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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




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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcome today’s statement by the National Executive of SIPTU that the organisation will now work with those in the Right 2 Water campaign.

Deputy McDonald said;

“The announcement is very welcome. It is an extremely positive development. SIPTU will add further weight to those of us working in the Right 2 Water campaign. 

“It is essential that any campaign against water charges is as broad and as inclusive as possible and should include SIPTU.

“The SIPTU National Executive has clearly seen that the Government’s announcement this week is not a progressive step for the future of water services in Ireland.

“I am calling on the leadership of SIPTU to work with us in the build up to the Right 2 Water rally on December 10th and to work to achieve the stated aims of the campaign.

“Water charges must be scrapped. There must be a constitutional provision guarding against the privatisation of our water supply.

“As the Right 2 Water campaign affirms – Water is a human right and water charges should be scrapped.

“I am calling on everybody to do what they can to make the demonstration on December 10th the most colourful, peaceful and powerful expression of public opposition to water charges.

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Sinn Féin councillor Niall O Donnghaile has said he is taking his complaint against the BBC over its treatment of Irish speakers to the BBC Trust. 

Speaking after the BBC attempted to defend its treatment of the Irish language on an episode of 'The Nolan Show,' councillor O Donnghaile said; 

"I made a complaint to the BBC over the disrespect shown to me and the wider Irish language community on 'The Nolan Show' on November 5. 

"The programme discussed the offensive remarks on the Irish language made by Gregory Campbell in the Assembly. 

"My complaint centred on the fact that the presenter repeated the remarks on numerous occasions with the intention of getting a cheap laugh. 

"This was not a laughing matter and should not have been treated as such. The remarks were grossly offensive to the Irish language community and bordered on racism. 

"I challenged the BBC on this and called on it to apologise. 

"Instead the BBC has sought to defend the remarks, bizarrely claiming they were 'editorially justified' and that no offence was intended. 

"In response, the BBC have claimed that I 'introduced a lightness of tone' into the exchange. 

"I not only reject that assertion but also the inference that it could be used to justify the unacceptable and offensive behaviour of the presenter which followed. 

"As well as repeating my call for the BBC to apologise I have also lodged a complaint with the BBC Trust as the governing body of the organisation and the arbitrator for all complaints."

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has challenged the Government on failure to support a Sinn Féin Bill amending the Domestic Violence Act debated today in the Dáil. 

Deputy McDonald criticised the Government for going against the legislation which would enable victims of domestic violence to obtain social housing.   

Deputy McDonald stated:

“This Bill was tabled by Sinn Féin in order to give those fleeing domestic violence, access to social housing. It was opposed by the Government and for no good reason.

 “The Government claimed that we were amending the wrong legislation. This is untrue. This Bill was designed to strengthen existing legislation and Sinn Féin sought legislative advice before submitting the Bill.”

“Current legislation prevents victims of domestic violence from seeking social housing if they are co-owners of a home with their abusive partner. Our Bill recognises the rights of victims of domestic violence to seek rehousing.

“It is a modest Bill but represents a small and important advance in securing victims’ right to housing.

“Minister Paudie Coffey is engaging in spin. The Government has dragged its feet in producing comprehensive reforms and consolidated domestic violence legislation.


“The right to housing needs to be underpinned in domestic violence legislation and all consequential guidelines to local authorities.”

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, spoke on Sinn Féin’s Domestic Violence Bill in the Dáil today and raised issues concerning the protection of domestic violence victims and their families in Dublin South West.

Crowe said that there was already an enormous financial burden on the Saoirse and Cuan Álainn refuges and that it is a scandal that any of these facilities should be facing closure at a time when demand was clearly growing

Deputy Crowe said:

“The Bill that Sinn Féin introduced would address the gap in existing legislation where a victim of domestic violence, who is living with the abuser as a joint-owner of the property, is currently prohibited from being considered or included by the local authority for social housing.

“It is important that this gap is filled with adequate and robust legislation.

“It also important the women who are victims of domestic violence can access safe refuges when they need protection.

“In Tallaght the future of the Cuan Álainn women and children’s shelter is under threat unless they get immediate funding from the Government.

“The Government should accept this bill to close this anomaly in existing legislation, provide much needed resources to refuges and shelters across the state, and commit to doing more to tackle the scourge of domestic violence in our communities.

Crowe continued:

“1 in 5 women and many men across the state are impacted by domestic violence.

“We need to change our domestic violence legislation and make it more victim friendly. Changes need to happen urgently with power and rights shifted from the abuser to the victim.

“Our amendment deals with access to housing, which is only a small step, but it is a significant one. It will give extra options to vulnerable victims and their families seeking alternative accommodation.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McVeigh has stated that there is no space for armed actions in our society today and that those who represent groups who follow that path must come forward and explain to the public their flawed rationale.

Speaking today Cllr McVeigh said:

“The discovery of weapons in a car last night on the Grosvenor Road ensures that these weapons are taken off the street.

“Those behind such attacks have no support at a community level. They need to stop. 

“Armed actions will not in any way bring a united Ireland any closer. These are yesterdays people who need to realise that there is a democratic way to achieve these goals.

“The political representatives of these groups need to come forward and explain their flawed rationale for the continuation of these acts and what they hope to achieve.

