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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called for people to come out in their droves in support of tomorrow’s Right 2 Water demonstrations.

Deputy McDonald said;

“I am urging people, from every community throughout the state, to come out in their droves in support of the Right 2 Water demonstrations tomorrow.

“We have an opportunity to send this government the loudest message to date that water charges are a step too far. People will not be silenced as they are pushed into poverty by this charge.

“The sharp reality that Fine Gael and the Labour Party fail to grasp is that many people simply do not have the money to pay water charges. For a great number of families it will come down to deciding between putting food on the table or paying for water charges.

“This is happening in backdrop of the news that 28.6% of children in this state are now living in poverty. How many more children will be pushed over the poverty line as a result of their parents being forced to pay for water?

“The establishment of Irish Water and the imposition of water charges has been a fiasco from the start. Now the people are standing up and saying enough is enough.

“We in Sinn Féin believe that the right to water is one of the most basic of human rights. We are committed to abolishing water charges.

“I am calling on everybody, young and old, to come out tomorrow and stand up for their right to water.”

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has announced that Sinn Féin will use its Dáil time in the next number of weeks to propose that a referendum be held to ensure that control over the water services remains in public ownership. He was speaking ahead of the countrywide mass protests planned for tomorrow, Saturday November 1st to protest against the imposition of water charges.

Deputy Stanley said:

“Our Bill proposes that a referendum be put to the citizens to amend Article 40 of Bunreacht na hÉireann in order to ensure the right of the people to water by retaining public ownership of water services and infrastructure. I attempted to have this included in the legislation which established Irish Water and introduced water charges, but that was opposed by all of the parties; Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil, which supported the establishment of Irish Water.

“We believe that a constitutional guarantee is needed as the current structure and legislation governing the water services would as they stand allow for a future privatisation of the water services in the future, as has happened in other European states with detrimental consequences for domestic users of water.

“This government or a future one could simply pass legislation to allow for privatisation. The only way to prevent this is to change the constitution by referendum. This puts control of this vital resource into the hands of the people.

“Sinn Féin continues to actively oppose water charges. We are central to the Right2Water campaign. If the Government fails to scrap the charge then we will ensure that it is a key issue in the next general election.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Arts and Heritage, Sandra McLellan TD, has today expressed her serious concern regarding reports that the National Museum of Ireland is considering cutting its services and introducing fees to make up for the massive cuts imposed on the institution since 2008.

Deputy McLellan said:

“Reports that The National Museum of Ireland is considering closing some of its sites from January or introducing entry charges to deal with its funding crisis are alarming.

“This is an invaluable educational and historical resource that is pivotal to attracting tourists to Ireland.

“We cannot risk making these institutions less accessible. We should be proud of the fact that important historical and cultural artefacts and exhibitions are available free to the public.

 “The introduction of fees would be a retrograde step that would restrict access for citizens and tourists alike.

“The museum, which received €11.3million in 2015, has had a 40% reduction in its budget since 2008.

“I fail to see how any organisation could be expected to continue providing the same level of services with such a massive decrease in funding.

“Does this government have no respect for the importance of The National Museum and its position in society as culturally, artistically and historically rich as our own?

“I am calling on Minister Heather Humphreys to immediately begin addressing this issue by ensuring that the necessary funding and resources are made available without delay.

“As we lead into the 1916 Centenary, the government must begin taking our history and culture more seriously and reverse the disgraceful cuts made to institutions of vital importance.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has condemned Jim Wells’ approach to managing the Health budget as the South Down area faces further cuts at the Downe Hospital and in the community. 

Speaking after South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) announced cuts, including the closure of 9 beds at the Downe, Mr Hazzard said:

“Yet again we are witnessing the slicing of services from the Downe to the benefit of the Ulster Hospital in Belfast. Yet again the people of South Down are being told to stomach bed closures whilst the Ulster Hospital escapes unscathed. 

“We’ve also learnt that domiciliary care is to be cut by a third. This is a serious blow to care services in our community. 

"Everyone acknowledged that Health Department must look to make savings in the months ahead, but they need to do more to protect beds, nursing and elective care. 

“In his last act as Minister, Edwin Poots admitted to the Health Committee that there was considerable waste in the Health system - yet his successor seems to have decided not to target this waste. 

“We know that more than £60million is being gifted to the private sector for elective care waiting lists - surely this is an area where savings could be made, surely the SEHSCT could make better use of these funds in-house?

“We know that a scandalous amount of money - more than £30million - has been paid out in bonuses to senior staff within the Health system in recent years. Surely this is an area where the Minister could explore the potential for savings? 

