Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish Government to drop its campaign in favour the “toxic” Canadian-EU (CETA) trade agreement.

His call follows comments today by Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland that CETA negotiations had failed following rejection of the deal by the Walloon Parliament.

The southern region of Belgium blocked the agreement on Thursday meaning Belgium and the EU cannot sign it.

Matt Carthy said:

“I commend the Parliament of Walloon in rejecting this toxic deal.

"This is further evidence that CETA and TTIP have no popular support and shows what can happen when even small nations or regions are given a democratic say on the issue.

“CETA, like TTIP, is bad deal which would have serious negative implications for Irish farmers, workers and consumers.

“Through its provision for an Investment Court, it will undermine Irish democracy and our judicial system.

“The Seanad has already voted to reject CETA.

“Today's comments by the Canadian Trade Minister mean that CETA is dead in the water and the Fine Gael-led Government needs to face up to this and stop being cheerleaders for it."



Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish Government to drop its campaign in favour the “toxic” Canadian-EU (CETA) trade agreement.

His call follows comments today by Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland that CETA negotiations had failed following rejection of the deal by the Walloon Parliament.

The southern region of Belgium blocked the agreement on Thursday meaning Belgium and the EU cannot sign it.

Matt Carthy said:

“I commend the Parliament of Walloon in rejecting this toxic deal.

"This is further evidence that CETA and TTIP have no popular support and shows what can happen when even small nations or regions are given a democratic say on the issue.

“CETA, like TTIP, is bad deal which would have serious negative implications for Irish farmers, workers and consumers.

“Through its provision for an Investment Court, it will undermine Irish democracy and our judicial system.

“The Seanad has already voted to reject CETA.

“Today's comments by the Canadian Trade Minister mean that CETA is dead in the water and the Fine Gael-led Government needs to face up to this and stop being cheerleaders for it."



Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has demanded that the Minister for Health immediately confirm whether the additional €35 million announced in Budget 2017 for mental health services “is real or part of a dishonest attempt by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to put the best gloss on an otherwise lacklustre budget.”

The Louth TD was speaking today at the presentation of youth certificates in Muirhevnamor, Dundalk to young people who have successfully completed a four week course on mental health.

Teachta Adams said:

“I want to commend the Muirhevnamor Youth Project Partnership and the Camlough Community Association who organised and funded this course for young people. The course was designed to raise young people's consciousness about mental health in the community and is part of their Community Leaders training.

“Last week when launching Budget 2017, the government claimed that an extra €35 million was being allocated to mental health services. These services are the Cinderella of the health service and are seriously underfunded.

“However, it now appears that the €35 million is not in fact for next year’s budget but will be stretched over the coming years. The Minister of State for Mental Health confirmed on Thursday that just €15 million of this extra funding will be spent next year. This is a significant blow to all of those working on mental health issues. It amounts to less than 2% of an increase on the budget for this year.

“Last week, I visited the Ladywell mental health service in Dundalk where the staff do a remarkable job in old and unsuitable premises. They need new facilities to provide a more effective mental health service. They are only one of many across the state that desperately need additional funding.

“Also last week, the crisis in mental health services was highlighted with the publication by the National Office for Suicide Prevention of the number of deaths by suicide in 2013 in this state in 2013. It reported there 487 deaths by suicide. In the North in 2014 there were 268 deaths by suicide. And it is generally accepted that the real figure for the island is closer to 1000.

“The National Office for Suicide Prevention also recorded that at least 8,790 individuals presented with self-harm at hospitals around the state. Accident and emergency departments do not offer appropriate care or follow up for those in acute mental distress. The €35 million additional money could have helped provide additional services, strengthen existing services and provide for new facilities.

“The government needs to clarify how much additional funding there is for mental health services for 2017 and how they plan to spend that money.” 


Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has described the outcome of the trial of a teenager, who was involved in the protest against former Tánaiste Joan Burton in Jobstown two years ago, as completely absurd.

