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Sinn Fein's Agenda for government.
INTRODUCTION LETTER FROM GERRY ADAMS Equality agenda is central to building a new Ireland A Chara, Sinn Fein's Agenda for Government is the most comprehensive manifesto ever produced by our party. It sets out our policies for the incoming Assembly and Executive and our action plans in terms of the peace process and Irish unity and independence. It also reflects our time in Government, on the Executive, the all-Ireland bodies and the All- Ireland Ministerial Council and the lengthy negotiations which have taken place with the Irish and British governments. At the core of our Agenda for Government is one simple word - Equality. Equality of opportunity and of outcome is central to our priorities in terms of the peace process, investment in public services, tackling the crisis in rural communities, ending child poverty and in bringing an end to years of structural inequality in many urban and rural communities and West of the Bann. As republicans we are totally committed to ending inequality and to bringing about a society where all are treated equally. Ta se derun againn mar poblachtanaigh chun deireadh a chur le eagophromas agus sochai ur a chur i gcrich sa doigh go nmeidh gach duine glactha ar bhun comhionannais Sinn Fein is determined to see the Good Friday Agreement implemented. In the last year the British government brought down the political institutions, removed your right to vote and undermined key parts of the Agreement. Through all of this we never gave up. We have continued to negotiate with the two governments and the unionists to restore the political institutions. We stand firm. Sinn Fein will continue with this approach to get the Agreement implemented, to secure equality, a new beginning to policing and further all-Ireland progress. Your vote counts. You can strengthen our negotiating hand, deliver real change and advance the peace process. Le tacaiocht s'agat eireoidh linn nios mo a dheanamh. Neartaigh ar n-ait sa tionol. Votail Sinn Fein. In this election I am asking you to vote Sinn Fein. Is mise, Gerry Adams MP
SINN FEIN -- MAKING A DIFFERENCE Ag Deanamh an Difir Over the last five years, Sinn Fein has consistently delivered in government, in our communities and in negotiations on the peace process. We took innovative and far-reaching decisions in the Departments of Health and Education, in Alex Maskey's role as Mayor of Belfast, and in support of the peace process. Our overall approach has been rooted first and foremost on equality but we also advanced an agenda based on openness, accountability and inclusiveness. This is an approach we will go forward with in the next five years. Peace Process Sinn Fein's strategy of negotiation has given rise to:- * Ongoing, robust negotiations on policing, justice, equality and human rights; * The Assembly elections now being held; * Initiatives to ensure momentum in the peace process; * The political engagement with unionists, including the ground-breaking work of Alex Maskey as the first republican Mayor of Belfast; * The advances secured for the Irish language; * The IRA's engagement with General de Chastelain and putting arms beyond use. All-Ireland developments Sinn Fein has:- * Put the publication of a Green Paper on Irish unity on the political agenda; * Advanced an all-Ireland approach in Health and Education; * Actively participated in all-Ireland bodies and the All-Ireland Ministerial Council; * Published an all-Ireland Rights for All document; * Promoted proposals for balanced development along the border corridors; * Successfully campaigned on Northern representation in the political institutions in the Oireachtas; * Led the way in securing Irish passport services in the North. Policing * Sinn Fein put acceptable, accountable policing on the political agenda and has ensured that it stays there until we achieve a new beginning to policing; * We secured major advances on the Mandelson Bill in 2000, at Weston Park in 2001, and in negotiations earlier this year in terms of democratic accountability, plastic bullets, demilitarisation, the Special Branch, and the transfer of powers of policing and justice. Equality Sinn Fein has:- * Put equality at the heart of the negotiations; * Argued for a more proactive implementation of the TSN legislation; * Pushed for rigorous equality proofing of legislation under section 75 of the NI Act; * Brought forward proposals to address flaws in the Human Rights Commission; * Published proposals on a Bill of Rights. Education Sinn Fein has led the way in:- * Tackling discrimination and inequality in education; * Ending of the publication of schools performance 'league tables'; * Abolishing the Transfer Test (11-Plus); * Making a massive investment in our schools. Health Sinn Fein