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Adams tells Taoiseach action not point-scoring needed for victims

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, during a keynote speech to party activists in Belfast, slammed the actions of the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the leader of Fianna Fáil for showing callous disregard for the facts around the Maíria Cahill case and of turning the Dáil chamber into an episode of reality TV.

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Sinn Féin Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile has said the PSNI needs to be proactive in stopping attacks in East Belfast.

Speaking after a number of homes were again attacked in the early hours of this morning Councillor Ó Donnghaile said;

"The PSNI is failing this community.

“Following a broad cross-party and cross-community meeting with the PSNI yesterday there was universal support for the PSNI to with the ongoing disorder in the East of the city. They've failed that test.

“At around 3:00am this morning homes in Bryson Street were again bombarded with brick, bottles, fireworks and paint bombs.

“The PSNI needs to be proactive in preventing attacks. They can no longer simply be reactive.

“We have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all residents living across the interface. We must also see continued political leadership to face down those determined to cause hurt and destruction."

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Martin McGuinness MLA has said the British government must face up to its responsibilities on dealing with the past. 

Speaking to relatives of victims of state violence at Stormont ahead of a human rights conference in Belfast next Thursday 6th November, which will be attended by the European Council's Nils Muiznieks, Mr McGuinness said; 

"This has been a particularly difficult year for many families from across this society seeking truth and justice about the death of their loved ones. 

"We have witnessed families being denied an inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre, the inaction of the PSNI to investigate the actions Military Reaction Force, the call for a public inquiry into the deaths of 18 people at the hands of loyalists in Mid Ulster, the PSNI refusal to co-operate with the Gerard Lawlor inquest, the ongoing refusal to honour their commitment to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and the destruction of documents relating to shoot-to-kill deaths just weeks before an inquest was due to begin. 

"All of this is rooted in the British government's failure to honour its Article 2 Right to Life obligations. It is clear that the British government fears the truth. 

"We in Sinn Féin will not tolerate the British government seeking to rewrite their role in the conflict. 

"There are many differing perspectives on the causes of the past conflict, what happened and who was responsible. We are up for a comprehensive discussion about the nature, causes and consequences of conflict. The question is, is the British government?

"In all of our deliberations we have sought to put the needs of victims first."

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The Irish peace process is a beacon of hope internationally but ongoing political effort is required if current negotiations are to succeed, Deputy Minister Martin McGuinness has told the Forum for Cities in Transition International conference in Belfast City Hall today.

"The Irish peace process is held up as a beacon of hope for other places around he world," he told delegates.

"Many other regions have looked to us for inspiration as they bid to resolve their own conflicts."

Speaking afterwards, Mr McGuinness called for a renewed focus on the current talks at Stormont. Martin McGuinness said:

"What I told the conference today is that any reconcilliation process requires the absolute will of all those involved to construct and sustain a peace building process. That is true wherever you go in the world and it is still true in the North of Ireland.

"We are presently engaged in very important talks aimed at overcoming issues such as flags, parades and dealing with the past. We will only find solutions to these crucial questions if all parties and the two governments bring to the table an absolute determination to secure a resolution.

"What is required now is the same kind of political and civic will – the demand for change – which we saw in the early days of the peace process and which ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Féin will not be found wanting on those terms and I would urge all the other parties – and both governments to bring a similar determination to the process."

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken of her disgust at the growing number of children who are living in poverty as a result of the financial crisis.

The Dublin MEP made the comments in the wake of 2 reports recently published from UNICEF and Oxfam.

Ms Boylan stated:

"Two reports published this week have shown that children are suffering the most in our society as the wealthiest were protected from the consequences of the financial crisis."

"The UNICEF report shows that there has been a 50% increase in child poverty rates in Ireland as a result of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gaels austerity policies during the financial crisis. The result is that 130,000 more children are living in poverty than were five years ago.

"This is a damning indictment of the consequences of austerity policies which have been enthusiastically pursued by the current and previous Irish Governments"

"Children growing up in poverty will be denied the same opportunities for success in school and in life as their peers, while cuts to child and family benefits means those who are in most need are being hit the hardest.

Meanwhile a report published by the charity Oxfam yesterday shows that the number of billionaires globally has doubled during the financial crisis.

"The conclusion we can draw from these two reports is that many governments, including our own, have prioritized protecting the wealthiest people during the crisis at the expense of the most impoverished.

"This practice is not only cruel and unfair but can actually have disastrous consequences both socially and economically.

"I hope that our government and others in Europe will pay heed to the findings of these reports and finally take action to confront poverty and growing inequality in our society".

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Sinn Féin Cllr. Daithi Doolan has predicted, "Over 100,000 people will join the Right2Water day of action this Saturday."

Speaking ahead of this morning’s Right2Water launch, Doolan said:

"October 11th was a turning point for the anti-water charges campaign. We had 100,000 people on the streets of Dublin. We marched to demand that this government should scrap its water charges. The march's success has given confidence to people and their communities the length and breadth of this state. The government are on the ropes and are punch drunk on this issue."

