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Castlebar Town Council backed a motion submitted by Sinn Féin councillor Noel Campbell calling on the Irish government to initiate steps for a full, independent inquiry in to the murder of Cllr. Eddie Fullerton. The motion read as follows:

"That this Council supports the ongoing call from the family of the late Cllr.Eddie Fullerton, member of Buncrana Urban District Council and Donegal County Council, for a full independent public inquiry chaired by a person of international repute in to the circumstances surrounding his murder and furthermore calls on the Irish Government to insist on full cooperation from the British authorities to assist the Fullerton family in their quest for truth and justice."

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Campbell said, "All parties supported the motion which indicates to me the gravity of Councillor Eddie Fullerton's case. With similar motions being passed in councils all over the island, the Fullerton family's demand must now be met." ENDS

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Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has said the party will "vigorously oppose the imposition of British identity cards in the Six Counties and state identity cards in the 26 Counties." She said the Irish Government "should be demanding that these cards are not introduced in the Six Counties never mind the 26 Counties."

Speaking in Dublin today she said, "The British government wants to impose a system whereby everyone will be required to carry a state identity card. The power of the state over every individual would be greatly increased while the so-called 'security services' would control a bank of information that hitherto they have only dreamed of.

"This plan will place information on all persons under British government jurisdiction in one place. The dangers if anyone broke into that system from outside are obvious. But the power that will be put in the hands of the State itself is even more worrying

"In Ireland we know all too well how information is passed from British state forces to their loyalist paramilitary surrogates, something which has resulted in many deaths. For over 30 years people in the Six Counties have been subject to some of the most intense surveillance in the world. It is not acceptable that Irish citizens in the Six Counties would be forced to hold these cards.

"The Irish government now claims that if this card is introduced by the British then the 26-County state may have to follow suit. This is totally unacceptable. They should be demanding that these cards are not introduced in the Six Counties never mind the 26 Counties.

"Sinn Féin will vigorously oppose the imposition of British identity cards in the Six Counties and state identity cards in the 26 Counties." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in Dublin this afternoon said "It isn't tenable that with each contentious parade, society is brought to the brink.  This problem cannot be parked until next year. It needs to be dealt with now. It's time for those within the Loyal Orders, and those unionist politicians who are among their leading members, to engage in a meaningful process of dialogue."

Mr. Adams said:

"This week rejectionist unionist politicians, who are also leading Orangemen, steered the Orange Order on a course which could have resulted in the political atmosphere being poisoned at a time when the IRA is engaged in its internal consultation and at a time when traditionally tensions run
high.
 
"Given the decision of the Parades Commission, the situation in Ardoyne had the potential to be a disaster. It had the potential to lead to the loss of lives.

"That is why Sinn Féin put so much effort into trying to ensure that the situation remained calm. We engaged with the local community, the Parades Commission, the churches and young people.  And for the most part we succeeded. Residents in Ardoyne are to be commended for the discipline they showed this week.

"But the underlying problem remains.  It isn't tenable that with each contentious parade, society is brought to the brink.  This problem cannot be parked until next year.  It needs to be dealt with now.

"It's time for the Loyal Orders, and those unionist politicians who are among their leading members to engage in a meaningful process of dialogue.

"If we are seeking to make progress over the next few months then obviously having the rest of the marching season peaceful assists that.  That is our focus.   The Orange Order  and the DUP need to step up to the mark as well."ENDS

 


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The campaign to Free the Rossport Five came to the home town of the Minister for the Marine And Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey last night. Caitlín Uí Sheighin, wife of jailed Rossport man Micháel Ó Sheighin spoke of her hope that her husband and the other prisoners would be released soon. Commenting on the couple's situation, Mrs Uí Sheighin stated that "as myself and Michael are retired from teaching, we had expected that we would be enjoying life in a way you can't when you are both working fulltime and raising a family."

However, since the Corrib Gas Project began their lives had been turned "upside down, by a faceless multinational company indifferent to Rossport's safety fears, and by a government determined to protect business interests to the end."