Deputy Crowe said;

"In my view, it is completely absurd to actually believe that the former Tánaiste was falsely imprisoned. I don’t think anybody really believes that.

"Yet, we have a teenager from my community who has been dragged through the courts on a spurious charge.

"It is a disgrace that such time and resources have gone into prosecuting this teenager.

"Of course all protests and political activity should be conducted in a peaceful manner but political representatives have to accept that at times the decisions we make may not be popular.

"The former Tánaiste and the state has been way over the top and chose to pursue course of action that could have serious consequences for this young man.

"Sinn Féin would like to express our solidarity with the young man and his family today."


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has this afternoon said the government is “failing in its attempts to address the growing number of industrial relations disputes to the detriment of public sector workers and the public-at-large.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Teachers, nurses, doctors and Gardaí have very legitimate issues with regards their pay and conditions.

“The government’s negotiating position has led to an escalation of industrial discontent and as a result we are facing the real prospect of school closures and streets without Gardaí in the coming weeks.

“Their strategy is clearly failing and has heightened confrontation with public sector workers.

“What is required is meaningful dialogue which lays out a clear, sensible path to the provision of full pay restoration for public sector employees, and which prioritises those on low and middle incomes.

“That’s not an impossible task. In our Alternative Budget proposals, Sinn Féin provided for the restoration of allowances for all post-2011 teachers and Gardaí - core demands of the ASTI and the GRA respectively.

“The issue of pay equality for post-2011 entrants also needs to be put in place before the scheduled end of the Lansdowne Road Agreement in September 2018 and any new pay agreement beyond that must set out a clear timetable for a single pay scale for public workers and the restoration of allowances - a timescale that prioritises workers earning below €65,000.

“The government’s current stance that such a timetable can only begin in two years’ time is not feasible in terms of the current industrial relations challenges and kicking the can down the road is not going to solve the problem.

“What public servants want and deserve is the fair and timely unwinding of FEMPI cuts and pay restoration. This can only be achieved through direct dialogue and the formation of a new pay agreement that offers a road map to full pay restoration.”


Sinn Féin MLA and equality spokesperson Sean Lynch has called for the immediate removal of any outstanding criminal records for gay men who were convicted over consensual same-sex relationships before decriminalisation in the North of Ireland in 1982.

Speaking today Mr Lynch said:

“The law regarding the criminalisation of consensual relationship between gay men was rightly removed in 1982. However the convictions prior to that date still remain on people’s personal records.

“This is unacceptable.

“The move in England and Wales to pardon those convicted posthumously is a welcome start to redressing this wrong.

“However, the fact that anyone living has to apply for outstanding convictions to be pardoned is placing a burden on the victim of an unjust law.

“We would much rather see the criminal justice system taking responsibility to examine any outstanding cases and enable a process to expunge records which are linked to these out dated laws.

“I will be contacting the Justice Minister to raise these issues and see the rights and entitlement of our LGBT community are upheld.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann has called for the house sales scheme to be suspended.

The party's housing spokesperson said:

"Since the inception of this scheme 100,000 social homes have been sold off.

“This has impacted on the long waiting lists for social housing adding to the housing crisis.

"We have a duty to protect what is left of the social housing stock for future generations.

"Recently the Scottish Assembly passed legislation stopping the house sales scheme. The Welsh Assembly is in the process of doing the same as they realise the protection of social housing stock is crucial.

"We also need to take action to halt the further erosion of our social housing stock.

“With almost 40,000 people on waiting lists and 19,000 presenting as homeless each year we can’t go on selling off this precious asset."


Sinn Féin will be supporting the anti-fracking bill coming before the Dáil next week, according to Martin Kenny TD for Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal.

Deputy Kenny said:

“Sinn Féin will be supporting this bill to prohibit fracking in this state. In fact, my colleague Brian Stanley TD and I introduced an amendment to the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960, to the same effect last June.

