GLAC PÁIRT I GCUR CHUN TOSAIGH na hÉIREANN

Nuacht

Michelle O’Neill has been named the new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

Please watch and share this exclusive interview below which tells a bit of her life story as a mother of two from a small village in County Tyrone, her work in politics and in the Executive, standing up for equality, respect and integrity in government and continuing the work that Martin McGuinness has done stretching himself for peace and reconciliation.

You can view a biography of Michelle O’Neill here


Toggle

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has expressed his deep regret at the death of journalist Mary Raftery. Mr. Adams offered his sincere sympathies to her family and friends and said that she made an invaluable contribution to Irish society through her exposure of injustice and abuse by State and other institutions.

Mr Adams said:

“Mary Raftery was a groundbreaking journalist who is best known for her work in exposing abuses in the Catholic Church which eventually led to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse. As recently as last year she produced a programme which provided a damning expose of abuse in mental institutions over many decades.

“Mary was a fearless campaigner and seeker for truth and justice. She made an invaluable contribution to Irish society through her exposure of injustice and abuse. She will be greatly missed.

“I wish to extend to extend my deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has called on the DSD Minister Nelson McCausland to state when the Housing Executive will award the 20 extra points for people on the housing waiting lists who are living in temporary private rented accommodation.

 Mr McCann said

“In October 2010 Sinn Féin called for a fairer system of the allocation of points for all those people who are living in private rented accommodation and wrote to the then Minister Alex Attwood.

“At the time we were told that the Housing Executive and the Minister were looking at this under the Common Selection scheme and hoped to have the problem sorted in the new year of 2011.

“It is now 2012 and the situation is still the same and I have heard nothing in regards to this problem.

“It has long since passed the time this issue should have been resolved and people living in private temporary accommodation granted the extra points. There are many people who find themselves in this situation and if they had the extra 20 points could well have been allocated a home of their own by now.

“I am calling on the Minister of Social Development Nelson McCausland and the Housing Executive to move on this issue immediately.”

Toggle

Commenting on reports that British Secretary of State Owen Patterson is to seek further talks on dealing with the past, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Victims, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) said:

“Sinn Féin first published proposals on the need for an international independent truth recovery process over 10 years ago. We have contributed to every initiative aimed at delivering the sort of effective process necessary

"To date the British government and political unionism have run away from dealing with the legacy of the conflict. The British government in particular have consistently failed to acknowledge its role as a protagonist in the conflict instead persisting in the lie that it was some sort of honest broker. It still for example denies its role in Shoot-to-Kill, collusion and the systematic abuse of detainees. Any process set up and administered by the British government in this vein will fail to deliver what is required.

"It must be hoped that finally Britain has decided to end its policy of concealment and cover-up and will now embrace the need for an independent international truth commission. Republicans are up for such a process, the question remains unanswered about the British government and unionisms intentions.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin representatives Alex Maskey MLA and Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile have expressed serious concern following reports of a sectarian attack on young people from the Short Strand area who were taking part as extras on a film set in the Village of south Belfast on Friday.

Mr Maskey said;

"Our constituency office has received several reports of a vicious, sectarian attack on young people from the Short Strand while they were filming in the Village area of south Belfast on Friday evening.

“This of course presents serious concerns for community relations and safety issues in that part of the city - many of us have spent the last number years working hard to establish far better community relations in the area and we know that this attack is not representative of where the community in south Belfast wants to be.

“Anyone with information regarding this attack should bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile added;

"I have spoken with distraught parents of the young people who were attacked by a group of adults shouting sectarian slogans. A number of cars trying to get the young people to safety were also damaged.

“The parents and their children are obviously deeply traumatised as a result of what happened.

“We are rightfully encouraging our young people to take part and pursue careers within the new and creative industries, themselves potent symbols of a changed and better Belfast, yet there is still a minority who would seek to engage in sectarian violence.

“We will continue to play our part with everyone in our community to ensure those people are faced down and that young people regardless of where they come from are able to move around their own city free from sectarian harassment and violence."

