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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


An Nuacht is déanaí

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Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley TD has called on Minister Alan Kelly to explain why his government ignored the advice of Bord Gais on the issue of water meters.

Deputy Stanley was speaking today after the This Week Programme on RTÉ Radio One revealed that Bord Gais questioned the need for Irish Water’s €540 million metering programme back in 2012.

He said;

“The latest lot of leaked documents reveal the shambolic process that took place in establishing Irish Water. The revelation that there are no minutes or even notes of  the majority of 23 meetings between senior Government officials and Bord Gais in mid 2012 is extraordinary.

“Major decisions would have been taken at those meetings as the establishment of Irish Water and how it would operate were discussed. The civil servants present and on occasions former Minister Phil Hogan was there supposedly to represent the citizens yet no records were kept of these.

“One meeting that there is a record of took place on 11 of May 2012. It is reported that at this meeting the government officials were stating and pressing the case for water meters and outlined that this was Government policy.

“Bord Gais questioned this and were in favour of flat charges or assessed ones. The fact that Labour and Fine Gael have now reversed back into the Bord Gais position after wasting most of the €539 million of public money on installing meters that are now redundant for at least four years is outrageous.

“Minister Kelly now needs to explain why his Government ignored the advice of Bord Gais particularly in view of the regular statements from government that Bord Gais was given the role of  establishing Irish Water due to its level of expertise. We also need an explanation as to why no records were kept of these important meetings.”

ENDS

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Responding to the ‘Hidden Waiting Lists’ report in the Sunday Business Post this weekend, Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy and Party spokesperson on Health Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has stated;

“That citizens are being left for more than two years for an MRI scan is inexcusable.

“That the HSE has been withholding the facts regarding the reality of waiting times for outpatient services, that could inform life or death decisions, is intolerable.

“The HSE Director General needs to immediately come clean on these revelations.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has announced that his party will be seeking to petition the President not to sign the Water Services Bill into law if it is passed in both the Dáil and Seanad.

The President would be required to convene the Council of State to consider the bill under Article 27 of the Constitution if one third of the Dáil and a Majority of Senators sign a petition of concern after the bill has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Speaking today Senator Cullinane said;

“We in Sinn Féin, unlike the government, have genuinely listened to the people on this issue. We have been opposed to domestic water charges from day one and we are glad that the people have risen up so strongly against them.

“We have promised to do all in our power to oppose the introduction of these charges. Therefore, if both Houses of the Oireachtas pass the Water Services Bill this week we will then seek to petition the President under Article 27 of the Constitution.

“We have the petition ready to go and we will be inviting all Oireachtas members who are genuinely opposed to domestic water charges to support this action.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness told British minister David Cameron today the two governments must become fully engaged if a comprehensive agreement is to be achieved in the all-party talks.

Martin McGuinness said:

“I talked to the British prime minister today along with DUP leader Peter Robinson about the set of proposals agreed by the five party leaders on public finances and the potential for an agreement.

“These proposals require additional financial support and a commitment from the British government to deal with outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements.

“A comprehensive agreement between the governments and the parties is what is required.

“Work is continuing between the parties on the outstanding issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past but agreement has yet to be reached.

“There will be further talks on Monday and it’s important the two governments engage in this process if the talks are to reach a successful conclusion.

“Any agreement reached has to protect the most vulnerable in society, invest in building peace and reconciliation and welfare safeguards, deliver on outstanding agreements, grow the economy and enhance the working of the institutions.” 

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Responding to comments today by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, the Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:

"I have been writing to the Ceann Comhairle for over a year now regarding my belief that he has failed to properly and impartially discharge his duties.

"I have been seeking a meeting with him to discuss Sinn Féin's concerns. He has not facilitated this.

"He has no problem facilitating media interviews to attack Sinn Féin and make false statements.

"Mr Barrett says he wasn't occupying the Chair for a section of a Dáil debate about which I complained. He deliberately misses the point. The substance of my most recent communication with Mr Barrett, is for him, in his capacity as Ceann Comhairle, to deal with the issues I have raised.

"His comments appear to be an attempt to salvage his reputation which has now become a political issue.

"Highly prejudicial comments against Sinn Féin TDs by members of the Government parties have become a feature of Dáil debates. The Ceann Comhairle has allowed Sinn Féin TDs to be abused in the most disgraceful manner.

"Sinn Féin will not accept a situation where our TDs are subjected 2nd class treatment in the Dáil or where those who elected us are given 2nd class treatment.

"I urge Teachta Barrett to have the courage of his convictions and meet me to discuss and hopefully resolve these serious issues."

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Seanad Leader David Cullinane has said the decision by the government to impose the guillotine on the Water Services Bill is another broken promise by the government.

Senator Cullinane said the bill is an unmitigated disaster.

He said;

“The imposition of the guillotine on this bill is a clear breach of the government’s promise not to do so.  This is yet another broken promise from the government as we head into the Christmas break.  We have come to expect nothing less from this government as it limps on from one crisis to the next.

“The Water Services Bill is an unmitigated disaster.  The government is all over the place on this issue.  They have no idea of their figures.  For that reason alone the bill should be rejected.

“But the overwhelming argument against this bill is the will of the people as expressed in the protests across the state over several months when hundreds of thousands of people came out against these charges.

“The government says it is listening to the people but the reality is very different.  The people are demanding the complete scrapping of domestic water charges.  The government is ramming through this seriously flawed legislation to facilitate these water charges.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin councillor & LGBT advocate Chris Curran has slammed the Government in the wake of the publication of the Gender Recognition Bill.

Councillor Curran said the Government is not listening to the transgender community.

He said;

“It seems like the government is imposing a form of piecemeal statutory gender recognition.  They just aren't getting the message.

“The overriding principal here is that one's gender identity is for the individual to decide and its the state's role to facilitate the rights of the individual.

“This is another example of the government telling the LGBT community what our rights are rather than asking us what we want.

“Much as I welcome the governments announcement that we'll have the Marriage Equality referendum next year - why should we have to ask for our rights?

“Whether it be Marriage Equality, Gender Recognition or Employment Rights, the government should be facilitating our rights rather than us having to ask.

“This is another example of where our legislators are failing to keep up with the will of the people and is proven in that Ireland is shamefully the only EU country not a legislate for gender recognition. 

“This Gender Recognition Bill needs severe amendment because its patronising and borders on insulting the transgender community. 

“The bill indicates that transgender people need to be ‘diagnosed’ as such. Imagine a gay person needing to be ‘diagnosed’ as gay. A transgender person knows his or her true gender identity and this verification process is horrific.

“In relation to younger people and the need to be brought before a court. This represents another example of the government’s lack of understanding of the issue.  

“When a young person realises his or her true gender identity and is supported by the parents, the state should be obliged to carry out their wishes as individuals.

“The government is clearly amateur in this area and must engage heavily with the transgender community, listen to its needs and document its requirements before this Bill is passed into law.”

ENDS

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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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