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Westminster Election Manifesto 2015


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This manifesto represents Sinn Féin's commitment to the electorate. It is our vow to continue to resist the disastrous agenda of Tory austerity in Ireland. It is our pledge to defend the most vulnerable, to protect public services and deliver a new and better future for this society.

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Sinn Féin's Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald  has described the terms of reference published for the IBRC review  by Minister Michael Noonan as totally inadequate and far from for the the independent and comprehensive inquiry that is needed.

Deputy McDonald said;

“Minister Noonan's cynical attempt to gloss over concerns about the conflicts of interest at the heart of this review will not wash. The appointment of retired High Court Judge Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O' Neill does not remedy that conflict of interest.

“Given the very serious concerns and the openly contradictory statements from various parties to this growing controversy, it is astonishing that government and the minister should so blatantly disregard the need for a fully independent investigation.

“Sinn Féin have clearly and consistently called for a Commission of Investigation as the only proper and credible mechanism to investigate the Siteserv deal and IBRC transactions and governance.

“The terms of review explicitly exclude NAMA transactions from scrutiny. This is a mistake. The public good and taxpayers interests require that all transactions, including the acquisition of assets by NAMA be subjected to thorough independent scrutiny in a Commission of Investigation.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met with the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, to discuss ways of handling the past. 

Speaking from Strasbourg after meeting Commissioner Muiznieks, Ms Anderson said; 

"I met with Commissioner Nils Muiznieks in Strasbourg today to discuss how legacy issues from the conflict are addressed. 

"It followed on from Commissioner Muiznieks visit to Belfast last year when he called on the British government to fund investigations into the legacy of the conflict. 

"At today's meeting we discussed the mechanisms for dealing with the past contained in the Stormont House Agreement, in particular Article 2 right to life obligations and issues  around coroners courts. 

"We discussed the importance of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which could also assume the role undertaking investigative support for the coroners courts for legacy inquests. 

"We also discussed the role of the Implementation and Reconciliation Group which would identify themes, trends and patters and outline initiatives which promote reconciliation. 

"I also invited Commissioner Muiznieks back to the North and I look forward to him returning." 

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children’s Affairs Sandra McLellan TD and Senator David Cullinane today met with Waterford Community Childcare Committee to discuss issues facing the sector.

Following the meeting in the Tower Hotel, Senator Cullinane said:

“The overarching theme we heard today was the serious underfunding of the sector. It is unrealistic and shortsighted to presume improvements can be made while the resources aren't being provided to make those changes. An investment in childcare is ultimately an investment in children and the future of society. Affordable and accessible childcare for all types of families should be a right. Childcare is not only about caring for children, it is about the education and development of the individual from his or her earliest formative years.”

The meeting forms part of the work being undertaken by Deputy Sandra McLellan in her role as special rapporteur for the upcoming Oireachtas Health and Children Report into Childcare in Ireland

Deputy McLellan added:

“A long term vision and plan for the sector is needed urgently. This Government demands the further professionalisation of the sector and quality improvement. However, in order for that to happen proper resourcing and wage structures are essential. The clear message from today's meeting is that both workers and providers are extending themselves as far as they can to keep services open and running to a high standard. The commitment to the welfare of children, of both employers and employees, is unquestionable. They are calling for any changes in policy to be children-focused. What we need to see now is a matching of that commitment from this Government in the form of real solutions.”

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Commenting today on remarks made by the US Trade Representative Michael Froman in relation to Europe’s decision to allow member states opt out on imports of GMO food and feed, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has stated that the remarks made by Froman demonstrate that this deal prioritises the advancement of trade at the expense of health and safety concerns of citizens of member states.

Carthy said:

“The US Trade Representative Michael Froman is the US chief Negotiator in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks between the EU and the US and this week he expressed his “disappointment” at the European Commission’s proposals to allow member states opt out of the importation of GMO food and feed.

“The Commission’s proposals, weak and all as they are, are the result of significant public resistance right across European Countries to the cultivation of GM crops due to health, safety and environmental concerns.

“The casual dismissal of those concerns by Mr Froman, as they interfere with the rights of US corporations to make even greater profits, is disturbing.

“What is even more disturbing is that he feels entitled to make public comments, designed to create political pressure, on the legislative process of the EU and the right of member states within it to take action to protect their citizens.

“Is this the type of interference we can come to expect under TTIP if it passes? It is time for both the European Commission and the Irish Government to make it clear that the people of Europe and Ireland will not accept any trade deal which interferes with our right to legislate in the best interests of our peoples.”

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Speaking after meeting with members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association in Galway on Friday, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has said that the Minister for Health must deliver on the promises made in respect of mental health services for the region.

Carthy was accompanied at the meeting by Galway Senator Trevor Ò Clochartaigh and local Sinn Féin Councillor Anna Marley.

Carthy said:

“The closure of St Brigid’s acute psychiatric unit fifteen months ago has put huge pressure on the staff working in the acute psychiatric unit of University Hospital Galway.

