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Team Sinn Féin - Putting Ireland First

The largest gathering of Sinn Féin candidates in the history of the party took place in Drogheda, 350 local council election candidates contesting seats across all 42 councils in the 32 counties of Ireland joined with Sinn Féin's 4 EU election candidates for a final strategic planning day with the party leadership before the local council and EU elections on the 22nd May in the 6 Counties and the 23rd May in the 26 Counties.

Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



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Speaking in the Dáil today on the merging of the National Consumer Agency and Competition Authority, Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín TD described the government’s decision not to include a Code of Conduct for the grocery sector as disappointing.

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said:

“Jobs and consumers must be protected but so too must suppliers. It is disappointing that the grocery sector did not sign up to a voluntary Code of Conduct, but that said it is hardly surprising. It would be a rare occurrence for a sector operating in a profit environment to volunteer itself to regulation.

“It is disappointing that the Jobs Minister has decided to opt out of a Code of Conduct choosing instead incremental enabling provisions with an initial bare minimum approach. Sharp practices remain in the grocery sector despite the significant profits of the main players. All suppliers are asking for is fair play and using consumers as an excuse for anything less is simply disingenuous.

“Whilst the legislation to merge the two agencies will put the relationship of the new Commission and the various Regulators on a statutory footing this will be limited to co-operation in the areas of consumer protection and welfare and competition and not extended to oversight or enforcement.

“This will be deeply disappointing for householders impacted by the introduction of water charges who had hoped to new Commission would have enhanced legislative powers to protect their interests and welfare.”

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has condemned the news from the Dublin Homeless Regional Executive that 174 families are being put up in hotels around Dublin city because no housing can be provided for them. He described the situation as undeniable evidence that the state was failing to address homelessness.

Deputy Ellis said:


"I have dealt with families across the city who have been put up in hotels once they became homeless. Many of these families have felt completely insecure in this accommodation and in some cases hotels have decided not to allow them to continue staying there. Recently I had to work with a family who were forced to walk the streets after a hotel evicted them.

“This kind of short term measure to deal with people experiencing homelessness flies in the face of the government’s proposed ‘housing-led’ strategy and commitments to end homelessness by 2016.

“Some people are in these hotels for 3 to 4 weeks at a time. I have worked with people who have had to stay in them for 2 months or more until the hotel said they would throw them out and the council was forced to act.

“Not only is this not a solution to the crisis of homelessness, but it is also a massive drain on resources. If the 174 rooms cost a modest average of €80 each, that would amount to €14,000 a night or an extraordinary €98,000 a week. This is wildly in excess of what it would cost to house these families immediately if the government had the courage and political will to do this.

“This cannot be allowed to continue.

“Funding should be used to provide people with secure, long term housing and not thrown at hotels to sweep the problem under the carpet.”

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Speaking in the Dáil on the Government’s White Paper on Universal Health Insurance, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD described it as “fundamentally flawed”. He said:

“The model the Government has adopted here is fundamentally flawed. It is a so-called free market model based on competing private-for-profit health insurance companies.

“This is the Fine Gael model, which won out in the Programme for Government. It is a purely market approach, treating healthcare as a commodity and believing that consumers will benefit from competition. But the real beneficiaries will be the private health insurers. They will benefit doubly.

“Firstlythey will have a mass of new customers, forced by Government legislation to take out policies. Secondly, they will benefit directly from Government payments to them on behalf of people who cannot pay private health insurance themselves.

“We often hear the phrase ‘cut out the middle man’. Minister Reilly’s model of universal health insurance is cutting IN the middle man. It is adding to the cost of healthcare because the profit margin of the private health insurance companies will inevitably push up the cost of healthcare.

“We in Sinn Féin say cut OUT the middle man. This can be done by funding public health services from fair and reformed general taxation.

“The Minister’s plan is based on the Dutch model which is not working. It has actually led to the rationing of healthcare and to much greater medical inflation. We believe this plan will cost both the State and the citizens more than a State-provided, taxation-funded system.

“We believe that it will lead to a system where private health insurance companies will ultimately determine what level of health services people will receive. The private health insurance companies will become gate-keepers if this system is adopted and future Governments will be constantly trying to play catch-up with legislation and regulations.

“Sinn Féin wants to see universal public healthcare based on medical need and funded from fair and reformed general taxation. On this basis we will be participating in the consultation and the debate and we will make our own party submission.” 

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Sinn Féin’s Oliver McMullan has welcomed the decision by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to allocate Single Farm Payments entitlements in 2015 to those who never previously benefitted from the scheme.

 The Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson and East Antrim MLA said,

 “I welcome Minister Michelle O’Neill’s answer to a question in which she outlined that she intends to increase the number of people entitled to Single Farm Payments.

