Sinn Féin candidates criticise cronyism and top-up scandals

Martin McGuinness said that a "fundamental realignment of Irish politics" was needed

Sinn Féin delegates lined up to attack the Coalition and claimed there had been no political reform as promised and cronyism was alive and kicking.

Younger members of the party took to the stage during the party’s live TV section on the Saturday morning at the Wexford Opera House, with several zoning in on the actions of specific ministers.

Speaking at the party’s ard fheis, EU candidate Lynn Boylan said some members of society still had a “sense of entitlement”. The party’s Dublin candidate said recent scandals investigated by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee had come as no surprise.

“The dogs on the street could tell you that those who knew the right gardaí could get their tickets fixed,” she said. “And Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael looked after their cronies with cushy positions for decades.”

“There are those of us who are equal and then there are those of us who are a little more equal.”

Other speakers also highlighted the scandals around pay and charities.

Kilkenny councillor Kathleen Funchion said Enda Kenny had promised a new era of politics in his maiden speech as Taoiseach in the Dail.

The Government had delivered three budgets which had forced more people into poverty, she told the half-full hall.

“In recent times, we have seen scandal after scandal of top-up payments and lottery-sum salaries for those at the top, while we witness cut after cut for those at the bottom,” said Ms Funchion. “The cronyism that Enda Kenny promised to eradicate is alive and kicking and people are quite rightly angry,” she said.

Earlier, senior party member Martin McGuinness said that a “fundamental realignment of Irish politics” was needed.

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