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Dublin City Councillor Noeleen Reilly has commended all those involved in organising today’s special event to mark 50 years of Ballymun.

Speaking at the event she said:

“Firstly I want to congratulate all those involved in today’s celebrations in Ballymun.

AXIS in collaboration with Dublin City Council and Supervalu have organised a fantastic free family fun day for everyone.

It is great to see the community come together and celebrate everything that is great about Ballymun and to remember the last 50 years and how things have changed so much.

Residents of all ages and from all parts of Ballymun are here today to share memories and make some new ones.”

She further added,

“Today is not the end of the celebrations. Throughout the next few weeks a camper van will be going to all corners of Ballymun and Axis will be surprising some local residents whose birthday falls around this time.

Events like these are really important for Ballymun as it brings people together and shows a really positive side of the area.

I look forward to all the future events and the next 50 years of Ballymun.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has condemned those behind the disruption caused by a security alert in Crumlin.

The South Antrim MLA was speaking after a suspicious device was found in the town:

"The disruption brought about by this security alert is indefensible.

“Saturday is one of the busiest days in Crumlin; many businesses and shoppers have been affected as a result of the disruption caused.

"If this does prove to be a viable device those responsible must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

"There is no room for these type of attacks in our society and they must end immediately." Ends/Críoch

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Sinn Féin MLA and party spokesperson for young people Catherine Seeley said:

"Following the Brexit result and concerns expressed by young people in my constituency I invited Martina Anderson MEP into the area to meet with youth representatives.

"The young people shared concerns about EU study opportunities, EU employment opportunities and the implications of a hard border.

"Martina has conducted a series of meetings and has promised to continue to fight for the North and for the democratic decision to remain to be respected by the British government." Ends/Críoch

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Speaking in Dublin today Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the Brexit vote has thrown the damaging consequences of partition into sharp focus and that there is now an opportunity to redesign the constitutional and political future of the island of Ireland.

Teachta Adams said;

“The Taoiseach needs to show real leadership on the North. Notwithstanding Arlene Fosters’ negativity, the appeal of being part of a new, reimagined confident Ireland may well prove very attractive to some unionists in the north. But achieving that will require political leaders here rising above their historical tendencies and developing an all island view.

“Arlene Foster’s position in entirely predictable.  So too is the position of some Dublin politicians.

“The fact is, the North voted to remain in the EU. Ms Foster lost. Common sense won. So the wishes of the electorate of the North must be respected and upheld. 

“Why should unionists move to explore new relationships on this island if some of the main parties in Dublin are content with the old structures and current partitionist arrangements?

“All of us need to move beyond the rhetoric and into the reality of unity and the necessary programmes and outreach to achieve this very achievable objective. Part of this could include efforts to agree all-party approaches on the way forward. We should also be open to exploring new ways of governance on this island. 

“I welcomed the Taoiseach’s recognition of the possibility and potential for a referendum on reunification to be part of any negotiations with the EU and Britain on Brexit. His move to this position, like Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, was conditional and cautious and that is fair enough. 

“But all of us now need to go beyond this by actively talking about the constitutional and institutional shape of that new Ireland.  This is not just about 6 counties joining 26 counties. This is about uniting the people of this island and creating a new Ireland.

“If the Brexit vote has done anything it has thrown into sharp focus the damaging consequences of partition and the fact that in a changing EU it does not make sense that one part of this small island will be in the EU and the other part outside.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has welcomed the Parades Commission determination placing restrictions on a UDA memorial parade in the Ormeau area next week.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said:

“Sinn Féin had made written and verbal submissions to the Parades Commission regarding this parade following numerous complaints from local residents in previous years.

"In the past two years, this particular parade has caused a lot of anxiety and apprehension in the Ormeau community.

“The first of these parades was organised to mark the 20th anniversary of notorious loyalists Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder. At that time it was thought to be a one-off parade but organisers appear intent on making this an annual event.

“People have a right to commemorate but parade organizers have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of communities impacted on by parades are also taken into account.

"The organisers of this parade have clearly failed to take into account the changed demographics in the Ormeau area and the strong feelings of the relatives of victims of the UFF gang which carried out a campaign of murder and intimidation against residents in this immediate area.

