and recycle waste and establish integrated transport systems. Sinn Fein will campaign for a better environment by:



Although women now have formal legal equality in most areas of public live they are a long way from having real equality. A minority of married women work outside the home. When employed women earn less than men and their employment choices are more restricted.

Only 12% of TDs are women and women are grossly under represented in most other areas of public life.

The physical and sexual abuse of women is increasing in Irish society.

To achieve real equality for women Sinn Fein is advocating;



With over 40% of the population under 25 years of age the 26 Counties has the youngest population in the EU. According to recent figures, almost 62,000 people between 18 and 25 years of age are signing on the live register. While unemployment rates have decreased over the past three years Youth Unemployment is still running at twice the rate of unemployment for those over 25.



Primary and secondary schools remain disgracefully underfunded. 81% of primary schools have to raise their own funds for basic needs like heating and teaching materials. This creates an unequal situation as schools in disadvantaged areas cannot raise this extra funding.

Sinn Fein proposes:


Irish Language

Teilifís na Gaeilge despite its detractors, has proved that Irish is a living and vibrant language. It's success is thanks to the work of thousands of GaeilgeoirÌ and enthusiasts who demanded their rights and are beginning to see the fruits of their labours.

To build on these gains Sinn Fein proposes:

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