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Vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in Carlow Kilkenny by-election

Watch and Share this video calling on people to vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in the May 22nd Carlow Kilkenny by-election to replace Fine Gael's former Minister for Irish Water – Phil Hogan.

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.


Speaking before the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meeting in Kilkenny City, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said,

“I'm concerned that the Taoiseach...



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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has this evening called on the Government to recognise the urgency of legislating for the X case to give legal protection and clarity to pregnant women and their doctors.

Deputy McDonald said:
“It is seven months since we last debated legislation to give effect to the 1992 Supreme Court ruling on the X case. Sinn Féin supported the passage to committee of that legislation tabled by Deputy Clare Daly last April. We will again tonight support this bill to go forward to committee.

“We take this position because we recognise the urgency of legislating to give legal protection and clarity to pregnant women and their doctors. We take this position because the inertia and negligence of successive governments on this issue –a basic issue of protecting pregnant women’s lives - must be ended.

“The Expert Group report sets out options for action by government. While it does not make an explicit recommendation, it does make clear that legislation is necessary

“It is worth stating clearly that the circumstances in which a woman may lawfully obtain a termination of pregnancy in this state are very restrictive. The judgement of the Supreme Court in 1992 ruled that only where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of a woman might a termination be lawful.

“In other words the pregnant woman must be at real and substantial risk of death and there must be no other means of saving her life – those are the tests to be applied for a termination to be lawful. The X case ruling - and legislation arising from it - is not a formula for a liberal abortion regime.

“It is not a prescription for what is termed ‘abortion on demand’, far from it. Any attempt to describe it as such deliberately ignores and distorts the constitutional and legal realities. Some have said that they fear the inclusion of suicide as grounds for obtaining a legal termination of pregnancy.

“The X case ruling arose because of a real and substantial risk of death by suicide to a teenage girl who became pregnant after being raped. It is important to be precise in respect of the‘suicide threat’ and how the court found on this matter.

“The Court ruled that where the threat of suicide posed a real and substantial risk to the life of the woman and where no other intervention could save that woman’s (or child’s in the case of X) life, then a termination of pregnancy is lawful.

“This is not a prescription for what some have, very inaccurately, described as ‘abortion on mental health grounds’. To suggest that legislation for X is a slippery slope to an open ended liberal abortion regime is just wrong.

“Abortion is a long running and by times divisive issue across Irish society. The sincerely held differences of view are not likely to be reconciled any time soon. That difference and debate can be accommodated in a democratic society. Nobody should fear it.

“But the extension of where abortion might be permissible is not the current subject of debate. What we are dealing with is a Bill that seeks only to give legislative expression to that which is already lawful.

“The abject failure of government and the Dáil to respond to the Supreme Court judgement of twenty years ago, to leave a legal vacuum, to be so cavalier in respect of women’s lives –these are things that cannot and must not be tolerated.

“Clare Daly’s Bill has deficiencies however the necessary changes can be made at committee stage – as is the norm in the processing of legislation through this Oireachtas. The Bills imperfections are not a reason to vote the Bill down.” ENDS

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Kerry Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on the Marine Martin Ferris has welcomed the news that Valentia Coast Guard Station in County Kerry will remain open. Deputy Ferris said common sense had prevailed and it was a victory for the Save Our Station campaigners on the island.

Deputy Ferris said: “I am delighted that the station is to remain open. It was ludicrous that the station was under threat in the first place given that it is the busiest station in the country. I am relieved that common sense has prevailed.

“I know just how important a service Valentia provides to our coastal and fishing communities in this county and the south west.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone from the area that campaigned long and hard for this result.”

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Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has today challenged the government to release the findings of the report ‘Risks to Ireland from Incidents at the Sellafield Site’. Deputy Stanley met with officials from the Department of Environment today to discuss the report.

Speaking after the meeting he said;

“Unfortunately the report is regarded as secret and its details are not to be released. Both the British and Irish governments had agreed as far back as 2008 that the process should be kept secret regardless of findings or outcome.

“What has been put into the public domain is an edited summary of the full report. The summary concludes that incidents at Sellafield would result in ‘no observable health effects in Ireland’.

“This summary has none of the detail required to make a judgement on that. The conclusion totally flies in the face of an earlier damning report from the Britain’s National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO report says that some facilities used to store waste have deteriorated. It states that the treatment facilities and some of the older storage tanks on site ‘deteriorated so much that their contents pose significant risks to people and the environment’.

“The Sellafield report attempts to dispel fears surrounding an accident at Sellafield. The Irish government should take the lead in a significant international campaign to exert pressure on the British government to close Sellafield.

“Nuclear energy presents a significant risk to citizens much greater than any other form of energy. Nuclear energy invariably needs direct or indirect subsidies, paid by taxpayers and increasing the profits of the nuclear industry. The state provides insurance cover.

