'Patriotic effort' will bring people home, says Adams

By Fiachra O Cionnaith, political reporter

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has claimed Irish people on high salaries abroad after emigrating during the crash will happily come home to pay significantly increased taxes out of a "patriotic effort" for the country.

The opposition leader made the claim as he defended his party's plans to tax the rich if elected to government, saying the policy will not prevent more people from returning home.

Under long-held Sinn Féin plans, the party intends to cap public sector salaries at €100,000 and significantly increase tax bands affecting the rich in order to reduce the level of inequality in Irish society.

However, responding to criticism the move will result in an exodus of highly qualified people and make it impossible for others who have left to return home, Mr Adams said this is not true.

Speaking on RTE Radio's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme, the Sinn Féin leader said Irish emigrants will return out of a "patriotic effort" to improve their country - adding he has met such people in America.

The Louth TD also defended his party's wider tax and economic policies, and its support for the Syriza party in Greece.

Asked why Sinn Féin rarely mentions Syriza now compared to this time last year, Mr Adams said the party has "never tried to hide" its association.

However, he added that "we are not Greece" and that Sinn Féin may have done things "differently" to the left-wing party.

Mr Adams also said he will continue as Sinn Féin leader "for as long as my family, my health and my party wants me to".

His role at the head of Sinn Féin has repeatedly been the subject of debate over whether it is preventing the party from growing substantially beyond its current base because of his Troubles past.

However, when asked if he won't leave because he doesn't trust finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty or deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, Mr Adams insisted it is "not a matter of trust" and that he is "a team player".

 

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