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Michelle O’Neill has been named the new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

Please watch and share this exclusive interview below which tells a bit of her life story as a mother of two from a small village in County Tyrone, her work in politics and in the Executive, standing up for equality, respect and integrity in government and continuing the work that Martin McGuinness has done stretching himself for peace and reconciliation.

You can view a biography of Michelle O’Neill here


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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government has forgotten about the 80,000 families in mortgage arrears. He said the promises in the programme for government have been watered down, put on the long finger or simply dropped altogether.

Speaking at a Public Meeting in Swords organised by Louise O’Reilly TD Deputy Doherty said:

“In December the Central Bank published its latest figures on mortgage arrears. A total of 79,562 (11 per cent) of accounts were in arrears. This is still a huge crisis happening day and day out for the thousands of Irish people. Yet it barely gets a mention any more from the government.

"421 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the third quarter of 2016. That is over 4 homes a day being taken over. The government think this issue is gone away- they think it’s in the past. They are wrong.

"Promises to review the insolvency thresholds and set up a new Special Mortgages Court sit on the legislative programme 6 months after they were due to be published. A commitment that the Central Bank would amend the Code of Conduct seems to have been rebuffed altogether by Governor Lane.

"The Abhaile- MABS service is up and running but is only scratching the surface in the numbers of people in arrears it has helped out. This government in permanent crisis has well and truly taken its eye off the ball when it comes to mortgages.

"Sinn Féin will put in placed real solutions, not promises.

"We will protect the Family Home in law to a greater degree. My legislation to do exactly that was voted down in 2013. We also do not accept that vultures are part of the solution. If we can’t get rid of them they need to be taxed, regulated and not fed by the State’s own banks.

"The 80,000 families in arrears deserve to be front and centre in political debate. This is not an issue that has gone away.”

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Commenting after Fianna Fáil Deputy Declan Breathnach raised, under topical issues in the Dáil today, the need for a Passport Office facility to be opened in “the Border Region” Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has said that Fianna Fáil should go further and acknowledge as well as support the growing calls, demand and identifiable need for a Passport Office to be located in the North.

Speaking from Leinster House today Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;

“I welcome the calls for additional Passport Office facilities from Fianna Fáil today. There is no doubt that the stark increase in Passport applications from the North warrants an urgent review of services. Recently the increased demand saw an additional 230 people employed by the Passport Office and the staff there deserve our full respect and appreciation for the hard work they are putting in. 

“The campaign for any such new facility must be about meeting the logistical, demonstrable need emerging from within the Six Counties. Any new and indeed much needed Office facility must be located where the increased demand lies.  Does Fianna Fáil support the need for a Passport Office in the Six Counties?

“The huge increase in Irish and therefore European Passports indicates clearly that there should be Special Designated Status for the North within the EU and the Irish Government should stand with the rest of us in making that case.”

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Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster has called on the Taoiseach to publish the audit of St John of Gods as soon as it is completed.

Deputy Munster said given the financial misappropriations that have come to light in recent years, whereby money was taken from residents’ own bank accounts on numerous occasions to pay for medical devices that should have been supplied by St John of Gods and other incidents where personal funds of a resident were used to buy cutlery, soft furnishings and a fireplace, the audit should be published as soon as possible.

Speaking today Teachta Munster said;

“These shocking revelations have come to light and we still do not know the full extent of this practice. It is clear that there has been little or no detailed oversight or scrutiny by the HSE despite the fact that this large organisation has been given vast amounts of public money.

“It is also clear that the charity handed over almost €650,000 to a single executive to buy out a pension liability and at the same time saw fit to take money from residents’ personal bank accounts for medical devices and aids that they should have supplied to residents.

“The audit is currently being conducted on the finances of St John of Gods and I have asked the Taoiseach to give a commitment to publish the audit on completion so the public can see the full extent of the financial misappropriations and irregularities and see exactly where and how the millions of taxpayers money has been spent.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Louth and East Meath TD Gerry Adams has described the increase in homelessness in Louth as “deeply disturbing”. 

The Department of Housing’s Homelessness Report for January 2017 reveals a dramatic increase in homelessness in the North East but especially in county Louth.

Gerry Adams TD said:

“A comparison between the Homelessness reports for Louth from January 2016 and January 2017 reveals the extent to which the government is failing to effectively tackle the housing and homelessness crisis.

