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A Fair Recovery Is Possible

Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

A Fair Recovery is Possible logo

Some sights and sounds from the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare on June 21, 2015. Main speaker Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD. During the course of her speech she talked about the need for a fair economic recovery north and south; demanded the British to come clean about collusion; and expressed solidarity with the people of Greece.


Martin McGuinness speaking at Stormont said that Sinn Féin's conditional support for the budget bill will create the space to resolve outstanding issues and ensure the executive has workable and sustainable finances and see the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.



Nuacht

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Sinn Féin spokespeople on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD has called for a full and honest debate on the reform of the farm payments system under the Common Agricultural Policy. Deputy Ferris was speaking following his return from Brussels where Sinn Féin and farmers representatives met with Agriculture Commission member Mike McKenzie.

Deputy Ferris said: "Negotiations on the new payments system are reaching a crucial juncture. The debate has moved away from the original Commission proposal of a flat rate and is now centred on French proposals for frontloading a higher rate, with options for individual states to tailor that to their own farm structures.

“There has been some discussion here of paying a per hectare rate of €400 for the first 20 hectares. I believe that there is some merit in some form of such a system tweaked to include extra payments on land above 20 hectares and including Pillar II payments and a new scheme to encourage young entrants.

“Whatever the outcome, we need an open and honest debate. The perception among the many small to medium producers is that the debate has been skewed in favour of larger producers and those in receipt of large payments. At present over 80% of farmers receive an average payment of just over €5,000. Just 1.62% receive more than €50,000 but that accounts for over 10% of the total payments.

“There is also some resentment regarding the perception that farmers on lower incomes and payments are in some way ‘unproductive’. Increasing production is not without cost and sticking with the current system of payments means that it will be difficult for these farmers to afford additional investment to improve their holdings productive capacity in the future and therefore contribute to the Harvest 2020 targets.  It is also worth noting that certain restrictions beyond their control such as SAC/NHA designation contributed to these farmers having a smaller Single Farm Payment in the original reference period.

“The Nitrates Directive and the restrictions that it puts on stocking rates may in certain cases make it difficult to justify paying historical high entitlement rates of over say €600 plus a Hectare, as the Nitrates Directive puts a ceiling on the amount of stock that this land can hold and therefore limits its ‘productive capacity’.

“We are pleased that Sinn Féin’s proposal for an upper limit on payments, of €100,000 moving towards €50,000 by 2019 has gained considerable support whereas until now we were almost the sole advocates of that. Indeed the debate has moved beyond that with the current proposals that are on the table.”

ENDS

 

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Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has said that figures published by the CAO that show a significant reduction in the number of students choosing to become teachers is “unsurprising” considering the way new entrants to the profession have been treated in recent years.

The Cork North Central TD was responding to data on this year's college applications which shows an eight per cent drop in numbers opting for teacher degree courses.

He continued: “In the past two years newly qualified teachers have been targeted by a number of punitive cuts in pay and allowances which have forced a growing number to consider other career options or a job in teaching outside of Ireland.

“Allied to this has been the casualisation of work practices for teachers who can find employment resulting in over 27% of teachers struggling to make ends meet in temporary posts that have limited hours and little job security.

“It is hardly surprising therefore, that a significant number of potential recruits to the profession are turning down teaching as a career option.

“The drop in applications for teaching courses this year follows a six per cent reduction last year and other worrying trends are also highlighted in the CAO survey with arts and social science courses down on last year’s figures.

“It is an issue Education Minister Ruairí Quinn must address otherwise measures such as the reform of the Junior Cycle and the implementation of a literacy and numeracy strategy will flounder.”

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The Sinn Féin by-election candidate in Meath East, Darren O’Rourke, has called on the government to take action on the extreme shortage of social housing in Meath.

O’Rourke said:

“Social housing provision in Meath is at crisis point. Years of Fianna Fáil developer-led policies have left the county in a situation where thousands of people are on the waiting list to be housed.

“The county had the third highest shortfall nationally in social and affordable housing during the boom years, doubling between 2005 and 2008 to over 2,000. Between 2008 and 2011, the figure doubled again, with Meath today having almost the largest waiting list per capita in the state. “In Kells alone the list of applications is almost at the 400 mark.