Meath Sinn Féin County Councillor, Joe Reilly stated that "the solution is simple but Minister Noel Dempsey is not making a resolution easy." Continuing, Councillor Reilly stated that "We choose Trim for this meeting tonight precisely as it is Minister Noel Dempsey's home town, and the point must be made clear that as Meath's representative at the cabinet table, he is expected to, and indeed must act on the concerns of his constituents."

According to Councillor Joe Reilly the plan to "pump raw, odourless gas through a residential area already prone to landslides is incredibly reckless. Minister Dempsey knows that the people of Meath are aghast at this proposal, and we call on him to stop prevaricating and to let these men return home to their families."

The meeting was adjourned once a strategy for Meath was agreed to press for the five men's early release. According to Mrs Uí Sheighin she is delighted "at the support in Meath for us, as well as all of the groups and individuals across Ireland that have lended their help."

"In many respects, many of us living in the affected area have felt isolated from public support in the past, but this is obviously changing. All I can say is that the people of Meath have been generous in their support, and I look forward to the forthcoming protest in Trim." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers Rights Arthur Morgan TD has called on the Minister for Trade and Employment Micheál Martin to clarify the Governments position after last nights Prime Time programme revealed that Irish Ferries have registered a ship in the Bahamas and now seem to believe that neither Irish nor European labour laws apply to them. The result of this has been the employment of migrant workers in appalling conditions and for as little as one euro an hour. Deputy Morgan said these revelations make "a mockery out of the Governments recent appointment of 11 more Labour Inspectors."

Speaking in Louth today he said, „Last night‚s Prime Time revelations regarding the employment practices of Irish Ferries makes a mockery out of the Governments recent appointment of 11 more Labour Inspectors. These extra appointments were in response to an internal department review of the Labour inspectorate, prompted by shocking cases such as Gamma Construction and the Filipino lady who was forced, by Irish Ferries, to work for practically nothing.

"It now emerges that Irish Ferries, having registered a ship in the Bahamas, now believe that neither Irish nor European labour law apply to them. The consequence of this has been the employment of migrant workers in appalling conditions, and for as little as one euro an hour. It is not the flag of the Bahamas they should be flying but that of the Jolly Roger. I call on the Minister to clarify the Government‚s position on this and to deal with the issue of flags of convenience once and for all."ENDS

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The  campaign  to  Free  the  Rossport  Five  came  to the home town of the
Minister for the Marine And Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey last night.

Caitlín  Uí  Sheighin, wife of jailed Rossport man Micháel Ó Sheighin spoke
of  her  hope  that  her  husband and the other prisoners would be released
soon. Commenting on the couple’s situation, Mrs Uí Sheighin stated that "as
myself and Michael are retired from teaching, we had expected that we would
be  enjoying life in a way you can't when you are both working fulltime and
raising a family."

However,  since  the  Corrib  Gas Project began their lives had been turned
"upside down, by a faceless multinational company indifferent to Rossport's
safety  fears, and by a government determined to protect business interests
to the end."

Meath  Sinn Féin County Councillor, Joe Reilly stated that "the solution is
simple but Minister Noel Dempsey is not making a resolution easy."

Continuing,  Councillor Reilly stated that "We choose Trim for this meeting
tonight precisely as it is Minister Noel Dempsey's home town, and the point
must  be made clear that as Meath's representative at the cabinet table, he
is expected to, and indeed must act on the concerns of his constituents."

According  to  Coincillor  Joe  Reilly the plan to "pump raw, odourless gas
through  a  residential  area  already  prone  to  landslides is incredibly
reckless.  Minister  Dempsey  knows  that the people of Meath are aghast at
this  proposal,  and  we call on him to stop prevaricating and to let these
men return home to their families."

The meeting was adjourned once a strategy for Meath was agreed to press for
the five men's early release. According to Mrs Uí Sheighin she is delighted
"at  the  support  in  Meath  for  us,  as  well  as  all of the groups and
individuals across Ireland that have lended their help."

