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Speaking as children across the state returned to school today Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD set out a number of key demands to off set the costs of back to school time for parents.

Speaking this morning he said:

“Parents are finding it harder and harder to budget for back to school time. With bills of up to €1,000 for a secondary school student and up to €500 for a primary school student, these figures walk all over the notion of free education.

“The reality for thousands of families this week is that their children are returning to school without the proper uniform or school books and equipment. If we continue to send our children to school unprepared then we cannot expect to develop the knowledge economy that we so often talk about.

“These high costs are crippling families who are already trying to cope with job losses, government cuts and debt. We want a return to education as a right paid for by fair and general taxation.

“Sinn Féin demands:

• An end to the system where schools are reliant on voluntary contributions from parents by raising the capitation grants to cover the real cost of running a school.

• Abolish the charge for the leaving cert and junior cert and for the mocks.

• Establish a book lending scheme across all primary and secondary schools.

• End the use of workbooks to facilitate the exchange of textbooks between pupils and siblings.

• No increase to the school transport fee.

• Introduce a new Back to School Allowance that absorbs the current Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and introduces an additional payment for books and other expenses to more accurately reflect the true costs of sending a child to school.

• Extend eligibility for this scheme to all families in receipt of the Family Income Supplement in addition to those in receipt of social welfare.

• Increase computerisation with online text books and introduce a special fund for computers for disadvantaged children.

“The cost of all of this is miniscule in comparison to what has been pumped into Anglo Irish Bank and the benefits to the future knowledge economy would be invaluable.” ENDS

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 Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast has slammed those behind a security alert on the Westlink which has closed of a main arterial route to Belfast and a main access to Belfast’s two main hospitals.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

“Those behind these alerts have nothing to offer. Calling in a bomb warning which closed a major arterial route into Belfast has served to only one purpose, the disruption of life for people coming to and from Belfast, and shutting a main access point to Belfast’s two main hospitals.

“At a time when the traffic is starting to get heavier as schools re-open after summer local communities, who use the Westlink to ease traffic along the Falls Road, are also greatly inconvenienced.

“It’s high time that the groups behind these type of action stop and realise there is no support for their campaign. What will the closure of the Westlink achieve? How will it bring a united Ireland closer and how will it be to the betterment to the people of Ireland? These groups need to answer all of these questions.

“Furthermore if there are recognised code words given the PSNI need to be stating which group they emanate from so that the entire community can apportion blame to these futile actions.”

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Sinn Féin Minister Michelle Gildernew has said the DUP ‘lack credibility’ when it comes to proposing cost cutting measures for government. Ms Gildernew’s comments came after Sammy Wilson claimed to want to save money on Ministerial drivers.

Ms Gildernew said:

“Sinn Féin Ministers are consistently looking for ways to streamline government and cut bureaucracy. Of course we will support genuine efforts to reduce the costs associated with the ministerial car pool.

However the DUP lack credibility on the issue of saving money. They are the party that have consistently blocked attempts by Sinn Féin Ministers to save money and protect frontline services.

Sammy Wilson would have more credibility proposing cost saving measures on issues like Ministerial cars which may save tens of thousands of pounds, if he wasn’t part of the DUP which has to date blocked the RPA which offered savings of £450m and ESA which offers savings of up to £30m.
This is of course not to mention the millions which would be saved on ending the duplication of services by adopting a sensible all-Ireland approach to public services like health.

So while Sammy Wilson may chase headlines on issues like the Human Rights Commission or Ministerial cars any examination of the DUP record in the Executive when it comes to taking decisions on cutting back bureaucracy points to a party content with scarce public money being wasted on over management and diverted away from frontline services.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh today helped launch a campaign to raise money for an Irish boat to take part in the next humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza.

Speaking at the launch of the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign in Dublin today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“We owe it to those that were killed by the Israeli State on the last freedom flotilla and to all those Palestinian people suffering at the hands of Israel in the Gaza Strip to ensure that a second flotilla sets out at the earliest possible time.

