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DUP show contempt for talks process

"The refusal of the DUP to attend the opening of these talks showed utter contempt to all the other parties and the people who elect us. The last two years have been appalling because of the unwillingness and refusal of the DUP and other unionists to accept the democratic decisions." - Martin McGuinness MLA

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Mary Lou McDonald TD and deputy leader of Sinn Féin this evening rejected the recent comments made by Ciara Conway TD. 

Mary Lou McDonald TD said,

“As a woman, as a mother and as an elected representative of the people, I find todays statement by Ciara Conway TD highly offensive. 

“Deputy Conway’s attacks on my character and reputation are beyond contempt.

“I totally reject the slanderous allegations and scurrilous remarks made by Ciara Conway in her statement.  They are totally unfounded and totally untrue.

“I am fully aware of, and totally compliant with, my statutory obligations.  I have always, and will always, act entirely properly with regard to any allegations of sexual abuse.

“I would ask Ciara Coway TD to withdraw her comments immediately.”

ENDS

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Speaking after the initial meeting of the Economic Development and Enterprise strategic policy committee (SPC) in Dublin City Council Sinn Féin Councillors Noeleen Reilly and Jonathan Dowdall are calling on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation as well as the IDA to prioritise areas in Dublin City where unemployment is above the national average.

Cllr Reilly said:

 “Foreign Direct investment is such an important part of the jobs landscape in the capital city.  Dublin is the nucleus of the country’s economy yet many areas was left behind during the Celtic tiger years and has fallen further back since the economic crisis took hold in 2008.  For example, areas like Ballymun Ballyfermot, Cabra and Coolock and Drimnagh  have seen very little in terms of foreign direct investment and I think it is important that we look at areas where unemployment is above the national average and give them further assistance.  If you look at Ballymun for example it is in a prime location off the M50 and close to Dublin Airport and would make and ideal location for some industry. 

Cllr Dowdall further added

“I represent an area of extremely high unemployment in the North Inner City.  As a local employer it is disappointing to see Dublin City loose out consistently on Foreign Direct Investment. The upcoming developments in the Docklands and the redevelopment of the Fruit markets in Dublin come at a much needed time and represent an opportunity for local people to apply for jobs and to develop their skills. We have many redundant apprentices in Dublin who can benefit greatly from these investments. That being said we also need proper investment put into training programmes for these redundant apprentices.  These training programmes would ensure that apprentices are able to earn qualifications, while contributing to the future growth of the local economy.”

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the withdrawal of water meter installers from Swilly Road in Cabra, Dublin.

Speaking today at the successful anti-water charges protest in Cabra Deputy McDonald said:

“I welcome the fact that the protest in Cabra today was peaceful and democratic. The local community has made clear it’s very strong opposition to water charges. I am delighted that the community’s democratic opposition to these unfair charges scored a victory today.”

“People simply cannot pay and this government is slowly beginning to realise that. I welcome the fact that Irish Water has pulled back and that there will be no water metres installed on Swilly road today”

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A HIQA report issued today in relation to Áras Chois Fharraige in Connemara highlighted issues raised by Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh in the Seanad. The Sinn Féin Senator, raising the concerns in June in light of information he received from two whistleblowers, had called on the Minister for Health to investigate the matter.  

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

 “I welcome the report and its findings though they are of grave concern to me. I will be seeking a meeting with management as soon as possible to ascertain how they intend to address these issues.

“I commend the whistleblowers who brought these issues to the relevant authorities.

“I’m calling on HIQA to ensure that all recommendations are fully implemented within the timeframes specified and if not, to take appropriate action to ensure best patient care.

“HIQA raised concerns around issues of healthcare, the management of restraint, nutritional issues and care planning interventions for elderly residents in the private nursing home.

“The management of environmental risk, fire safety awareness and medication management requiring immediate action were also identified.

“Staffing levels were highlighted as an issue and the quality of care was suffering as a result.