"In  many  respects,  many  of  us  living  in  the affected area have felt
isolated  from  public support in the past, but this is obviously changing.
All  I  can  say  is  that  the people of Meath have been generous in their
support, and I look forward to the forthcoming protest in Trim." ENDS

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Sinn  Féin  TD  Arthur  Morgan  has  described as “a fraud” the plan by the Tánaiste  and  Health  Minister  Mary  Harney  to fund private hospitals on
public   hospital   sites.  He  said  the  Tánaiste’s  plan  confirms  that
Progressive   Democrats   ideology  now  totally  dominates  the  Coalition
government and her plan will reinforce the two-tier health system.

Deputy Morgan said:

“The  Tánaiste  and  Minister  for  Health’s  plan  is  a fraud. The Health
Strategy  promised  an extra 3,000 beds in public hospitals. These have not
been  delivered.  Now  she proposes to provide massive subsidies, including
valuable land and tax breaks, to the private health business, so that 1,000
private  beds  currently  in public hospitals can be removed to new private
hospitals.  But these private beds should not be in public hospitals in the
first place. They should be provided and funded by the private system.

“The  Minister  claims that it would be too costly for the State to provide
the  public hospital beds as promised. But the Government does not know the
cost  of  its  tax breaks for private hospitals – tax breaks that will form
the  basis  of  this  new plan. Harney does not know how much her plan will
cost.

“With  this scheme the Tánaiste has also shredded what’s left of the Fianna
Fáil  2002  General  Election  manifesto health commitments. That manifesto
claimed  it  wanted  ‘the  end of the two-tier health system’. The Tánaiste
yesterday denied that we have a two-tier system.

“This fraudulent plan is also being hatched at a time when the contract for
hospital  consultants  has  still not been renegotiated. A new contract has
been  promised  since  2001,  in  order to ensure greater equity for public
patients  in hospital care, but no progress has been made. Now more private
hospitals  are  to be subsidised by the State, allowing many consultants to
continue  double-jobbing,  with their private patients getting preferential
treatment.”

“The Government should at the very least implement its own health strategy.
Sinn Féin supports a fully funded public health service, with equity of
care for all. Private health is a profitable business that should be
self-financing.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that the Annual Invest NI Report highlights a serious imbalance in investment West of the Bann and in Border areas.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The annual Invest NI report shows a clear imbalance the way resources are being targeted. The impact West of the Bann, in border areas and in North and West Belfast is especially stark because these are areas of high deprivation and unemployment.

"West Belfast received fewer offers of financial assistance than any other constituency. North and West Belfast together received less than a third of the financial assistance given to South and East Belfast for 2003-04 (£12.6 million compared to £41.5 million).

"The 5 border constituencies of South Down, Newry Armagh, Foyle, West Tyrone and Fermanagh South Tyrone together have received and have less planned assistance than South Belfast, an area with significant investment in infrastructure and with high levels of prosperity and set for nearly 30% of all INI planned investment in the current financial cycle.

"The seven constituencies West of the Bann have received only 10% of assistance given and are only due to receive 10% of planned investment.

"It is no accident that the areas that have received the lowest levels of INI financial support and investment are nationalist areas.

"In failing to tackle discrimination and disadvantage and simply replicating patterns of disadvantage, Invest NI is part of the problem.

"There is no commitment to seriously tackling social need.

"It's a nonsense for Invest NI to claim, as it does in this report, that 82% of investment is located in NTSN areas. The figures show that this is clearly not the case.

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the definition for TSN areas is so wide as to be practically meaningless.

"The correlation between those areas that are losing out on Invest NI support - West of the Bann, the border counties, North and West Belfast - with the mapping of areas are the most deprived and have the least jobs is very strong.

"Invest NI are clearly failing in their duty to equality proof their investment strategy and as a result the patterns of neglect, under investment, disadvantage and discrimination that exist as a result of decades of unionist misrule and British direct rule are being reinforced." ENDS

Note to Editors

Table 1 are the details as set out in the INI Annual Report 2003-2004. These specify the number of offers of assistance by parliamentary constituency, the actual assistance in millions and the planned investment in millions. It is worth noting that the West Belfast constituency has the lowest number of offers of assistance at 96.