"In January 2016 the Department’s report revealed that 57 adults were homeless. The majority were men: 42 men and 15 women. 54 of these were in Louth. At that time there were no families registered as homeless.

"One year later in January 2017 the situation in Louth has dramatically worsened with the number of homeless adults having more than doubled to 121. Of these 74 are men and 47 are women – a significant increase in the number of women now registered as homeless. Of these 117 are in Louth. 

"The figures for families also show a startling increase. In January 2017 there are 16 families class as homeless, involving 26 adults. There are six single parent families which together have 24 dependents.

"Across the state the figures published by the Department of Housing show that the number of homeless is now at all time high of 7,167. The number of households in emergency accommodation has increased by 84. While in January 4,760 adults were in emergency accommodation, an increase of 117 people on December.

"These figures do not include adults and children in emergency domestic violence refuges funded by Tusla; non-residents in emergency accommodation funded by the New Communities Unit of the Department of Social Protection; rough sleepers; or the hidden homeless, those people sleeping on sofas belonging to friends or relatives.

"The number of families in emergency accommodation has dropped by 33 and the number of children has dropped by 98 to 2407. The Minister has claimed that these figures show the success of his policy.

"On the contrary they are evidence of a policy that lacks ambition, drive and is failing to effectively tackle the homeless crisis. How can a 91% increase in homelessness in two years be labelled a success? Or how is one child becoming homeless every five hours in Dublin a success? 

"The Minister needs to reassess his ineffective approach to tackling homelessness. We need a more aggressive purchase programme for vacant homes. This needs to include 1,000 new Housing First tenancies this year and a step up in its house acquisition and building programme. There are also 189,000 vacant units across the state yet the funding being made available to get these units back into active use is inadequate.”

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Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has challenged Fianna Fáil to state whether it supports the opening of an Irish passport office in the north. 

Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said: 

"I welcome the calls for additional Passport Office facilities from Fianna Fáil today.

"There is no doubt that the stark increase in passport applications from the North warrants an urgent review of services.

"Recently the increased demand saw an additional 230 people employed by the Passport Office and the staff there deserve our full respect and appreciation for the hard work they are putting in.

"The campaign for any such new facility must be about meeting the logistical, demonstrable need emerging from within the Six Counties.

"Any new and indeed much-needed office facility must be located where the increased demand lies.  Does Fianna Fáil support the need for a Passport Office in the Six Counties?

"The huge increase in Irish and therefore European passports indicates clearly that there should be special designated status for the North within the EU and the Irish Government should stand with the rest of us in making that case."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that cuts to the School Meals Programme across primary schools seem to come as news to Minister Varadkar in the Dáil today.

Teachta Brady said:

"During questions to the Minister today, I raised the case of a DEIS school who accidentally discovered on contacting the Department on a different matter, that their Schools Meals funding has been cut from the previous year. 

“This school was not notified by the Department at any point that this cut in funding was happening and this now means that by May they will not have any funding remaining for the rest of the school year. 

“Since I was informed of this I contacted a number of schools who on contacting the Department were informed of this same cut.

“Worryingly, the Minister did not seem to be aware of any cuts in the Schools Meals Programme.

“These cuts have been made in disadvantaged schools and will impact on children who rely on this funding for breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. 

"The Minister was unable to suggest ways in which schools are expected to feed children for the month of June. 

"I would advise all schools in receipt of School Meals funding to check the amount they have received from the Department.

"While the Minister was quick to announce the inclusion of additional schools into the programme this is useless when every child is being cut across the board.

“I have called on Minister Varadkar to ensure that schools in receipt of the School Meals Programme receive 100% funding." 

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today raised the Pat Finucane case with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and calls on the Taoiseach to initiate a diplomatic offensive to get the British government to honour its obligations and commitments.

This morning the Belfast High Court dismissed the appeal of Geraldine Finucane against the British government for its refusal to hold the promised inquiry into his murder in February 1989.

The family have been involved in a long battle with the British state over the circumstances of Pat Finucane’s death and the role of the British state and of its agents in carrying out that murder.

Speaking to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil Gerry Adams TD said:

“I trust you noted that the Court of Appeal in Belfast has dismissed the appeal of Geraldine Finucane.

"It did so on the basis that Ministers are entitled to depart from the policies of previous governments.

"This decision has serious implications beyond the case of Pat Finucane.”

