Sinn Féin - On Your Side

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


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Speaking at the Joint Finance and Public Service Committee today, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin questioned the investment procedures of the National Pension Reserve Fund, saying it was "most objectionable" for the Fund to be investing in the tobacco industry and the defence industry. Donal Geaney, Chairperson of the Fund, admitted in answer to a question from Deputy Ó Caoláin that there are "no ethical guidelines" for investment.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "One of the companies in which the Fund has shares is the Imperial Tobacco Group in Britain. It is most objectionable that Irish taxpayers' money should be invested in the tobacco industry. We are attempting to combat the massive public health scourge that is tobacco consumption, yet here public money is being invested in one of the largest cigarette manufacturers and distributors in the world.

"True to its name, Imperial Tobacco is aggressively expanding its operations in Africa where consumption is growing as it falls in Europe. I don't have to outline the public health consequences for the impoverished countries of Africa. As a Fund owned by the Irish people I do not believe our money should be invested in this industry, nor do I believe it ethical to do so given that our Government is rigorously enforcing a ban on smoking in this country for reasons of health protection allegedly.

"Imperial Tobacco is just one company. I note also on the list is CAE Inc. in Canada which is one of the world's top 100 defence corporations. I think it is also objectionable that this Fund, owned by the Irish people, should be investing in the international arms trade. Do we not constantly hear that Ireland is a neutral country?

"The chairperson of the National Pension Reserve Fund has admitted to me that there are no ethical guidelines for the Fund's investment portfolio. The Government should immediately rectify this and ensure such guidelines are setdown for the fund managers." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokespersons on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD and Councillor Gerry McHugh, have strongly condemned today's decision by the European Commission to allow the sale of Genetically Modified maize. The maize variety, Bt 11, is manufactured by the Swiss Corporation Syngenta.

Deputy Ferris and Cllr. McHugh said:

"Sinn Féin is strongly opposed to the introduction of GM and has campaigned strongly over the past year to draw attention to the fact that the EU was going to succumb to pressure from the giant multi-nationals and the US against the weight of public opinion in the member states.

"Before Christmas we exposed the fact that the Irish representative had voted in favour of the removal, despite a commitment by Fianna Fáil in their 1997 election manifesto to oppose the introduction of GM. We condemn the decision of the Irish Government to vote for this measure and will be campaigning to ensure that this island remains GM free". ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has described a section of the emergency Immigration Bill 2004 which allows Immigration officers to refuse entry to the State to non-nationals if they suffer from a disability (Section 4(3)(c)) as "a prime example of everything that is wrong with the Government's attempt to ram through the Immigration Bill 2004 without proper debate and examination."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: "Even a cursory glance at this Bill reveals serious issues regarding the legislation and its implications for human rights. The stopping of non-nationals coming into the State on the basis that they may have a disability is absolutely offensive and totally unacceptable, yet typifies everything this that is wrong with this Government's approach to human and equal rights.

"Meanwhile, the Minister for Justice in his usual arrogant fashion expects all members of this House to meekly rubber-stamp his authoritarian decisions like feckless Government backbenchers without proper debate or discussion. Not only is this a fundamentally undemocratic it makes a mockery of both proceedings in the Dáil and the High Court judgment.

"The recent High Court decision afforded us as legislators a second chance to get this Bill right. The onus is on the Government to make sure that we, the elected representatives of the people of this State, have adequate time to properly examine and debate all aspects of this Bill to ensure that this House and the laws it enacts are not once again brought in to disrepute through the ill-considered and callous nature of the Minister's approach to human rights." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly has claimed that remarks made by the SDLP member Alex Attwood after he met with the Police Federation vindicate completely the stance taken by Sinn Féin on the issue.

Mr Kelly said:

"Yesterday Alex Attwood met with the Police Federation. After the meeting Mr Attwood claimed that members of the Federation who are members of the PSNI were not committed to the Patten reforms.

"Sinn Féin have consistently said that the old RUC group which moved en masse into the PSNI, especially those within Special Branch, were a block to achieving an acceptable policing service. The SDLP have consistently claimed that such an acceptable policing service had already been achieved.

"Alex Attwood comments yesterday vindicate the Sinn Féin position. He is now accepting that we do not yet have an acceptable policing service and that there are those within the PSNI resisting the creation of one. That is why Sinn Féin stayed out of the current arrangements and instead focused on negotiating with the British government on getting policing structures right." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast Fra McCann has accused the PSNI of 'engaging in a campaign of harassment against republicans'. Mr McCann's remarks come after homes in New Barnsley and Ballymurphy were raided this morning and one man was arrested.

Mr McCann said:

"This morning at around 7.45am four homes in the New Barnsley and Ballymurphy area were raided by heavily armed PSNI members. So far one local man has been arrested. These raids are part of a well planned and deliberate campaign of harassment against republicans by the PSNI.

"We are told time and again by the SDLP and others that we have achieved a new beginning to policing. I would challenge anyone to explain the differences between this mornings operation and those carried out in this area by the RUC over many years.

"Sinn Fein will be raising these raids with the British government and I am demanding that the PSNI release the man they have arrested without delay." ENDS

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Speaking at the publication of Sinn Féin's agenda for the paragraph 8 review of the Good Friday Agreement due to start next Tuesday, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA has said that the Review will not be a renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement but it is an opportunity to accelerate the process of change promised in the Agreement.

Mr Adams said:

"The purpose of the Review is to identify how best to deliver the full implementation of the Agreement. This requires a focus on the failure of the British government to deliver on key commitments on policing, demilitarisation, equality and the issue of human rights.

"Sinn Féin will approach this review positively. The other pro-Agreement parties and the two governments must also take a positive and constructive approach. The future of the Good Friday Agreement demands this.

"The Good Friday Agreement committed the participants to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance and trust and the vindication of the human rights of all. We collectively committed ourselves to partnership, equality and mutual respect.

"To be effective the review must defend and accelerate the process of change promised in the Good Friday Agreement"

Outlining Sinn Féin's Agenda for the Full Implementation of the Agreement, Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA and Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún said that the party had focused on four key areas - Stability of the Institutions; Equality and Human Rights; Expansion of All Ireland Commitments; and Demilitarisation, policing and justice.