“Instead we have a local South Down Minister who is not prepared to stand-up for local frontline services.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said tonight that a proposal by the Northern Trust to close beds at a North Antrim hospital would end generations of care at Dalriada.

The North Antrim MLA said:

“There has been a hospital on this site for generations and if the proposal to close beds is adopted it will be the end of the road for Dalriada.

“It has been proposed that staff be moved out of Dalriada in four weeks time. We need to challenge this.

“In my view there are only four weeks to save the hospital from closure. Local politicians and the local community must now put pressure on the DUP and its health minister to prevent what will be a devastating blow to Ballycastle.

“The DUP is targeting frontline services in the health service, and that is shameful.

“Rural services are often seen as a soft target in terms of departmental cuts and that has certainly influenced those who have drawn up this proposal.

“We need to oppose this agenda and do all we can over the next number of weeks to save Dalriada.” 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD says the Northern Executive had shown political leadership by facing difficult decisions to agree a Budget. He called for similar leadership in all party talk to deal with outstanding issues in the political process.

Gerry Adams TD said:

Today, by agreeing a Budget against an extremely difficult backdrop caused by Vicious Tory cuts, the Executive has shown political leadership.

I hope the same level of leadership can now be shown by all parties in talks to resolve outstanding issues in the political process, including flags, parades and how to deal with the past."

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness said today the Executive had faced very difficult decisions because of ruthless Tory cuts year on year to the block grant.

Martin McGuinness was speaking after the Executive had agreed the 2015/’16 budget.

Martin McGuinness said:

"We reached agreement on the budget at today’s Executive meeting. 

"Clearly the Executive has faced very difficult decisions as a result of the ruthless year-on-rear reduction to the block grant. 

"The Tory cuts to public services are an ideologically driven assault on the welfare state and are at the heart of the current financial and are at the heart of the current financial crisis the Executive is facing. 

"Despite this reduced funding, Sinn Féin has worked to reach agreement on a budget for 2015/16 which defends core public services, particularly heath and education, and protects the most vulnerable in our society against savage Tory cuts. 

"We have also worked to lessen the impact of the cuts on departments which faced disproportionate reductions.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has announced plans to bring a major European anti-fracking conference to Fermanagh. 

Speaking after visiting Fermanagh alongside Michelle Gildernew MP, Ms Anderson said; 

"I visited Fermanagh today and met with representatives of anti-fracking groups from the county and from Leitrim alongside party colleagues Michelle Gildernew MP and Michael Colreavy TD. 

"We held a very useful and positive meeting on the concerns of the local community about plans for fracking in the area. 

"As part of Sinn Féin's commitment to oppose fracking, I announced that I will be bringing a major European conference on the issue to Fermanagh in the new year. 

"The conference will bring together a panel of experts and will consider the environmental, health and economic impact that fracking would have on Fermanagh. 

"This event is about Sinn Féin's commitment to ensure that fracking will not take place on the island of Ireland."

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to clarify that those Sinn Féin members who sought to help Mairia Cahill, Jennifer McCann MLA, Sue Ramsey and himself, are still seeking a meeting with him.

Deputy Adams said;

“As An Taoiseach knows well, my request for a meeting was not confined to the four individuals accused in connection with an alleged IRA investigation, but consisted of those Sinn Féin members, including myself, who spoke to and sought to help Mairia Cahill. It is reprehensible that he would spin this publicly in the way that he has done. This reinforces my view that he is playing politics with this issue.

“In relation to those accused of carrying out an IRA investigation into Mairia’s case, I understand that solicitor Peter Madden wrote to An Taoiseach on 24th October stating that he had ‘set aside the judicial process and ignored the findings of a Court of Law....’ , and that he had already passed judgement on the matter.  It also stated that Peter Madden advised his clients against any meeting given your highly prejudicial statement and ongoing legal processes. This correspondence was widely publicised.

“I further understand that Peter Madden has today confirmed that his clients see no point in meeting with An Taoiseach, at this stage.

“Although it is a matter for the individuals concerned if they want to meet with Mr Kenny, I am not surprised that these individuals do not wish to meet him given his public assertions and judgements about them.

However myself, Sue Ramsey and Jennifer McCann MLA have written to An Taoiseach seeking a meeting.  We have yet to receive any confirmation from Mr Kenny that he will meet with us, as he said he would in the Dáil. 

“I am urging An Taoiseach to respond positively to our request for a meeting and I look forward to hearing from him.”

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Frontline services protected in budget agreement – McGuinness


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