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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.


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Tá sé tagtha chun cinn i dtuairisc a  d´fhoilsigh Údarás na Gaeltachta ar maidin  go bhfuil úsáid sóisialta an Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht ag laghdú níos tapúla ná a raibh measta acu i dtuairsc a tháinig uathu i 2007. Ceann de na rudaí atá aimsithe acu ná nach bhfuil ach 21 pobail ina labhraítear Gaeilge go laethúil ag 67% den daonra. Deirtear gurb é 67% an ´tipping point´ i gcomhair maireachtáil teanga.

Agus í ag tabhairt a tuairim ar an tuairisc inniu, dúirt Liadh Ní Riada, Feisire Eorpach de chuid Sinn Féin gur ´damnú é seo de na stráitéisí atá curtha i ngníomh ag rialtais leantacha, go háirthe an rialtas atá againn faoi láthair de bharr nach bhfuil suim ar bith taispeánta acu i maireachtáil an Ghaeilge mar teanga labhartha´.

Dúirt Ní Riada:

"Mar bhean ón nGaeltacht is cúis buairt é an tuairisc seo dom. Mar saoránaigh Éireannach, measaim go bhfuil sé náireach. Táimid ag dul i dtreo cuimhneacháin chéad bliain is muid réidh le comóradh a dhéanamh ar fís agus misneach iad siúd a d´fhógair Poblacht na hÉireann i 1916. Measaim gur damnú atá sa tuairisc seo de na stráitéisí atá curtha i ngníomh ag rialtais leantacha. Tá ag teip orthu ceann de na príomh spriocanna na réabhlóidí sin a chuir i gcríoch: maireachtáil agus forbairt na Gaeilge mar teanga labhartha.

"An mhalairt atá déanta acu. D´fhéadfá a rá fiú go bhfuil siad tar éis rudaí a dhéanamh níos measa. ´Sé an rud atá ag taisteáil ná tiomantas leanúnach ó cheanairí polaitíochta. Go dtí seo níl rud ar bith faighte againn ach ´tokenism´. Mar gheall ar an easpa tiomantas atá léirithe acu siúd atá i gcumhacht agus mar gheall ar na droch-stráitéisí, an aon ionadh é go bhfuil rudaí chomh olc sin?  Tá rudaí mar atá siad i láthair na huaire an-scanrúil. Samhlaigh cé chomh dona is a d´fhéadfadh sé a bheith dá mba rud é go dtoghadh an dream céanna arís.

Tá an easpa suime lán soiléir.  D’fhógair an Coimisinéir Teanga go raibh sé ag éirí as a phost de bharr nach raibh sé ag fáil tacaíocht ón rialtas. Is beag rud atá déanta ag an rialtas maidir le chur i ngíomh an stráitéis 20 bliana. Theip orthu go dtí seo an maolú tanga a ardú. Is beag infheistíocht atá déanta acu inti, agus cheap siad Aire le freagracht don Ghaeltacht nach raibh Gailge acu!

"Ar an taobh dearfach den scéal cuireann sé gliondar croí orm go bhfuil fórmhór de phobal na hÉireann go mór i bhfábhar an teanga. I suirbhé le déanaí dúirt 70% de dhaoine go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh méadú sa mhéid seirbhísí poiblí atá le fáil trí Ghaeilge. Tá sé iontach freisin rath gluaiseacht na Gaelscoileanna a fheisicint agus mar aon le fuinneamh na gníomhaígh teanga a oibríonn go crua ar mhaithe don teanga ar fud fad na tíre. Ach táim croí bhriste go bhfuil muid ag an bpointe seo.

"Creidim gur géarchéim é seo agus caithfear rud éigin a dhéanamh láithreach. Tabharfaidh Sinn Féin tacaíocht d´aon tionscnamh a chuirtear chun tosaigh chun an teanga laistigh de na ceantair Gaeltachta a shabháil is a dhaingniú. Beidh tiomantas leanúnach ag taisteáil chun é seo a dhéanamh mar aon le seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sholáthar, agus infheistíocht a dhéanamh sa gheilleagar sna ceantair Gaeltachta.”

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A report published today by Údarás na Gaeltachta has revealed that the social use of Irish in the Gaeltacht is declining at an even more rapid rate than predicted in their last report in 2007. It found that there are only 21 communities where Irish is spoken on a daily basis by 67% or more of the population (the acknowledged tipping point for language survival).

Responding to this report, Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South, has described its findings as ‘a damning indictment of the strategies implemented by successive governments, not least the current administration which has demonstrated no interest in the survival of the Irish language as a spoken vernacular’.

Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:

"As a woman from a Gaeltacht community, I find all of this to be utterly heartbreaking. As an Irish citizen, I regard it as shameful. As we embark of a programme to commemorate the vision and courage of those who declared the Irish Republic in 1916, this is a damning indictment of successive governments who have abjectly failed to deliver on a core objective of those revolutionaries: the survival and development of the Irish language as a spoken vernacular.