has:- * Initiated a far-reaching evaluation of every aspect of the health service; * Placed a far greater emphasis on the maintenance and promotion of health; * Invested massive resources in acute services; * Upgraded vital equipment; * Provided resources to replace the ambulance fleet; * Created additional residential childcare places; * Developed all-Ireland co-operation in healthcare; * Established 15 new local health and social care groups. Economy Sinn Fein has:- * Highlighted and tackled inequality * Succeeded in getting the Executive to challenge the inadequate and unfair Barnett formula used by the British Government; * Promoted resource allocation based on social need; * Advanced plans for the development of the North-West and border regions; * Placed all-Ireland economic co-operation centre stage; * Advanced research on the social economy and campaigned for the ring-fencing of statutory support for community-based enterprise projects. Regional development Sinn Fein has:- * Promoted the redistribution of economic activity; * Led the way in opposing water charges; * Supported community-based public transport systems; * Been at the forefront of redeveloping 'Brown Field' former industrial sites; * Opposed the misdirected DRD 'Regional Transportation Strategy'; * Initiated waste management targets and recycling projects; * Promoted frameworks for integrated regional development in the border corridors. Agriculture and rural development Sinn Fein has been working for a new deal for rural Ireland; We have:- * Argued for full decoupling as part of CAP reform since the beginning of the CAP talks, resulting in Minister Joe Walsh overturning his government's position; * Opposed plans to concentrate dairy production in the hands of a small number of farmers; * Brought forward proposals opposing attempts to introduce GM (Genetically Modified) food and crops into Ireland; * Pursued the spending of rural development money in rural areas and lobbied intensively to have PEACE II money spent; * Articulated the ways in which British agricultural policy is detrimental to Irish farming; * Demonstrated the inordinate cost of running the Six-County agricultural department; * Highlighted the failure and the unwillingness of DARD to properly eradicate both TB and Brucellosis. Irish language, arts and culture Sinn Fein has:- * Made Irish language promotion and rights a central concern in the negotiations; * Established Comhairle na Gaelscoiliochta and Iontaobhas na Gaelscoiliochta to put Irishmedium education on a secure footing; * Promoted bilingualism in all political institutions; * Improved viability criteria for Irish-medium schools. Women Under Sinn Fein Ministers:- * The Education Department put in place an equality scheme to implement equality policies; * The Health Department implemented new, flexible, family-friendly working arrangements, gender-proofed policies and monitored their application; * Made nearly #1 million available to women's groups over the last four years; * The Health Department prioritised support for marginalised women, supported healthcare training for Traveller women, and worked in partnership to develop best practice in combating domestic violence; In addition, Sinn Fein MLAs have been a voice for equality in all the Assembly committees. Children Sinn Fein has:- * Worked to secure the appointment of a Children's Commissioner; * Ensured a substantial increase in the number of pre-school places for three-year-olds and four-year-olds; * Bolstered extra funding for children's services; * Promoted all-Ireland registration and vetting of child-sex offenders; * Established an all-Ireland Centre of Excellence in the education of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders; * Secured an inquiry into residential and secure accommodation for children. Housing Sinn Fein has:- * Secured support for proposals to tackle inequalities in housing; * Promoted, as part of the Executive, the setting of measurable targets in relation to housing poverty and homelessness; * Led the way in the commissioning of two reports into homelessness. Environment Sinn Fein has:- * Promoted alternative energy use such as hydro-electricity; * Joined in the flotilla opposing the transport of dangerous nuclear waste through the Irish Sea; * Made a submission to the British Government's energy review in relation to nuclear power; * Secured all-party support for the development of a nuclear-free and sustainable all-Ireland energy market. Multiculturalism Sinn Fein has:- * Brought forward major initiatives to tackle sectarianism and racism; * Launched an anti-racist charter and are seeking to have it introduced in councils across the country. Demanded and promoted equality for all cultural traditions; * Resolutely defended the right to freedom from sectarian harassment.
