Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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Adams Denies Any Personal Ambition to be Taoiseach

Richard Crowley (RC) interviews Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams (GA). Thanks to TPQ transcriber.

This Week
18 January 2015


RC: And next in our New Year's series of Leader Interviews this week the Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth, Gerry Adams. Gerry Adams, welcome to the studio. Thank you for coming in. 

GA:  Thank you, Richard. 

RC:  You said this week: “We're here to campaign for government.  We're here to seek a mandate for government.” I presume Sinn Féin, being in the position that you want them to be, you want to be Taoiseach. That's your ambition, is it? 

GA:  No, I don't have any personal ambition to be Taoiseach.  First of all I think that we have to be humble. We can't presume we're going to be into government. So what we have to do in the first instance is to persuade people that the largest mandate that they can give Sinn Féin will both determine if we will be in government, will determine the role that we would play in government, will strengthen our hand in negotiating out a progressive programme for government  and will also influence what other parties might be in government. So I'm asking people – and this is the difference in this election from any previous election – I'm asking people to consider making the change and to put in a party which will come forward with policies to repair the disastrous social damage that has been done by this government and its predecessor and to bring core Republican values into the daily lives of citizens. 

RC:  But let's suppose for a minute that Sinn Féin were the larger - or indeed the largest party in a coalition – why the doubt over you being Taoiseach? Is that your own doubt or is it because Sinn Féin has to discuss or vote on that issue? 

GA:  It's just that I haven't given it any consideration. 

RC:  Really? 

GA:  I could have been the Deputy First Minister in The North – I could have held any of those ministerial positions - I decided not to. I decided that Martin McGuinness was a better choice for that. I decided – because you can't judge Sinn Féin just in terms of The North or The South – we're an all-Ireland party, Richard. 

RC:  In this instance would it be your decision? 

GA: I presume so but I mean again I haven't given it any thought. 

RC:  And you have no ambition to be Taoiseach at the moment? 

GA:  No. I want to be the best Republican that I can be. I want to be the best Sinn Féin party member, the best activist, the best citizen ... 

RC:  ... But not the best Taoiseach? 

GA: Well, if that opportunity arises we will look at that but well out from the election. And all the speculation about what parties may or may not form the government - a vote hasn't even been cast. So ...  

RC:  ... Sure. But we're in a campaign as you've said yourself so we have to discuss what might happen - what the possibilities are. You criticise Labour - you have a regular go at Labour for having sold out. But isn't it true that if Sinn Féin were the smaller party in a coalition government you would be in exactly the same position where have you'd have to compromise on some of your key issues? 

GA:  Well, I'm not against compromising but what I am against is what Labour did. And you know the famous Pat Rabbitte admission that these are the types of things that you say during an election campaign - we won't get into that type of nonsense. 

RC:  But you're already saying them, aren't you? 

GA:  No, no, we're not.

RC:  You'll saying you'll do things that you may not be in a position to deliver on.

GA:  Well then, we won't go into government. Because you see there are two things that will distinguish us from the other parties. One is, apart from the Tesco ads, all the things that Fine Gael have said on backs of lorries and advertisements about ending trolley waits, about opening hospitals, about not closing hospitals, about putting it up to the Troika and so on and so forth as well as the “list” of won't cut child benefits, won't cut disability (crosstalk) ...

RC:  ... But you have your own Tesco List. You're going to abolish the  property tax. You're going to abolish the water charges. You're going to introduce new tax rate, a third tax rate, at forty-eight percent.  You're going to change USC - this is your shopping list. You've put this out. 

GA:  But here's the second point I want to make: Labour and Fine Gael moved seamlessly into government – do you have any recollection of the negotiations for the programme for government? Did any of these issues feature? They just moved seamlessly into government so what we have to do - and there are two phases to this, Richard: 1) is to be fit ourselves in terms of standing candidates and all the rest of the type of capacity that's required to fight an election – and I think we're well on stream for doing that and 2) to persuade most importantly - to appeal to the voters - to vote for change – and to vote for Sinn Féin – and then to negotiate a programme for government.   