“I am asking management to redress the positions of the whistleblowers appropriately as a matter of urgency.”

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Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan has welcomed the easing of restrictions on the movement of cattle due to brucellosis.

 Mr McMullan said,

 “I welcome the easing of restrictions on the movement of cattle due to brucellosis as the last recorded case was in 2012.

 “The extension of an extra 30 days from date of testing will allow cattle to be moved 60 days after testing which is good news for the farmer.

 “The extension of the age limit raising it from 12 to 24 months will also benefit the farmers saving them time and money when moving cattle to market.

 “While the last case was in 2012 we cannot be complacent when it comes to the health of our farming stock,

 “So while this is a welcome move towards the eradication of brucellosis I would urge farmers to maintain their procedures in combating these dieases.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Michaela Boyle has condemned those responsible for causing a security alert in the Ballycolman area of Strabane.

The West Tyrone MLA said; 

"This incident has brought widespread disruption to the Ballycolman area of the town and must be condemned. 

"Children at Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh had to be evacuated as a result of this alert. 

"The Gaelscoil was playing host to an international delegation of children from across Europe who are part of the comenius project at the time and the fear and distress on parents' faces was evident on their faces as they were arriving to lift their children.

"Those behind this incident showed absolutely no regard the people of Ballycolman. 

"These actions are being carried out by a small minority with no support and need to stop  immediately."

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Local Sinn Féin Councillor Noeleen Reilly has expressed disappointment at the news that the New Stormanstown development in Ballymun will now not provide any Social Housing.

She said’ It is really disappointing that the Council are taking the financial contribution as part of part V instead of providing social housing given the current crisis. As a Councillor for the area we were led to believe on numerous occasions that this development would have a certain amount of units allocated to people on the waiting list.  I am now being told that the only Part V purchases that are still being completed are those where agreements were in place prior to 2012 and there are only two such cases one in Dublin 8 and the other in the Docklands’. 

 The income from Part V compliance is ring-fenced for housing purposes including undertaking repairs and improvements to units purchased under the Part V scheme but also to increase supply etc.

She further added, I think the government needs to get real on social housing, while I welcome the additional funding in Budget 2015; it is a drop in the Ocean to what is needed.  There are over 100,000 people on the housing waiting list.  How long are these families expected to wait before they get a home?  We have the opportunity here to provide social housing in Stormanstown and yet we are not taking it and not only that but we are also loosing an opportunity to address in a small social mix in a new development.

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Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said today that the unionist ultimatum over an Orange Order parade in North Belfast continues to hold all-party talks at Stormont to ransom.

Conor Murphy said:

“We are in the second week of preparatory talks and to date we have no agenda, no timetable, no programme of work or no structure for chairing.

“We told the two governments that we are concerned that we don’t have a credible talks process.

“The British Secretary of State continues to engage with the DUP on the issue of the North Belfast Orange Order parade. 

"The British government is clearly playing political footsy with the DUP under the table. 

“We made it clear that Theresa Villiers that is a mistake on her behalf and it’s the wrong way to go about this process.

“We have held talks with both governments, the Alliance and the SDLP and agreed a meeting with the UUP.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has said there is a need for more women in public life. 

Speaking after addressing a 'Women in Politics' event at Stormont this morning, the Newry and Armagh MLA said; 

"For too many young girls growing up the only role models they see in the media conform to the offensive idea that their relevance as a human being is linked to appearance. 

"Young women and girls need positive role models in all aspects of public life, including politics. 

"Despite the fact that 53 per cent of the population is female, women hold only only 18 per cent of elected positions across the island. Of the 108 MLAs in the Assembly, only 21 are female and that is simply not good enough. 

"It is important that women are visible in public life as examples to younger generations. 

"While we in Sinn Féin are proactive about tackling gender imbalances, there is work for all political parties to do in increasing the number of women in politics. 

"Women played a key role in the conflict in the North and women also have a hugely important role in conflict resolution. The contribution women have made to peace building should be recognised and celebrated."

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