“The estimated cost of decommissioning Europe’s aging nuclear plants is €500 billion. According to the World Resources Institute every euro spent on new nuclear power could save ten times more emissions if it was invested in energy conservation measures, securing energy supply ten times cheaper as well.

“According to their 2011 election manifesto the Labour Party is ‘opposed to the Sellafield plant and other installations in the UK which pose a risk to our people’.

“Minster Hogan must take the opportunity to release the findings of the report or run the risk of being accused of covering up an inconvenient truth.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today attended a press conference and public meeting in the Kildare Street Hotel today which was called by three Aran Island communities to protest against the threat to the air service to the islands.

The Sinn Féin leader addressed the meeting and expressed his support for the campaign and against any withdrawal or diminution of the air service.

Speaking after Teachta Adams said:

“The withdrawal of the air service to the Aran Islands would spell disaster for the families living on those islands. It would see the destruction of another of our island communities.

“The air service provides an essential economic, medical, and social facility. Without it lives will be lost, jobs will go and the islands will see an exodus of families to the mainland to make ends meet.

“The cost of this to the government will be greater than any subvention paid for the provision of the air service.

“There can be no justification for the reduction in funding to Aer Arann. The government should immediately remove this threat and stress from those who live on the Aran Islands.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health & Children, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has called on the HSE to deliver on its commitment to increase facilities for patients with cystic fibrosis at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Speaking in light of revelations that five patients were refused admission to the new dedicated unit at the hospital because of bed shortages, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“It is clear from reports from St Vincent’s Hospital that the new dedicated facility for patients with cystic fibrosis, in the Nutley Wing of the hospital, is not sufficient. This fact has been acknowledged and agreed by the Cystic Fibrosis Association (CFA), the HSE and the hospital, with an agreement to extend the existing facility already in place.

“Today, in the Dáil, I was unsuccessful in my attempt to have this urgent matter addressed by way of topical issue debate. I am calling on the HSE to deliver on its agreed commitment to extend the facility’s capacity to 34 beds.”

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Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Minister Shatter to take increased action to end white collar crime.

Speaking this afternoon Deputy Mac Lochlainn said;

“It is clear from the minister’s answers to my questions that there is an urgent need to increase resources to combat white collar crime and corruption.

“We are still waiting for the government to publish legislation on white collar crime and there are still only 72 gardaí attached to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations with very few convictions for fraud-related offences.

“There is an urgent need to publish legislation which will introduce mechanisms such as plea bargaining and immunity programmes, where necessary, in return for real and meaningful information on corporate gangsterism.

“However none of this will have any impact if the state doesn’t adequately resource those who need to investigate such crimes. Previous Office Director of Corporate Enforcement reports (ODCE) have illustrated a lack of resources and stated that ‘the availability of garda resources for ODCE criminal investigations was severely reduced by the Anglo work’.

“The government has a responsibility to address this urgently. Sinn Féin calls for immediate legislative action and resources to ensure we tackle corporate criminality and replace this with an ethos of accountability and sound sustainable enterprise.”

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Notes to Editor: Questions and responses copied below
QUESTION NOS: 525 to 529

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Mr. Shatter)
by Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 27th November, 2012.

* 525. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Gardaí attached to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

* 526. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of civilians employed in the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

* 527. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of forensic accountants employed in the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations and in the Criminal Assets Bureau..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

* 528. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of outsourced or temporary staff employed by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

* 529. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of jobbridge staff employed by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

REPLY.
The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.
have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that there are no Job-Bridge staff, outsourced or temporary staff employed by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations (G.B.F.I.). There are two forensic accountants employed on a full time basis, 72 Gardaí and 13 Civilians attached to the G.B.F.I.
There are three personnel with forensic accountant qualifications employed at the Criminal Assets Bureau.

QUESTION NO: 530
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Mr. Shatter)
by Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 27th November, 2012.
* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce new legislation regarding white collar crime..
- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
REPLY.
I can assure the Deputy that I attach the highest priority to the investigation of white collar crime and to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has the necessary legislative and other supports to do so effectively.
Accordingly, and very shortly after taking up office, I moved urgently to introduce new legislation, the Criminal Justice Act 2011, which provides vital assistance to An Garda Síochána in the completion of current and future white collar crime investigations. The main purpose of the Act is to facilitate the more effective investigation of white collar crime and to reduce associated delays. In this regard the Act provides for new procedures to facilitate Garda access to essential information and documentation to assist in the investigation of white collar crime.
I am pursuing other measures in the form of the Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill which, when enacted, will clarify and strengthen the law on corruption. The General Scheme of the Bill is being considered by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality prior to formal drafting by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government. The Bill will replace and update existing offences relating to giving or receiving bribes in both the public and private sectors. It will also introduce new offences in relation to corrupt influence peddling. The recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal have been taken into account in provisions to be contained in the Bill such as a new offence of making payments knowingly or recklessly to a third party who intends to use them as bribes.
I am briefed on an ongoing basis by the Garda Commissioner on the progress of the major white collar crime investigations which are underway and the Commissioner is also aware that any further legislative proposals which he feels would assist in the investigation and detection of white collar crime, or of fraud offences generally, will be positively considered by me.

