Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the Government should not apologise for the actions of the IRA, and that special criminal courts for members of paramilitary groups should be discontinued.
Speaking at his party’s pre-Dáil think-in in north Dublin, Mr Adams said his party had alternative budget proposals, including plans to create jobs and the introduction of a wealth tax.
Mr Adams said such a tax could raise up to €800m and was a fairer proposal than the property tax or other charges on citizens.
He told TDs and senators at the meeting it would be a difficult winter, with “savage cuts” ahead.
Mr Adams claimed the Government had torn up every single election promise since it came to power 18 months ago.
It was “not a tough choice” to cut disability allowance, to introduce the household charge or to pay €1bn to unguaranteed bondholders, he said.
In the coming weeks, Sinn Féin would focus on plans to create jobs and on proposals on rural regeneration, as well as its submission for December’s budget.
The meeting was also addressed by the North’s Martin McGuinness, who is set to take part as a party nominee on the upcoming constitutional convention.
Meanwhile, Mr Adams said he believed the Government should not apologise for the atrocities caused by the IRA. Amid calls for an apology by politicians in the North, Mr Adams defended the existence of the IRA during the Troubles.
He said his party had argued that the legacy of the Troubles should be dealt with by an independent, international forum.
“The two governments should facilitate that and all parties to the conflict should be part of it,” he said.
“Undoubtedly, when I speak for myself and as a leader of Sinn Féin, I have huge regrets about the conflict and the people who were injured, or who died, during the course of it.
“I would like to think that the DUP would share those regrets and that other parties in the conflict, particularly the British government, which is still resisting any act to deal with these matters in a proper way, would be part of that process.”
He said his party had set out its opposition to “maverick”. Republican groups and said he supported how gardaí had acted at the recent funeral of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan.
However, Mr Adams also signalled his opposition to the Special Criminal Court, where a number of those attended the funeral were recently brought.
“It’s totally and absolutely wrong that emergency laws and no-jury courts prevail. Of course, if people have to face charges, they’re innocent until proven guilty, but they should have the benefit of due process. It’s gone past the time when no-jury courts [should be] in existence.”
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