Toggle

Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, has stated that the British government will lead to the target of of eliminating child poverty by 2020 slipping and has welcomed the work being carried out by the Executive to tackle this pressing issue. Speaking following a report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty which highlighted West and North Belfast along with Foyle as amongst the wards with the highest levels of child poverty Mr Maskey said:

“These figures, indicating that West and North Belfast along with Foyle have some of the highest levels of child poverty is unfortunately not surprising.

“For decades these wards have seen huge underinvestment by successive British governments in terms of job creation, housing, infrastructural investment and other such factors that affect the quality of life for the people living here.

“Under the Child Poverty Act the British government are obliged to end child poverty by 2020. The stark reality though is that with the current policies being pursued by the Tory led coalition these targets could be difficult to reach and will only exacerbate the problem.

“While the Executive is facing this problem head on with a programme for government commitment aimed at eradicating child poverty, they are constrained by the the severe British cuts of over 4bn to the block grant along with issues such as the Welfare Reform bill, higher taxes on fuel increasing fuel poverty and decreased public spending.

“However measures from the Executive include the development of a poverty outcomes model along with the progressing of a child poverty action plan, in conjunction with the Poverty and Social Inclusion stakeholder forum, which is working to deliver a number of signature projects that would alleviate child poverty.”

Toggle

The Government is putting the cart before the horse with regard to political reform according to Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the issue Senator David Cullinane.

Senator Cullinane said that the government is only interested in removing representation, and has not examined ways to compensate for a reduction in the number of TDs, such as increasing the powers of local authorities.

Speaking after making a submission to the constituency commission, the Waterford Senator said it was frustrating that the government had allowed the commission such little room for manoeuvre in its deliberations.

Senator Cullinane:

“For the commission to be able to function properly and effectively, it needs a good deal of scope. This is not something the government has given it. It is effectively obliged to reduce the amount of TDs and constituencies must have no more than five seats.

“Reducing the number of TD’s by seven or eight is a cosmetic exercise, to give the impression that the government has taken action, and is serious about political reform.

“Its efforts are to political reform what butchery is to surgery. It wishes to abolish one of the houses of the Oireachtas, it wishes to amalgamate local authorities, and it is reducing the amount of TDs. This will reduce oversight, scrutiny and accountability, and yet we have seen no efforts in terms of political reform to compensate for that loss.

“Since the Government was elected, we have seen little by way of new, or constructive proposals, such as perhaps, the extension of the franchise to the diaspora and northern citizens, or even a reform of the shambolic electoral register.

“The Constituency Commission should, where possible, make use of five and ideally seat constituencies.

“Our system of proportional representation is frustrated by smaller constituencies, such as three seaters. Larger constituencies are the best way of ensuring the minority view in a constituency is given a voice, and that the Dáil represents the views of the people proportionately.

“While I appreciate that the commission is restricted in this regard, I would call upon them to make use of five seat constituencies where possible, and I would call on the Government to withdraw the restriction on constituencies with more than five seats.” ENDS

Email Senator Cullinane at [email protected] to request a copy of his submission to the Constituency Commission.

Toggle

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has questioned whether the SDLP will continue to support reform of the Irish Constitution given the bizarre comments made by party leader Alasdair McDonnell.

Raymond McCartney said:

“The SDLP have previously supported Sinn Féin in calls for the reform of the Irish Constitution to include voting rights for Irish citizens living in the North.

“However Alasdair McDonnell is quoted as saying that he’d be quite happy to let Enda Kenny and others tweak their constitution.  Given the long-standing campaign to secure the right of people in the Six Counties to vote in Presidential Elections and other constitutional matters, it would be natural to expect that Alasdair McDonnell and his party join with Sinn Féin and others in making this issue a priority and doing everything in their power to secure a successful outcome.

“Instead we see the leader of the SDLP adopting a partitionist approach. The fact that no one from within the SDLP has moved to distance themselves from Alasdair McDonnell’s remarks on this key issue, one week on, is an illustration of just how politically bankrupt and directionless the party has become.