"This Saturday marks the next level of our campaign. Right2Water urged people to organise a day of action in their cities; towns and villages. We are delighted at the response. We aim to put maximum pressure on government TDs in their own constituencies. We are confident we will have a total of over 100,000 people at these events. So far we have nearly 60 events happening from Donegal to Cork, Ballinasloe to Ballyfermot. Numbers will be from thousands to 10,000 at these different events. But one thing is for sure we are a lot nearer to scraping the water charges today than when we started the Right2Water campaign in August."

"Sinn Féin is happy to play a central and active role in this genuine, broad, citizen-based campaign. We will continue to work with others until this government sees sense and rubbishes this outrageous charge. If Fine Gael and the Labour Party refuse to yield then we will make water charges the number one issue in the forthcoming general election."

"Let me be clear, if Sinn Féin receives a sufficient mandate to put us in government after the next general election we will scrap the water charges. Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy did it in the North in 2007 when he was the Assembly minister and we intend to do the same down here.”

"Sinn Féin encourages people and their families to turn out in their thousands this Saturday. Join your local Right2Water protest and bring the scrapping of water charges even nearer."

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The Sinn Féin team of Dublin TDs has called on communities across the county to come out this Saturday, 1st of November, to support their local Right2Water campaign. To date there are over fourteen local demonstrations organised across the city with this list being updated on a daily basis.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Sinn Féin has played a central role in the Right2Water campaign and with the government under increasing public pressure on this issue we need to grow the campaign in every community. This tax can be beaten on the streets and through the ballot box. This will require all groups opposed to water charges to work together to defeat these charges.”

Dessie Ellis TD added to this, stating:

“Sinn Féin is opposed to charging for water north and south. We successfully blocked them in the North and we will end them in the South. Sinn Féin has a history of delivering on our commitments, we opposed the local property Tax and we succeeded in lowering the council tax by the maximum 15% in councils where we had the power.”

Commenting on the planned marches, Deputy Crowe said:

“This government is still not listening to the public, and is refusing to call a halt to water charges. Sinn Féin is standing shoulder to shoulder with communities in opposing this unfair tax and will continue to do so until their voices are heard”.

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Environment Brian Stanley TD has urged all those opposed to the water charges to show their opposition in the many demonstrations taking place this weekend. The Sinn Féin TD, speaking yesterday on Newstalk, outlined Sinn Féin’s support for the Right2Water campaign and highlighted the mismanagement endemic in Irish Water.  

 “I am urging people to go out. People have been hit with austerity for the last seven budgets. We can see in the last one, even though the government declared austerity was over, ordinary working people were very badly done by.

 “It seems as though investment in fixing leaking pipes is at an all-time low this year despite the fact that there’s huge tranches of public funding gone across to Irish Water.

“We should have left this with local authorities. There was no need for call centres. There was no need for a supra management structure. There was no need for the corporate monster that was Irish Water because reformed local authorities were capable of providing the services.

 “Despite the fact that we will be paying water rates next year, the tax payer will be subventing Irish Water and the bill could be reduced substantially by not having Irish Water in its present form or wasting money in meters. The money should be re-diverted into fixing leaks.

 “The government are mopping up the floor, they’re not fixing the leaks with this issue.

“Sinn Féin would have used that €539 million to install meters to fix leaks instead. As there is only a quarter to one third of meters installed, the first thing Sinn Féin would do is re-divert that and invest it in fixing faults in the system. 

“There is widespread opposition to Irish Water. I am calling on anybody who wishes to have their voice heard to participate in the countrywide Right2Water protests this Saturday.”

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Sinn Féin in South Belfast have selected Geraldine Holland McAteer to be co-opted on to Belfast City Council for the Balmoral area. Geraldine will replace Máirtín Ó Muilleoir who last week was selected to replace Alex Maskey as MLA for South Belfast.

Speaking after her selection, Geraldine said:

"I am both honoured and delighted to be asked by Sinn Féin to replace Máirtín Ó Muilleoir as councillor for the Balmoral constituency in south Belfast.

“Máirtín has made an outstanding contribution not only to the Balmoral ward but also to the city of Belfast and will continue to do so as MLA for the south Belfast area.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Sinn Féin team in south Belfast, alongside Máirtín and Cllr Deirdre Hargey and look forward to working with local Sinn Féin activists.

“I pledge that I will work with enthusiasm and energy to deliver the Sinn Féin manifesto on which Máirtín was elected.

“I am committed to providing effective representation in Belfast City Council.

“I will work with people, organisations and agencies right across the diverse community of Balmoral, regardless of political affiliation or the tradition, to build peace and reconciliation in Belfast, and to build local social and economic development.

“I intend to hit the ground running and look forward to working with local people to get a better deal for Balmoral and its people." 

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has said lessons must be learned from the disastrous impact of Tory welfare cuts in Britain.

Speaking after attending a NICVA conference on welfare cuts, Mr Brady said;

"This was an informative and useful event on the impact of the Tory-led government's welfare cuts agenda.

"Speakers from England and Scotland explained the devastating impact the roll-out of these cuts have already had on communities there.

"It is abundantly clear that the Universal Credit system is simply not working.

"While this conference heard about the economic cost of the implementation of these cuts in Britain, more importantly we also heard of the human cost.

"Communities have been devastated and families driven deeper into poverty.

"Sinn Féin is not prepared to let the same situation unfold here and we remain totally opposed to the Tory welfare cuts."

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