A message from Gerry Adams

The following is the foreward by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams to the party’s manifesto for next week’s Westminster election.

This election is about leadership. It is about peace. It is about equality. It is about jobs and it is about unity.

It is about which party can deliver for this society going into the future. It is about who people want as their political leaders.

And there is a clear choice.

Sinn Fein provides experienced political leadership that is unmatched and which has been tested through years of political struggle, through successful negotiations and through providing a positive way forward for this country and its people.

Ta imni ar dhaoine go bhfuil roinnt iarrachtai ag dul ar aghaidh chun proiseas na siochana a chur o mhaith.

Ta siad buartha faoin teip nach bhfuil roinnt pairtithe agus ceannairi polaitiula abalta eiri os cionn leas a phairti fein - agus an dushlan a chomhlionadh le togail don todhchai.

Mar sin, ta an toghchan seo faoi ag tabhairt ceannaireachta.

In February 2010, Sinn Fein concluded an agreement at hillsborough with the dUP on the way forward. Many thought this couldn’t happen. But it did. This was a hugely important moment.

Sinn Fein did this by making the two governments and the dUP face up to their political responsibilities. as a result, policing and justice were transferred in april.

By the end of the year there will also be the transfer of powers from london to Belfast to deal with the issue of parades. More powers moving from england to Ireland.

Outstanding issues including Irish language rights will also be delivered on and there is additional funding for the language. It is another staging post on the road to a United Ireland and it is proof that change is possible.

Sinn Fein achieved all this by being bold and by being focused. By standing up for ourselves. By standing up to the governments. By standing up to the dUP. By standing up for the rights of citizens in a continuous process of change. By mapping out a strategy and sticking at it until we succeed.

Sinn Fein is interested only in making a positive difference to the lives of the Irish people. Those who say that this isn’t possible should look to what is emerging from our efforts in the Six county executive.

The benefits of Sinn Fein’s equality agenda in helping to drive anti-poverty initiatives are obvious. This includes tackling fuel poverty; it means free travel for the over 60s; the ending of prescription charges; and the freezing of the regional rate.

Sinn Fein Ministers have introduced classroom assistants in every P1 and P2 class. We have invested in schools, in jobs, in infrastructure. We have staved off water charges, and brought forward funding to tackle rural poverty and social exclusion.

Everything that Sinn Fein has done is rooted in the equality agenda. That is why some of the big initiatives, particularly on education, have met such resistance. The opposition to the removal of the 11-plus is mainly class driven and arises from the desire of a small minority to protect an unequal system.

Parents want the best for their children. So do we. We understand the importance of protecting academic excellence. our job is to make it available to all children.

Our commitment is to ensure that every school is a good school and that every child has full equality of opportunity. That means measuring how inequalities exist and compensating accordingly through targeting public resources and policies on the basis of objective needs.

I am absolutely convinced that this will be the outcome. already influential sectors - including the trade unions and the commission for catholic education - are taking important steps which will support our positive programme of transformation.

The equality agenda is also central to our determination to ensure that a proper and effective Bill of Rights for the north is established. We will oppose any effort by the NIo to undermine the anti-discrimination and pro-equality rights established by the good Friday agreement.

Sinn Fein is a proud Irish Republican Party. our primary political goals are an end to partition and a new Ireland, a United Ireland.

The key to building this new Ireland, democratically shaped by the people, is to start now.

The Proclamation of the Republic sets out our goal - ‘to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts’.

And it commits this new republic ‘to religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens’; and to ‘cherishing all the children of the nation equally’.

Not just the rich and wealthy; the healthy and the young, but every citizen irrespective of age or gender or ability or disability or race or religion or belief.

The key to achieving this is leadership.

The key to making progress; to building a new future; to making change irreversible, is leadership.

And Sinn Fein has that leadership.

A tried and trusted leadership, with the experience of years of struggle, and of successfully charting a way forward for the peace process.

Sinn Fein demonstrated that leadership at hillsborough in March.

We have demonstrated that leadership at every stage of the evolving peace process.

By standing up to the governments. By standing up for the rights of citizens.

And by making clear to the unionist parties that while we are a partner in government, we are no push over.

We want to work with unionists.

We take seriously our republican heritage which embraces the radical Presbyterian tradition of the United Ireland Movement. and we are serious also about developing normal human relationships based on tolerance, respect and equality.

While others talk about a United Ireland, Sinn Fein has a strategy to make it happen. Sinn Fein has the leadership, the right ideas, the right policies and the right political strategy to build a new future.

In this election you have the opportunity to endorse this strategy for positive change; to build a better future for all our people but especially our young people. and to advance the goal of Irish reunification.

Vote for real change. Vote for positive leadership. Vote for the only party that deliver for citizens.

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