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Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann has written to the Education Minister seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the withdrawal of funding which funds hundreds of youth posts across the North.

The West Belfast MLA said:

“Many youth groups have received letters stating that funding given under the Extended Provision Youth Work programme by former Minister John O Dowd is being withdrawn.

“The funding helped support additional youth work which allowed youth organisations to employ hundreds of workers to work in the most socially deprived communities across the North.

“I understand in Belfast alone this could impact on around 150 people who work in areas like the Falls/Divis, Lower Shankil, Clonard and Silverstream. There could be as many as 300 people losing their employment. 

“There is no doubt that this scheme has impacted on communities and young people's lives.

“The Minister needs to explain why he has taken this decision, which will no doubt have far reaching consequences for vulnerable communities.

“I have sought a meeting to ask the Minister to reverse this decision.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the publication of the report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. 

Ms Anderson said; 

"I welcome the publication today of the report from Historical Institutional Abuse Investigation. 

"Victims and survivors of abuse and their families have waited too long for this report to acknowledge the horrendous hurt and wrong which was done to them. 

"I took the lead in instigating the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry when I was Junior Minister in the then Offie of First and deputy First Minster in 2012

"I did so against the advice of civil servants and because it was the right thing to do for victims. 

"I want to pay tribute to the courage and determination of all those victims and survivors who came forward and shared their harrowing stories. 

"What they need now is the full implementation of all of the recommendations of the panel in a manner that addresses the needs of victims and survivors, and that includes an onus on the PSNI to carry out a full and thorough investigation. 

"Today victims and survivors received confirmation of what they knew along; that the state failed to protect them as vulnerable children and they deserve and are entitled to an apology for that."

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has welcomed EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s decision to open an investigation into the links between ECB President Mario Draghi and the G30 group, which includes top private and public bankers and leaders of some of the world’s largest financial institutions.

 Carthy, a member of the Economic and monetary Affairs Committee, said: “This is an important move by the Ombudsman and comes in response to a complaint lodged by the Corporate Europe Observatory.

 “The complaint outlines serious concerns over potential conflicts of interest between Mr Draghi’s role as ECB president and his role in the G30 organisation, of which he is a full member. Other ECB members, including a member of its supervisory board, are also associated with the G30.

 “Incredibly, the former long-serving ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, who is now the chairperson of the G30, has been nominated as the chairperson of the ECB’s Ethics Committee.

 “The most serious concern is that the ECB is now charged with directly supervising many of the financial institutions that are represented in the G30, including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and many more. There is no system in place to ensure an ethically appropriate level of distance between the ECB decision-making and supervisory processes and their friends in the G30 bankers’ club.

 “There is no way to ensure that the ECB members involved in the G30 do not provide confidential information on future policy decisions, for example, to private bankers in the G30.

 Carthy continued: “The ECB is charged with monetary policy and its quantitative easing policy and other initiatives it has taken in response to the financial crisis have often benefited private banks. There is no way to ensure that the private bankers and finance CEOs of the G30 do not influence ECB policy.

 “When the G30 speaks about the global economy and public policy on banking and finance, it speaks with one voice. So we have the ECB being directly associated with policy recommendations shaped by private bankers and finance giants.

 “The membership of ECB figures in the G30 is entirely inappropriate. It adds yet another layer to the total lack of accountability and transparency in the ECB, and it is clearly at odds with the supposed independence of the ECB.

“I welcome this Ombudsman investigation and hope that it helps to brings about increased transparency around the ECB decision-making processes that affect everyone in the EU.”

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Tomorrow, Saturday 21st January, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD will make a significant speech on Irish Unity and the challenges facing us today.

The conference, entitled Towards a United Ireland, takes place in the Mansion House on the anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the First Dáil, and will feature a wide range of contributors. Gerry Adams will address the conference, which is open to the media, at 1pm.

Speaking in advance of tomorrow's event, Matt Carthy MEP, head of Sinn Féin’s United Ireland strategy group said: “A series of opinion polls taken over many years has consistently shown that a significant majority in the South of Ireland favours reunification.

 “Meanwhile, the North has been transformed in recent years as a result of the Peace Process. "There has been huge change and conditions and attitudes and will continue to change as we go forward.

