Former Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has confessed to being “emotional” at the prospect of stepping back as a TD for Louth.
Gerry Adams was addressing a party meeting in Dundalk where he briefed activists on the successful negotiations to restore the political institutions in the North.
Gerry Adams said:
“As my term as a TD for Louth comes to an end, I have to confess to being emotional about departing after serving the people of this constituency for nine years.
“I am deeply indebted to the citizens who elected me in 2011 and again in 2016 with Imelda Munster.
“I want to thank all of them and also my comrades in Sinn Féin.
“Throughout my nine years in Louth, my endeavour was to keep a national focus while delivering locally.
“This included developing alternatives to Brexit, advancing the national cause, co-operating with neighbouring border counties and campaigning for projects like Narrow Water Bridge which as recently as last week we succeeded in getting into the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement, which enabled the re-establishment of the power sharing government at Stormont.
“Locally we concentrated on improving the provision of public services – particularly the provision of a Primary Care Centre in Dundalk, Mental Health services, housing provision, a new county ground for the GAA, and much more.
“Sinn Féin, along with civil society and organisations like Border Communities Against Brexit have worked hard to ensure that there will be no physical infrastructure reinforcing the border dividing Ireland.
“But there is much more work to been done to protect our economies North and South and to oppose the efforts by the British to dilute the rights agenda in the North.
“I have mixed feelings about Leinster House. Obviously Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have a common agenda of outright hostility to Sinn Féin because we are United Irelanders and because of our commitment to equality, fairness and our core republican values.
“However, in the last term they took this to the extreme of turning Leinster House into a Do Nothing Dáil.
“The partnership between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael smothered and limited the potential for real solutions to the crises in housing and the health service. It also undermined the potential for advancing the search for Irish Unity in line with the Good Friday Agreement.
“Votes against the government were rendered meaningless as they were ignored by the Taoiseach with the active support of the Fianna Fáil leader.
“I also want to thank everyone who works in Teach Laighean to provide services and support for Oireachtas members.
“The catering staff, the ushers, the civil servants and cleaners, the librarians and research staff, An Garda Síochána and everyone else who ensure that the place functions, have been wonderful to work with.
“So too have my comrades in Sinn Féin’s Oireachtas team led by Mary Lou. I wish them well.
“I welcome the calling of the election and the opportunity for Sinn Féin to persuade voters to elect an even stronger Sinn Féin team. Sinn Féin has strong, costed policies to end the crisis in housing and health, provide childcare, tackle climate change and poverty, and give families and workers a break.
“We also have a clear strategy to win support for Irish Unity. This has been enhanced by the establishment of the power sharing government in the North and I am pleased to have been part of that endeavour.
“If we had listened to the propaganda from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil the durable basis for the Assembly would not have been secured.
“So there is a lot to be done. In Louth, Sinn Féin is standing two excellent candidates – Imelda Munster and Ruairí Ó Murchú – who in their time on Louth County Council, and in Imelda’s time in the Dáil, have proven to be very effective public representatives. I appeal to voters of Louth to return them both.
“I appeal to voters across the state to return an even stronger Sinn Féin team.
“On February 8th, the electorate will have the opportunity to vote for fairness and decency and for Irish Unity and to end the tweedledee and tweedledum politics of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.”