“In this constituency I am following in the pioneering footsteps of my predecessor, former TD Michael Colreavy, who worked tirelessly during his term to research the devastating effects of fracking and to bring forward legislation to ban the process North and South.

“Unfortunately, such pieces of legislation go through a lottery process to get onto the order paper in the Dáil and ours has not yet come up. We will support this Bill however.

“I notice that Deputy McLoughlin is introducing his Bill during Private Members’ Time and that it is not coming forward as government legislation. I hope that his party and their colleagues in Fianna Fáil will support it and prevent this destructive form of exploration taking place.

“Sinn Féin will do all in its power to ban fracking on Irish soil, North and South, including supporting this bill in the Dáil next week.” 


Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has said that this budget delivers next to nothing for transport and is another step along the path of privatisation.

The Dublin North West TD said:

“There are no new projects planned in this Budget and very little investment in existing infrastructure. My colleague Imelda Munster Sinn Féin spokesperson on transport found out that Minister Ross had overvalued his additional funding by €15 million. When it was pointed out to him, his department replied that it was a clerical error. What is not a clerical error is the privatisation agenda being pursued by the government.

“This year, 10% of routes are privatised and with the separation of expressway for CIE, that percentage will surely increase.  Once again, a chance to prioritise investment and funding in our transport network has been ignored in favour of Tax cuts and incentives for the wealthy.”


In the Dáil on Thursday evening, Sinn Féin Louth and Meath East TD Imelda Munster raised the matter of 18 beds assigned to services for the elderly in Louth being closed due to nursing staff shortages.

Questioning Minister for State Catherine Byrne, as Minister for Health Simon Harris was unavailable, Deputy Munster asked that the Department instruct the HSE to implement a fast-tracking process to fill these vacancies.

“I realise there is an overall nursing recruitment plan in place but a significant part of the problem in my constituency is the serious delay by the HSE management nationally, not locally, in approving the filling of staff vacancies. It was known for months before the 18 beds were closed that there was a need to recruit staff. Those approvals were left on a desk or shelf gathering dust in the full knowledge of the crisis we were facing.

“The HSE at national level is responsible for the closure of beds in Drogheda and Dundalk. They were fully aware of the impending crisis in elderly services in Louth and instead of approving the posts for the filling of vacancies well in advance, they closed 18 beds.

“It is either total incompetence or a deliberate policy of bed closure.  This will have a knock on effect on Our Lady of Lourdes hospital coming into the winter months. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is one of the worst in the country for overcrowding, being often top of the list in this regard. Yesterday, for instance, 29 patients were on trolleys there. I am calling on the Minister to reverse those cuts as we approach the winter.

“The Minister needs to prioritise the fast-tracking of approval to fill vacancies on a national level and I intend to pursue the Minister on this matter.

“Elderly services have been decimated in county Louth and the Minister needs to instruct senior management of the HSE to get their act together and fast-track the approval process and reinstate those beds as a matter of urgency.” 


Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster asked questions this week in the Dáil about HSE plans to cut primary care services in the Louth-Meath area, and the news that the HSE has instructed management in the health service to save €1.5 million by way of staffing cuts between now and the end of the year.

She asked Minister for State Catherine Byrne, who was standing in for Minister for Health Simon Harris who was otherwise engaged, if the Minister would reverse this cut of €1.5million, given existing pressures on the services in Louth and Meath.

Deputy Munster said:

“These measures will lead to serious cutbacks in services provided by occupational therapists, physiotherapists, public health nurses and, in particular, home help support staff. Last Friday week the HSE called a meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Louth at which it informed management there that the contracts of nine full-time clerical and administrative staff and one part-time clerical worker were to be terminated with immediate effect. 

"It beggars belief that at a time when we are seeing services, especially primary care services, cut to the bone, further cuts are being made just as we come into the winter months. That is totally unacceptable and amounts to neglect of patient care.”