 “The Minister has stated she has decided to implement the optional provision in the CAP Reform legislation. This will allow entitlements to be allocated in 2015 to those who never previously qualified for a Single Farm Payment. The only proviso is they submit verifiable evidence that on 15th May 2013, they produced, reared or grew agricultural products. 

 “This decision will allow those businesses which started farming after 2005 but which would not qualify as new entrants under the regional reserve to receive entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme.

 “This is one of the most positive developments of the CAP Reform and will help to encourage new farmers, particularly young people, into the industry.  

 “While SFP has made up a large percentage of farmers’ income I have met many farmers who are farming without SFP entitlements.

 “It is testament to their hard work and dedication that they are surviving despite the pressures faced by the industry.”

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Sinn Féin councillors on both sides of the border have called on an intervention from both the Irish government and the Assembly to protect viable Lough Swilly bus routes.

 Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Hassan said,

 “Lough Swilly Bus Company has been in existence for over 100 years providing a service between Derry and Donegal. The closure of the company will be a massive blow to the entire region.

 “Derry has been the main shopping and recreation area for people from Donegal especially the Inishowen region, while Donegal has been a favourite holiday destination for people from Derry.

 “This service has survived through the partition, when Donegal was separated from its natural hinterland, through the worst excesses of the conflict when the border was sealed or the buses had to manouevre through military checkpoints.

 Sinn Féin Donegal councillor Jack Murray added,

 “There will be a knock-on effect to both counties with the loss of the Lough Swilly service. Both the Irish Government and the Assembly needs to move to protect the viable routes at the very least.

 “It is important that we work to ensure that there is a regular affordable service between Derry and Donegal.

 “I will be asking our Assembly members and TDs in Donegal to raise it at the highest levels including the North South Ministerial Council.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said today that the British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, had unashamedly jumped on to a unionist agenda on the issue of the past, on policing and on welfare cuts.

“Theresa Villiers’ latest broadside at the peace process is a repudiation of the Haass/O’Sullivan proposals and has positioned the British government firmly on unionist ground,” said Gerry Kelly.

“This latest move follows what has been a consistently negative contribution by the British government throughout the Haass/O’Sullivan process. This despite the Haass/O’Sullivan proposals being endorsed by both the Irish Tánaiste and the US President.

“Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era.

“Around 15,000 republicans were imprisoned during the course of the conflict. Only a handful of members of the British state forces were convicted during this time.

So Theresa Villiers’ claims that there has been too much focus on state killings stems from the fact that during the conflict state killings and collusion were never properly investigated.

“And the reason so many cases on state killings are now going through the courts is that families are being denied the truth about the murder of their loved ones right up until the present day.

“Ms Villiers did not stop however, at insulting victims of the conflict but she then proceeded to make contributions on policing and welfare cuts which read like a unionist manifesto.

“This continued partisan approach by Ms Villiers to the key political issues is undermining the potential for progress in the political and peace processes embodied by last week’s Irish state visit to Britain.”

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty today moved the 34th Amendment of the Constitution (Inclusive Budget Reform Bill) in the Dáil which will allow opposition TDs to introduce legislation and other measures that will incur a cost by the state.

Speaking after moving the Bill, the Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South-West said:

“This is a short Bill but one that could have a significant impact on how the Dáil operates and how budgets are set in the future. I have brought it forward in the context of the Constitutional Convention and the national debate on political reform, north and south.

“It is a constant source of great frustration to opposition TDs that positive, well thought out Bills can be simply ignored because of a constitutional bar on opposition TDs bringing forward financial measures.

“For example last year I drafted a Bill that would make stateless multinational companies tax resident in Ireland by default should they had no other residence. Although the Bill was not allowed to be introduced onto the Order Paper at the time, in a matter of months later the government brought in virtually the same Bill in their Budget.

“In addition each year the Finance Committee pours through the Budget and tries to make amendments. Members of the committee have great difficulty in finding a wording that won’t be ruled out of order.

“The Constitutional bar on opposition TDs bringing forward financial measures makes a mockery of the debate each year with opposition TDs neutered to the point of comedy at times. There must be a better way and this Bill is designed to open up that debate.

“This government has spoken a lot about political reform but its actions have not matched its words. In particular it has disappointed many in carrying on the same Fianna Fáil way of doing business in the Dail and Seanad.

“In fact through the creation of the Economic Management Council they have gone even further down the road of unaccountable sub-committees with four middle aged men in suits making decisions for the country.

“Sinn Féin was the only opposition party to produce a fully costed alternative budget. We take our role as an opposition very seriously. That is why I believe by repealing this constitutional bar we can have a healthier, more robust culture of debate in our Parliament, a better opposition and a more accountable government.”

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