TABLE 1

Parliamentary Constituency Area No of Offers Assistance (£) Planned

Investment (£)

BELFAST EAST 53 15,781,520 59,561,790

BELFAST NORTH 111 4,491,136 24,863,957

BELFAST SOUTH 268 25,744,481 106,565,647

BELFAST WEST 96 8,083,963 26,637,705

EAST ANTRIM 175 3,895,611 12,601,313

EAST DERRY 116 5,515,632 10,952,580

FERMANAGH/STH TYRONE 211 4,330,331 16,063,338

FOYLE 232 7,590,869 27,306,606

LAGAN VALLEY 189 1,701,255 5,835,880

MID ULSTER 318 5,610,090 25,593,826

NEWRY AND ARMAGH 188 2,126,189 8,466,145

NORTH ANTRIM 194 5,261,235 31,305,993

NORTH DOWN 97 5,051,236 15,224,275

SOUTH ANTRIM 216 4,533,953 15,122,204

SOUTH DOWN 160 1,244,825 4,201,426

STRANGFORD 121 1,641,799 5,431,651

UPPER BANN 240 6,995,359 31,978,233

WEST TYRONE 194 7,314,505 35,664,802

TBD* 2 240,000 4,769,000

TOTAL 3,281 117,153,990 468,146,370

*TO BE DETERMINED

Table 2 shows rounded off amounts and put as a percentage share of total

spend

TABLE 2

CONSTITUENCY ASSISTANCE (£M)

1. SOUTH DOWN 1.2 1.0%

2. STRANGFORD 1.6 1.4%

3. LAGAN VALLEY 1.7 1.5%

4. NEWRY AND ARMAGH 2.1 1.8%

5. EAST ANTRIM 3.9 3.3%

6. FERMANAGH & SOUTH TYRONE 4.3 3.7%

7. BELFAST NORTH 4.5 3.8%

8. SOUTH ANTRIM 4.5 3.8%

9. NORTH DOWN 5.1 4.4%

10. NORTH ANTRIM 5.3 4.5%

11. EAST DERRY 5.5 4.7%

12. MID ULSTER 5.6 4.8%

13. UPPER BANN 7.0 6.0%

14. WEST TYRONE 7.3 6.2%

15. FOYLE 7.6 6.5%

16. BELFAST WEST 8.1 6.9%

17. BELFAST EAST 15.8 1.4%

18. BELFAST SOUTH 25.7 21.9%*

TOTAL 117.2

*Percentages will not total 100 as there is a small undetermined factor

Table 3 gives sorted figures by planned investment for each parliamentary

constituency. The constituencies with the least amount of financial

assistance and planned investment are placed first.

TABLE 3

CONSTITUENCY PLANNED INVESTMENT (£M)

1. SOUTH DOWN 4.2 0.9%

2. STRANGFORD 5.4 1.2%

3. LAGAN VALLEY 5.8 1.2%

4. NEWRY AND ARMAGH 8.5 1.8%

5. EAST DERRY 11.0 2.3%

6. EAST ANTRIM 12.6 2.7%

7. SOUTH ANTRIM 15.1 3.2%

8. NORTH DOWN 15.2 3.2%

9. FERMANAGH & SOUTH TYRONE 16.1 3.4%

10. BELFAST NORTH 24.9 5.3%

11. MID ULSTER 25.6 5.5%

12. BELFAST WEST 26.6 5.7%

13. FOYLE 27.3 5.8%

14. NORTH ANTRIM 31.3 6.7%

15. UPPER BANN 32.0 6.8%

16. WEST TYRONE 35.7 7.6%

17. BELFAST EAST 59.6 12.7%

18. BELFAST SOUTH 106.6 22.8%*

TOTAL 468.2

*Percentages will not total 100 as there is a small undetermined factor

Table 4 details the total actual investment and planned investment in the 5

border counties in comparison to the most heavily financed constituency of

South Belfast. The figures speak for themselves but essentially investment

is being directed to an already well-off constituency.