Ms de Brún added:

"The Review will not be a renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement but it is an opportunity to accelerate the process of change promised in the Agreement. This demands action across a range of areas including the stability of the political institutions; human rights and equality; expansion of the All Ireland commitments; and demilitarisation, policing and justice." ENDS

Agenda for full implementation of the Agreement

  • Stability of the institutions
  • Re-endorsement of the Agreement by all participants.
  • Border Poll - Sinn Féin will be seeking firm commitments on a date for a simultaneous poll on Irish unity, north and south.
  • Suspension legislation - the political institutions must be restored and the NI Act 2000 that gives powers of suspension to the British government repealed.
  • International Monitoring Commission - the International Monitoring Commission is outside the terms of the Agreement. The IMC should be abolished and the legislation, which established it, repealed.
  • Safeguards - the review must protect the safeguards built into the review to guarantee inclusivity and the protection of the rights and interests of all sides of the community.
  • North South Ministerial Council - participation in the North South Ministerial Council is an essential right and responsibility of relevant Ministers in the Executive. This cannot be subject to veto.
  • Ministerial Pledge of Office - breaches of Ministerial Office should be subject to sanction within the terms of the Agreement.

Equality and Human Rights

  • Equality - full implementation of the Equality Agenda to create an equality based society across the island.
  • Equality duty: Section 75 - to agree the basis for the forthcoming review of the operation of section 75 and identify other bodies that should be subject to the S75 duty.
  • Single Equality Bill - enactment and implementation of the Single Equality Bill. The review should also address the issue of discrimination on grounds of Œnational security‚ and the nationality requirement for civil service jobs.
  • Human Rights - full implementation of the Human Rights Agenda to create a human rights based society across the island.
  • The Human Rights Commission - the Commission should be reconstructed to address, particularly, the issues of composition, independence and powers.
  • Bill of Rights - a round table forum, with an international chair, involving the political parties and civic society to take forward the development of the Bill of Rights.
  • All Ireland Charter of Rights - the development of an all-Ireland Charter of Rights.
  • Victims and Reconciliation - address the suffering of the victims of the conflict as a necessary element of reconciliation. An approach to victims based on parity of esteem rather than a hierarchy of victims.
  • Addressing outstanding issues in relation to prisoners.
  • Collusion, state and state-sponsored violence - full disclosure on the policy of collusion including publication of the Cory Report and establishment of effective independent inquiries.
  • Irish Language - full implementation of the commitment to recognise and promote the use of the Irish language, including a comprehensive Irish Language Act to formally give recognition to the Irish language and the appointment of an Irish Language Commissioner.
  • Flags, symbols and emblems - participants to the Agreement acknowledged that symbols and emblems should be used in a manner, which promotes mutual respect rather than division. This requires the repeal of the Flags (NI) Order 2000 and the Flags regulations (NI) 2000 and the development of a Code of Practice to govern the use of symbols and emblems.

Expansion of the All Ireland commitments

  • Expansion of All Ireland areas of co-operation and implementation bodies - the review is an opportunity to identify additional areas for co-operation and implementation.
  • Establishment of the All Ireland Inter-Parliamentary Forum.
  • Establishment of the All Ireland Consultative Forum.
  • Demilitarisation, policing and justice
  • The Issue of Arms - all parties must use their influence to resolve the issue of arms, in the context of the implementation of the Agreement. In addition, the proliferation of legally held arms needs also to be addressed.
  • Demilitarisation - a comprehensive programme of demilitarisation, including the withdrawal of all British soldiers from the north; the removal of military installations; the removal of emergency legislation, and other measures appropriate to and compatible with a normal peaceful society.
  • Policing - the full implementation of the Patten recommendations along with the withdrawal from use of plastic baton rounds; an independent complaints mechanism to investigate instances of use of plastic baton rounds by the British Army and additional resources for the Ombudsman to expedite the investigation of retrospective complaints.
  • Criminal Justice Review - new Criminal Justice provisions; the overhaul of the Inquest system (post Home Office Review); measures to address the issue of symbols and emblems on the basis of parity of esteem; and the need to promote mutual respect rather than division and the repeal of repressive legislation.
  • Transfer of powers on policing and justice.

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Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking at today's press conference in Killybegs, where he publicly announced Councillor Thomas Pringle's decision to join Sinn Féin said:

"Thomas Pringle is exactly the calibre of public representative that Sinn Féin is looking to attract as the party continues to develop an electoral dynamic that will bring about the most effective political representation for the people of this island.

"While the party as a whole continues to forge forward at a national level, inching ever closer to our objectives, it is people like Thomas, who will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of their local communities."

Cllr Thomas Pringle said:

"Over the past number of years I have been impressed with the energy, hard work and dedication of many Sinn Féin members in the Dáil and Councils. I believe that this is a party with a bright future and I hope to help shape that future.

"Since my election to Donegal County Council in 1999 I have always found it difficult to get cooperation on issues and motions as an independent with parties such as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail putting there own party electoral interests before the interests of the people. My decision here today to join Sinn Fein is a decision to become part of a all Ireland party that will put the people first. I look forward to playing my role within this party in the coming months to help elect a strong team of Sinn Féin councillors to Donegal County Council that will challenge the cosy arrangements of the establishment parties."

Donegal Sinn Féin Chairperson and E.U candidate Pearse Doherty who chaired the press conference said:

"On behalf of Donegal Sinn Féin I would like to formally welcome Cllr. Thomas Pringle into the Party. Cllr Pringle is widely regarded as one of the hardest working and most dynamic public representatives in the county. We in Donegal Sinn Féin have been long term admirers of his work and we are absolutely thrilled that he is now joining our team in the county. I am confident that Cllr Pringle will be joined by several more Sinn Féin county councillors following the local election in June. This will be a new force in Donegal politics. A force to be reckoned with.

"Donegal has been ignored and neglected for too long. After June, the Sinn Féin team in Lifford will ensure that the forgotten voice of communities from one end of the county to the other is heard. The establishment parties have failed our county. Sinn Féin are the authentic voice of change and the addition of Cllr Pringle, a true champion of the people, to our team, proves this point conclusively" ENDS

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh used the first proper day of the new Dáil session to again call for the introduction of a "fully independent Garda Ombudsman" to re-establish public confidence in the Gardaí. He said that the Minister for Justice's proposed "Ombudsman Commission" still falls short of what is required for full police accountability and to "make the culture of impunity a thing of the past."

Raising the issue as a matter of urgent public importance during Order of Business Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "In light of historic and recent patterns of Garda misconduct and abuse and the demonstrated failure of the present internal complaints investigation mechanisms including the Garda Complaints Board we need to introduce as a matter of urgency a fully independent Garda Ombudsman in this state."