“There has been a huge increase in “special” (one staff to one patient ) cases admitted to the psychiatric unit of University Hospital Galway, however there has not been a corresponding increase in staff. It is currently reported that there are 58 WTE's in the service however union officials have confirmed that there are, in fact, only 46 WTE.

“A mental health commission report also identified serious issues with the facilities available in the current unit and a report on an inspection carried out February has not been made available to staff despite several requests.

“Last year, the Minister for Health made a commitment that there would be an additional 44 permanent staff allocated to the Mental Health Service in Galway as well as a new 50 bed acute unit in Galway this year, yet this has not been delivered.

“There is a growing concern around patient and staff safety and a shortage of basic necessities such as alarms etc while it appears that €5.4 million was returned from the HSE area to the Department as an under-spend.

“There are also reports that staff who had planned Industrial Action last week were threatened with suspension while those who have spoken to the media about their concerns of the conditions in the unit have also been threatened with disciplinary action.

“It is clear, as the Government launches into the pre-election PR offensive starting with the Spring Statement tomorrow, that it does not want to be troubled with the reality that some of our most vulnerable people are being treated in dilapidated, under resourced facilities by overworked staff.

“This Government should not be talking about a give-away budget while our health system is ready to burst at the seams and is crying out for investment – instead it should make good on the commitments made and provide the resources required to safely treat patients.”

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Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish Version Follows

Sinn Féin Senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has urged the management of NUIG to engage fully and in a meaningful way with union representatives if they really want to resolve Equality Issues in the university.

Speaking after he and his colleagues Matt Carthy MEP and Councillor Anna Marley met with NUIG President Jim Browne and Academic Secretary and Equality Taskforce member, Caroline Loughnane, he said:

“We welcome the fact that after a lengthy delay, we finally had an opportunity to meet with NUIG management. We had a very frank exchange of opinions with the President and Academic Secretary around the concerns raised with us by union, worker and student representatives over the last number of months.

“We are glad that the University agrees that there are very serious equality issues that need to be addressed. They agree that the promotion of Senior Lecturers was being carried out within a flawed process. They maintain that they have taken steps to rectify this and that this has been done for any future promotion at this level.  We have requested further evidence of this.

“They also acknowledged that the process of appointments through the Personal Professorship Scheme has similar shortcomings and will also have to be overhauled.

“They told us that there are many other equality issues across all areas of activity in the university that need to be addressed also. They maintain that the Taskforce they have set up will look at all of these. It is important that the remit of the Taskforce be clarified publicly to confirm this is the case.

“We put it to them that the unions, staff and students who have been talking to us and represent a sizeable cohort of people in the university do not at present have confidence in the taskforce, do not think that it is independent and impartial and therefore are refusing to engage with it. We pointed out that the track record up to now of NUIG on these issues has had a major impact on the lack of confidence.

“We made it very clear that we want to ensure that the reputation and standing of NUIG be maintained at the highest possible level and that to do that the President must engage with all parties, including union and student representative bodies in a meaningful manner. Only then can the change that is needed be successfully implemented.

“President Browne acknowledged that it is his reputation that is on the line here and has said that he will deliver the change that is necessary before his term as President comes to an end. 

“Sinn Féin will offer our continued support and encouragement in any way we can, to all parties involved, to ensure that this commitment is adhered to and outstanding issues are resolved in an acceptable fashion to all those who work and study at NUI Galway.”

Sinn Féin ag impí ar Uachtarán OÉG dul i gcomhairle ceart le Ceardchumainn ar cheisteanna Cothromaíochta - Ó Clochartaigh

Tá Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, ag impí ar bhainistíocht OÉG dul i gcomhairle ceart le h-ionadaithe ceardchumainn má tá siad i ndáiríre faoi cheisteanna Cothromaíochta a shocrú san Ollscoil.  

Ag labhairt tar éis dó féin agus a chomhleacaithe, an Fheisire Eorpach Matt Carthy agus an Chomhairleoir Anna Marley bualadh le hUachtarán OÉG Jim Browne agus an Rúnaí Acadúil agus ball den Tascfhórsa Cothromaíochta, Caroline Loughnane, deir sé:

‘D’fháiltigh muid, i ndiaidh moill fhada go leor, roimh an deis chun bualadh le bainistíocht OÉG. Bhí plé oscailte, ionraic againn leis an Uachtarán agus an Rúnaí Acadúil maidir leis na ceisteanna atá ardaithe linn ag ionadaithe ó na ceardchumainn, oibrithe agus mic léinn le roinnt míonna anuas.

‘Tá áthas orainn go n-aontaíonn an tOllscoil linn go bhfuil ceisteanna tromchúiseacha cothromaíochta le freagairt acu. Aontaíonn siad go rabhthas ag tabhairt arduithe céime do léachtóirí sinsearacha tríd próiseas a bhí fabhtach. Deir siad linn go bhfuil céimeanna glactha acu chun seo a leigheas d’aon ardú céime a bhronnfar ag an leibhéal seo amach anseo. Tá breis fianaise faoin bpróiseas seo iarrtha againn orthu chun seo a dheimhniú.

