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O’Donovan Rossa 100th Anniversary Commemoration

Sinn Féin will be launching our 1916 commemoration programme on 1st August with a historical re-enactment of a seminal moment in Irish History; the funeral of the "unrepentant Fenian" Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

Over a hundred thousand people turned out to watch the spectacle of the funeral in 1915, thronging Dame Street and O'Connell Street to see the cortege. At the graveside, a relatively unknown Patrick Pearse stepped forward to give a graveside oration that would go down in history, with the last section of that speech now widely seen as the call to arms for the 1916 Rising.

Assemble Dublin City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2 at 1pm sharp on 1st of August.

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Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Peadar Tóibín TD, has outlined the potential benefits of converging public services such as health, education and enterprise development on all All-Ireland basis.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Ireland, north and south has limited financial resources and if we are to properly benefit from these resources we need to make the best use of them. If we are to raise living standards and increase the delivery of key public services, if we are to make the best use of the 6.5 million people strong market on the island so that we can create jobs and prosperity, then we need to make best use of the assets that we have.

“That’s not where we are today unfortunately. Key public services such as health and education and enterprise development are planned separately, funded separately and delivered separately at the cost of the citizen north and south. Lack of convergence in education means that northern participation in the south’s universities is as its lowest ebb ever. If a southerner wanted to take an available space at a northern enterprise course a few miles away they couldn’t. People along the border have to ignore the A&E next to them and travel two and three times the journey to the next one in their own jurisdiction.

"The border is a key success factor for crime. In a crazy situation reminiscent of the Dukes of Hazard the police have to stop at the county line. In most economies the periphery suffers economically. But in Ireland, the border artificially manufactures an extra periphery, extending it to 11 counties. This financially illogical situation is artificially manufacturing poverty, emigration and disadvantage at a shocking scale.

“It does not have to be this way. Next year in Altnagelvin Hospital a new Cancer Care unit will open planed, funded and delivered on an All-Ireland basis. It will significantly improve cancer care in the northwest and negating the need of patients on both side of the border to travel to Dublin and Belfast. Paediatric Cardiac Care will now be delivered from Dublin on and All-Ireland basis negating the need for many children to have to travel abroad for treatment. A new emergency Cardiac Emergency unit will open in Derry and serve a catchment area on both side of the border that has 350,000 people.

“These examples scratch the surfaces. In fact, potential progress in many sectors is grinding to a halt due to costly government disinterest. We need to examine how we can make best use of our assets on both sides of the border to benefit all the people of this land.”         

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed a commitment from Féile an Phobail to continue to promote diversity and inclusivity. 

Mr Adams said; 

"For many years Féile an Phobail has had a very good record on inclusivity and promoting disability awareness.

"I wasn't aware until recently days of the offensive remarks which comedian Frankie Boyle had made about people with Down's Syndrome. 

"Those remarks were reprehensible. I understand and share the deep sense of hurt and outrage caused to people with Down's Syndrome and to their families. 

"Féile has acknowledged that hurt and has stated publicly that mocking people disabilities is totally unacceptable. 

"I welcome the dialogue between Féile An Phobail and the Féile For All group and that both have committed to working together to avoid a similar situation arising in the future. I commend them for their efforts"

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Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for the immediate release of Walli Ullah Safi from from Cloverhill prison. The 21-year-old Afghani, who fled his country fearing his life, was found at a roadside in Ireland 2 weeks ago whereupon he was charged with being a ‘non-national’ without identification and was sent to Cloverhill. He has been subject to tremendous mental and physical violence in his two weeks in Cloverhill.

Speaking at a protest staged today calling for the release of Walli, Ms Boylan said:

“I am demanding that Walli Ullah Safi be released at once. Not only is he suffering hugely in the prison having been taken hostage by other prisoners and physically abused, he should not be in Cloverhill at all. He is a refugee, yet he is being treated like a criminal.

“It is a damning indictment that the government treats migrants in this manner. Fine Gael MEPS talk about a more humane approach to migrants yet their actions are the very opposite on their own soil.

“We are a country that has history of migration yet we show no humanity to vulnerable individuals when they arrive here. Walli needs to be moved immediately and the government needs to address it's policy to migration.

“Frances Fitzgerald must intervene immediately to have this young man removed from what is clearly a very dangerous and absolutely unacceptable situation.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty, has slammed the government for continuing to hide Irish Water’s income and expenditure figures and has reinforced Irish people’s right to clarity and transparency on the finances of Irish Water.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It’s scandalous that Irish Water have colluded with the government to hide the complete disaster that has been Irish Water. The extent of the mess that is Irish Water’s finances has been exposed by the Eurostat findings this week.

“Irish Water is now classified as government expenditure, therefore the public have the right to know what income is generated and what is the extent of expenditure, like any other body which is on the balance sheet of the government.

“As a result of this classification, the Minister now has to answer questions regarding public income and expenditure on Irish Water, including levels of non-payment. He can no longer hide Irish Water as an off-balance-sheet vehicle.

“The reason the Minister and the government are doing this is because they know they have been beaten. They are trying to hide from the public the fact that Irish Water and it’s funding model are in tatters.

“I’m demanding that the Minister come clean on what’s going on within Irish Water. He should give to members of the Oireachtas, all of the information on funding and rates of non-payment that he’s been refusing to date

“Last year Michael Noonan dismissed the November water protest as the “last rally around the water issue”. I think he’ll find now that dissent against Irish Water will only continue to rise. Irish people are fed up with the secrecy, the mismanagement and the absolute farce that is Irish Water and will rightfully demand that it be scrapped once and for all.” 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of two separate challenges to the result of the referendum on Same Sex Marriage but says legislation is needed to ensure future referendum results are not subjected to unnecessary delays before being implemented.

