Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today expressed support for the stance taken by Heath Minister Leo Varadkar TD on the retention of the National Maternity Hospital (Holles Street) Board and management model when relocated to the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus.
The Sinn Féin Deputy has called on the management and Board of St. Vincent’s to revisit their position, allowing the planning application to proceed and the development to get underway as soon as possible.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Negotiations for the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to the St Vincent's Hospital campus have been ongoing for a number of years.
“The relocation is required due to the inadequate infrastructure at Holles Street and to help ensure the best outcomes for mothers and babies.
“However, the recent reiteration by the Board of St Vincent's of its demand to totally subsume the Board of the National Maternity Hospital was totally unacceptable.
“I welcome the stance taken by outgoing Health Minister Leo Varadkar supporting the retention of the NMH Board and its management model in the context of the move to St Vincent’s.
“St Vincent's should now urgently revisit its position, thus allowing the planning application to be submitted and the development to proceed, subject to planning requirements.”
Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has condemned the shooting of a man in West Belfast.
Paul Maskey said:
“I absolutely condemn the shooting of a man in the Grosvenor area of West Belfast this morning.
“Those responsible need to taken off the streets.
“Anyone with any information must bring it forward to the police.”
Speaking at the close of polling in the assembly election, Martin McGuinness said,
"I would like to thank our candidates, canvassers but most importantly the voters who supported Sinn Féin in this election.
"The positive response on the doors to our message of positive, responsible leadership allows us to face into the future with renewed confidence.
"Whatever the outcome tomorrow, Sinn Fein is resolutely committed to the process of change and to building equality, prosperity and unity on this island.'
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that plans to close inland fish farms in Mayo, Westmeath and Cork are ‘on hold’ following intense pressure on the Government from anglers and Sinn Féin.
Matt Carthy said:
“Plans by Inland Fisheries Ireland - announced last week - to phase out its fish farming operations in Counties Mayo, Westmeath, Tipperary, and Cork, had deeply angered anglers and those involved in the rural tourist industry.
“These fish farms produce trout hatchlings, used to stock rivers and lakes across the state. The supply of hatchlings is essential for the conservation of the species in our waterways.
“Angling is an increasingly popular sport in Ireland and abroad, and it is a major draw for tourists from across Europe and beyond. It is estimated that angling tourism generates a dividend of almost €1 Billion.
“This sector depends on maintaining healthy, sustainable fish stocks. Fish farms, such as the four the IFI had proposed closing, are essential to keeping our rivers and lakes well stocked.
“Earlier this week, my colleague Liadh Ní Riada MEP and I sought an urgent meeting with the IFI to impress upon them the importance of keeping these fish farms operational.
“Today, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries Martin Ferris TD met with Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh on this issue.
“I am happy to receive a report from Deputy Ferris that at this meeting the Minister confirmed that any proposed fish farm closures have been put on hold pending a full consultation process with all stakeholders.
“This is welcome news for anglers, for those involved in tourism and for rural Ireland in general.”
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster criticised the falling Garda numbers in Louth, saying that Drogheda district has lost 14 Gardaí in six years. Deputy Munster also lamented the disengagement of community Gardaí and the loss of the vital service they provide.
The Louth TD said:
“Drogheda district forms part of the Louth division which includes Drogheda, Dunleer and Clogherhead area and Garda stations.
“In 2010, there were 109 Gardaí assigned to the area however, using an answer I received from the minister, I found that there are now only 95 assigned to the area, 14 less than 2010.
“This week, there was an armed robbery at the Post Office in Clogherhead. Despite ringing and pressing the panic button it took 40 mins for Garda to respond. Yet Garda station 1 minute away,
“Finding a Garda present in Clogherhead Garda station has become absolute pot luck as there are no official opening times. The exact same can be said about Dunleer station.
“Drogheda town itself is a large urban centre, and as a result has the same general problems as any other large urban area no more- no less.
“It has now come to the stage where some people have completely given up on reporting crime as there appears to be very little in regards to the following up of these complaints.