“The failure to provide adequate social and affordable units has left thousands of people stranded.

“Recent cuts to Rent Supplement rates have made securing affordable housing even more difficult and in some cases led to families being made homeless.

“But there are common-sense solutions to this problem. Recently in the Dáil, Sinn Féin TDs put forward innovative proposals for tackling social housing shortages including ensuring that NAMA housing units suitable for social housing be made available. In Meath alone there are some 84 unfinished housing estates. Such a proposal makes sense and would benefit huge swathes of people who up until now have been stuck on waiting lists.

“The government parties failed to support that motion.

“I am calling on the government to take action urgently on Meath’s social housing crisis. The Sinn Féin proposals make sense. It is time to stop playing party politics and start helping people who need it.”

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has today released a confidential non-disclosure document used by AIB to gag borrowers in the buy-to-let market on mortgage deals with the bank.

Doherty said the document revealed the true extent of the bank’s attempts to keep hidden from the public how it deals with mortgage distress, at a time when people need transparency and action on the issue across all mortgage deals.

 

Deputy Doherty said:

“This confidential document finally lifts the lid on the bank’s veil of secrecy on mortgage deals within the buy-to-let sector.

“We have been aware for some time that in some instances banks are restructuring mortgages, but that it is arbitrary and they try to keep the details hidden.

“There are 185,882 housholds in mortgage distress, or 23.5% of all domestic mortgages, and many more just on the verge of going into distress. Of them, many of these are having sleepless nights. Many have not been dealt with effectively by the banks and constantly receive late payment notices and repeated phonecalls.

“There are clearly deals being done, but in this instance, for what we have been informed is for the buy-to-let sector, AIB has produced a legal document to prevent any borrowers disclosing that they have even talked to their bank.

“This can be seen in the first clause of the agreement which states the borrower must not… ‘disclose to any third party the fact that negotiations are taking place between the Bank and ourselves and in the event that an agreement is reached between the the Bank and ourselves to restructure our facilities, not to disclose to, or use for the benefit of, any third party the fact that such agreement may have been made nor to make known any details or information in any form…’

"The document contains a lot of threatening language and contains an indefinite clause that prevents the borrower from ever talking about the deal. 

“Sinn Féin has been critical of the Personal Insolvency Act because we believe it will do nothing for those in mortgage distress because it keeps the veto with the bank. From what we can see today, leaving the power in the hands of the bank will mean leaving the banks to continue to act behind closed doors so mortgage holders do not know what they are entitled to. The banks are cherry picking who they will deal with and everyone else is left in the dark. It means the crisis limping on at a time when we need transparency and action to solve it.

"This document proves mortgages are being restructured, but that the banks are hoping they can keep it from the rest of the populace. It's sneaky practice and it's time for it to stop.” ENDS

Editor’s note: The confidential non-disclosure document which was provided to us by a source is attached to this press statement. 

 

The within Undertaking is to be printed on the client’s Letterhead and signed by them personally in the presence of their Legal Advisors

PRE-NEGOTIATION NON-DISCLOSURE UNDERTAKING

To:            Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c.

            Bankcentre

            Ballsbridge

            Dublin 4.

 

Date:[Insert Date]

 

Re: Proposed restructuring of our facilities with Allied Irish Banks, P.l.c. (hereinafter referred to as “the Bank”)

Dear Sirs,

 

In consideration of your willingness to enter into negotiations with us, in connection with a possible restructuring of our facilities we hereby irrevocably undertake and agree as follows:

 

  1. Not to disclose to any third party the fact that negotiations are taking place between the Bank and ourselves and in the event that an agreement is reached between the the Bank and ourselves to restructure our facilities, not to disclose to, or use for the benefit of, any third party the fact that such agreement may have been made nor to make known any details or information in any form (whether written, oral, visual or in any electronic form) relating thereto.

 

  1. To ensure that disclosure of any information in respect of any and all negotiations taking place between the Bank and ourselves or any prospective agreement between the Bank and ourselves to restructure our facilities is restricted to agents, employees (if any) and partners and/or directors (if any) of our business having the need to know the same and that each such, agent, employee, partner and/or director is bound by confidentiality obligations no less onerous than those contained in this letter and which are evidenced in writing.

