[Sinn Fein]

30th September 1999

Fraud a galling theft of much needed resources - Adams

Address by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP After Care Recovery Group Check against Delivery

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at the launch of the After Care Recover Group in Dublin this afternoon, accused successive Dublin governments of turning a blind eye to the social and economic needs of working class communities in this city and elsewhere while members of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments were benefiting from illegal offshore account transactions.

Mr. Adams said: ``The various tribunals and the DIRT inquiry and now the investigation into Ansbacher have shown that while much needed resources were being denied to communities throughout this state, a wealthy elite, with the connivance of those in government, were growing richer.

Mr. Adams was in Leinster House this morning for the debate on the Ansbacher accounts.

Mr. Adams said:

I want to thank the After Care Recovery Group for their invitation to speak at the official launch of this innovative project. When I visited the project earlier today I was enormously impressed by the commitment and dedication of all of those involved, from the management team, to the participants and indeed the community support which made it all possible.

I know that you are not alone, that there are many groups involved in tackling drug abuse: ICON, SAOL, CRINAN and others. However, today I want to applaud your efforts. It is to your credit that when you realised that there was a serious gap in provision, that you came together to develop a project and then set about establishing it and making it work. The benefits of this project are here for all to see and it should be viewed as a catalyst for change for communities right around the country.

Everyone in this room is well aware of the human cost of the drug abuse. Some of you were here in the 1980s and experienced at first hand the devastation caused by heroin back then. More than a decade later we are in the midst of another crisis which is this time affecting all parts of this island from Cork and Limerick to Belfast and Ballymena.

We have all learned many lessons over the last 20 years. We know that it isn't enough to just stop the activities of the dealers we need treatment facilities, education and prevention.

We also need long term projects, such as this one, which equip young people for a purposeful life after drug addiction. Critical to the viability of such projects is adequate resourcing. It is not good enough that you are expected to operate on a year to year basis with no security to plan for the future. It is essential that the government secure long term financial support for projects such as this one.

It is galling to think of the continuous battle that people in this community have had to get essential resources especially with the ongoing revelations of corruption and fraud. The various tribunals and the DIRT inquiry have shown that wealthy people who wanted to evade tax were actively encouraged by financial institutions and felt confident that they could evade justice with impunity.

During the 1980s when young people in this city were dying in their hundreds the wealthiest in our society were depriving their fellow citizens of essential state services by defrauding massive amounts of tax as Ansbacher account holders. Who will forget the savage cuts in education and health and the almost impossibility of getting a job in the 1980s.

There must be recognition by the Dublin government of their responsibilities. Successive governments created the culture of tax evasion and avoidance that fed the mindset of the Ansbacher account holders. Members of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have been beneficiaries of illegal offshore account transactions. Successive Dublin governments created a complicated tax code where highly-paid tax consultants could help high-income earners take short cuts and cut their tax bill. The second issue that must be tackled is yet again the failure of the Revenue Commissioners and the Central Bank to tackle fraud and regulate the financial sector.

It is worth noting that while revelations continue about how the wealthy have evaded tax, the government is still dragging its feet on introducing the promised National Minimum Wage and the gap between the rich and the poor in our society is ever widening.

At the end of the day unless we tackle the social and economic inequalities which encourage the conditions in which drug abuse occurs we will be condemning future generations to the horrendous fall out from drug abuse. That is the reality of the task which is ahead of us.

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