"Far from enhancing and developing the status of spoken Irish in Gaeltacht communities, the strategies implemented by those in power failed abysmally to achieve any appreciable improvement … in fact we have seen the reverse. Where we needed sustained commitment to the language from political leaders, we got tokenism and stroke politics instead. Given this lack of commitment to our Irish language community by those in power and given the lack of thought-out and measurable strategies over many years, is it any wonder that things are so bad? It is extremely worrying and God only knows how bad things will get if this Government is re-elected.

"The record speaks for itself. The former language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned, citing lack of Government support as the reason. There has been a shocking reluctance to implement the 20-year language strategy. They have failed thus far to lift the language derogation in the EU. Investment in the language is minimal, and they appointed a Minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht with no Irish!

"On a positive note, I take heart that the majority of Irish people are supportive of the language and that a recent survey found that over 70% of Irish people want an increase in public services as Gaeilge. I take heart too from the ongoing success of the Gaelscoileanna movement and the continuing efforts of Irish language enthusiasts the length and breadth of Ireland. But I am heartbroken that we have reached a stage where the very survival of Irish as the spoken vernacular in Gaeltacht communities is doubtful. Mór mo náire!

"This is a cultural crisis and decisive action needs to be taken immediately to address it. Sinn Féin will actively support any initiative aimed at consolidating the language within those Gaeltacht communities. This will require sustained political commitment, including the provision of services through Irish and focused investment in the economy and social infrastructure of Gaeltacht communities. The alternative – the inevitable death of the Gaeltacht – is a scenario that we are duty-bound to resist.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has commented on the results of a Red C poll, commissioned by the European Movement Ireland that indicates that only 33% of Irish people agree that there should be an EU army.

The Dublin MEP said:

“The government should pay attention to these results as Irish neutrality continues to be weakened by successive Governments.

“This has included decisions to join NATO lead Partnership for Peace (PfP), and the utilisation of Shannon Airport to transport troops to join the illegal invasion of Iraq.

"This poll reflects the results of a similar poll commissioned by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance which indicated that a whopping 78% of Irish people agree that Ireland should have a position of neutrality.

"These polls strongly indicate that Irish people are loathe to support any Irish role in the growing militarisation of Europe, despite the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker plans for the creation a Common European Army.

“Sinn Féin introduced a bill earlier this year designed to safeguard and protect Ireland’s neutrality but the government refused to support it. Labour’s refusal to support it was somewhat surprising considering the party supported the Bill when it was in opposition.

“The government is not listening to the electorate on this issue and should now make moves to reassure the voters that protecting Irish neutrality is essential.”

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 Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has questioned the EU Commission on the implementation of the new transparency rules for the lobbying industry.

This comes as reports show that the vast majority of meetings held by the EU’s top two energy and climate officials have been with the fossil fuel sector.

Ms Bolan said:

“This information is accessible thanks to the new lobbying transparency legislation introduced late year  when the Commission announced that Commissioners, their cabinets and Director Generals would have to begin publically declaring any meetings they have with stakeholders.

“The legislation highlights how many corporate groups and vested interests in energy have access to top officials compared to those working in the NGO sector, attempting to combat climate change.

Ms Boylan continued:

“While the new regulations are an important first step in tackling the opaqueness of lobbying within the EU institutions, they only cover a relatively small number of Commission officials.”

“It should also be noted that Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman, has opened an investigation into the transparency of the informal negotiations that take place aimed at  reaching early agreements between the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Commission.

 “I have submitted a question to the Commission asking it to address a number of key concerns I have about the scope and the implementation of the new legislation.

 “Given that the Commission units and the heads of units have an instrumental role in shaping policy and decisions, shouldn’t the new transparency rules be expanded to all Commission officials?

“If this will not be the case then I would like the Commission to explain why not?

“I would also like the Commission to explain how it is monitoring and ensuring that that the new transparency rules are being adhered to?”

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Speaking from Cork today Liadh Ní Riada welcomed the granting of planning permission to the Cork Port Community  to develop the existing facilities in Ringaskiddy.

"I met with the management of Port of Cork company a number of times over the last few months, and I was impressed by their strategic vision. I was glad to have the opportunity to meet a delegation from the port authority in Brussels recently to discuss their bid for funding under the Connecting Europe Programme. An expanded port facility at Ringaskiddy would serve Cork and the greater Southern region well, and is of strategic importance for the whole of Ireland.

“Expansion at Ringaskiddy will mean greater capacity, opening trade to larger vessels and supporting economic growth. The development will create in the order of 600 – 700 construction jobs, and make Cork part of a global trade network, and a significant European logistics hub.

“I am happy to add my backing to the port authority's bid for a significant investment of some €11 million to begin expansion at the Ringaskiddy site and will work with the authority and stakeholders to secure this vital funding. I will meet with representatives of the Port Company in Brussels next week to discuss this bid and work to secure this vital infrastructure funding.

“I am aware of the concerns of residents in the Ringaskiddy area, and I would counsel the Port of Cork to engage with residents and to work to address their concerns. The planned expansion must take account of and avoid negative social and environmental impacts.”