 

  1. To indemnify the Bank in respect of any loss or liability of any nature whatsoever arising directly or indirectly out of any breach of the terms of this letter by us and/or any of our agents, employees, partners or directors.

 

  1. We hereby absolutely acknowledge and accept that damages are not an adequate remedy for any breach by us of the terms of this undertaking and we agree that you will be entitled without proof of special damage to seek the remedy of an injunction together with such other interlocutory or equitable relief for any threatened or actual breach by us or any of our agents, employees, partners or directors of the terms of this undertaking.  We further acknowledge that these remedies are in addition and without prejudice to any other rights or remedies which the Bank may have at law.

 

  1. We accept that the Bank will not be committed to us in any way, or obliged to enter into any transaction, unless and until a formal agreement is duly executed and delivered and that regardless of any negotiations which may take place, the Bank is not obliged in any way to enter into any such agreement.

 

 

  1. It is agreed that the negotiations between the Bank and ourselves shall be without prejudice (i.e. meaning, without limitation whatsoever, not to be disclosed by either party in any court of law or other dispute resolution forum) unless and until final agreement is entered into between us, duly executed in duplicate by the Bank and ourselves in the presence of our legal advisors and exchanged.

 

  1. It is hereby further agreed that nothing herein shall prevent ourselves from disclosing any information as may be required by law, by any court or tribunal, or in accordance with the rules of any stock exchange or regulatory body, provided that we shall give prompt notice to the Bank of such requirement in order to give the Bank a reasonable opportunity to apply for and seek a protective order or other appropriate judicial relief to protect and maintain confidentiality.

 

  1. We acknowledge that our obligations under this undertaking are immediately binding legal obligations that will survive the termination of any discussions and negotiations between the Bank and ourselves and will continue indefinitely.

 

  1. The within Agreement has been executed by us in the presence of our legal advisor of our own free will and having had the benefit of receiving independent legal advice in respect thereof. We acknowledge and accept that fully understand the meaning and implications of executing the within Agreement.

 

  1. If any provision or provisions of this undertaking shall be held to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.

 

  1. This undertaking is governed by Irish law.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

______________________________

[to be signed by persons properly

authorised to execute same on behalf

of the Borrower[1]

Witnessed by:

___________________________

Solicitor           


[1] In the event that the Borrower is a registered company a resolution of the Company will be required authorising two Directors of the Company to sign the undertaking on behalf of the Company.

 

 

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Sinn Féin Meath East by-election candidate, Darren O’Rourke, this afternoon attended a briefing by the Dublin/North East Regional Manager of the HSE, Stephen Mulvaney, and others at James Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

Afterwards he welcomed the confirmation given at the meeting that the long signalled primary care centre at Ashbourne would be officially opened in the June/July period.

Darren O’Rourke described the news “as very welcome and critically important in meeting the healthcare needs of Meath East’s largest town – Ashbourne - and its growing population”.

Mr O’Rourke was accompanied at the meeting by party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Dublin North West TD Dessie Ellis.