“There are numerous Loyal Order parades taking place in this community on an annual basis. This particular parade however is seen as something quite different from those.

“I welcome this determination to place a restriction on the route of this parade and would appeal to the organisers to respect the local community regarding this and any future parades." Ends/Críoch

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Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey said a robbery and assault on a Catholic priest at St Michael's parish house was despicable.

Alex Maskey said:

"A priest was threatened with a weapon and assaulted before being robbed of a sum of money tonight at the St Michael's parish house at Finaghy Road North.

"I visited the victim after the incident along with my party colleague Councillor Matt Garrett and while quite shaken he is determined to continue with his duties including a funeral mass tomorrow morning.

"This was a cowardly and despicable attack on someone who serves the local community.

"Anyone with any information about those responsible should bring it forward to the PSNI." ENDS/CRIOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has welcomed news that nurture units at two Belfast Irish language schools are to receive funding from the Dept of Education.

The South Belfast MLA said; 

“I have spoken today with the chief executive of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, who met me earlier this  month on this issue, and he tells me schools are delighted that funding will be provided for nurture units at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin and Bunscoil an Droichid. 

“This is great news for both schools. 

"The nurture units will play a hugely beneficial role in the education of children in these schools and as a strong advocate for the Irish medium sector I wish them well in the future."

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Tá fáilte curtha ag an CTR Sinn Féineach Máirtín Ó Muilleoir roimh an scéala go bhfuil aonaid chothaithe ag Gaelscoileanna i mBéal Feirste chun maoiniú a fháil.

Dúirt an CTR do Dheisceart Bhéal Feirste:

“Bhuail mé leis leis an phríomhfheidhmeannach de Chomhairle na Gaelscolaíochta ní ba luaithe an mhí seo.

“Labhair mé leis inniu agus d’inis sé dom go bhfuil áthas ar mhuintir na scoileanna go gcuirfear airgead ar fáil d’aonaid chothaithe do Bhunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin agus do Bhunscoil an Droichid. 

“Seo scéala iontach don dá scoil.

“Beidh ról iontach tairbheach ag na haonaid chothaithe in oideachas na leanaí ag na scoileanna seo agus mar thacadóir láidir don oideachas trí mheán na Gaeilge guím gach beannacht orthu amach anseo.” 

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the State’s decision to pursue costs from victims of school sexual abuse is a disgrace and has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene.

Deputy McDonald was also said letters sent to these victims from the State, calling on them to withdraw their cases and warning of high costs, amounted to bullying.

Teachta McDonald said;

“The State is essentially bullying victims of sexual abuse with these letters.

“I raised this issue two weeks ago at Leaders’ Questions and I called on the government to ensure that the State would not seek legal costs from these victims if their cases were unsuccessful.

“I think that is the very least that the state could do to allow these victims to at least try to seek justice from the courts without fear of being ruined financially as a result.

“The State’s decision to pursue costs is a disgraceful decision in my opinion and whoever made the call should hang their head in shame.

“I would appeal to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene here, to show some compassion and to ensure that this decision is reversed.”

ENDS

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Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the recommendations in the first report of the review on the cost of insurance will, if implemented, remove one excuse for higher premiums the industry has been using. He welcomed the recommendation as representing a “sensible approach which is in line with what I have been calling for” and hoped that the move will lead to a drop in insurance premiums sooner rather than later.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The report today maps out a way to remove one of the excuses insurers have been using to justify high premiums. It is in line with what I have been calling for. There will no longer be the uncertainty of a sudden call on insurers’ funds if a competitor goes out of business. The insurers had told me this uncertainty was creating anxiety that required reserves and was putting off possible new entrants into the market. That excuse is no longer valid given what is signalled in the report.

“This was a key argument used by insurers to justify massive increases in premiums.  If that is true, this plan to remove it should see premiums drop sooner rather than later. The review group now needs to get down to the next step of looking at the other reasons for the huge jumps in the price of motor insurance including examining the business model and underlying sustainability of the industry.

“It is now over two years since Setanta insurance went bust, leaving 75,000 policy holders high and dry.  For those who were in the process of making claims, that was only the start of a very long drawn out process that is still being played out in the Courts today. Today’s report marks a much belated attempt by government to sort out the mess Setanta left in its wake.

