Sinn Féin - Ard Fheis 2012
The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2012 took place on the 25th and 26th of May 2012. The Ard Fheis was broadcast live on RTÉ Television, with Gerry Adams' keynote address airing earlier then normal due to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also given time on Sunday Evening to address the nation to provide balance on the forthcoming Referendum.
In his speech the leader of Sinn Féin attacked the right-wing financial policies of austerity being pursued by the Fine Geal/Labour coalition government. He asked "What is the point of the Labour Party in this Government?" and he committed that Sinn Féin would "not make any promises we will not keep".
He called on citizens to make a stand as they have done through out history. He point towards "Parents defending their children with disabilities, hospital campaigners, carers, teachers, health workers, defenders of our schools, turf cutters" and the workers at Vita Cortex, La Senza, Game Shops and Irish Cement, who have all demanded their rights during these times of austerity.
He called on the British Government to give fiscal control to the Northern Irish Executive and reminded the Irish government how difficult it is to govern without fiscal autonomy. He called for growth and pointed towards Sinn Féin's €13billion stimulus package, with funding being got from the National Pension Reserve Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Private Pension Sector and NAMA. He believes such a stimulus package would create 130,000 jobs directly.
He told delegates that Rural Ireland was also under attack stating that this government had closed rural schools, post offices and Garda stations. In Leitrim 50% of those aged between 22 and 26 have emigrated and that it is estimated that 70,000 people are emigrating from Ireland each year.
He then moved to the Austerity Treaty calling on a NO vote next Thursday. He said "When considering what way to vote people need to ask themselves if the austerity of recent budgets led to jobs and growth? The answer is obvious. The answer is no."
He asked voters not to give up their democratic rights on Referendum day. He advised that right now if voters believe governments are doing a good job then they can re-elect them or on the other hand sack them at the polls, he advised "You won’t be able to do that with unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Frankfurt and Brussels. That is Undemocratic".