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Sinn Féin President elect Mary Lou McDonald TD gives her first major speech to party activists


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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Councillor Daithí Doolan, speaking ahead of today's Sinn Féin National Conference on Waste Management, urged all political parities, "to sign up to a Zero Waste Charter and ensure that our economic growth is not at the expense of our environment. Protection of our environment must become a cross party priority for us all."

Speaking in Dublin this morning Councillor Doolan said:

"Everyone has the right to a safe, clean and unpolluted environment. Sinn Féin is committed to upholding that right and challenging those who would impose incinerators and landfill dumps on communities. These are not the solutions to our waste management crisis, in fact they will only contribute to the problem. These are short term, profit motivated, unsustainable solutions.

"Today's conference will give people from across the island an opportunity to change the direction of waste management in Ireland to one which is sustainable, community based and makes environmental and economic sense. The adoption of a waste management policy which has zero waste as its ultimate goal will remove the need for incineration and landfill, it will also benefit the people of Ireland today as well as ensuring a better quality of life for the future."

In conclusion Cllr. Doolan, "I find it ironic that as we meet today only across the street private consultants meet to promote incineration and massage this community into accepting an incinerator in Ringsend. To ensure our voices are heard we will be hosting a protest outside their meeting." ENDS

Sinn Féin Waste Management conference today 10:30am-4pm Ringsend Community Centre, Ringsend.

Anti Incineration Protest, 12am Ringsend Technical School, Cambridge Road, Ringsend.

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cept or acknowledge their role in the conflict.

"The British government should publicly acknowledge that as a protagonist it needs to be engaging with others to find a way forward on ways of dealing with the past. It is apparent to everyone else that only an independent body would have any chance of progressing this issue.

"It is clear that to date the British government has not been prepared to engage in an open honest debate and that there is no confidence in any process they claim to be leading." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP will speak at the annual Edentubber commemoration in County Louth this Sunday (November 14th).

The parade will leave the Ravensdale (on the main Newry - Dundalk Road) and proceed the short distance to the memorial at 2.30pm.

The media are welcome to attend.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking from the opening of a new Learn Assist Centre in his West Belfast constituency has said that failure of the DUP to accept the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement cannot stop the process of change.

Mr Adams said:

"It is clear that the current impasse is because of the failure of the DUP to accept the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and their failure to accept nationalists and republicans on the basis of equality.

"The DUP have targeted the power-sharing and all Ireland principles of the Agreement. There will be no going back on these positions. That is the new political reality that the DUP has to come to terms with.

"The pro-Agreement majority who want progress cannot be expected to stand still while the DUP come into the 21st century. The inability or unwillingness of the DUP to engage and to accept the reality of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change.

"The two governments need to send a clear message to the rejectionists, and to all those who would frustrate the work of the peace process, that there is going to be a substantial and significant investment of effort and resources, into power-sharing by the governments to bring about the full implementation of the Agreement.

"The DUP have a choice. They can be part of the process now but that if they don't, or won't, or cannot then the process will move forward anyway." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghin Ó Caolain has expressed his regret at the news that Barford Meats in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan is to close with the loss of 60 jobs. Management is currently in talks with SIPTU over redundancy settlements with the workforce. The Carrickmacross plant processes beef, pork and lamb for retail outlets. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"I understand that the prospect for the future of the plant is bleak and it is now facing closure. This is most regrettable and the loss of 60 jobs will come as a blow to the workers and their families, to the town of Carrickmacross and to South Monaghan. It is an especially grievous blow as Christmas approaches. I have already contacted the company to see if any assistance could be offered. However, it seems unlikely that closure can be averted.

"I am writing to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin calling on him to take a personal interest in this situation and to ensure, if the company cannot be saved, that replacement jobs are secured for the redundant workforce as a matter of urgency."ENDS

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Sinn Féin policing spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has launched a blistering attack on the PSNI after the dawn raid on the home of Ballymena Sinn Féin representative Michael Agnew this morning.

Mr Kelly said:

"Michael Agnew has been the target of a sustained Loyalist murder campaign. The actions of the PSNI this morning are part of a deliberate attempt to justify these attacks. The actions of the PSNI are further endangering the life of Michael Agnew. It is in stark contrast to the lack of action against the unionist murder gangs that are operating with impunity throughout the North Antrim and East Antrim areas.

"This raid is a clear example of political policing. It is an extension of the loyalist murder campaign. It is evidence of the ongoing existence of collusion between loyalists and the PSNI and will only offer further encouragement to those who have targeted Michael Agnew because he is a Sinn Fein representative.

"I again challenge all political parties to come out and condemn the actions of Loyalist paramilitaries in this area and indeed throughout the six counties. The actions of the PSNI today are also a stark and direct challenge to the SDLP and I want to reiterate my challenge to the SDLP policing spokesperson Alex Attwood to come out into the open and have a public debate on policing."