A number of critical issues were addressed in the context of the Dublin/North East Regional Service Plan 2013, including projected service levels, staffing cuts and the budgetary needs of the acute hospital network across the region.
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Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD has extended solidarity greetings to women at home and abroad for International Women’s Day.
Teachta Adams said:
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women who are active in society; in their communities, trade unions, voluntary organisations and the political institutions of Ireland.
“However, in many ways women continue to be second class citizens. Despite the progress that has been made in recent decades there is still serious inequality between women and men in the workplace; in employment rights; and in access to education and health.
“Women are disproportionately affected by the government’s austerity policies, including through cuts to child benefit, the tax on maternity benefits, and hikes in the cost of living.
“Gender discrimination and the absence of affordable childcare continue to hinder women’s progress. Sexual harassment, abuse and domestic violence continue to be serious problems.
“Internationally girls and women face additional issues like female genital mutilation and arranged marriages.
“Women in Ireland and all over the world have won many battles for their equality over the past century, but there are further battles ahead. The struggle for equality must continue.
“Sinn Féin is committed to creating a society which offers real equality; political, social, economic and cultural for women.”
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Sinn Féin TD, Deputy Michael Colreavy and Sinn Féin MLA, Phil Flanagan, have made a submission to the EPA on the Terms of Reference of a report on fracking. This report is attempting to assess the environmental impact of Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction (UGEE).
Speaking following Sinn Féin submission Deputy Colreavy said:
“Before a decision can be made on whether to allow UGEE in Ireland there must be a full and thorough study of its potential impacts. The precautionary principle must be applied at all stages; therefore the burden of proof falls on the EPA, the legislators and the Government to prove that UGEE is not harmful.
“UGEE does not begin, nor does it end with the injecting of high pressure fluids into the ground. There are many concerns and issues in the lead up to, and after the process, of fracking itself. Sinn Féin have called for issues such as the building of mining sites, the disposal of wastewater and chemical, the impact on agricultural land and the transport aspect to be addressed in this report.
“We welcome the statement by Minister for State, Fergus O’Dowd, that fracking will be put on hold until after the findings of the new EPA research have been published. We call on Minister O’Dowd to honour this commitment and ensure that Tamboran or any other company do not receive an exploration licence prior to the EPA report being published and considered.”
Commenting on the Sinn Féin’s submission Phil Flanagan MLA said:
“It is important for the EPA to bear in mind that this is an all-Ireland study. UGEE cannot be approved south of the border and not be expected to affect north of the border and vice versa. It is the duty of the EPA to ensure that they have listened to the voices from both the 26 counties and the 6 counties.
“Geologists, engineers and scientists are all sufficient in their own area of study; however, none are aptly qualified to determine the impact that UGEE can have on human and animal health. In other countries there have been several reports of a serious impact on human health by the process of fracking. These have ranged from skin and eye sores to respiratory problems. These reports have led to people seriously questioning the risk that UGEE poses to them and to their families.
“The burden of proof lies with the EPA to unquestionably prove that UGEE is safe to use in Ireland. Until such time, fracking should be banned in Ireland.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has said more must be done to tackle cyberbullying in schools and said the number of young people affected by this issue is “very worrying”.
The Cork North Central TD made his comments after raising the recent EU Kids Online Survey with Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.He asked what was being done to address the estimated 14% of children aged 9 – 16-years-old in Ireland who suffer the effects of bullying for around two months after the incident occurs, compared to the 2% European average.
He continued: “The findings of the EU Kids Online Survey are very worrying and the impact of cyber bullying in Ireland seems to have far greater long-term consequences when compared to other EU countries.
He said that behind the statistics there is hardship and this kind of deviant behaviour can even be a factor leading to suicide.
“A survey carried out before Christmas also showed that 17% of teens have experienced cyber bullying- that half of all children bullied online said they were very upset or fairly upset (52% and for 44% this has a lasting effect).
“Recent attempts to raise Irish internet safety, particularly with the launch of the Watch Your Space campaign, which is devoted to providing a portal for young people so they can show their support for victims of cyber bullying is of course welcome. Similarly, the introduction of a new module in schools called “Connect with Respect” which will be carried out by Gardaí and is aimed at helping students understand the impact of cyber-bullying may also prove useful.
However, more still needs to be done.
“In January Sinn Féin introduced a Bill that would have updated the existing school bullying guidelines to include cyber bullying and also made those guidelines mandatory. Regrettably, our bill was rejected but what the debate showed that the popularity of the internet, and in particular social media websites such as Facebook, can be misused by bullies.
“Education Minister Ruairí Quinn must do all within in his power to address this issue.”

Note to editor:
Deputy O’Brien asked the following PQ:
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to respond to the latest findings from the 25 country EU Kids Online survey that claims Irish children suffer the effects of cyber-bullying for longer than those in other EU countries and should the Watch our Space action plan to combat cyber bullying and other measures designed to combat this issue not be enshrined in legislation.

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Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O’Reilly has slammed yet another sectarian attack on a Catholic Church.

The Newtownabbey councillor was commenting after suspicious object was found close to St Mary’s Catholic Church on the Shore Road.

The Sinn Féin councillor said:

“This appears to be yet another sectarian act of intimidation aimed at the Catholic population in this area.

“St Mary’s on the Hill Catholic Church at Carnmoney has recently been the target of a series of sectarian attacks.

“The sooner those behind these sectarian incidents are taken off the streets and brought before the courts the better, not only for Catholics but the whole of the community.”

Videos

Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015


Photos

Matt Carthy