“Furthermore, community Gardaí are becoming disengaged and disenfranchised from communities because they've been required to perform other duties. You try to reach the by phone, and not unlike the more rural stations in the Drogheda area, its pot luck if you get them.
“Neighbourhood watch schemes have been put on the shelf. There are current schemes that have been enacted over a year ago, but not implemented.
“I’m aware of three applications from three estates that haven't received as much as a phone call, which is worrying to say the least as the implementation of these schemes, would make for a more efficient network.
“Recently, there have been six burglaries carried out in one estate. The perpetrator was stashing his wares in an adjoining field and returning later to collect them. Despite being filmed doing this, the guards were called and arrested him, but he was never charged.
“This disengagement with communities and community Gardaí is due to a lack of resources and manpower, not the will of the Gardaí who do great work, and who are consistently overstretched and over worked for minimal financial reward.
“It’s common knowledge in Drogheda that there is frequently only one marked car on duty to respond to calls. The Gardaí no longer work in a proactive manner, but rather a reactive one. Moral is now at an all-time low, with many crimes going unreported and unsolved. This needs to change. The Gardaí need both further recruitment and resources to do their job effectively. Turning a blind eye to resourcing community policing has compounded the problems for communities across this state. What concrete plans has the Minister to address this?”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Central, Mary Lou McDonald, has outlined how residents of the north inner city of Dublin are now living in fear. Deputy McDonald demanded that acting Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald recruit and resource additional Gardaí as well as reversing cuts to community services.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Since the 8th of February there has been three separate, but related, murders in the North Inner City. The Minister for Justice has been too slow to respond to the fear that now exists in the community. People are living fear and that is not acceptable.
“Since 2010, Garda numbers in the north inner city have fallen by 140. The Fitzgibbon Street Garda station has been closed since 2011. There have also been severe cuts to community services and organisations which work with young people at risk and with those who have got into difficulties with drug addiction and substance abuse.
“The Minister must recruit and resource the Gardaí in this area as a matter of urgency. There must also be a whole of government response and approach to deal with crime and community safety.
"I’m calling on the incoming government to establish a taskforce for the north inner city. This must have a multi-agency approach, one which listens to the community and which offers immediate support to the community. A focused task force is the best approach to find strategies and identify the necessary resources to make the community safe.”
The See Change Green Ribbon campaign launch in Leinster House today has been described by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and organiser of the event, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD as a “great success”.
Over 60 Dáil Deputies and Senators attended the hour long event in Leinster House where See Change Director and Chairperson of the Government appointed Mental Health Commission John Saunders gave a stirring address urging all present to proudly wear the Green Ribbon throughout the month of May thereby “helping to reduce and ultimately end the stigma associated with having a mental health difficulty.”
See Change Ambassador Rick Rossiter, a native of Newfoundland in Canada, but married and living in Ireland for almost 18years, gave an account of his personal mental health experiences including attempted suicide.
“I appeal to all of you as leaders in your respective communities, and across this state, to wear the green ribbon and to do the simple things that can help break the silence of stigma.”
Deputy Ó Caoláin was joined in co-hosting the event by Dáil Deputies Regina Doherty (Fine Gael) and Maureen O’Sullivan (Independent).
Deputy Ó Caoláin expressed delight at the turn-out and the attention and interest his fellow Oireachtas members showed in the event and contributions.
“This launch has been a great success” he said, continuing;
“Mental Health is a challenge for everyone and not just for those personally challenged. It is all our responsibility to maintain and nurture our own mental health and to do all we can, as ordinary human beings, to assist our family members, friends and workmates cope with whatever mental health challenges present in their lives.
“Wearing the Green Ribbon is a very public way of making a statement that we care, that mental health matters and that the stigma attached to mental health must end”, concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.
Speaking during today’s debate on crime, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North, Deputy Denise Mitchell has called for an increase in funding for the units within an Garda Síochána that investigate white collar crime, and for white collar crime to be taken more seriously.
