Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams this morning launched the party’s election campaign for the Westminster election on May 6th.
The following is the full prepared text of his address at the the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
Leadership - Peace; Equality; Jobs and Unity
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.
Sinn Fein is the united Ireland party. The all-Ireland party. The party with elected representatives in every forum on this island. From Cork to Derry, from Kerry to Down people vote Sinn Fein.
We are in the business of nation building. As Irish republicans we have put the issue of Irish re-unification onto the political agenda in London, Dublin, Washington and Belfast. We have engaged the Diaspora across the world in the campaign for a united Ireland.
We are also engaging with unionists on this issue at civic and community, as well as political level, and on social and economic, on bread and butter issues, as well as on the constitutional question.
Our vision for a united Ireland is unique amongst the parties in this election. Others, be they Tory, nationalist or post nationalist are content to be bit players in the corrupt politics of Westminster.
They are already pledging support for the parties who have supported war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Voting to introduce 28 day detention. That is the extent of their ambition.
Republican ambitions are much greater than that. So are the ambitions of citizens out there.
Only this week further evidence that the peace process continues to deliver. The transfer of powers on policing and justice was a day our opponents said would never come. We proved them wrong once again.
Agus faoi dheireadh na bliana seo beidh aistriu cumhachtai o Londain go Beal Feirste chun deileail le ceist na morshiulta.
Nios mo cumhachtai ag bogadh o Shasana go hEirinn.
I measc ceisteanna le reiteach go foill ta cearta Gaeilge agus beidh siad aimsithe chomh maith agus ta airgead breise ag teacht le haghaidh na teanga.
Agus fuair Sinn Fein an t-airgead sin.
Mar sin, ta an cheannaireacht ag Sinn Fein, ta na smaointe ceart againn, na polasaithe cearta agus an straiteis pholaitiuil ceart don todhchai.
Agus ta foireann le taithi pholaitiuil de cheannairi tofa ag Sinn Fein nach bhfuil a leithid ag aon phairti eile.
When people vote for Sinn Fein they know what they are getting. They know we are their guarantors. That we will defend the peace process. That we will stand up for their rights.
That is why we took the initiative we did this earlier this week in attempting to maximise nationalist representation.
By rejecting this SDLP leader failed her first leadership test. We made the offer we did because people on the doorsteps are demanding it.
The decision of the SDLP leader not to meet, refusing to even take a phone call, to discuss this issue has caused widespread dismay and anger, particularly in South Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone.
The position from the Social democrats is clear. They would prefer a unionist Tory representing a nationalist constituency than a republican woman and government Minister.
At a time when the political centre of gravity is increasingly and rightly moving onto the island of Ireland and into local and accountable institutions, other parties are vying with each other to take seats at a Parliament in London.
They are exaggerating their importance, their influence, their attendance and the importance of Westminster in an attempt to bolster their election prospects.
This election is about more than that.
People out there are worried about the economy, about jobs, about housing issues.
Sinn Fein is seeking a renewed mandate to pursue investment in public services, in education, in infrastructure and in rural communities.
Sinn Fein wants to continue our work in providing for the elderly, in housing provision and in environmental improvements and much more.
Sinn Fein is not interested in joining any gravy train in any political institution.
On the contrary Sinn Fein representatives don’t draw personal expenses from the public purse; we are not paid a Westminster salary and all of our full time activists draw the same salary, the average industrial wage.
Politics is about public service and the empowerment of citizens.
Sinn Fein is the party with the clearest track record of standing up for the rights and entitlements of ordinary people.
We will always put the interests of the community first.
We have brought equality to the heart of government here and we want to see equality at the heart of our society.
The process of political, social, economic and constitutional change that we have driven forward is unstoppable.
It can be delayed but it cannot be stopped for as long as citizens cast their votes wisely, and for capable and committed strategic leadership.
When people vote for Sinn Fein they know they are voting for a better future that delivers real change; that makes a positive difference in their lives; and that will defend the peace process against all comers!
They are voting for a party that is focussed on ensuring greater investment in public services, including housing, health, education, infrastructure and in rural communities.
Sinn Fein’s mantra is equality, equality, equality.
The benefits for everyone of Sinn Fein’s equality agenda in helping to drive an anti-poverty campaign 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.
Equality in education means an end to punitive child testing.
Sinn Fein Ministers have introduced classroom assistants in every P1 and P2 class. We have invested in schools, in jobs, in infrastructure.
Our commitment is to ensure that every school is a good school and that every child has full equality of opportunity.
We have staved off water charges, and brought forward funding to tackle rural poverty and social exclusion.
Sinn Fein is about the future. We are about building a better future for all our people, especially our young people.
So, this election will be about Leadership and the future.
So, May 6th is the electorate’s opportunity to make a judgement on these.
A vote for Sinn Fein is a vote to strengthen the political institutions. It is for equality and social justice and for Irish unity.
Invest in the future - Votail Sinn Fein
Dean infheistiocht sa todhchai - Votail Sinn Fein