Sinn Féin pledges free education, universal healthcare at Belfast Ard Fheis

Eurovision, Brexit and abortion are on the agenda

Sinn Féin pledges free education, universal healthcare at Belfast Ard Fheis

File photo of Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and vice president Michelle O'Neill at the party's special conference at the RDS, Dublin, 10-02-2018. Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

Updated: 21.10

Sinn Féin has committed to abolishing third-level student fees.

At its Ard Fheis in Belfast, the party said it would bring in universal healthcare to everyone if elected to government.

Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty also said they would come down hard on tax breaks and corruption.

The Donegal TD told delegates they are ready for the next election.

"We will begin implementing our plan for universal healthcare, free for every citizen as a birthright on this island.

"And will abolish all student fees, create thousands of apprenticeships and unleash the potential of our young people so they will once see this island as a place where they can have their future in".

File photo of Pearse Doherty speaking to the media outside Leinster House | Image: Leah Farrell/

Around 3,000 delegates will vote on 171 motions at the conference.

The party's stance on abortion is one of the big issues being considered and will be voted on on Saturday.

The party is currently restricting its TDs and Senators from fully backing the recommendation.

Another motion calls for a free vote on the issue - which could affect the future of TDs Peadar Tóibín and the currently suspended Carol Nolan.

The Ard Fheis will also hear calls for a united Ireland, and will discuss options for going into government.

Delegates will vote on a motion calling for the party to only consider entering a left wing government after the next election.

If passed, the party would be blocked from entering coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail.

While delegates will be asked to lobby RTÉ to boycott next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, in protest at the violence in Gaza.


Brexit will also form a big part of discussions - with more calls for a border poll on a united Ireland.