Deputy Mitchell said:
“Crime and the tackling of crime in our society is a huge issue of concern for everyone. Citizens have noticed that there are less Gardaí on the streets, call out times take longer, and in some situations residents never hear anything back.
“But they also know that there has been very little effort made to pursue, investigate, and prosecute white collar crime in any genuine fashion.
“Only last year the Garda Inspectorate claimed that the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GFBI) is struggling and that its software and IT systems are not fit for purpose. Furthermore, it was also reported that the Financial Investigation (FIU) within the GFBI unit has the lack of a dedicated financial analyst.
“If the Gardaí are to have success in tackling white collar crime, then like in all areas of the force, they need increased and intelligent investment. Without this investment their hands are tied and they cannot do their job.
“At the moment there seems to be little confidence among the Irish people that white collar crime is being investigated as seriously as other crime. In order to assure the Irish people that all crime is taken seriously the proper funding needs to be put in place the units who investigate white collar crime, and the criminals who engage in such activity should be prosecuted and sentenced for their criminal activity.
“May I add, while it is often convenient for politicians in the Dáil and those in the media to point fingers at certain areas and claim there is excessive crime there, they rarely ever mention the prevalence of white collar crime in society, or mention the areas where white collar criminals live.
“Just because the perpetrators live in luscious leafy suburbs and wear pin stripped suits doesn’t mean they’re not criminals. All crime should be investigated and prosecuted with the same vigour regardless of the perpetrators or their postcodes.”
Limerick City Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has welcomed news today that a local criminal has been served with an exclusion order from the Kileely and Thomondgate areas.
Deputy Quinlivan said the last time this man was taken from the streets crime rates in the area dropped dramatically.
Speaking from Leinster House this afternoon Deputy Quinlivan said;
“This man is a notorious offender and is well known in the area. His exclusion will be welcomed by the community and I certainly welcome this move.
“The last time this man was taken off the streets the crime rate for the area dropped dramatically.
“Exclusion orders have a positive impact on local communities that are suffering at the hands of small groups of criminals. The courts don’t impose exclusion orders lightly and the fact that this young person has been excluded for three years shows the extent of the problems he caused in our area.
“These orders are proven to work and should be used in other areas.”
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that the debate on crime today didn’t do justice to the communities who were living in fear of so-called gangland crime.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy O’Brien said;
“The debate on crime today doesn’t do justice to the community who are living in fear of criminal gangs in their area.
“It isn’t good enough to simply talk about putting extra gardaí on the streets. We need to talk about the factors that drive gangs and the drug industry they make their money from.
“People struggling with addiction and drug dependency are victims of these gangs and we need to have a proper debate about the reasons why people end up in addiction.
“We know that social and economic disadvantage, poor housing and educational inequality are at the root of this.
“If we are serious about tackling gangland crime, we would be talking about poverty and drug addiction and changing policies so make sure we take a public health approach to addiction.
“Further to this, we want to see money held by the Criminal Assets Bureau put back in to communities that are ravaged by this crime.
“Fine Gael seemed to favour this in 2003 when they were in opposition, so we are calling on them to continue that policy and ensures this happens now.”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin has stated that the people of Clondalkin have been let down by successive governments, that have failed to invest in the services and supports needed to tackle the causes of gun and drug crime.
Speaking this morning during a Dáil debate on gun and drug crime, Deputy Ó Broin challenged his constituency colleague, acting Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, on her party’s slashing of resources for the Gardaí and community-based services.
Ó Broin said:
“Clondalkin is a vibrant and thriving part of our city and as a community we take great pride in who we are and where we live.
“Unfortunately Clondalkin continues to experience a high level of gun and drug related crime.
“ The first Ministerial Task Force report on drugs was published twenty years ago. This report highlighted the link between drugs, crime and socio-economic deprivation. Clondalkin was highlighted as one of the areas most affected.
“Last week the Clondalkin Drug and Alcohol Task Force published a report on the links between drugs, crime, poverty and inequality. It is a damning indictment of twenty years of failure by Fianna Fáil and Fine governments to tackle the causes of gun and drug crime.
