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EU Election Manifesto 2014

Putting Ireland First - Éire Chun Cinn

Sinn Féin's bilingual election manifesto for the 2014 EU election was launched on Monday 12 May. Download Sinn Féin's EU Manifesto 2014 here.


EU Election News

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for maximum mobilisation for the upcoming national Right2Water march this Saturday and for the government to urgently rethink its stance against holding a referendum to protect water services from privatisation.

 Speaking today Ms. Boylan said:

“The government must make moves to enshrine the right to water in our constitution.

“Access to water services is a human right and the possibility that water services could be liberalised due to trade deals is a very real prospect.

“Despite government assurances that there are already unspecified safeguards in place to protect against this possibility we need watertight assurances in the form of a referendum that this won’t happen.

“I heard many nightmare privatisation stories from cities and countries across Europe while conducting research on the Boylan Right2water report for the European Parliament.

“ Despite the EU Commission insisting water management is a matter for the member states we have seen it continually push its privatisation agenda, most recently in Greece.

If Labour and Fine Gael are being honest about no such privatisation plans for Irish water then why not give the people their constitutional safeguard?

“My Right2Water report contains such safeguards.

“Namely the Commission must draft legislation which recognises access to water as a human right and it must make assurances that water services will be exempt from any trade deals, including TTIP.  

“Many European cities, after disastrous attempts at privatisation, are making moves towards the remunicipalisation of water services.

“My report will be voted on by the European Parliament on the 8th of September, and despite my grave concerns that Fine Gael’s group in parliament, the EPP, will make moves to block amend or delay my report, I hope it will pass.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that the rising costs of sending children back to school has exposed the myth of free education in this state.

Ní Riada stated that the government seem oblivious to the very real hardship that costs create for families at this time of the year and she pointed to recent cuts to lone parents allowance as an additional pressure point this autumn.

She said;

“The frightening costs of sending children back to school shouldn't be treated simply as something topical to talk about every time august comes about. The reality is that it creates very real hardship, stress and financial pressures for families who are already struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. The government seem oblivious to it.  In a real republic, back to school time would not come with such burdens. The situation, which worsens every year, certainly exposes the myth of free education.

“Many parents are getting into debt in order to meet the costs, while at the same time they are being asked to increase their voluntary contributions to schools that struggling to survive because of government imposed cutbacks. It seems to me that Fine Gael and the Labour Party wants the state to wash its hands of the responsibility for providing education and they want parents to foot the costs of this divestment.

“Lone parents must be finding this year particularly difficult given the further cut to the lone parent allowance that was introduced this summer. The shocking reality is that back to school costs could well be the expense that will push many families across the poverty threshold. It is unacceptable and it is a telling indictment of this government’s social policy.

“School must be affordable. Everybody must have equal access to education. The current costs of sending kids back to school creates a major barrier to achieving this aim. The government needs to wake up to the nightmare that parents are facing at this time of year.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Tom Frawley, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and a number of women's groups to discuss the administration of European Social Fund (ESF) by the Department of Employment and Learning.

 Ms. Anderson said,

 “A number of months back I met with several groups at Stormont to discuss the administration of the European Social Fund by the Department Employment and Learning as I was concerned that funding applications affecting the women's sector were being rejected due to a lack of clarification on guidance notes and the fund being used to plug a hole in the minister's budget.”

 “The ESF is aimed at reducing economic inactivity and has several thematic objectives including promoting gender equality and social inclusion, as well as educational skills and life long learning.

 “The Minister said he needed most recent management accounts in order to conduct a financial capability assessment and this change caused confusion leading to the process having to be rerun

 “Departmental obstacles had the potential to see the loss of 6000 training places and 40 jobs IN the women sector.

 “I organised a meeting with Parliamentary Ombudsman Tom Frawley to look potential maladministration and way of correcting the process for future ESF funding opportunities. 

 “If we are serious about gender equality then we must address issues like child care and allowing women to return to work, training and education in a safe and local learning environment then it is important that ESF is available to women’s groups that are doing sterling work.”

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Anderson calls for Israeli boycotts to intensify

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson is calling for campaigning against Israeli and international corporations, that are violating the rights of the political prisoners, to be intensified.

The call comes following an appeal from Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails to prioritize their cause.

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament's Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said

“The national leadership of Palestinian prisoners sent a letter last week to the global BDS movement asking to prioritize the cause of the prisoners and to intensify BDS campaigning against Israeli and international corporations that are most complicit in the crimes committed by Israel.

“As a result of this appeal a call has been made for the international human rights organizations to initiate and/or escalate boycott and divestment campaigns against the companies that are most complicit in Israeli crimes.

“This call from the prisoners, which I echo, adds another dimension to the campaign.

“I ask you to redouble your efforts to boycott corporations that are most deeply involved in Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law and prisoners’ rights.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the Government to give full official recognition to Irish Sign Language (ISL), which is used by upwards of 45,000 members of the deaf community in Ireland. The language already has official recognition in the North, and members of the Deaf community are campaigning for similar recognition in the South.

Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:

“The Irish Deaf Society has been campaigning for more than thirty years to have Irish Sign Language officially recognised by the state in order to ensure equality for Deaf people in accessing services, stating informed and participating fully in our society.

“ISL is the indigenous language used by the Deaf Community in Ireland, and is part of a unique, rich and valuable culture. It is distinct from British and American sign language. and has no connection to spoken English or Irish.

“The Deaf Community see themselves as a linguistic minority, and take pride in their distinct language and culture, which in itself is part of the great cultural diversity of our country. It is high time that their language was given the recognition it deserves.

“In the wake of the recent marriage equality referendum I am calling on the Government to strike while the iron is hot and bring forward legislation to give full official recognition to ISL. Acquiring this status will lead to greater awareness of the language and also enforce the rights of Deaf people to access essential information in their own language.

“It will also provide far more certainty that Deaf people could access ISL interpreter services for essential situations such as job interviews, using health services, education and court hearings.

“If want to build a fair recovery for all we need to commit to ensuring a level playing field for all our people. Giving recognition to ISL will be a strong and positive step on the road to a fair recovery.”