GLAC PÁIRT I GCUR CHUN TOSAIGH na hÉIREANN

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has said the Government’s four year plan is not a recovery plan but a destruction plan.

Speaking after the publication of the Government’s plan today Deputy Morgan said the impact of these measures will contract the economy – and not one extra tax cent or one public spending cut will be used to reduce the deficit as it will all end up servicing the debt being incurred for the banks.

Deputy Morgan said:

“The Government is deluding itself if it believes that these measures can bring about economic growth.

“Even solely dealing with our structural deficit, this plan is in the main a list of deflationary actions that will deepen and lengthen the recession.

“The impact of these measures will contract the economy – and not one extra tax cent or one public spending cut will be used to reduce the deficit as it will all end up servicing the debt being incurred for the banks.

“The markets do not give one jot about the Irish budget – they are concerned with the banking crisis – but they will see this ‘plan’ for what it is. This is not a recovery plan – it is a destruction plan.

“The real issue is that we are about to embark on an insane course of borrowing to fund a failed banking policy. We cannot afford this banking policy, we cannot afford this loan. Most importantly we cannot afford this government.

“We need real negotiators in there now to deal with the banks and burn the bondholders. Not a red cent more should go into Irish banks until their debts are restructured.

“If we proceed with this banking plan this four year plan will be bin lining in a matter of weeks.” ENDS

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Speaking ahead of a vote on a European Parliament climate change resolution which she co-authored, Bairbre de Brún MEP said that we must avoid the failures of the Copenhagen conference last year.

 

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms de Brún said:

 

"For the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun (29th November - 10th December) to be successful it is vital to restore trust in the negotiations. How many such negotiations will there have to be for people to start to act decisively?

 

We must not repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen last year. We will not be able to meet the challenge posed by climate change unless ALL Governments act now.

 

The global economic crisis must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice.

 

Real leadership and political will are needed for a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase limit." ENDS

 

See below for full text of speech

 

Ní féidir linn na meancóga a rinneadh i gCóbanhávan anuraidh a dhéanamh arís.

 

Tá gá le fíor-cheannaireacht agus le toil polaitiúil d'fhonn teorainn teochta a choinneáil ar 1.5 céim Celsius.

 

Ba chóir don AE gníomhú go haontaobhach chun a sprioc laghdaithe astaíochta do 2020 a ardú agus áitiú ar thíortha forbartha eile chun sprioc fhoriomlán laghdaithe astaíochta de 80% - 95% faoi 2050 a chomhaontú.Ní hamháin go gcuideoidh seo le hidirbheartaíocht i gCancún ach caithfimid seo a dhéanamh ar mhaithe linn féin.

 

Caithfidh tíortha forbartha maoiniú sásúil aeráide a chur ar fáil, sin agus trédhearcacht iomlán i dtaca le maoiniú mearthosaithe a chur i bhfeidhm le gealltanas láidir polaitiúil. Tá gá le foinsí nua maoinithe fadtéarmacha chomh maith. Ar na roghanna ba chóir go mbeadh bearta cánacha airgeadais idirnáisiúnta ann agus maoiniú ó eitlíocht agus loingeas idirnáisiúnta ina measc.

 

Iarraim oraibh vótáil in aghaidh na leasuithe a iarrann teachtaireacht níos laige a thabahirt amach ón Parlaimint seo.

 

Ní féidir an ghéarchéim eacnamaíoch dhomhanda a úsáid mar leithscéal le gan a dhath a dhéanamh nó chun ceartas aeráide a shéanadh.

 

Is fadhb an t-athrú aeráide ar gá troid ina éadan ar bhonn domhanda agus chun seo a dhéanamh tá gá le muinín eadrainn a thógáil.

 

We must not repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen last year

 

Real leadership and political will are needed for a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase limit

 

The EU should unilaterally increase its emission reduction target for 2020 and persuade other developed countries to sign up toan overall emission reduction target of 80%-95% by 2050 not only because this will help the negotiations in Cancun but also because we need to do this for our own sake.

 

Developed countries must provide adequate climate financing, including full transparency on and strong political commitment to the implementation of the fast-start financing.There must also be new and additional sources of long-term finance. Options should include international financial transaction taxes and finance from international aviation and shipping.