Speaking afterwards Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that "only a fully independent Ombudsman with retrospective powers of investigation and whose remit is distinct from that of an independent civilian oversight body and local community accountability mechanisms - both of which are also needed to establish a fully transparent and accountable police force in this jurisdiction - can make the culture of impunity a thing of the past. But the Minister's proposed 'Ombudsman Commission' still falls far short of these requirements.

"In addition to the more recent cases of excessive use of force that hhave been graphically highlighted by Prime Time, Magill Magazine and elsewhere, there are numerous older high profile cases not covered by the two existing tribunals into excessive use of Garda force and Garda misconduct that still need to be investigated independently. Such cases include the revelation that files relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings have disappeared, the murder of Sinn Féin councillor Eddie Fullerton in Donegal and the operation of the Heavy

Gang. In all of these cases the Gardaí and the existing complaints mechanisms have been shown to be completely incapable of addressing or satisfying the concerns of the wider public, and this has steadily eroded public confidence over time. But the Minister's proposals still do not allow for retrospective investigation. This is wrong. A fully independent Ombudsman with the proper powers is the only means of restoring public confidence.

"Sinn Fein is not alone in this belief. A consensus is forming on this issue. It is high time that the Minister drop the pretence that the Ombudsman v. Inspectorate issue is merely a matter of semantics - it is not. It is about powers of investigation and full independence and he knows it. The Minister's alleged compromise of an 'Ombudsman Commission' is just not good enough. I challenge him to take advantage of the growing consensus on this issue to introduce a Garda reform Bill that will command not only cross-party support,

but the broad support of the Irish people." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be joined by party colleagues Philip McGuigan MLA, Bairbre de Brún MLA and Geraldine Dougan MLA tomorrow morning (Wednesday 28th) to announce Sinn Féin priorities for the forthcoming Review.

The Press Conference will take place at 10.30am in the party offices on Sevastopol Street.

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Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has today criticised the appallingly poor provision of cancer treatment services in Ireland. Speaking at a Cancer Care Alliance Press Conference in response to the report of the Expert Group on Radiation Oncology Services in Ireland, Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The government should hang their heads in shame" over the failure to provide adequate cancer treatment services across the island of Ireland.

Deputy O Caoláin said:

"It is a cause for successive governments to hang their heads in shame but none more so than the present Government which has had nearly seven years of unprecedented prosperity to put it right and has failed to do so. All we have to show for their efforts so far is yet another report.

"A quarter of all deaths are caused by cancer and 50% to 60% of cancer patients require radiation therapy yet the service here falls down in both quantity and quality. There is what the Report calls "a profound deficit". We have the lowest number of consultant radiation oncologists in Western Europe. Availability and use of radiation therapy is significantly lower than EU and North American averages.

"We have seen the welcome extension of the Breast-check initiative for women but if radiation oncology services are not put in place, much of that work will be in vain because the treatments will not be available for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We need equality of access to these vital services both in economic terms and in geographic terms. Three centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway are not enough and not acceptable. Very ill patients from the North West, from South Ulster, - which I represent - and from the South East will have to travel long distances. Huge swathes of the country will be unserviced. That must be put right.

"The report speaks of special transport solutions and hotel/hostel accommodation for those who must travel. We have seen no such proposals from Government. Meanwhile we have totally inadequate public transport and ambulance services.

"We need an all-Ireland approach, which the Hollywood Report does not adopt. All the resources on the island of Ireland need to be taken into account and cross-border solutions included in plans for expansion of services. It is time to put the dreadful health services associated with the 1980s behind us and provide adequate and efficient treatment services for all those in dire need of it."ENDS

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Speaking following the publication by Permanent TSB and the ESRI of statistics on house price increases, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. stated that the publication of these figures confirm that Minister Noel Ahern is out of touch with the housing situation in this State.

Deputy Morgan said:

"House prices across the State grew by almost 14% last year. In some counties such as Monaghan, Roscommon and Mayo house prices grew by 20%. Since taking up the position of Minister of State with responsibility for Housing, Noel Ahern has claimed that house prices increases are coming to an end. This is clearly not the case and it is not good enough for the Government simply to ignore the growing affordability problems in this state.

"House prices continue to increase. First time buyers continue to be priced out of the housing market in growing numbers or forced into taking out exorbitantly high mortgages. If the Minister does not address this issue as a matter of priority he should not be allowed to continue in his current position. His failure to act is causing gross hardships for people throughout this State who are forced to continue living in unsuitable conditions and risk homelessness." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Higher and Further Education Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has said that the plans of the British Labour government to introduce top-up fees will introduce the marketplace into universities and discourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds from taking up university opportunities.

Mr Ferguson said:

"Sinn Fein are opposed to introduction of top-up fees. We believe that education is a basic right. Tuition fees should be abolished and the student loan should be replaced with a proper maintenance grant.

"The British Labour government plans to introduce top-fees are yet another stealth tax. Sinn Féin believes that education should be paid for through a progressive general taxation system. The so-called concessions offered by Tony Blair and his cronies do nothing to address the fundamental flaws in the policy.

"The way that the British government have approached the problem of increasing resources for universities and increasing access is deeply flawed. It will lead to the introduction of the marketplace into our universities and a two-tier third level education system. It will also act as a further barrier to expanding access to universities particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"This fiasco highlights a deep flaw at the heart of British government education policy and the failure of the previous Employment and Learning Minister to deal with it's impact here. We need to look at how be develop our workforce here so that it is able to drive forward a modern economy. This means that we need to widen access and it means that we need to support people financially across all the third level education options." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP today joined the anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall. Speaking from the event Mr Adams said that all of those in political leadership had 'a duty to stand up against the racists and the bigots who were bring terror to the ethnic minority communities in the city'.

Mr Adams said:

"On countless occasions in the past I have joined rallies in this city to demand Human Rights and Civil Rights. Today's event is no different. The Ethnic Minority Community in this city are part of our fabric and they must be defended and protected. Their rights as citizens must be upheld and they must be allowed to live their lives in peace without the threat of racist attack or abuse.

"All of us in political leadership in this city have a duty and an obligation to stand up against the racists and the bigots who have been engaged in an organised campaign of intimidation against ethnic minority communities in this city.

