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Sinn Féin launch a 'PEOPLE'S PACT'

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said Sinn Féin's progressive politics is the only alternative to austerity.

Some of the sights and sounds of today's massive Right2Water rally on Dublin's O'Connell Street this afternoon (March 21).  Reports that up to...


Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has said documents released today by Sinn Féin clearly show the DUP acted in bad faith over the Welfare Reform Bill.



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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the decision by the Government this morning to purchase the National Monument at 14-17 Moore Street.

The Sinn Féin leader commended the Relatives of the 1916 Leaders “without whose diligence this decision would never have been taken”.

Gerry Adams said:

“After years of dithering, and the publication of a very poor and widely criticised 2016 centenary programme, this decision is a step in the right direction. However, it is a very belated decision and fails to match the reality that this is one of the most important historic sites in modern Irish history. Under current plans, the rest of the terrace is to be demolished.”

“There is only one year to go before the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising. The government’s failure to properly preserve the National Monument, the Terrace and the Battlefield site, when it was raised in recent years by the relatives and Sinn Féin, means that it is difficult to see how the commemorative centre can be completed by that time.”

“The government now needs to move speedily to establish an Independent Battlefield Survey and to ensure that a comprehensive strategy is put in place by the Minister and Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which reflects the historic importance the ‘laneways of history’; preserves the full Moore Street terrace; and transforms the 1916 Revolutionary Quarter.”

“Moore Street and the ‘laneways of history’ are where the GPO garrison retreated to after the destruction of the GPO; it is where The O Rahilly was killed; it’s where the 1916 Leaders last met and agreed the surrender to the British forces; and it is where the act of surrender took place.” 

“The green outside of the Rotunda is also where many of GPO garrison where held under guard by the British before being marched off to prisons and prison camps, and it was from there that Pádraig Pearse and James Connolly and Tom Clarke and others were taken for court martial and execution.

In any other state this area would be preserved and would be a vital place of remembrance and pilgrimage.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has welcomed the news that the Dutch parliament yesterday passed a resolution stating that it doesn’t want the Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS), which allows companies to sue states, included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA).

Speaking this afternoon the Dublin MEP said:

This Dutch parliament resolution follows on from a resolution by the French Senate in February that unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the removal of the controversial mechanism.

Irish Government should adopt a similar resolution opposing this measure and put some pressure on the Commission about TTIP while the negotiations are still underway.

Instead Minister Bruton openly supports ISDS and continues to laud the trade agreement without casting a critical eye over the potentially negative consequences.

Ireland is a strong trading company with both the US and Europe and has never needed a mechanism like ISDS.

Where ISDS is used under trade agreements, figures show that in 45 cases up to March 2014 about USD$5 billion in total was awarded to foreign investors.

Under current ISDS models the investor can only sue the state. The state is unable to sue the investor. If this mechanism was adopted under TTIP it would potentially allow investors to sue Ireland if it raised the minimum wage or make it incredibly easier for a tobacco company to sue over the introduction of plain packaging.

I hear the government talk of a reformed ISDS but surely if Ireland is successfully trading without ISDS why would they want anything to do with this deeply undemocratic mechanism?

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said a vote for Sinn Féin is a vote against Tory austerity. 

Speaking at the launch of Gearóid Ó hEára's Westminster election campaign in Derry, Mr McGuinness said; 

"This election is an opportunity to take a stand against the Westminster politics of austerity and the Tory-led assault on the welfare state and public services.

"For the past four years, the Tories have been pursuing a vicious campaign of cuts and austerity, which has been targeted at the most vulnerable in society, children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities, the long-term sick and large families.

"They are absolutely and ideologically committed to the destruction of key public services, particularly health, education, welfare and social housing.

"We have stood against the Tory assault on public services and the welfare state.

"The Tories have made it clear they intend to redouble their attack on the most vulnerable and on public services if they are returned to power at Westminster.

"A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote to oppose that agenda.

"The reaction from unionism has been the negative DUP and UUP election pact in response to our progressive politics and our commitment to the people.

"The DUP and the UUP are pro-austerity parties, which have much in common with the Tory cabinet of millionaires.

"While we are protecting the vulnerable, standing up for hospitals, schools and frontline services, the unionist alliance is more interested in blocking equality legislation, erecting flags and forcing marches through nationalist communities in North Belfast.