RC:  It's all a bit general when you say: Vote for change. Vote for improvement. Everybody says that. Are these your red line issues?  When you say you won't compromise. Are you saying that you won't go into government with anybody in any formation unless or until you have a commitment from that other party or parties that they will abolish property tax and scrap water charges? 

GA:  Yes. They are two issues that we have put forward because we stood in the last election – we did very, very well – on a commitment that we would not follow the lead of this government in putting a second water charge upon people. So it follows through morally and politically that we should get rid of that. And not only is that because it's the commitment that we made but it's also because it makes sense economically - because that will put money back into people's pockets, it will stimulate the economy - so to with the stealth tax on the family home - and then just to remind you – we stood against water charges in The North. We succeeded in preventing the Tories from imposing them and we stopped them from privatising ... 

RC:  ... Any other red line issues?

GA: The North obviously is a key issue. The government here is remiss in terms of its stewardship of the Good Friday Agreement.  It's a disastrous no-strategy-at-all in relation to the implementation of that. This is the worst government – and I've dealt with governments – I didn't deal with Charlie Haughey but I've dealt with governments since Charlie Haughey's time - and this is government is the worst government in terms of standing up to the British government as co-equal guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. 

RC: Can we just go back to Irish Water and you say you'll get rid of the charges - you've even put a price on that – which is three hundred million – and you're going to levy that from this new tax rate. But what will you do with the Irish Water company?  Are you going to abolish that? 

GA:  Well, we're open to the idea of having a single utility but we don't think that Irish Water itself is fit for purpose so there needs to be a different mode of governance. And certainly the way it has been used – you know, the seventy or eighty million that was given of taxpayers' money over to consultants and so on and so forth – it's just (crosstalk) ... 

RC:  ...But are you talking about reverting to the original system of letting local authorities do it? Are you talking about keeping and changing Irish Water? Are you setting up a new company with a different method of governance? 

GA:  It's probably too late to go back to – it would cost the people too much - to go back to local Council – that was our preference. And as I said we're not against a single utility - that's what's working in The North... 

RC:  ... So you'd keep Irish Water, would you? 

GA:  Well, not in its current form.   

RC:  Okay. And you've some changes as to how that could be governed.  You laid out a document, a policy document, towards the end of last year in which you say - and in relation to funding - I wanted to ask you about this – funding should be generated through mixed income of which the majority is through public subsidy from the government in addition to non-domestic charges, commercial borrowing and equity investment. From where would the equity investment come? 

GA: From the Strategic Investment Fund. We have argued these points consistently at the time of the boom. We wanted the wealth – the surplus - invested into services. That didn't happen. At the time of the bust we said you can't cut your way – I couldn't repeat often enough the social damage which this government has done - so we argue for opportunity – for stimulus - for growing the economy - so whether it's in terms of broadband, whether it's in terms of social and affordable housing, whether it's in terms of schools or hospitals, but particularly in this issue of, of ...   

RC:  … So that's state investment by another name – when you say “equity investment” it's a mix. 

GA: Yeah, but it's a mix, it's a mix because Sinn Féin...

RC:  ...But it's state money. 

GA: Yes. 

RC:  Alright. So it's effectively it'll be completely state...   

GA:  ...Well some of the money - the EU have provided in the Strategic Investment Fund – money which is there for structural investment and if the government got its act in order I'm sure that we could avail of that money. 

RC: But at all times Irish Water – or whatever you would call it  under this new system - would be a hundred percent owned by the Irish State? 

GA: Well, yes. I think so. I think that ... 

RC: ...You don't sound sure. 

GA:  Sorry, no, well I'm just reflecting on your question because the fact is that water services need to remain in public ownership. They should not be handed over for privatisation. And what form the governance takes is a matter for the experts but I ...  

RC:  ...Are you saying then that there's room for private investment, private equity investment, in the Irish Water company? 

GA:  No, I'm not. I'm saying very, very, very clearly wherever we draw the sources of revenue from that – because there are a lot of people who have their own wells or a lot of people who are in group schemes and so on and so forth and that should be encouraged - and people in rural Ireland by the way have always had to pay for their own water - so that's a mixed bag for the household. But what we're saying very, very clearly is that water is a human right and it should remain a human right. 