“Sinn Féin has been holding a series of Uniting Ireland conferences across the country and have another one planned for Derry at the end of January. One of the key issues that continues to be brought up is the rights of Irish citizens living in the North.  Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a successful change to the Irish Constitutions so that all Irish citizens have equal entitlement in voting rights for Presidential elections and other constitutional matters.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD has said Minister of State for Primary Care Roisín Shortall is in denial over the extent and impact of delays in medical card applications and renewals.

He said:

“Minister Shortall and the Department of Health are in denial about medical card delays. I wrote directly to Minister Shortall on this issue over the Christmas period when it was brought to my attention by constituents. The problem has now become so acute that some 100 GPs in the North East region have withdrawn from primary care teams in protest at the long delays in medical card processing, particularly for people applying to renew their medical cards. Just one example highlighted in the media today was a woman waiting four months for a renewal.

“People are being denied free medical treatment to which they are entitled because of these delays. This is causing widespread hardship. Yet Minister Shortall and the Department refuse to recognise the extent and impact of the problem while people are facing delays of months in medical card renewals.

“Minister Shortall needs to take control of this situation. If additional staff are required in the centralised medical card processing centre in Finglas then they should be transferred straight away from elsewhere in the HSE administration. The centralisation of all medical card processing needs to be reviewed urgently to determine whether the removal of this work from local offices is contributing to delays - for example making it more difficult for people who may have submitted incomplete applications.” ENDS

Toggle

Ministers in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DAHG) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) in the North have welcomed the launch today by Foras na Gaeilge of a public consultation process on its review of its core funded bodies.

Foras na Gaeilge today launched a twelve week public consultation process of the new competitive funding model which is envisaged to replace the existing core funding model.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley T.D. and Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the North, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA welcomed the launch which was agreed at a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in October 2011.

The public consultation process will focus on Foras na Gaeilge's portfolio of draft schemes, having regard in particular to the nineteen core funded bodies in both jurisdictions.

The Ministers urged everyone with an interest in the Irish language to consider how they can make a positive contribution to the consultation process: They said: "Through the consultation process, we can ensure that government policy-making adequately takes account of the needs and views of the public and, most importantly, those that the funding will affect. It is intended that the new funding model will ensure an effective mechanism for the welfare and growth of the Irish language in the future.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his deep regret at the death today after a lengthy illness of veteran Belfast republican Brigid Hannon.

On behalf of Sinn Féin and Irish republicans everywhere the Sinn Fein leader extended his sincerest condolences to Brigid’s family and many friends.

Mr. Adams said:

“Brigid celebrated her 94th birthday last Tuesday. Brigid joined the Cumann na mBan in 1934 when she was 16 and for more than eight decades was a dedicated and committed republican activist.

"I have known Brigid since I was a teenager. She was an inspiration to me and all of those she met and worked with throughout her years of activism.

"She was a founder member of Green Cross 73 which raised money for prisoners and their families in difficult and dangerous times. Brigid was also very active within the National Graves Association Belfast looking after the graves and monuments of the republican patriot dead.

"Brigid will be greatly missed. On behalf of Sinn Féin and Irish Republicans everywhere I want to extend my sincerest condolences to Brigid’s family and many friends.

"Go ndeanfaidh trocaire uirthi."

Toggle

Councillor confirms that €50,000 offer was part of draft Priory Hall proposal

Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha has confirmed that an offer of €50,000 per Priory Hall apartment was a draft proposal from Dublin City Council management. He called on Environment, Community and Local Government Minister Phil Hogan to meet the residents.

Cllr. Mac Donncha said:

"Draft proposals regarding Priory Hall last month included a potential offer of €50,000 per apartment. This proposal from Dublin City Council management was conveyed to residents' representatives. Clearly if such a proposal were to be implemented it would see residents still saddled with massive mortgages and no homes to show for them.

"The plight of the residents of Priory Hall cannot be addressed solely by the residents themselves and the City Council. The mortgage lenders have a key role to play.  It would be totally unacceptable if they were allowed to continue demanding full repayment of mortgages on worthless properties. 