"Sinn Féin’s policies are about putting our people first."

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has welcomed the government’s new programme of events to commemorate the Centenary of the 1916 Rising describing it as a marked improvement on what the Government had previously announced albeit late in the day.

He said the proposal to rewrite the Proclamation is a bad joke and a serious mistake by the government.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh is attending the launch of the Government’s programme of events in Collins Barracks this evening.

Speaking before the event he said;

“The Government has been under serious pressure, and rightly so, since the debacle of the launch of its commemorative video last November.

“The document launched this evening is a welcome start. It is a marked improvement on what went before it, albeit late in the day.

“I also welcome the decision by the cabinet today to buy the Moore Street Monument. I hope this will be the first step in a process that will see the whole terrace preserved and developed into a 1916 Revolutionary Quarter.

“The proposal to rewrite the Proclamation sounds like a bad joke. This is a serious mistake by the government and it has already received a sizable backlash on social media.

“The Proclamation belongs to the people of Ireland and this government, nor any other, has any right to rewrite it.

“Rather than looking for a new proclamation the government should be working on the implementation of the original.

“A strong commitment, with plans and targets, for the full implementation of the Proclamation would be the most appropriate way to commemorate the Centenary of the Rising.”

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Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Culture and Heritage Sandra McLellan has said that the announcement that the Government would be purchasing 14- 17 Moore Street was a welcome development, but that the focus needs to remain squarely on the preservation of the full terrace of the area that is to be developed into a 1916 historical Quarter.

Deputy McLellan said:

“I have been calling on Minister Humphreys to guarantee the protection of the National Monument 14 - 17 Moore Street for many months now. I'm pleased that she has taken steps to actively pursue its preservation by purchasing the buildings. The National Monument will now be in ownership of the state. This is to be welcomed, however, and full details on the developments are needed.”

“Number 14-17 Moore Street, the last headquarters of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic in 1916 and the surrounding battlefield site must be preserved in a way that is authentic and true to the area's history and character. All those who have tirelessly campaigned for the area's full preservation will still be insisting that this is guaranteed. The recent vote by Dublin City Council to prevent a land swap deal with developers of Chartered Land was a key step in ensuring its protection.”

“I wait on the disclosure of further plans from the Minister for the battlefield site in its entirety.” 

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Sinn Féin councillor Mary Ellen Campbell has said there is no place for racism in society. 

Speaking after being assaulted while trying to prevent a racially motivated incident on a bus in Belfast city centre, the councillor said; 

"I was travelling by bus to City Hall when I became aware of racist abuse being directed towards an older couple from Poland on the bus by a woman. 

"She was hurling racist abuse at them and using racist language and then assaulted them. 

"I, along with another passenger, intervened and alerted the driver at which point the woman became abusive to us and actually started attacking the driver as well. 

"I was hit in the head several times during the incident while attempting to calm the situation. 

"There can be no place for racism or racist attitudes in our society and I would encourage anyone with information on this incident to report it to the PSNI."

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Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed the announcement the new Rural Development Programme could open in May ahead of final sign off by the EU Commission by July.

Speaking after meeting EU commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the issue, Mr McAleer said; 

"Along with other members of the DARD committee, we met Commissioner Hogan on Friday to discuss a wide range of agriculture and rural development issues. 

"During the course of our exchange, the Commissioner indicated that the final text of the new programme was settled. It will be followed by a three-week consultation period and it could be possible for the Commission to issue a covering letter to DARD.

"Such a letter would enable DARD to open certain programmes for application as early as May.  In addition to this, the Commissioner outlined the possibility of applicants accessing European Investment Bank loans at a competitive rate.   

"This is potentially a major boost for farmers which could provide match funding for programmes such as the Farm Business Improvement Scheme. It may also be an opportunity for some farmers who will miss out on the Young Farmers Scheme.

"While I welcome the Commissioner’s comments on these matters, there is a substantial amount of information which must be provided before a full analysis of the risks and benefits can be established. 

"I therefore welcome the fact that the Minister and her officials are currently engaging with the EU Commission to help maximise the potential opportunities of the new Rural Development Programme for farmers and the wider rural community.”

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams today raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny disturbing reports he has received regarding the treatment of people with Intellectual Disabilities at a care facility in Stamullen, Co. Meath.