“The approach taken by the working group is a sensible one. Legal changes should provide clarity as to the responsibilities of the Insurance Compensation Fund and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland in cases of future insurers going bust for third party claims. The 65% cap on what the ICF can pay out for third party claims will be lifted too. Ultimately, it is the driver who will pay whether through a levy to the ICF or in our premiums to the companies who fund the MIBI. At least now there should be clarity with the primary role of the ICF meaning a sense of stability can be restored.” 

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Speaking in his constituency today after a meeting with local farmers, Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny TD called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the beef forum to deal with the problem of the recording of farm to farm cattle movements.

Deputy Kenny said:

“The penalisation of farmers by the meat factories for the number of movements an animal has recorded against it has to be tackled. Quality Payment Scheme bonuses are being withheld on this basis.

“There is a case to be made for not counting movement of cattle between quality assured farms.

“I have received many representations from farmers on this issue. They feel it is unfair, and I agree with them, that penalties are imposed by the meat processors for movements which are not significant in any way. A recent study carried out by ICOS found that many British supermarkets are not making the strident demands which are being imposed by Irish factories.  ICOS correctly pointed out that the Quality Payments Scheme is in fact a quality penalty scheme as it is being implemented by the factories. Bord Bía does not place any of these movement restrictions on cattle.

“The Minister, as chair of the Beef Forum, will have to tackle this issue when he has everyone around the table.

“The factories take every opportunity to penalise farmers. At the moment they are exaggerating the Sterling devaluation after the vote by Britain to leave the EU.

“The Beef Forum is supposed to look after the interests of farmers as well as the rest of the sector and the Minister has a responsibility to defend the primary producer.” 

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Speaking in Leitrim today, Sinn Féin Agricultural spokesperson Martin Kenny TD congratulated Denis Duggan on his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Macra na Feirme. 

Deputy Kenny said:

“Macra is an active and vibrant organisation in rural areas and always plays a positive role. Edmund Connolly did a great job over the past eight years and I wish him well in his new post in the South East.

“Meanwhile, I congratulate Denis Duggan on his appointment as CEO and hope that we will find areas for co-operation during his term in the post. I am sure that his experience in Enterprise Ireland will be invaluable as the creation of jobs and opportunities for young people in rural Ireland is vital.” 

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Deir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh Seanadóir de chuid Shinn Féin gur beag an faoiseamh atá ann do na mílte duine atá i mbaol a guid tithe a chailliúnt de bharr deacrachtaí mórgáiste.

Ag labhairt dó inniu dúirt an Seanadóir do Ghaillimh Thiar-Maigh Eo:

“Cuirim fáilte roimh an tuarascáil ach tá mé imníoch faoin easpa gníomhú maidir le daoine atá i nguais mórgáiste.Is leir go bhfuil an tiomantas sa Chlár Rialtais chun cúirt speisialta bhunú chun dul i ngleic le cásanna mar seo imithe ar fad.

“D’fhreastail mé féin ar an gCúirt Athseilbhithe i nGaillimh le déanaí mar a raibh 120 teaghlach os comhair an chláraitheora de bharr deacrachtaí morgáiste. Ba cheart go gcuirfeadh an figiúr scanallach seo in iúl go soiléir don Rialtas go bhfuil an fhadhb seo ann.

“Is léir gur cuireadh an cheist seo maidir le cinnteacht cíosa, ar an méar fhada mar gheall ar easpa tola polaitiúla agus ní mar gheall ar aon deacracht teicniúil. Tá Sinn Féin a rá le fada go bhfuil nasc ann idir an easpa tola seo agus líon na dTeachtaí Dála Fhianna Fáil agus Fhine Gael a bhfuil leas acu san earnáil cíosa.

“Faraor, in aineoinn go ndrearna  Fianna Fáil tagairtí do chinnteacht cíosa roimh an olltoghchán, ní raibh se de chumas acu tacú le Bille Shinn Féin a thabharfadh isteach cinnteacht cíosa. Chuir Fianna Fáil cos car chinnteacht cíosa.