Gerry Kelly will be available to speak to the media today at 12 noon at the opening of a new job assist centre at the Upper Springfield Trust at the top of the Whiterock Road along with Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP.

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Sinn Féin policing and justice spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly commenting on news that the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy will announce the de-specification of the UDA has said that while any move will be welcome it will only be judged against the ending of the UDA's sectarian and racist campaign of violence and intimidation.

Mr Kelly said:

"The de-specification of the UDA would be a welcome development if it marked an end to their campaign of sectarian and racist attacks and intimidation.

"The only test that the UDA will be judged against is a genuine end to its campaign of attack and intimidation against the ethnic and nationalist sections of our community." ENDS

Gerry Kelly will be available to speak to the media today at 12 noon at the opening of a new job assist centre at the Upper Springfield Trust at the top of the Whiterock Road along with Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP.

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The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will meet tomorrow, Saturday 13th November, at the party headquarters in Dublin at 44 Parnell Square.

The party's Executive will be updated on the peace process by the Sinn Fein negotiating team and the upcoming elections will be also discussed.

National Chairperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin will be available to speak to the media at 12.15 in 44 Parnell Square, Dublin.

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Sinn Féin's Ballymoney Councillor Philip McGuigan has again hit out at the handling of ratepayers money within Ballymoney Borough.

His comments relate to a recent decision by the council to increase the budget for the new stadium at the Riada Centre by £300,000.

Cllr McGuigan said:

"We often hear the DUP give long lectures about streamlining and efficiency when it comes to public finances. Their record however in Ballymoney Council, which they control is anything but efficient.

"Two recent projects spearheaded by the DUP, the town-hall development and now the stadium development, have went over budget by a staggering £500,000. These two projects in total will cost ratepayers £3.2 million. This is not giving the ratepayers of this Borough ŒA Fair Deal‚ as the DUP would put it.

"Because of this massive overspend next year‚s projects will have to be reduced. In effect this will mean that once again rural ratepayers will lose out when it comes to dividing out the council's budget.

"Over the last number of years the majority of money spent on projects have been spent in Ballymoney Town. Rural towns and villages across the Borough with inadequate play facilities, sports pitches, changing rooms, etc. are the victims of DUP inefficiency. The £300,000 overspend of this project would have went a long way to addressing some of these deficiencies."

Cllr McGuigan has demanded that action be taken to bring facilities in rural areas up-to-date. ENDS

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"People in Ballymoney Borough are sick and tired of the lack of political courage from within elected Unionism when it comes to the issue of flags", according to Sinn Féin Councillor Philip McGuigan.

Cllr McGuigan said:

"We are now in the month of November and yet we still have flags flying from lampposts in towns and villages in this borough with no attempt by Unionist representatives to address the issue.

"The situation in Cloughmills is an absolute disgrace. This is a mixed village and yet there are currently 25 Union Jacks and other loyalist flags in what is a very small settlement.

"People are left to draw no other conclusion that this is done deliberately with the intention of causing offence to nationalists living there. I also know that the situation is not supported by most Protestants in the village either. It is, in fact, an embarrassment to all decent people who are there.

"I would certainly like to know how 25 tattered and threadbare flags flying outside businesses, churches and houses where they are not wanted is a display of culture. Making a village more nuetral and accomadating to all is in no way a dilution of culture."

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Commenting after the success of an action by former RUC members who operate within the PSNI preventing them having to declare their membership of secret organisations Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing issues Gerry Kelly said:

" This provision was a key demand of Patten. It was put there because Sinn Féin argued strongly that it be included.

" People are rightly asking the question what have these PSNI members to hide. Why are they so desperate to conceal their membership of secret societies from public view? Which secret societies are involved?

" It is clear that there is a cadre of old RUC and Special Branch operating to an anti-Patten agenda within the heart of the PSNI. This case is just the public manifestation of that and therefore comes as no surprise. It is not Sinn Féin who have repeatedly tried to tell the nationalist community that the PSNI are a new policing service." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Human Rights, Equality and Women's Spokesperson, South Down MLA Catríona Ruane has said that the fifth annual report from the Human Rights Commission, that was presented to the British parliament today highlights a number of areas where the British government has failed to live up to commitments to advance the Human Rights agenda and emphasises again the need for increased resources and powers for the Commission.

Ms Ruane said:

"This report highlights major failings by British government in living up to its Good Friday Agreement commitments to advance the Human Rights Agenda.

"The British government has failed to deal with issue of collusion. Until the British government accepts its responsibility for collusion and its central role in creating and maintaining the conflict there is little prospect of ensuring that the structures and policy, agents and agencies of collusion will be dismantled and that the human rights abuses of the past will be eliminated.

