Adams launches Sinn Féin manifesto for Assembly elections

Enterprise ministers on both sides of the border should co-operate to create jobs in areas of high need across Ireland, Sinn Féin has said.

Enterprise ministers on both sides of the border should co-operate to create jobs in areas of high need across Ireland, Sinn Féin has said.

The party’s call for a co-ordinated job creation plan formed part of its manifesto for the May 5 Assembly election.

The document also recommended an all-Ireland economic recovery plan to build long-term growth.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, now one of the party’s 14-strong Dáil team, said the package of proposals came at a time when republican politics were on the rise across the island.

With an eye specifically on the Assembly, he said his party would block any increase in student fees and prevent the introduction of water charges.

Mr Adams said his party was delivering real change and he hailed the leadership at Stormont by Martin McGuinness, who he said had formed a relationship with the DUP that defied Sinn Féin’s critics, who had predicted the collapse of the DUP/Sinn Féin-led government.

“In the last four years there has been a step-change in politics in the north,” Mr Adams said at the manifesto launch in the Baby Grand theatre venue in Belfast.

“Republicans and unionists have demonstrated that we can make agreements and deliver for all sections of our society.

“A strong Sinn Féin is essential to pushing forward the agenda for change.”

The call for greater cross-border economic co-operation came amid speculation that Sinn Féin may seek to take on the Department of Enterprise, or the Department of Health, when the next power-sharing government is formed, but Mr Adams refused to be drawn on the party’s preferences.

He dismissed the DUP focus on retaining the job of First Minister as a distraction and said Mr McGuinness was already sharing a joint office with First Minister Peter Robinson.

The party’s manifesto included a series of other proposals including:

:: A £400m (€456m) economic development bond funded by the four main banks;

:: Replacing Invest NI and the Industrial Development Agency with an all-Ireland job creation body;

:: An all-island suicide prevention strategy;

:: At Stormont, it called for the introduction of the stalled Education and Skills Authority, the delayed introduction of the local government 11-council structure and an Irish Language act.

The party also wants a Single Equality Bill and the reintroduction of 50/50 recruitment of Protestants and Catholics in the police service.

Mr Adams said the next Assembly term would be “about delivery” on key proposals.

“Sinn Féin is a united Ireland Party,” he added. “We are the only united Ireland party.

“The recent election success in the south means that the republican project is growing and succeeding. However, there is still much work to do.

“Sinn Féin’s manifesto is realistic and it is deliverable.

“We are putting forward proposals for every single Assembly department, as well as on the big issues of Irish unity, the economy, job creation and the protection of frontline services.”

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