"Speaking afterward Gerry Adams said: “I want to commend the courage and determination of Geraldine Finucane and the Finucane family for pursuing this case through the courts.

"At Weston Park in 2001 In 2001, the British and Irish Governments agreed to invite Judge Peter Cory to examine four cases, including that of Pat Finucane. Judge Cory concluded that four inquiries should be held. Three have taken place, including one by the Irish Government. However, the British Government has refused to honour its commitment. 

"In October 2011, the British Prime Minister David Cameron further disappointed the Finucane family by refusing an inquiry and instead appointing Desmond de Silva to review the case files. The de Silva report was published in December 2012 and it revealed a shocking scale of collusion by the British and Unionist paramilitaries. It serves to reinforce the need for an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.

"There is an onus on the Irish government to ensure that the British government honours its obligations and commitments. The Taoiseach should initiate a diplomatic offensive to ensure this.”

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Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has welcomed the vote by the Seanad this evening which calls on Tesco management to respect the rights of long serving Tesco workers to maintain their existing terms and conditions of work.

The vote was a result of a motion proposed by the Sinn Fein Senate team and it had the support of all parties and groups in the chamber.

The motion is a timely show of solidarity as Mandate trade union members enter their second week on strike. The dispute has seen a further escalation with workers in 20 stores now on strike throughout the state. Mandate have stated that the strike is a result of an attempt by Tesco management to enforce contract changes which would see the wages of staff recruited before 1996 fall by 15%.

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan, Workers Rights Spokesperson in the Seanad said:

 "Today the Seanad as a whole has sent a powerful message to Tesco Management. No Ifs or Buts, just a simple clear message that they must respect the rights of their longest serving employees. Mandate trade union have repeatedly made it clear that this dispute can end - all that is required is that Tesco agree to not force changes to contracts against the will of their members.

"The fact that this motion has received so much cross party support shows that all right thinking people can see the justice in the case made by Mandate. It just isn’t right to turn around to workers who have given 20 years or more service and tell them they can either have cuts to their pay and conditions or redundancy."

Senator Gavan also paid tribute to the public for their strong support for the Tesco workers:

"The vast bulk of citizens have been rock solid in their support for the Mandate members, they know that it’s always wrong to cross a picket line during a legal trade dispute. I am calling on Tesco management to heed the united call of the Senate today and  take immediate steps to end this dispute by recognising the rights of their longest serving employees" END

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Sinn Féin East Cork TD Pat Buckley has called on the Minister to immediately address the risk posed to public safety in his constituency following the end of the Midleton ambulance service this week and reduction in service hours across the area.

 Deputy Buckley continued;

“On the 9th of February I raised my concerns with Minister Harris in the Dáil that any reduction in ambulance services in the area would pose a grave risk to public safety in a very large and well populated area of the county. He assured me he would look into it only for these services to be quietly discontinued this week as Minister Harris seeks to be the next Taoiseach.

"The area which includes Midleton, Youghal and Cobh is home to more than 50,000 people and is now served by just one ambulance based out of Youghal.

The men and women who staff these services do amazing lifesaving work but they cannot work around the clock and when they are forced to take a break the area is left with no service at all.

"Today, between 1am and 12 noon there was no service in the East Cork. Recently there has been extended periods where there was no ambulance service between Waterford and Cork as the rapid response was busy.” 

"The Midleton service had on average about 8-10 call outs per shift to remove such a busy service is not just bad management but downright dangerous.

"One single ambulance for the whole of this area is simply not good enough. I call on the Minister to take his focus back to his job of delivering a health service, and restore the ambulance in Midleton before there are tragic consequences.”

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Sinn Féin's Pat Sheehan has said the party will continue to support the family of Pat Finucane in their campaign for truth and justice. 

Pat Sheehan said; 

"Today's decision in the Court of Appeal in Belfast is yet another attempt to deny the Finucane family access to truth about the murder of Pat Finucane. 

"The Finucane family have campaigned long and hard, in a dignified manner despite having continual obstacles being placed in front of them by the British government. 

"The fact is the British government agreed to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and it has reneged on that commitment. 

"The British government has failed the Finucane family and the families of so many other victims. 

"Sinn Féin will continue to support the Finucane family in their campaign for truth and justice." 

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Sinn Féin Party leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams has urged the government to resolve urgently the crisis around the provision of the cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi and Kalydeco.

