Below is the response of Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD to the announcement that a Programme for Government has been agreed by the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party today:
Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have announced that they have agreed a Programme for Government and that agreement will now go to the members of each party for their endorsement or rejection.
A government led by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil together does not represent the change that people voted for in February.
In fact, it is an attempt to deny change.
To protect the status-quo.
To continue with the same broken politics that has so badly failed workers and families.
This agreement for more of the same wasn’t the only deal possible.
The chance to form a Government for Change is real.
Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin set about excluding Sinn Féin from government talks and, in doing so, they excluded the demand for change that came from the people.
Grassroots members of the Green Party know this is true.
Grassroots members of Fianna Fáil also know this is true.
The most important thing is what this means for the future.
No matter what happens, workers and families must not be the ones to shoulder the pain of the economic crisis.
We need investment, not cuts.
Ambition, not fear.
Vision, not more of the same.
The incomes of workers and families must be protected.
There can be no return to austerity.
Ireland needs a fresh start, not a return to the past.
To those who believe in a changed Ireland.
To those who have been so badly let down, time and again, by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments.
To you who voted for a government that would work to transform our society.
I say this;
I hear you. I see you. I continue stand with you.
I know you are impatient for change.
I am also impatient for change.
The team that I so proudly lead is impatient for change.
We know that the change you voted for is not some fanciful notion.
It is change rooted in solutions that will improve your life.
Sinn Féin has the policies and the people to deliver a fresh start for our people.
Pearse Doherty with our plan to reshape the economy, to build an economy that works for you and your family, and where you can retire with dignity at sixty-five.
Louise O’Reilly with our determination that you will have a single-tier national health service.
Eóin Ó Broin with our solutions to make housing affordable for workers and families
We will not let any government turn their face against these solutions that people so badly need.
Many people are disappointed watching Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil pushing back change.
Many might feel like giving up on change.
I know you are fed up of seeing the same old parties grabbing power to suit themselves.
It’s okay to be fed up at times.
But I urge you not to give up.
Do not be disheartened by those who want to have everything their own way.
Do not turn-off or tune-out.
Do not be defeated.
The future, and who gets to shape it, depends on our refusal to let go of our belief in fairness, in community, in social justice and in unity.
That future is still there to be won.
I am not giving up.
Because I believe that we are within touching distance of a better Ireland.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can delay change, but they cannot stop it.
Our job now is to keep the ship pointed in the right direction and to keep everyone who shares that vision on board.
We knew changing Ireland wouldn’t be easy
But nothing worth having has ever come easily.
A new Ireland is worth having.
It is worth believing in.
It is worth working for.
It is worth all the effort.
Those who benefit from the status-quo will say that the story of change is over.
Do not listen to them.
The story of change is only beginning.
Ní hionnan rialtas faoi stiúir Fine Gael agus Fianna Fáil le chéile an t-athrú a chaith daoine a vóta ar a shon i Mí Feabhra.
Tá a fhois ag gnáthbhail an Comhaontas Ghlas go bhfuil sé seo fír.
Tá a fhois ag gnáthbhail Fianna Fáil go bhfuil sé seo fír freisin.
Níor vótáil gnáthdaoine a chaith a vóta do na bpáirtithe seo chun Fine Gael a chuir ar ais in rialtas.
Dóibh siúd a chaith a vóta ar son athraithe, impím oraibh gan tabhair isteach.
Ná caill croí
Níl mé ag tabhairt isteach
Cé gur féidir le Fine Gael agus Fianna Fáil moill a chur ar athrú, ní féidir leo é a stopadh.
Sinn Féin will not allow Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to waste the potential, the possibilities and the aspirations of our people.
There is a better way and a fairer way.
That means putting people and communities first.
Sinn Féin will defend the change that the people voted for.
Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for workers and families.