“Tá ceisteanna ann maidir le tithíocht do mhic léinn, seandaoine, daoine le míchumas, an lucht siúil, agus daoine ag aistriú ó sholáthar díreach nach ndeachthas i ngleic leo sa tuarascáil seo ar bhealach sásúil go fóill, ach beidh Sinn Féin ag iarraidh iad a thbhairt isteach de réir mar a théann an plean chun cinn.” 

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The North stands to lose billions from its economy if we are forced out of the European Union, Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said.

The Deputy First Minister was speaking following a major British Irish Council summit in Cardiff today to discuss the implications of the Brexit referendum.

Martin McGuinness said:

"It is absolutely clear from the various briefings and discussions today that leaving the EU would be economically, socially and politically disastrous for the North of Ireland.

"The meeting heard how our economy was set to receive €3.5 billion in European funds between 2014 and 2020. A sizeable portion of that will be at risk if we are forced out of Europe. Such funds will, of course, not be available at all in the years following 2020 and I don't think anyone seriously believes that the British Government will reimburse these losses.

"As well as these direct European funds, we are already losing an unquantifiable amount of private investment as foreign direct investors turn their attention to regions which can guarantee access to the European market.

"There are many more implications for the common travel area, for the free movement of people, goods and services which all add up to a disastrous situation. Potentially, we are looking at tens of billions being taken out of our economy over the coming decade."

Martin McGuinness also criticised the British Government's handling of the situation.

He said:

"We are in this mess because the previous British Government called the referendum in a foolish attempt to placate racist and loony right wing elements within both UKIP and the Tory Party. And, rather than respect the democratic wishes of the people here who voted to remain in the EU, it seems the new British Government is determined to drag us out against our will."

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Dublin City Councillor Noeleen Reilly has welcomed the news that Planning permission has been refused for masts on the Metro Hotel & Apartments, Ballymun Road and Santry Avenue.

Speaking today from Ballymun, Cllr Reilly said,

“Residents have been concerned for some time about the number of masts on top of their apartments.   There is anywhere between 150-200 masts on top of the roof.

“I had a motion on this issue at the Dublin Northwest area committee back in October 2015 as I was concerned about the masts being on top of residential homes as I was not aware of any others around the city.

“It later transpired that Planning permission had not been sought for these masts by Airspeed Telecom and Host Ireland and they were in breach of planning enforcement.

“The council have refused retention planning permission on the basis of the number of the masts their high visibility and that the location of the development on the top of a building with residential uses seriously injures the residential amenities of the residents in the tower and is contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

“It concerns me greatly that these masts have been on top of the hotel and apartments for years without permission and were essentially left there.

“They need to be removed immediately.

“I have contacted both Dublin City Council and Comreg on this matter and unfortunately the response I received was unsatisfactory.

“No one could provide me with evidence that all Health and Safety checks had been done on these masts.

“The decision by the planners to refuse retention permission is a vindication of residents who had rightly many concerns.”

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The Department of Housing and NAMA must work with Dublin City Council to ensure Lynam’s Hotel continues to provide emergency accommodation for Dublin’s homeless families, according to Sinn Féin Cllr Daithí Doolan.

Speaking this afternoon, Cllr. Daithí Doolan, chair of Dublin City Council’s housing committee, said:

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. It is unacceptable that families are being forced to leave Lynam’s Hotel to seek emergency accommodation elsewhere. Hotels and B&Bs are already booked out during the summer season. The Department of Housing and NAMA have an obligation to work with Dublin City Council to ensure the new buyer remains an agent for the city council and continues to provide emergency accommodation to Dublin’s homeless families. I have written to Minister Coveney and to NAMA requesting that they meet with Dublin City Council to discuss this proposal.

”The current Government claims housing would be a priority for them. Here is an opportunity to prove it; a phone call from Minister Coveney to NAMA and this current crisis could easily be over.

“Families who are already traumatised by homelessness must be provided for and protected from any further upset. I firmly believe if we work together we can bring a solution to his awful situation.” 

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has been commenting on recent figures released by NAMA to the Committee on Housing and Homelessness.