RC: What about Allied Irish Bank? This week Michael Noonan was talking about the government engaging Goldman Sachs to look at the possibilities of sale partly – perhaps part of it and then all of it - or then indeed all of it further down the line - what's Sinn Féin's line on this? Do you support selling off AIB? 

GA: No, we don't. 

RC:  You want to keep it in national ownership then? 

GA:  Yes, because you see the people had private banking debt foisted upon them – that should never have happened. There's sovereign debt, which of course we're obliged and we're very honourable about the need to pay for that, but to amalgamate private banking debt caused by the greed of speculators and financiers and bankers and some politicians (crosstalk) let me finish -  let me finish. 

RC:  Alright. But that ground is well-trod, in fairness. 

GA:  I know but when we argued these points they was rubbished by the government parties and others - now that's EU policy. They have separated out sovereign debt from private banking debt. So if the Minister gets rid of the limited ownership that we have or whatever shares we have in that then the public have no say in what goes forward.  And secondly, it's an acknowledgment by him that the government have given up on the retrospective recapitalisation – in other words the money that should be given back to us for a debt which wasn't ours – the government have given up. The government haven't asked for that, Richard, the government haven't even asked the ...  

RC:  ...Well, I think they say that they have – they say it's still a “live issue”.

GA:  No, they haven't. 

RC:  But let's stay with AIB for the moment. So you would oppose the selling off of even part but certainly all of AIB at any stage. You want to keep it in state ownership in perpetuity.  Is that correct? 

GA:  Not necessarily in perpetuity but certainly while we have the need to have a negotiating lever and one that benefits the taxpayer.  This is ...

RC:  ... So what are you saying - maybe in ten years' time or what? 

GA:  Well, I don't know. The fact is we also need to have Strategic State Bank – I mean this is one of the great promises of the government, certainly the Labour component of it, in the last election campaign but what we need to have is to ensure that what happened in the banking sector previously doesn't happen again. And it strikes me the way this government's going about its business that it hasn't learnt any of those lessons. 

RC: Is AIB a red line issue for you by the way in the terms of any  coalition negotiations? 

GA:  Well, I'm not going to come in here, if you don't mind, and do the ... 

RC:  ... And what? Lay out policy? 

GA: No, I'm laying out policy but those are matters for negotiation. 

RC:  But what's your position going into the negotiation? – that's my question. 

GA: Well, the position going into the negotiation is that we should retain whatever ...  

RC:  ... Or you might be prepared to let that one slide? 

GA: Well, you can't...you can't negotiate out in the public airways and as someone who has some experience in negotiating ...    

RC:  ...Well, you did on other issues – you said that the other issues in terms of property taxes and water charges were red line issues - so that's clear. I just wanted to ask if that was on the same list.   

GA: Fair enough. 

RC:  We'll move on. It's now three months since Maíría Cahill with her allegations of rape and since then there have been other claims, too, of IRA sexual predators (if you like) being exiled to one part of the country or another or indeed outside of the country to avoid justice. Can you tell us what form of internal investigation has Sinn Féin carried out into these allegations? In general terms, what did you find out and what information was gathered? And what did you do with that information? 

GA: Well, first of all it isn't the business of Sinn Féin to have an internal investigation into any of these matters - that's a matter for the PSNI, for the Garda Siochána. I've appealed to anyone who has any of this information whatsoever to come forward with it. I have spoken to the Gardaí – I have brought other issues in terms of criminality and allegations of abuse forward and talked to the Gardaí and with other agencies about these matters.  And in dealing with the Máiría Cahill case, I was trying to be very, very sensitive to Máiría Cahill because clearly the woman was a victim of abuse. But what made this different was the way that issue was seized upon by our political opponents and by elements of the media to make really untruthful, deeply-wounding, malicious allegations against me and against the Sinn Féin party – which I (crosstalk) ... 

RC:  ... There was also untrue and vile things said about Maíría Cahill at that same time ... 