“We aim to bring much needed humanitarian aid to the Gaze strip and to keep up the pressure on Israel to force them to lift their inhumane siege of Gaza.

“I and my party fully support the campaign to ensure that there is an Irish ship on the next freedom flotilla.

“Irish people throughout the years have continually stood tall for oppressed peoples all over the world and I would ask the general public to once again consider helping out by getting involved or donating to this project.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLAs for south, Down Caitríona Ruane and Willie Clakre have both commened the County Down senior footballers and wished them all the best in their game against Cork in the All-Ireland Footballing Final.


Speaking after Down beat Kildare at Croke Park yesterday Ms Ruane said;


“It was clear from the thousands that descended upon Croke Park that Down had a tremendous amount of support from across the county and beyond. Their performance in this, the fiftieth anniversary of the historic Down All-Ireland victory in 1960 is an example to the many young people who follow the Down side faithfully and one day hope to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes.


Comhghairdeas mór le achan uile dhuine a ghlac páirt inné agus tharr na blianta leis an bua stairiúil seo a bhaint amach. Go neirí libh uilig, An Dún abú!”


Willie Clarke continued;


“The GAA is the envy of sporting and community organisations the world over, their commitment to their sport, their communities, their clubs and their county is tremendous. Yesterday’s match against Kildare showed the passion and skill that the GAA continues to instill in young people who choose to play this wonderful game!


We wish everyone involved with the Down set-up all the very best in what will no doubt be an exiciting and historic game against County Cork. Up Down!” CRÍOCH

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South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has welcomed the news that the tender for the 'Strategic Study of the Holyland and wider University Area' has been awarded by Belfast City Council.

Alex Maskey said that the awarding of this tender would see the services of professional consultants engaged to develop proposals for a long-term comprehensive strategic plan for the Holyland and wider university area.

Alex Maskey MLA said,

"Last December I proposed a motion at Belfast City Council which called upon the Council to support the commissioning of a study, led by Council officials in conjunction with other agencies, that would specifically identify the underlying causes of the problems in the Holyland area and hopefully lead to the development of proposals for a long term strategic plan for the area. That motion was passed with cross-party support.

"The passing of this motion cleared the way for Council officials to begin the process which has led to the recent decision to award the tender to carry out this study.

"When drawing up the Council motion, and in the subsequent meetings with Council officials, it was my intention that the awarding of this tender would see the services of professional consultants engaged to develop proposals for a long-term comprehensive strategic plan for the Holyland and wider university area. This is precisely what has happened, and I am extremely pleased that we have now reached this stage.

"As we approach the beginning of a new university academic term the reality of the Holyland area is that it is an area with around 1,500 households has a population of around 9,000 people.

"This is due to a number of factors including the expansion in student numbers and insufficient availability of University controlled and/or regulated accommodation, the growth in properties being owned by private landlords, and an increasing transient population.

"The end result of this has been laid bare for all to see and has included an increase in anti-social behaviour creating friction with long-term residents in the area; a break-down in community cohesion; the degradation of the local environment, including increased rubbish and litter in the area and over-proliferation of 'to let' signs; overcrowding in a number of properties; an over-proliferation of HMO's; poor community and environmental infrastructure and increasing crime rates.

"All of this is unacceptable and has left many long-term residents in the area dreading the beginning of the academic year, year after year.

"It is therefore essential that we compliment the ongoing and previous work carried out and devise a joined up, cross-departmental, strategy on how to tackle these problems and to develop proposals for a long term comprehensive strategic plan for the Holyland and wider university area. The awarding of the tender sees this process begin in earnest.

"He continued,

"I have been clear from the outset that any long-term solution to these problems will not work unless there is ongoing engagement with key stakeholders, including local residents. Such engagement is envisaged in the recently tendered 'Strategic Study', and I intend to ensure that this commitment is honoured.

"For our part, Sinn Féin remains committed to ensuring that the recommendations which will come out of this study are taken forward and put at the heart of Belfast City Council and the Assembly Executive on behalf of the people who live and work in the Holyland and who deserved the same quality of the life as citizens throughout the city."