Teachta Brady said:

“A total of thirty six properties out of 6,637 nationwide are identified as NAMA properties in County Wicklow. Out of these thirty six properties, only seven have been transferred to the local authority to provide homes for people on the housing waiting list. Today, there are over three thousand people on the housing waiting list at Wicklow County Council. Seven houses being provided doesn’t even scratch the surface.

“The Housing Action Plan launched by the Government this week puts in part, a reliance on NAMA to provide houses across the State. However, the housing crisis varies county by county and one solution does not fit all. Even if NAMA transferred all thirty six houses in their possession to the local authority it would have little or no impact on the housing waiting list as it stands. It must be acknowledged that relying on NAMA to provide properties in Wicklow is simply not an option.

“While, NAMA do not hold a significant number of properties in Wicklow and certainly, nowhere near the numbers needed, they do own substantial land parcels in the County. These land parcels need to looked at for their suitability to be developed if we are to provide homes for the three thousand plus on the housing waiting list.

“NAMA need to use the land they hold in Wicklow to develop and build houses on. They cannot be allowed to hold onto land that could be developed in the midst of a housing crisis and when the need for housing is not being met within the County.” 

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Commenting today on TASC's  recent report ‘Economic Inequality in Ireland  - Cherishing All Equally 2016’, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Childcare Kathleen Funchion TD said that the report's revelation of some key gender inequality indicators for the state were shocking.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said:

“TASC’s recent report on the inequalities in existence within this state, particularly between gender divisions, exposes what many suspect but do not want to believe.

“Some gender inequality indicators were quite frankly, shocking: 

·         The gender pension gap is 37%, the fifth highest pension gap in the EU

·         29% of female workers are low paid in Ireland compared to 19% of male workers, which is the sixth highest level in the OECD

·         Lone parent households (90% of lone parents are women) had a deprivation rate in 2014 at 58.7% and a consistent poverty rate at 22%

·         Women carry out 70% of family care work across the state

·         On over 3,494 occasions in 2013, women's domestic violence services were unable to accommodate women and their children because the refuge was full or there was no refuge in their area.


“These facts make for tough reading when in black and white. I commend TASC for their work in exposing the pervasive inequalities between women and men in Irish society. It's also evident that it is women who are economically deprived who feel the brunt. They not only struggle financially, but must face the challenge of gender inequality in the work, place, in the household and ultimately in the futures through lack of security as well. 

“The report states that, according to the European Gender Inequality Index 2012, “Ireland ranked eighth highest out of the EU 28 with a score of 56.5 where 1000 indicates gender inequality”.  It is abundantly clear that gender inequality remains a huge challenge here. It's not a topic we can confine to the past. As evidenced in the report, modern Irish society continues to push women's entitlement to fair living conditions and secure futures to the side. I aim to shine light on the issue at every opportunity.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the news that nurture units at two Irish language schools are to receive funding.

The Sinn Féin education spokesperson said; 

"I welcome today's announcement that funding will be provided for nurture units at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin and Bunscoil an Droichid. This is great news for both schools. 

"There is no doubt that nurture units play a hugely beneficial role in children's education. 

"I wish both schools well in the future." 

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has welcomed the publication of data on the use of exceptions under the new mortgage rules as he had requested from the Central Bank. The data shows that the banks used only 30% of the permitted 35% leeway allowed. He said that the real story in the data is that supply remains the issues not demand and that this new evidence should make the government think again about a ‘help to buy’ scheme.

Deputy Doherty said:

“I am happy that these figures have finally been released after I raised this issue with the Central Bank and Minister for Finance. The idea that the Central Bank could ask for evidence based submissions without this crucial piece of evidence was absurd. I am glad that we now have a picture of how these rules are working.

“By using only 30% of the permitted leeway, the banks are not using the full leeway available to them. In fact, that 5% would mean that an additional €129m could be loaned outside the caps.

“It is very noticeable that for First Time Buyers the average loan to value has not changed dramatically. It is now 78.7% for those that fall within the rules compared to 80.7% for those that fell outside. That is only a minor change and when we consider that there is another 5% of lending that could potentially be used outside these caps the effect of these rules on First Time Buyers is quite limited.

“Overall, the picture is one of supply still being the issue. In light of this data, the government must take second look at the proposed help to buy scheme. There is simply no evidence that these rules have created a need for such an expensive scheme.” 

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