TABLE 4

BORDER COUNTIES ASSISTANCE (£M) PLANNED INVESTMENT (£M)

SOUTH DOWN 1.2 4.2

NEWRY AND ARMAGH 2.1 8.5

FERMANAGH AND SOUTH TYRONE 4.3 16.1

WEST TYRONE 7.3 35.7

FOYLE 7.6 27.3

TOTAL 22.5 (19.2%) 91.8 (19.6%)

BELFAST SOUTH 25.7 (21.9%) 106.6 (22.8%)

Table 5 is the total spend and planned spend West of the Bann, again the

figures speak for themselves.

TABLE 5

WEST OF THE BANN ASSISTANCE (£M) PLANNED INVESTMENT (£M)

NEWRY AND ARMAGH 2.1 8.5

FERMANAGH AND SOUTH TYRONE 4.3 16.1

EAST DERRY 5.5 11.0

MID ULSTER 5.6 25.6

WEST TYRONE 7.3 35.7

FOYLE 7.6 27.3

TOTAL 32.4 (27.6%) 124.2 (26.5%)

OVERALL TOTAL 117.2 468.2

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West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP, Pat Doherty reacting to today's announcement of another 185 job losses at Adria in Strabane said,

"The staggered manner in which jobs have been shed from Adria over recent times betrays the financial hardship and uncertainty that has been wrought on so many families in this area.

"Coupled with the closure of Herdsmans, the other longstanding mainstay of the local economy and the loss of 175 jobs from Adria in March, today's 185 job losses represent just the latest devastating blow to the local economy.

"While everyone understands that there are no quick fix solutions to replacing the jobs that have been lost in the textile sector, the response of central government Departments to the local crisis has been lacking to say the least.

"In May I wrote to both Tony Blair and NIO Secretary of State Peter Hain calling on central government to deliver a similar economic aid package for Strabane District as it did to alleviate the fallout from the collapse of MG Rover at Longbridge, in the West Midlands in England in April.

"The scale of the job losses in the area is a lot worse, in proportionate terms, than the impact of the closure of Longbridge to the West Midlands, yet I have not as much as received an acknowledgement of my representations never mind any offer of meetings to discuss such a package.

"In light of today‚s events, I am now calling on Peter Hain to now issue an immediate response to my call."ENDS

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Meath Sinn Féin Councillor Joe Reilly has called for bridges to be included during the construction of the controversial M3 to provide for the reopening of the Dublin to Navan rail line.

Councillor Reilly was speaking today as an environmental activist took proceedings to the High Court aimed at securing the rerouting of the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara.

He said, "An Bord Pleaneála recently stipulated that the N6 in Co. Galway must have bridges included during its construction to facilitate a possible reopening of the Athenry to Limerick rail line. The same must be stipulated for the M3 to provide for the possible reopening of the Dublin to Navan rail line.

Referring to today's High Court case Councillor Reilly said, "The case has been made time and again by those campaigning against the proposed route of the M3 that there are viable and realistic alternatives where both infrastruc

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Seán Crowe TD has urged
the  Government  to  prioritise  legislation  required for the repayment of
illegal  nursing  home  charges  when the Dáil returns in September. Deputy
Crowe said it is a “shame” the Government had not shown the same urgency to
repay  those illegally charged as it did in producing emergency legislation
for nursing home charges to come back into effect.

Speaking  today  as the nursing home charges came back into effect he said,
“The  Government moved swiftly to produce emergency legislation and rush it
through  the house to ensure that those inpatients receiving long-stay care
who  can be charged following the Supreme Court judgment will be charged as
soon  as  possible.  It  is a shame that there was no similar rush to repay
those unlawfully charged over a period of many years.

“It  is now extremely unlikely that legislation providing for the repayment
of  these  charges  will  be  passed  before the Autumn and that any actual
repayments to families will be made before the end of the year.

“I have come across many people in my constituency who are effected by this
and  there still seems to be widespread confusion out there in terms of how
people actually go about claiming what they are legally entitled to.

