Mary Lou takes on Bertie
Mary Lou takes on Bertie

Sinn Féin Chairman and MEP Mary Lou McDonald is set to contest the next 26-County general election in the Taoiseach’s constituency, it has emerged.

Ms McDonald is to go forward for a party nomination to contest the Dublin Central constituency in which Bertie Ahern holds his parliamentary seat.

Sinn Féin came close to capturing a seat in the constituency at the last general election.

Popular local republican Nicky Kehoe missed out on a seat in Dublin Central by 79 votes in 2002 when he was narrowly defeated by Ahern’s Fianna Fail party. Ms McDonald last contested the Dublin West constituency.

The announcement comes amid continued pre-election positioning by the main parties in the South -- even though the election is not officially due for over a year.

Sinn Féin was accused this week by a Fianna Fail minister of threatening to create “a ghetto economy”.

Fianna Fail Communications and Marine Minister Noel Dempsey went on the offensive against Gerry Adams and his party, repeating claims by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that Sinn Féin’s economic policies would be disastrous for the country.

The Meath TD argued: “Gerry Adams has called for social spending to be doubled. This is a fundamentally misguided objective.

“For many reasons - such as low unemployment and our young population - we have no cause to increase social spending to such a high level.”

The Fianna Fail minister declared: “The country would be bankrupt. The spectre of emigration would return.

“It would really be a national nightmare. Fianna Fail will never let such policies be implemented.”

Last week saw all the establishment parties take turns attacking Sinn Féin amid predictions the party could soon hold the balance of power in the Dublin parliament.

At a selection convention confirming Joe Reilly would run in Meath West at the next election, Mr Adams accused the other parties of selling the electorate a pup in 2002.

The West Belfast MP told party activists: “There was little or no discussion about how to resolve problems in key services such as health and education, instead all that was discussed were costings and balance sheets.

“And it is clear that the approach to the next election will be no different, except that this time the focus will be on Sinn Féin.

“Sometime over the next 18 months the electorate will choose a new government.

“I want to challenge the Taoiseach and the other party leaders to stop hiding behind sham politics and to engage in a real debate about the problems facing people the length and breadth of the country.

“The next election needs to be fought in terms of ideas and the type of country we want to live in - not in terms of accountants’ balance sheets.”


A massive giveway budget was being predicted after it was confirmed that the Dublin government will have up to 1.5 billion Euro extra to spend in the 2006 Estimates, published yesterday.

Producing the Estimates, the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen said that extra budget day spending would be centred on social welfare increases, improving the care for the elderly and on infrastructure.

The Government said it would also improve childcare services and increase health spending.

Mr Adams said his party would put equality at the heart of government policy, pressing for an end to a two tier health system and addressing the problem of 48,00 families on housing waiting lists.

The Sinn Féin president said: “Given the massive resources at the disposal of the state, the government is in a position to provide a proper health service, sufficient housing and a decent education system.

“The reason this is not happening is because the Government’s focus is not on building public services but on privatising public services.

“There is also an additional problem of gross inefficiency across government departments.

“We believe that investing in public services should be the number one priority for any incoming government.”

Mr Adams also criticised the tax system claiming it currently favoured the wealthiest in society.

He argued: “There is a lie out there that we are a low tax economy. Yes, while some personal taxation rates may be low in comparison to other states the reality is that there is massive and increasing indirect taxation.

“This way of raising tax disproportionately impacts most on those least able to afford it. This is inequitable and unjust.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin wanted the end of all tax exemptions except where the economic and social value outweighs the cost to the exchequer and the introduction of legislative changes to prevent wealthy individuals from declaring they are non-resident for tax purposes.

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