Gerry Adams the saviour of Republic’s economy? I wouldn’t bet on it, says Sammy Wilson
Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has warned the Republic not to expect Gerry Adams to solve its economic woes.
The DUP minister reacted with derision to comments made by the Sinn Fein president when announcing his shock bid for a Dail seat.
Confirming plans to resign his West Belfast MP and MLA posts and stand in the Republic's Louth constituency, Mr Adams said: “As the leader of Sinn Fein, in this time of crisis in our country, I am making a stand with this initiative — a stand for a better, fairer, united Ireland. I believe that things can be turned around, that there is a better way.”
Mr Wilson said: “I must say if the Republic are hoping for Gerry Adams to solve their problems, they have a very, very sad future ahead of them.”
The DUP minister also recalled Sinn Fein's slump at the 2007 General Election in the Republic, and the criticism Mr Adams received on economic policy issues.
“I've already described him as a kind of failed economic guru,” Mr Wilson added.
“He's already had one foray into the Republic's economic problems and the electorate comprehensively decided that this was not the John Maynard Keynes of Northern Ireland. I think that you are likely to find that if that's the platform he's going to present himself on, he'll have great difficulty convincing the Republic that he's their saviour.”
Mr Adams has hit back at the criticism his party received in 2007 over the economy debate.
He said those behind the attacks caused the financial crisis that is now gripping the Republic.
“What they wanted was an accountancy debate. What I wanted was a political debate,” he said.
“This isn't the time to be saying this, but we were right. We were right during the Celtic Tiger that the money should have been invested and invested wisely in services and sustainable jobs. They didn't want to hear.”
A replacement for Mr Adams in the Stormont Assembly will be chosen at a Sinn Fein convention in west Belfast tonight.
He has said he will remain MP for the constituency until the Republic's next General Election is called.
And during a visit to Louth yesterday, Mr Adams denied he had been parachuted in over the head of Sinn Fein's expected candidate, local councillor Thomas Sharkey.
He said: “I am a team player. I have built teams wherever I go. The idea for me to stand in this constituency came from within the constituency. If you elbow yourself in somewhere you create havoc and it doesn't help the party.”