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Next election a choice between Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government - Gerry Adams TD

"The next election will be a choice between a Fine Gael-led or Sinn Féin-led Government. It is a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society." - Adams

There is a need for new political and human relationships based on trust and respect. We may never agree on the past but that must not be allowed to hold back the future.


Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD this morning launched his party’s alternative internship scheme which he says will replace the current government’s JobBridge Scheme if his party is in power after the next election.



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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald today launched the Clár for her party’s Ard Fheis which takes place in the Millenium Forum in Derry this weekend.

Speaking in Dublin this morning Deputy McDonald said;

“We are delighted to be holding our Ard Fheis in Derry for the first time.  Over the last few years, as the party has grown from strength to strength, we have held Ard Fheiseanna in Wexford, Kerry, Mayo and Belfast.  And we will be returning to Dublin next year, for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

“Over the weekend we expect up to 2,000 visitors to come to Derry for the Ard Fheis.  On Friday and Saturday we will be discussing 218 motions on a number of key themes:

·      Standing with communities against austerity
·      Delivering a fair recovery
·      2016 and building a United Ireland

“Gerry Adams Presidential Address will be at 8.30pm on Saturday and will be covered live on RTE and BBC.  There will also be a live section between 11am and 1pm.  The entire Ard Fheis will be live streamed from www.sinnfein.ie

“We are holding 8 fringe meetings over the weekend with a range of invited speakers on issues as wide ranging as:

“The culture of marching bands – Londonderry Bands Forum, the future of the Irish language, Palestine, women for independence and unity, TTIP, collusion, Tar Isteach and the all-Ireland economy.

“We have 52 exhibitors and more than 30 campaign groups in attendance, as well as a wide range of international guests and members of the diplomatic corps.  Among the invited guests who will be addressing the Ard Fheis are:

“Euclid Tsakalotos – Syriza Foreign Minister for International Economic Relations

Ahmad Abdelrakez – Palestinian Ambassador

Gorka Elejabarrieta – Sortu, Basque Country                     

Sue van der Merwe – ANC.”

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Sinn Féin's Gearóid Ó hEára has said the decision by a loyalist bands forum to attend this weekend's Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry is a sign of maturing community relationships in the city. 

Mr Ó hEára said; 

"Over recent years I have been involved in ongoing dialogue with loyalist bands from the Londonderry Bands Forum. 

"Those discussions resulted in the historic scenes in 2013 when a loyalist band took part in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in the city alongside musicians from across Ireland, uniting the traditions in our city. 

"That positive engagement has continued and developed since then as the relationship between our communities has grown. 

"In order to further promote reconciliation and understanding, Sinn Féin issued an invite to the Londonderry Bands Forum for its members to come along to our Ard Fheis in Derry this weekend. 

"We are delighted the invitation has been accepted and that members of the bands forum will be there, engaging with republicans from right across Ireland, explaining what they do and what they are about. 

"This is one of a number of ongoing initiatives to promote reconciliation in the city and is further evidence of the growing political and cultural maturity in the city."

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused Joan Burton of living in cloud cuckoo land when it comes to the economy, saying she would happily debate the Tánaiste ‘any time, any place’.

 Deputy McDonald said:

 “Four years ago Joan Burton and her colleagues promised the sun, moon and stars.  Unfortunately they have delivered little for the ordinary people of this country, because the minute they entered Government Buildings they threw their election manifesto in the bin.”

 “Joan Burton says she wants to debate me or Gerry Adams.  Let’s do that.  Let’s talk about the devastation caused by this government policies, let’s talk about a real alternative based on decent jobs with decent pay and conditions, let’s talk about investment in our health service so our elderly aren’t left on trollies for days with no dignity and let’s talk about the need to ease the burden on families who can no longer survive.”

 “Four years ago this government could have taken a different path.  Unfortunately they choose to follow the austerity agenda laid out by Fianna Fáil.  Today people are demanding real change.   Now is the time to end austerity and to start delivering a fair recovery. That is what we need to debate and that is what the next election will be about.” 