" Today's rally must not be the end, it must be the start of us confronting and tackling racism and sectarianism fron whatever quarter. I commend the organisers of today's march and pledge the support of Sinn Féin representatives and activists to tackle the issue of racism in the time ahead." ENDS

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West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Bairbre de Brún has accused the PSNI of failing to carry out a forensic investigation after a device was left attached to a gate a the Lamh Dhearg GAA club in Hannastown over the weekend.

Ms de Brún said:

" After the PSNI departed from the Lamh Dhearg pitch yesterday club officials were shocked that component parts of the bomb were left behind. This is crucial forensic evidence and would presumably be crucial to any serious effort to find those responsible for what amounted to a murder attempt on the children using the pitch.

" It is ironic that in the very week the Police Ombudsman released a damning report into the RUC investigation into the murder of Sean Brown abducted from Bellaghy GAA club, the PSNI apply similar standards to an attempted murder investigation at the Lamh Dhearg club.

" Club officials have photographed the scene and the discarded evidence and are going to present this to the Police Ombudsman and ask her to carry out an investigation into the PSNI response to the bomb alert and their forensic investigation into it." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly this afternoon responded to the meeting between the UPRG and the Irish government. Speaking at a protest held by nationalist residents in the Ligionel area, who have suffered as a result of attacks by unionist paramilitaries and the UDA in particular, Mr Kelly said that 'the Irish government needed to make it clear to the UPRG that the UDA campaign against catholics had to end'.

"There are two core issues here. The first is the ongoing UDA campaign which is felt particularly in areas like this and the second is the response to it by the British state.

"There is a tolerance by the British government of the UDA campaign. Remember the organisation was only banned in 1992 and the response by the British State to its latest wave of violence has been predictably muted.

"Sinn Féin have a clear position that dialogue is the mechanism to solve political problems. That is what happened on interfaces in Belfast over the summer months and it is what contributed to a relatively quiet summer. The Irish government need to use today's meeting with the UPRG to tell them that the ongoing UDA campaign against catholics has to end." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokespersons on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD and Councillor Gerry McHugh, have welcomed this morning's meeting between Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh and Britain's direct rule Minister with responsibility for Agriculture Ian Pearson. The two discussed CAP reform and animal health and disease prevention.

Deputy Ferris and Cllr. McHugh said: "Sinn Féin very much welcomes the fact that the two Ministers have taken this initiative. We particularly welcome the commitment to establish a joint working group on the implementation of aspects of the CAP reform. This is something that we have called for since the reform package was agreed last June. We would also recommend that this be expanded to ensure that the overall package is implemented in close co-operation in the best interests of farmers throughout the island.

"In regards to animal health and disease prevention, we would hope to see an identical contingency plan to meet any future crisis. We would also like to see moves towards a joint marketing strategy in regards to the sale of Irish food produce.

"However, while any move towards such co-operation is valuable, it also highlights the urgency for having elected representatives from both parts of the island engaged in this work, through the institutions to which they have been elected". ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chief negotiator, Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness MLA, Bairbre de Brún MLA, Equality and Human Rights Spokespersons, South Down MLA Caítriona Ruane (6 County) and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD (26 County) launched the party's discussion document on an All Ireland Charter of Rights.

Speaking at the Stormont launch Mr McGuinness said:

"In just over a week the review of the Good Friday Agreement, involving all of the parties and the two governments will begin here, in Stormont. Sinn Féin will be focusing on a range of issues including, policing, demilitarisation, equality and the issue of human rights.

"Five years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and overwhelming endorsed by the people of this island we have not seen the progress that it promised.

"Instead of full implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects, we have seen delay, foot dragging and inaction is many areas where the British government has direct responsibility. These difficulties are rooted in the British government's tactical approach to the Agreement.

"Since the Agreement we have had Weston Park and the negotiations leading to the publication of the Joint Declaration by the two governments as well as the discussion leading up to the unprecedented moves by republicans of October 21st when the two governments and unionism again failed to deliver. We have not seen the British government embrace political, economic, social, and cultural rights. They can't even bring themselves to publish the Cory report.

"If we are to see progress when the review starts next week then the British government must challenge and reconsider its own approach to the Agreement.

"Sinn Féin believe that we can come to the review in a positive frame of mind but that requires that everyone accept that many aspects of the Agreement have not been implemented. It demands in particular that the two governments and especially the British government accept their responsibility in honouring commitments on delivering the human rights and equality commitments that it has made."

Sinn Féin's Charter for 'Rights for All' discussion document covers:

  • Equal rights for all;
  • Democracy - making it representative, accountable and responsive to people's needs;
  • Actively opposing discrimination;
  • Children's rights;
  • People with disabilities reaching their potential;
  • Public Services, housing, health care and education;
  • The right to work - employment and trade union rights;
  • Natural resources and the environment;
  • Justice, the judiciary, policing and public safety;
  • Ireland's role, rights and responsibilities internationally.

Caítriona Ruane added:

"This demands action to challenge systematic and institutionalised discrimination against any section of people living on the island of Ireland. Governments have a duty to ensure that all people have equality of opportunity and equality of access and a duty to take proactive steps and affirmative actions to ensure social and economic equality.

"The British government in particular, but indeed both governments have failed to implement key actions contained within the Good Friday Agreement to deliver equality and eradicate the legacy and active discrimination in the 6 counties; they have also failed to deliver to those marginalized and excluded throughout the parts of this island that they have jurisdiction over."

Bairbre de Brún added:

"A charter of rights must guarantee, promote and protects the 'Rights for All'. Sinn Féin is also aware that we have a responsibility to build an inclusive society, which addresses the political allegiances of unionists and guarantees their rights and entitlements so that they can have a sense of security and a stake within an Ireland of Equals."

Aengus O Snodaigh concluded:

"The people of Ireland have a right to government that is democratically elected and composed of the elected representatives chosen through the universal right to vote. It also demands that all elected representatives are entitled to and accorded fair, full and effective participation in governance.

"Sinn Féin also believe that every citizen at the age of 16 is entitled to vote in all elections and to stand as a candidate for public office.

"The founding principle of the Republic proclaimed in 1916 is to cherish all of the children of the nation equally and to share in a peaceful future embodied in a united and democratic state, underpinned by indivisible common values of human dignity, equality and justice. That remains Sinn Féin's goal today." ENDS

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Réamhrá

Le linn phróiseas na síochána d'ardaigh Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh, don chéad uair, ceist chairt síochána d'Éirinn -- cairt a bhainfeadh le ceartas agus síocháin agus a fheidhmeodh mar nasc idir na héilimh ar shaoirse pholaitiúil, shóisialta agus eacnamaíochta.