The Minister’s response was that the 1.5million was an overspend.

Deputy Munster added:

“How can you have overspend when services are already cut to the bone. How can the Minister justify this? It’s bordering on neglect of patient care.”


Speaking today after the Scottish Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled against a challenge by the Scottish whiskey industry on minimum unit pricing, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD said that the ruling and its focus on public health had important implications for legislation in Ireland and hoped for the successful passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 through the Oireachtas.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“I welcome the ruling today in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The ruling has been much anticipated and is a positive and encouraging development when we consider that next week the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 returns to the Seanad.

“The package of measures in this Bill, including those relating to minimum unit pricing, move to address public health concerns in Ireland as a result of alcohol consumption. The Scottish ruling has underpinned that no other alternative in the area of taxation would have a similar or better result in terms of protecting health.

“I hope that this verdict and that of the ECJ last December will deter any similar challenges being taken against Ireland’s legislation. Any delay tactics by the alcohol industry to this legislation ultimately has a human cost in lives lost and health damaged. The fact is that there are three alcohol-related deaths in Ireland every day and alcohol currently places a huge burden on our health service, taking up an estimated 1,500 hospital beds every night. €1.5 billion was spent in hospital discharges in 2012 according to the Health Research Board, and this is not inclusive of the significant costs incurred by our emergency departments. Similarly, alcohol is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

“Sinn Fein are very clear in terms of our support for this legislation- this is a piece of legislation with very heavy implications for public health and it is through that lens that we have examined, evaluated and measured our response to each section.

“It is important now that this Bill has a successful passage through the Oireachtas and that we have no undue delays on its passage or implementation.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin TD has expressed concern about plans to extend the staffless libraries pilot scheme.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“I share some of the concerns raised by the Staff Our Libraries campaign on the plan to continue the rollout of staffless libraries to approx. 20 branches after the initial trial of the service in libraries in Tullamore, Banagher and Tubbercurry.

“The campaign group is calling for a full and independent analysis of the pilot scheme on which this roll out plan is based and I support this call.

“Furthermore, an iron clad guarantee needs to be given by Minister Coveney from the floor of the Dáil that the continued rollout of this scheme will not result in staffing hours being cut.

“Professional librarians are an invaluable resource in all our local libraries and we need reassurances from the Minister that they will not be replaced by automated services. The Minster also needs to provide assurances that the will be provisions made for people with disabilities or those with special needs during the staffless hours in the 20 plus pilot locations. I have raised this matter with the Minister and I will do so again in the coming weeks.” 


Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has called on the public to come out and show their support as Sinn Féin holds a Day of Action on the housing crisis across Dublin.

The series of demonstrations will take place across Dublin tomorrow.

Deputy Ellis said:

“Ireland is in the grip of a housing crisis. Nowhere is this more palpable then in the capital city. The entire housing system is broken.  The spiralling coast of rents is pushing families into poverty and in many cases homelessness. 

“There are now 4,000 adults and 2,300 children living in emergency accommodation.

“There are approximately 140,000 households on local authority waiting lists across the state, 45,000 of these in Dublin.

“Capital spending on social housing remains less than half what it was in 2008.

“Sinn Féin is demanding rent certainty, security of tenure and most of all calling for the government to be more ambitious and invest more than €150m additional in 2017 to increase supply of social housing.

“Sinn Féin has shown that this can be done. In our Alternative Budget, we proposed an increase capital funding to local authorities in 2017 by €315 million.

“In total, we would deliver more than 8,000 real social housing units - twice what the government is proposing.

“The report from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive shows there are 2,988 individuals homeless in Dublin city. While 1,357 adults with 2,065 children are also homeless. 

“There was a 65% increase in the number of homeless families in Dublin in the 12 months to September 2016.

“The crisis in our capital is reflective of a wider homelessness crisis throughout the state.

