Irish Republican News · May 8, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sinn Féin campaign ‘quietly confident’

The North’s deputy first minister-designate Martin McGuinness has predicted Sinn Féin will be “the story of the election” in the 26 Counties later this month.

Speaking to journalists as the party’s 12 Dublin candidates submitted their nomination papers, he said they were “very confident” they were going to do very well in the general election.

“We have five TDs at the moment and we’re confident we’re going to substantially increase that number.

“We don’t predict the number of seats - that’s for the electorate - but let’s just put it like this. We’re quietly very, very confident that Sinn Féin’s again going to be the story of this election.”

Party president Gerry Adams, who visited Cork yesterday, said that it was difficult to say whether the party would benefit from a “bounce” in the South on foot of its entering into government with the DUP in the North but the response to date was very positive in Dublin.

Questioned about Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s assertion that Fianna Fail would not go into coalition with Sinn Féin, Mr Adams pointed out that Ian Paisley had also pledged never to go into government with Sinn Féin and he had since entered government with the party.

Mr Adams said that the question should not be whether Fianna Fail was willing to go into government with Sinn Féin but rather what commitments Sinn Féin would require before agreeing to go into government with Fianna Fail.

Among these commitments would be an abandonment of the current Government’s plan to build private hospitals in the grounds of public hospitals, a plan that would not benefit people but only wealthy private investors, he said.

And if the current nurses’ dispute was still unresolved after the election, Sinn Féin would also make it a condition of government that the nurses’ demands for a 35-hour week and better pay be granted immediately.

Nurses are escalating work stoppages from one hour to three hours over the next week. The action has underlined both the crisis in the health service and the financial pressures on working people as a result of Ireland’s high rate of inflation.

More than 40,000 nurses and midwives are involved in a bitter dispute with health managers over claims for a 35-hour working week and a 10.5 per cent pay increase.

They have been involved in a work-to-rule action for the past five weeks, including refusing to answer phones or use computers.

They are due to stage two-hour stoppages on Tuesday and Wednes-day while members are planning to stop work for three hours next Friday in facilities in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

Minister for Health Mary Harney has accused the nurses of putting patients at risk through a “futile” escalation of their industrial action.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News