GA:  Not by me or anybody representing Sinn Féin. 

RC:  By people who support Sinn Féin?

GA:  Well I don't know but not by me or by anybody representing Sinn Féin. 

RC:  Are you seriously saying that Sinn Féin ...there's no obligation in Sinn Féin to carry out an internal investigation into these allegations to see what was known by people who were in the IRA and who now are in Sinn Féin or who are connected with the wider Republican movement that there's no onus or responsibility to you to carry out an internal investigation? 

GA:  There's an onus on everybody who has any information whatsoever within Sinn Féin or outside of Sinn Féin - within the broad Republican family - to bring that information forward, (crosstalk) to bring that information forward, Richard, to the PSNI, to An Garda Siochána - to any of the agencies which are equipped to deal with these matters.

RC:  So you're operating purely on a voluntary system. You don't believe that there's any onus on Sinn Féin to take responsibility and to ask these people the direct question ... 

GA: ... Sorry, no (crosstalk) 

RC:  That is the question. 

GA:  No, no no. In fairness – in fairness – I'm NOT saying we don't have a responsibility - of course we have a responsibility... 

RC:  But have you done it? 

GA:  Bear with me – Sinn Féin have signed up to child protection protocols - for some long years now - put together by the HSE, by the PSNI, which are the very, very best protocols for dealing with these issues. And that - by the way – if someone comes forward to you now and says that they were the victim of abuse - the last thing you should do, Richard, is to try to investigate it. The first thing you should do is believe the person and then bring that information, that there's a child at risk, to the appropriate authorities. So Sinn Féin doesn't dodge our responsibilities. Our Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, put forward a totally non-partisan approach to this issue. One in four people on this island suffer from abuse - we know that as a fact. Obviously, the period of conflict in The North added to all of that – that some people dealt with these issues who shouldn't have - they were dealt with in an inappropriate way - many people who were victims may not have come forward. So Martin has proposed, under the tutelage of the North South Ministerial Council, that a victim-centred process should be put in place to deal with all of these matters.

The Taoiseach at the time – the Taoiseach at the time said he welcomed that. When the debate was on in the Dáil I said the judgment on us would be how we deal with these issues in the future as opposed to the disgraceful way it was dealt with on the floor of the Dáil. Let the Taoiseach now take up Martin on his proposition and bring that forward. 

RC:  Gerry Adams, thank you very much indeed.

17 comments :

marty said...

Did you notice (impossible to have missed it) the I in that bastards responses to RC,s questions about becoming Teapot the party,s Ard Comhairle never got a mention ,the quisling $inn £eind president for life has still the same attitude that he had when he allowed six brave men to die on hunger strike needlessly and how many others who knows,all to advance his political ambitions.the Engilish have the royal "We" now the Irish have the royal "I" its really always been that way with this bastard.

AM said...

Marty,

I suppose it illustrates just how wrong the war was, when it was directed for the purposes of enhancing political ambition and career. Volunteers and others died so that some Caesar could be great. What a sorrowful waste of life.

marty said...

Anthony a cara at least Caesar never denied being a megalomaniac or indeed that he was a god...

Gerard. said...

Something is going on behind the scenes

AM said...

Marty,

that is one of the problems with god - he tries to boss people around as if he is Gerry

marty said...

LOL Anthony if the bearded one gets control can we expect to see a rise in Gerrymandering

menace said...

Excellent, and only sixty two shopping day's left to April Fool's day.
Big Ken just on raising the possibility of we ourselves taking their seats in the brit Dáil to potentially support a minority BLP gov.

Feel te love said...

If the electorate in the south vote SF into government, a party that has at its head, a Coward in the shape of gerry adams, then they deserve the shafting due them. More fool them.

This man set up a secret army within the irish republican army, an army drawn from the people for the people, and he used this secret army to subvert and overthrow the peoples army. He has betrayed Irish people before and given the chance will not pause for thought before doing so again.

Things in the south are bad but to even contemplate this egotistical yellow cunt as a legitimate alternative is tantamount to a national suicide.

