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Sinn Féin Westminster 2015 Election Broadcast

Sinn Féin stands for equality and protecting the most vulnerable. Our progressive politics and commitment to the rights of citizens is the only alternative to the extreme austerity agenda of the British government. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for real and lasting positive change.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said Sinn Féin's progressive politics is the only alternative to austerity.


Some of the sights and sounds of today's massive Right2Water rally on Dublin's O'Connell Street this afternoon (March 21).  Reports that up to...



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Martina Anderson MEP joined her fellow GUE/NGL colleagues in a protest against EU austerity policies during a visit this week to the EU Parliament by German Chanchellor, Angela Merkel.

 Martina Anderson MEP said:

 "Angela Merkel's insistance on pursuing the failed austerity policies favoured by her right wing supporters in Europe must be opposed and exposed for the damage they are causing throughout Europe. Cuts in social programmes, infrastructural projects, support for SME's and the social economy is not the direction to take if we are to pull ourselves out of recession. 

 "We can see very clearly, throughout the island of Ireland and indeed across Europe, the devastating effects of the Merkel led assault on the most vulnerable sections of society.

 "European leaders of the Merkel ilk are so far removed from the reality of life in working class communities that they are incapable of devising policies that will enhance the quality of life of the average citizen.

 "This is apparent throughout Europe but particularly across Ireland where the staggering unemployment statistics have resulted in the loss of a whole generation of young Irish people and the contribution that they could have made to building a strong and sustainable economy.

"Governments must not just be allowed to invest in job creation programmes but should be encouraged to do so in order to re-establish consumer confidence. Austerity saps confidence, deters entrepeneurial spirit and inhibits consumer spending. All of which adds to the sense of hopelessness which Merkel style economics have inflicted on citizens all over Europe." CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said the party supported the call by Friends of the Earth for there to be transparency in donations to political parties.

Speaking after attending Friends of the Earth protest at the Assembly, the Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:

“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for an end to the secrecy policy regarding donations to political parties in the six counties.

“We have demanded an end to the practice of secret donations and also called for the current £7500 threshold for reportable individual donations to be lowered to £500.

“Each year Sinn Féin publishes the party’s financial statements for both the North and the South. We do this in line with party policy on the issue and in the interests of transparency and openness.

“The general public understands that fundraising and donations are part and parcel of generating that income.

“Justifiable public cynicism is generated when it is perceived that political parties are not being open and transparent about their financial affairs.

“This cynicism can be eliminated when the law is changed to make it compulsory that political donations of £500 and more have to be made public.”

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Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Health Committee Sue Ramsey has said that she is concerned over the future management of Belfast’s Accident and Emergency departments after the clinical director Dr Russell McLaughlin stepped down.

 Ms. Ramsey said,

“I am concerned that the director in emergency medicine for the Belfast Trust has stepped down and we need to ensure that he is replaced as soon as possible. 

 “Over the past few months the Accident and Emergency Department has faced major challenges especially with the closure of A&E at the City Hospital, challenges which Dr McLaughlin has worked hard to resolve.

 “I am concerned that Dr McLaughlin did not receive the support needed from the Health Department to transform the A&E in the Belfast area.

 “I was contacted by people on Monday of this week who were complaining about the length of wait within A&E and the length of time patients had to wait to be admitted to hospital. I have raised this issue with the health committee yesterday and await a response from the Minister. I am concerned that A&E is under pressure as there is no clinical director in place 

 “I am calling on Health Minister Edwin Poots to outline what plans he has in place to ensure the continuation of transforming the Belfast A&E and confirm if funding is available to cover all the reforms needed to ensure the service is fit for the city of Belfast.

 “I would also like to thank Dr McLaughlin for his work and service and wish him well as he continues his career as an A&E consultant.”

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Commenting on the Supreme Court judgement on referendum information, Sinn Féin Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“This is a significant judgement upholding the principles of fairness in referendum campaigns set by the McKenna judgement. It does not take from the need for a ‘Yes’ vote this Saturday, in order to strengthen the rights of children in the constitution.