“There  is  a  responsibility  on  the  Government to publicly clear up any
confusion.  They  need to prioritise legislation required for the repayment
of  illegal  nursing  home  charges  when  the  Dáil  returns in September.
Repayments  should  be  made  as  swiftly  as  possible  and with the least
possible stress for the people involved.” ENDS

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Following the return to Cloverhill prison today of the 5 Mayo smallholders jailed for attempting to halt the Shell and Statoil oil companies from laying a potentially dangerous  pipeline across their lands, Wexford Sinn Féin are set to continue their series of protests with a white line picket in Gorey tomorrow afternoon (Friday) at 6pm.   This will be the third public demonstration in support of the Shell to Sea campaign, held in Wexford over the past 2 weeks, following on from earlier public protests held in Enniscorthy and New Ross.   Speaking in advance Wexford Sinn Féin County Councillor, John Dwyer said:   "The decision of the High Court in Dublin today to return these men to prison is to be condemned in the strongest terms.  Sinn Féin fully supports the Shell to Sea campaign and applauds these men and their families who are opposing the efforts of the Shell and Statoil Corporations to bully the people of Rossport into accepting a dangerous pipeline.   "As all of the facts around this case continue to emerge into the public domain and into public consciousness it is becoming more and more clear to the wider public that both the Shell and Statoil oil companies have been attempting to hoodwink the people of Ireland for some years and to quite literally plunder Ireland's natural resources, free gratis, from under our all of our noses.   "What is bizarre and what demands to be explained publicly by this government is why these oil conglomerates have been aided and abetted by a series of sweetheart deals made by former Ministers Dessie O'Malley and Ray Burke under which the Irish state receives no royalties whatsoever from this plundering and exploitation of our natural resources. This simply would not be tolerated in any other country. Indeed in Norway, Statoil pay 78% tax to the Norwegain state.   "The actions of the people of Rossport, the imprisoned men and their families have drawn attention to all of these issues. Ireland's natural resources should be developed in the interests of the Irish people and not the giant oil multinationals. Sinn Féin is fully committed to supporting the Shell to Sea campaign and the people of Rossport in standing up to the might of these giant corporations in all of our interests." ENDS 

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East Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Deborah Devenny has challenged UUP
leader Reg Empey to tell the full story about the events at the interface
between the Short Strand and Cluan Place yesterday.

Ms Devenny said:

" There were a number of incidents throughout yesterday of stone throwing
between Cluan Place and Clandeboye in the Short Strand. It seemed that the
catalyst for these disturbances was a party held in Cluan Place and attended
by members of a Scottish flute band staying in Belfast for the Twelfth who
seemed intent on trying to provoke conflict.

" Local residents and community leaders in the Short Strand worked to ensure
that stone throwing incidents from the nationalist side were kept to a
minimum.

" After a number of relatively peaceful summers in this area the last thing
that local people want is a repeat of the summer of 2003. It is my hope that
this band has now returned to Scotland and local people can once again get
on with their lives.

" However partisan and one sided commentary by individuals like Reg Empey
does little to reduce tensions in this area and only serves to wind up a
situation which has been relatively successfully managed in recent years."
ENDS



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Sinn  Féin Trade and Employment spokesperson and Louth TD Arthur Morgan has
called  on  the  Government to give greater priority through the employment
agencies  for  indigenous industries after it was revealed that 250 workers
are  to  be let go at the Quantum Technology Firm in Dundalk. Deputy Morgan
said, “Today is a black day for Dundalk and the general area.”

Speaking  in Louth today he said, “Today is a black day for Dundalk and the
General  area.  The  250  workers  directly effected by this will have huge
difficulties  because many of them would have substantial mortgages, trying
to pay for over priced houses.

“These  workers  were congratulated for meeting all their targets by senior
workers of Quantum from America who visited the factory last Christmas.

“They  are  now  trying  to explain this factory closure as ‘outsourcing to
further   improve  underlying  cost  structures.’  This  is  an  increasing
phenomenon   resulting  from  globalisation,  which  means  more  and  more
companies  are  moving  to cheaper labour cost countries such as the new EU
member states and China.

“There is also another tier of jobs going to be lost through companies that
would have supplied Quantum with various products.