“They stand for elections in which they are rejected by the electorate, they appear on TV to speak about threats on the upgrades in water service in West Belfast, they utilise some offices in west Belfast but when it comes to attacks such as that in Ardoyne during the week, last nights arms find or the countless punishment shootings and intimidation including last night in Derry they are invisible.

“If they are so confident that their actions are justified, which they are clearly not, they need to come forward and put themselves up for scrutiny in the media and to the public.”

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on the Diaspora has given a cautious welcome to President Obama’s announcement regarding undocumented immigrants in the US.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“Taking undocumented immigrants out of the shadows is a step in the right direction.

“However it is unclear how many Irish people will actually benefit from the new measures.

“Like all immigrants the undocumented Irish in America are not a homogenous group.

“Some people have been in the US for over twenty years and are settled with families and American born children.

“On the other hand, there are people who left Ireland as a result of the recent crash and it remains to be seen how and if they will benefit from the new measures.   

“Nonetheless Sinn Féin will continue to work on this issue with members of Congress in an effort to secure full recognition for all undocumented Irish people in the US.”

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Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan to use her position and intervene directly with SUSI to fast track payments due to thousands of students waiting for their grants.

Crowe said that the Government's Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI ) are again this year trapping students on their grants roll out 'merry-go-round.'

Deputy Seán Crowe said;

"Every year since SUSI was established, thousands of students have been left in limbo for months while awaiting the system to process claims. Every year we are told the problem is resolved and every year students and their families are left waiting for their education grants.

"Out of a total of 103,125 applications received this year, 15,500 are still awaiting processing. Thousands of students, just a handful of weeks away from Christmas, have no real idea if they’ll be receiving any grant assistance this year. Delays mean difficulties and hard pressed students and their families will go without or try and make up the financial shortfall.

"57,451 applicants have now been processed, that is to be welcomed but 7,049 unfortunates still haven’t received any payments from SUSI. While it’s inevitable that there may be a handful who haven’t supplied correct details, it is a bit hard to believe that the majority of this pool of 7,049 students have somehow failed to pass SUSI on their bank details.

"This is a regular problem each year. The days of students waiting months on end for grant payments are supposed to be gone, but thousands of students  are trapped on a grants merry-go-round, going round in circles but going nowhere. 

"It is simply unacceptable to leave students in a position where they have to go and ask for help from charities to pay an ESB bill, put food on the table, pay for accommodation, or simply keep the lights on over Christmas.

"I support the St. Vincent de Paul proposal that would see the current SUSI system reconfigured so it operates on the same timeline as the CAO system. This would help eliminate the current backward system and give greater financial stability to students going on to Third Level Education.

"These students need to be paid immediately. I am calling on the Minister Jan O'Sullivan to take cognisance of the genuine St Vincent De Paul proposal and immediately intervene directly with SUSI to fast track payments to the thousands of students still waiting for their grants."

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that victims of domestic violence who are fleeing a home they have shared with an abusive partner should not be discriminated against when seeking housing. He made his comments as he launched his party's Domestic Violence Amendment Bill in the Dáil.

Deputy Ellis said

"This Bill won’t solve domestic violence, it won’t stop it or fix the big problems we have in dealing with it but it does fix something which needs to be fixed.

“The Bill deals with an anomaly in the current law.

“At present victims of domestic violence who are co-owners of a home in which their abuser resides are barred from seeking social housing as they are deemed to be appropriately housed. This Bill recognises the specific circumstances of  victims of domestic violence and the difficulties they can face when seeking to leave the abusive home they are in.

“Considering a person who co-owns a property in which their abuser resides to have their housing needs met by that property, turns housing need on its head. A home is not a roof or four walls it is a place where you can be safe. 

“This Bill seeks to change this so that a victim, who applies for an order, shall not, by virtue of the victim’s part-ownership in the residence in which the applicant resides or previously resided with the respondent, be prohibited from consideration for social housing by a local authority.

“The Bill does not dictate that a victim must automatically get a social house, but rather states that a victim shall not be discriminated against based on their part-ownership of the property where the domestic violence occurred.  

“This Bill acts as a waiver of sorts, whereby local authorities in assessing a persons need to be considered for social housing, cannot take the part-ownership in another property into account, where the person is a victim of domestic violence and has applied for an court order."

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Dublin Sinn Féin Councillor Louise Dunne, along with MEP Lynn Boylan will lead the women of Tallaght in a peaceful candle light vigil to protest against the man handling of women and children during recent anti- water charges demonstrations.

 Speaking today about the vigil Councillor Dunne said:

“We organised this vigil to bring some positivity back into Tallaght after recent events. Jobstown and other areas of Tallaght are continuously misrepresented and there has been over five days of a sustained onslaught by media and politicians even though 99% of the protesters were peaceful.

We have an excellent working relationship with the Gardai here and we will continue to do so. This vigil is about a community affirming their constitutional right to protest in a peaceful manner.

The water charges campaign has agitated a movement of people, young, old, male and female, who have never been activists before. The young people here are empowering themselves through peaceful protest, and this will continue.”

 Lynn Boylan added to this stating that:

“The brave women of Coolock created this grassroots event earlier this week, mainly via word of mouth and social media, in an attempt to draw attention to what happened Fiona Healy outside the Mansion House at the weekend.

Tonight the local women will engage in a similar event, beginning at 6:30pm outside Tallaght Garda Station. I will be standing beside them and I urge all the local women in the area similarly appalled by the man-handling of women and children by some of those policing the water protests to attend.”

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