Note to Editors:

· This tender was advertised on 28th May 2009 and was recently awarded.

· The full Council motion put before Belfast City Council on 1st December 2009, read: "The Council is concerned about the problems in the Holyland area of the City which have been evident for a number of years. It recognises the work that its officers have undertaken in leading a multi-agency group to take forward interventions to deal with some of the issues which residents have to face.

"The Council also welcomes the recent initiative led by the Minister for Employment and Learning, bringing together a Stakeholder Forum aimed at involving all groups in defining the problems and suggesting possible solutions


"To support this work and ensure a long term strategic approach, the Council supports the commissioning of a discrete study, led by Council officials in conjunction with other agencies, which specifically identifies the underlying causes of these problems and leads to the development of proposals for a long term strategic plan for the area."

· In March 2010 Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey launched the party's "A new vision for the Holyland and University areas" which contained a number of proposals to tackle the problems in the Holyland area. This document can be downloaded in PDF format at: http://www.sebelfastsinnfein.com/news/16024

· Belfast City Council will be carrying out this study in partnership with Assembly departments/agencies and academic establishments:

- Belfast City Council

- Belfast Metropolitan College

- Department of Environment Planning Service

- Department of Social Development

- NIHE

- Queen's University of Belfast

- St Mary's College

- Stranmillis College

- Strategic Investment Board

- University of Ulster

· It is anticipated that the overall study will be completed, and key recommendations made by January 2011.

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Speaking in reaction to the news that the Green party have changed their official policy position in relation to Anglo Irish bank, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Arthur Morgan said the Green party, as partners in Government, cannot shirk their share of the blame for the current crisis facing this country as they have been supporting Fianna Fáil’s approach to Anglo Irish and the banking sector up until now.

Deputy Morgan said:

“The announcement that the two Green party Ministers will communicate their loss of support for the two current Government options for Anglo Irish bank, in favour of a quicker wind down, comes very late in the day when we consider the money that the taxpayers would have saved had the Green party withdrawn support for keeping this zombie bank alive sooner.

“Anglo Irish bank has been a leech on the life-force of this economy and the diversion of taxpayer’s money into keeping this abomination open has not only taken much needed funds out of the real economy, it has resulted in repeated downgrades of our credit rating and has increased costs of future borrowing.

“The Green party, as partners in Government, cannot shirk their share of the blame for the current crisis facing this country as they have been supporting Fianna Fáil’s approach to Anglo Irish and the banking sector up until now.

“However, the change in policy position in relation to the future of Anglo has brought the Green party round to what Sinn Féin has been calling for all along, creating further pressure on the isolated Fianna Fáil to pull the plug on Anglo Irish before anymore taxpayers money is squandered on plugging the Anglo black hole.

“Similarly, Irish Nationwide should not receive a single cent more of taxpayer’s money. In order to achieve the critical objectives required for economic recovery, AIB and Bank of Ireland should be nationalised.

“With such outpourings of taxpayer’s money into redundant bank like Anglo Irish, there is a need to reconfigure the banking system so that households and businesses have access to credit at fair rates and a State bank would offer low cost services, fund the purchase of new homes and assist people in genuine trouble financing their mortgage commitments.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin representative for east Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has said he is ‘thankful’ there were no incidents at this morning’s Black Preceptory feeder parade but has again stressed that dialogue is ‘the only way forward’.

Speaking from the Short Strand, he said;

“Obviously I am thankful that this morning’s parade passed off without incident. Residents from the Short Strand mounted a peaceful and dignified protest.

Despite commitments given publicly by the parade organisers to ‘respect’ residents in the Short Strand and assuring that only hymns would be played, I witnessed various sectarian tunes being played while this parade once again passed the Short Strand without any consultation, engagement or dialogue with the residents who live in the area.

This morning’s feeder parade walks less than half a mile so that participants can get on a bus and travel elsewhere; many are justifiably of the opinion that the whole purpose of this parade is simply to pass the Short Strand.