A major demonstration is being planned for next Wednesday March 1st outside the Dáil.

Deputy Adams said:

“Before Christmas Oireachtas members heard distressing first-hand accounts of CF sufferers and their families. Orkambi and Kalydeco can save lives. They can dramatically improve the well-being of hundreds of patients.

"At the beginning of February media reports suggested that HSE drug committee had not recommended the use of the drug Orkambi for more than 550 Irish CF sufferers. 

"Today, I raised the availability of Orkambi with the Taoiseach. His response was deeply disappointing and failed to clarify the current state of discussions between the HSE and the drug company Vertex.

"New evidence has now emerged to support the case for approving Orkambi. According to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland this new data shows Orkambi will save the health system even more than was previously estimated.

"Whatever decision the HSE makes the ultimate decision on the availability of Orkambi and Kalydeco will rest with the Minister and the Government.”

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Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has warned Agriculture Minister Michael Creed that the precarious situation of young farmers will continue if further commitments regarding the national reserve are not provided. 

Carthy said:

“I welcome the Minister’s announcement that €5million in funding for a national reserve has been secured.  This is a very small step in a much required direction and will come as some consolation for young farmers who were denied, with no prior warning, these same funds last year despite promises to the contrary during the 2013 CAP reforms.

“While this is good news, albeit minimal, for 2017, the Minister still has some serious questions to answer regarding the long term management of resources for young farmers.

“Yet again, we see no provision being made for the so-called ‘forgotten farmers’ category often referred to as the ‘old’ young farmer.  The Minister continues to stall on this issue by saying he needs “clearance” from Brussels before making providing for this group.  With respect to the legislation in place this just simply isn’t the case and it is well within the Ministers gift to allocate funding to this neglected category of farmer.

“Forward financial planning is of vital importance for young farmers (under 35) who make up just 7% of the farming community in Ireland.  However the manner in which the Minister is running his department at the moment is making this impossible.  Young farmers cannot be expected to just guess whether this resource will be available to them year in, year out.

“The decision that the national reserve will be replenished applying a linear cut to the value of all BPS entitlements, equivalent to the amount of unspent funds from 2015 draws attention to the now deafening silence from the Department on how the operation of its 50% claw-back policy on sales of entitlements and the two-year surrender rules are operating in Ireland.

"The objectives of both of these policies were to ensure a national reserve going forward, and the failure of the Department to make a statement on why this has not happened is now overdue.”

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Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly has said the PSNI are treating an arson attack on the car of a Sinn Féin election agent as a hate crime. 

Mr Kelly said: 

"The arson attack on the car of a Sinn Féin election agent in Bangor was wrong and I totally condemn it. 

"I have been in contact with the PSNI and the police have now confirmed they are treating this attack as a hate crime. 

"It was an attack on the democratic process but it will not succeed as Sinn Féin will not be deterred. 

"This latest attack follows threats to Sinn Féin activists made on Facebook and the destruction of election materials and property.

"The DUP has attempted to sectarianise this election by employing the politics of fear, but as we have witnessed so often throughout history, the politics of fear quickly turns into the politics of hate. 

"These attacks on Sinn Féin are the outworkings of the so-called ‘brutal’ election campaign.

"Sinn Féin will continue to campaign on the basis of equality, integrity and respect." 

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon in relation to the ongoing crisis at Bus Éireann, has said that Minster for Transport Shane Ross must engage with all stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann, and trade unions to find a resolution to issues at the company.

In relation uncertainty surrounding the Fine Gael leadership, he said ‘outside of Fine Gael most people don’t care. What they care about is the crisis in health, the housing and homelessness emergency and the approach of Brexit.’

Teachta Adams said:

“In October 2015, as the Taoiseach extorted people to ‘keep the recovery going’ he warned us, and I quote: ‘We are facing a fork in the road. One track points to continued stability and certainty... along the other track lies instability and chaos.’

“Unfortunately for the citizens of this State and the island, the Taoiseach stayed on the wrong track, and now the Taoiseach and his Ministerial colleagues have brought chaos to their own party.  

“He and others obsess about who will lead Fine Gael, and by grace of Fianna Fáil’s indulgence, who will lead the government and when; the brightest and best jockey for position on WhatsApp and in the media.

“Outside of their own ranks, most people don’t care. What they care about is the crisis in health, the housing and homelessness emergency and the approach of Brexit.