 

I ask you to vote against amendments that seek to weaken the message coming from this parliament.

 

The global economic crisis must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice.

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Dúirt Feisire Parlaiminte na hEorpa Bairbre de Brún nach glacann an pháirtí le coinneálacha garbh iasachta an AE/CAI.


Agus í ag caint i bPairlimint na hEorpa inniu dúirt an Feisire Eorpach Bairbre de Brún:

 

"Agus an IMF, an Banc Ceannais Eorpach agus an Coimisiún ag teacht isteach le coinníollacha troma is léir go mbeidh na billiúin euro de chiorruithe á dtabhairt isteach in Éirinn.Caillfear poist, beidh laghdú suntasach ar sheirbhsí poiblí, agus ardófar cáin ioncaim dóibh siúd a shaothraíonn beagán/ ar phá íseal. Coinneoidh na bainc an brabús agus is iad na bochtáin, daoine breoite, pinsinéirí agus grúpaí leochaileacha eile a bheidh thíos leis seo ar fad.

 

Ní cabhair ón Eoraip í agus, mar sin de, curifimid go tréan ina héadan seo.

 

In ionad sainordú a lorg chun na ciorruithe seo a thabhairt isteach i ndiaidh don IMF agus don AE iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar na leabhair cuntais, bheartaigh an rialtas nach mbeidh toghchán ann go dtí go mbeidh an búiséad seo achtaithe.

 

Bhí treo eile ann agus roghnaigh rialtas na hÉireann gan dul sa treo sin.Bheartaigh siad ar fheidhmiú le leas a gcairdeféin sna bainc agus chan ar mhaithe le gnáthmhuintir na hÉireann"

 

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún today rejected the IMF/EU loan and its harsh conditions saying "Europe is not bringing help to the people and we will oppose this strongly".

 

Speaking in the European Parliament today Bairbre de Brún MEP said:

 

With the IMF, the ECB and the Commission placing very tough conditions, it is clear that cuts of billions of euro will be introduced in Ireland.  Jobs will be lost, there will be a significant reduction in public services and an increase in income tax on low earners.

 

Banks will keep their profits and it is the poor, the sick, pensioners and other vulnerable groups who will bear the brunt of the austerity cuts.

 

Europe is not bringing help to the people and we will oppose this strongly.

 

Instead of seeking a mandate to bring in these savage cuts now that the IMF and EU have gone through the accounts, the government has decided that there will not be an election until this budget has already been passed.

 

There was another path, a path which the Irish government chose not to take. They chose to act for the good of their friends in the banks and not for the good of ordinary Irish people.

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Sinn Féin activists will today hold a protest on Merrion Square as the Government prepares to publish its four year plan.

Speaking ahead of the publication today Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said, “The Government has no mandate or authority to bring forward this year’s budget, never mind a budgetary plan for four year.”

The protest will take place at 12.30 today at Government Buildings.

For more information contact Shaun Tracey on 0877735218.

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Roads Minister, Conor Murphy, today announced an embargo on planned road works on major routes into Derry to facilitate Christmas traffic.

The Minister said: “This voluntary arrangement between Roads Service and the utility companies will place a temporary ban on all planned road works on the main routes into Derry, except for works which are unavoidable. The embargo period lasts from 29 November 2010 to 3 January 2011.

“This should help the travelling public during the run-up to Christmas, which is the busiest traffic period of the year and I would like to thank the utilities, who have all fully co-operated with this initiative.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor for West Belfast, Briege Brownlee, has slammed those behind a so called punishment shooting in Iveagh Parade in West Belfast describing it as reckless.


Speaking today Cllr Brownlee said:

“This shooting is wrong and completely reckless. I know the overwhelming majority of people within this area acknowledge that fact. Those behind this attack have shown no regard for the local community.

“It was carried out at a time of day when there are many school children and parents coming and going around these streets. There is a primary school literally around the corner from Iveagh Parade.

“These shootings need to stop.  They achieve nothing. There is ongoing work within these communities aimed at addressing anti social behaviour. The focus needs to be on that work. There is no excuse for gunmen, with no support in this community, stepping in, in a vain attempt to forward their own, failed agenda.” 