"It is long past time for the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan to meet the residents and to become part of the search for a resolution. He cannot continue to wash his hands of the Priory Hall scandal for which the State bears a huge responsibility due to farcical planning laws and so-called self-regulation."

Toggle


West Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has condemned those responsible for an arson attack on a home of a family in Poleglass.Speaking today Ms McCann said:
  "This was a cowardly attack which clearly set out to murder  a mother and her young child in their home.  A number of men poured flamable liquid through the family's letter box and set it on fire.  Only the quick actions of neighbours to put out the fire saved this family being burned to death.  "This incident was attempted murder as those responsible clearly set out to kill the occupants of this house. Anyone who could sit down and plot to burn a young child of just 7 years old to death in her bed are clearly very dangerous and need to be apprehended."I would appeal for anyone that has any information in relation to this incident to please contact the PSNI."

Toggle

Tallaght based TD Seán Crowe has described the closure of 62 beds in Tallaght hospital as “devastating”.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The revelation by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation that Tallaght Hospital is to close 62 beds before the end of January, including a 31-bed ward, is a devastating blow to hospital care in this region which is served by one of the country's busiest trauma hospitals.

“The closure of these beds is taking place without any consultation with staff and in an unplanned and arbitrary way.

“These bed closures should not be happening. Because of the devastating health cuts imposed by the Fine Gael/Labour Government in Budget 2012, these closures will no doubt be the first of many in 2012.

“No consultation has been carried out regarding these closures and no assessment has been made. Closing beds in this haphazard way seriously undermines the quality of healthcare available to the general population in this region.

“2,000 public hospital beds are currently closed due to cutbacks and 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have been lost due to the recruitment embargo.

“These closures will have a devastating impact on waiting times, including in emergency departments.

“Tallaght Hospital is already under serious and sustained pressure with additional beds being placed on inpatient wards. Overcrowding compromises patient care and leads to increased risk of infection and infectious conditions including the winter vomiting bug and MRSA. The closure of 62 beds in Tallaght will inevitably lead to greater pressure and expose the hospital to more overcrowding in the future.

“In October Minister Reilly said in reply to questions that he did not agree that more beds closed meant more patients on trolleys and more people waiting for vital operations and treatment. The Minister needs to get his act together and start visiting the hospitals where these bed closures are happening and see for himself.”

Toggle

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe has said that the government must reverse the cuts in DEIS Band One and Two schools that will arise from increases to the pupil-teacher ratio in December’s budget. 

Deputy Crowe was speaking as he announced the text of a Sinn Féin Motion calling on the government to pull back from targeting schools that service children from disadvantaged areas. 

He said: 

“The cuts to essential education services announced in last month’s budget are indefensible and wrong. 

“It is clear that the government is continuing to implement the regressive polices of its predecessors by targeting the most vulnerable within our education system. 

“We have submitted this motion which will be debated in the Dáil next Wednesday and Thursday. The motion calls on the government to reverse their decision to increase the pupil-teacher ratios in DEIS Band One and Band Two schools. These cuts will result in the loss of hundreds of teachers who play a key role in ensuring some of our most vulnerable young people receive a decent education. 

“If this government press ahead with these cuts then the incremental progress that has been made in improving our education system over many years will be lost. It will also impact on schools from across the country and will alienate a generation of children who will be cast aside. It will cause irreparable damage to many young peoples’ lives and will have serious implications for wider Irish society and the economy.” 

Text of the Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion:

That Dáil Éireann:

·          Recognises the right of every child to equal opportunity through education as enshrined in Article 28.1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and that the 1998 Education Act makes specific reference to provision for the education of persons with disabilities or special educational needs and that a stated objective of the Act is: 'to give practical effect to the constitutional rights’ of children, including children who have a disability or other special educational needs.'

·          Notes that the Education for People with Special Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 Act promotes inclusive education for children with special educational needs and confers on parents a series of rights in relation to their child with special educational needs.