"It is highly significant that the British governments have yet to move to reform the inquest system. The continuing frustration of efforts to get at the truth behind controversial killings involving state agencies by the PSNI blocking full disclosure of information surrounding these events indicates that the culture of lies, deceit and cover-up by the state over human rights abuses will continue.

"The report emphasises again the need for increased resources and a broadening of the range of powers available to the human rights commission to create a fully effective commission that is capable of expediting the human rights agenda.

"It is also a matter of concern that we have not seen either progress on developing the roundtable on the Bill of Rights that is urgently required or the application of international human rights standards such as the Paris Principles that should govern the operation and powers of the Human Rights Commission." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Arthur Morgan TD, has said recent revelations about and decisions taken by the Environmental Protection Agency have thrown into serious doubt the credibility of the organisation. Deputy Morgan sited the recent appointment of a senior incinerator advocate to the board of the body and the rejection by the EPA of a number of its own inspector's reports as a cause for serious concern. He suggested that the EPA now was nothing more than a rubber-stamping mechanism for the Government to push through decisions that went against the interests of local communities.

Deputy Morgan said, "News that the Environmental Protection Agency rejected, indeed flatly contradicted, the report of one of its inspectors in relation to1m tonnes of waste dumped from the Aughinish Alumina plant in Limerick, coupled with another recent decision to go against a report from one of its inspectors in relation to incinerators at Carranstown and Ringaskiddy, raises serious questions over the quality and integrity of EPA decisions.

"When taken with the fact that the Government recently appointed a senior incinerator advocate to the board of the body it's hard not to believe that the EPA is now nothing more than a rubber-stamping mechanism for the Government to push through decisions that go against the interests of local communities. Rather than being an independent body entrusted with the protection of the environment its role is now that of a mudguard for the Government's increasingly reckless environmental policies.

"There is an urgent need for a full review of the workings of the EPA with the aim of insuring that it operates as a truly independent body with the protection of the environment at its core." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly group leader, Newry Armagh MLA Conor Murphy, a former member of the Assembly Public Accounts Committee, has said that a report into the payroll system for the Civil Service highlights serious weaknesses in monitoring and evaluation and in decision making over how public money is spent.

Mr Murphy said:

"Many people will be angered that millions of pounds of public money has been wasted on a civil service computerised payroll system that never produced a single pay slip when the British government is trying to force people to put even greater money into the public purse through water charges and increases in rates.

"This clearly demonstrates that people are just not getting value for money. Yet on a daily basis evidence emerges that we need more resources for our hospitals and schools, to invest in infrastructure and throughout many areas of vital frontline public services.

"This report highlights the failure, on a massive scale, of senior civil servants on the project board overseeing the development of the system to effectively monitor and evaluate how this project was failing to deliver for nearly ten years.

"But of greater concern than the failures with this particular project is the pattern surrounding the awarding of external contracts and the monitoring of performance of suppliers and their ability to deliver on time and within budget." ENDS

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On Monday next, November 15th Sinn Féin will outline its priorities for Budget 2005. The central focus of the Party's priorities will be in "putting children first" in terms of health, education and childcare. The Party will announce a series of measures that we believe, if adopted, would dramatically improve the quality of the lives of children, especially those from the most disadvantaged and marginalised sectors of our society.

The launch will take place at the Ringsend Community Centre in Ringsend, Dublin 4 at 11am on Monday morning.

Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams, the party's TDs, Catriona Ruane MLA and Michelle Gildernew MP and Dublin City Councillor Daithi Doolan, whose constituency is hosting the event, will attend it.

Afterwards Councillor Daithi Doolan will introduce the Sinn Féin representatives to the management and staff of the community crèche operating out of the Centre to hear first hand their experience in providing childcare facilities in Ireland today.

Sinn Féin Budget Priorities Launch
Ringsend Community Centre
Thorncastle Street (beside church)
Ringsend Dublin 4
Monday, November 15th
11am

Directions: Travel south on Pearse Street towards Ringsend. Cross over bridge in to Ringsend village and take 1st left turn at church on to Thorncastle Street. Community Centre is on the left after church and block of flats.

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Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has expressed her concern that up to 2,000 elderly people could die this winter due to the effects of bad weather and their homes not being adequately prepared for the winter season.

Ms McDonald was responding to a report by Age Action Ireland which revealed that 16,300 pensioner households cannot afford fuel for heating. Ms McDonald said that "it is a sad reflection on Irish society that up to 2,000 elderly people could die as a result of being in fuel poverty".

Speaking during a visit to community groups in Clondalkin Dublin, Ms McDonald said:

"The shocking statistics released by Age Action Ireland show that up to 2,000 elderly people could die this winter as a result of not being able to afford the money to heat their homes. This is a sad reflection on Irish society. Whilst the economy continues to benefit some and disenfranchise many, approximately 16,300 Irish pensioners will face a long difficult winter.