Dar le Sinn Féin, ní fiú an rud an tsaoirse pholaitiúil muna mbíonn cearta polaitiúla, eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, cultúrtha agus daonna san áireamh inti. Caithfear urra a bheith ann go mbeidh cothroime sa mheas agus cothroime sa slí ina chaitear le daoine chomh maith le hurra go mbeidh cearta iomlán daonna ann do gach duine.

Bhí súil ag Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh ar Chairt Saoirse Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na hAifrice (ANC) nuair a mhol sé cairt dá cuid féin d'Éirinn. Faoi mar a bhí lámh ghníomhach ag muintir na hAifrice Theas ina gCairt féin agus san fhís a bhí acu sochaí dhifriúil a mhúnlú, tá súil againn go spreagfar díospóireacht ag an cháipéis seo. Tá súil againn, fosta, go spreagfar moltaí daingne faoin saghas sochaí a theastaíonn ó mhuintir na hÉireann.

San áireamh tá :

• Cearta comhionannacha do gach duine

• Córas aonlathach atá ionadaíoch agus freagrach agus mothálach ar éilimh na ndaoine

• Cur i gcoinne an idirdhealaithe

• Cearta do pháistí

• A bhféinchumas á shroichint ag daoine míchumasacha

• Seirbhísí poiblí, an tithíocht, seirbhísí sláinte agus oideachas

• Ceart oibrithe -- fostaíocht agus cearta ceardchumainn

• Acmhainn nádúrtha agus an timpeallacht

• Ceartas, na cúirteanna, an phóilíníocht agus sábháilteacht phoiblí

• Ról, cearta agus dualgais idirnáisiúnta na hÉireann

Tá sé de dhualgas orainn freisin sochaí cuimsitheach a thógáil chun dul i gceann géillsiní polaitiúla na nAontachtóirí agus chun a gcearta is teidlíochtaí a ráthú, sa dóigh go bhfuil céadfa sábháilteachta acu agus suim acú san Éire Nua.

Ní cáipéis dho-athruithe ach cnámhlach prionsabal atá inti seo. Creidtear dúinn gur chóir na cearta a luaitear anseo a chumhdú mar chearta i sochaí fhorchéimnitheach. Is féidir prionsabail eile a bheith ann. Is féidir soiléirithe úsáisáideacha nó athruithe a bheith de dhíth. Ach, tá súil againn go bhfeicfear ábhar díospóireachta sa cháipéis seo.

Tá sé ar intinn ag Sinn Féin ábhar na cáipéise seo a phlé le dreamanna tré shochaí na hÉireann -- grúpaí pobail, ceardchumainn, eagraíochtaí deonacha agus páirtithe agus tuairimí polaitiúla de ghach uile shaghas.

Ba mhaith linn bhur mbarúlacha a chluinstin -- mar dhaoine aonair nó mar bhaill d'eagraíochtaí éagsúla. Ba mhaith linn díospóireacht a spreagadh agus smaointe a ghríosú. Teastaíonn Cairt Chearta do Gach Duine uainn.

Cearta Daonlathacha do Chácha

1. Tá sé de ceart ag muintir na hÉireann féin-chinntiúchán náisiúnta a bheith acu.

2. Toghtar Rialtas na hÉireann go daonlathach agus bíodh ionadaithe tofa ann a roghnaítear ag muintir fhlaithiúnta na tíre tré cheart vótála uilíoch.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach saoránach Éireannach 16 bliain d'aois vóta a chaitheamh in achan toghchán agus seasamh mar ionadaí don oifig phoiblí.

4. Déantar deimhin de go bhfuil sé de cheart ag gach dream sa tsochaí, go mórmhór mná agus mionlacha chomh maith, rannpháirtíocht cheart, iomlán, chothrom a bheith acu sa saol poiblí. Caithfear an rannpháirtíocht i bpróiseas an tsocraithe agus i teacht ar chumhacht a bheith san áireamh anseo.

5. Bíodh rannpháirtíocht chothrom, iomlán, éifeachtach ag ionadaithe tofa i rialú na hÉireann.

6. Bíodh sé de cheart ag na daoine córas fíor, freagrach, daonlathach a bheith ann. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, fosta, go réiteoidh an Rialtas gearáin dhlisteanacha chomh luath agus is féidir. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine, gan trácht ar stádas sóisialta nó eacnamaíochta, teacht ar lucht déanta na socruithe agus tionchar a bheith acu orthu. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, chomh maith, a bheith rannpháirteach i socruithe ar bith a bhaineann leo féin.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag na daoine rialú maith a bheith ann. Caithfear leas an phobail a bheith chun tosaigh agus socruithe poiblí á ndéanamh agus caithfear an costas iomlán sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta, díreach agus indíreach, a bheith san áireamh, gan socruithe poiblí a bheith faoi bhróg an bhrabaigh phríobháidigh.

8. Bíodh sé de dhualgas agus de fhreagracht ar an Rialtas cearta na ndaoine a chur i gcrích go gníomhach.

9. Bíodh an Rialtas freagrach do na daoine, bíodh sé oscailte agus trédhearcach agus bíodh reachtaíocht éifeachtach shaoráil eolais ann.

10. Bíodh na hinstitiúidí poiblí freagrach do na daoine agus ionadaíoch orthu.

11. Déantar cruthú cothroime, cruthú bochtaineachta agus cruthú cheartas daonna ar gach polasaí poiblí agus bunaítear iad ar an chleachtadh idirnáisiúnta is fearr.

Cearta Do Chách

"Dearbhaíonn an Phoblacht saoirse creidimh agus sibhialta agus cearta agus deiseanna cothrom dá saoránaithe go léir. Dearbhaíonn sí fosta an rún atá aici rath agus sonas an náisiúin uilig agus na gcodanna éagsúla de a chur chun cinn. Dearbhaíonn sí go gcaomhnófar gach páiste ar aon bhonn lena chéile gan trácht ar na difríochtaí a cothaíodh go cúramach ag rialtas iasachta, difríochtaí a scoilt an mionlach ón tromlach roimhe seo." -- Forógra na Poblachta 1916

"Fógraímid go gclúdaíonn flaitheas an náisiúin, ní hamháin fir agus mná an náisiúin, ach seilbh iomlán ábhartha an náisiúin, idir ithir agus acmhainn, idir mhaoin agus phróiseis táirgthe na maoine laistigh den náisiún agus ... dearbhaímid go gcaithfidh ceartas iomlán úinéarachta an tsealúchais phearsanta a bheith faoi réir ag ceart agus ag leas an phobail."

