Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Gerry Adams launches Sinn Fein's 'A People's Pact'

Gerry Adams
Image caption Mr Adams unveiled his party's election billboard: 'A People's Pact'

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says talk of a hung parliament and whether his party would eventually take seats at Westminster is "a distraction".

He was speaking in Belfast as his party launched an election billboard entitled: "A People's Pact".

The election advertisement which states that the party wants "equality not austerity" was unveiled at Belfast Castle.

Senior party figures and election candidates were present.

"Any parties which contemplate endorsing or supporting a cabinet of millionaires who are behind budget cuts, cuts to public services and cuts to social protections are ignoring the needs of the people in favour of narrow self interest," Mr Adams said.

The Louth TD said if local parties did a post-election deal to support larger parties at Westminster, they were effectively "signing up to austerity".

Even in the event of a hung parliament, he said that his party would not reverse its long-held policy of abstentionism.

Questioned over whether his party might be tempted to take their seats if it came to down to three or four seats, he said Sinn Féin would not reverse their position.

"All of this is a distraction," he said.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Adams said: "We are active abstentionists."

He stressed that there were no moves to discuss the party policy of boycotting the House of Commons chamber.

"The party is very settled on this issue," he said.

The party's billboard calls for voters to back candidates who embrace reconciliation, equality and progressive politics.

"We want to see a society based on equality, inclusion and safeguards for children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities and the long-term sick," Mr Adams said.

"We are committed to defending the core public services of health, education and the welfare system."

He said that previous Conservative and Labour British governments had imposed cuts and he told the BBC that whoever won the general election would be "committed to more austerity".

Asked if he would choose between a Conservative government or a Labour administration, he rejected both options saying that in "the last 100 years very little good has come out of Westminster".

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