“The Government appears oblivious to all this, as it meander aimlessly along the wrong track.

“In September, Minister Ross briefed the Cabinet that Bus Éireann was at crisis point. Six months earlier, the National Bus and Rail Union voted in favour of precautionary industrial action amid justifiable fears for workers terms and conditions.

“What did the Minister for Transport do?  He did nothing.

“Last month, Bus Éireann announced proposed measures that threaten the rights of bus workers, including cutting overtime and Sunday rates, as well as pay increments.

“Yesterday, it was reported that the company plans to cut a number of routes, including the Dublin to Clonmel and Dublin to Derry services, as well as reducing frequency on a number of others.

“The Taoiseach should know that a huge amount of people, particularly in rural Ireland, rely on Bus Éireann services. People have the right to a public bus service and the Government’s priority should be to create that service, not destroy it.

“So I urge the Taoiseach to get off the chaos carousel and get on the right track just for a minute, and ask Minster Ross to do what he should have done months ago, and engage with all of the stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, the NTA, Bus Éireann and the unions, to find a resolution to the issues.” 

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Tá sé ráite ag Carál Ní Chuilín go bhfuil Sinn Féin tiomanta d'Acht Gaeilge a bhaint amach.

Dúirt Carál Ní Chuilín,

Molann Sinn Féin iarrachtaí phobal na Gaeilge agus tacaíonn muid leo sa troid ar son ár gceart.Tá muid bródúil as na hiarrachtaí atá déanta ag an pháirtí agus ag ár n-airí leis an Ghaeilge agus le cearta teanga a chur chun cinn.

Tacaíonn Sinn Féin go huile is go hiomlán le hAcht Gaeilge agus le Straitéis Ghaeilge a chur i bhfeidhm.

Rinne ár n-airí infheistíocht gan fasach sa Ghaeilge ó thuaidh. Infheistíocht a d’imir tionchar dearfach ar fhorbairt na Gaeilge sa phobal agus sna scoileanna.

Throid muid in éadan na biogóideachta san Fheidhmeannas agus chuir muid moltaí agus dréachtaí chun tosaigh le haghaidh Acht na Gaeilge agus na Straitéise. Sheol muid an chéad thionscadal stáit riamh ar cúis leis foghlaimeoirí nua a mhealladh don Ghaeilge – ‘Líofa’. Ní dhearnadh a bhfuil luaite riamh anall i stair stát na sé chontae.

Tuigimid an tábhacht a bhaineann le pobal na Gaeilge a chuimsiú sna hinstitiúidí polaitiúla. Thug muid deiseanna d’eagraíochtaí Gaeilge a nguth a ardú agus tionchar a imirt sna hinstitiúidí.

Ní bheidh aon chúlú ó Shinn Féin maidir le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge.

Ní mór an aird agus na hiarrachtaí stocaireachta a choinneáil orthu siúd atá ag cur i gcoinne Acht Gaeilge agus cearta teanga.

Glacann Sinn Féin leis go gcaithfidh athrú a bheith ann, go háirithe ó thaobh an DUP de agus an dóigh a gcaitheann siad leis an Ghaeilge agus leis an chultúr Gaelach.

Ní féidir aon institiúidí polaitiúla a athbhunú gan na coimitmintí a tugadh cheana a chomhlíonadh.

Tá muid tiomanta nach bhfillfear ar an status quo."

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Sinn Féin's Fra McCann has welcomed the decision by the education authority to reinstate the funding for youth workers.

The West Belfast candidate said:

"The process of issuing notices of intent to youth workers who are involved in essential programmes in the most socially deprived communities was wrong.

"It is essential that these jobs are be mainstreamed to ensure continuity of service and programmes.

"I would like to congratulate those who campaigned to have the funding secured. Without their participation this reversal would not have occurred."

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Speaking in Leinster House today, Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said that the measures introduced by Minister Michael Creed on the National Reserve were welcome, but do not go far enough.

Deputy Kenny said:

“While I am glad that, at last, the Minister has done something to help young farmers and new entrants to farming for 2017, after leaving them in the lurch last year, these measures do not go far enough to resolve the situation.

“However, €5 million is not enough to deal with the backlog of young farmers who have completed or who are now trying to complete green cert training and who will be seeking entitlements soon.” 

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Sinn Féin's Carál Ní Chuilín has said Sinn Féin is committed to securing an Irish language act. 