‘Admhaíonn siad chomh maith go bhfuil fabhtanna den chineál céanna ar an bpróiseas ceapacháin don Scéim Ollúnachtaí Phearsanta agus go mbeidh athchóiriú ó bhonn le déanamh ar sin chomh maith.

‘Deir siad linn go bhfuil cuid mhór ceisteanna eile cothromaíochta, i réimsí éagsúla d’obair na hOllscoile, gur gá a fhiosrú freisin. Maíonn siad go mbeidh an Tascfhórsa atá bunaithe acu ag féachaint orthu seo ar fad. Tá sé tábhachtach go ndéanfar soiléiriú phoiblí ar réimse oibre an Tascfhórsa chun seo a dheimhniú.  

‘Chur muid chucu é go bhfuil riar-mhaith de lucht na gceardchumainn, baill foirne agus mic léinn a bhí ag labhairt linne agus atá ionadaíoch ar sciar mhór de phobal na h-ollscoile nach bhfuil muinín acu faoi láthair as an tascfhórsa, nach gceapann go bhfuil sé neamhspleách, ná neamhchlaonta agus dá bhrí sin nach bhfuil sásta comhoibriú leis. Chur muid ar a súile dóibh go raibh tionchar nach beag ag an gcur chuige a bhí ag OÉG sna réimsí seo go dáta ar an easpa muiníne seo.

‘Rinne muid soiléir é go bhfuil muidne ar ár míle dícheall chun deá-chlú agus seasamh OÉG a chaomhnú ag an leibhéal is airde gur féidir agus chun sin a chinntiú go gcaithfidh an tUachtarán dul i gcomhairle i gceart leis na páirtithe leasmhara ar fad, eagrais ionadaíocha na gceardchumainn agus mic léinn san áireamh. Sin an t-aon uair a mbeifear ábalta an t-athrú a theastaíonn, a chur i gcrích i gceart.

‘D’admhaigh an tUachtarán Browne go bhfuil a chlú féin ‘ar an líne’ anseo agus gheall sé go gcuirfidh sé an t-athrú a theastaíonn i bhfeidhm sula dtiocfaidh deireadh lena thréimhse féin mar uachtarán.

‘Leanfaidh Sinn Féin ag tabhairt tacaíocht agus ugach do na páirtithe ar fad anseo, chun cinntiú go gcloífear leis na geallúintí atá tugtha agus chun réiteach inghlactha a fháil ar cheisteanna a ardaítear, ar bhealach atá sásúil do chuile dhuine atá ag obair agus ag staidéar in OÉG’.

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Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has called on all progressive MLAs in the Assembly to vote for marriage equality in today's debate despite the DUP once again blocking the bill through a Petition of Concern.

The Newry and Armagh MLA said; 

"Sinn Féin is committed to the promotion of equality and challenging homophobia, racism, sectarianism and all forms of discrimination. 

"This is the fourth time that Sinn Féin have brought a motion in favour of marriage equality before the Assembly. 

"It is disappointing that the DUP have tabled a Petition of Concern to block this important motion.

"However, it’s important progressive politicians send a clear message of support for the LGBT community by voting in large numbers for marriage equality.

"Progressive MLAs in the Assembly must make it clear in the chamber that homophobia is completely unacceptable."

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said it is unacceptable for Ian Paisley Jnr to stand over offensive remarks made in relation to the gay community. 

The North Antrim Westminster candidate said; 

"The disgraceful remarks of Ian Paisley junior in relation to the gay community caused pain and hurt when they were first made. 

"That has been reinforced now by him stating that he stands by those offensive remarks. 

"It is unacceptable for a public representative to make such remarks in the first place but to then stand over them is outright bigotry. 

"The people of North Antrim deserve better than these outdated and discriminatory views. 

"The whole community is being badly let down by these remarks from a public representative. 

"The election on May 7 is an opportunity for people to make it clear to reject these offensive views and vote for progressive politics and equality."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality has called for marriage equality both north and south ahead of a debate in the Assembly today on a Sinn Féin motion to legalise same-sex marriage.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said;

“As a republican party, equality is at the core of what we stand for.  Our gay and lesbian citizens deserve equal rights and the opportunity to marry the person they love, like everybody else in this island.  

“We are calling for all-Ireland support of marriage equality. We are calling for all-Ireland legislative recognition and rights for same and opposite sex couples. We are calling for an Ireland of equals.

“Our citizens north and south deserve equal opportunities irrespective of their background, beliefs, and who they love.  

“Civil marriage has nothing to do with religion. It is about recognising the commitment between two partners in a long term relationship.

 “Sinn Féin is calling on all parties to support the motion on marriage equality in the Assembly. We are also calling for a resounding yes vote in the south on May 22nd.”

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