Gerry Adams said:

“I welcome the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of two separate challenges to the result of the referendum on Same Sex Marriage.

“Thursday's court ruling clears the way for the introduction of same-sex marriage in the 26 Counties.

“However what is now clear is the need for legislation to provide the Courts with a reasonable timeframe to ensure the will of the people is not in future subject to bureaucratic delays that undermine democracy.

“While it is the right of any citizen to initiate petitions to the courts, this is not the first time a petition against a referendum resulted in delays to the protection of newly recognised rights.

“The Children’s Referendum was passed on the 10th November 2012 and the High Court only reached a decision on the petition on the 24th of April this year. That’s a two-and-a-half year delay.

“Sinn Féin has published a Bill that seeks to end court delays in deciding on referendum petitions.

“This would amend the Referendum Act 1994 to ensure the High Court will make a finding on such a petition within 90 days of it being heard.

“It further provides that where such a finding is challenged by way of appeal, the Supreme Court shall endeavour to make a finding on a petition no later than 90 days from the date upon which an appeal is lodged.

“The Referendum (Amendment) Bill 2015 would give further protection to citizens’ democratic rights and would tackle what is a clearly an issue within the democratic process.

“I would urge the Government and all parties in the Dáil to support this proposal.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP  Lynn Boylan has expressed outrage at the news that the European Commission will be granting funds to fracking companies to research environmental impacts of the process.

"Following an information request I made to the European Commission regarding grants given to companies in relation to research on the impacts of fracking, it has now been revealed that one of the industry partners to receive EU funds for research is Halliburton.

"Perhaps better known for its involvement in obtaining oil contracts from the US government during the Iraq war or its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, it is also one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

"Indeed, Halliburton’s lobbying influence on fracking regulation in the US was so great that the exemption in legislation which allowed fracking companies to not disclose the chemicals they use to frack is known as the ‘Halliburton loophole’. And this is a company the Commission chooses as a partner.

"That the Commission is willing to give Halliburton research grants, paid for by the EU taxpayer, shows a wilful disregard for independent research into the very real environmental impacts which fracking can cause. I will be writing to the Commission with my colleague Martina Anderson to ask why this company was chosen in spite of the clear conflict of interest." 

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has once again called for support of his Public Holidays (Lá Na Poblachta) Bill 2013 in the lead up to the centenary of the Rising. The Bill seeks to establish a new national holiday to mark the many thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives in pursuit of an independent Irish Republic.

Speaking at Leinster House today, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“As we move closer to the centenary of the Rising, the need for a national day to mark the declaration of our Republic is increasing. Ireland, unlike so many other nation states who annually honour the declaration of their nationhood, is lacking a day celebrating the proclamation of our Republic.

“Though we have yet to secure a fully independent republic, it is imperative that those who died in pursuit of that ideal are remembered, and that the proclamation of our nation is celebrated.

“The national holiday which is proposed by the Bill, will take place on April 24, the anniversary of the reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the GPO by Padraig Pearse in 1916. The bill proposes a nationwide programme of events to commemorate and raise awareness of the contribution our forefathers made to the liberation of the Irish nation on this day, annually.

“It is also worth noting that Ireland currently has nine annual bank holidays. The European average is eleven. Clearly there is a great opportunity here to establish a national day celebrating our republic, with this bill bringing us closer to the EU average.

“It is critically important that we establish a measure that allows us to celebrate, commemorate and appreciate those brave men and women who played a pivotal role in the foundation of our state. In the lead up to the centenary of 1916, I believe that this Bill would be an ideal way in which to mark the heroic efforts and ideals of those who fought for our Irish Republic.”

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Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has said that the recent unannounced field studies carried out by DIAS (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) has caused serious concern among landowners in the Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh areas.

Speaking on the issue, Deputy Colreavy said:

“People are naturally concerned that these studies form part of analysing the suitability of the area for fracking.

“It is little wonder that local landowners and residents, who understand the threat posed by fracking, have serious concerns when scientists arrive unannounced to test the subsurface of lands in this area.

“The concerns have increased since the apparent objectives of this study appear to be changing from carbon storage testing to testing equipment associated with fracking.

“There is no doubt that fracking companies and their champions will use every piece of geological data to override the concerns of local people so that they can commence drilling with little regard to the environmental, health or economic damage their activities would cause.

“We could also witness government agencies on both sides of the border data to fracking companies which would enable those companies to take legal action against government in both jurisdictions because they can quantify the amount of gas available in the area.

“DIAS denies that the study pertains to fracking.

“However, the work has been suspended and Phil Flanagan MLA and I intended to meet with the study team management shortly to attain answer to concerns of local community.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called on the Social Development and Environment ministers to address the dire lack of social housing in rural areas. 

Mr McMullan said; 

"I asked Social Development minister Mervyn Storey for a breakdown of the number of social houses in rural areas across the North and discovered that of the 120,000 social houses in the North, just 18,000 are in rural areas. 

"This shows a clear disparity between social housing developments in towns and cities and in the countryside. 

"This shortage of social housing in rural areas will come as no surprise to the many rural families who have been forced to relocate to urban areas because of lack of housing. 

"Young people in particular, whose families have been in rural communities for generations, now find themselves unable to find social housing where they grew up and have to move elsewhere. 

"Mervyn Storey needs to take urgent action to address the dire shortage of social housing in rural areas to help ensure the sustainability of rural communities. The way houses are allocated in rural areas also needs to be reformed. 

"Environment Minister Mark H Durkan too has a responsibility to zone land in rural areas for social housing. 

"We need to see a joined-up approach from both these departments to support rural dwellers to live in their own communities."

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