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D’fhógraigh an Feisire Eorpach de chuid Shinn Féin Liadh Ní Riada an tabhacht a bhaineann leis an meabhrán tuisceana idir an Banc Eorpach Infheistíochta agus an Coimisiún Eorpach i dtaobh na hearnála talmhaíochta in Éirinn

Shíneadar an meabhrán an samhradh seo caite, agus cruthan sé creat do thionscnaimh comónta idir an dhá institiúid le forbairt tuaithe a spreagadh agus le méadú a dhéanamh ar úsáid na n-ionstraimí airgeadais a bhaineann leis na cistí thalmhaíochta agusf orbartha tuaithe.

Dúirt Liadh Ní Riada:

"Mar chuid den MT cuirfidh an BEI béim ar an talmhaíocht agus gnóthaí tuaithe ina chlár oibríochtúil agus a idirghabhálacha.

"Ciallaíonn sé seo gur chóir do fheirmeoirí agus gnóthaí Éireannacha san earnáil talmhaíochta an BEI a fheiceáil mar acmhainn feabhsaithe agus mar bhealach chun tacaíocht airgeadais ríthábhachtach a fháilt.

"Tar éis cruinniú le hionadaithe ón IFA tseachtain seo caite, ba léir domsa go bhfuil orainn an deis seo a chur in iúl go héifeachtach i measc feirmeoirí na hÉireann.

"Ba chóir d'fheirmeoirí na hÉireann iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar airgeadas a dhaingniú ón BEI go háirithe mar gheall ar na rátaí úis íseal ar fáil ón institiúid.

"Beidh an BEI breathnú chun tacú leis an n-earnáil talmhaíochta agus forbairt tuaithe trí infheistíochtaí, tionscadail phíolótacha agus taispeántais agus tionscadail nuálacha chun aistriú torthaí agus eolas a roinnt.

"Is forbairt dearfach agus ba chóir gach éinne a bhfuil i mbun ghnó san earnáil na deiseanna seo a fhiosrú go hiomlán.”

European Investment Bank can provide enhanced support to Irish agricultural sector - Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has highlighted the importance of a memorandum of understanding between the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to the agricultural sector in Ireland

The MoU, signed last summer, creates a framework for common initiatives between both institutions to stimulate rural development and boost the utilisation of financial instruments supported by agriculture & rural development funds.

Ní Riada said;

“As part of the MoU the EIB will put emphasis on agriculture and rural businesses in its operational programme and its interventions.

“This means that the EIB should be viewed, by Irish Farmers and businesses in the agricultural sector as, an enhanced resource and channel of crucial financial support.

“After meeting with representatives from the IFA last week, it was clear to me that there was a need for this development to be communicated effectively to Irish Farmers.

“Irish Farmers should certainly explore securing finance from the EIB especially given the relatively low interest rates available from the institution.

“The EIB will look to support agricultural sector and rural development through investments, pilot and demonstration projects and innovative projects for the transfer of results and knowledge-sharing.

“This is a positive development and should be fully examined by all those operating businesses in the agricultural sector.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor Liz Kimmins said tonight it was well past time for unionist and SDLP councillors to respect the wishes of the people of Ballybot on the issue of Raymond McCreesh Park.

And she said the hypocrisy of UUP and SDLP councillors in the city knew no bounds and accused both parties of engaging in electoral stunts which smacked of desperation. 

Speaking after tonight’s council meeting Liz Kimmins said:

“Our position on this issue has always been consistent.  We, and the overwhelming majority of people from the Ballybot area, believe that the name of Raymond McCreesh Park should remain unchanged.

“The Park was named in 2001 under the tutelage of a council dominated by unionists and the SDLP.  Council procedure was fully followed and surveys taken by the Council indicated a clear support for the Raymond McCreesh name.

“In the seven-year period from the naming of the park in 2001 until 2008, no unionist councillors, SDLP councillors or members of the public raised any concerns or complaints over the decision. 

“In 2008 the Newry District Loyal Orange Lodge, which is not located in the vicinity of the park, made a complaint.

“That complaint was investigated by the council and it found, after much deliberation, that the name should be retained. Since then there has been a very focused and nasty campaign to demonise this area and its community.