·          Notes that DEIS Band One and DEIS Band Two schools provide essential support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with Special Educational Needs so that they are able to leave school with the skills necessary to fully participate in the social and economic activities of society and to live independent and fulfilled lives.

·          Notes that in total there are 199 DEIS Band 1 schools, of these 32 
were in the former Breaking the Cycle (BTC) programme that predated DEIS; DEIS Band 1 BTC Junior Schools will operate a staffing schedule of 18:1; DEIS Band 1 BTC Senior Schools will operate a staffing schedule of 24:1; Vertical (junior and senior pupils) Band 1 BTC schools will operate separate staffing schedules of 18:1 at junior and 24:1 at senior level.

·          Notes that Other DEIS Band 1 Schools (167 schools that are not in Breaking the Cycle) will function as follows: DEIS Band 1 Junior Schools will operate a staffing schedule of 20:1; DEIS Band 1 Senior schools will operate a staffing schedule of 24:1 ; DEIS Band 1 Vertical (junior and senior pupils) schools will operate a staffing schedule of 22:1.

·          Notes that Junior DEIS schools are to be treated on a pupil-to-teacher ratio of an “alleviated” level: 18:1 from 15:1 and that DEIS band-2 schools will increase from a 24:1 ratio to 28:1.

·          Notes that a number of administrative principals are to be lost; the support teacher scheme is ending; the learning support system allocation changed and an estimated 250 teachers in DEIS disadvantaged primary schools are to be transferred to mainstream schools.

·          Notes that more than 428 DEIS teaching posts from 270 primary schools and 163 post-primary schools will be lost and that schools with classrooms designed to cater for a 15:1 teacher ratio will be unable to accommodate larger classroom sizes.
       

·          Commends the dedication and work of teaching staff in DEIS schools and recognises the incremental improvements that have resulted from dedicated programmes designed to help children who struggle to reach their educational potential.

·          Notes that the decision to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio from 1:22, as originally set out in December’s budget, to 1:18, will still result in the significant loss of teachers to disadvantaged schools covered by DEIS Band One and DEIS Band Two. 

·          Acknowledges that cuts to DEIS schools will result in the dismantling of essential educational supports for pupils with a high level of need in school and that this is a continuation of past Government budgetary polices that have resulted in cuts in education services designed to assist children from marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds.

·          Notes that many DEIS Band One and DEIS Band Two schools have already lost a range of services including Special Needs Assistants, Traveller Allocation Teachers and Language Support teachers and the withdrawal of visiting support teachers for Travellers, the phasing out by 2012 of senior Traveller training centres all of which have contributed to improving numeracy and literacy standards. 

·          Acknowledges that the loss of an estimated 700 plus Career Guidance Counsellors in Second Level Schools resulting from the decision in December’s budget not to provide these posts on an ex-quota basis will seriously reduce the level of support for children experiencing a range of emotional and learning difficulties.

·          Notes that it contradicts OECD recommendations to prioritise educational resources for socio-economically marginalised urban and rural areas and will undermine the Government’s EU commitments to reaching the EU2020 target of 10 per cent early school leavers nationally. 

·          Notes that it will undermine the National Literacy Strategy that has been prioritised by the Government and seen as essential to improving standards in schools and will result in the loss of much of the progress that has made in assisting children who have benefited greatly from the establishment of DEIS schools in 2005 and the Breaking the Cycle scheme which was initiated in 1996. 

·          Acknowledges that the targeting of DEIS Schools will have serious implications for society in the medium to long-term, and will contribute to greater social exclusion of many young people who are unable to avail of a fair and equitable education.

·          Notes that this is yet another attack on some of the most vulnerable children and undermines the Government’s commitment to protect the educational rights of children and those marginalised by poverty. 

·          Notes that cuts in DEIS schools contrasts with the Government’s prolonged review into State funding for private schools and its decision to implement a two-point increase in the staffing schedule in second-level fee-paying schools, with one teacher for almost every 22 pupils.

·          Notes that phased staffing adjustments in small schools with fewer than five teachers will leave an estimated 1,500 small schools struggling with higher teacher-pupil ratios and will lead to the closure of many rural schools.