“One third of the population in the drugs task force area are at risk of poverty; Unemployment in parts of Bawnogue and North Clondalkin is as high as 45%; In some schools one in three young people leave school with significant literacy and numeracy difficulties; Illegal drug use among 15 to 34 year olds is as high as 46%.
“The Clondalkin Drug and Alcohol Task Force Report confirms that tackling gun and drug crime is not just a matter of more and better policing, it is a matter of investing in social and economic regeneration for our most deprived communities.
“Minister Fitzgerald and her colleagues in Government have abandoned the community of Clondalkin. Under her watch, funding for the community and voluntary sector and the Drugs task Force has been cut by up to 45%, Community Safety Forum funding by 50% and Community Development Programmes by 100%.
“They have underfunded the Gardaí, schools, youth and sporting facilities and abandoned large sections of Clondalkin to long term unemployment, poverty and deprivation.
“The people of Clondalkin need more that than just media condemnations of the rising level of gun and drug related crime. They want to know what the government is going to do to do to tackle the poverty, inequality and deprivation that lies at the root causes of so much drug and gun crime.”
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy
will host a roundtable discussion in Castlebar this Friday, 6th May,
to examine how the Common Agricultural Policy can be used to create more jobs
in rural Ireland.
The discussion, which will involve representatives from the major farming organisations, academics working in the field of rural development, and the Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland, will take place at the Harlequin Hotel from 10am to 12pm.
Carthy is shadow Rapporteur of the European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee report ‘How can the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) improve job creation in rural areas?’
Speaking in advance of the meeting Matt Carthy said:
“This is an important discussion for anyone interested in promoting indigenous jobs and sustainable employment in rural Ireland.
“It will also be an opportunity for those who are interested to have a direct input into the amendments will be making to the report which will go before the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee to vote.”ENDS
Sinn Féin has today launched a Bill that would enshrine the Right to Housing in the Constitution.
Speaking at the launch Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The crisis in our housing system is getting worse by the day. 2000 children will tonight sleep in emergency accommodation. Families are being made homeless every single day. Thousands of others are living in expensive, insecure and at times substandard accommodation.
"Never before has there been a greater need to enshrine the right to affordable, appropriate and safe housing in our Constitution.
“This Bill we are launching today calls on the State to recognise the right of all citizens to adequate, appropriate, secure, safe and affordable housing.
“This is not a novel idea. Eighty-one countries across the world have the right to housing recognised in the Constitutions
“This is something the government could act on without delay and it would provide a basic floor of protection for the increasing numbers of people facing homelessness.”
“A Constitutional right to Housing would not mean the right to a key to a home for all; however what it does do is require the State to make reasonable provision to protect this right in its policy and decision making.
“There is currently no legal right to housing in Irish law and the lack of a substantive right to housing is highlighted by the plight of families facing homelessness”
“Currently, the failure to provide a family with emergency accommodation cannot be challenged by referencing a clear right. A right to housing would essentially give the courts the jurisdiction to review whether that right is being respected.
“The people of this state have already deliberated on this issue. Over 80% of the participants in The Constitutional Convention agreed that such a right should be enshrined in the Constitution. The incoming Government should provide for the holding of a referendum on this issue in its programme for government.”
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has welcomed the European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgements on plain packaging for tobacco products.
Crowe said that the decision has the potential to have huge positive and far reaching health implications, but he also said that the ISDS mechanism currently being discussed in the TTIP negotiations between the European Union and the USA would potentially negate and undermine decisions like this in the very near future.
Deputy Crowe said:
“We know that 1 in every 2 people who take up cigarettes die from smoking related illnesses and an estimated 5,870 people die from smoking related illnesses in Ireland every year.
“This unacceptable death toll, combined with other cardiovascular and pulmonary medical conditions, means that as a society we need to do everything in our power to discourage new people from getting addicted to tobacco products and to prevent the proliferation and accessibility of these products.
“Sinn Féin wholeheartedly supported the legislation that would introduce plain packaging on tobacco products when it was being debated in the Dáil and Seanad.