"Whilst the information booklet 'Energy for Older People' is a welcome and useful guide on preparations for winter, what is required is a multi agency approach to fuel poverty which combines assessing the occupants of a home and their specific needs along with the physical characteristics and location of the property.

"I am calling for funding to be made available and targeted towards those most in need. We must not waste this opportunity to positively impact upon the quality of life of one of the most vulnerable sections of society." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that the response to the 'Fit for Market' report represents a missed opportunity for the industry.

Ms Gildernew said:

"There are many important recommendations in the report and it is positive that significant funds have been set aside to implement these recommendations. However, it is disappointing that the response and indeed the 'Fit for Market' report have missed the opportunity to make progress on the development of a strong brand for produce from the island of Ireland.

"It does not make sense to argue for an aggressive marketing campaign yet reject the argument for basing such a campaign on strong branding. I agree that it is cost prohibitive to develop a separate brand for the six counties but there is already a well-established internationally recognised Irish brand that we should be building on. This demands that the potential of the all-Ireland agenda is realised.

"Similarly while the development of a cross cutting Food Strategy Implementation Partnership (FSIP) is an advance it is clear that there is no voice for the small farmer and crucially there is no relationship with the relevant agencies in the rest of Ireland and in particular there is a requirement that such a partnership should be working in tandem with Board Bia.

"If we are serious about the future of the agri-industry we must not miss out on the golden opportunity that this should have represented - namely to advance and build upon the clean green image of the Ireland brand that is instantly recognisable throughout the world. We need to move away, as a matter of urgency, from any linkage to the tarnished image of British farming that is famous for BSE and foot and mouth.

"Market development also demands that we give a priority to moving towards a single all-Ireland system of traceability in order to bring as much confidence as possible to potential markets.

"The agri-industry is vital to our rural communities which play and should continue to play an important role in our economy. Any missed opportunity now is an opportunity denied to the industry, to our rural communities and to our economy." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Councillor Daithí Doolan today called on the Minister for the Environment Dick Roche, "to stop imposing incinerators on our communities and to start focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling".

Speaking in Dublin this morning Councillor Doolan said:

"No one doubts that we face a growing waste management crisis. But so far consecutive governments have only offered us the burn or bury options, neither of which are acceptable to the communities in which they are imposed. These policies are laying siege to certain communities in Cork, Meath and here in Dublin. The Minister needs to stop imposing incinerators on our communities and to start focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling.

"Sinn Féin clearly rejects both these options as short term, profit motivated, unworkable solutions. To address the waste management crisis Minister Dick Roche must ensure that the focus of funding in the forthcoming budget must be on reducing, reusing and recycling of waste. It is time to stop viewing waste as something that must be burned or buried at the cheapest price and to start viewing it as a resource from which we can create jobs through community based recycling projects.

"Waste management problems are not confined to the twenty-six counties but are also causing major problems in the six counties. Illegal dumping along the border is causing major environmental and health problems. These issues clearly affect everybody on the Island and need an all Ireland solution. As the only all Ireland party Sinn Féin will be hosting a national conference in Ringsend this Saturday to address these very issues and to compile a comprehensive all Ireland waste management policy." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEPs Bairbre de Brún (six counties) and Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin) have paid tribute to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat following the announcement of his death this morning.

In a joint statement the Sinn Féin MEPs offered their condolences to the family of President Arafat and the Palestinian people. The MEPs said that the President will be remembered as an "enduring symbol of struggle".

Speaking this morning the MEPs said:

"It was with deep regret that we learnt of the death of President Arafat in Paris this morning, and we want to express our sincere sympathy to the family of President Arafat and the Palestinian people.

"President Arafat was an inspiration to people throughout the world who faced hardship and adversity. He will be rightly remembered as an enduring symbol of struggle." ENDS

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Commenting after the exposure of the involvement of the Orange Order in a property company aimed at preventing Catholics and nationalists purchasing homes or land across the six counties, Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew said:

" The Orange Order like to portray themselves as a religious and cultural organisation. This property scam is based on raw sectarian hatred. Its motivation is to prevent Catholics and nationalists purchasing homes or land. It gives a lie to the repeated claims that the Orange Order is a cultural marching organisation.

" The Orange Order is a sinister, anti-Catholic grouping with long standing links to the Ulster Unionist Party. Indeed UUP elected representatives have been proven to be involved in this operation. Property across the six counties and indeed into Donegal have been targeted by this company.

" Next summer when we hear the familiar lie from the unionists and the Orange Order about their cultural and religious objectives as they coat trail through Catholic areas, nationalists will remember well this very sinister Orange Order operation.

" I look forward to hearing comments on this operation from UUP leader David Trimble and the Orange Order Chief Robert Saulters." ENDS

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