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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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Today the Minister for Jobs announced that he is to undertake a consultation with small business on changes to the supports offered by County Enterprise Boards.
Peadar Tóibín TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said:
“Last year when the Government unveiled plans to do away with County Enterprise Boards I raised a number of concerns and believed that the proposals were being rushed and could lead to a potential vacuum in supports to our local business. It is now clear that the minister drove ahead with this policy over the past year without consulting with our taking on board the views and experiences of the small business sector.
“After almost a year on the minister has now accepted that the views of the SME sector are central to the development of new supports and structures and initiated a consultation process.
“We remain concerned that this consultation is coming at the end of the process and may amount to window dressing. It is clear that business supports need to resourced and restructured. It is clear that the SME sector is central to this. It remains to be seen if the government will heed to needs of small businesses.”
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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has slammed the announcement from Minister Alan Shatter that the budget for the Reserve Defence Forces is to be halved as well as the numbers of reserve personnel.

The Donegal North East TD said:
"This announcement last evening is the latest kick in the teeth for our Defence Forces. Despite profound concerns about these cutbacks being repeatedly expressed by the representative organisations for the Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces, PDFORRA and the RDFRA, the Minister has continued to enforce even more.

“For a number of years now, the Reserve Defence Forces have been hampered by the moratorium on public service recruitment in anticipation of this so called ‘Value for Money’ review. The Government can use terms like ‘efficiency’, ‘doing more for less’ and ‘value for money’ all they like but they are fooling no one. These cuts to our defence forces have sapped the morale of personnel across the state.

"This decision to halve the budget of the Reserve Defence Forces and halve the numbers of personnel is totally unnecessary. The saving of 10 million euro per annum could have been found in a myriad of other ways as Sinn Féin demonstrated in our pre budget proposals. For example, if we cut fees to those on state agencies by 25% and cut the pay of Ministers to €100,000 and TDs to €75,000: that would amount to the same in savings.

It is all about choices. The government have chosen to dramatically undermine a proud voluntary and patriotic service across so many rural Irish parishes rather than lead by example by cutting politicians pay and political appointees".

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Speaking to a report on official EU languages in Strasbourg this week Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said:

“Tá Leagan Gaeilge do Shuíomh gréasáin na Parlaiminte seo de dhíth anois

“For almost 6 years this Parliament has breached the principle of non-discrimination, by producing its website in 22 of the 23 official EU Languages, but not in Irish.

“This blatant discrimination against the marginalised cannot be justified.

“The Irish language derogation does not justify it - it concerns legislation, and not communication with the public.  Nor is there any shortage of qualified translators.

“For almost 2 years the European Parliament has in fact been defying Council Regulation 1257 of 20 Dec 2010, which says clearly: ‘The institutions will continue to take steps to improve access to information in Irish on the activities of the Union’.

“The passing of the report on the recording of interventions in plenary should at least ensure that speeches made in Irish will remain on the website in Irish and not be removed as soon as they are translated into English. A small but important step!

“A formal complaint of language discrimination against the European Parliament has now been lodged with the European Ombudsman.  Tá sá thar am go mbeadh cothrom na Feinne againn anseo".

Martina Anderson added:“In response to a letter which I wrote to Vice President Miguel Ángel Martinez who has responsibility for multilingualism within the Parliament, I have now secured a meeting to discuss this issue further.

“I intend to pursue this matter until it is satisfactorily resolved and Irish takes its rightful place alongside the other 22 Official languages of the EU Parliament”. CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has signed a declaration calling on the EU to ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on domestic violence.

Martina Anderson said: 

“I find it unbelievable that while the combatting and preventing violence against women and domestic violence, Convention of the Council of Europe was adopted eighteen months ago that to date only Turkey has ratified it. 

“This is an unacceptable situation given that thousands of women die every year across Europe as a result of domestic violence. 

The fact is that domestic violence knows no boundaries – geographical or social class – it is therefore, incumbent on all of us and on every government and institution to do all that we can to ensure that this Convention is ratified by all member States and implemented without further delay.” CRÍOCH 

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has said today that the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) must be maintained if we are to encourage people to stay on in education.

 Mr. McElduff, who is a member of the Assembly’s statutory Committee  for Employment and Learning stated,

“Many young people make a decision to leave education prematurely due to financial concerns. The introduction of the EMA was designed to give young students the option of staying on in education and removing financial barriers in their way of doing this.

“Today’s demonstration in Belfast highlights the level of feeling amongst students who are afraid of losing this allowance which offers them a form of independence.

“Sinn Féin supports the retention of EMA but we are concerned that the five options that were put out in the recent consultation will not meet the needs of many students who currently avail of the allowance.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work with students and their representative bodies in order to find a formula that will increase the numbers of students staying on longer at school.” 

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today called on the Irish government to raise the issue of the on-going violence in the Middle East as an urgent matter and to use its influence to get an EU intervention at this week’s EU summit.

Speaking in the Dáil during statements on the EU Council Teachta Adams called on the international community to act in a decisive way now before the situation deteriorates further.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“A real peace process must be inclusive, based on dialogue and equality, and all sides must respect the right of citizens to elect or select their representatives.

“So Taoiseach I would ask that you ensure this issue is considered by EU leaders this weekend.

“The Government should also use its influence in the EU and its new membership of the UN Human Rights Council to raise the current hostilities, the denial of sovereign, as well as human rights, to the Palestinian people and the six year illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel.”

The full text of Mr. Adams remarks:

“Taoiseach I want to ask you to raise the issue of the on-going violence in the Middle East as an urgent issue and to use your good office to get an EU intervention.

“Over recent decades the international community has failed to demonstrate the necessary resolve to help end this conflict.

“By last night approximately 130 Palestinian and five Israeli citizens have been killed. Half of those killed in Gaza are women and children.

“The EU Council should not meet without you using Ireland’s special status to raise the urgent need for peace in the Middle East.

“I believe there needs to be an immediate end of armed actions by all of the combatant groups.

“The rocket attacks on Israel should stop and the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip should end immediately.

“But in the meantime there is an onus on the international community especially the EU, to act in a decisive way now before the situation deteriorates further.

“You can play a leadership role in this Taoiseach. It is also vital that we should not be distracted by unbalanced media reporting which presents this conflict as one between equals. It is not.

“The Gaza Strip is a third world region, poor, under economic siege for six years and with most of its citizens living in poverty and relying on international aid.

“The Palestinian people have been robbed of their land, imprisoned by separation walls and borders into ghettoes, and have little power or influence.

“A United Nations report, before this recent violence, stated that by 2020 there will be virtually no reliable access to safe drinking water and no reliable electricity for the people of the Gaza strip.

“Eighty per cent of the citizens of Gaza are dependent on international aid and over one million are refugees.

“Taoiseach, Israel by comparison is a first world, highly developed, rich and heavily armed super-state with nuclear weapons.

“Taoiseach, the international experience and one of the main lessons from the Irish peace process is clear.

“Refusing to engage in dialogue; demonising opponents; treating them as non-citizens; stripping them of their rights and entitlements, of their self-esteem and integrity as human beings; engaging in censorship and vilification, makes war inevitable and peace harder to achieve.

“A real peace process must be inclusive, based on dialogue and equality, and all sides must respect the right of citizens to elect or select their representatives.

“So Taoiseach I would ask that you ensure this issue is considered by EU leaders this weekend.

“The government should also use its influence in the EU and its new membership of the UN Human Rights Council to raise the current hostilities, the denial of sovereign, as well as human rights, to the Palestinian people and the six year illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel.”