“People are homeless not because of some unknown event or phenomenon. The homeless crisis exists because of the policies and decisions of government. Any objective analysis would show that these decisions have and are pushing low and middle income earners closer to the prospect of being made homeless.

“It is time for a radically different approach to the housing crisis. It is time for real action.


Sinn Féin Defence Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD formally introduced a bill in the Dáil this week that seeks to amend the Constitution in order to strengthen Irish Neutrality. 

Deputy Ó Snodaigh and his party colleague Seán Crowe TD jointly introduced the legislation on Thursday during the ordering of Dáil business and they will seek time to debate the bill at the earliest opportunity.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The Bill we have tabled seeks to enhance Irish neutrality by ensuring the State would strictly abide by a policy of non-membership of military alliances. It would empower Irish citizens by giving them the opportunity to reaffirm the State’s neutrality in a referendum at a time of increasing EU military expansionism.

“We will be urging FG and FF to support our Bill and move away from implementing policies that have for many years compromised our State’s neutrality by allowing foreign militaries to exploit Shannon Airport as a stopover to and from conflict zones.

“This legislation greatly strengthens Ireland’s status as a neutral country by amending the Constitution to ensure the State would be prevented from aiding any foreign powers in preparation for a war unless it had the assent of the Dáil. 

“It is a necessary and an important Bill that allows our citizens to show their support for Ireland’s neutrality by voting in a referendum and my party will strongly campaign to see the legislation enacted.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has condemned the murder of a man in the Poleglass area of Belfast.

Speaking from the scene Ms McCann said:

“I condemn the murder of a man who was shot dead in his home in Poleglass tonight.

"This brutal killing has achieved nothing other than plunging another family into grief and despair.

“I have expressed my condolences to the victim's family and I appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the police.”


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has accused the government of “failing to prepare properly for the pending strike by the Garda unions.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Reports indicate that there has been no discussion between the Minister for Justice and An Garda Síochána on contingency plans for the imminent strike action by the Garda unions.

"With the AGSI commencing its industrial action tomorrow this is deplorable.

"The stock response that a contingency plan is an operational matter for the Garda is equally unacceptable. The state faces an unprecedented crisis with almost all Garda threatening to go on a series of strikes. The government has a responsibility to ensure that a plan is in place to provide some measure of policing. 

"The Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner have both been out of the country. They should now get their act in order and ensure that a contingency plan is prepared.”

The Sinn Féin leader also called on the Minister for Justice to clarify the government’s “attitude to and timeframe for allowing An Garda Síochána access to the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission.

He said;

"Last weekend it was reported that the logistics for allowing this were under consideration and would be fast-tracked by the Minister who it was said would begin formulating legislation within days.

"However, the Taoiseach told me in the Dáil on Wednesday that the government is waiting on the publication of the report by John Horgan, who is chairing the Haddington Road Review of An Garda Síochána, “to see how the professor might set out what he considers to be the appropriate strategy to adopt to allow for the principle of access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court for members of An Garda Síochána.” That report is not due until December.  All of which suggests that any actual legislative change allowing the Gardaí access to the Labour Court and Workplace Relations Commission might not be enacted until well into the new year. 

"The Minister needs to clarify exactly when she intends publishing legislation which the European Social Committee called for three years ago.”


During the Dáil statements on the war and humanitarian crisis in Syria, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, condemned the lack of adherence to the norms of international law in Syria and called for an urgent ceasefire in the conflict.

Deputy Crowe said:

“This savage war has left approximately 8 million people displaced people inside Syria, 4.5 million refugees beyond Syrian borders, over 1 million people injured, and more than 400,000 people killed.

“I have continually echoed the UN’s disgust at the complete lack of adherence to the norms of international law by the warring parties in Syria. The aerial bombardment of besieged residential areas of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian jets and the use of bunker busting bombs on heavily populated civilian areas are criminal.

