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Putting Ireland First - Éire Chun Cinn

Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2014 - 6pm Friday Feb. 7th and 10am Saturday Feb. 8th - Opera House, Wexford Town



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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said Sinn Féin remain committed to challenging the housing inequality and discrimination that exists in rural communities today. 

The party’s Housing spokesperson was addressing Mid Ulster Council’s Rural Housing Seminar in Cookstown today. 

Carál Ní Chuilín said: 

“Fifty years after the civil rights movement there is an emerging crisis and a deep-rooted inequality within the housing system that needs to be urgently addressed.

“Most rural families rely on private home ownership, not because they can afford it more than their urban counterparts, average incomes in rural areas are lower, but because there is very little choice.

“But this crisis is not just rural, across society, thousands of people are homeless, in housing stress, facing high levels of overcrowding and waiting an average of two years on the housing list. 

“Mid Ulster alone has around 1000 families in housing stress, yet there are plans to build only 67 homes in total. 

“The Housing Executive must step up and address the growing inequalities that exist in rural housing provision by focusing on prioritising the supply of social and affordable housing to meet growing demand.

“Sinn Féin remain committed to challenging urban and rural inequality through an ambitious programme of new builds to immediately address unequal access and progress the realisation of the right to a home in line with international equality obligations.”

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In response to a statement in respect of Brexit negotiations by the British Prime Minister Theresa May this afternoon, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said the Prime Minister’s comments amount to “nothing but tired rhetoric” and are an exercise in deflection.

Teachta McDonald said:

“Theresa May made a statement today which was billed as a major one in respect of Brexit negotiations. It was, regrettably, no more than an exercise in tired rhetoric.

“Rather than accepting that her so-called ‘Chequers Plan’ fails to resolve fundamental issues, Theresa May has engaged in deflection.  

“Her ‘Chequers Plan’ falls short of what was contained in the December ‘backstop’ agreement, which her government already accepted. She needs to accept that reality.

“Her focus has unfortunately remained on infighting within in her own party and her pact with the DUP, instead of coming to an acceptable negotiating position.

“More than eighteen months into talks and with time running out, she continues to show scant regard for Ireland, for our rights, for our economy and for our Agreements.

“Her comments in respect of the north are particularly disingenuous given her pact with the DUP at Westminster is an active block on a return to power-sharing - through which she denies citizens’ rights that are enjoyed everywhere else on these islands.

“The Irish government and the European Union must remain resolute in the face of British intransigence. They must remain true to their word that without an agreed, legally enforceable ‘backstop’ there will be no Withdrawal Agreement.” 

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Sinn Féin carers spokesperson Colm Gildernew MLA expressed concern that many families are still struggling to secure care packages for their loved ones.

He was commenting after the latest figures from the Department of Health showed a decrease in the total number of residential and nursing care packages being secured.

Colm Gildernew said: "The statistics are another reminder that our social care sector faces great pressures in being able to offer and deliver packages of care in the community. Issues with shortages of staff and high turnover rates can leave a health trust or provider struggling to cope.

"I know it can be often quite difficult to get care packages regardless of what trust area someone finds themselves in. Sinn Féin constituency offices are constantly helping people to secure the best care package they can.

"It is also important to note that not all care packages can be the same. Often they can be complex and challenging but they can be a great source of support for families and carers struggling to cope to look after their loved ones."


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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Brexit David Cullinane TD, said today that Theresa May's speech shows once again that the Conservative Party is in freefall over Brexit.

The Waterford TD said that the Tory'e have "have no ideas, no strategy and no viable alternative options and whatever happens in the next three months, there can be no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland".

Deputy Cullinane said:

"Theresa May was given a hard dose of reality at Salzburg.

"Chequers is a dead duck. It is not workable. Everyone knows it - including, I suspect, Theresa May herself.

"Yet she has put too much political capital into it to let go and move to a viable alternative.

"But regardless of the merits of Chequers or not, one thing is certain: there can be no withdrawal agreement without a backstop for the north.

"This is a red line issue and one that cannot be allowed to become a bargaining chip in the weeks and months ahead.

"The Irish government must continue to hold firm."

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Sinn Féin health spokesperson Órlaithí Flynn MLA has welcomed the announcement from the Belfast Trust that they've placed an order for a transvaginal scanner which is anticipated to be fully operational next year.

The West Belfast MLA said:

“Today’s announcement by the Belfast Trust regarding the transvaginal scanner is a welcome step in the development of a Mesh Centre.

“My party colleague, Caoimhe Archibald MLA and I met with the leading service personnel, including the Lead Clinician, to discuss the services for mesh injured patients. They told us that work was in progress with the PHA to reissue information around the preparations for a regional mesh centre. 

