Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has questioned the sincerity of Michelle O’Neill’s call for universal equality today, citing the stark realities facing ordinary people in the North.

Teachta Tóibín said:

“Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill claims that a vote for Sinn Féin in this Thursday’s council elections is a vote for equality. She says this with no hint of irony despite the fact that 370,000 people are living in poverty in the North of Ireland. What had a Sinn Fein the vote in the last election achieved for these 370,000 people? 36,000 emergency food bank parcels were handed out to struggling families who Sinn Féin were supposed to be representing in the past year. That’s a 13.4% increase in a year when Michelle O’ Neill and her colleagues have been sitting on their hands and drawing down millions in wages and expenses.”

“Michelle O’ Neill says this election should be about rights for women. What rights do the mother’s of the children who were fed on 15,000 emergency food parcels have? She says this election is about no section of our society being left behind. What about the 29,000 unemployed people, or the 11,889 homeless people, or the 21% per cent of 30-34 year olds who have not completed their post-primary education? What about the 65% of thirty something’s with no third level degree, a shockingly much higher statistic than the South or Britain? 1,500 citizens of the north have taken their own lives in the last five years? What has materially changed since the last time people voted for Sinn Féin and the SDLP.”

“It’s clear that, people need more than vague rhetoric from Michelle O’Neill. The time for slogans has gone. If you truly want change, then you need to change your vote. Use your vote on practical candidates who will put the needs of the electorate first and tackle the huge inequalities in our society. If you want equality, put your faith in Aontú this Thursday”.