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2014 – A YEAR OF CHANGE

For those who reject austerity and want a different future, a better future; who want hope for themselves and for their families; who want jobs and prosperity; and who want a real republic on this island – Sinn Féin is that future.

Make 2014 a year of change.

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Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



Latest News

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism & Sport, Sandra McLellan TD, has said today, “Consecutive governments, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour Party, have failed the Irish people when it comes to delivery of health care. Our health services are in crisis and in need of serious, radical reform.”

Speaking in the Dáil during a debate on the government’s proposed Universal Health Insurance, McLellan said:

“Sinn Féin believes that health care is a right and not a privilege. It is an essential service that should be accessed based on need and not income or private health insurance.

“It should be free at the point of delivery and funded by a progressive taxation policy. No one skipping queues with the wave of a cheque book or a private health care plan.

“The government’s proposal amounts to the total privatisation of our health care system. This White Paper is the fundamentally flawed Fine Gael model based on competing private-for-profit health insurance companies. The only people to benefit will be the private companies.

“Compulsory health insurance will mean hard pressed families having to pay out more money for basic services that were once seen as an essential service funded by our taxes.

“The big difference between our proposal and the governments is that Sinn Féin’s is based on meeting the needs of the public while yours is about meeting the needs of insurance companies.

“The current health care system is a two tier system where wealth can buy you better care in the private health sector, a private sector subsidised by the Government at the expense of the public system.

“We fully understand the economic challenges this State faces. But front line staff and patients should not suffer for the sins of others.

“The real question is not why but, why not? Why won’t Fine Gael & the Labour Party make these changes. Because they are cut from the same political cloth as their predecessors in the Fianna Fáil government.

“We certainly will not take lectures on healthcare from Fianna Fáil.

“I would not trust Fianna Fáil with a packet of band aids not to mind the health care system.

“The government’s proposal on universal health insurance is a flawed response. It is an un-costed, half-baked attempt at getting good headlines for a minister that is joining a long list of crest fallen Fine Gael ministers.

“The real solution is a health care system based on need, not on your insurance policy.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Justice and Equality spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has welcomed the historic call by the all-party Oireachtas Justice Committee that the State recognises the ethnicity of the Travelling community. The Committee launched their report and recommendations today.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn, who is the report rapporteur of the Committee says:

“The formal recognition by the State of Traveller ethnicity will not be a magic wand or formula that can address the challenges faced by the Traveller community. But it would be a major step forward and a permanent and positive realignment of the relationship between the settled community and the Traveller community in Ireland.”

The Donegal TD added;

“It is clear that the national policy debate has moved on from the Commission on Itinerancy of 1963* which said Travellers do not constitute an ethnic group. Many of the findings of the 1963 Commission are deeply offensive and largely rejected by modern Ireland. However, the insistence of the State on not recognising the ethnicity of Travellers has remained for decades. This position has amounted to ethnicity denial.

“It is no longer tenable for this State to deny Traveller ethnicity. It is long past time for this State to fully honour our responsibilities to the international conventions on human rights and to truly value and protect our Traveller communities.”

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Sinn Féin has today submitted a policy paper to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s review of Ireland’s engagement with the Irish diaspora.

Speaking after making the submission to the review, Seán Crowe TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, said:

“I welcome that the Government has decided to review its engagement with the Irish diaspora and that they have decided to open this review to submissions from the public.

“Sinn Féin’s submission is based on our policy paper entitled Moving Forward Together: A vision for the global Irish diaspora.

“This submission outlines our support for extending voting rights to Irish citizens living outside the state in Presidential, Dáil and Seanad elections. It also calls for diaspora representation in the Dáil and a reformed Seanad, as well as the creation of a new Minister of State for the Diaspora and Irish Overseas.

“Furthermore it details our support for a permanent provision to ensure there is a diaspora representative on the Council of State.

“I hope that the Government is not just paying lip service to this issue and is serious about reforming its engagement with the diaspora. They need to strongly consider the proposals contained in all of the submissions they receive.

“In September 2013 the Constitutional Convention overwhelming voted in favour of extending Presidential voting rights to Irish citizens living outside the State and it is clear that Irish citizens want to end this disenfranchisement of Irish citizens.

“Ireland is lagging behind international norms when it comes to votes for citizens living abroad.

“The Government was recently criticised by the European Commission for penalising citizens through disenfranchisement for using their EU guaranteed right to travel and free movement within the Union.

“We are out of step and lag behind progressive countries on this issue, so I hope this process will lead to real reform and that it isn’t simply a window dressing exercise for the Government.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism & Sport, Sandra McLellan TD, has today expressed deep regret that the government continues to drag its heels on the development and protection of Moore Street.

Speaking during Minster’s question time in the Dáil today, Deputy McLellan said:

“I am sure the Minster will agree that there is a need to protect and develop the Moore Street National Monument. Moore Street is an area already acknowledged as the most important modern historic site in Ireland.

“But this government has unfortunately taken a light touch approach to the whole development.

“The government’s proposals to turn 14-17 Moore Street into an interpretative centre is welcome but fails to match the reality that this is the most important historic site in modern Irish history. The rest of the terrace is to be demolished. The lanes surrounding Moore Street are to be bull dozed and covered by a mall.

“Sinn Féin has sent an independent report on number 18 Moore Street to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, And Gaeltacht Affairs. I can only presume the Minister read that report and would agree with its conclusion, ‘that the building should be fully surveyed and recorded in detail.’

“I hope the Minster agrees that no building should be demolished until the department agrees to have a full report compiled and made public on number 18 Moore St.

“In any other state these laneways of history would be preserved and would be a vital place of remembrance.

“The entire Moore Street battlefield site should be developed and protected as a national monument.

“This would be a fitting centre piece for the centenary and an economic boost to the north inner city as well as a prestigious international educational and a tourist facility.

“The Oireachtas Group on Moore Street and the Relatives of 1916 have sought a meeting with the Minster on the matter. You had agreed to meet following the submission of the new plans from Chartered Land. They have now been submitted so we should meet without delay.

“Unfortunately the Minster continues to deny us a date for this important meeting.”

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