“That legislation was aggressively challenged by the tobacco industry in the Courts.
“I particularly welcome the judgements of the ECJ that were released this week, which uphold that the plain packaging Directive provides a legal basis for Ireland and other countries to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products.
“The EU and USA are currently in negotiations around a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that could potentially undermine and negate positive decisions like this.
“The so-called ISDS mechanism, which is being negotiated as part of TTIP, would allow massive multinational corporations to circumvent local and national court decisions and to sue Governments in a secretive international court.
“Decisions like these ones taken by the ECJ would be superseded by decisions made in an unaccountable tribunal. This would undermine initiatives like plain packaging on tobacco products and would ultimately undermine the democratic decision making of Governments.”
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that the Irish Government can no longer blame the EU for its contradictory policies on boating regulations. Ní Riada had asked the Commission whether any EU laws or regulations were to blame for the refusal by Irish authorities to license small inshore fishing vessels for use as passenger boats during sea-angling events.
Liadh Ní Riada said:
“Sea angling is an important sporting activity, and its potential to attract tourists to underdeveloped coastal zones of Ireland is a significant driver for local economies.
“This activity once depended on the use of small commercial fishing vessels, providing a valuable source of income for inshore fishermen. Since the introduction of passenger boat regulations by the Irish government in June 2002 the use of commercial fishing boats as passenger boats has been effectively banned.
“There are separate safety standards in force for passenger boats and for fishing vessels. Despite the fact that a vessel may meet, or indeed surpass, the safety standard laid down in both sets of regulations, it may not be licensed for both uses simultaneously.
“The response from the European Commission to my question made it very clear that the responsibility for this ban on dual-licensing does not have its origins in any EU law or regulation. At best it is a bureaucratic error that our Government is unwilling to fix, or at worst a Government policy that purposefully seeks to exclude hard-up fishermen from a secondary source of revenue.
“To my mind, this arbitrary and senseless limitation on the use of capital in underdeveloped rural economies is a barrier to rural development and economic diversification. I have been contacted by sea angling clubs and by inshore fishermen alike to raise this issue. I know of clubs that have had to limit the size of international angling competitions because there wasn't enough licensed passenger boats available in the locality, while perfectly seaworthy inshore fishing boats stayed tied to the harbour wall.
“Our coastal economies need support to grow and develop, but this ridiculous and bureaucratic ban is hindering that growth and squandering economic potential. While other European countries cash in on angling tourism, and while the EU invests in blue-growth and diversification in coastal economies, our dysfunctional Government once again thwarts the ability of rural and coastal communities to use their resources to promote economic growth.”
Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has sent his condolences to party colleague Mickey Brady MP following the death of his mother at 107 years of age.
Mr McGuinness said;
"It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Sally Brady, mother of my friend and comrade, Mickey Brady.
"I had the honour and privilege of meeting Mrs Brady when she visited Stormont with Mickey and found her a charming and intelligent lady with a great spirit.
"She lived a long and full life which spanned two centuries and witnessed many changes in that time.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Mickey, the wider Brady family circle and their friends at this sad and difficult time.
"Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam."
Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald has condemned those responsible for stealing Sinn Féin election billboards and posters in the Coleraine area.
The East Derry candidate said;
"A Sinn Féin billboard for tomorrow's election billboard has been stolen in Coleraine and a number of election posters have been taken down and vandalised.
"Those behind these incidents are clearly trying to attack the democratic process but they will not succeed.
"We have been getting a great response on the doorsteps to the positive and progressive policies of Sinn Féin.
"Incidents like this will not deter us from representing everyone in the community."
Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has challenged Irish Water to shed its cloak of secrecy after her Freedom of Information (FOI) request was refused by the public body.
Speaking in Dublin the Sinn Féin MEP said:
“Irish Water recently commissioned and paid for legal advice which was then leaked to the media. That advice, paid for using the public’s money, was little more than a statement for self-survival. No details of the legal opinion were ever provided.
