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Sinn Féin MEPs final report back to the Irish people of 2014.

Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson, Matt Carthy, Lynn Boylan and Liadh Ní Riada deliver their final report back to the Irish people of 2014.

Read and share Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015


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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness said tonight that efforts to achieve a comprehensive agreement to all-party talks in the North have so far been inconclusive.

Martin McGuinness said:

“Over the past ten weeks Sinn Féin have engaged in the talks process in a positive and constructive manner to achieve a comprehensive agreement.

 “Our objectives have always been to reach an agreement which protects the most vulnerable in society, safeguards the rights and entitlements of citizens, delivers on outstanding agreements, grows the economy and enhances the working of the institutions.

“Progress has been made and today the five parties have agreed a set of proposals regarding public finance that would enable the Executive to use it’s powers to protect the most vulnerable, and to invest in building peace and reconciliation and welfare safeguards.

“These proposals require additional financial support.

“There has yet to be agreement on the outstanding issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past.

“A side deal between the British government and the unionists to set up a panel in response to a demand from the Orange Order to march through nationalist communities in North Belfast makes the achievement of a comprehensive agreement more difficult.

“The two governments’ dilution of the Haass proposals on the past particularly on the issue of victims and survivors is a stumbling block.

“We are continuing to seek agreement on the implementation of outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements including an Acht Gaeilge, a Bill of Rights and the inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

“If the institutions are to maintain the support of the people it’s clear we need to resolve both the financial situation and the outstanding matters.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd has condemned those responsible for leaving a bomb under a car belonging to a British soldier in Portadown. 

The Upper Bann MLA said; 

"Those responsible for this attack do not speak for the local community and are not advancing any cause. 

"Fortunately no one was injured in this attack.

"This is a society determined to move on and the democratic representatives of the people are currently involved in intensive talks to build a better future for all.

“We will not allow a tiny minority to drag us back to the past.

"The people who carried out this attack need to call an immediate end to these futile actions.

“I condemn this attack which achieved nothing other than disrupting the lives of local people who were evacuated from their homes."

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North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the announcement that the Northern Trust is to stand down the consultation to close the Dalriada hospital in Ballycastle.

He said: 

"Today is a great victory for the people of Ballycastle and the Save The Dal campaign.

"The past two months demonstrated that people power has made the Health Minister do a u-turn on the closure of this vital rural service. I would like to pay tribute to each and every person who protested, who campaigned, who signed petitions, who contributed in any way to saving this hospital. This decision shows the importance of that work.

"I would also like to pay tribute to Philomena McKay and those who took forward the legal action against this decision. I have no doubt that this was the key action that made the Health Minister and the Trust reverse their decision.

"The Dal is saved. However the fight must continue. The people here are determined to continue the work that this campaign has started in order to ensure that the Dalriada hospital continues to serve this community for the foreseeable future." 

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Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor, Larry O’Toole, has called on Dublin City Council to adopt a policy aimed at the preventing the exploitation of construction workers.

Speaking today about his motion Cllr O’Toole said:

“The issue of exploitation has been raised by public representatives, trade unions and other organisations. My proposal is simple, all workers on Dublin City Council construction projects should receive the terms and conditions of employment as contained in the Construction Industry National Collective Agreements. Furthermore all workers whether employed by the main contractor, a sub-contractor or an agency should be treated equally and receive all of their entitlements.

The motion also seeks to curb bogus self-employment and looks to ensure that all workers are employed on a PAYE basis.

We would like to see DCC encourage the creation of training opportunities for our young people through the creation of apprenticeships based on a ratio of one apprentice for every six craftworkers.

We would also like to see trade unions affiliated to the construction industry committee of Irish Congress of Trade Unions to have onsite access to construction projects in order to monitor compliance with the collective agreements and to service their members.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor Ciaran Beattie has slammed those behind the shooting last night at Thames Street.

Speaking today Cllr Beattie said:

“There is no place whatsoever for so-called punishment shootings in our society. This attack was carried out in a popular takeaway on the front of the Falls Road and those behind it cared nothing about the people working in the shop or using it.

“They represent no-one but themselves. The community know that these attacks are usually carried out by dissident organsiations for self-serving purposes.