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Bairbre de Brún MEP has voted on a strong European Parliament position in favour of the mutual recognition of all civil documents throughout the EU, which is hugely important for same-sex couples.

Speaking from Strasbourg where attempts to significantly weaken this strong position failed, de Brún said " It is essential that same-sex couples and their families can cross borders without losing custodial rights, property rights, or the right to act as next-of-kin.

"The status of same-sex couples' marriages or civil partnerships is not mutually recognised throughout Europe. This mutual recognition needs to happen in order to protect basic rights.

" Following the vote the Commission will propose ways to allow for the effects of marriages and partnerships to be recognised across the EU.

"I hope that the position we have adopted will add impetus to the campaign for this positive step towards fighting discrimination. " CRÍOCH

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South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Member, Caitríona Ruane, has expressed her outrage and disappointment at the decision by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) not to prosecute a member of the PSNI over his alleged involvement in the 1994 Loughinisland Pub Massacre.

Ms Ruane said: “The decision by the PPS not to proceed with prosecutions, on the back of the damning inquiry into the Loughinisland massacre, is nothing short of scandalous and will come as a major blow to the families who have campaigned tirelessly for justice. I was with the families last week at a meeting with the PPS.

“The loss of life that occurred in the Height’s Bar exposed serious flaws in the RUC’s original ‘investigation’ and there is no doubt in my mind that many of the UVF gang involved in this gun attack were colluding directly with Special Branch. “The Police Ombudsman’s Report into the massacre must be published without delay and the PSNI clearly have serious questions to answer. The families of those who died on that terrible day deserve truth and justice and Sinn Féin will continue to support the families and their legal team's clearly defined strategy and in their efforts to bring closure on what was an horrendous crime.” CRÍOCH

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Speaking during a Fine Gael motion on Corporation Tax, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh accused Fine Gael and Labour of being part of the consensus for cuts and claimed that was why Fine Gael had not tabled a motion directly related to the IMF and the Budget.

He also stated that his party did not favour an increase in corporation tax as claimed by Enda Kenny.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: “James Connolly once used the phrase Ruling by Fooling. He would certainly have plenty to justify that in the midst of the comic opera farce that is the hallmark of the dying days of this Government.

“He would also perhaps be tempted to coin a new phrase. Opposition by Fooling.

“Fine Gael and indeed the Labour Party are attempting to fool the people into believing that they are outraged by the current administrations plans to savage the Irish people in the interests of their banker and speculator friends. In fact they have accepted the timetable for reducing the deficit and have also accepted the need for massive cutbacks which will be borne by the ordinary people of this state.

“They may argue about whether the cuts should be of the order of €6 billion or merely €4.5 billion. They may express outrage at the IMF having being handed over control of the country’s finances. They may castigate the Government which has been responsible for that.

“But when the smoke clears they have themselves signed up to the consensus for cuts. They have also expressed their willingness to act as the executive arm of the IMF and whatever theatre is being acted out between them is merely to do with which party will have the biggest numbers in the coalition that will administer those cuts when the present sorry bunch shuffle off the stage.

“It is also perhaps puzzling that in the midst of the current turmoil, with inspired leaks hinting at what the Budget has in store for us, that Fine Gael should hone in on the issue of Corporation Tax.

“We are being told that the minimum wage will be reduced, that people’s homes will be taxed, that we will have to pay for water, that social welfare payments will be cut, that thousands of public servants will be thrown onto the dole.

“You might imagine that Fine Gael might regard these as issues of concern. Certainly most people do. But then to do so would be hypocritical seen as that they have already indicated that they will do the same things or something similar or even worse themselves.

“In relation to the issue of taxation or any other aspect of domestic economic policy my party will not accept being dictated to by the IMF or the EU, and that includes not being forced to increase the rate of corporation tax.

“Indeed we are the only party that is consistent on that as we are the only party in this house that is not willing to implement anything the IMF tells us.

“We are also the only party in this House which opposed the Lisbon Treaty which of course surrendered further control over this state to Brussels although in fairness that appears almost irrelevant in the context of the current abject surrender to the IMF.

“So is Fine Gael telling us that it is acceptable for the IMF and the EU to tell us to sack thousands of workers or sell off state assets but not to raise corporation tax? Clearly they are. Does the Labour Party agree with them on that and if not how will they resolve that if and when on the other side of this House. Or will they use the excuse that they have been placed in a strait jacket and have no choice but to do beastly things to the people who elected them.