“It’s well past time for unionist councillors to respect the wishes of the people of Ballybot.

“However, I’m dismayed that the SDLP have now joined in the efforts to ride roughshod over the wishes of the people of the area.

“Clearly they are acting at the behest of a party leader so desperate to curry favour with unionist voters in a Westminster election that they have done a humiliating U-Turn on their position to appease the UUP and the Orange Order.

“It’s clearly time for all involved to respect the wishes of the people of the area and bring the curtain down on base election stunts.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking this evening at the launch of the election campaign for west Belfast MP Paul Maskey said:

“Sinn Féin has consistently opposed to the economics of austerity. We said it was economically counterproductive and unjust.

It has been championed by governments in the EU, in London and in Dublin.

It has failed across Europe, failed in Britain and failed in Ireland.

The cost of this failure has been paid by the working poor, by the unemployed, by the sick, by the young and old and by those forced to emigrate.

The British and Irish governments continue to impose austerity on the people.

The Stormont House Agreement provided for progress on a number of issues. When others said no more could be achieved, when the SDLP folded on welfare, Sinn Féin stood firm and put in place additional protections for children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities and the long term sick. We ensured no one would pay the bedroom tax and we protected large families from the impact of the benefit cap through a unique system of top-ups and flexibilities.

In fact there will be no reductions in benefits under the authority of the Executive.

Progress was also made on the issues of the past, parades, flags and emblems.

The Stormont House Agreement did not resolve the issue of the ongoing budget cuts to the block grant in the north. The British Government will continue to strip hundreds of millions from the budget in the name of austerity. Their partners in the Irish Government stood silently by supporting the Tories.

·    Sinn Féin is determined to continue to campaign for an effective budget for the North.

·    Sinn Féin Ministers will safeguard those most in need from the hardships of British Government cuts.  That is why we fought for welfare protections. That is why we will continue to do all that we can to protect frontline public services.

·    That is why we are determined to have the fiscal powers transferred to allow us to grow the economy for the benefit of all.

·    Ultimately it is clear the cost of the Union is austerity. It is undemocratic and has failed.  And we are determined to bring that to an agreed and peaceful end.

As always we cannot do this alone, we need to build a progressive alliance against British Government cuts.

It is misguided and a diversion to attack the Stormont House Agreement.

Some who do this are motivated by party political interests. If they were really concerned about opposing austerity they would do it with its advocates.

The responsibility for these cuts comes from Westminster, not from any party in the Executive.

Some appear to argue that we should just hand over power in the north to Tories for direct rule.

That would be wrong and will only increase hardship. The hard-fought safeguards on welfare would be lost and any protection of public services surrendered.  That will only give back powers on all aspects of life including equality, parity of esteem, policing and justice back to a British government.

The solution has to be found by building a campaign that increases the budget and delivers the powers for the people in the north to determine and deliver a fair recovery.

The Irish government is ideologically wedded to austerity and the harsh price that citizens are paying is evident everywhere.

It can be seen on the record number of citizens on hospital trolleys; the cuts to respite grants, to child benefit; in the half a million citizens forced to emigrate, in the lengthening homeless figures.

And a Fianna Fáil government would be no better. Fine Gael and Labour are implementing Fianna Fáil policy. There is no difference between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

I have specifically challenged Mícheál Martin and Fianna Fáil to stand in the north.

If Fianna Fáil is genuinely concerned about citizens in this part of the island then it should organise here and let citizens have the opportunity to pass judgement on them.

Sinn Féin has shown that austerity is not the solution. It is part of the problem. There are fairer alternatives. There are other choices that a Government can make. Sinn Fein has made clear our opposition to punitive, regressive taxes aimed at those who can least afford them and for a reformed, progressive tax system, which could sustain public services, accessible to all.”

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Sinn Féin party spokesperson on Youth Affairs, Senator Kathryn Reilly, has expressed her disbelief that over the past weekend the Labour Party had virtually ignored the youth crisis in Ireland, and where they had addressed it, they did so as if they not played a part exasperating it.