“There are clearly other ways to deal with the issues affecting us all, both with the community and with the PSNI. Anyone who has any information on this attack should bring it forward.”

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Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said that a possible Dunnes Stores strike can be averted by senior management but they need to move from their backward early 1900s labour relations approach and into a more enlightened 21st century mode.

The strike threat comes on the back of a survey carried out by the Mandate Trade Union among Dunnes Stores workers and suggests that three quarters of those employed are trapped on part-time flexible contracts.

Crowe said that the Dunnes Stores controversy also highlighted the need for the introduction of robust anti-victimisation legislation and collective bargaining rights in line with International Labour Organisation conventions.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

"A pending Dunnes Stores Strike due early next year can be averted by senior management but they need to move from their backward early 1900s labour relations  approach and into a more enlightened 21st Century mode.

"The survey carried out by the Mandate Trade Union among their Dunnes Stores members suggests that three quarters of those employed are trapped on part-time flexible contracts.  A huge amount, eighty five per cent, felt that insecurity around their hours and believe that hourly rostering is being used as control mechanism over workers and that their hours are being distributed unfairly.

There is understandably widespread dissatisfaction with this policy that has them locked into part time hours, trapped in poverty and with no security of hours.

"An added difficulty faced by workers is the abject failure of Dunnes Stores to engage in any meaningful discussions with their workers' unions or any Irish Labour Relations apparatus.

"According to Eurostat, over one fifth of the Irish workforce is now in low-pay employment, there is a widening of the gap in terms of income distribution and there is an increase in the number of adults and children living in poverty.

"One hundred and one years after the 1913 Lockout, Ireland has the dubious distinction of being only one of three countries in the EU27 where the right to collective bargaining is not enshrined in law.

"Collective bargaining rights need to be introduced without delays that are in keeping with more progressive International Labour Organisation conventions.

"I believe the Dunnes Stores controversy highlights the need for new legislation to copper fasten the right to trade union recognition treating collective bargaining as a basic right.

"The Dunnes Stores strike can be averted but senior management need to move and join the rest of us in the 21st Century."

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Tá sé cruthaithe ag an Taoiseach arís eile nach bhfuil aige féin agus ag an Rialtas ach deáchaint d'imircigh Éireannacha agus é ag dearbhú inniu gur ceist 'don chéad Rialtas eile' cearta vótála dóibh. Rinne sé an ráiteas sin agus é ag labhairt in Ambasáid na hÉireann sa Bhruiséal leis an eagraíocht d'imircigh óga, 'We're Coming Back'.

Deir urlabhraí Shinn Féin don Diaspora, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh:

“Cúis díomá is ea ráíteas an Taoisigh, ach léiríonn sé an easpa dáiríreachta uaidh féin agus ón Rialtas maidir le h-imircigh Éireannacha agus a gcuid cearta. Daingníonn seo an imní a bhí orainn níos luaithe sa tseachtain nuair nach ndearna an Rialtas fógra maidir le reifreann ar na cearta seo, mar atá molta ag an gCoinbhinsiúin Bunreachtúil. Níl aon chúis nach bhféadfaí reifreann ar chearta vótála do shaoránaithe Éireannacha thar lear a reáchtáil ar an lá céanna leis an dá reifreann eile.  

“Caithfidh an Rialtas a bheith níos diongbháilte ar an ábhar seo. Beidh muidne dhá choinneáil ar an gclár pholaitiúil le linn na bliana 2015 agus muid ag iarraidh ar an Rialtas beagán níos lú cainte a dhéanamh faoi agus níos mó aicsean a bheith ann ina leith. 

“Ní fiú ligean don Aire ar son an Diaspóra a bheith ag bháineáil timpeall an domhan, ag ardú croíthe pobail na n-imirceach, nuair nach bhfuil an Rialtas lena mbaineann sé, ná an Taoiseach atá aige, ag déanamh beart de réir briathar agus iad ag freastal ar riachtanais na saoránaithe seo i gcéin. 