That complete and utter twat ballbag maskey is ralleying students against the closure of st marys, while at the same time signing up to its closure. I say shut it down to fuck, if those that marched to stormont with maskey are that thick, then I say I dont want stupid cunts like that teaching my grandkids.



marty said...

Feel te love be iontach chúramach be very careful of your condemnation of the prof Stanley Unwin standin ie quisling $inn £einds Paulbroy Maskey that bastard is a very dangerous man he broke a window during the troubles ...

larry hughes said...

Feel the love

you seem a bit agitated there. But your points are all 100% bang n. I for the life of me cannot figure out why anyone with such a family background as Adams can be legally entitled to stand for political office. As for the South, again bang on...they will deserve all they get. FF/FG look like forming an anti nordy alliance though. That is quite alarming to think FF would be so anti nordy as to run into the arms of the blue-shirts.

Feel te love said...

Larry spot on. It sounded like agitation, but it was just me making some points, that most people are already aware of.

One of the very frustrating things about this place, is the amount of murders perpatrated by loyalists and reformed republicans. The PSNI seem to have a good record of bringing murderers to book, unless of course there is a paramititary connection. The amount of muders that go unpunnished speaks for itself. If anybody suspects that there might be paramititary involvement in one of thier relatives murder,they should give up on finding justice, the cops just seem to be byballing these crimes.

If people want justice in cases were paramititaries have been involved. The message seems to be deal with it yourself. Of the killings in the north since Christmas, many people have been charged, bar one. Things have been like this since the surrender proccess got underway.

A study in this area would likely throw up some serious questions for the police.

Feel te love said...

Larry spot on. It sounded like agitation, but it was just me making some points, that most people are already aware of.

One of the very frustrating things about this place, is the amount of murders perpatrated by loyalists and reformed republicans. The PSNI seem to have a good record of bringing murderers to book, unless of course there is a paramititary connection. The amount of muders that go unpunnished speaks for itself. If anybody suspects that there might be paramititary involvement in one of thier relatives murder,they should give up on finding justice, the cops just seem to be byballing these crimes.

If people want justice in cases were paramititaries have been involved. The message seems to be deal with it yourself. Of the killings in the north since Christmas, many people have been charged, bar one. Things have been like this since the surrender proccess got underway.

A study in this area would likely throw up some serious questions for the police.

menace said...

Lorenzo, don't discount the possibility too much, despite the Republican rethoric of the Fianna Fáil Party, they would sooner get into bed with the Irish fascist party than their former comrades, and their leadership would do anything to increase their ministerial pensions. Their only delay maybe getting it past the ordinary membership who have shown an unwillingness to be led by the nose by the political science graduates of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth and other trough sniffers.

Henry JoY said...

The crowd choose Barabbas.
And now some of the crowd wants to crucify Barabbas!

mcclafferty32 said...

GA: "No. I want to be the best Republican that I can be".

Too late for that now!

DaithiD said...


RC: ... Are you talking about keeping and changing Irish Water? Are you setting up a new company with a different method of governance?

GA: It's probably too late to go back to – it would cost the people too much - to go back to local Council – that was our preference.



No Mr.Adams, I have faith the Irish people would see past such a transparent gimmick like a simple name change to the unwanted and alien entity.

larry hughes said...

Mcclafferty32

Gerry wanted everyone else to be the best republican they could be in dying and doing jail time... to give his wee political buggy a push up the road.

Menace

It is probably just reality kicking in where FF are going. Hardly likely the grass roots of that or any other party can change it from within. Kiss ass mentality seems to reign within the structures. The people are moving ahead without the gombeen cute hoors. I think any wishful thinking may be long past its sell by date for the usual suspects FF/FG/Lab a good clear out next time out. SF may get a run, but people will find out they have nothing new to offer and will ape what went before. Hopefully there's a tsunami coming to sweep the pigs away from the trough. On the bright side, the pain of all those deaths and destruction over 30 years will eased somewhat by SF being exposed as the same as the rest after one stint in office. Like in the north. Shame on them. But we must remember, Adams and co. are surfing on an SDLP and anti republican vote. That's what they traded in their chips for.