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Team Sinn Féin - Putting Ireland First

The largest gathering of Sinn Féin candidates in the history of the party took place in Drogheda, 350 local council election candidates contesting seats across all 42 councils in the 32 counties of Ireland joined with Sinn Féin's 4 EU election candidates for a final strategic planning day with the party leadership before the local council and EU elections on the 22nd May in the 6 Counties and the 23rd May in the 26 Counties.

Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



Nuacht

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín TD has expressed his disbelief that Enterprise Ireland has under spent €21.5 million targeted at business start ups and support.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Yesterday we raised concerns that the under spend in Enterprise Ireland was €12 million. Today the government has released shocking new figures that reveal the under spend was actually €21.5 million.

“Small businesses and medium sized enterprises are complaining to me on a regular basis that they are being told by Enterprise Ireland that there is no money. There is obviously a complete disconnect between the demand that we see on the ground for funding and the decisions of the government

“Richard Bruton will be taking €10 million of this under spend to bailout the hole in the IDA property portfolio. This means that money originally provided for job creation and enterprise creation will now be spent on non-productive activities that won’t create a single job.

“At this time of crisis unemployment and enterprise funds need to be prioritised towards job creation.

“Also it is notable that no money has been given to the struggling Údarás na Gaeltachta. When I questioned the minister today about this he said that he was not responsible for Údarás na Gaeltachta. When I questioned the Minister for the Gaeltacht last week he said that he was unaware that these funds were unavailable. It seems that the Gaeltacht is yet another victim of this government’s failure to put in place a comprehensive jobs plan.”

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Ireland risks losing an entire generation to emigration if we do not act, Sinn Féin senator, David Cullinane has warned.

Speaking in the Seanad today (30 November 2011), Senator Cullinane said:

“Tens of thousands of people will emigrate over coming years. Next year 40,000 people are expected to emigrate, on top of the 35,000 people who will have emigrated by the end of this year. It will touch every community in the country, and my fear is that if emigration continues at this pace, we risk losing the best part of a generation.

“Unemployment can be attributed to many things and we have seen the government abdicate its own responsibility and point to the on-going Eurozone crisis and the uncertainty that has created.

“There is no mistaking the lethargy of the government on job creation.

“The “Jobs Budget” was a derisory effort and we have seen cutbacks in many capital projects that are needed to get people back to work."

“There are options for the government. It is a question of political choices. It can choose to cut services and social welfare, taking money out of the economy and hampering local economic activity or it can choose to invest in a stimulus package to create employment.

“However, my fear is that it has cynically decided that the increase in emigration figures will mitigate the appalling unemployment figures and that the government is simply not worried about the issue of emigration. Our people, and especially our young people who are leaving in such numbers, deserve better.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has urged the government to reconsider its opposition to his party’s private members’ motion on child benefit and social welfare rates in response to the annual poverty statistics which were published this morning by the CSO.

Ó Snodaigh said, "Every measure of poverty and inequality is rising. This was the wholly predictable outcome of the budgetary approach adopted by the Fianna Fáil government.  Between 2007 and 2010 the numbers of people experiencing enforced deprivation has doubled from 11 per cent to 22 per cent.  These are people going without at least two basic essentials such as a warm and waterproof coat or one substantial meal each day.  This is a direct consequence of that government's decision to cut social welfare spending year on year rather than target the assets and high incomes of the wealthy.

“The current government has some basic choices to make.  It can follow the approach taken by the previous government and seek to balance the deficit by cutting spending and imposing flat rate stealth taxes the result of which will be to push even more people into poverty.  Or they can focus their efforts on the incomes and wealth of high earners instead.  Sinn Féin's pre-budget submission presents a range of policy options all of which would reduce the deficit while also reducing poverty and inequality

“The size of the disposable incomes of those at the top relative to incomes at the bottom has increased further between 2009 and 2010.  This further demonstrates the potential for revenue to be raised via taxes targeting high earners and wealth specifically.