“On hearing about Irish Water’s orchestrated media campaign on its own behalf, I immediately lodged an application under the FOI Act, seeking a copy of the legal advice obtained. I have now been informed that my request has been turned down because Irish Water believes its legal advice is exempt from the FOI Act. I will be appealing this decision.
“It is noteworthy that Irish Water saw fit to leak its legal opinion to the media but now refuse to release the contents of that same legal opinion to me, as an elected public representative. Irish Water cannot continue to whisper out of one side of its mouth, while saying nothing from the other.
“This continues a policy of secrecy at this so-called public body. Details of the numbers of bill payments made are also shrouded in secrecy – particularly since the general election.
“It is time that the new government partnership of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stepped in and reminded Irish Water that they are a public utility and not a private company.
“In particular, despite Fianna Fáil reneging on its election promise to abolish Irish Water, it must still ensure that the company is not permitted to continue to operate under a cloak of secrecy.”
Speaking today in the Dáil on the issue of climate change, Sinn Féin TD for Fingal Louise O’Reilly raised the issue of TTIP and the dangers that it represents to efforts to fights climate change and in particular the “investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions for threats and impacts on their policy-making autonomy in this area”, saying that “the level of enthusiasm and zeal for promoting TTIP in this state by some parties exceeds that of other member states”.
Deputy Reilly said:
“This is an issue of pressing importance; the social and economic out-workings of climate change, are as relevant to people as any other.
“This week TTIP has made headlines and I believe that the
public need more leaking of documents such as this so that they can see the
shocking realities of the deal that is currently being negotiated at European
level. This deal extends well beyond reducing trade tariffs and quotas. It will
have a colossal impact on public policy, which have a big impact on climate
“Climate change and the quality of our environment will be a central problem demanding a response from policy-makers this century. So why then, when faced with this issue, is the EU engaged in negotiating a deal that will significantly undermine any progress to address climate change?
“The level of enthusiasm and zeal for promoting TTIP in this state by some parties exceeds that of other member states. This has been shown in the failure of the last Government to draft a comprehensive political contribution of all relevant Oireachtas Committees on TTIP, despite pressure put on them by Sinn Féin TDs and Senators.
“We talk about the importance of our Agri-food sector. We talk about Green Ireland. We market ourselves as one of the best food producers in the world. Let me be clear- this is a reputation hard earned and well deserved. But TTIP will have a significant impact on this in the context of climate change. Significant concerns have been raised with me from the horticultural sector about TTIP such that through this ‘regulatory cooperation’, there will be downward pressure on some forms of agriculture, in favour of industrial methods. What will happen then is that small farmers, such as those involved in organic production for example, will find it increasingly difficult to compete with industrial farming. Is this the way forward we envisage for Green Ireland?
“With the threat of the legal effects of TTIP looming large on national Governments, how would governments put in place the proper regulations to meet climate targets? Governments need to look no further than the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions for threats and impacts on their policy-making autonomy in this area.
“There is a huge responsibility on the Irish government to act pro-actively and constructively on the challenges which now face us. Climate Change is an issue that will not be going away. But TTIP can. It needs political will and that must start here. It must start with the new Government.”
Speaking in the Dáil today during statements on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, challenged Simon Coveney TD on his role as agriculture minister.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Minister, under your watch, agriculture has slid into a crisis in so many sectors, that I don’t know where to start.
“I am inundated with calls and visits to my constituency offices from farmers in desperation.
“I don’t know if when a new government is formed you will still be in the agricultural and fisheries driving seat, but you are leaving behind a legacy of neglect of the vulnerable sectors, support for the big boys and many farmers born and raised in the proud tradition of agricultural production in Ireland beginning to realise that there is no future for their children or their children’s children in farming.
“I wonder, Minister, if you ever really considered during your time at the head of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, what the role of a progressive minister should be?
“Did you ever consider that your place at the cabinet table is intended to be a representative and supportive role for the man and woman who by their effort and skill produce the clean, green, wholesome produce of Irish farms?”