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O’Donovan Rossa 100th Anniversary Commemoration

Sinn Féin will be launching our 1916 commemoration programme on 1st August with a historical re-enactment of a seminal moment in Irish History; the funeral of the "unrepentant Fenian" Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

Over a hundred thousand people turned out to watch the spectacle of the funeral in 1915, thronging Dame Street and O'Connell Street to see the cortege. At the graveside, a relatively unknown Patrick Pearse stepped forward to give a graveside oration that would go down in history, with the last section of that speech now widely seen as the call to arms for the 1916 Rising.

Assemble Dublin City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2 at 1pm sharp on 1st of August.

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Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

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*Photograph below

Sinn Féin elected representatives from Tyrone, Armagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Meath gathered at historical Navan Fort today to launch the party's submission in opposition to the planning application by the north's energy system operator, SONI, for the Tyrone to Cavan section of the cross border electricity project, the North-South Interconnector.

The party continues its long record of calling for the project to be delivered underground.

MP for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady said;

"Sinn Féin's position has been very clear from the very start, from the time that this project was first mooted. We recognise its importance to the island economy and to the safety and security of electricity supply in the north but, without a shadow of a doubt, this project is best delivered underground.

"Technological advances in recent years show that undergrounding is not only feasible but cost effective over the life of the project. It is certainly the best way to deliver this important infrastructure on time and on budget. This one move will address the full suite of genuine concerns, in relation to health, the local environment, heritage, agriculture, property and land devaluation for example, that residents and landowners along the proposed route have. Undergrounding makes absolute sense.

TD for Cavan/Monaghan Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin added;

"Such is the scale of legitimate public opposition to the North-South Interconnector project, as proposed, with overhead powerlines supported by gigantic pylons, that we are firmly of the opinion that this project is in serious jeopardy if Eirgrid and SONI don't come up with an underground alternative. It really is a case of underground or bust." 

Sinn Féin representatives at at Navan Fort and Interpretative Centre

Sinn Féin representatives at Navan Fort and Interpretative Centre attached. L to R - Cllr. Darren McNally (Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council), Cllr. Seán Conlon (Monaghan County Council), Cllr. Garath Keating (ABC Coucil), Cllr. Paddy McDonald (Cavan County Council), Mickey Brady MP, Megan Corrigan (office of Cathal Boylan MLA), Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Cllr. Darren O'Rourke (Meath County Council), Cllr. Michael Gallagher (Meath County Council), Cllr. Noel Keelan (Chairperson, Monaghan County Council)

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has welcomed a call from Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill for a united approach to dealing with the difficulties currently facing dairy farmers. 

Mr McMullan said; 

"Michelle O'Neill met with representatives of the dairy sector to discuss the serious challenges they are currently facing as a result of falling milk prices. 

"While this is a global crisis, the minister is clearly showing leadership locally by making every effort to assist all those involved in the dairy sector at this difficult time. 

"She has been continually engaging with farmers and representatives of the banks to support those working in the dairy industry. 

"Finding a resolution will require a united effort from all political parties, here, at Westminster and in Europe.

“Michelle O'Neill for her part has committed to challenging officials in London and Brussels on behalf of local farmers.”

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has responded to government claims that Irish Water could not be dismantled by reiterating that the government never had to introduce water charges or establish Irish Water in the first instance and that there is no legal block from removing either one.

Senator Cullinane held that the Water Framework Directive is primarily focused on the prevention of pollution of water supply and Ireland would not face sanction as long as it lived up to that requirement.

Senator Cullinane said:

“The EU Water Framework Directive that is the basis for the government’s introduction of water charges begins with a simple acknowledgment; ‘Water is not a commercial product’.

“The derogation against the introduction of water charges that Ireland enjoyed is still in effect. Our government has simply chosen the easier path of introducing another tax on working families to spare their blushes in Europe.

“Article 9.4 of the Directive clearly states that ‘Member States shall not be in breach of this Directive if they decide in accordance with established practices not to apply the provisions of paragraph 1’, namely the introduction of water charges.

“The Directive also acknowledges that ‘Water policy requires a transparent, effective and coherent legislative framework’. To say that Irish Water has displayed either efficiency or coherency in anything bar wasting vast amounts of money would strain credulity.

“The ultimate aim of the Directive is to achieve the elimination of priority hazardous substances. Ireland can achieve this with a simple public utility, established on current best practice that will supply every home in the country with clean, fresh water. That would satisfy the requirements of the Directive and it is what the people of Ireland need and it is what they want. You don’t need to spend €86 million in consultancy costs to know that.

“While the government dithers over the increasingly embarrassing fiasco that is Irish Water, Sinn Féin is committed to its abolition.  If given a mandate to remove water charges, Sinn Féin will not hesitate to do so.” 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has said that the TDs must be able to question the actions of the powerful and the privileged “without fear or favour”. His remarks follow the listing of 10 Oireachtas members by businessman Denis O’Brien in legal proceedings.

Gerry Adams said:

“All citizens are entitled to the protection of their good name. However, the principle of Dáil privilege is a key provision in the democratic process.