“We oppose all diktats from the IMF and Brussels, whether that has to do with destroying our public services or raising corporation tax. In that we are at least consistent.

“Indeed so far as I am aware no party here currently advocates raising the rate of corporation tax. Why then waste time in the middle of an unprecedented economic calamity to have us all say what everyone knows already?”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhhgín Ó Caoláin has said his party would be the only alternative to the Consensus for Cuts in the forthcoming General Election. He called for an immediate election before Fianna Fáil and the Greens impose a savage budget. He also challenged Fine Gael and Labour on their attitude to the budget.

He said:

“We are being asked to carry on as normal in a Dáil with a Taoiseach and a Cabinet who haven’t a shred of credibility or political authority left. We have a Coalition Government in which one partner has expressed no confidence in the other and has given notice to quit.

“The Government is to put the State further in hock to international money-lenders. The cost is to be savage with widespread cutbacks that will plunge large sections of the Irish people into poverty.

“If the cuts are not savage enough for the IMF and the EU they will be deepened further.

“Already the IMF has made clear that it will be looking for the lowering of the minimum wage and the cutting of social welfare payments for the unemployed. This is totally in line, of course, with the Fianna Fáil/Green Government thinking - hit the lower paid, hit the poor, drive the unemployed further into despair.

“And what of Fine Gael? Is it the case that they will be happy to see a savage Budget passed by Fianna Fáil, the Greens and, if they are lucky, their so-called Independent supporters? Is Fine Gael banking on a passed budget, Fianna Fáil taking the blame in the election, Fine Gael sailing into Government and then fully implementing the self-same budget?

“Does Fine Gael know what it wants? Yesterday Deputy James Reilly was calling for an immediate General Election. Today at Leaders’ Questions Deputy Kenny called for the Fianna Fail/Green Government to remain in office to bring in a budget next week.

“Will Labour do as Deputy Eamon Gilmore indicated last Friday on the Late Late Show and refuse to reverse the cuts in such a Budget?

“This is a travesty of democracy. There needs to be an immediate General Election. Sinn Féin will continue to press relentlessly for that and we will vehemently oppose a budget that will drive large sections of the Irish people into poverty and delay economic recovery for years.

“The forthcoming General Election will be one of the most important ever held. Sinn Féin will be standing as the only real alternative to the Consensus for Cuts and we are confident that our message is striking a chord with the Irish people.” ENDS

Full text follows:

Statements on Euro-Group Finance Ministers’ Meeting 23.11.10

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin Dáil leader

The debate we should be having this evening is not this one but a debate on the motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach tabled by the Sinn Féin Deputies. We are being asked to carry on as normal in a Dáil with a Taoiseach and a Cabinet who haven’t a shred of credibility or political authority left. We have a Coalition Government in which one partner has expressed no confidence in the other and has given notice to quit.

The subject of these Statements - the Euro-Group Finance Ministers Meeting last Sunday – was but one of the steps taken in the past week to sell out what remains of the economic sovereignty of this State.

For over a week this Government tried to deceive the Irish people about the imminent arrival of the International Monetary Fund to take control of our economy. The Fianna Fáil/Green Government took the people for fools but they were found out. The Central Bank Governor Patrick Holohan had to go on radio last Thursday to bring the deception to an end.

Then on Sunday the Government finally admitted the truth when the Minister for Finance's announcement confirmed what had been denied – that the Government was to put the State further in hock to international money-lenders. The cost is to be savage with widespread cutbacks that will plunge large sections of the Irish people into poverty.

Make no mistake, if the cuts are not savage enough for the IMF and the EU they will be deepened further. Social supports, public services and jobs will be devastated if this proceeds.

Fianna Fáil, the so-called republican party, having squandered the people's money, has now sold out the remnants of Irish sovereignty in order to continue bailing out the banks.

IMF intervention was brought about directly by the scandalous policies of this Government. An EU/IMF bail-out will not be a bail-out for the Irish people. It will be a further bail-out for the banks but the Irish people will have to pay the price.

