[Sinn Fein]

6 February 1997

Sinn Fein host Economic Conference

Sinn Fein will host an Economic Conference entitled ``Putting People First - The Role of the Community in Building a new Ireland'' this coming Saturday, 8th February, at 2pm in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan.

Addressing the conference will be:

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams will give the closing address at 4.15pm.

Speaking prior to the conference Sinn Fein Monaghan County and Urban District Councillor Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

``This conference ``Putting People First - The Role of the Community in Building a new Ireland'' takes place at a time of intense debate about a ``booming'' Irish economy. However while many are benefiting from advances in the economy there are whole communities within urban and rural Ireland which still endure entrenched unemployment, poverty, emigration, social exclusion and endemic inequalities.

``Sinn Fein believes that socio-economic change must be shaped by the needs and expectations of ordinary people. We contend that the orthodox approach to economic planning and development has contributed to the creation of many difficulties within our communities. ``Adopting a people centred approach to economic development encourages innovation and participation. It stimulates new forms of enterprise and most crucially fosters democratic models of community economic regeneration. Sinn Fein believes that placing an emphasis upon what has become known as the social economy provides a vital framework for practically involving local communities in the formulation of strategies designed to effect immediate change to their own lives.

``As part of this whole debate Sinn Fein have also produced a discussion document ``Putting People First - The Role of the Community in Economic Development which will be discussed this week and at the party's Ard Fheis.

``This policy document elaborates on Sinn Fein's vision of a central role for local communities in creating a new Ireland and sets out the nature and scale of the social and economic problems which beset communities throughout Ireland. It outlines many areas of economic development including the role of the social economy, rural development, employment discrimination, peace and reconciliation funds and local partnerships and the establishment of a National Forum to inform the development of an island based social economy strategy.''

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