-- Clár Daonlathach na Chéad Dála 1919

• Is é bunphrionsabal na Poblachta a fógraíodh sa bhliain1916 ná páistí uilig an náisiúin a chaomhnú go cothrom i stát aontaithe daonlathach a bhfuil sochaí shíochánta ann agus a bhfuil mar bhunaidhmeanna aige fiúntas coitianta do-roinnte na dínite daonna, fiúntas an chomhionannais agus fiúntas an cheartais a bheith ann. Is iad muintir na hÉireann sa deireadh a rachaidh i mbannaí air.

• Geallaimid cur chun cinn iomlán agus cosaint iomlán na gceart tré phróiseas a bheidh mar aidhm aige an t-athmhuintearas náisiúnta a bhaint amach, an daonlathas polaitiúil a thacú, an daonlathas eacnamaíochta a thacú agus a fhorbairt, agus cosaint chuimsitheach, eagraithe, éifeachtach, dhomhain a sholáthar do na cearta a n-imlínítear anseo.

• Tá institiúidí polaitiúla an oileáin seo dochuimsitheach, doshroichte agus dofhreagrach do chuid mhór de shaoránaithe na tíre.

• Creideann Sinn Féin go gcuideoidh an Chairt seo le hiarracht níos leithne a dhéanamh chun cearta mhuintir na hÉireann a chomhréiriú agus a chaomhnú, agus fiúntas na dínite daonna, fiúntas an chomhionannais, fiúntas an cheartais agus fiúntas na saoirse a dhearbhú ag léibhéal pearsanta agus go huilíoch.

• Geallaimid go leanfar ar aghaidh leis an obair go dtí go gcuirfear prionsabail an rialaithe dhaonlathaigh agus prionsabal an cheartais daonna mar a chuirtear os bhur gcomhair anseo i gcrích.

Cearta Cothrom do Chách

1. Ná bíodh sé de cheart ag grúpa ar bith nó ag duine ar bith cos ar bolg a imirt ar ghrúpa eile nó ar dhuine eile, m.sh., an ciapadh agus an t-ansmachtú.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine a bhfuil cónaí orthu in Éirinn an ceartas dlí chéanna agus an chosaint dlí chéanna a bheith acu gan trácht ar idirdhealú -- go mórmhór idirdhealú atá bunaithe ar cheann amháin (nó níos mó) díobh seo a leanas : cine, bunús eitneach, náisiúntacht, dath, inscne, claonadh gnéasach, míchumas, aois, stádas sóisialta nó eacnamaíochta, stádas pósta nó clainne, áit chónaithe, teanga, reiligiún nó creideamh, barúil pholaitiúil nó barúil ar bith eile, ballraíocht cheardchumainn, stádas mar íobartach.

3. Níl san áireamh sa cheartas dlí thuas, aon dlí, aon chlár nó aon ghníomh a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige coinníollacha maireachtála lucht an mhíbhuntáiste mar a luaitear thuas a fheabhsú.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine agus ag gach grúpa -- náisiúnach, eitneach, reiligiúnda, teangach (bodhráin san áireamh) -- sult a bhaint as a gcultúr féin, a gcreideamh féin a dhearbhú agus a chleachtadh, agus a dteanga féin a úsáid. Is cuid shaibhir de chultúr na hÉireann iad uilig.

5. Bíodh gach seirbhís phoiblí ar fáil as Gaeilge agus as Béarla agus, mar is fóirsteanach, i dteangacha mionlacha eile.

6. Bíodh aitheantas ar leith ag an stát don Ghaeilge agus do chearta lucht na Gaeilge. Ná bíodh sé ina mhíbhuntáiste ar éinne an Ghaeilge a bheith mar phríomhtheanga nó mar theanga roghnach acu.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine bheith fánach nó gan bheith fánach agus aistriú a dhéanamh ó chóras maireachtála ar leith go córas maireachtála eile.

Cearta Daonna agus Cosaint do Chách

1. Bíodh ceart na beatha ag gach duine.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine cosaint a bheith acu ó fhoréigean fisiciúil, tochtach agus intinneach, ó phionós mídhaonna nó maslach, ó ghortaíocht agus ó dhrochíde. San áireamh bíodh an drochíde sheicteach, fhrithhomaighnéasach agus chiníoch, an seicteachas, an ciníochas, an neamart, an t-ansmacht, an mhíúsáid nó an dúshaothrú. Bíodh cosaint an stáit ar fáil dóibh siúd a bhfuil drochíde sheicteach/ fhrithhomaighnéasach/ chiníoch /dhaonna á fulaingt acu, chomh maith le foréigean gnéasach agus teaghlaigh.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine saoirse agus sábháilteacht phearsanta a bheith acu. San áireamh ansin, bíodh sé de cheart ag éinne, ...

(a) Gan an tsaoirse sin a bheith bainte díobh gan chúis chóir

(b) Gan a bheith ina gcimí gan triail

(c) Bheith saor ó fhoréigean poiblí agus príobháideach

(d) Gan dul faoi chéasadh

(e) Gan pionós cruálach, mídhaonna nó maslach a fhulaingt.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine iomláine cholainne agus shiceolaíochta a bheith acu. San áireamh ansin, bíodh sé de cheart acu socrú a dhéanamh a bhaineann

(a) leis an síolrú

(b) le sábháilteacht agus smacht a bheith acu ar a gcolainneacha féin

(c) le dul faoi idirghabháil leighis nó eolaíochta ar bith gan aontú eolach uathu.

5. Bíodh saoirse cainte ag gach duine. Bíodh saoirse ann sa phreas agus sna meáin eile.

6. Bíodh ceart na saoirse ag gach duine sa choinsias, sa reiligiún, sa smaoineamh, sa chreideamh agus sa bharúil.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht le chéile ina ngrúpaí, saor ó eagla, agus corraíl a dhéanamh.

8. Is é an t-aon chosc amháin atá ar na cearta sin thuas -- saoirse cainte, creidimh agus teacht le chéile -- ná nach gcuirfear isteach ar chearta ar bith a luaitear sa Chairt seo -- cearta daoine eile a bheith saor ón imealgú, ón ansmachtú agus ón idirdhealú.