“Of course, the only poll that really matters is a referendum on this issue. Such a referendum is provided for in the Good Friday Agreement and Sinn Féin has called for one to be held. “This has been given new impetus by the prospect of Brexit dragging the North out of the EU against the democratically expressed wishes of people there.

 “Sinn Féin believes that there is now an urgent need for an inclusive, constructive debate on the future, including how a united Ireland might be brought about and what it might look like.

"Tomorrow's conference promises to be an important contribution to that debate.”

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Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy today accused the British government of political interference and discrimination in the upcoming Assembly election by denying more than 60,000 people the right to vote.

The Mid Ulster MP was speaking after he and party colleague Paul Maskey MP did a series of meetings today with the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Office and the NIO.

Francie Molloy said:

“We told the NIO that their refusal to put people back on the electoral register who voted only seven months ago is tantamount to political interference in the Assembly election.

“More than 60,000 people have been taken off the electoral register, effectively denied their right to vote. That is the equivalent of a whole constituency being disenfranchised.

“We have urged the NIO to put all those voters back on the register immediately. It has been done before on at least two other occasions.

“We expressed our alarm that the Electoral Office is also asking people trying to get back on the register for four different pieces of identification.

“This is wrong and grossly unfair. Young people in particular who don’t have utility bills are being discriminated against.

“The vote was too hard won in the north for the British government to be allowed to strike people off the register.

“Sinn Féin have started a registration drive in our communities to tackle this blatant act of discrimination.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Michelle Gildernew has condemned a pipe bomb attack on a car in Dungannon on Wednesday.

The Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA said:

“I condemn this cowardly attack on an elderly couple outright.

“I would urge those responsible desist from this activity before someone is seriously injured or killed.

“I spoke to the family involved and thankfully no one was injured but they have been left very shaken by the attack.

"I call on the police to do all they can to bring those responsible for this attack to account and call on anyone who has knowledge of those involved to bring it to the police." 

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West Belfast MLA, Alex Maskey, will represent Sinn Féin at the Basque Sortu Refounding Congress on 21 January.

Alex will address the congress, which will include delegates from Palestine, South Africa, Catalonia, Colombia, Latin America and the European grouping, GUE/NGL.

Speaking ahead of his travel Mr Maskey said:

"In 2011, an International Conference for the Resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country took place in Donostia/San Sebastian. International representation included former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, and Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams.

"As an outcome of the conference, the Declaration of Aiete was presented. This declaration proposed a process of dialogue and negotiation and a prior declaration of a definitive cessation of armed activity from ETA. ETA's declaration  of a definitive cessation was announced a few days later, creating a unique and historic opportunity to address the causes as well as the consequences of the conflict.

"Unfortunately, in the intervening years, and despite numerous attempts to deal with the core issues the conflict the Spanish Government have failed to grasp this historic opportunity.

"They need to recognise that dialogue is central to resolution.

"Sinn Féin will continue to express solidarity with, and support the democratic rights of, the Basque people to a just and lasting peace. The political growth of the Basque Independent movement is testament to the fact that Spanish intransigence will fail to deny progress. That is the message I will deliver to Sortu delegates on this historic occasion."

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Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has welcomed the publication of a panel report from the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. 

Speaking after the publication of the findings of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, Ms Dillon said:

"I welcome the publication of this important report from the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. 

"This report acknowledges the horrendous hurt and suffering of so many and the awful wrong that was done for so many years. 

"I want to pay tribute to the many victims and survivors who came forward to participate in this inquiry. Many others felt they couldn’t and our thoughts are with them today.

"We now need to see the full implementation of all the recommendations of the panel as soon as possible in order to address the needs of victims and survivors.

"The PSNI now have a responsibility to thoroughly investigate all allegations so that justice can be done.

“The state and these institutions failed in their duty to protect vulnerable children in their care. This is a failure of enormous proportions and the victims and survivors deserve a full apology."

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SinnFéin MLA John O'Dowd has expressed his shock after the discovery of a woman's body in Lurgan. 

The Upper Bann MLA said:

"The news this morning will obviously be a shock to the entire community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.

"I would appeal for anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI." 

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Sinn Féin MEP Liadh  Ní Riada has welcomed the announcement of a major new drugs access conference to take place in Dublin next month.