“The hope is that the business case and funding will provide a functioning regional mesh centre at the City Hospital and that confidence can be restored. The proposed, self-accredited mesh centre will assess, scan and treat patients according to their physical and mental health needs.

“We welcome the recognition physical and emotional support is required and that women will have access to trained psychologists who understand the complexity of mesh injury.

“We made it clear that a dedicated service is required and highlighted our concerns around the misinformation and communication to patients.

“Confusion was caused by an announcement in February about the existence of a new mesh centre. The service personnel have acknowledged that this announcement was premature and that the new centre is not yet operational.

“We recognise that service personnel are endeavouring to strengthen trust and confidence with mesh patients.

“Sinn Féin will be meeting with the Health Permanent Secretary in the coming weeks to discuss all of these issues further and ensure women have access to the appropriate care and treatment."

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Dúirt Liadh Ní Riada, iarrthóir Uachtarántachta Shinn Féin go bhfuil sé tábhachtach go dtarlódh díospóireacht teilifíse i nGaeilge mar chuid d'fheachtas toghcháin an Uachtaráin.

Dúirt Liadh Ní Riada:

"Tá sé tábhachtach go ndéanfaí freastal ar phobal na Gaeilge mar ba cheart le linn na feachtais toghcháin seo.

"Creidim gur gá go mbeadh díospóireacht i nGaeilge. Is í ár bpríomh teanga, agus ba chóir don  craoltóir náisiúnta é seo a éascú san toghchán don oifig is airde sa tír.

"Bheadh ​​aon rud níos lú ná sin mar mhasla ar na saoránaigh atá ag maireachtaint trí mheán na Gaeilge, orthu siúd a bhfuil conaí orthu sa Ghaeltacht, agus ar ár dteanga dhúchais.

"Táim ag tnúth le RTÉ nó TG4 a phleananna a fhógairt le haghaidh díospóireacht i nGaeilge idir na iarrthóirí Uachtarántachta ar fad."

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Limerick Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned Fianna Fáil's  Willie O’Dea TD for his opposition to new public housing at Clonmacken, describing his action as “a prime example of Fianna Fáil doublespeak”. 

Speaking today, the Senator Gavan responded:

"Not for the first time, Fianna Fáil Deputy Willie O’Dea has publicly opposed attempts in Limerick to build public housing. There are 10,000 people homeless across this state, including 4,000 children.

"Every week we see more people being made homeless in our city. The crisis is unprecedented yet Fianna Fáil representatives in Limerick consistently oppose new housing. 

"How can Deputy O’Dea justify such a position? 

“Last week Mr O’Dea took to local radio to condemn the councils plan to build 43 social houses near the North Circular Road and subsequently all six Fianna Fáil councillors voted to block the development. That is a disgrace. 

“There is a housing emergency across this state. Fianna Fáil are shouting in the Dáil lambasting Fine Gael regarding their failure to build social housing, and we then have Fianna Fáil’s O’Dea opposing social housing in his own back yard. This is the typical hypocrisy and doublespeak of Fianna Fáil.

“What exactly is Willie O’Dea’s problem with Social Housing? Is it an ideological problem? Is it a class issue? Or is it just another example of Fianna Fáil saying one thing nationally and doing another thing locally."

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Speaking after the Citizens Information board’s annual report found that ‘Irish citizenship’ and ‘Irish passport’ were the most searched terms on their website last year, Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile said: 

“Brexit has created massive uncertainty for citizens, who are resident in both in the north and Britain around their rights and entitlements.

“People are deeply concerned and unsure and need practical support and assistance from government in this regard.

“I have raised the need for a dedicated 'citizenship hub' that could aid citizens who are unsure about their legal rights, protections, entitlements, status and situation as a result of Brexit.

“A dedicated 'citizenship hub' would provide an important support mechanism at a time of much demand and need for engagement from many thousands of Irish citizens. 

“The Irish government must also take a stand in defence of rights, citizenship and the Good Friday Agreement at the negotiations and afterwards.”

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Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion met Today with NIO officials to discuss securing a City Deal for Derry. 

The Foyle MP said:

“I met today with NIO officials alongside my party colleague Paul Maskey MP to discuss securing City Deals for both Derry and Belfast. 

“It was a constructive and positive meeting and we both emphasised the needs for both bids to be progressed in parallel so that both can come to fruition and deliver the maximum benefit for people in both cities. 

“Securing a City Deal is key to growing the economy of Derry and the wider north west region as part of the strategic growth plan. 

“I will continue to engage with the NIO and next week I will be travelling to London to meet British government officials as part of Our efforts to secure a City Deal for Derry.” 

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