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Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language derogation in the the European Parliament while on language strike in Brussels.

The Minister has acknowledged the negative impact of zero hour contracts for workers, yet his proposals to address this are totally inadequate.  Sinn Féin's position on zero hour contracts is that they should be banned.

Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has welcomed the climb down from Minister Michael Noonan on the introduction of a Mortgage Insurance scheme. The dropping of the proposal was confirmed to Deputy Doherty in a parliamentary reply.



Sinn Féin MLA, Pat Sheehan, has called on the Spanish Government to show humanitarian compassion in the case of terminally ill Basque political prisoner, Iosu Uribetxeberria. Mr Urietxeberria was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and has now embarked on a hunger strike to highlight his case.

Mr Sheehan said:

"For some time Basques have been involved in a process aimed at bringing about an entirely peaceful resolution to the Basque conflict. Peaceful conditions and a permanent ceasefire by the Basque organisation ETA have been secured. These are significant steps.

"Large numbers of Basque prisoners are held in Spanish and French prisons. Iosu Uribetxeberria was diagnosed in 2005 with cancer in both the lungs and brain. He is terminally ill. Spanish law allows for terminally ill prisoners to be released on compassionate grounds. Yet the Spanish government have refused to move in this case.

"Mr Uribetxeberria has now embarked on a hunger strike to highlight his case. It is crucial that the Spanish government show some basic humanitarian compassion in this case and move to release this man into the care of his family."

Note to editors:
In October 2011 a conference was held in Donostia, San Sebastian, entitled 'International conference to promote the resolution of the conflict in the Basque country'. The event was organised by a range of groups including the Basque Citizen Network for Agreement and Consultation, Lokarri, Contact Group (GIC) led by South African lawyer Brian Currin and four other foundations.
The international participants who contributed to this conference were; Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern; Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams; former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell; former French Defence and Interior Minister, Pierre Joxe; and Gro Harland Bruntland, a former Norwegian Prime Minister.
Their role was to speak on the process of conflict resolution, it's difficulties and hopes and to agree a 'Declaration' which would set out their view of how the process of peace in the Basque country could be advanced.


Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe believes the reduction of rent allowances by the Department of Social Protection is forcing tenants to break contracts with landlords leading to the loss of thousands of Euro in rental deposits.
It emerged this week that over €30 million in non returned deposits is missing. Deputy Crowe has called for an investigation to be carried out as matter of urgency.
Deputy Crowe said: “An estimated 98,000 people are in receipt of Rent Allowance in Ireland, including those on lone parents, low income families and the elderly.
“The decision by the government to cut the rent supplement by €22bn has resulted in serious difficulties forcing many tenants to break their rental contracts with landlords.
“Traditionally, some deposits were paid by loans from family or friends or even by groups like the St Vincent De Paul or the state.
With this avenue closed some are now turning to illegal moneylenders.

“The news this week of an expected loss of an estimated €30 million in unreturned rental deposits is an even more bizarre element that has been added to the housing rental debate.

“The departments of Social Protection and Finance are not even asking where over €30 million of taxpayers’ money has gone. This is scandal that needs urgent and detailed investigation.
"As a member of the Dáil Committee that covers Social Protection I will call for an overhaul of the current system and assurances that taxpayers hard-earned money is accounted for adequately and that tenants are protected from losing deposits and finding themselves unable to seek alternative accommodation as a result.”


Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said this morning’s Apprentice Boys’ parade through the nationalist areas of Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales highlighted the absurdity of such parades.

The North Belfast MLA said:

“The Apprentice Boys’ parade is in Derry but this parade actually goes in the opposite direction to march through the nationalist areas of Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales before boarding a bus to head back the other way. This is the absurdity of such a parade and to nationalists it looks like nothing more than a coat-trailing exercise.

“Thankfully this morning’s parade passed off peacefully. The Loyal Orders need to step up to the mark and engage with local residents on a face to face basis if we are to resolve these small number of contentious parades.”


Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill MLA, the Northern agriculture minister, will attend the Tullamore Show in Offaly this weekend.

She will arrive in time for the opening ceremony on Sunday at 1pm and will spend time at the Sinn Féin stand before visiting other exhibits and meeting local people.

“I was here last year and it was a really positive experience. I got such a welcome and had such good discussions with local farm people and those involved in all sorts of agri-business,” she said.

Local TD, Brian Stanley will be on hand to introduce his party colleague from the six counties along with Sinn Féin agricultural spokesperson Micheal Colreavy TD from Sligo, Martin Ferris TD from Kerry and Senator Trevor OClochartaigh, from Connemara who are continuing their tour of the country, meeting rural communities and consulting locals on agricultural policy.



The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD has called on the government to establish an independent evaluation of Coillte assets. Deputy Ferris said that this was vital given the increasing signs that forestry and land assets under Coillte’s control are going to be part of the sale of state assets.

Deputy Ferris said: “The government has rapidly moved from a position where both Fine Gael and Labour were promising not to sell off forestry assets to one where this is now being spoken of as a done deal. Just two weeks ago Coillte CEO David Gunning said that he accepted that Coillte was part of the plan to realise at least €3 billion from such a sale.