Carál Ní Chuilín said: 

“Sinn Féin commends and supports Irish speakers in the long fight to secure the rights of the Irish language community. We are proud of the contribution and the efforts that our Party and our Ministers have made to promote the Irish language, and the rights of Irish speakers. 

“Sinn Féin supports entirely the implementation of an Acht na Gaeilge.

“Our ministers have delivered unprecedented investment in the Irish Language in the north. Investment that has positively impacted the development of the Irish Language in our communities and in our schools.

“We have fought against bigotry in the Executive and put forward proposals and drafts for legislation on Acht na Gaeilge and for an Irish Language Strategy. We launched the first ever state-sponsored programme to attract new learners of Irish – ‘Líofa’. None of this has ever before been done before in the history of the 6 county state.

“We understand the importance of the inclusion of pobal na Gaeilge and have provided platforms in the political institutions for Irish Language organisations to be heard and to make an impact.

“There will be no retreat by Sinn Féin in terms of any of this progress.

“Campaign focus and lobbying efforts must continue to be aimed at those who oppose Acht na Gaeilge and language rights.

“Sinn Féin fully recognise that there must be a change in how the DUP in particular treat the Irish Language and Irish identity.

“No political institutions can be reformed without the fulfilment of previously agreed commitments.

“We are committed to ensuring that there will not be a return to the status quo.

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that “struggling renting families will not be able to pay the dramatic rent increases imposed by Minister Coveney’s rent predictability measures”. The comment comes as Department of Housing figures provided to the Oireachtas Housing Committee today confirm that the cost to families over three years will be as much as €3500.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Today, the Department of Housing reported to the Oireachtas Housing Committee on the Governments Rent Strategy. Much of the discussion was on the rent pressure zones and 4% annual rent increases.

“Department figures confirmed that, for a family in Dublin, the cost of this measure over three years will be up to €3500. In Naas, the cost will be as much as €2500 over three years while in Cork City and County the cost will be from €2000 to €2500.

“In all of the cases detailed by the Department, the impact of the 12.5% rent increase at the end of the three years will mean an increased annual rent bill of between  €1000 and €2000 depending on where people live.

“How does Minister Coveney expect hard pressed renting families to come up with this extra rent? By the end of the three years, these families will be paying the equivalent of an extra months salary on rent. 

“The only certainty here is that families will be pushed further into poverty and, in some cases, into homelessness.

“On the basis of the Departments own figures, the rent pressure zone policy is a failure. It does not protect struggling renters. Rather, it gives them the certainty that in three years time, they will be between €1000 and €2000 worse off a year every year. 

“The Government urgently needs to reconsider its opposition to rent certainty and introduce legislation linking rents to an index such as the CPI. This is the only way to provide struggling renters with real relief.” 

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Commenting today on the ongoing Tesco dispute Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said that it was “disgraceful that in this day and age workers have to strike because their rights are not enshrined in legislation".

The Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central raised the matter recently in the Dáil during a Topical Issues’ debate and he also has spent time with the striking workers in Ballyfermot.

He continued: “The decision of Tesco workers to go out on strike was not taken lightly and rather it was forced on them in an effort to protect their basic employment rights.
“Tescos response to the workers’ claims is nothing short of disgraceful. Their willingness to tear up their terms and conditions is yet another example of the race to the bottom in the way workers’ wages and other basic entitlements are being targeted by employers whose only concern is their bottom line.

“Clearly the State's job has a responsibility to protect the rights of workers and prevent companies, especially those as profitable as Tescos, from slashing wages. The actions of Tesco’s are made all the worse as many of their employees are dependent on the State for top ups. It is a tactic that is becoming increasingly common as retailers and companies work towards forcing their workers to become dependent on the State rather than the company.

“In an effort to address these types of disputes, Sinn Féin’s workers’ rights spokesperson David Cullinane, TD, is today moving a Bill entitled the Industrial Relations (Right to Access) Bill. Its purpose is to allow trade unions to work out a reasonable time with an employer for access to trade union members when dealing with workplace issues such as collective agreements.

“The government and Fianna Fáil,” concluded Deputy Ó Snodaigh, “have an opportunity today to support the rights’ of workers, including the Tesco strikers by voting in favour of Deputy Cullinane’s Bill which would go some way in addressing unscrupulous employers exploiting the existing legislation to stymie unions.”

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