Irish Republican News · January 24, 2015
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said he can’t see his party sharing power with either of the two main right-wing parties, Fine Gael or Fianna Fail, after the next 26-County general election -- but that Sinn Fein wants to be in government.
In polls, Sinn Fein is the first or second largest in the 26 Counties, neck-and-neck with Fine Gael, and possibilities for the formation of the next government have become the subject of intense media speculation. Fine Gael’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney drew criticism from colleagues for his suggestion that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail could share power after the next election, even though that outcome is now considered the most likely result by bookmakers.
Mr Adams said the removal of water charges and property taxes were red line issues for any potential deal for his party.
But said he had not considered being Taoiseach after the next election. “I haven’t given it any thought ..if that opportunity arises, we will look at that.”
Speaking on Irish state radio, Mr Adams heavily criticised the government’s record in dealing with issues to do with the North. He said it was the “worst government” to stand up to the British as co-signatories to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
The Sinn Fein leader said: “as someone who has dealt with every Irish government since Charlie Haughey’s time, including another Fine Gael government, this administration led by Mr Kenny is the most deficient, inefficient and incompetent in dealing with the north”.
Mr Adams specifically accused the Taoiseach of being ‘untruthful’ in his claim that ‘Martin McGuinness was prepared to accept a lesser deal’ in recent negotiations in the North.
Sinn Fein’s political opponents are increasingly pointing to contradictions in the party’s economic policies north of the border. An austerity budget reluctantly agreed with the DUP under pressure from the British government is set to axe 20,000 jobs from the public sector workforce and bring deep cuts to social welfare and other public programs.
But Mr Adams accused the Dublin government of only endorsing the British austerity agenda in the Stormont House talks. He also said the Taoiseach had refused to negotiate in any serious way at an international level in the best interests of the Irish people.
DEALING WITH DEBT
He was speaking after Kenny told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that ongoing “political stability” was required to ensure that the 26-County state’s “fragile” and “incomplete” emergence from the post-Celtic Tiger economic crisis could continue.
The Taoiseach, who joined 2,500 political, social and economic leaders from around the world at the event, said: “We need another three to five years of steady growth and of political stability, negotiating with our European colleagues, so that the people of our country actually feel the benefit of a recovery.”
Mr Adams said that Kenny’s coalition administration had already inflicted widespread hardship on Irish citizens and damage to society.
“Latest CSO statistics indicate that the number of children in poverty has risen to 140,000 and that the government will miss anti-poverty targets, with more than a third of young people in the State experiencing enforced deprivation
He blasted the Taoiseach for advising European leaders to press on with the austerity agenda and ignore calls for a conference to deal with European debt.
“The Taoiseach dismisses these democratic demands as ‘populism’,” he said.
“Mr Kenny’s remarks make it very clear that he is ideologically wedded to austerity and has no interest in seeking a better deal for Irish citizens.”
Mr Adams also said he had spoken by phone with Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza party, and wished well in Sunday’s Greek General Election. He said he had also expressed Sinn Fein’s full support for Syriza’s call for a European Debt conference.
“A debt conference opens up the real prospect of debt being significantly reduced for a number of States, including Greece and Ireland.
“In this State that would free up more money for economic stimulus and funding for vital public services, including health.
“Irish citizens should not have to wait for a Greek election for an Irish Government to stand up for their interests in the European Union. Regardless of which government the Greek people elect, our Government needs to put a debt conference on the agenda of the EU.”