·          Calls upon the Minister for Education to rescind these cuts as a matter of urgency and protect the rights of children to obtain their education entitlement by ensuring DEIS schools are adequately funded and retain their current teacher-pupil ratio. 

·          Calls upon the Government to retain the current scheme of giving DEIS Band schools a ’top up’ allocation on the existing standard staffing schedule to enable them to implement reduced class sizes of 20:1 in junior classes and 24:1 in senior classes.
· Calls upon the Government to rescind its decision to cut teaching posts from DEIS Band One and DEIS Band Two.

· Calls upon the Government to reverse these indefensible cuts to essential education services which will impact on the life chances of young people’s and have broader ramifications for Irish society and its economy. 

·          Calls upon on the Government to ring-fence funding and supports for DEIS Band One and Two Schools in order to break the cycle of deprivation, marginalisation and disadvantage and promote fairness and equality.

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Micky Brady said recent speculation that there was to be another increase in the price of home-heating oil emphasised the need for a more robust regulation of the industry.

The Newry & Armagh MLA said:

“It is ironic that we had a milder holiday period compared to last year’s big freeze and yet there is speculation that the price of home-heating oil is to increase.

“As far as the consumer is concerned there never appears to be a situation when the price of oil comes down despite on several occasions the price per barrel on a global scale decreasing significantly.

“Every reason is given for increasing the price. If it is very cold then the demand is high, the price goes up and remains high, taxes also play a part, as do the reasons given by the large suppliers such as high external costs.

“The recent colder than usual winters and rising prices, fuel poverty levels in the North have risen above 50%. With prices now reaching £550 for 900litres it would take someone on Jobs Seekers Allowance (£65.45 per-week) nine weeks of using their total benefit to fill their oil tank. 

 “The issue of fuel poverty is one that has been persistent for the past number of years and has been exacerbated by the increasing cost of living and rising unemployment. Bringing the home-heating oil industry under regulation is a way of providing consumers with an understanding and reassurance that the price they are charged would be fair.”CRÍOCH/END

Toggle

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said the government’s handling of 115,000 pensioners facing tax liabilities has been shambolic.

Deputy Doherty said it is incomprehensible that two government departments, revenue and social protection, have not been sharing information regarding people on state pensions.

Speaking today as thousands of pensioners were informed that they have not been paying the proper level of tax Deputy Doherty said:

“This news comes as people are trying to get used to new budgetary arrangements such as the increased VAT rate, the household charges and increased motor and fuel taxes.

“For the pensioners affected this news will have come as a huge shock.

“The government’s handling of the issue has been shambolic. First of all these people were told that they are liable for more tax in 2012. This morning a spokesperson from revenue, speaking on RTÉ, didn’t rule out revenue pursuing these people for back payments over a period of six years causing further shock for these people. And then by eleven o’clock they are told that they do not need to do anything.

“We need to see a clarifying statement from the revenue department to make it clear what these pensioners need to do.

“It is incomprehensible that two government departments, revenue and social protection, have not been sharing information regarding people on state pensions. The lack of cooperation is astonishing.” ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has slammed those responsible for  the leaving of a bomb in a car which was discovered in Ligoniel. 

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

“This attack was wreckless and those who behind need to bear the responsibility of endangering the people of North Belfast.

“It is my understanding that this car traveled around north Belfast, and was in Ligoniel before this bomb was discovered. It has left this community vulnerable to injury or worse had the bomb gone off.

“In Ligoniel itself many people, including families with children were forced to leave their homes.

“Those behind it need to realise that there is no support for this and the community rejects the groups behind such attacks. Their  actions are outdated and will serve no furthering of any political agenda or otherwise. The people of Ireland had overwhelming endorsed the peace process and it is high time such groups caught up with this.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Cavan-Monaghan TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin this afternoon (Thursday) met with the protesting workers at Lagan Brick in Kingscourt, Co Cavan. He called on the firm’s owners to engage with the workers at the Labour Relations Commission and expressed solidarity with the workers’ protest at what he called their “disgraceful treatment by the company”.