Mr Adams said HIQA  indicated a denial of the civil, legal and human rights of citizens at Redwood and that residents at Redwood have been subject to deprivation of  liberty and freedom of movement including a ‘locked-door policy’.

Gerry Adams said:

“I have received representation from families of clients of Redwood Care facility in County Meath. One of these, Eamonn Kennedy, was admitted to Redwood in January 2010. Following several falls he was hospitalised with a head injury and lacerations.

“He was hospitalised a second time with further lacerations. Doctors also noted bruising to his upper body, arms, abdomen and legs. Eamonn spent five months in hospital. He was placed in a wheelchair for nearly a year.

“When first admitted to hospital, Eamonn’s sister took photographs of his injuries. I sent these photographs to the former Minister for Health James Reilly. A Garda investigation resulted in no prosecutions.

“In 2012 a Consultant in Emergency Medicine employed by the family noted that Eamonn’s frequent falls may have resulted from a combination of drugs which lead to an increased risk of falls.

“He also noted that: ‘There are certain aspects of bruising which are suspicious of non-accidental injury.’ And that: ‘There appears to be no medical explanation for this bruising....’.

“Another citizen was living independently, with HSE support, prior to moving to Redwood in 2013. Within two days he was given anti-psychotic medication and taken off a gluten and dairy free diet despite family objections.

“He reacted badly and, due to suffering nine convulsions, was admitted to hospital a few days later. He subsequently returned to Redwood and remained there for 3 months on anti-psychotic medication. He is no longer living at Redwood.

“HIQA has said that there has been “a significant denial of the civil, legal and human rights of citizens” at Redwood and that ‘residents at Redwood have also been subject to a severe deprivation of liberty and freedom of movement’ including a ‘locked-door policy’.”

Gerry Adams said the disturbing reports and others which have come to light in other care centres, showed that the State is failing in its responsibilities towards citizens with Intellectual Disabilities who are clients of such facilities.

He said there is growing concern about the consequences of outsourcing care for citizens with disabilities to the private sector:

“Care of our most vulnerable citizens is not compatible with the profit motive. Redwood is part of the privately owned Talbot Group which contracts the HSE to provide services.

“Last July I raised concerns with former Minister for Health, James Reilly about the safety of clients at Redwood.

“In December, a HIQA report into this facility found:

·  Recurrent and lengthy durations of physical intervention

·  An incident in which a patient struggled to breath and turned blue during physical restraint

·  Medication administered by injection during episodes of challenging behaviour

“HIQA recommended no new admissions until these issues were addressed. It is now clear that serious issue regarding the care of citizens with intellectual disabilities is not confined to one care facility. What is required now is a fully Independent, root-and-branch inquiry into all care facilities for citizens with intellectual disabilities in the State.”

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Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Education, Jonathan O’ Brien, has said that he was pleased with the positive impact Anti-Bullying Awareness month has had.

Speaking on the last day of the anti-bullying campaign, Deputy O’ Brien said:

“Bullying has a severe impact on children’s lives, causing great harm to their sense of self-worth. Nowadays, it is not only confined to the classroom and the playground, but can manifest itself in the daily online activities children and teenagers are engaged with.

“Tackling bullying should be a national priority. That’s why the ISPCC Shield Anti-Bullying campaign is so valuable. It works not only to protect children from bullying, but provides children with coping skills as well a

s raising awareness of the issue.

“I would like to commend the ISPCC for their progressive initiative which has really captured the imagination of Irish people across the country. There are now almost 200 schools participating in the anti-bullying campaign. The ISPCC have also provided online resources to help parents directly as well as a Parent Mentoring Service. 

“The ISPCC Anti-Bullying Awareness month extended its reach beyond schools, as it was rolled out to clubs and community groups. It was championed by national organisations and political parties such as Sinn Féin as well as celebrity ambassadors who contributed to the campaign.

“Given the gravity of bullying, it is my sincere hope that the message of the campaign will continue to resonate with children, teenagers and their guardians throughout the year. I would also hope that each person recognises the part they have to play in standing up against bullying and protecting those most vulnerable to it.”

Jonathan O' Brien and Sandra McLellan

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Sinn Féin launch a 'PEOPLE'S PACT'


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Sinn Féin Dublin South West