This will represent a loss of control over our economy with implications far beyond the 12.5% corporation tax rate. While the media have focussed on this, the reality is that the IMF dictates policy across a whole range of areas. This will mean even more savage cuts to health and education, public service jobs and social welfare as well as tax increases for the lower paid and the selling off of State assets.

Already the IMF has made clear that it will be looking for the lowering of the minimum wage and the cutting of social welfare payments for the unemployed. This is totally in line, of course, with the Fianna Fáil/Green Government thinking - hit the lower paid, hit the poor, drive the unemployed further into despair.

And what of Fine Gael? Is it the case that they will be happy to see a savage Budget passed by Fianna Fáil, the Greens and, if they are lucky, their so-called Independent supporters? Is Fine Gael banking on a passed budget, Fianna Fáil taking the blame in the election, Fine Gael sailing into Government and then fully implementing the self-same budget?

Does Fine Gael know what it wants? Yesterday Deputy James Reilly was calling for an immediate General Election. Today at Leaders’ Questions Deputy Kenny called for the Fianna Fail/Green Government to remain in office to bring in a budget next week.
Will Labour do as Deputy Eamon Gilmore indicated last Friday on the Late Late Show and refuse to reverse the cuts in such a Budget?

The great tragedy is this need not have happened.

We need not be facing a savage budget or an IMF intervention.

If the Government had burned the bondholders, set up a State bank and pursued a real plan for economic recovery there would be no call for any such bailout.

It can still be avoided. Such a real recovery plan has been put forward by Sinn Féin. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has put forward similar proposals. So have individual unions, as well as community and voluntary organisations and many individual economists.

Instead Fianna Fáil and the Greens are about to bring us down the road of so many countries where the IMF has dictated policy such as:

· Latvia where there was a 30% cut in public service jobs and 17 hospitals closed
· Greece with massive wage cuts and job losses and riots on the streets
· Iceland with savage cuts in health spending, widespread repossessions and evictions
· Ukraine with closed hospitals, pension cuts and unemployment doubled.

We in Sinn Féin warned earlier this year about what was to happen. In Statements on the European Council meeting here in the Dáil last July, my colleague Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

“This Government has also tied the State to the EU's blind determination to protect the euro which means participating in the bail-out of Greece when our deficit exceeds that of Greece. In a few months' time we could have the potential situation where Greece is asked to bail out the Irish economy. This shows the ludicrous nature of what is being discussed and imposed upon us. It means partaking of a new loan facility fund, despite the demands that fund can put on a state if it avails of those finances.

“The EU is becoming the IMF and this Government is signing up wholeheartedly to it, up to the point of agreeing that Brussels should have sight of and commentary on our sovereign budgets in advance of them being put to the national Parliament. This is an insult to this House and an insult to the budgetary process which has gone through the Oireachtas quite well for a number of years. The Government is signing up to an interference from outside in our affairs. That amounts to a loss of sovereignty.”

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Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has welcomed the new accommodation provided for St Dominic’s High School, Belfast.

The Minister was speaking at the official opening, which was performed by President Mary McAleese. Minister Ruane said: “This new accommodation for St Dominic’s is an example of what can be achieved with vision, foresight and hard work. It provides a wonderful environment in which the pupils can learn and prepare for their futures. I wish everyone associated with the school every success in their education and chosen careers.

“This school and the community it serves have the right to modern, educational facilities and are absolutely entitled to the allocated funding. As Education Minister, I recognise and defend that right. However, the right to draw down large amounts of public investment carries with it responsibilities, including the responsibility to play a full and willing part in meeting the needs of all children in this community, not just the academically gifted and able.

"The Catholic Bishops have made clear their commitment to the ending of academic selection. Academic selection is a failed system, socially and educationally. It creates and sustains injustice and inequality. It is fundamentally immoral. It has no place in a modern, progressive and enlightened society. In truth, state sponsored academic selection was in fact, academic rejection for the majority of our children. Who can credibly defend or be part of a system that condemns the majority of our children as failures?

“As educationalists, we must reject absolutely and irreversibly the notion that any child is a failure. I would encourage everyone involved in the education of our children to adopt modern approaches which mirror the magnificent, new and modern facilities that we are here today to celebrate.

"All our children have individual strengths, abilities and talents which need to be encouraged and developed. All children must be cherished equally.

