January 21, 2020
Pearse Doherty TD addresses Sinn Féin General election candidate’s launch

Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy Leader and Director of Election Pearse Doherty addressed the Sinn Féin candidates launch as part of the current general election campaign.

Speaking today, the Donegal TD said;

A chairde,

The Democratic Programme, published by the First Dáil which met here on 21st January 1919, outlined an egalitarian vision of an Ireland run by and for the working people.

[A vision as relevant to Ireland in 2020 as in 1919.

Because the Democratic Programme was never implemented.

Instead, the Irish people were subjected to partition, economic inequality and injustice.

We still live with the legacy.] Sinn Féin in 2020 is as determined as our predecessors to realise the First Dáil's vision of a real republic built on equality and social justice for all.

The members of the First Dáil were rebels. Outsiders. Shunned by the establishment.

Censored. Excluded.

But they showed us that we don’t have to accept the status quo.

That we don’t have to accept the system as it is.

In 2020 Sinn Féin refuses to accept the obscenity of elderly people left suffering for days on hospital trolleys.

We refuse to accept scenes of children eating their dinner off the pavement outside the GPO.

We refuse to accept the horror of people forced to live in tents, because they don’t have a home, being swept up off the street like rubbish!

At every step over the last four years, this elitist Fine Gael government has sided with landlords, developers, insurance companies and vulture funds. And the people have been left poorer.

Leo’s cabinet of posh boys has shown a heartlessness, a complete lack of empathy, and a detachment from the reality of life for most people.

And, at every step of the way, they have been supported by Mícheál Martin’s Fianna Fáil.

Their remove from the feelings of most people was most starkly illustrated by their outrageous suggestion that there should be a state commemoration of the RIC.

That proved to be the final straw for most people, hastening the end of a dreadful government.

The Irish people and Sinn Féin are very clear clear – there is not and never will be any equivalence between those forces which fought for Irish freedom and those which sought to suppress it!

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have ruled this state for nearly 100 years.

In that time, they have provided governments for the wealthy, governments for the privileged, governments for the property developers, governments for the banks.

Isn’t it time we had a government for the people? That is what Sinn Féin offers. Successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have delivered for their friends and cronies.

They have delivered for big business, for vested interests and for golden circles. In government, Sinn Féin will deliver for the people. We will deliver homes – introducing the largest public housing programme in the history of the State.

We will tackle the hospital crisis – opening 1,500 beds and hiring thousands more nurses and midwives. We will deliver for workers and hard pressed families – scrapping the USC on incomes up to €30,000.

We will deliver for the environment – investing an additional €1bn in public transport and doubling investment in rural transport.

We will deliver on pension rights – nobody should have to sign on the dole at age 65. We will cut the exorbitant cost of childcare. We will end the insurance rip off.

In the North, with the support of the people, Sinn Féin ensured the end of the Orange state.

And, with the support of the people we will also end the failed, two party system in this state!

Sinn Féin wants to be in government to deliver for ordinary, working people.

But we don’t want to be part of the system. We want to change the system. Sinn Féin represents the greatest challenge yet to those who have dominated politics here since the foundation of the state.

We represent the greatest hope for those who want this country to be run in the interests of its people.

Our opponents know this. That is why they, and some of their media cheerleaders, seek so desperately to exclude us.

They know that the stronger Sinn Féin gets, and the more people respond to our message, the sooner their power and privilege will be ended.

I am not one to place much value on opinion polls. But the recent B&A/Sunday Times poll was notable in that it showed just 1% between Sinn Féin and Fine Gael.

Yet, RTÉ still plans to exclude Sinn Féin from the final televised debate of this campaign.

They want a head-to-head between Leo and his buddy Mícheál. What an absolute joke! What an insult to the license payer! So I ask RTÉ today – What are you afraid of?

This election is not and never was a two horse race and RTÉ is doing a shameful disservice to the Irish public by seeking to frame it in that way.

Let’s be honest about this. This will be a fake debate between two party leaders who have effectively been in coalition together. You couldn’t put a cigarette paper between Leo Varadkar and Mícheál Martin in terms of policy or ideology.

Although you may not know it, if you relied on RTÉ, the combined Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael vote is shrinking with every election. This election can be won by mobilising ordinary, working people whose interests will never be served by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

With the support of the people Sinn Féin can and will transform Irish politics. That is the message we must bring to the doors across this state over the coming days.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile. Ar aghaidh linn le Sinn Féin.

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