“As part of that, Coillte assets are apparently being valued in preparation. Given the huge value of those assets and the greater potential that exists in the future from forestry, renewable energy and other activities on currently owned state lands it is vital that the Irish people, who are the actual owners of those assets know the value of what is being proposed to be sold.

“It is also known that Coillte has commissioned geological surveys but they have never been released. Will it be the case then that Coillte lands are sold to private companies on the basis that they have been told of the extent of what may lie under publicly owned lands, as with the gas in the Lough Allen basin?.

“It is my belief that the public would strenuously oppose any proposed sale or lease of Coillte lands if there was a public debate on their actual and potential future value to this country.”



Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe TD, met yesterday with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a member of the Melkites, which is one of the main Christian communities in Syria. She said the conflict as not simple as it is being portrayed by elements of international media.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“It is good to hear from an independent Syrian voice with a perspective that we are not hearing from international media. The situation in that country is clearly very complex and the simplistic scenario of “bad government, good rebels” does not reflect its reality.

“Any analysis of the war in Syria needs to take account of the position of civilian the population and minority groups who are caught in the middle of this war.”

The meeting with Mother Agnes took place in Leinster House. She is visiting Dublin and Belfast this week to give an eyewitness report on the Syrian crisis and to emphasise the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

Deputy Crowe said: "The Irish Government needs to arrange aid and support for the civilian population who are suffering greatly in this conflict. It can play a role in helping the Syrian people by helping broker a peaceful settlement to a conflict that is in danger of spiralling out of control and they should give every possible support to the reconciliation efforts of people like Mother Agnes Mariam."

Caption for photo: Deputy Seán Crowe is pictured at Leinster House with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, Alan Lonergan and Philipo Pilato, a freelance Italian journalist based in Ireland


North Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Conor Maskey said Paddy Barnes is the pride of North Belfast after a battling display in his semi final saw him lose out by the narrowest of margins on a countback after the bout ended in a draw.

Conor Maskey said:

“Losing on such a narrow margin must have been heart-breaking for Paddy but he is still coming home with a bronze medal and is the first Irish boxer to win two consecutive Olympic medals.

“It was a fantastic display by Paddy today and not only is the whole of Ireland proud of him but especially his many friends, neighbours and supporters in North Belfast. Paddy was the true sportsman after the fight and I’m sure he will go on to bring more pride to his native city and Ireland in the years ahead.

“We wish Michael Conlan all the best in his semi final bout tonight and congratulate John Joe Nevin on his stunning victory to reach the final. Boxing has again led the way for Ireland at the Olympics.

“After a week in which North Belfast and other parts of the city were in the news for all the wrong reasons Paddy and Michael Conlan have shown Belfast’s positive side and brought great pride to their city and Ireland.”


Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has written to several government departments today and statutory agencies calling for a joined-up approach to help tackle the issue of the 8th August bonfires and the disorder, violence and destruction that goes along with them.

The West Belfast MLA said:

“The bonfire on 8th August has become a nightmare for local residents. Sinn Féin along with community representatives have been to the fore in trying to ensure these fires are a thing of the past and many of our members have suffered as a result of standing up to those who encourage these fires, disorder and vandalism for their own purposes.

“We have met with young people, the community sector and statutory authorities including the PSNI to assist with this. Unfortunately I have been disappointed in some of the responses when departments and organisations responsible for the land have refused to clear the bonfire material as it has started to gather.

“The bonfires happen at the height of the summer when most young people are off school and we have a responsibility to offer an alternative. Many communities have already begun this by organising diversionary activities but this can only work if done as part of an overall strategy.

“There needs to be a joined-up approach with all the agencies co-operating to ensure these same problems do not occur next year. In the coming weeks I will be seeking to have meetings with the relevant bodies and departments so that we can set in motion a process to finally put an end these fires.”


Sinn Féin Tourism Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has said thatprovisional figures released by DETI showing a drop of 5% in overseas visitornumbers and a 16% drop in expenditure by tourists is a clear indication thatthe 'Our Time Our Place' campaign, which has a fund of £4.7 million, is notdelivering.

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA, who is the Deputy Chair ofthe Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committees said:

“The provisionalresults from the first half of this year indicate a significant drop of 5% inthe number of overseas visitors coming to the north of Ireland compared withthe 2011 figures.

“Alongside this,there has also been a more substantial fall of 16% in the level of expenditureby overseas visitors for the first six months of 2012 compared with the sameperiod of 2011.

“This is a clearindicator that despite the considerable sum of £4.7 million being set asidesolely to market the Our Time, Our Place campaign, it is not delivering aswell as it should be.

“While there are veryclearly global economic factors in the mix, there needs to be a sea change inhow tourism promotion takes place.

“The continuingpolicy of marketing the north of Ireland as a complete separate entity to therest of the island is not working and is proving to be a major obstacle foreconomic growth within tourism.

"Having three bodies promoting tourism is not working.We need to remove the duplication that exists and move to a system where asingle body is charged with the promotion of tourism on an all-island basis.

“The development ofthe Titanic Building and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre is clearly havinga positive impact in some quarters, but it is not having the impact that wasanticipated on headline visitor numbers or expenditure so we need to ensure thatother aspects of our tourism product are promoted for all to see.”


Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels


Mary Lou McDonald TD, Cllr Catherine Seeley & Francie Molloy MP