“St Dominic’s High School is now fully equipped to enable it to deliver the curriculum and meet the needs of its pupils for many years to come. Over recent years St Dominic’s and many other schools have received enormous amounts of public money. There can be no doubt that we are now in a very difficult financial climate. I and my Executive colleagues will face difficult decisions over the coming months and years.

“My priority will be to protect front-line services as far as possible and to continue with the schools modernisation programme in a situation where we do not know what resources will be available in coming years. I will continue to press the case for much needed capital investment that is required to modernise the schools estate.”

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described comments from EU Commissioner Ollie Rehn today as scaremongering similar to what went on during the second Lisbon referendum.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the most important thing for Ireland at this time is that a general election be held immediately to allow for a stable government to bring in a budget and plot a new way forward.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The comments from Ollie Rehn today are nothing more than scaremongering similar to what went on during the second Lisbon referendum when we were told that the sky would fall in if we didn’t vote for the Lisbon Treaty.

“The Lisbon Treaty was passed after much scaremongering from EU officials with the help of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, The Labour Party and the Greens and look where we have ended up.

“People should no longer be influenced by the scaremongering of these parties or of unelected official in the EU.

“The most important thing for Ireland at this time is that a general election be held immediately to allow for a stable government to bring in a budget and plot a new way forward.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said it is unacceptable that Brian Cowen would seek to push ahead with a budget and a four year plan before dissolving the Dáil and calling a general election.

Mr Adams commended his party’s TDs for tabling a motion of no confidence in Brian Cowen and called on all members of the Dáil from across the political divide to support the motion.

Speaking from Donegal South West where he is canvassing with Senator Pearse Doherty, Mr Adams said:

“What Brian Cowen is seeking to do is simply undemocratic. He is denying the people their say in how we proceed.

“It is unacceptable that he would seek to push ahead with the budget and a four year plan before a general election.

“The people no longer have any confidence in Brian Cowen and I commend the Sinn Féin TDs for tabling a motion of no confidence in him today.

“All members of the Dáil from across the political divide should support this motion.

“The Taoiseach should publish his four year plan, suspend the budget and call a general election now.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast and member of the Social Development Committee at Stormont, Carál Ní Chuilín has called for Alex Attwood as Minister for Social development to ensure that Neighbourhood Renewal will be included in his budget beyond March 2011.

This follows a protest held today at Stormont by a number of community groups who will be directly and adversely affected by the removal of funding under this scheme in March 2011 which was supported by Sinn Féin.
 
 Speaking following the protest Ms Ní Chuilín said:
 

"The Neighbourhood Renewal programme has become a key element on service provision in many of our most deprived communities. The delivery of childcare, health and education schemes, and countless other frontline services however is under threat due to funding realities.

 
"These are funding realities that can be addressed. As this cycle of funding comes to a close in March there is an onus on the main funding body, the department of Social Development and the Minister, Alex Attwood, to step up to the mark and save these essential frontline services.
 
"These are services that operate within these communities, on their doorstep and are some of the most accessible for those who are in need of them.
 
"What Alex Atwood as Minister must do now is to ensure that Neighbourhood Renewal will be included in his budget beyond March 2011. To do any less will be depriving communities of much needed and utilised services.”

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The four Sinn Féin TDs have tabled a motion of no confidence in An Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on all those in the Dáil opposed to Brian Cowen's leadership to vote no confidence in him.

He said:

“This Dáil should have been dissolved by the Taoiseach last night. Brian Cowen no longer commands a majority in the Dáil. He should now put the issue to the test and allow a vote on the motion of no confidence which has been tabled by the four Sinn Féin deputies.

“Are we to continue with this charade which is an insult to the Irish people? They are being denied a democratic choice because Fianna Fáil and the Greens want to put the people in the straitjacket of a savage and regressive budget, a four-year plan and an IMF/EU loan BEFORE a General Election. Brian Cowen and his Government should go and go now.” ENDS

Motion:

That Dáil Éireann has no confidence in An Taoiseach Brian Cowen who has misled and betrayed the Irish people, as admitted by his Green Party coalition partners, and who leads a Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government which has totally mismanaged the economy and sold our sovereignty to the IMF and EU. - Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Martin Ferris, Arthur Morgan.