“Tá mo chomhleacaí sa Seanad, Kathryn Reilly tar éis a bheith ag comhoibriú le 'We're Coming Back' agus tugann páirtí s'againne tacaíocht iomlán don éileamh atá acu cearta vótála a leathnú chuig ár gcuid imircigh. Is eagraíocht ionadaíoch d'imircigh iad 'We're Coming Back' atá ag éileamh cearta vótála do shaoránaithe na hÉireann thar lear.  

"Beidh mise ag déanamh mo dhícheall mar urlabhraí nuacheaptha an pháirtí ar son an Diaspóra chun na ceisteanna seo a bhrú chun cinn. Tá muid ag tacú an deireadh seachtaine seo freisin leis an bfheachtas 'Toast for a Vote' atá ar siúl acu. 

“Teastaíonn ár dtacaíocht ón diaspóra agus caithfidh muidne cinntiú go ndéanann Rialtas s'againn a gcion féin leis an dtacaíocht sin a sholáthar.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson for the Diaspora Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has criticised the Government for paying lip service to Irish emigrants, as the Taoiseach confirmed today that he thinks voting rights 'is a topic for the next government'. He made his statement at the Irish Embassy in Brussels, whilst speaking to youth emigrant organisation, 'We're Coming Back'.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“The Taoiseach's comments are regrettable, but highlight his and the governments lack of commitment to Irish Emigrants and their rights. This copper fastens the concerns we had earlier this week when the Cabinet did not agree to schedule a referendum on these rights, as has been recommended by the Constitutional Convention. There is no reason that a referendum on voting rights for Irish citizens abroad could not be held on the same day as the other two referenda that are planned.

“The government needs to step up to the mark on this issue. We will be keeping it on the political agenda through 2015 and calling on the Taoiseach and his cabinet colleagues for 'a little less conversation and a little more action' in this regard.

“There is no point having a Minister for the Diaspora swanning around the globe raising the expectations of our emigrant community when his government, and particularly the Taoiseach, aren't stepping up to the mark regarding their responsibilities in delivering on the needs of our citizens abroad.

“My Seanad colleague Senator Kathryn Reilly has been engaging with 'We're Coming Back' and our party fully support their calls for the extension of voting rights to emigrants. 'We're Coming Back' is an emigrant organisation that campaigns for voting rights for Irish citizens abroad. I will continue to highlight the issue in my new role as Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Diaspora. We are also asking people to support their 'Toast for a Vote' campaign this weekend. 

“Our diaspora need and deserve our support and we must ensure that our government does whatever it can to provide those supports.”

Pictured: SF spokespersons for the Diaspora, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh & Youth Affairs,  Senator Kathryn Reilly supporting the 'We're Coming Home' #toastforavote campaign.

SF spokespersons for the Diaspora, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh & Youth Affairs,  Senator Kathryn Reilly supporting the 'We're Coming Home' #toastforavote campaign.

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Commenting today on the findings of the Nevin Economic Research Institute which show that the difference between average weekly earnings and the cost of living has increased over the past six years, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy states that more must be done to address rising costs for working families.

Carthy said:

“The Nevin Economic Research Institute has found that, based on the latest CSO figures, average wages fell by less that 8% between 2008 and the third quarter of 2014 while disposable income fell by as much as 20% in the same period.

“Effectively this means that the fall in disposable income, which governs people’s living standards, cannot be accounted for by the drop in wages, although significant, and other factors such as higher taxes, lower social payments and rising living costs must also be factored in.

“The reality on the ground is that, over the past six years in particular, we have seen the emergence of the “working poor” – families and individuals who are working full time yet struggle to make ends meet from week to week due to the high cost of childcare, housing, healthcare, education and public transport.

“Instead of introducing policy measures to help alleviate these costs, successive Governments have instead targetted those on lower and middle incomes time and time again, refusing to recognise that they simply do not have any more to give.

“The latest ESRI report shows clearly that Budget 2015, just like the previous Budgets introduced by this Government, is regressive and unfairly impacts those on lower incomes while those on higher incomes benefit.

“While I welcome the Government’s announcement this week that it intends to look at the issue of low pay, we must be cautious of auction style politics and simplistic solutions.

“ It is becoming increasingly clear, in my view, that a more comprehensive analysis needs to be carried out taking into account all of the factors which have resulted in lower living standards for families if this Government is to show it is serious about addressing this issue.”
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