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Sunday, January 9, 2011

A national Republic is still the big prize

Today I gave the main oration at the commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the Pickardstown Ambush in Tramore, Co. Waterford where volunteers Michael McGrath and Thomas O Brien lost their lives. Over 300 gathered to remember their sacrifices. 


Full test of speech below..


I am proud to be here with family members of Michael McGrath and Thomas O Brien who died in pursuit of Irish Independence 90 years ago today. They did so to help establish a national Republic and to bring to life the proclamation of 1916. They were not prepared to accept second class citizenship and they believed in a Republic where all of the children of the nation are treated equally. We remember their sacrifices with pride.


We also rededicate ourselves to the ideals which underpinned their actions. Ireland is again at a cross roads. The current economic, social and political crisis has its roots in greed with establishment politicians turning their backs on genuine republican principles. The interests of the few were put ahead of the many. Bankers, developers and a wealthy elite were protected in the good times and the bad. Tens of billions of taxpayers money has been put into wayward banks as ordinary people see their incomes slashed. 460,000 people are without work with a 100,000 more having emigrated.

The first tranche of the EU/IMF loan will be paid out to Ireland on Wednesday 12th January. The interest rate being charged on this first part of the loan is scandalous. The EU is set to make a tidy profit of 3% on this loan, pushing up the cost of this intervention to an already beleaguered Irish economy.
We must strongly question why this Government has entered the Irish people into such a bad deal and why the European Commission, in their misguided attempt to help the Irish economy, are actually taking advantage of an opportunity. It was bare-faced profiteering that brought about this crisis and this same profiteering will only make the Irish situation worse.
“This transfer of loans next week is the final nail in the coffin of Irish economic sovereignty. The conditionality attached to this loan, as seen in the memorandum of understanding will hinder economic growth and cripple the economy, throwing the economy into a self-defeating policy spiral.
The State’s structural deficit is fixable. It is the insistence, by the commission and the IMF, that bank bondholders must be honoured that is plunging us into crisis. Remember this is the Commission that are telling us what to do while conversely penalising us through inflated interest rates on this same policy.
We need to burn bank bondholders, introduce a stimulus package, overhaul the taxation system and eliminate wasteful spending. This approach will deliver recovery, not EU/IMF loans with thick strings attached.
The people of this State need to be consulted on this monumental decision. This Government has no mandate to accept these funds, not least when many of the same figures who voted for this loan are refusing to go before the people at a general election to defend this position. We in Sinn Féin will continue to pursue a genuine national Republic where people are put first.

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