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Sinn Féin is opposed to Toryism, North and South

"Sinn Féin is opposed to Toryism, North and South. We are against austerity from David Cameron as much as we are against austerity from Enda Kenny and Joan Burton. This has nothing to do with electoralism or a failure to take difficult decisions," Gerry Adams TD said.

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the European Union to halt all relations with Israel. 

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg after a recent visit to Palestine, Ms Anderson said; 

"Israel's recent attack on Gaza resulted in the killing of 2,147 people, including more than 500 children. These were crimes against humanity under international criminal and humanitarian law. 

"The violation of international law by Israel has been well documented and recognised by the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice. 

"Among the clearest violation has been the transfer of 600,000 Israelis to live in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. 

"The international community, including the EU, has a duty to maintain and uphold international law. 

"Continued economic relations with Israel's illegal settlements, including the importation of their produces, is contrary to that law. 

"We must do more than simply discourage business relations with firms established in the illegal settlements. 

"The EU must halt all relations with Israel and stop all imports of its goods."

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has accused Fianna Fáil of hypocrisy on the issue of water charges. He was speaking on a proposal to exclude people from water charges whose supply is contaminated.

Deputy Stanley said:

“While I support the common sense behind the proposal, I would also remind people that despite their rhetoric and public posturing that it was the last Fianna Fáil government that agreed, as part of the disastrous bank bailout, to introduce these charges in the first place, and to put a separate standalone utility company in place to remove water services from local authorities.

“That is there in black and white in the Memorandum of Understanding that the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition signed in December 2010. On page 26, it is clearly set out that the Irish Government would both transfer responsibility for water services to a new public utility and introduce domestic water charges. So it is highly disingenuous for Fianna Fáil to be now posing as in some way as being in opposition to domestic water charges.

“Sinn Féin has opposed the charges from the outset, and will continue to do so.”

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Speaking in Dublin today, Gerry Adams welcomed the announcement of a date for by-elections in Dublin South West and Roscommon/South Leitrim. Mr Adams was accompanied by Sinn Féin Cllr Martin Kenny, the party's candidate in Roscommon/South Leitrim and Cllr Cathal King who is the candidate in Dublin South West.

Gerry Adams TD said:

"Sinn Féin welcomes the moving of the writs for the by elections in Dublin South West and Roscommon/South Leitrim.

"Thanks to the court case taken by Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty TD, governments can no longer drag out or delay indefinitely the holding of by-elections.

"In these by-elections, voters in Dublin South West and in Roscommon/South Leitrim face an important choice between the failed politics of the past – the politics of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour - and the alternative offered by Sinn Féin.

"This is a choice between the politics of those who see ordinary working people as an easy target, or a party that stands with citizens dependent on public services, and who are trying to improve their standard of living.

"These by-elections offer a political choice between fairness and unfairness.

"Voters in Roscommon/South Leitrim and in Dublin South West have been let down by this government and most see little or no sign of the recovery which Fine Gael and Labour has been speaking about.

"Citizens are trying to cope with crumbling health services – just look at Roscommon Hospital. "They are trying to cope with an unfair family home tax and are dreading water bills in the new year.

"They are trying to cope with unacceptably high rates of unemployment and the scandal of mass emigration.

"Only Sinn Féin TDs will be part of strong and growing party in the Dáil voting against unfair cuts and austerity budgets, committed to the abolition of the property tax, to opposing water charges and to defending our public services.

"In both Dublin South West and Roscommon/South Leitrim, Sinn Féin is putting forward our alternatives and asking voters to make the change and to vote for Cathal King and Martin Kenny.

"Sinn Féin will seek a mandate for budget resources to be targeted at supporting job creation and stimulating economic growth across all regions which can end the scourge of mass emigration.

"We will argue for the adoption of a housing policy which delivers the necessary social housing stock to meet the needs of those languishing on waiting lists.

"For opposition to further cuts to the health budget

"For increased funding for mental health provision and for a resolution of the government’s continuing Medical Cards debacle.

"For radical political and institutional reform which addresses the lack of accountability and transparency within the Oireachtas, government departments and the policing and justice system.

"For a strengthening of the peace process and a united Ireland.

"Sinn Féin's platform is that there is a clear, workable and fairer alternative to the way this government is doing things.

"We will fight these campaigns to win and to bring another two Sinn Féin TDs to join our Oireachtas team."

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Speaking today after the writ was moved in the Dáil for the Roscommon South Leitrim by-election, Sinn Féin candidate Martin Kenny said:

“I welcome the moving of the writ today in the Dáil. This by-election presents an opportunity to the people of Roscommon South Leitrim to send a clear message to the establishment parties that their policies have failed the people of this constituency.

“The economic collapse brought on by Fianna Fáil’s mismanagement of the economy has been devastating for this constituency and people in this area have been further insulted by the talk of a so called recovery by Fine Gael and Labour, while they have put up with second class public services, emigration, unemployment and an attack on quality of life and standards of living with little or no attempt to create jobs or a real future for our young people.

“This election is a choice between the politics of the past – of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and the politics of the future – an alternative based on fairness, equality and Irish Unity put forward by Sinn Féin.

“The people of Roscommon South Leitrim do not need another Government TD which will mindlessly continue to support the austerity agenda, which has impacted so heavily on this constituency and we certainly do not need any more of Fianna Fáil’s auction politics in the Dáil.

“Politics is changing – there is hope for the future. People all across this island, in growing numbers are identifying with the need to establish a means of doing politics which delivers for people on the ground - our families and communities. Sinn Féin can deliver this and it is time for the people of Roscommon and South Leitrim to be part of that growing consensus for change.