The Ireland South MEP said the Access to Medicines Ireland conference was coming at a time when the issue had never been more topical here.

"It is a shameful black mark against the whole of humanity that in this day and age, with the knowledge and resources we have, we are still seeing people have their access to vital medication restricted," she said.

"The only prerequisite for access to medicine should be need and need alone.  Sinn Féin has long argued for truly national health service in Ireland, free at the point of delivery from Derry to Kerry with treatment based on need alone.  With a little ingenuity such a health service is possible and affordable; indeed the notion is only rubbished by those who can only see what is and not what should be.

"This is an issue that affects all of us but particularly our elderly community many of whom need regular access to various kinds of medication and are already struggling to make difficult financial decisions between the likes of heating or eating. 

"This is not an issue that is coming, it is very much here.  Already treatments for Hepatitis C and Cystic Fibrosis are subject to strict rationing in Ireland.

"I want to commend those behind this conference and urge anyone with any interest or influence in area of access to medicine to attend."

Access to Medicines Ireland - Problems and Solutions will take place on Wednesday, 8th February from 2pm to 5pm in the Global Room, Watts Building, Trinity College Dublin.

Speakers include Ellen ‘t Hoen (International patent expert; co-founder of the Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Medicines movement) Hans Hogerzeil (Professor of Global Health, Groningen University; ex-WHO director of Essential Medicines; Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines) and Diarmaid McDonald (Advocacy Manager, UNITAID and STOPAIDS) and will be followed by a question and answer session with the speaker panel.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting on the decision by Martin McGuinness not to stand in the Assembly election said:

“Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a thabhairt do Martin McGuinness.

“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Martin McGuinness. He and I first met over 45 years ago behind the barricades in Free Derry and we have been friends and comrades since that time.

“I also want to thank Bernie and the entire McGuinness family for the support they have given to Martin over many years and for allowing him to become the leader, the patriot, the peacemaker and poet that he is.

“We were all shocked when we saw his appearance recently. Thank God he is looking a lot better since then and responding well to the treatment he is receiving. However, he does need to take time out to get better for himself, for his family and for our struggle.

“As we now know he won’t be standing in the Assembly election. That means we have to ensure that the election works for all of the people of the North and that we succeed in building on the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement.

“Martin has said he wants to come back and be part of the process to end partition, build reconciliation, unite our people and achieve Irish unity. So on behalf of Sinn Féin and republicans everywhere I want to send him our best wishes. Give him the space to get better  and increase our efforts so that when he returns the process of change has advanced.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has today announced that he is not seeking reelection to the Assembly. 

Mr McGuinness said; 

"Last year, Gerry Adams and I confirmed that we had a plan in place for transition to a new leadership. For my part, it was my intention to step aside in May this year which would have marked 10 years since I entered government with Ian Paisley as joint leader of the northern Executive.

"Unfortunately, my health and the current crisis have overtaken this timeframe and I am stepping down from my role to make way for a new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

"Over the last ten years I have worked tirelessly to make power-sharing work. 

"The institutions are now in a deep crisis as a result of recent events and we are facing into an election when the people will have their say.

"After long and careful consideration, I have decided that it is time for a new generation of republicans to lead us into this election and the negotiations that will follow.

"Sinn Féin is a party in constant development, renewal and evolution. 

"Our struggle for freedom and equality stretches back to the United Ireland movement of the 1790s. I am deeply proud of the democratic influences that Ulster Presbyterianism contributed to the Irish republican tradition.

"It remains my own personal and political ambition to break the link with Britain and to unite all who share this island under the common banner of Irish men and women.

"I am deeply proud of the generation of Irish republicans that came before us. A generation that kept the vision of freedom alive through the difficult post-partition era when they faced unrelenting repression and persecution from the Ulster Unionist Party in an apartheid Orange state.

"I have been privileged to be part of the generation that broke that apartheid state apart and to have been part of a Sinn Féin leadership that delivered peace and radical change. There are more republicans today than at any time in my generation. 

"I look across the party north and south and see energy, determination, talent and potential new leaders emerging who, I am confident, will deliver equality, respect and Irish unity.

"My obvious heath issues are being addressed by a superb team of national health service doctors and nurses.