I hope that this evening’s return parades across the city will pass off peacefully.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has said news today that nearly 4,000 people who earned over €100,000 last year paid no tax on their income will be like a kick in the teeth to the thousands who lost their jobs last year.

Deputy Morgan said the figures show that the Government have been slow to close tax loopholes for the rich while being quick to cut social welfare payments and public services.

Deputy Morgan said:

“This news will come like a kick in the teeth to those who lost their jobs last year. The fact that the high earners in our society can escape paying any tax on their incomes while thousands are being made redundant makes a mockery of this Government’s economic policies.

“While the Government has been slow to close tax loopholes that benefit the well off in society it wasted no time cutting social welfare payments and public services which are depended upon mostly by those on low and middle incomes.

“The Government was also quick to introduce a pension levy for public sector workers on low and middle incomes. Of course the allowed the top earners in the public sector to be exempt from the pension levy.

“These figures show that this Government has one rule for the rich and another for the least well off in society.

“People need to wake up to the fact that this is a Government for the rich and the super rich and it will continue to punish those on low incomes until they are turfed out of office.” ENDS

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Speaking at the ‘Reclaim the City’ rally in Dublin today, organised by the Right to Work Campaign, Sinn Féin Councillor Dessie Ellis said Fianna Fáil cannot claim any economic competence when they are complacently presiding over increasing unemployment.

Councillor Ellis said the biggest lie from the Coalition Government is that there is no alternative to the savage cutbacks and mass unemployment.

He said:

“Fianna Fáil cannot claim any economic competence when they are complacently presiding over increasing unemployment. The government is determined to slash public services and put even more people on the dole. Unemployment is not a price worth paying for a negligent Government – it destroys lives and leaves permanent scars on our communities. What this Government fails to accept is that behind every statistic is a personal tragedy.

“Current policy seems to consist of attacking those on low wages and social welfare. This is not just a short sighted policy, it is an anti social one. We are told we need to tighten our belts, cut back, have a lower standard of living while the government bends over backwards to bail out bankers and big business.

“Indeed the greatest contribution of some of our own native entrepreneurs was to piggyback on the genuine growth in the economy by charging us exorbitant amounts for everything from mortgages to rents to pints of lager and paninis while being careful at the same time to ensure that they paid as little tax or wages as possible.

“And these are the patriots whose bacon the so-called ‘Republican Party’ is proposing to save by imposing a massive drop in living standards on the decent people of this country, whose only crime was to work when there was work and suffer the indignity of unemployment when the work was gone.

“However the biggest lie in all of this is that there is no alternative to the cutbacks and the mass unemployment. There is an alternative, SF’s proposals on tackling youth unemployment costed at €1.316 billion would create at least 50,000 jobs.

“Now 1.3 billion might sound like a lot of money but if we compare that to the 25 billion that is being pumped into Anglo, the private piggy bank of some of the most corrupt figures of this State, we can clearly see where the Government’s priorities lie. If the same amount was diverted into Sinn Féin’s job creation package, our proposals could support nearly 1 million jobs.

“In one month, 2938 young people under 25 signed on – the equivalent of nearly 100 people a day. This figure is further dwarfed by the thousands of young people who emigrated and left Ireland because this Government are only able to secure jobs for their political and banking cronies.

“We need to make employment a reality for people outside the golden circle.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin north Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has slammed the decision by the High Court in Belfast to rejected a judicial review taken by CARA Residents Group into the Parades Commission’s move to allow a contraversial Loyalist Band, with close associations to the UVF to pass Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales tomorrow morning.


Ms Ní Chuilín said;


“The key to resolving the outstandning issues around contentious parades is for parade organisers to engage in direct, respectful and meaningful dialogue with the people who live in the areas they wish to march through.


The decision by the Parades Commission to allow a band with close links to the UVF to pass through this area highlights a startling degree of insentitivity to the people who live there.