9. Bíodh saoirse gluaiseachta ag gach duine.

10. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine an príobháideachas a bheith acu -- a bheith saor ón airdeall uilíoch nó míréasúnta (airdeall leictreonach san áireamh), a bheith saor ó chuardach agus ó ghabháil -- bíodh sé ag baint leis an duine é/í féin, le hearraí, le háitreabh, leis an chumarsáid nó le gné ar bith eile.

11. Bíodh an córas dlí cothrom, éifeachtach, gan claonadh, freagrach, bunaithe ar na cearta a luaitear sa Chairt seo agus sa Bhille Cearta agus bíodh bíodh tacaíocht agus muinín an phobail uilig ag dul leis.

12. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht ar ionadaíocht dlí den chéad scoth.

13. Bíodh se de cheart ag gach duine dul faoi thriail ag a gcomhghleacaithe féin.

14. Aisghairfear aon reachtaíocht éigeandála ina hiomlán.

15. Bunaítear an córas dlíthiúil ar athbhunú agus ar athshlánú an duine isteach sa tsochaí. Bíodh sé de cheart ag daoine faoi choimeád na cearta céanna a bheith acu -- go gcaithfear leo ar bhealach daonna, bealach a mbeidh muinín aige as dínit dhúchasach an duine dhaonna.

16. Bíodh an tseirbhís phoiblí, an phóilíníocht san áireamh, oscailte do gach duine,

ionadaíoch ar an bpobal agus freagrach don phobal.

17. Bíodh caighdeáin den chéad scoth sa phóilíníocht ar fud an oileáin, caighdeáin a bhaineann le cearta daonna, le freagracht, le cothromas, le trédhearcacht agus le héifeachtacht. Bunaítear aon úsáid a bhaintear as an bhforéigean sa phóilíníocht ar an phrionsabal a chuireann an neart is lú i bhfeidhm.

Caomhnaítear Gach Páiste ar Aon Bhonn lena Chéile

1. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach páiste cosaint a bheith acu ó fhoréigean de gach saghas -- fisiciúil, tochtach, intinneach -- ó phionós mídhaonna nó maslach, ó ghortaíocht agus ó dhrochíde (drochíde sheicteach agus chiníoch san áireamh), ó neamhchúram, ó ansmachtú, ó dhúshaothrú (dúshaothrú gnéasach san áireamh).

2. Is saoránaigh iad gach páiste a shaolaítear ar oileán na hÉireann. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, mar sin, fanacht in Éirinn, faoi chúram agus i gcuideachta a dtuismitheora/dtuismitheoirí, gan trácht ar bith ar bhunús náisiúnach an tuismitheora/na dtuismitheoirí.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach páiste go n-éistítear leo, go ndéantar comhairle leo ar na hábhair ar fad a bhaineann leo agus bíodh sé de cheart acu teacht ar eolas ar bith a bhaineann lena bpearsana.

4. Bíodh leas an pháiste chun tosaigh i ngach uile ábhar a bhaineann leo.

5. Cuirtear ar fáil ag an stát pé tacaíocht agus cuidiú a theastaíonn ó thuismitheoirí nó ó chúramaithe príomha eile chun go dtiocfaidh le páistí, chomh fada agus is féidir, éirí aníos agus rath a bheith orthu i dtimpeallacht sheasmhach shábháilte, timpeallacht a mbeidh meas aici ar pháistí agus ina spreagtar páistí a bhféinchumas a bhaint amach.

6. Bíodh teacht ag gach páiste ar áiseanna aire agus áiseanna crèche den chéad scoth.

7. Bíodh an t-oideachas ann de cheart. Bíodh teacht ag gach páiste ar an saoroideachas.

Sroichint an Fhéinchumais do Daoine Míchumasacha

1. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais go mbeadh aitheantas iomlán ann dá bpearsana, meas ceart agus deiseanna dul chun cinn ann dá bhféidearachtaí, agus muinín ann as a ndínit.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais rogha a dhéanamh ina saoil féin, go ndéantar comhairle leo agus go n-éistítear leo agus go gcuirtear ar fáil dóibh pé acmhainn fhóirsteanach a bhíonn de dhíth orthu.

3. Bíodh cosaint ann ag lucht an mhíchumais ó dhúshaothrú ar bith, ó rialacha ar bith agus ó úsáid ar bith a bhfuil idirdhealú nó míúsáid nó ísliú ag baint leis.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais saol a bheith acu atá saor ón bhochtaineacht, le híocaíochtaí díreacha ann dóibh chun costas an mhíchumais a laghdú. Ina theannta sin, bíodh sé de cheart acu insroichteacht chothrom a bheith acu ar an oideachas, ar an fhostaíocht agus ar an traenáil.

5. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais teacht ar sheirbhísí fóirsteanacha comheagraithe. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát seirbhísí mar iad a chur ar fáil chomh maith le riachtanais phearsanta ar leith a mheas.

Cearta Sóisialta agus Eacnamaíochta ar Fáil do Chách

1. Ná bíodh idirdhealú ann, de réir an chórais nó de réir an eagrais, ar dhream ar bith de mhuintir na hÉireann nó ar dhaoine a bhfuil cónaí orthu in Éirinn.

2. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an Rialtas deimhin a dhéanamh de go mbíonn na deiseanna céanna agus an insroichteacht chéanna ag gach duine.

3. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an Rialtas a bheith gníomhach agus dearfach i gcúrsaí sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta na cothromaíochta.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine caighdeán imleor maireachtála a bheith acu agus, ina theannta sin, caighdeán sláinte -- idir cholainn agus intinn -- den chéad scoth.

5. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine bheith rannpháirteach in imeachtaí eacnamaíochta agus sóisialta shochaí na hÉireann agus a gcuid féinchumas a bhaint amach ina n-iomlán.

6. Bíodh córas sláinte saor ar fáil do gach duine agus an ceart cothrom céanna ann do gach duine teacht ar sheirbhísí sláinte, idir chothú agus riar na dea-shláinte agus sheachaint na drochshláinte.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht cothrom a bheith acu ar sheirbhís sláinte a bhaineann le cúrsaí gnéis agus síolraithe agus ceart acu freisin teacht ar eolas a bhaineann le cúrsaí gnéis agus síolraithe ar gach léibhéal, saor ó ansmacht, ó idirdhealú agus ó fhoréigean.