"But I want to be open and honest with my friends and colleagues in Sinn Féin, with the electorate of Foyle and with the wider community beyond my own constituency. I also want to be fair to my family and to the teams of carers who are doing their best to provide me with the treatment I now require to deal with this very serious medical condition which I am very determined to overcome. 

"Unfortunately, I am not physically able to continue in my current role and have therefore decided to make way for a new leader. 

"This election is the right time for me to move aside so I will not seek re-election to the Assembly.

"I have full confidence in the strong team that we have built in the Assembly to carry forward the work of building institutions that deliver for all our people on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.

"A new leader will lead us into this Assembly election and into the negotiations that will inevitably follow on from that election.

"We need the strongest Sinn Féin team if we are to ensure the progressive change which is now an essential next step forward and our new leader will have my full and undivided support in the weeks and months ahead.

"We are on a journey to unite our people and unite our island.

"As a Sinn Féin activist I will continue to play a full and enthusiastic part in that essential process of building bridges, of dialogue and of reconciliation between our still divided people.

"Despite the current difficulties and challenges, I am confident and optimistic about the future. We have faced more difficult times and found a way forward.

"As a society we have made enormous progress.

"We must continue to move forward. Dialogue is the only option."

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Speaking on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate  Action and Environment Brian Stanley TD outlined the party’s commitment to a green economic future for Ireland.

Deputy Stanley stated:

“Sinn Féin is committed to building a greener economy and to play our role as a country in moving away from dependence on fossil fuels.

“Fossil fuels are yesterday’s fuels or soon will be. It is the progressive, forward looking thing to do to move beyond a reliance on fossil fuels and instead to look to the future.

“The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund hold over €7bn in assets and cash on behalf of the Irish people to be invested for the Irish people.

“It is Sinn Fein’s view of that the State should invest in a sensible, morally ethical and economically prudent way. That approach means we believe human rights considerations should always be incorporated into investment decision.

“Poor long term planning and decision making based on short term political gains by successive governments have left Ireland trailing on renewable energy provision and left us with an environmentally unsustainable economy. However, the future economic or energy security of Ireland cannot be dependent on fossil fuels.

“Economically fossil fuels represent less and less of a sound investment. It is widely acknowledged among the scientific community that in order to avoid a catastrophic rise in global temperature above 2°C then 80% of all known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground. The ISIF currently has more than €100 million invested in the fossil fuel industry. This is public money which is invested against the public interest.

“On a global level 2016 has been recorded as the hottest year since records began whilst, meaning the last 3 years have consecutively broken records as the hottest on record. The effects of global warming have been felt here in Ireland, with extreme weather conditions resulting in extensive flooding that has been a devastating blow to grain farmers in particular.

“There has been a growing trend in recent years on investment funds divesting all or part of their holdings in producers of oil, gas and coal with 689 institutions moving an estimated $400 Billion away from fossil fuels to date.

“Coupled with the divestment from fossil fuels there must be a sustained effort on behalf of the state to invest sensibly in the provision of renewable energy infrastructure as well as research and development of future renewable energy technologies.

“Investment and development in our native renewable resources is necessary to secure Ireland’s energy needs into the future.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy said today that the key issue remains to get to the truth of the RHI scandal, and to hold those responsible to account.

Conor Murphy said:

"Sinn Féin has consistently called for the need to get to the truth of the RHI scandal and to hold those responsible to account. 

“Central to this was the independence of any process.

“We had proposed Terms of Reference for an independent judge-led investigation, free from ministerial control, and with the powers to compel witnesses and evidence. This would have required new legislation.

This option is not now possible within the short days before the Assembly closes for the election. 

“The public interest demands that this issue is dealt with particularly in light of the continuing revelations of DUP political interference in the implementation of the RHI scheme. 

“In order to get to the truth of the matter, today Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has announced a public inquiry under the 2005 Act.

“The shortcomings of this Act are well known.

“Therefore to address these shortcomings, once established the minister will leave the inquiry entirely in the hands of the judicial figure.

“The investigation team and judicial figure will have absolute control over the scope and execution of the inquiry and will put the report into the public domain.

“In any new term of the Assembly Sinn Féin will bring forward the legislation we had developed to establish investigations independent of Ministers with powers of compellability.