I have no doubt that the residents in the effected areas will make their opposition to this move known through peaceful and dignified protest tomorrow morning.” CRÍOCH

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Commenting after an overnight attack on a GAA Club in Killyman, Sinn Féin Assembly member for Mid-Ulster Francie Molloy said:

“In recent days there have been a number of attacks on GAA clubs in this area. I have been told that last nights attack involved the firing of some sort of rocket device at the clubhouse. This clearly was well planned and well organised.

“It seems fairly clear that there is an orchestrated sectarian campaign underway against GAA clubs. The GAA have warned all the clubs to be on alert. We now need to hear on one hand what the PSNI are doing to stop this escalating further and also from the DUP, UUP and TUV what they are doing to prevent these attacks.

“It is all too common for unionist politicians, including the current DCAL Minister, to engage in sectarian attacks on the GAA and its ethos over the airwaves. They cannot divorce their remarks from these attacks.

“I would urge everyone to be vigilant in the time ahead as it seems there are those who are intent on seeking to heighten community tensions through these sorts of attacks. And just like those who would attack churches or Orange Halls there needs to be a clear message sent out that this behaviour is unacceptable.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that the continued opposition of An Garda to the commencement of an inquest into the killing of Denis Donaldson in April 2006 is “unacceptable and inexcusable”.

Mr. Adams welcomed the intention of the Donegal Coroner to set a date for an inquest when the next hearing takes place on January 27th 2011.

The Sinn Féin President said:

“There has been an unnecessary delay in setting a date for the inquest into the killing of Denis Donaldson. This has caused further and needless distress to the Donaldson family.

Given the circumstances surrounding the death of Denis Donaldson, his role as a British agent, and allegations surrounding the part played by Special Branch and the British Security Service/MI5 in his death, it is essential that the inquest is fully compliant with international standards of human rights.

The family is entitled to full disclosure from state agencies in both jurisdictions.” ENDS

Note to Editor:

There have been four adjournments in the holding of the Donaldson inquest.

Similar delays have occurred in the north as state security agencies have sought to deny families access to all of the facts involved in a death. Following a challenge by the family of Patrick Shanahan the European Court of Human Rights ruled that any failure to hold an inquest within a four and a half year period was a breach of international and human rights commitments.
Today's delay in setting a firm date for an inquest into the Donaldson case now means that that four and a half year period will have passed by the time of the next hearing. At that point the Irish government will be in breach of international standards.

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Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has congratulated all those who protested at an Israeli Embassy function in Bray last night for highlighting the ongoing human rights abuses by Israel.

Councillor Brady said despite claims from the Israeli Embassy that he behaved aggressively it was the Israeli representative who lost her cool and began screaming at him and his colleague.

Speaking today Councillor Brady said:

“I want to congratulate all those who turned up at last night’s successful protest against Israel’s continued human rights abuses against the people of Palestine. It is very important that we take every opportunity to show our opposition to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and its disregard for international law and the sovereignty of independent nations.

“Contrary to the lies put out by the Israeli Embassy today it was actually their representative, the Deputy Ambassador, Ruth Zack who lost her cool and became very abusive as I handed her our letter of protest.

“We were protesting against Israel’s attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza on which Irish aid workers were travelling, against the use of Irish passports in the assassination of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh and the ongoing siege of Gaza.

“I refute the allegation that I was heard to say ‘I detest Israel’ but I make no secret of the fact that I regard the Israeli state as a rogue state with a lot of blood on its hands and I and many others will not stand by as they hold a PR function in my home town as if it were some friendly nation.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality spokesperson Martina Anderson MLA has urged people in Derry to support the Foyle Pride 2010 Parade which will take place on Saturday (August 28th)


Martina Anderson said

“I would like to extend solidarity and best wishes to the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and trans-gender community who are celebrating Foyle Pride in Derry this week.

I believe it’s very important that everyone in the city supports the first ever Pride Parade which is taking place in the city on Saturday afternoon .We just have to see the growth and success of the very colourful Belfast pride parade which attracted nearly 20,000 people just a few weeks ago.


Foyle pride makes an invaluable and positive contribution to the life of Derry. It promotes understanding and respect and seeks to ensure that all citizens have equal access to all public services and are treated as valued citizens by civic institutions.



Of course, there is still prejudice and inequality. This intolerance and narrow mindedness must be vigorously opposed and continue to be challenged in the time ahead as we seek to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation or disability or religion, are treated with equality.



I want to commend all of those who have helped organise the week long series of events and the citizens of Derry for embracing this celebration of our diversity.

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Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Michelle O'Neill MLA (Mid-Ulster) has welcomed an announcement by the British Home Office that any newly developed 'legal highs' will be temporarily banned for 12 months and called for a similar ban to be implemented here.


Michelle O'Neill said:


"This 12 month ban will give the medical experts an opportunity to examine the effects of any new non-medicinal psychoactive substances or ‘legal highs’ as they are called before a decision is made on whether the new drug should be permanently banned.


"The continued widespread availability of 'legal highs' is something that needs tackled urgently. In recent times, we experienced an unbelievable situation, where these substances were being freely distributed and there was nothing the PSNI or Garda could do to stop the drug dealers as no laws were being broken.

"Sinn Féin recognises the increasing concerns of communities in relation to shops that sell these 'Legal Highs' and the potentially harmful effects of these substances. I am therefore calling on the two administrations in Belfast and Dublin, in a co-ordinated way, to take the urgent action which is required to address this problem by implementing on an island-wide basis similar restrictions to those proposed in England. While other proposals have been proposed I feel that they are inadequate.


"The way in which drugs are manufactured is changing and those charged with creating legislation need to enable the PSNI and an Garda Síochána to deal with this problem in a robust and proactive manner. A 12 month ban on commercial production and supply of any new substances will hopefully stop them getting a foothold in the market and should enable the PSNI and Garda to tackle the increasing problem posed by drug abuse in our society.


"Many 'legal highs' including, mephedrone, have already been banned, but this system of a 12 month ban would allow for a faster response when substances come on the market.


"Of course the best protection against these substances is common sense. I would appeal to anyone tempted to experiment with 'legal highs' to use their common sense which should dictate that when you do not know what it is or what is in it, then don't experiment with it? CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin representative for east Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has branded the decision by the Parades Commission to overturn their initial determination on Saturday’s Black Preceptory Parade as ‘completely unacceptable’.

He said,

“Consistently and without any repercussions, those taking part in this parade have flouted the determinations placed upon them. It would seem now that this retrograde move by the Parades Commission is in actual fact rewarding that intransigence and hostility.

This parade is due to take place in the absence of any dialogue between the parade organisers and residents who live in the Short Strand.

Initially the Parades Commission determination meant that the parade would pass the Short Strand with only a single drum beat, given that fact residents had agreed to scale back their protest; it is beyond comprehension why the commission would now cave in and allow this parade, which has consistently breached determinations and engaged in sectarian coat trailing while passing the area, to pass without any restriction placed upon it.

It must be pointed out that this parade simply walks less than half a mile to board a bus to go elsewhere, some would suggest the whole purpose of this parade is simply to pass the Short Strand.

This decision is a backward one and has the potential to undermine the valuable and positive cross community engagement taking place in east Belfast at present. The marching orders have consistently failed to enhance or promote these relations in any way, in fact the continuing building of relationships in East Belfast is almost despite them.

It would seem that the Parades Commission has caved into pressure from political unionism in the east of the city.” CRÍOCH

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Speaking this afternoon in response to Senator Ivar Callely’s resignation from the Fianna Fáil party, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that his resignation from the party did not go far enough and called on the Taoiseach to demand his resignation from the Seanad.

He said:

“Senator Callely’s resignation from his party does not change his position in the Seanad. I am once again calling for the resignation of Mr. Callely from the Seanad and expect Taoiseach Cowan to do the same.

“This Senator was nominated by a former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and it is therefore appropriate that the current Fianna Fáil Taoiseach should demand his resignation from public office. The Taoiseach should not allow this situation drag on.