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has accused An Taoiseach Brian Cowen of clinging to power against the wishes of the people. Speaking after Brian Cowen made his announcement this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the Government has no mandate to bring in a budget or to negotiate with the EU and the IMF on behalf of the Irish people.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“We are now in the bizarre situation in which both coalition parties have signalled an end to this Government but want to continue on making critically important decisions on behalf of the people.

“Brian Cowen is clinging to power against the wishes of the people. He has once again denied the people the general election they are demanding and which is so badly needed.

“All parties should put forward their ideas for our economy and how we should proceed from here and the people, in a general election, should decide the best way forward.” ENDS

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Commenting on the announcement of the Taoiseach that he is to try to introduce a Budget, the four-year plan and the IMF/EU deal before dissolving the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caolain said:

“A fatally wounded Taoiseach now wants to drag the country down with him and with Fianna Fail and the Greens.

“We have the extraordinary sight of one Coalition partner - the Greens - claiming to have no confidence in Fianna Fail and then agreeing to pass a savage budget and to sell out the people to the IMF.

“Fianna Fáil and the Greens want to deal further grievous blows to the Irish economy before they face election melt-down. We have had three years of slash and burn budgets and they have worsened the recession. Now we are being asked to accept a further four years of this economic madness.

“Today's events are a travesty of democracy. There needs to be an immediate General Election.

“Sinn Fein will continue to press relentlessly for that and we will vehemently oppose a budget that will drive large sections of the Irish people into poverty and delay economic recovery for years.” ENDS

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Following the Taoiseach’s statement this evening, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said he flatly contradicted the Taoiseach’s assertion that the imperative was to get the Budget passed.

He called for a General Election now to allow the people to have their say.

Gerry Adams said:

“I totally disagree with the Taoiseach’s assertion that the imperative is to get the Budget passed.

“The Budget should be suspended.

“The Taoiseach should call an election now and put his proposals before the electorate alongside all the other parties who can also put forward their budgetary proposals.

“In this way citizens can have a say and a new Government can be mandated to proceed as the people decide.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle, Martina Anderson, has spoke of the pressing need to address the shortfall in funding of domiciliary care and to protect and enhance current provision in order to deal with the changing demographics of our population.

Speaking before a Sinn Féin motion in the Assembly today dealing with this matter Ms Anderson said:

“The domiciliary care sector is under growing pressure, a pressure that will undoubtedly get bigger as the demographic within the north of Ireland change, with a substantial increase in the numbers of people requiring these services.

“According to the census figures, there has been an increase in almost 30 percent in the number of over 65’s in the western trust area alone over the last decade. By 2017 that number is expected to rise by over 50 percent while the number of over 85’s is expected to increase by more than 80 percent.

“The Western Trust however face a major shortfall in the domiciliary care budget which is leading to severe difficulties in the service.

“This I am sure will be mirrored in each and every other area.

“It is clear that current provision is leading to a false economy.  It costs much more to keep someone in hospital, which is the inevitable result of a lack in domiciliary care than it does to pay for one hour home care through the day

“Evidence also suggests that reductions in the provision of social care can have a knock on effect of increasing demand for other health services, especially emergency care.

“Making the shift towards a greater focus on social care and prevention requires long-term political commitment and a fundamental shift in the way the health service works. Domiciliary care provisions must support the person with dignity and enable them to live their life independently and in the way that they choose.

“The stark fact is that the social care system is now effectively in crisis, with older people struggling trying to get home care package’s and those who are in receipt of services are having them withdrawn is unacceptable. This needs to be urgently addressed and an effective and realistic strategy needs to be forthcoming in order to provide the necessary reassurance for elderly members of our communities.”

Note to editor:

The motion reads:

That this Assembly notes the challenges posed by the changing demographics; and calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to ensure that there is adequate investment in domiciliary care to meet the current and future needs of an ageing population.

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, has called for anyone with any information on the death of a 55 year old man, Seamus Holland, at the weekend to bring that information forward.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

“The death of Seamus Holland is now being treated as a murder inquiry.  Our thoughts are with Mr Hollands family at this time. We have met with some of the family members and they are shocked and devastated. 


“It is important that anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant they think it is, should bring it forward.

“This is a tragic incident but it essential that those responsible are apprehended and taken off our streets.”

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