“The key issue remains to get to the truth of the RHI scandal, and to hold those responsible to account. The public interest must come first.”

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Deputy Martin Kenny, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal raised the matter of the lack of essential infrastructure in the North West with the Taoiseach, again this week in the Dáil.

Deputy Kenny said:

“One of the impediments to bringing jobs to rural Ireland is our lack of infrastructure. I raised this again in the Dáil on Wednesday but to be honest, I was disappointed with the absence of urgency in the Taoiseach’s response.

“I was one of the TDs present before Christmas at an excellent presentation by Chambers of Commerce from eight counties in the region and IBEC in a Dublin hotel.

“They did a great job in laying out the case for upgrade and completion of the N4 and N5 roads along with investment in the North West and pointed out that the constant postponement of upgrade to motorway standard along both routes is hampering economic development in the region.

“They were demanding that the government honours its promises to upgrade the roads and they had representatives from Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, Cavan, Westmeath and Longford there.

“The Taoiseach, in response, referred to a €40 billion programme of investment running until 2020 and I intend to support the local Chambers to keep up the pressure on the government to spend some of that in upgrading the N4 and the N5 to motorway status.

“A look at the infrastructure map of Ireland shows the glaring discrimination against our region which has as much to offer in terms of skills, talent and diligence, but lacks the infrastructure to attract industry. With the exception of the M1 and the M3, which stops at Navan, you could draw a line from Dublin to Galway and there is no motorway North of it. This has to end.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has today moved to institute a public inquiry into the RHI scandal. 

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:

“Throughout this week I have been continuing to focus on the RHI crisis.

“As part of that work, I have been taking soundings and advice on the need for a no-hiding-place probe into the RHI scandal.

“It is clear that, with time short until the Assembly dissolves, the only way to serve the public interest is for me as Finance Minister to move to institute a public inquiry immediately. No other type of investigation is now feasible given time pressures.

“I have now instructed officials to take the necessary steps to establish a public enquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the RHI scheme.

“I have received legal advice in regard to these matters. I will make a full statement to the Assembly next week.

“This enquiry will be impartial and objective. I will not interfere in its work. It will be tasked to get to the truth of this issue. 

“Under the Enquiries Act, the enquiry report must go to the Finance Minister. I give a commitment that I or any Sinn Féin Minister will release the report in full to the public on receipt. 

“I call on all parties to sign up to unrestricted, unedited publication.

“I am aware that the RHI issue goes beyond financial matters to questions of governance and probity. By getting to the truth of the RHI scandal, this inquiry report will, I believe, address those wider issues, and, therefore, put the public first.”

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David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee, has said that there is a need for real checks and balances in terms of oversight of the Guardian ad litem service.

Deputy Cullinane said:

‘While it is to be welcomed that the Department of Children and youth Affairs acknowledge the need for professional standards, it is not acceptable that oversight and accountability is side-lined in an effort to attain them.

“In other words, professional standards that cut corners are not professional standards.

“The C&AG found that 65 guardians shared professional fees of €8.2 million in 2015. It was accepted that Tulsa were limited in their ability to monitor the cost of case, or identify and review cases with higher than average costs.

“This shows that there has to be genuine accountability and sanction for service providers, be they private or public.

“We have seen in the past how service providers can end up in a kind of regulatory ‘free-zone’ between state organisations given the task of ensuring the process.

“This cannot be allowed to happen any longer with Guardian ad litem, particularly given the significant payments passed on to a very small number of clients.

“Secretary General Fergal Lynch told the Committee today that legislation is being worked upon that will address these deficiencies, and I look forward to its publication.”

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Addressing a large gathering of the muslim community in Ireland at a function organised by the Irish Muslim Board last night in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght, Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said;


“We in Sinn Féin are proud to call you our brothers and sisters. We are proud to have you as fellow citizens in this modern and diverse Ireland and we are proud of the contribution that you make to our Country. I want to congratulate you and all the community leaders who have created this vibrant, embracing and inclusive Irish Muslim community, which is an integral part of our Island’s society.”

Addressing the challenges, Senator Mac Lochlainn said:

“In Ireland, like in so many Western nations, the actions of a tiny minority, the extremists who carry out horrific, indiscriminate actions against civilians throughout the world are used and manipulated by some politicians and groups to spread hate and to try and create an abhorrent wedge between followers of Islam and other religions and cultures.”