“It is a disturbing development when a very powerful businessman seeks to interfere with the business of the Dáil.

“Let’s remember that Denis O'Brien already succeeded for a period in preventing media outlets reporting on Dáil proceedings.

“None of this is healthy for democracy. It does not serve the interests of citizens.

“TDs must be free to questions the actions of the powerful and the privileged without fear or favour.” 

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Jonathan O’ Brien TD, has described the rise in schools costs for parents as a “nightmare for struggling families”. The Cork North Central TD was responding to a survey published by Barnardos today that shows the costs for first year pupils at secondary school increasing by an average of €50 to €785 last year.

Deputy O’ Brien said:

“Rising back to school costs are a nightmare for struggling families. Many families have to get loans in order to cover the costs with one in five secondary school parents forced to take this option. It puts paid to the notion of free education.

“Cuts to capitation costs means that some schools are barely able to cover costs and parents are put under tremendous pressure to increase their voluntary donations. The cost of school books has also increased putting even more strain on Irish families. It doesn’t help that the back to school clothing allowance was slashed by the government last year.

“These government imposed cuts fly in the face of education as a basic and fundamental human right. With back to school costs rising year on year, these rights are being denied. School has to be affordable to all so that everyone has equal access to education.  

“Sinn Féin wants to make back to school time more affordable. If in government we would increase the annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, increase funding to school books and increase the capitation grant to primary and post-primary schools - reducing the need for parents to dig into their own pockets for school contributions and ensuring education is something truly accessible to all.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley has condemned those responsible for a security alert in the Andersonstown Road area of west Belfast. 

Ms McCorley said; 

"Those responsible for this device have achieved nothing other than bringing disruption to local residents and businesses for several hours.  

"Thankfully no one was injured but we could have been facing the prospect of passers by being hurt if this viable device had exploded. 

"Whoever is responsible for the device is not representative of the community and does not have the support of local people. 

"They need to listen to the will of the people and end these futile actions immediately." 

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Sinn Féin Junior Finance Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín and Finance spokesperson in the North Daithí McKay MLA, today published a paper setting out five proposals to ensure NAMA delivers the best possible value for Ireland and its citizens and tackles growing concerns regarding the agency’s activities and expedited wind-up deadline.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“The Siteserv debacle has starkly illustrated what happens when Government not only takes a hands-off approach to how public monies are being managed and spent by the state bodies, but also refuses to deal with the opposition’s concerns on such matters in real time or in a transparent fashion.

“Despite having been dragged kicking and screaming to finally establish a Commission of Inquiry into the IBRC, it appears the government has learnt little from the whole episode. There is a growing unease around the activities of NAMA and the shortened timeframe within which it is now to wind-up, yet government has failed yet again to adequately address these concerns.

“Property values continue to rise year on year yet NAMA and Fine Gael/Labour are pursuing an arbitrary wind-up deadline of 2018, with the 80% of NAMA bonds redeemed within the lifetime of this Government.

“There are examples of investors effectively flipping properties purchased from NAMA for significant sums of additional profit in very short periods of time. These lost profits are desperately needed monies for the public purse.

“There is no advantage to the taxpayer for this fire-sale strategy. A review of NAMA’s loan book is needed if the State is to realise the true value of the agency’s loan book, and ensure absolute transparency in NAMA’s remaining transactions.

“Sinn Féin has today published a discussion paper outlining five proposals to enhance existing scrutiny of NAMA’s activities; maximise profitability for the taxpayer, place a renewed emphasis on the use of NAMA’s development funds in Ireland, deliver an independent audit of NAMA’s remaining properties for social and economic development and examine salaries and cooling-off periods.”

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Fra McCann MLA has said the decision by the Social Security Agency to close its Benefit Shop based in Castle Court, is short sighted given proposed welfare cuts by the British government.

Mr McCann said,

 “It is unbelievable at a time of growing need for benefit information that the Social Security Agency has decided to close its office in Castle Court.

 “This Benefit shop is used by many people to seek employment and to find out what benefits they are entitled to.

 “As the British government welfare cuts begin to have a deep impact the need for this office has never been greater and it should remain open.

 “This office is a central resource for many in seeking help and assistance and the fact that it is city centre based makes it open for all citizens.

 “The service provided by this office cannot be replicated through IT as many people have no access to computers or are computer illiterate. It will also be extra strain on the already under resourced advice sector.

 “Sinn Féin will be raising this with the minister as a matter of urgency in order to have this service retained for all the people of Belfast.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann said tonight that the news police are treating the death yesterday of 30-year-old mother of three Jennifer Dornan as murder has “sent shock waves through the local community”.

Jennifer McCann said:

“I am deeply saddened to learn that the PSNI has launched a murder investigation into the death yesterday of Jennifer Dornan, a mother of three children.

“This news has sent shock waves through the local community who have rallied round her family.

“I am urging anyone in the community with information which may assist the police inquiry into Jennifer’s death to come forward right away.

“This is a time for calm heads and the community needs to support the family and help the police get on with their job of finding Jennifer’s killer.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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