Top Stories

No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Nuacht

Toggle

Falls councillor Jim McVeigh said tonight that social justice had trumped Tory greed as Belfast City Council voted to back a Sinn Féin motion opposing the imposition of Tory cuts.

The Sinn Féin council group leader said:

“Belfast city councillors have tonight sent out a strong message that the welfare cuts being proposed by David Cameron’s millionaire cabinet are unacceptable to the citizens of this city.

“The council has recognised the devastating impact the proposed Tory welfare cuts would have on the most vulnerable people in our society, including working families, the poor and people with disabilities.  

“Social justice has tonight trumped Tory greed at Belfast City Council.

“Civic society in Britain, the churches, charities, trades unions and people at the coal face of delivering frontline services have branded the welfare cuts a disgrace and an attack on the poor.

“Sinn Féin is calling on local people to unite in a campaign to protect those who need our help most and to stop these Tory cuts in their tracks.”

Toggle

Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said tonight that Sinn Féin will continue its opposition to vicious Tory welfare cuts and would not be accepting any lectures from Iain Duncan Smith.

Conor Murphy said:

“Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare cuts in Britain have been an unmitigated disaster since their introduction in 2013.

“These cuts have been an attack on the most vulnerable people in society, taking money out of the pockets of low-paid workers, people with disabilities, lone parents and the poor.

“The impact of these vicious cuts in Britain has been increasing levels of child poverty, homelessness and dependency on charities and food banks.

“People have been driven to desperation and even suicide and the welfare system set up by Iain Duncan Smith is in chaos.

“Sinn Féin won’t be taking lectures on our responsibilities to the electorate from Mr Duncan Smith or anyone else in Cameron’s millionaire cabinet.

“The responsible thing for all parties here to do is to stand up together against the Tories attempt to impose further hardship on those who can least afford it.” 

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has secured an emergency meeting of the health committee this week to discuss Edwin Poots' management of the budget.

The Foyle MLA who is chair of the Assembly’s health committee said: 

"Edwin Poots has many questions to answer on his handling of the health budget. 

"Sinn Féin has made it clear we will support more money being made available for health.

"We have a responsibility however, to ensure that any additional money for the health service will be spent on relieving pressures on frontline services.

"Edwin Poots has serious questions to answer about his management of the health budget which has been criticised by his party colleague, the finance minister.

"I have secured a meeting of the health committee so that important questions can be put to the minister. 

"The minister has much to do to restore public confidence in the health system and to convince people that he is actually up to the job.” 

Toggle

Sinn Féin's 8 County Councillors in Meath will hold a 24 hour sleep out and fast to highlight the housing crisis in the county. The 'Build Homes' sleep out and fast will commence at 6pm on Friday 5th September and will take place at Kennedy Road/Navan Shopping Centre. It comes just days before a Sinn Féin motion calling for a state house building programme will be debated at a full meeting of Meath County Council on Monday 8th September.

Speaking in advance of the sleep out the party's Group Leader on Meath County Council, Cllr. Darren O'Rourke said;

"The housing crisis in Co. Meath needs to be highlighted. It needs to be addressed. That is why we in Sinn Féin have organised the 'Build Homes' 24 hour sleep out and fast, and why we have tabled a motion to the next meeting of Meath County Council. Our message is very clear - Build Homes.

"Despite receiving a strong mandate to do the opposite, this Government has completely failed to address the housing crisis. The sum total of their housing policy is a three page document written in 2011. This says it all! Instead of getting better, the situation is getting worse. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the state are left without suitable and sustainable accommodation. In Meath alone 3,625 families are on the social housing waiting list. This does not include those families on medium term contracts on the Rental Accommodation Scheme, so the true number is significantly higher.

“Co. Meath’s ludicrously low Rent Allowance rates further compound the problem for those seeking temporary alternative accommodation in the private rented sector. In some cases this forces families to the brink of homelessness. In the first half of 2014, 32 households in Meath were provided with Emergency Accommodation. Similarly, this does not take account of all those who have relied on family, friends, neighbours and voluntary organisations to provide an emergency solution. These are incredible figures and reflect the magnitude of the problem.

"The Government has allowed this situation to arise. They are asleep at the wheel. A major investment of funds for social housing, such as the €1 billion identified by Sinn Féin in the Strategic Investment Fund, is now urgently required.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said those responsible for a security alert which closed the Westlink have nothing to offer the community. 

Speaking after visiting the scene, the West Belfast MLA said; 

"Those responsible for this type of disruption have nothing to offer the local community. 

"I and others are working on a daily basis to tackle decades of deprivation and underfunding in west Belfast. 

"Actions like these do not improve the situation in any way and only add to the problems. 