“A Sinn Féin TD for this area will be part of a strong and growing party in the Dáil, committed to the abolition of the property tax, to opposing water charges and to defending critical public services against ruthless austerity budgets.

“A Sinn Féin TD for this constituency will work to ensure that the needs of this constituency are heard in the Dáil, to restore services at Roscommon Hospital, to create jobs and to lobby for the upgrade of our water quality and infrastructure.

“In the North we overcame what most thought an impossible task and negotiated a transformation in political and social terms. If Sinn Féin is given the mandate, we will be equally as committed, to transforming this state, to give people real opportunity and to restoring proper services and living standards for all.

“I look forward to the campaign ahead, to meeting with the people of Roscommon and South Leitrim on the doorsteps and putting forward the alternative policies by Sinn Féin to the people.”

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Cllr. Cathal King, Sinn Féin’s candidate for the Dublin South-West by-election, has welcomed the start of the campaign after the writ for the election was moved in the Dáil this evening.

Speaking from outside Leinster House, Cllr. King said:

“I welcome the start of the campaign and I fully believe that Sinn Féin can win the seat in Dublin South-West. This area is has been one of the hardest hit by the economic crisis and by the policies of the current government. These policies of Fine Gael and Labour, and indeed Fianna Fail before them, have decimated communities and left many families struggling to survive.

“I will be putting the social housing crisis at the centre of the debate over the next three weeks. Crucial to solving the problems in social housing is an increased role for local authorities in provision of publicly owned homes for those who need them.

“A vote for Sinn Féin in this By-Election is a vote against cuts. It is a vote against a government which has shifted the burden of the crisis off the shoulders of the golden circles and placed it firmly on the backs of ordinary families. Nowhere is that more evident than in the homes of Dublin-South West.

“I am standing in this election because I will to be a strong and determined voice for the people of the struggling communities throughout this constituency. Opposition to water charges, the property tax and the defence of our public services will be central to the Sinn Féin campaign.

“Sinn Féin has a vision for the future based on fair recovery in which our citizens have access to decent jobs with decent wages and a society in which the most vulnerable people are protected.

“That is the vision I will be bringing to the doorsteps of Dublin South-West over the coming weeks. Sinn Féin activists are eager to get out on the campaign trail and I am keen to deliver the Sinn Féin message to the voters.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said women are at the heart of decision making as part of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament. 

Speaking as the group, which includes four Sinn Féin MEPs, made history when it counted more women than men in its membership, Ms Anderson said; 

"Gender equality is a key priority for Sinn Féin on councils, in the Assembly, in the Dáil, in the Seanad, at Westminster and in Europe. 

"I am delighted that the GUE/NGL group we sit with in the European Parliament now has more women than men. 

"After the May elections, not only did the group's representation in the parliament increase by 50 per cent, the gender balance became equal for the first time. Now, as Tania González Peñas has joined the group, the number of women has risen to 27. 

"This puts women at the heart of decision making in the European Parliament and is yet another example of Sinn Féin's commitment to equality." 

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Speaking after it emerged that an invasive species of Asian clam had been discovered in part of the River Shannon near Lanesborough on Thursday, Sinn Féin candidate for the Leitrim/ Roscommon by election, Martin Kenny said:

“Firstly I would like to commend Inland Fisheries Ireland for their swift response to the discovery of the Asian clam in closing the section of the river in which the clam has been discovered.

“This clam, having been identified as one of the most notorious aquatic species in the world, presents a significant threat and fishermen must be vigilant in ensuring that it does not spread through the use of equipment such as boats, rods, clothing and nets.

“I am aware that this clam has already invaded the River Barrow in Carlow where it has caused significant damage.

“I am calling on the Inland Fisheries Ireland to provide a consultation service to local fishermen and others who regularly use the River Shannon for tourist or angling activities in order to inform them of the preventative measures that they must take to prevent the spread of the species.”

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has claimed that Minister Alan Kelly indicated that there was a conflict of interest involving the Deputy Chairperson of An Bórd Pleanála in relation to the proposed incinerator at Poolbeg. Deputy Stanley was responding to a reply from the Minister in the Dáil regarding the involvement of Conal Boland in the approval of the project on which he had previously worked as an engineer with RPS consultants.

Deputy Stanley said: “In response to my question as to whether the Minister believed that there was any conflict of interest involved in the approval of the incinerator, Minister Kelly read sections of the Code of Conduct for Bórd Pleanála members into the record.

“Section 15.2 explicitly states that: A member or other person referred to in 15.1 shall not deal with any case in any capacity on behalf of the Board where she/he previously had any involvement at any time in the matter, either on a personal basis or on behalf of a previous employer or as a member of any other organisation or voluntary body.

“15.4 further states that: A member or other person referred to at 15.1 shall not knowingly deal with a file relating to a planning authority or a private practice where he/she was previously employed during the previous 2 year period or any voluntary or professional organisation of which the person is or was a member during the previous 2 year period.

“It is quite apparent therefore that there was a key conflict of interest between Mr. Boland’s involvement with RPS which recommended that Dublin City Council, against the wishes of the majority of elected members, go ahead with the proposal to build an incinerator at Poolbeg.

“The incinerator is once again a live issue that may well come before An Bórd Pleanála at a future date. Not only that but Mr. Boland was appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Board by Minister Kelly’s predecessor Phil Hogan. In that capacity he has again approved a number of controversial proposals in which RPS were involved. One of these proposals is a wind farm at Cullenagh and Timahoe in County Laois, which the Board’s own inspector recommended be rejected. I am writing to the Minister detailing these concerns.”

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