Deputy Ó Caoláin was accompanied at the meeting by Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly, Cavan county councillor Paddy McDonald, Monaghan county councillor Matt Carthy and local party activist Martin Malone.

Speaking after the meeting, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The Lagan Brick workers have Sinn Féin’s full support in their protest at the disgraceful treatment they have received from the owners of Lagan Brick.

“They were told at an hour’s notice, ten days before Christmas, that their jobs were gone and that the plant would close. There was no negotiation, no proper redundancy procedure and no redundancy payment beyond statutory redundancy.

“One of the 25 workers we met this afternoon has given 43 years’ service to the company. Every one of them has over 20 years’ service. They have maintained a 24-hour vigil at the plant since they were laid off on 15 December.

“Lagan Brick claims that the Kingscourt plant must close but workers believe that the company’s position is not as it has claimed and that it is viable. They fear that following their lay-offs the company may well seek to employ agency workers at lower rates of pay and poorer conditions.

“The workers have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission. I appeal to the Lagan Brick owners to engage in this process without further delay and to reach a just resolution.

“The Sinn Féin elected representatives at today’s meeting agreed to raise the issue in the Oireachtas and at council level. I also undertook to liaise with other political party representatives in an effort to construct an all-party united front in support of the workers’ demands.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, said the closure of 62 beds in one of the country’s major hospital would be the first of many in 2012 thanks to the “devastating health cuts imposed in the Fine Gael/Labour budget”.
He said:
“The revelation by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation that Tallaght Hospital is to close 62 beds before the end of January, including a 31-bed ward, is a body blow to hospital care in the extensive region served by one of the country’s major hospitals.
“Once again this closure of beds is taking place without any consultation with staff and in an unplanned and arbitrary way. These bed closures should not be happening. Thanks to the devastating health cuts imposed by the Fine Gael/Labour Government in Budget 2012 these closures will be the first of many more in 2012.
“There are over 2,000 public hospital beds currently closed due to cutbacks and 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have already been lost due to the recruitment embargo.
“On 3 October last in the Dáil I asked health minister James Reilly if he would commence a programme of reopening public hospital beds. I asked the minister if he agreed that more beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations.
Minister Reilly replied to me: ‘I do not agree that more beds closed means more patients on trolleys and more people waiting.’
“This was a direct contradiction of what James Reilly said in May 2010, after 33 beds were closed in Beaumont Hospital: ‘More beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations.’
“Minister Reilly was correct in May 2010 but now he parrots the words of his predecessor Mary Harney.”
ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, said the closure of 62 beds in one of the country’s major hospital would be the first of many in 2012 thanks to the “devastating health cuts imposed in the Fine Gael/Labour budget”.

He said:

“The revelation by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation that Tallaght Hospital is to close 62 beds before the end of January, including a 31-bed ward, is a body blow to hospital care in the extensive region served by one of the country’s major hospitals.

“Once again this closure of beds is taking place without any consultation with staff and in an unplanned and arbitrary way. These bed closures should not be happening. Thanks to the devastating health cuts imposed by the Fine Gael/Labour Government in Budget 2012 these closures will be the first of many more in 2012.

“There are over 2,000 public hospital beds currently closed due to cutbacks and 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have already been lost due to the recruitment embargo.

“On 3 October last in the Dáil I asked health minister James Reilly if he would commence a programme of reopening public hospital beds. I asked the minister if he agreed that more beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations."

Minister Reilly replied to me: ‘I do not agree that more beds closed means more patients on trolleys and more people waiting.’

“This was a direct contradiction of what James Reilly said in May 2010, after 33 beds were closed in Beaumont Hospital: ‘More beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations.’

“Minister Reilly was correct in May 2010 but now he parrots the words of his predecessor Mary Harney.”
ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin

Photos

Supporting Bus Éireann workers

An Phoblacht Ad

Videos

1916 Lost Leaders March


Like us on Facebook

Sinn Féin Shop