“The issue of government spending has been raised in previous referendum campaigns and has been a continuing cause of concern. The full judgement of the Supreme Court will need to be studied carefully when it becomes available. The government’s approach to the conduct of referendums has to be seriously questioned in the light of this judgement.

“It would be a setback for children if reaction to this court outcome were to jeopardise the adoption of the proposed constitutional amendment on children’s rights and I again urge people to vote ‘Yes’ on Saturday.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has this morning called on the government to set out the legal rationale of the Attorney General’s advice that a super levy cannot be applied to runaway banking chief’s pensions.

Deputy McDonald TD said:

“Six top executives in the former Anglo Irish Bank are earning in excess of €500,000. This makes a mockery of the government’s €500,000 cap for bankers.

“This Bank, which was bailed out by Fianna Fáil and is presided over by a former Fine Gael leader, thumbs its nose at the Irish people while the Labour party does nothing.

“Labour’s former leader Dick Spring, who continues to receive his ministerial pension, plays the role of public watchdog on AIB as all the gold plated pensions for executives of AIB were put in place.

“As December’s budget gets closer people are outraged that the bankers who brought the state to its knees are continuing to enjoy exorbitant pay and pensions.

“As far back as last April Michael Noonan asked IBRC Chairman Alan Dukes to reduce his pay and was told by Mr Dukes to get lost.

“It is simply unacceptable for a former Fine Gael leader, who himself continues to claim a ministerial pension, can tell the Government to get lost whilst presiding over this bankrupt bank?

“Government tells us they have to pay these big pensions because these people have rights. What about the rights of those who have been denied homecare packages, whose child benefit has been cut, or of those on trollies in our Hospitals?

“In opposition the Labour party railed against bankers but now do nothing about their gratuitous pensions and salaries?

“Again in opposition Fine Gael and Labour demanded the introduction of a levy on bankers’ bonuses. Eventually after some foot dragging Fianna Fáil relented.

“Will the government now bring forward legislation to introduce a levy on these exorbitant pensions and salaries? If the cabinet has received contrary advice they need to set out to the people the arguments against introducing such a lobby.

“How many of the top Anglo executives who presided over the crisis in that bank have walked away with Gold plated pensions? What does the Government propose to do about that?” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has accused the board of IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, of giving the two fingers to the Irish taxpayer. His comments came after the Minister for Finance revealed in a parliamentary response to Deputy Doherty that he had asked the board to consider a reduction of 15% in senior management salaries but that the board had refused.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The reply given to me by the Finance Minister today reveals just how much of a bubble the board of IBRC and senior management at the bank are in. In response to a query of whether the Minister had asked the board to consider a 15% reduction in salaries of senior management, Minister Noonan said he had and that the board had said no. The excuse given by the board is that the staff remuneration is at lower levels than staff at the bank would have received in the past and that to keep the staff, these massive salaries must be paid.

“This is a two fingered gesture to the taxpayer from senior management and executive board members in IBRC. It is outrageous that the Minister has not followed this up and demanded a reduction, considering the Irish taxpayer is the sole owner of this bank. It is even more outrageous that the board would turn it down.

“The Minister also revealed to me today that there are 30 staff in IBRC in receipt of salaries in excess of €200,000. Six of them receive salaries over €400,000. The Minister and the government need to immediately intervene in the level of salaries given out at this bank and remind these senior executives exactly who they are working for.” ENDS




DÁIL QUESTION

NO 47

To ask the Minister for Finance if he has contacted the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation requesting staff whose annual salary is in excess of €200,000 to waive 15% of their salary or such amount in excess of €200,000 whichever is the lesser, and if he has, the date on which he first made this contact; the number of staff whose annual salaries were in excess of €200,000 at that date; the number of staff who acquiesced to the request for the waiver; the number of staff who refused the request for the waiver and the number of staff who have not responded to the request for the waiver..

- Pearse Doherty.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 7th November, 2012.
Ref No: 48799/12

REPLY

Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan) : At a meeting on the 5th April 2012, I asked the Chairman of IBRC, Mr Alan Dukes, if the Board of the Bank would consider a reduction of 15% in senior management salaries. Mr Dukes subsequently informed me that reductions in pay levels for individual staff in IBRC, (the entity tasked with winding down the former Anglo Irish Bank and INBS), had been considered by the Board of the Bank and that a decision had been reached not to implement cuts at that time.

I am informed by the Bank that the decision not to pursue pay cuts was based on the difficulty faced by the Bank in retaining and attracting staff, and the fact that the remuneration packages paid to the new management team are lower than those historically paid by the Bank.

Fees however for Non-Executive Directors were initially reduced by 20% at the end of 2008 and by a further 15% in July of 2012.

DÁIL QUESTION

NO 43

To ask the Minister for Finance to provide in tabular form, with respect to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the number of the staff whose annual salary at 31 December 2011 fell in the following bands, €400,000 and above, €300,000 to €399,999, €200,000 to €299,999 and €150,000 to €199,999..

- Pearse Doherty.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 7th November, 2012.
Ref No: 48795/12

REPLY

Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan) : I have been advised by the Bank of the following information with regard to staff’s annual salary as at 31st December 2011;


(Salary only)
Staff No’s # as at 31 Dec 2011
Ireland, UK and US
€0 - €99,000 1060
€100,000 -
€149,000 108
€150,000 -
€199,000 23
€200,000 -
€299,000 21
€300,000 -
€399,000 3
€400,000 -
€499,000 5
€500,000+ 1

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has co-signed an anti-fracking amendment which it is hoped will be accepted for discussion at the November plenary session in the EU Parliament.

Martina Anderson said:

“I was happy to co-sign this amendment along with other members of the GUE/NGL grouping in the European Parliament.

“The amendment, urges Member States not to authorise any new hydraulic fracturing operations in the EU.

“After researching the issue for months our group recognises that the risks, the negative climate, environmental and health impacts involved in Fracking are completely unacceptable.

“Research shows that companies and governments often overestimate shale gas deposits in order to support their actions. Recently, for instance, the Polish government had to admit that its shale gas deposits are actually just a minor fraction of its original estimates.

“Besides the fact that most shale gas deposits are still too difficult to exploit, the EU does not need shale gas as there is enough conventional gas available to back up renewable energies with gas power stations. Furthermore, as renewables such as wind and wave are developed, we will require less gas to produce electricity and heat.

"I am supporting this amendment because common sense and experience of exploitation of resources by oil and gas conglomerates shows that funding spent on fracking will be diverted from any monies available for renewable energy development. I urge all of the anti-fracking campaign groups to lobby their MEP to support this amendment to have the European Parliament focus on the environmentally friendly renewables and ban destructive exploration methods such as fracking." CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said he is disappointed with the lack of consistency regarding the Parades Commission ruling for this Saturday’s Apprentice Boys march past Carrickhill and St Patrick’s Church.

The North Belfast MLA said:

“The decision to allow the bands to play hymns while passing Carrickhill and St Patrick’s Church shows a lack of consistency on the part of the Parades Commission.

“The experience is that the bands have abused decisions like this and played music, which was clearly not hymns.

“Sinn Féin supported the residents proposal for there to be a single drum beat for this small section of the parade. This is clear-cut and not open to abuse or misrepresentation.

“While it is welcome that the Apprentice Boys engaged in direct talks with the Carrickhill residents group, in the absence of an agreement, the Parades Commission ruling is a step backward.”

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Tá an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh tar éis Ranna Rialtais a cháineadh toisc go bhfuil siad ag déanamh neamhaird ar ról agus rialú an Choimisinéir Teanga.

Chuir urlabhraí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta Shinn Féin I leith stát-sheirbhísigh agus an Rialtais go bhfuil siad I gcontúirt dlí na tíre a shárú.

Bhí an Seanadóir ag labhairt le linn cruinniú den choiste Oireachtas Seirbhís Poiblí Fo-mhaoirsiú agus Achainithe inniu áit a raibh stát-sheirbhísigh ón Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaigh, an Roinn Caiteachas Poiblí agus Athchóirithe agus an Coimisiúin um Ceapacháin Poiblí a cheistiú maidir le polasaí earcaíochta na Státseirbhíse

“Bhí na freagraí a fuair mé ó na stát-seirbhísigh iomtach míshásúil. Is léir nach dtugtar aon aird ar Oifig an Choimisinéir Teanga agus nách n-aithníonn siad cé chomh dáiríre is atá sé go bhfuil an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialta ag déanamh beag is fiú de chinneadh an Choimisinéara.”

“Is léir ó imscrúdú an Choimisinéara nách raibh an Roinn ag cloí leis na polasaithe earcaíochta a bhí leagtha síos dóibh ó thaobh na Gaeilge, dar leis, agus nach bhfuil sé sin ceartaithe acu ó shoin in ainneoin rialú an Choimisinéara.”

“D’admhaigh Státsheirbhísigh dá nglacfaí le rialú an Choimisinéara go bhfeadfadh impleachtaí a bheith ann do na mílte daoine a chuaigh faoi agallamh le tríocha seacht mBliana”, a deir Seandóir Shinn Fein.

“Is léir freisin nach bhfuil aon polasaí soiléir ó thaobh líon na Gaeilgeoirí sa Stáit Seirbhís a ardú ag an Rialtas seo, agus nach bhfuil siad dáiríre ina thaobh. Cuireadh deireadh le éigeantacht na Gaeilge sa Stáit-Sheirbhís I 1974 agus tá titim ollmhór ar an méid daoine sa chóras gur féidir leo oibriú I nGaeilge ó shoin.”

“Ní mór a rá freisin go nardaíonn an chás seo agus neamhaird an Rialtas ar rialú an Coimisinéara Teanga, ceisteanna d’Oifigí na hOmbudsman eile. Muna glacann siad le ról an Coimisinéara Teanga mar réiteoir, agus má ligtear don Roinn gan glacadh leis an rialú, caitheann abhras ar ról na hOmbusmen eile, agus an mbeadh an Rialtas in ann neamhaird a dhéanamh ar a rialachán freisin? Ní mór don rialtas tacú leis an gCoimisinéir Teanga agus brú a chuir ar an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaigh glacadh lena rialú.”


CRÍOCH

Government disregarding role of an Coimisinéir Teanga – Ó Clochartaigh

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has criticised Government Departments for disregarding the role and determinations of an Coimisinéir Teanga.

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Gaeilge and Gaeltacht Affairs stated that Civil Servants and the Government are in danger of breaching the law

The Senator was speaking during the course of an Oireachtas Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee, where Civil Servants from the Department of Social Protection, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Commission on Public Appointments about the recruitment policies of the Civil Service.

“The answers I received from the Civil Servants were totally unsatisfactory. It’s clear that an Coimisinéir Teanga is being disregarded, and that it is not recognised how serious it is that the Department of Social Protection is failing to abide by an Coimisinéir Teanga’s determination.”

“It’s clear from the investigations of an Coimisinéir Teanga that, in his view, the Department was not complying with the recruitment policies set down for them in terms of the Irish Language, and that this has not been corrected since in spite of an Coimisinéir Teanga’s determination.”

“One Civil Servant acknowledged that if the determination of an Coimisinéir Teanga was accepted that this could have significant implications for thousands of people who were interviewed for positions over the last 37 years.”

“It’s clear that the Government has no clear policy in terms of increasing the number of Irish Speakers in the Civil Service, and that they are not serious about that objective. Mandatory Irish in the Civil Service was ended in 1974, and the number of people in the system who can work in Irish has dropped dramatically since then.”

“Not only that, but it’s clear that this case, and the Government’s disregard for an Coimisinéir Teanga’s determinations raises serious questions for the other Ombusman’s Offices. If the Government fails to recognise an Coimisinéir Teanga role in oversight, will the Government be able to do likewise as regards the other offices determinations? The Government needs to support an Coimisinéir Teanga and ensure that the Department of Social Protection accepts his ruling”

ENDS

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campaign trail with Raymond McCartney, Padraig MacLochainn, Maeve Mclaughlin and Pearse Doherty.