Mr O' Connell said;
"For every ten jobs that existed in 2008, only four remain today. The result is that 86,870 people left this country last year - a demographic tidal wave of economic refugees unequalled since the Famine. Our neighbours and loved ones have left, because our government has created an environment without prospects, without possibilities, and without hope. They have left because of a fundamental lack of political vision - and the abdication of successive government's responsibility to Ireland, first."
"Every time someone emigrates, that is one more vote of no-confidence in the government's competence. No amount of spin can change this. That anyone in government could try to sell the idea that this is merely a subjective lifestyle choice, can only show how insulated that person is from the effects of their own actions."
"Sinn Féin has consistently stood against the knee-jerk austerity mentality adopted by Fine Gael, Labour, and their loyal opposition, Fianna Fail. You cannot bleed a patient to health. The needs of the nation as a whole, must outweigh the fiscal fetishes of the banking-and-finance factions who precipitated the crisis. Sinn Fein has fully costed, progressive alternatives: these have prioritised national enterprise and job creation from the beginning."
"The emigration scandal cannot be pushed into a closet anymore. At this stage nearly every family in the state has been touched by it. The emigration figures are proof that people are voting with their feet: the government's knee-jerk austerity mentality has failed - failed utterly. It's time for a new national vision. It's time for the Sinn Féin alternative."