"This needs to stop. It achieves nothing except adding to the difficulties of the local community."

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has said that our peace process is an inspiration for other areas across the globe suffering with conflict.

 Speaking from Thailand where he has been talking about the experiences of the Irish peace process Mr Maskey said,

 “The 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation is a major milestone in our peace process but its impact needs to be taken in a bigger context than just Ireland.

 “Since the cessation Sinn Féin members have travelled to Palestine, Columbia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Basque Country, Middle East and other countries looking to resolve their own conflicts to speak about our experiences.

 “While our process is by no means perfect it has given hope to other areas that conflict can be replaced by dialogue and agreement.

 “The message we take is that while making peace is hard work it can be achieved if room is created to allow dialogue to begin and trust to build.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Toggle

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has strongly condemned Israel’s latest illegal land grab in the Palestinian West Bank.

The Israeli Government announced that it is annexing 988 acres (4 square km) of Palestinian land which belongs to five villages in the Bethlehem area. It is Israel’s biggest land seizure in 30 years.

Deputy Crowe said:

“For seven weeks in July and August the world watch in horror as the Israeli military indiscriminately bombed Gaza and committed war crimes. The carnage they brought killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, the vast majority innocent civilians.

“The lack of any censure from the international community over Israel’s recent actions in Gaza has emboldened Netanyahu and his Government to make this huge illegal land grab.

“Israel signed up to a ceasefire and peace agreement on 26 August, but Netanyahu continues to place obstacles in front of a peace process based on a two-state solution, which would see a free and independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace with Israel.

“This latest aggressive move is a continuation of its deliberate policy of collective punishment of the Palestinian people under the fig leaf cover of security and defence.

“Surely it is long past the time that the international community held Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, including its illegal land seizures and settlement building.

“Until the world and power blocs like the European Union sanction Israel, and act to prevent and stop facilitating the expansions of illegal settlements, then the possibility of peace and stability involving a two-state solution will be wiped out and disappear before our very eyes.”

ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD, writing in today's Guardian newspaper, has said that the British government has made no effort on outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements.

Mr Adams, whose article marked the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation of 1994, also said that Tory proposals for changes to the welfare system in are part of a Thatcherite agenda designed to dismantle the welfare state.

The Sinn Féin Preident said an anti-Good Friday agreement axis within unionism, the pro-unionist stance of the British secretary of state, Downing Street’s refusal to honour its obligations and its efforts to impose welfare cuts have combined to create the most serious threat to the political institutions in the North in recent years.

Mr Adams said:

"Most worryingly, there is no evidence from Downing Street, the Northern Ireland Office or unionist leaderships of any likelihood of a negotiation on outstanding issues.

"Political logjams have been reinforced. This is seen in a failure to support the Haass compromise proposals on dealing with legacy issues including flags, symbols and parades, and in the speed with which the Cameron government acquiesced to Peter Robinson’s demand to establish the Hallett inquiry into so-called “on the runs”.

"The British government has made no effort on outstanding issues including a bill of rights, an Irish language act, the north-south consultative forum and the inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. These are not matters for negotiation, but agreements made.

"In addition, the Tory-led government wants to impose changes to the welfare system mirroring those introduced in England, Scotland and Wales with disastrous consequences for the disabled, unemployed and the low paid. These changes are part of a Thatcherite agenda designed to dismantle the welfare state. Sinn Féin will oppose them."

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin is committed to the Good Friday agreement and the political institutions and will resist efforts by unionist leaders to roll things back.

"The deepening political crisis puts the onus on the Irish and British governments to create a different political context. This requires the two governments, in conjunction with the US administration, to establish a pro-agreement axis among parties in the north.

"It means the Irish and British governments making progress on issues that are their direct responsibility. Twenty years on, it is vital that positive change takes the place of political inertia."

Gerry Adams' article can be read in full at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/31/northern-ireland-political-process-twenty-years-ira-ceasefire

Toggle

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has condemned the latest Israeli land grab in the occupied West Bank.

Israel seized has seized 400 hectares of Palestinian land, said to be the largest such  land grab in 30 years.

Gerry Adams said:

"Coming in the wake of the recent, widely welcomed ceasefire in Gaza, this is a profoundly negative and retrograde development.

"This offensive action will merely contribute further to the tension which has recently resulted in so much bloodshed in Gaza.

"It raises serious questions about the Israeli Government's commitment to peace and a negotiated two-state solution.

"The Israeli Government should immediately reverse this outrageous seizure of Palestinian land.

"The Taoiseach Enda Kenny, should call on the EU to impress upon Israel the need to reverse this decision."

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh