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Some sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil December 10

Some of the sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil on December 10.  Includes Gerry Adams address to the crowd and Damien Dempsey's rendition of the ballad James Connolly

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has stated that government policy is making the richer even richer and the poor even poorer.


The passing of this motion, in conjunction with the passing of similar motions in Parliaments across the EU, is an important act of solidarity with the Palestinian people.



Nuacht

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD has called for the Taoiseach to take a lead from the Spanish Prime Minister and stand up for Irish interests in negotiations with the ECB by declaring the state’s inability to pay the Promissory Note.

The Sinn Féin leader also criticised the comments of the EU Commissioner Olli Rehn.

Deputy Adams said:

“Olli Rehn’s claim that respecting commitments and obligations is a key tradition in EU law is a nonsense. It was never applied to France or Germany when both regularly breached the stability and growth rules.

“Germany breached the deficit rules in 1994, 1996, between 2003 and 2006 and each year since 2009. It has broken the debt to GDP rule every year since 2003.

“France has broken the deficit rule every year since 2003 and has breached the debt rule every year since 2003.
“It is clear that for Mr. Rehn there is one rule for the Irish and another for everyone else.

“The EU has singularly failed to deal properly or effectively with the economic and banking crisis. It has staggered from one failed short term solution to another and has contributed to the crisis in the European banking system and to the levels of debt confronting Irish citizens.

“The Irish government should do what is in the interests of the Irish state and of Irish citizens and declare its inability to pay the promissory note.”

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and member of the Justice Committee Jennifer McCann, along with Sean Lynch MLA will visit Hydebank prison in order to view the facilities available over the detention of Marian Price. 

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

“The continued detention of Marian Price is a serious concern given the deterioration of her physical and mental health.

“Marian Price, before her transfer to Hydebank has spent 300 days in singular confinement. She is now in similar confinement within Hydebank despite health concerns. This is wholly inadequate and cannot address Marian Price’s needs.

“As such we will be visiting Hydebank to inspect these facilities in order to have a clearer picture of what is available.

“Marian Price should be released. She needs full and proper medical attention and given the fact that she has been bailed on those charges she is facing there is no justification whatsoever for her continued detention.”

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Speaking following the publication of the report by the Inspector of Prisons on Limerick Prison, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said the report was to be welcomed, and while progress clearly has been made regarding certain issues such as cleaning and painting, other more serious issues have still not been addressed.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“The Inspector of Prisons published a report with recommendations back in November, and we welcome that some of them have been implemented such as cleaning, replacement of broken windows, and installation of new toilets.

“However there are serious deficiencies in Limerick Prison that remain outstanding – such as establishing a drug free support unit. The inspector explicitly states in his report that this has not happened due to the level of overcrowding in the prison. Overcrowding is endemic in Irish prisons, and the Minister for Justice must start implementing measures that will ensure non-custodial sentences are imposed where this is appropriate.

“There are far too many people in prisons that should not be there. If it is actually the minister’s intention to implement the Fines Act and introduce measures that will alleviate overcrowding, he must see to it as a matter of urgency.

“For those that remain in Limerick Prison the issue of no recreation areas and the lack of time prisoners spend in yards and recreation areas must be changed immediately. It is inhumane to simply lock prisoners away and not address the conditions they are forced to live in. It is a recipe for nothing but recidivism once they exit the prison system.”

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Commenting on the failure of the SDLP to support the Executive Programme for Government in the Assembly, Sinn Féin Group leader Raymond McCartney said that it was clear from the debate ‘that SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell is intent on following the failed negative agenda pursued by his predecessor in the Assembly and Executive’.

Mr McCartney said:

“It was clear from the debate on the Programme for Government that the SDLP have learned none of the lessons from the past five years. It seems that Alasdair McDonnell is intent on following the failed negative agenda pursued by his predecessor in the Assembly and Executive. This is the negative agenda rejected by the electorate at the last Assembly poll.

“The SDLP are part of the Executive. They need to start behaving as team players. They need to put their own negativity aside for the good of the people. They need to start working for the political institutions instead of against them.

“It seems despite some positive commentary from some individual SDLP MLAs that the party leadership is still wedded to the failed policy of obstruction, self-interest and negativity."


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Commenting on today’s meeting in Downing Street between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said it was a ‘missed opportunity to rebalance Irish-British relations’.

Gerry Adams said:

“For too long successive Irish governments have allowed the British government to dictate the pace on relations between the two countries. They have acquiesced to the British approach on a whole range of important issues. This approach needs to change.

“It is the job of the Irish Government to assert Irish national and democratic rights and to put the case for a united Ireland as strongly as the British Government promotes the maintenance of the Union.

“Today’s meeting in Downing Street was a missed opportunity to rebalance Irish-British relations.

“It is a contradiction to commit to implement outstanding aspects of the Peace Process and in the same breath ignore the Weston Park commitment to the Finucane family or to do as the British have done and refuse to assist in the Inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

“Instead of coming away with firm commitments from Downing Street on important outstanding issues Enda Kenny has been given little more than platitudes by David Cameron.”

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Giving his verdict on the government’s first year in office the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said that Fine Gael and Labour have continued the damaging austerity policies of their Fianna Fáil predecessors.

Commenting on the impending handover of €3.1 billion of taxpayers’ money as part of the Anglo promissory note payment, Deputy Adams said that the government has the opportunity to right some of the wrongs of their first year by stopping this scandal.

Gerry Adams said:

“The past year has seen nothing but the same old story from Fine Gael and Labour. They promised change and jobs and prosperity but the reality is very different.

“This government has continued the damaging austerity policies of their Fianna Fáil predecessors.

“Unemployment figures show a staggering 435,589 people on the live register. 6,000 young people are leaving the country every month in search of work. The number of families in serious mortgage distress is now over 100,000. In the last twelve months Fine Gael and Labour have poured €21.3 billion into the banks.

“On top of all this the government has introduced a long list of extra charges and stealth taxes pushing people further and further into hardship and poverty. Public services continue to be decimated. Rural Ireland has been disproportionately targeted for cuts.

“In the next few weeks €3.1 billion of taxpayers’ money will be handed over as part of the Anglo promissory note deal. This is totally scandalous and people are justifiably angry. The idea that these billions will be paid out while a mere €29 million has to date been invested in job creation is mind-boggling.

“This payment should not happen. By stepping up to the mark and stopping this handover the government has an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the last year. This is a political choice and the government should stand by their electoral promises of hope and change and stop the handover.”

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and member of the Justice Committee, Jennifer McCann has, following a meeting with the Justice Minister David Ford today, stated that Marian Price should be released immediately. 

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

“We asked to meet with the Justice Minister over a number of issues however the continued detention of Marian Price was paramount on the agenda.

“We stated very clearly to David Ford our concerns surrounding Marian Price's physical and mental health.

“Marian has spent 300 days in singular confinement in Maghaberry, the current regime that she is being held under in Hydebank is wholly insufficient to deal with her health needs. She should be released immediately to receive the necessary care that she requires.

“Marian Price has been bailed on the charges she faces. The continuing pretext of her detention under the revoking of her license is unacceptable and we are calling on the Parole Commissioners to review this case as a priority so that Marian Price can be released.”

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Sinn Féin MLA, Sue Ramsey, who is also the  chair of the Health Committee, has stated that there needs to be particular attention paid to the call out times for ambulance service in rural areas.

Speaking today Ms Ramsey said:

“The recent report highlighting the longer call out times for Ambulance cover in rural areas is concerning.

“I do have to however commend the Ambulance service for the high percentage of call out targets being met across the north.

“This call out time for some rural area, but in particular North Antrim, Fermanagh and Tyrone is an issue that we have been aware of for some time and we will be examining ways in which this can be redressed this such as rural ambulance stations, improved road infrastructure, something the Executive is already delivering on, and protection of vital frontline services.

“What we need is an approach bringing targeted investment to get these arrival times up to speed. Many are too close to the "golden hour" of emergency services delivery.“As such the Health Committee will be meeting with the Ambulance Service Control Room in a number of weeks as part of the process examining what can be done to improve these times.”

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Newry & Armagh MP Conor Murphy said he was hoping for a positive response from the Parades Commission in their review tomorrow of the decision to allow 40 loyalist bands to march through Armagh City on the evening of St Patrick’s Day.

Conor Murphy said:

“When the decision was revealed to allow 40 loyalist bands to march through Armagh City on the evening of St Patrick’s Day, Sinn Féin immediately asked for a review of what has to be the one of the most ridiculous determinations ever made in relation to marching in the North.

 “The input from the PSNI on this occasion has been totally disastrous. They have actually influenced the determination by unbelievably claiming there are ‘no local concerns or sensitivities’ around this march.

 “Don’t they know it is going to be St Patrick’s Day on Saturday?  Either the PSNI in Armagh have a total lack of understanding of the nationalist feelings in the area or there are other agendas at work.

 “At the same time the Parades Commission cannot wash their hands of this and ultimately the buck stops with them – they made this flawed determination.

“Hopefully common sense will prevail tomorrow at the review and we can put this ridiculous decision behind us and enjoy the St Patrick’s Day festivities in Armagh on Saturday.”

Videos

Sinn Féin MEPs final report back to the Irish people of 2014.


Photos

Senator David Cullinane speaks to media