“It is an outrage that Mr Callely is still holding onto his position given all the evidence already presented.” ENDS

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Speaking at the launch of the ‘Reclaim the City Festival’ which is organised by the Right to Work Campaign, Sinn Féin’s Kathryn Reilly said it is time for young people to “stake our claim on a fairer, equal Ireland – one that prioritises investment, stimulus, job creation and public welfare.”

The ‘Reclaim the City Festival’ takes place this Saturday marching from Parnell Square at 2pm in protest against the disastrous policies of the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government with live music at the Central Bank on Dame Street afterwards.

Speaking at the launch this morning Kathryn Reilly said:

“Unemployment is not a price worth paying for a negligent Government – it destroys lives and leaves permanent scars on our communities. There are 452,500 people altogether on the dole, 94,584 of which are young people under 25.

“This Government is adept at announcing schemes and new jobs, but their terrible record on actually creating these jobs is reflected in the fact that nearly half a million people are on the dole. With over 620,000 jobs having been announced by the Government and associated agencies in the past year, why are there 452,500 people on the Live Register and why will 120,000 people emigrate by the end of 2011?

“Sinn Féin is not a party of rhetoric; it is a party of action. The people of this State have a right to work and a right to a Government that will work for them. This Government are only interested in working for the Sean Fitzpatricks and Ivor Callelys of this world.

“Our youth jobs proposals costed at €1.316 billion would create at least 50,000 jobs. If the 25 billion that is being pumped into Anglo, the private piggy bank of some of the most corrupt figures of this State, was diverted into Sinn Féin’s job creation package, our proposals could support nearly 1 million jobs.

“In one month, 2938 young people under 25 signed on – the equivalent of nearly 100 people a day. This figure is further dwarfed by the thousands of young people who emigrated and left Ireland because this Government are only able to secure jobs for their political and banking cronies.

“The gift to the youth of this State from the old generation of free-market capitalists has not been jobs, secure standards of living and free education but rather an inheritance of debt. It is the youth of today who will inherit life-long poverty, well into the future. The government's lack of job creation has meant that the debt of successive bank bailouts has been transferred to our young people.

“Without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating jobs, unemployment will become a permanent landscape, which will blight future economic growth.

“Capitalism has shown its inability to provide employment and it is up to us to stake our claim on a fairer, equal Ireland – one that prioritises investment, stimulus, job creation and public welfare.

“We need to make employment a reality for people outside the golden circle and the Galway tent.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Councillor for Dublin Southwest Seán Crowe has expressed his disappointment at Tallaght’s rating as a litter black-spot in the recent IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) survey.

Councillor Crowe said litter is a multi-faceted problem related to the lack of funding from central government, anti-social behaviour and the public service staffing moratorium.

Cllr Crowe gave one such example of a litter blacks-pot in the Tallaght area after he was called out to view the state of the GAA pitches in Kilnamanagh this week. Broken bottles, cans and plastic are strewn about by local gangs drinking and loitering on the football pitches which are then used by the local GAA club and residents walking their dogs.

Councillor Crowe said:

“It’s an absolute disgrace that a public amenity used by so many Kilnamanagh Residents can be damaged in this way by a small number of youths. I would question how it is that any Kilnamanagh resident he spoke to were able to say exactly where and when the gangs gathered and yet the Gardaí were not patrolling the area and moving them along, especially since the area in question is in close proximity to the road.

“I do not think it a coincidence that the number of gangs hanging around Tallaght has increased as the numbers of probation officers has been reduced due to the public service staffing moratorium.

“South Dublin County Council, whose staff is then expected to clean and maintain public areas, are finding it increasingly difficult to do this job due to the lack of funding from central government.

“If the government honestly expects Local Authorities and other Public Services to do their roles then the government has got to address the issue of how these services are funded.

“While the IBAL surveys are worthwhile in that they draw attention to the problem of littering, the problem itself can not be resolved without adequate finance and education.” ENDS

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