8. Bíodh saoroideachas tuata ar fáil do gach duine agus teacht acu ar dheiseanna foghlamtha ar feadh a saoil.

9. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine conradh cothrom fostaíochta a bheith acu agus tuarastal os cionn an íos-thuarastail reachtúil a bheith acu.

10. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine láthair oibre shábháilte a bheith acu, láthair nach bhfuil díobhálach ó thaobh na sláinte nó ó thaobh leas an duine de.

11. Bíodh sé de cheart ag oibrithe, ceardchumainn a bheith acu agus a bheith rannpháirteach iontu, conarthaí fostaíochta a shocrú, picéid a chur ar siúl agus a saothar a tharraingt siar.

12. Bíodh sé de cheart acu siúd a n-oibríonn sa bhaile nó mar airí príomha aitheantas ceart a bheith ann don ghnó eacnamaíochta atá ar siúl acu i dtithe aonair agus sa gheilleagar náisiúnta.

13. Bíodh ceart tithíochta ag gach duine. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát titíocht imleor fhóirsteanach a chur ar fáil don daonra.

14. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát acmhainn náisiúnta na tíre a chosaint agus a chaomhnú ó dhramhaíl agus ó chreach ar mhaithe le pobal an lae inniu agus ar mhaithe leo siúd atá fós le teacht. Ina theannta sin, bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát timpeallacht shláintiúil a bheith ann a mbeidh leas an phobail slán sábháilte inti.

15. Bíodh seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha poiblí mar cheart ag gach duine -- gan trácht ar ioncam ná ar áit chónaithe. San áireamh sna seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha sin (ach ní iomlán é seo) tá fuinneamh imleor teaghlaigh, soláthar uisce, córas séarachais agus dramhaíola agus córas taistil poiblí.

16. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha mar iad thuas a fhorbairt ar shlí cothrom, ar shlí atá inchothaithe ó thaobh na heacnamaíochta agus ó thaobh na timpeallachta agus ar shlí a bhunaítear ar an taithí idirnáisiúnta is fearr.

17. Ná ceadaítear d'iomaíocht an mhargaidh í féin a fhorbairt ar shlí is go gcomhchruinneofar úinéaracht earraí riachtanacha éagsúla (tailte, foirgnimh agus acmhainn san áireamh) i lámha dream beag ar bith, slí nach n-oibrítear ar mhaithe leis an phobal i gcoitinne.

18. Cuirtear seirbhísí uilíocha poiblí ar fáil dóibh siúd a dteastaíonn siad uathu, seirbhísí a bhunaítear ar an taithí idirnáisiúnta is fearr. Íoctar as na seirbhísí sin tré chóras cánach forchéimnitheach. Bunaítear an córas cánach ar phrionsabail na cothroime agus na trédhearcachta.

Síocháin agus Athmhuintearas

1. Cuirtear deiseanna nithiúla ar fáil ag an stát chun díriú ar oidhreacht na coimhlinte in Éirinn agus chun deileáil léi.

2. Bíodh síocháin chóir ann chomh maith le caidreamh agus comhoibriú sa phobal agus idir an pobal agus institiúidí an stáit, síocháin a bhunaítear ar an athmhuintearas agus ar chomhmheas na ndaoine agus na n-institiúidí ar a chéile. Seastar leis an tsíocháin sin trí chearta cothrom a chur i bhfeidhm chomh maith le deiseanna agus stádas cothrom do gach duine.

Éire agus an Domhan

1. Bíodh Éire ina stát neamhspleách flaithiúnta, stát a mbeidh muinín aici as ceartas agus agus as flaithiúnacht gach náisiún eile, de réir (agus faoi iallach) an dlí idirnáisiúnta.

2. Dearbhaíonn Éire a dílseacht do choincheap na síochána agus do choincheap an chomhoibrithe chairdiúil idir na náisiúin éagsúla, dílseacht a bhunaítear ar cheartas idirnáisiúnta. Geallann an stát go n-oibreoidh sí ar mhaithe leis an chomhionannas domhanda polaitiúil agus eacnamaíoch a fheabhsú, caidreamh trádála ar mhaithe le leas gach náisiún san áireamh.

3. Dearbhaíonn Éire go gcloíonn sí leis an phrionsabal go réiteofar conspóidí idirnáisiúnta go síochánta, tré eadráin idirnáisiúnta nó tré shrocrú dlíthiúil.

4. Ag cuimhniú ar thaithí s'againn i dtaca le eisimircheas, cuirimid fáilte roimh duine ar bith a bhíos ag cuardú cúl dín ó céasú nó a bhfuil súil acú saol níos fearr a thógáil agus a chion éifeactach féin a dhéanamh ar an oileán seo.

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Former Education Minster Martin McGuinness MP MLA has welcomed the announcement that his decsion to abolish the 11 + is to stand but expressed disappointment at the 2008 target date. Mr McGuinness also paid tribute to the Costello working group.

Mr McGuinness said:

"I very much welcome this report from the Costello working group. I am pleased that this highly experienced working party has recommended that the 11+ should be abolished and that this recommendation has been accepted.

"Equality must be at the heart of education. The reality is that academic selection for some means academic rejection for the majority of our children. It is a system, which is fundamentally unfair.

"A system, which designates any 11-year-old child, a failure is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced. That is why as education Minister I took the decision to end the 11 +. I am delighted that this decision will now be acted on.I believe all children must be given the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances.

"I am a little disappointed that it will take until 2008 to definitively end the 11+ but that is balanced by the sensible suggestion that all of this could happen much quicker if more parents choose not to put their child forward for the exam in the mean time and grammar schools move away from selection as a method for enrolling pupils.

"We now need to see the new arrangements put in place which will deliver both a modern education system and equality of opportunity for all our children."

Editors Note: Mr McGuinness will meet with Jane Kennedy at 3pm this afternoon at Castle Buildings to discuss the outcome of the Costello Report

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Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will launch a major consultation document 'Rights for All' at 11am tomorrow, Monday 26th January, in the Long Gallery in Stormont.

Accompanying Mr. McGuinness will be Bairbre de Brún MLA, Caitríona Ruane MLA and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.

Rights for All is a discussion document and is a framework of principles that Sinn Féin believes should be enshrined as rights in a progressive society. Sinn Féin will be pro-actively engaging with all sections of society - from community and trade union groups to voluntary organisations and all shades of political opinion throughout the island of Ireland.

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