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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here

“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has called on farmers to take action now to protect the welfare of their animals this winter.

The Minister said: “Severe weather conditions and low temperatures can cause problems for livestock and it is important that farmers, like all businesses, should be as prepared as they can be.

“Extreme weather conditions are an added pressure which makes planning ahead very important. To help minimise the impact and meet their animals’ needs, I urge all farmers to ensure that they have adequate feed supplies, sufficient stocks of bedding and contingency arrangements in place to ensure water supplies to livestock.”

Highlighting the assistance available to help farmers with winter preparations, she continued: “Training and short courses to help farmers assess fodder requirement are provided at the College of Agriculture and Rural Enterprise(CAFRE) and DARD Development Advisors are also available to provide assistance with drawing up feeding plans for livestock.

“Private Veterinary Practitioners(PVPs) also have a vital role to play in animal welfare through the provision of professional advice to stock-keepers with potential or actual welfare problems on their farms. PVPs should be approached as soon as a welfare problem is noticed so that immediate action can be taken.”

The Minister also appealed to all rural dwellers to be vigilant to the needs of their neighbours in the Winter months: “At this time of year, the elderly and vulnerable in our society may find it a struggle to keep themselves safe and can become isolated if they live alone and are unable to get out of their home. Neighbourly help and assistance can make a big difference and I call on all rural dwellers to think about what they could do to help others this winter.”


Speaking at the launch of his party’s pre-budget submission, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD said: “Sinn Féin recognises that the deficit caused by the disastrous policies of the last Government and this one has to be reduced and the state can’t continue borrowing large sums indefinitely.

“But the plan to reduce it by 2015 by imposing savage cuts to frontline services and levying flat taxes on struggling households will be hugely damaging socially.

“Fine Gael and Labour, just like Fianna Fail and the Greens, are attempting to impose this failed economic approach while simultaneously recapitalising banks and paying private bank bondholders.

“In other words, despite all their promises this government is upholding the status quo.

“A different strategy and a longer timeframe is needed. Sinn Féin wants realistic deficit reduction strategy based on:

  • A fairer tax system that targets wealth and lifts the burden of the least well o0ff, for example by abolishing the Universal Social Charge
  • Investing in jobs (which will increase state revenue and reduce the social welfare bill)
  • Elimination of wasteful public spending
  • Not paying the Anglo Promissory notes and restructuring the remaining unguaranteed, unsecured bonds.

“The government has a choice.

“It can choose to carry on with the failed austerity policies of Fianna Fáil or it can choose to implement a budget which is fair and which cherishes children instead of bondholders.

“In Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission we have made the choice to protect public services and those on low and middle incomes.

“We have shown that this can be done through taxing wealth, eliminating wasteful public spending, stimulating the economy, and tackling exorbitant salaries in the public sector.

“We have put forward proposals that would create new jobs and retain existing ones.

“Recovery without jobs is not possible.

“The budget is about choices and I hope that the government takes our comprehensive proposals on board, forgets failed austerity policies and puts people first.” ENDS


Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has launched this year’s Anti-Bullying Week at the Long Gallery, Stormont.

This year’s theme focuses on cyber bullying and pupils were asked to participate in a competition to provide either a poster or a two minute movie around the theme. 

Congratulating the pupils who were awarded prizes for their entries at the launch, Minister O’Dowd said: “The overwhelming number of entries to this competition shows that our young people feel strongly that bullying is an important issue. The creative posters and inventive movie entries provide us with an insightful reminder that bullying is not and never will be, acceptable in our schools, nor in our society as a whole.”

The competition was organised by the NI Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), an independent body comprising of statutory and non-statutory organisations with a role to play in preventing and tackling bullying and creating a safe environment for children and young people. The Forum, funded by the Department for Education, helps schools and organisations working with young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.

The Minister continued: “My Department recognises that we cannot deal with this issue alone – it is necessary to work in close partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to address bullying in all its forms. It is for this reason that my Department plays an active role in and funds the local Anti-Bullying Forum.

“Research recently published by my Department revealed that cyber bullying is becoming prevalent and that this type of bullying is more likely to occur outside school hours. Everyone in our society has a role to play and we must work together to find ways to prevent it – as friends, as parents, as teachers and as a community.”

In conclusion, the Minister said: “Anti-Bullying Week is an excellent opportunity to remind the whole school community of their anti-bullying policy and practice. In light of emerging issues such as cyber bullying, I would remind schools of the importance of continuously updating their policies, ensuring that pupils and their parents are actively involved. Finally, I would encourage all schools to make use of the excellent resources provided by the NIABF to promote an anti-bullying culture in their schools.”


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún made a point of order today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg regarding the EU's treatment of the Irish Language.

De Brún, along with several Irish MEPs intervened during the President's opening comments to highlight the fact that, although Irish is an official EU language, the treatment it receives on the European Parliament website is far from equal.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, de Brún said: “Today I made the point to President Buzek that progress must be made in this area, such as having the Parliament's website available in Irish.

“When I address the Parliament in Irish, it is only the interpreted versions that are available online. This means that my speech is available in all the official languages, except Irish, the language in which the speech was delivered. The Irish language version of my speech disappears from the European Parliament website once it has been translated into the other 22 official EU languages. This is simply ridiculous!

“I also receive responses in Irish from the European Commission but they are not available on the European Parliament's website either, although the answer is available in 22 other languages.

“The President of the European Parliament is very aware of the need and right of Europe's citizens to be able to speak their own language and he assured Pat the Cope Gallagher, Gay Mitchell and me today that he will look into this very important issue.

“I will continue to speak in Irish in the European Parliament and continue to put pressure on the European Parliament to fully recognise the rights of Irish speakers.”


Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has resigned his seat on Larne Council with party colleague James McKeown set to be co-opted on to the seat.

Oliver McMullan has been a councillor for 19 years, 18 of those on Moyle Council. Earlier this year the Sinn Féin MLA became the first member of the party elected as an MLA in East Antrim and also the first Sinn Féin councillor elected to Larne Council

“This is part of the party’s policy on dual mandates and I have every faith that James McKeown will be a great representative for the people. James is well known within the community and has been a community activist for a number of years now.

“Sinn Féin also has a new constituency office in East Antrim and an excellent constituency service is what the party aims to provide. The solid Sinn Féin vote is due to the hard work on the ground that the party carries out and James McKeown will continue that sterling work with an excellent base to work from.”


Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Justice Committee, Sean Lynch, said Justice Minister David Forde must take ownership of the radical change needed in the Prison Service.

Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Justice Minister not to delay in implementing the recommendations of the the Prison Review Team Sean Lynch said:

“The reform of the Prison Service is one of the biggest challenges David Forde will face in his role as Minister of Justice.

“The Anne Owers Review is the latest in a series of critical reports and reviews into the Prison Service. All had a common thread - the Prison Service is not fit for purpose, living in a different era and in need of fundamental root and branch change.

“What they present in their recommendations is the need for radical transformation to bring the prisons here into the 21st century.  The words of the Review team were clear – ‘Incremental improvements are not enough’.

“The momentum must not be lost and change should not be left to those who have been in charge to date.  I call on the Minister to ensure this happens.  He must take ownership and become the driver in the overall managing process.

“The report states clearly ‘that the next six months are vital’ and I agree. A delay will give those with the intention of cherry-picking and who have a culture of resistance, the chance to gain the upper hand, leaving the Minister with an even greater challenge.” We must therefore see action now.”



Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Michelle Gildernew in supporting World Diabetes Day (today 14th November) has called for more awareness of the illness to be brought into the public arena.

Michelle Gildernew said:

“It’s important that World Diabetes Day is taking place. It comprises of hundreds of campaigns, activities, screenings, lectures, meetings and more, and is proving internationally effective in spreading the message about diabetes.

“There needs to be a focus on helping to try and raise awareness of this illness, to alert patients to the early warning signs and to increase knowledge and awareness about diabetes and its treatment.

"For many adjusting to the news that they are diabetic, or a member of their family has diabetes, takes time and it is often helpful to meet other people who have been through a similar situation. They can offer understanding, help and support at an important time

“Diabetes for the main part can be managed if people are given the correct information so it is important that we get as much information into the public domain as possible.”


Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe has expressed alarm at reports that the government is planning to abolish all financial support for new postgraduate students.
A report in the Sunday Business Post claims that from next year existing grants and maintenance support for postgraduates will be scrapped.
Deputy Crowe said: “Any attempt by the government to abolish support for postgraduate students will have serious implications for the majority of people who wish to continue their studies at third level.
“I join the Union of Students, Ireland (USI) in calling for the minister for education, Ruairí Quinn, to honour his pre-election pledge that there would be no increase in fees or cuts to the maintenance grant.
“The withdrawal of funding for postgraduate funding will mean many students are prevented from studying for a master’s degree or PhD.
“Irish postgraduates will be forced to leave Ireland to avail of research opportunities. It will banish thousands of Irish students from accessing postgraduate education, which will have a detrimental impact on Irish universities that depend on postgraduate research to boost their rankings, generate additional economic output and enhance our international reputation.
“This government is taking decisions that are in danger of making third level education the preserve of the wealthy. That is unacceptable and it makes little sense at a time when we are attempting to produce highly skilled well educated graduates, who are an incentive for high tech industry to come to these shores.”


Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the decision by the north’s Attorney General to re-open the inquests of 10 people from the greater Ballymurphy area who were shot dead by the British Parachute Regiment 40 years ago.

Mr. Adams described the decision as a “landmark legal judgement which provides the families with an opportunity to get to the truth of the killing of their loved ones.”
Mr. Adams added: “The decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred”.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“The killing of 11 people in Ballymurphy 40 years ago by the British Parachute Regiment came just five months prior to the murder by that same regiment of 14 civil rights marchers in Derry. Subsequently, Paratroopers also killed others, including a 14 boy in Lenadoon, a 17 year old in the Clonard area, a student teacher from Downpatrick outside St. Comgalls in Divis Street and Robert McKinnie and Robert Johnstone from the Shankill.

“Six months after Bloody Sunday, on 9 July 1972, they shot dead five people in Springhill. Among the dead was the second Catholic priest to be killed in greater Ballymurphy. He was administering the Last Rites to victims when he himself was cut down. Of the four others killed, three were teenagers and the last was a father of six children who was with the local priest.

“On 9 March 1973 the Parachute Regiment arrived in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. Within weeks they had shot and killed 5 people, one a 12-year-old boy. In South Armagh a 12 year old schoolgirl was shot dead on 14 August 1976.

“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group. They were all innocent civilians. And there deaths were part of a planned policy by the British government to pacify the community.

“The inquests held into the Ballymurphy victims were a fraud and part of the process of cover-up that accompanied British state killings in the north.

“The decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred. Despite the clear evidence in support of the reopening of these inquests a British Attorney General would never have agreed to it.

“The new inquests, held under different rules, provide the families with the possibility of getting to the truth.

“The inquests must now be held without delay and the families must be provided with the necessary resources to ensure that all of the facts are uncovered.

“The AG decided not to reopen the inquest into the death of Pat McCarthy. The families and Sinn Fein will continue to campaign for his inquest to be reopened.” ENDS


Sinn Féin launch alternative Budget for 2015