“The number of children deprived of very basic essential has risen substantially from 23.5% in 2009 to 30.2% in 2010.  This form of child poverty is the focus of a Sinn Féin private members motion defending child benefit and social welfare rates which is being debated in the Dáil this week.  In light of these latest figures, I would urge government TDs to reconsider their rejection of our motion.” ENDS

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Commenting on the HSE’s refusal to pay valid travel expenses for its workers, many of them providing home help and other care services for older people in rural areas, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“The Minister for Health James Reilly has frequently stated that the HSE as we know it will be abolished and that he is taking a hands-on approach.

“Yet the Minister seems powerless to act to over-turn the HSE decision to withhold valid travel expenses due to HSE workers who provide home help services and other vital community care services, especially for older people in rural areas.

“The Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform have both criticised the decision of the HSE.

“Who is in charge if the HSE can do this despite Ministerial objections?”

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Speaking on the ERSI Quarterly Economic Commentary Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Peadar Tóibín TD said:

“It is becoming clear that this government does not have a comprehensive plan for economic growth or job creation. They appear to bounce from one crisis to the next.

“The forecast by ERSI contradicts the government spin and has raised the spector of 20% unemployment.

“The government has set aside the national interest, has set aside the needs of our people and relegated the state to the side lines of the EU. Their policies are failing.

“This government is now considering a budget that will increase VAT and cut investment.  This will only increase unemployment and emigration.

“Another way is possible, and this government must begin to consider the alternative approaches that deliver for our people and will deliver for Europe. They must end the policy of handing our wealth to bond holders in bailed banks.

“The government must put in place the policies and investments that will create employment.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe, has urged people to support the week of action that has been organised by teaching trade unions who are attempting to protect education from further cuts in next week’s budget.
Deputy Crowe said: “From the 28th – to the 2nd of December the IFUT, INTO and TUI have organised a campaign to protect education from budget cuts that would cause further significant damage to our education system.
“Since the 2009 Budget, there have been cuts to the per-capita grant and other grants to schools. Any further reduction of the education budget will push many schools to beyond breaking point and there is growing alarm at what is happening.
“Increases to the teacher-pupil ratio have already had serious implications for schools throughout this state. For every teacher lost 33 timetabled classes will have to go and already schools are being forced to re-organise which will mean subjects being dropped from the curriculum.
“Any further increases to the teacher-pupil ratio mean non main-stream subjects, such as German, music, art-craft-design, and design and technical graphics will be unavailable in many schools and added to this will be the damage done to non-mainstream programmes such as the Leaving Certificate Applied. We will be left with a diminished classroom learning environment where teachers are forced to devote more time to management duties and less on teaching.
“If the speculation is correct, anywhere between 1500 and 2000 teaching jobs are at risk. Our education system will be unable to absorb these loses. I would urge people to support the Trade Unions' Week of Action and make clear to Government TDs that they should honour their pre-election promises and protect our education system.
“Sinn Féin’s pre-budget proposals put forward thoroughly costed alternatives to the government’s slash and burn polices and we have shown how it is possible to sustain and enhance our education system. Education is fundamentally important to our future economic prosperity, a point that has been emphasised again and again by parents, teachers, economists and business leaders. Investing in our education system, even in these dark economic times, will benefit our society for generations. The opposite is also true, and if this government continues along its current path then we face a very bleak future.”
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Today the government refused a Sinn Féin request to discuss how €12 million that should have been directed to support indigenous industries has gone unspent and instead transferred across to support Foreign Direct Investment by the IDA.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín said:

“The government today moved supplementary estimates for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. These came about because of an under spend of €12 million by Enterprise Ireland.

“At this time of crisis in our economy it is beyond belief that the agency responsible for supporting local industry is handing money back.

“Local businesses are experiencing severe problems in accessing credit, entering export markets and enhancing competitiveness. They are crying out for support and access to resources and yet we find that Enterprise Ireland can’t spend the money they have.

“It is clear that the foundation block for sustainable economic recovery is local indigenous industries.

“The government needs to explain why funds are failing to reach our local industries and are instead being channelled to support large multinationals.

“Consideration should also have been given to channelling resources into Udarás na Gaeltachta or county enterprise boards to ensure support is given to local industries.”

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