Belfast Telegraph

Adams launches Sinn Fein manifesto

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

The party's call for a co-ordinated job creation plan formed part of its manifesto for the May 5 Assembly elections in Northern Ireland.

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

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, now one of the party's 14-strong Dail 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 Fein's critics, who had predicted the collapse of the DUP/Sinn Fein-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 Fein is essential to pushing forward the agenda for change."

The call for greater cross-border economic co-operation came amid speculation that Sinn Fein 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 Northern Ireland's first minister as a distraction and said Mr McGuinness was already sharing a joint office with First Minister Peter Robinson.

Mr Adams said the next Assembly term would be "about delivery" on key proposals. "Sinn Fein is a united Ireland party," he added. "We are the only united Ireland party."

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