Senator Reilly said:

 “Like Fine Gael last weekend, the Labour Party have this weekend cheer led this government’s work, or lack thereof, in the area of youth affairs.”

“Their obliviousness to the youth crisis in Ireland at the moment is so bizarre, that in the midst of all the self-congratulation on their performance in government, the party members passed a motion calling for the government to reinstate welfare payments for those under the age of 26 which had been cut in Budget 2014.”

“So here we had the Labour Party calling on the Labour Party to reinstate welfare payments that the Labour Party had slashed in Budget 2014.”

“Despite all the bombastic rhetoric emanating from Killarney, the reality is that young people have become more marginalised under this government. Young people are over twice as likely to be unemployed than the national average, they have suffered welfare discrimination because of their age, and they have emigrated in higher numbers than any other age group.”

“Both Labour and Fine Gael have thrown out the reduction of youth unemployment as proof that they have remedied the youth crisis in Ireland. However, what they fail to mention is that in the last five years over 165,000 young people, aged between 16 and 25, have emigrated, and there are now 60,900 fewer young people between the ages of 20 and 34 in employment since this government took office.”

“If it’s a core Labour Party policy to insult the young people of Ireland, then they fulfilled the implementation of it this weekend.” 

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Thosaigh Liadh Ní Riada Feisire Eorpach de chuid Shinn Féin ar a stailc teanga inniu. Sa chéad cruinniú de chuid an Bhuiséad agus Gnóthaí Eacnamaíocha agus Airgeadaíochta bhí an Junker Investment plan á phléigh. Rinneadh iarracht pointe a chuir chun tosaigh trí Ghaeilge ach cuireadh stop léi láithreach.

Agus í ag labhairt ón Pharlaimint sa Bhruiséil dúirt Ní Riada

"Ní féidir glacadh leis an méid a tharla le linn an choiste sin. Chuaigh mé i dteagmháil leis na dá choiste an tseachtain seo chaite chun iad a chuir ar an t-eolas faoin stailc. Mhínigh mé go raibh mé á dhéanamh mar chomhartha agóide i gcoinne an maolú teanga agus mura rabhadar sásta seirbhís ateangaireachta a chuir ar fáil bhí leigheas an scéal againn tríd úsaíd a bhaint as mo chomhairleoir polaitíochta chun an ateangaireacht a dhéanamh.

“Níor tugadh cead dom mo phointe a chríochnú agus tá ´sé sin do-ghlactha toisc go bhfuil stádas oifigiúil ag an Ghaeilge san Aontas Eorpach.”

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Liadh Ní Riada, MEP for Ireland South began her language strike today. The Junker Investment Plan was being discussed in the first joint committee meeting of Budget and Economic and Monetary Affairs. An attempt was made to make a point through Irish but her contribution was interrupted almost immediately.

Speaking from the parliament Ní Riada said:

"It was inadmissible what happened in the committee today. I contacted the committee secretariat last week to inform them of the strike. I explained that I was doing it in protest against the language derogation that is currently in place and if they were not willing to provide interpreting that my political advisor would be able to do so on my behalf.

“I was not allowed to finish my point and this is totally unfair considering the fact that I was speaking in official working language of the EU.”

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Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the commitment of the Education Minister John O’Dowd to promote the STEM subjects.

Mr Hazzard said,

“The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are subjects that are having a bigger impact in the modern world as we see major technological advances in the way we work and live and we need to ensure that they are promoted if we are develop our economy.

“Todays motion is about ensuring that our children are given the proper tools to compete in a modern world and that we develop an education system that embraces and encourages these subjects.

“I am delighted that the Minister has stated his commitment to promoting the STEM subjects and has already embarked on some invaluable work in getting children to retain these subjects through to degree level.

“These include supporting the ‘STEM is Cool’ initiative as well as The Young Scientist Awards and the promotion of the subjects through careers classes.

“I am confident that the Minister will continue to promote STEM subjects to ensure our children are properly equipped to compete in a modern world.” 

Videos

Sinn Féin launches campaign to win Carlow/Kilkenny By-Election


Photos

Mary Lou McDonald TD, Cllr Catherine Seeley & Francie Molloy MP