“Less  than  3  years  ago  there  was much fanfare and publicity about the
expansion  of  this IDA backed company by Mary Harney. The least the people
in  Dundalk  should  expect  is  that  the  same  energy  that was put into
trumpeting  this  company  in  September  2002 should be put into replacing
these  jobs.  More  recently,  when we had the announcement of 300 jobs for
Dundalk  with  the  establishment  of Back of Scotland’s call centre in the
area, Dermot Ahern was up here flag waving but he is nowhere to be seen now
when these workers need his help.

“I  am  calling  on  the  Government  to  give greater priority through the
employment agencies for indigenous industries.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly has criticised the PSNI after it
was revealed that 22 plastic bullets were fired in Ardoyne on Tuesday night.
Mr Kelly also criticised the SDLP representative Alex Attwood for praising
the PSNI action.

Mr Kelly said:

" Plastic Bullets are unacceptable and must be banned. They should have no
part in policing these type riot situations. The fact that so many people
were gathered in Ardoyne on Tuesday evening ensured that the firing of these
lethal devices could have been nothing other than indiscriminate.

" To compound matters the PSNI clearly engaged in media management
surrounding the numbers fired. Yesterday they indicated that only six were
discharged and today they have revealed that 22 have been fired. We are told
that this is a new improved plastic bullet, the AEP. But the reality is
these devices are lethal and can kill.

" Alex Attwood of the SDLP has very publicly praised the actions of the PSNI
in Ardoyne on Tuesday evening. I can only assume that this includes the use
of plastic bullets. Prior to joining the Policing Board the SDLP claimed to
be opposed to the use of plastic bullets. Yet while on it they have overseen
the development, purchase and now use of a new generation of lethal killers.
Alex Attwood needs to explain in very clear terms to the nationalist
community why he has praised this action." ENDS



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Environment policy co-ordinator of the GUE/NGL EU parliamentary group, MEP Jonas Sjöstedt, has condemned in the strongest possible terms the decision to imprison five farmers from Rossport in County Mayo, Ireland and called on the Norwegian Government to instruct Statoil, a Norwegian state owned company, to freeze the project until agreement has been reached on the farmers' concerns.

The men were imprisoned for contempt of court in a dispute with Corrib Gas, a conglomerate made up of Shell, Marathon and Statoil. The company wants to install a gas pipeline on agricultural land owned by the farmers. Due to Health and Safety concerns the farmers in question are unwilling to allow the work to proceed, which has led to them being jailed. As Statoil is a Norwegian state owned company, said MEP Sjöstedt, we call upon the Norwegian Government to instruct Statoil to freeze the project until such time as agreement has been reached on the farmers' concerns.

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said:

"Multinational companies do not care about local communities - their overriding concern is profit. Corrib gas is completely under the control of a company that can write off all its tax, pays no royalties and sells the
gas back to the Irish state at market value.

"We want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with those who
have been imprisoned and call for their immediate release.

"We believe that pipelines such as these should come under the terms of the
Seveso Directive on the transport of hazardous materials."    ENDS.



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Sinn  Féin TD Seán Crowe has said it is completely unacceptable for the ESB to  talk about increasing charges by up to 10% to household customers while at the same time announcing after tax profits of €267 million.

Deputy  Crowe  said,  “I  find it completely unacceptable and reprehensible that the ESB while announcing after tax profits of almost €300 million have in  the  same  breadth  indicated  that  charges to household customers may
increase by up to 10% in the coming year.

“There  is no excuse whatsoever for these proposed increases – not even the rise  in  the price of oil – considering the massive profits that are being made by the ESB.

“While  it is good to see a semi-state Company perform so well it should be remembered  that  this  is a public utility and not a private profit-making enterprise.  Its purpose is to provide a service to the public not to screw them  for  every  last  cent they have. I am very concerned that the recent massive  price  hikes  are  part  of the Government’s plan to fatten up the Company in advance of selling it off.  I would urge the energy regulator to reject the ESBs request for the increase.