PRIORITIES 2003 - 2008 Building an Ireland of Equals I dTreo Eire Chothrom a Thogail Sinn Fein's Priorities for 2003 - 2008 Sinn Fein is committed to building an Ireland of equals and will pursue policies to bring this about in the Assembly, Executive, All-Ireland Ministerial Council and the Oireachtas. Peace Process * Re-establishment of political institutions; * Implementation of Good Friday Agreement; * A new beginning to policing, including transfer of powers; * A new criminal justice system; * Build on our ground-breaking talks with Ulster Unionists. All-Ireland developments * Preparation and publication of a Green Paper on Irish Unity; * A broad campaign to create an 'Alliance for Irish Unity'; * Expansion of the areas for all-Ireland implementation and co-operation under the All-Ireland Ministerial Council; * Representation in the Dail and the Seanad and voting rights in Presidential elections for Irish citizens living in the North; * Promoting balanced integration along the border corridors; * Intensification of the political engagement with unionism. Policing * Creation of an acceptable, accountable, representative and unarmed policing service; * Banning of plastic bullets; * Ending of the use of repressive legislation; * Effective inquiries into the killings of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, the Brian Nelson affair, and multiple allegations of collusion; * Root and branch reform of the justice system; * Transfer of powers on policing and justice to the democratic accountability of the Assembly. Equality and human rights * Establishment of a Department of Equality; * Single Equality Bill to be rapidly progressed; * Restore momentum to the implementation of the equality agenda; * Restructuring of the Human Rights Commission; * Establishment of an all-ireland Constitutional Court to protect rights enshrined in a Bill of Rights; * Bill of Rights based on an all-Ireland charter of human rights; * Timetabled, monitored measures to eliminate the differential in unemployment rates; * Economic development targeted towards areas of greatest need; * Adequate legal assistance for those taking discrimination cases. Education * A significant increase in funding for education; * Ending of academic selection; * A sustained investment in Early Years Education; * Making equality central to education provision; * Resources deployed to promote access to education; * Promotion of Irish language and culture; * Building links and harmonising provision on an all-Ireland basis. Health * A significant increase in resources for the health service; * Amalgamation of Belfast City Hospital with the Royal Group of Hospitals; * Ensure that the health needs of people living west of the Bann are met; * Development of a cross-border network of hospital services; * Setting up of the proposed Regional Authority under the control of Health Departments, North and South. Economy * Develop an all-Ireland economy with one tax regime and one currency; * Support the adoption of the euro in any future referendum; * One over-arching economic development agency; * An all-Ireland economic growth and development strategy; * Redirect resources for Britain's war machine into a peace dividend to rebuild communities damaged by conflict; * New mechanism for calculating the block grant for Assembly; * Support the introduction of tax varying powers within the North Agriculture and rural development * All-Ireland co-ordination of agriculture and rural development; * A long-term all-Ireland agricultural development strategy based on higher value added production, with the removal of 'UK' status on food exports from the North of Ireland; * Introduce early retirement schemes; * A coherent strategy for rural economic development; * Full decoupling of all EU farm payments; * End to cutbacks in the provision of public services to rural communities. Regional development * All-Ireland transport policy; * Prioritise investment in the key transport corridors; * Harmonisation of Irish fuel taxes; * Investment in public transport and in our inadequate water and sewage infrastructure; * Oppose the introduction of water charges; * Ensure the integration of the National Development Plan in the 26 Counties with Shaping our Future in the Six Counties to provide the basis of an all-Ireland implementation plan. Irish language, arts and culture * Develop an all-island policy approach to arts and culture; * Designate St Patrick's Day as an all-Ireland public holiday and day of national reconciliation; * Redress biased nature of Arts funding; * Establish an all-island soccer team; * Adequate resourcing of Foras na Gaeilge; * TG4 to be accessible across the North; * Immediate appointment of a Commissioner to oversee the promotion of Irish language measures within government agencies and departments; * The enactment of an Irish Language Bill to give Irish an equal status to the Welsh and Scots Gadhelic languages; * An integrated approach to the funding of the arts through the medium of Irish. Women * Targets and timescales for achieving equality of representation in public life; * The National Plan for Women in the 26 Counties to have an all-Ireland focus; * Gender-proofing in appointments and policies for all public bodies; * Quality, widely accessible childcare system. Children * Appoint a Minister for Children and Young People; * Development of realistic and measurable targets for the eradication of child poverty; * All-Ireland co-ordination of child protection policies and procedures; * Expansion of funding for statutory and voluntary children's services. Housing * Housing as a right to be enshrined in the Bill of Rights; * Development of a properly funded social housing programme; * Enforcement of enhanced legal protection for tenants; * Development of a statutory integrated approach to tackle housing poverty and homelessness. Environment * All economic activity and policy decisions to be environmentally proofed; * Continued support the campaign for the full closure of Sellafield; * Rejection of all forms of incineration; * Promotion of an all-Ireland waste management strategy; * Invest the resources required to bring water treatment plants up to standard; * Full reform of local government; * A major overhaul of planning laws throughout Ireland. Multiculturalism * All political parties to sign an anti-racist pledge; * An all-Ireland policy for asylum seekers and refugees to be developed within the framework of the all-Ireland bodies; * Responsibility for asylum seekers and refugees to be devolved to the Assembly; * Adoption of an all-Ireland Citizen Traveller Campaign; * Transfer of responsibility for Traveller accommodation from local councils to the Housing Executive should be speeded up and fully resourced financially.