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Sinn Féin MLA Sean Lynch has called on both the Irish Government and Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy to work within the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) to develop the railway network along the Western corridor to connect Belfast to Sligo through Derry.

Mr. Lynch said,

“There is funding available through TEN-T, which has a budget of €49 billion, to develop transport systems across the EU.

“Sinn Féin MLA’s brought forward a motion in the Assembly this week that called on Minister Kennedy to work with Irish Transport Minister Varadkar to look at acquiring funding to develop a railway system that would connect Belfast and Sligo through Derry.

“This Western Arc project would include a western rail network extending through from Belfast through Derry, Sligo, Knock, Galway to Shannon/ Limerick. This project would go a very long way to re-establishing an all-Ireland rail network.

“Sinn Féin has been working vigorously in an attempt to acquire the inclusion of a project we feel would benefit the whole island of Ireland.

“Our elected representatives have had discussions in Europe, met with the various councils and various organisations North and South in order to gain more information and to keep moving our project forward.  

“The use of an all-island rail passenger/freight network would reduce road traffic congestion, protect the environment by reducing toxic emissions and open the entire western corridor of Ireland North and South to economic development.”

 

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Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien, TD, has said that the growing crisis facing primary schools is an inevitable consequence of cuts to essential frontline services.

The Cork North Central TD was responding to the findings of a survey published this week by the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA) which found that almost half of Irish primary schools are running a deficit and that 22% are just about breaking even.

“It is simply scandalous,” Deputy O’Brien said, “that primary school principals are being forced to tell the parents of children to wear extra cloths in order to keep warm in the classroom.

“This is an inevitable crisis which can in part be attributed to the reduction in the capitation grant and the suspension of the summer work’s scheme. In addition to these cuts is the mounting speculation that the Department of Education and Skills (DES) is to remove the minor work’s grant, due to be paid in December. This payment is particularly important for small schools as it includes a block payment of €5000 on top of the capitation payment and is essential for the day-to-day running of many schools.

“It is simply not good enough therefore, for the minister to describe the situation as unacceptable when he is ultimately responsible for what is happening and he needs to intervene directly and ensure this year’s minor capital works payment is paid.

“In the current economic climate, it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to make-up the shortfall in funding through voluntary contributions and it is clear that many Irish primary schools are close to breaking point.

“The findings of the CPSMA survey illustrate the extent of the problem, with over half of Irish primary schools in deficit. The example of Wayside National School in Bluebell, Dublin, which has been left without heating because they have been unable to find €300 to pay for repairs to a boiler is a case in point.

“As we approach next week’s budget, I am calling on Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to closely examine the findings of this report and reverse the cuts that are preventing Irish school children receiving an adequate standard of education.”

Deputy O’Brien has submitted a request to the Ceann Comhairle asking that the issue be debated under Topical Issues.

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has described as “shameful” Enda Kenny’s defence of ministers claiming a second home tax break.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today Deputy Doherty challenged the An Taoiseach to justify Government Ministers writing off thousands of euro from their income tax bill on their second homes while at the same time asking people to pay more tax on their family home.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Last week Michael Noonan revealed that 13 Ministers have claimed the second home tax break known as the dual abode allowance.

“This tax break is exclusively for ministers. It allows those from outside Dublin to write off €6,500 from their tax bill if they have a second home in Dublin without providing a single receipt.

“If they stay in a hotel they can write off €3,500 from their tax bill to cover the cost of laundry and again without providing a single receipt.

“When in opposition Enda Kenny criticised Fianna Fáil for availing of this tax lavish break and promised to abolish it.

“Yet far from abolishing it, since Fine Gael and Labour have taken office the cost of this tax break has jumped by a massive 30% to over €112,000.

“Today I asked the Taoiseach if he was one of the 13 Ministers availing of this tax break and to name which of his Ministers where reducing their tax bill through this scheme?

“I asked him how he could justify, to people who will be hit with the property tax, that it is fair for Government Ministers to write off thousands of euro from their income tax bill on their second homes while at the same time asking people to pay more tax on their family home.

“Enda Kenny’s defence of this tax break was shameful. His failure to answer the question shows just how embarrassed he is by his failure to keep his promise and abolish the tax break. This unjustifiable scam must be abolished.”

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Sinn Féin the only party in the North firmly opposed to austerity - McGuinness


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Martin McGuinness answering questions from pupils of St Patrick's Primary School.