“We must all stand up to and against these politicians and groups. We must also stand firm against the extremists who carry out these murderous acts, especially when they claim that they do it in the name of Islam, when in fact, we know that Islam is a religion of peace.”

“The right to equality, democracy, self-determination, and human rights is the bedrock of our Republican beliefs and we stand over that belief whether it is Africa, Asia or Europe.”

Dealing with Brexit and the pursuit of a United Ireland, he continued:

“Ireland, today stands at a crossroads. The Country is still geographically and politically divided. The ideals of our 1916 proclamation have not been realised. Brexit however, seen as a negative by the vast majority actually creates an opportunity for all the people of Ireland.”

“The better Ireland that we all strive for can be delivered by the opportunity that Brexit has provided. It is incomprehensible to even suggest that we could have a small Island where one part of it remains inside the European Union and another part remains outside it.”

“This however, is the precise reality of what the British Government is attempting to do. It is wrong. It is against the interests of all the citizens of Ireland. The surest way of creating a better Ireland is through a United Ireland.”

“Brexit further attempts to copper fasten partition and the line taken by the British Tory party is detrimental to all of the people living in Ireland.”

“We will enter the negotiations after the election with a proactive attitude and demands to make Ireland a better, fairer, and more equal place.”

“The United Ireland I talk about will be the Better Ireland we are seeking out tonight through this debate. It will be a chance to take the good parts of both States and transfer them between each other but more importantly, it will be a chance to fix the bad parts. It will be an opportunity to allow the political, economic, social and cultural potential of our island to prosper. We need the Irish Muslim community to help us build this new State. We want you to help shape its architecture.” “So friends, we have a job of work to do. We need to do it together. We need every community to help us build a new Republic for all.” 


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Speaking this morning in the European Parliament on the European Pillar of Social Rights, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for the European Union to draft an EPSR that delivers in a manner that will combat poverty, income inequality and other serious social injustices.

Dublin MEP Boylan said:

“If the EPSR is to be successful and deliver on its stated aims, then it has to represent what the citizens of Europe need and want.

“It is my hope that through the contributions made by the European Parliament, social partners, and civil society that the EPSR can be aligned so as to guarantee social rights in the manner that citizens deserve, and in a manner that will combat poverty, income inequality and other serious social injustices.

“It is time the EU works to ensure that social policy is not considered a burden to economic growth, but rather the two are considered to be symbiotic. I hope that the EPSR will achieve this.

“The EPSR provides a great chance for the EU to move in a new direction, to prove it has the capability to change post in how the union works post-Brexit.

“Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the European Union does not let European citizens down and that it seizes the opportunity which the EPSR presents.

“However, if the EU proves incapable of change and it continues in a business as usual manner, then European citizens will suffer further and the EU will be the recruiter in chief for euro scepticism.” 

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Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald raised the issue of the HSE report into failing of the bowel screening programme in Wexford General Hospital today at Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. Deputy McDonald said that cancer screening programmes such as BowelScreen were invaluable and that it is vital that they enjoy public confidence.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“This morning, a report into colonoscopy screening services at Wexford General Hospital has been published by the HSE. The recall of patients was instigated on foot of two cases of cancer being detected in October 2014 in patients who had recently undergone a colonoscopy, but were not diagnosed.

“The report finds that a recall of 615 patients has found 13 ‘possible missed cancers’. Of the 13 cases identified, it has been discovered that one man died before the recall took place.

“We can only send our sympathies to his family and loved ones this afternoon, and to all of those affected by the incident.

“Cancer screening programmes like this are invaluable. They can and have saved lives, but they must enjoy public confidence. There is always the possibility of human error in medical diagnosis, but this goes way beyond that.

“Misdiagnosis on this scale reveals a systemic and institutionalised problem concerning bowel screening in a hospital serving much of the south-east.

“What we need now are assurances that this cannot and will not happen again. We all want, and need, citizens to have confidence in cancer screening programmes.

“It is not good enough to produce a damning report. God knows we’ve had enough of them at this stage in relation to the health service. What we need to know is who is accountable.  Where does the buck stop?” 

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