PEACE PROCESS Making peace a reality Siochain Sinn Fein and republicans have taken huge risks for peace. We know where we are going and we have the road map to get there. Sinn Fein has taken initiatives to advance the peace process. When others gave up it was Sinn Fein who returned to the negotiations time and time again to ensure that the elections went ahead and that the promise of the Good Friday Agreement is delivered We secured commitments from the British Government on policing, criminal justice, equality, human rights, Irish language and demilitarisation. We engaged in ground-breaking dialogue with Ulster Unionists and, despite current difficulties, this is the key to future political progress and we intend to build on it. Making a difference The last ten years have been a time of huge change and for the majority of people the Ireland of today is a much better place in which to live. In that time we have worked with five British Secretaries of State and two British Prime Ministers. We have seen the removal of the Government of Ireland Act, withdrawal of British troops from the streets, re-opening of hundreds of border roads, beginning of demilitarisation, release of political prisoners, establishment of the new political institutions (including the historic all-Ireland Ministerial Council), ending years of British direct rule, recognition of the Irish language, the beginning of a peace dividend delivered through Peace I and II funding. Republicans led the way in bringing about these changes through our peace strategy. It is this strategy which delivered:- * The Irish Peace Process; * IRA cessations - now maintained for almost ten years; * The Good Friday Agreement, offering us a road map out of conflict into a new Ireland based on equality and justice for all. Sinn Fein is committed to the implementation of the Agreement The focus of republicans over the past five years has been to see the Good Friday Agreement implemented. This commitment was seen in our work in the Assembly and the Dail, our negotiations with the two governments and the many unilateral initiatives taken by the IRA in support of the process itself. Specifically we have seen:- * Innovative and challenging policies from our ministers; * Leading the way in the All-Ireland Ministerial Council and all-Ireland bodies. Sinn Fein's strategy of negotiation has given rise to:- * The Good Friday Agreement; * The all-Ireland dimension to the Agreement; * Ongoing, robust negotiations on policing, justice, equality and human rights; * Defence of the Agreement at Weston Park and in the negotiations earlier this year; * Giving effect to the demand and democratic imperative that Assembly elections be held; * The continuing hope and expectation generated by the maintenance of political momentum; * Political engagement with unionists and the ground-breaking work of Alex Maskey as the first republican Mayor of Belfast; * Advances secured for the Irish language * The IRA's engagement with General de Chastelain and the putting of arms beyond use. Difficulties remain Despite all of this progress, the process has been dogged by difficulties including a failure by other parties to uphold commitments and demonstrate that politics can work. We are not naive about this. We have always recognised that there would be resistance to change from political opponents and elements in the British system who seek to achieve through the peace process what they could not achieve in 30 years of conflict. Sinn Fein has resolutely refused to be deflected. Instead, we have vigorously brought the agenda for change to the doorstep of opponents of change. Negotiations will continue Throughout all of these difficulties, Sinn Fein did what we do best -- we kept the demand for justice and equality at the centre of the political agenda in Ireland and Britain and in the White House. We continued to negotiate, determined to deliver the rights and entitlements that you voted for and deserve. We worked to ensure that:- * The progress of recent years is advanced; * The elections go ahead; * Society returns to the promise of the Good Friday Agreement. In this we have been successful. But there is much more to do. Where now? We go into these elections on November 26th confident that we can achieve much more. Our commitment to you, the voter, is to see:- * The political institutions re-established; * The Good Friday Agreement implemented; * The work and remit of the all-Ireland bodies expanded; * A continuation of our dialogue with Ulster Unionists; * An all-Ireland Constitutional Court and Bill of Rights; * A genuine new beginning to policing, including the transfer of powers; * Northern representation in the Dail; * A new criminal justice system; * The overhaul of the Human Rights and Equality Commissions; * The defence and realisation of the right to freedom from sectarian harassment; * The protection of national and democratic rights in domestic and international forums.
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