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Tá sé curtha i leith Aire na Gaeltachta, Dinny McGinley, ag an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, go bhfuil faillí tíreolaíoch agus inscne ag baint leis na ceapacháin atá déanta aige ar bhord Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tá líon na mban ar an mbord gearrtha go beirt agus tá líon na gcomhaltaí as Gaeltacht na Gaillimhe laghdaithe ó ochtar go beirt.
Cé go bhfáiltíonn an Seanadóir roimh an bhfógra agus guionn sé gach rath ar na baill nuathofa, ardaíonn na ceapacháin cuid mhaith ceisteanna bunúsacha faoi cur chuige an Rialtais, dar leis an gClochartach.
"Tá daoine den dtuairim gur de bharr dílseacht pholaitiúil atá cuid mhaith de na ceapacháin seo déanta agus go mbeidh tromlach an-mhór ag daoine atá fabhrach d’Fhine Gael & an Lucht Oibre ar an mbord. Seo an imní a bhí chuid mhaith de phobal na Gaeltachta nuair a d’athraigh an tAire an leagan amach daonlathach ar an mbord’, a deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar. ‘Níl an bhord nua tofa ag an bpobal dar díobh iad agus is laigeacht mór san ionadaíocht é sin, dar liom."
"Tá fimínteacht ag baint le cur chuige an Rialtais freisin. Ar thaobh amháin tá siad ag iarraidh reachtaíocht a chuir chun cinn le líon na mban sa gcóras poiblí a mhéadu, rud atá ceart, ach nuair a bhí deis ag an Aire Gaeltachta cothromaíocht a thabhairt do mhná ar bhord an Údaráis, a mhalairt atá déanta agus ionadaíocht na mban gearrtha caoga fán gcéad aige. An deá-chleachtas atá ar fud na hEorpa ná go mbeadh ar a laghad ceathracha fán gcéad ban ar bhoird stáit, ach níl sa bheirt atá ceaptha ag an Aire ach 16% den iomlán. Deis eile caillte aige", dar le Ó Clochartaigh.
"Is í Gaeltacht na Gaillimhe an ceantar is mó daonra sa nGaeltacht le suas le 45,000 duine ann. Tá sé beagnach dúbailt chomh mór le Tír Chonaill ina bhfuil tuairim 24,000 duine. Ach, tá ceathrar ionadaí ar an mbord nua de bhunadh Thír Chonaill agus gan ach beirt as Gaillimh, áit a raibh ochtar roimhe sin. Níl muid ag lorg aon cheo breise do Ghaillimh seachas aon cheantar eile, ach ní coibhneas faireáilte é sin", a deir an Seanadóir.
"Ba chóir don Aire míniú duinn chomh maith cé na critéir a d’úsáid sé chun na baill nua a roghnú. An bhfuil cáilíochtaí pleanála teanga acu? An bhfuil cónaí orthu sa nGaeltacht? Cén taithí gnó agus cruthú fostaíochta agus forbartha pobail atá acu? Ba chóir dó chomh maith eolas a thabhairt faoi aon bhallraíocht a bhí, nó atá acu, in aon pháirtí polaitiúil, nó ar thacaigh siad ariamh le iarrthóirí ó aon pháirtí ar leith aimsir toghcháin?’, a deir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. ‘Tá sé seo tábhachtach i gcomhthéacs na daoine eile a chuir iarratais isteach le bheith mar bhaill boird agus nár éirigh leo. Ba chóir go mbeadh sé soiléir gur de bharr taithí agus cumas a rinneadh an cinneadh, seachas aon cheo eile.
"Is maith an rud go bhfuil ionadaíocht ar an mbord nua ó na Gaeltachtaí beaga, ach ba chóir don Aire dá bhrí sin soiléiriú a dhéanamh ar ionadaíocht na ndaoine a bheidh ainmnithe ó Chomhairlí Chontae na Mí, Corcaigh agus Port Lairge amach anseo. Tá sé sa reachtaíocht go mbéidh siad ag babhtáíl gach bliain. Más ea, ceard a tharloidh d’ionadaíocht na Mí an bhliain seo chugainn. Ní cosúil ach an oiread go bhfuil éinne ceaptha ag an Aire a bhfuil cónaí orthu ar oileán Ghaeltachta agus is mór an trua sin, mar go bhfuil ról faoi leith ag na hoileáín i saol agus cultúr na Gaeltachta.
"Bhí amhras orainn nuair a bhí Bille na Gaeltachta dhá bhrú thríd an Oireachtas agus athruithe ar bhord an Údaráis le tabhairt isteach, go mbeadh laghdú ar an daonlathas, ar an ionadaíocht ó na pobail agus go mbeadh fábhar do pháirtithe an Rialtais sna ceapacháin. Tá sé tabhachtach go léireoidh an tAire anois nach amhlaidh atá, le go mbeadh muinín ag daoine san Údarás agus an obair fíorthabhachtach a dhéanann sí", a deir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
Críoch

Údarás Board appointments unrepresentative – Ó Clochartaigh

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has accused the Minister of State for Gaeltacht affairs for failing to ensure the gender and geographic spread of the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta was representative. The number of women on the board has been reduced to two, and the number of representatives from Galway has been reduced from eight to two.
While the Senator welcomed the announcement of the Boards membership, and wished the new members well in their work, Senator Ó Clochartaigh has stated that the makeup of the board raises basic questions about the Government’s approach.
“There are many people of the view that the appointments are on the basis of political patronage, and that the overwhelming majority of members of the Board are aligned to Fine Gael and the Labour Party. This was one of the concerns of the Gaeltacht community when the Government changed the democratic make-up of the Board,” according to the Galway West Senator. “The new board has not been elected by the people, and that is a massive flaw in the make-up of the board in my view.
“The Government is also being quite hypocritical as well. On the one hand, it is bringing forward, rightly in my view, legislation to increase the representation of women in political life, however, when the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs has the opportunity to ensure that women are given proper representation, he has done the opposite and reduced the representation of women by 50%. It is good practice throughout Europe, that at least 40% of state boards are female, however, the two appointed by the Minister to the board, only make up 16%. This is another missed opportunity.
“The Galway Gaeltacht is the most populous area in the Gaeltacht, with some 45,000 people living there. This is nearly twice as populous as the Donegal Gaeltacht with 24,000 people. However, there are four representatives from Donegal, and only two from Galway, which previously had eight representatives. We are not seeking any special treatment for Galway, however, these are not fair ratios.
“The Minister should also explain what criteria he used to select the new members. Do they have language planning qualifications? Are they living in the Gaeltacht? Do they have experience in enterprise, job creation and community development? He should also provide any information as regards any involvement the members of the board have or have had with political parties, or whether they have ever actively supported any candidates for election. It is important in the context of those who applied for membership of the board but did not succeed. It should be clear that these appointments were made on the basis of experience and ability rather than on any other basis.
“It is positive that there is representation on the board from the small Gaeltacht areas, but the Minister should clarify the issue of representation from Meath, Cork and Waterford County Councils. According to the legislation, representation from these County Councils is to rotate on an annual basis. If this is the case, what will become of representation from Meath next year? It also appears as though the Minister has not appointed anyone to the Board who is living on an island Gaeltacht, and that is a shame, because the islands have a particular role in the life and culture of the Gaeltacht.
“We were concerned when the Gaeltacht Bill was passing through the Oireachtas, and the changes to the make-up of the board were being brought in, that there would be a reduction in democracy, in representativeness, and that the Government party appointees would predominate. It is essential that the Minister ensure that this is not the case, so that the people have faith in the Údarás, and in its vitally important work”

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the ending of the protest at Maghaberry by a majority of prisoners taking part.

The Foyle MLA and Vice Chair of the Assembly’s Justice Committee said:

“I welcome this development which now creates the space for the resolution to the prison dispute.

“The agreement reached in 2010 provides the way forward and with good will on all sides this is an opportunity to end the protest within the prison.

“Prisoners and prison staff need to be treated with dignity and respect and the minister’s intention to seek a technological solution to the issue of strip searching provides an avenue to resolving the issue.”

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Speaking in London last night, Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy hit out at the behaviour of the British government in the continuing imprisonment of Marian Price, Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough.

Conor Murphy was speaking at a public meeting in Westminster, on a panel which included Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O'Cúiv, British Labour MP John McDonnell, former Armagh prison chaplain Fr Raymond Murray, and prisoners campaigner Moya St Leger.

 Addressing the Price and Corey cases, Mr Murphy said:

 "These two people should be released immediately. Their detention without trial and due process is unjust and runs contrary to natural justice. They are detained on the basis of secret allegations by British intelligence agencies, which they are unable to challenge, contest or refute.  Everyone is entitled to due process and to a fair trial Marian Price and Martin Corey are being denied this. This represents a serious breach of their human rights and their continued imprisonment undermines the justice system. We are against the use of ‘revocation of licences’ as a substitute for due process.

On the continued imprisonment of Gerry McGeough, Conor Murphy said:

 "Sinn Féin believes that Gerry McGeough should not have been arrested,  should not therefore be in prison and should be released immediately. We have made this position clear publicly on many occasions since Gerry’s arrest, including during the course of many meetings with both the British and Irish governments. Several of our MLAs have visited the prisoners in Maghaberry many times over the course of the past two years. 

“They have met with Gerry McGeough and discussed his predicament. They have repeated our position to him personally.  Indeed, during these visits Gerry has expressed his appreciation for the efforts Sinn Féin has made on his behalf. Most recently Sinn Féin tabled motions at a number of Councils,  north and south,  calling for his release". CRÍOCH

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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.