“In  the  last  two  days we have had two reports of increased indebtedness from  the  Central  bank and the Economic Social Research Institute.  These reports  have  indicated  that even a small shift upwards in interest rates will  leave many people in a very vulnerable situation.  What we don’t need is  semi-state  companies  adding  to  that potential burden by slapping on totally unnecessary and unjustifiable charges that are far in excess of the
rate of inflation.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that
the revelation from the Energy regulator Douglas McIldoon that the flawed
electricity privatisation brokered by previous direct rule ministers will
result in an additional cost of £1 billion demands a prompt response and a
plan of action from Angela Smith, the current British direct rule minister
responsible for energy.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"It has been well established that the privatisation deal, and particularly
the fixed long-term generation contracts, brokered by British direct rule
ministers in the 1990's has been a disaster. It has been bad for the
individual domestic customer and bad for the economy. It has also
contributed to the unacceptable levels of fuel poverty that mean that over
2000 people die every year from cold related illness.

"The package proposed by the previous direct rule ETI minister to alleviate
the current situation has been referred to the EU.

"However, Douglas McIldoon's revelation that by the end of the decade that
electricity privatisation will have taken an additional £1 billion out of
the local economy must be addressed.

"It is time for the British government to accept responsibility for this bad
deal and come forward with a plan that can create a level playing field for
our businesses and significantly bring down electricity prices, particularly
as part of a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty.

"I believe that it is time for us to begin the debate about a British
government intervention to buy-out the remaining life of the generation
contracts and to allow, for example, new entrants into the energy market
such as ESB to set a lower and more competitive price given the commitment
to create a single all-Ireland energy market." ENDS



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Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly was today joined at a press conference in Belfast by party colleagues Alex Maskey, Cathy Stanton and Carol ni Cuilan to review the aftermath of the Parades Commission decision to force a Orange Parade through three nationalist areas of North Belfast.

Mr Kelly said:

"Sinn Féin, local residents, local community activists and clergymen worked for weeks trying to ensure that this very difficult situation did not end up in violent conflict on the streets. The situation was created by the demands of the Orange Order to march along this route and the Parades Commission acceding to that demand. Both the morning and the evening protests were peaceful and this we hoped would set the tone for the return leg.

" On the return leg there was some minor stone throwing and insults exchanged between some young people and the marchers. This was manageable. However the PSNI immediately intervened with a baton charge and water cannon. This action disempowered the local residents stewards and for a time control was lost. This is not what we wanted to see happen, nor was it what the residents of that area wanted to see happen.

"However the fundamental problem is being sustained. That is unionist and loyalist demands to dominate nationalist neighbourhoods by forcing unwanted sectarian anti-catholic parades through them.

"The hit and run decisions of the Parades Commission is part of the problem. Bad decisions which others are left to manage.

"The consistent rewarding of the Orange Order in North Belfast for refusing to enter into a process of dialogue which seeks to resolve this issue is untenable. It is unacceptable. It is a recipe for ongoing tension, disharmony and conflict.

"The most remarkable aspect of last nights events in North Belfast is that lives were not lost. This society cannot afford to continue with this situation. The Orange Order need to begin to show some respect for nationalist residents. They need to engage in genuine and meaningful dialogue to resolve the issue of contentious marches in North Belfast and indeed elsewhere." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Councillor Christy Burke has accused Dublin City Management of treating the people of the city with contempt after trees at the top of O’Connell Street were removed in the dead of night. 

Councillor Burke said:

“Three years ago Sinn Féin had a motion passed at the City Council, preventing the City Manager from removing the trees at the top of O’Connell Street until public consultation had taken place.  In the intervening time, and as recently as last month, I raised this matter with the City Manager and was told that the report on the public consultation would be going to the O’Connell Street Committee on July 14th.

 

“It is a disgrace that the trees at the top of O’Connell Street were removed in the dead of night, just one day before this report was to be made public.  Furthermore Councillors for the area met yesterday and City Management never informed them about what was to take place.

 

“Dublin City Management have treated the people of the City with contempt.”ENDS

 

Note to editor: O’Connell Street Committee is a group made up of local public representatives, trade unions, business community and O’Connell Street’s sole resident.  Their role is to monitor the O’Connell Street development.

 

 

 

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