IOL: Sinn Féin unveils manifesto pledges

Sinn Féin unveils manifesto pledges
17/11/2003 - 10:54:30

Sinn Féin will press for an unarmed police service in Northern Ireland and also forge an alliance for Irish unity, the party vowed today.

With nine days left before Northern Ireland’s Assembly Election, Sinn Féin's manifesto said it would work alongside other parties, community groups, trades unions and individuals on the case for a united Ireland.

Republicans would also build on commitments secured during talks with the Irish and British governments on policing and justice, ensuring powers are transferred from Westminster to Stormont.

In a foreword to the 93-page document, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the party would press for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The West Belfast MP said: “We have continued to negotiate with the two governments and the unionists to restore the political institutions. We stand firm.

“Sinn Féin will continue with this approach to get the Agreement implemented, to secure equality, a new beginning to policing and further all Ireland progress.”

The party vowed to:
:: Call for the preparation and publication of a Green Paper on Irish unity by the Government.

:: Create more cross-border implementation bodies on policing, justice, agriculture, rural development, the social economy, pollution control, mental health, further and higher education, communications infrastructure and energy.

:: Secure representation in the Oireachtas and voting rights for people in Northern Ireland in Irish presidential elections.

:: Achieve a ban on the use of plastic bullets.

:: Push for removal from the police of those who colluded in loyalist paramilitary killings and also the withdrawal of the Joint Services Group which replaced the Forces Research Unit.

:: End all British Army patrols on Northern Ireland’s streets.

:: Establish a Department of Equality at Stormont and ensure the Single Equality Bill is rapidly progressed.

:: Restructure the Human Rights Commission, reviewing the composition, appointments process, powers and resources with an independent selection panel responsible.

:: Ensure timetabled monitored measures are produced to eliminate the differential in unemployment rates between Protestants and Catholics.

:: Produce a Bill of Rights based on an all-Ireland charter of rights, with the establishment of an all-Ireland constitutional court.

:: Increase significantly funding for education, with a sustained investment in early years education.

:: End academic selection and create “learning neighbourhoods,” building links between schools and the communities they serve.

:: Set aside £1.2bn (€1.7bn) to modernise health services over the next decade. This would come from the public purse as opposed to public private partnerships.

:: Amalgamate Belfast City Hospital with the Royal Group of Hospitals, guarantee the future of acute services in the Mater and ensure health needs are met west of the Bann.

:: Develop an all-Ireland economy with one tax regime and currency, with Sinn Féin supporting the adoption of the euro north of the border.

:: Redirect resources earmarked by the British government for the Army and police towards job creation in areas of high unemployment, the social economy and rebuilding communities affected by conflict.

:: Demand a new mechanism for determining the amount of British treasury money given to the Stormont Executive and the granting of tax varying powers to Stormont.

:: Produce a long term all-Ireland agricultural strategy and a strategy for rural economic development.

:: Prioritise investment in key transport corridors.

:: Secure more investment in water and sewerage services but oppose water charges.

:: Press for the appointment of a commissioner to oversee the promotion of the Irish language within British government agencies and departments and an Irish Language Bill to give Irish equal status as the Welsh and Scots Gaelic languages.

:: Produce targets and timescales for achieving equality of representation for women in public life.

:: Appoint a Minister for Children and Young People with the development of “realistic and measurable” targets for the eradication of child poverty.

:: Support an anti-racism pledge for all political parties and the drawing up of an all-Ireland policy for asylum seekers, with responsibility for refugees being devolved to the Assembly.

:: Press for the adoption of an all-Ireland Citizen Traveller Campaign based on the one piloted south of the border.

:: Develop a properly funded social housing programme.

:: Promote an all-Ireland waste strategy, rejecting all forms of incineration.


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