He said that Sinn Féin had a party position that had been determined at its last Ard Fheis that it would not allow a free vote on legislation for the X Case.Last year the party stripped its Meath West Peadar Toibín of a number of Oireachtas committee chairmanships after he abstained from a vote on private members’ legislation for abortion.Adams said that any TD who votes against the party whip on the government’s forthcoming legislation will be dealt with:Border pollOn the issue of a united Ireland and a border poll, which his party recently called for, Adams acknowledged that the “majority of the people in the North don’t want a united Ireland”.“Unionists don’t want a united Ireland so we’re not running away from that issue. That’s a challenge for us to persuade [them],” he said.He said that a border poll – which a recent opinion poll found would be rejected by voters in the North – was not something that would be “foisted” by the Sinn Féin hierarchy but insisted it was part of the Good Friday Agreement.“Let’s continue the debate, let’s set a date, and let’s give the people their say on this big issue,” he said.Adams added: “Of course the British government will try to avoid a border poll unless an Irish government lives up to its responsibilities.“Constitutionally the government is obliged to work for a united Ireland and it’s not enough for the Taoiseach to say it’s inevitable. He has to work for it as well.”Sinn Féin in oppositionAdams also said that his party was fundamentally opposed to austerity and the general policies of the government.But he insisted that despite claims to the contrary there were some things the government is doing that Sinn Féin actually supports:More from TheJournal.ie’s extensive interview with Gerry Adams:‘I’ll certainly lead Sinn Féin into the next election’There were TDs intoxicated on night of promissory note debate, Adams claimsOn Twitter: I don’t mind if people think my tweeting is weirdOther Leader Interviews: Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has said that Taoiseach Enda Kenny should earn the same salary as a working TD and believes that the new Croke Park deal is only “tinkering with those at the top”.In a wide-ranging interview with TheJournal.ie at Leinster House last week, Adams said that he expects his TDs to vote as one on any legislation for the X Case on abortion and also acknowledged that most people in the North do not want a united Ireland.Adams said that the negotiated successor to the Croke Park deal on public sector pay and reform was not a good deal but said it was up to the trade unions to decide whether or not they want to accept the proposals.The Louth TD said: “The fact is there was an opportunity for the government to take a different position and that was to bring in a wealth tax, to bring in an extra tax for those who are earning over €100,000.”‘Tinkering at the top’He said that the government was “tinkering with those at the top” in its decision to reduce the pay of those earning over €65,000 by between 5.5 and 10 per cent.“If you take eight per cent off a nurse you’re taking a huge amount out of that nurse’s salary. If you take eight or ten per cent off something that the Taoiseach’s earning he can live with that without any problem whatsoever,” Adams said.He said that Sinn Féin would introduce a wealth tax and a temporary third tax band in order to raise the type of savings that the government is seeking through the public sector pay deal and said that the Taoiseach should be on an ordinary TD’s salary:On the issue of abortion Adams said that he resented the belief that legislating for the Supreme Court verdict in the X Case – which provides for abortion where a woman’s life is at risk including risk of suicide – would be exploited.“That has not been my experience of Irish women,” he said. “I just think that’s scaremongering, it’s hysterical and it’s just not respectful of women.No women that I know, and I’m sure this goes for all women, ever wants to have an abortion or to terminate their pregnancy. No woman wants to do that.
Palestinians walk through dust by the rubble of houses, destroyed or damaged by Israeli strikes in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesHAMAS HAS REJECTED an extension to a 72-hour ceasefire with Israel, leading to thousands fleeing their homes in Gaza City.An AFP correspondent says that in light of the expiration of the deal at 5am, people have begun leaving their homes in fear of a return to Israeli shelling.Israel’s army has claimed this morning that the Iron Dome missile defence system has shot down two missiles fired from Gaza, destined for the southern city of Ashkolon.“Since 08:00 IDT (0500 GMT), terrorists fired a barrage of at least five rockets at southern Israel. A rocket was intercepted over Ashkelon,” a statement from the IDF said.“Additional rockets hit open areas in southern Israel,” the army said, putting the number at over 10.However, Hamas said they were not responsible as the Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, took responsibility for firing “three Grad rockets at Ashkelon” in a statement. Source: AFP news agency/YouTube“We have one position, we refuse to extend the ceasefire, it is a final decision. Israel did not propose anything,” said one senior Hamas official after a long meeting with Egyptian mediators.“It did not agree to end the blockade” of Gaza, he added, referring to a key Hamas demand to end the four-week conflict that has killed almost 2,000 Palestinians.AFP contributed reportingRead: Amnesty accuses Israeli army of “deliberate attacks” on Gaza health workersRead: With six hours to go, no-one knows if the Gaza ceasefire will hold or not