“I cautiously welcome the pause in aerial attacks on Aleppo today. I am calling on all sides to ensure that humanitarian corridors are open to allow civilians to safely leave the area and for humanitarian aid to safely enter.

“I have also strongly criticised the USA’s decision to directly and indirectly militarily intervening in the war and Sinn Féin strongly opposed the lifting of the EU arms embargo on Syria at the end of May 2013.

“I also want to strongly condemn the intensification of Turkey’s military attacks and its bombardment of Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Turkish jets and artillery having been bombarding areas north of Aleppo since Wednesday in an attack on Kurdish fighters and civilians.

“Turkey, the second biggest army in NATO, is attacking the same Kurdish forces who took on and bravely fought Da’esh and liberated vast areas that Da’esh and its offshoots had occupied.

“Sinn Féin stands in complete opposition to the continuation of this war and calls all sides to urgently establish a ceasefire and negotiated end to the war.”

Deputy Crowe continued:

“The Irish Government should be a leader in assisting the humanitarian response in Syria and neighbouring countries, and it must also provide a sanctuary to the vulnerable and desperate refugees that are fleeing Syria.

“Only 69 Syrians have come to Ireland from Greece under the EU relocation programme and 0 Syrians have arrived here from Italy under this same programme. That is embarrassing, shameful, and wrong. I am again calling on the Irish Government to show leadership and to urgently relocate and resettle Syrian refugees in Ireland.”


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy for the this week welcomed 20 farmers, producers and local representatives from across Ireland for a discussion on how to better protect and promote local Irish produce.

Speaking from Brussels, Matt Carthy said:

“At a time when farmers have real cause for concern about the impact of trade agreements on their livelihoods, this week I was happy to facilitate a series of meetings on ways to protect their products.

"Schemes to protect geographical indications were first introduced in Europe in 1992, but do this date, the island of Ireland only has 7 registered products, 5 in the south and 3 in the north. This leaves Ireland far behind countries of similar sizes”

“Awarding a product a geographical indication has the potential to not only guarantee a farmer a better price for their product, but also to protect rural traditions, agricultural methods and unique indigenous species. 

“The delegates this week met with representatives from the European Commission to learn about the application processes and criteria and were able to ask questions specific to their sectors.

"They also had meetings on the impact of trade agreements on these geographical indications and questioned the Commission and NGO representatives on how such products could be protected both on foreign markets and here against new competitors.

"Finally, they spoke with European farming representatives on the different rules and support processes available at EU level for farmers wanting to form producer groups or cooperatives for this purpose.

“Owing to the background of some of the delegates, fruitful discussions were had on the possible extension of quality schemes and geographical indications to non-agricultural products such as tweed, linen or even hurleys.

"Island products were also discussed at length, given the importance of certain products for island communities.”

“Through my work in the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, I have often spoken about the importance of local producers in stimulating rural development and job creation. Policies that aid people like those I met today, can only help to preserve our rural areas.

“I hope that the information given this week will be useful in encouraging small groups of farmers to come together and protect their traditions. Quality schemes can offer more opportunities for small farms to protect localised farming knowledge for reasons of social, cultural and environmental sustainability.”


Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd said claims by the British minister David Davis that he wants ‘the most effective possible open market’ across Ireland in the event of Brexit is nothing but more empty rhetoric.

The party’s spokesperson on Brexit said:

“The people of the North cannot have any confidence in the British Tory government when it comes to protecting their interests.

“Today’s remarks from David Davis that he wants ‘the most effective possible open market’ across Ireland in the event of Brexit is nothing but more empty rhetoric.

“He has offered no explanation as to how he or the British government will achieve this given that it is not in its gift.

“Mr Davis cannot commit to anything as neither he nor British Prime Minister Theresa May can provide even an outline of what Brexit will mean.

“What we do know for certain is that the people of the North voted to remain on 23 June and that vote needs to be respected.” 

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