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Gerry Adams launches Sinn Féin proposals for 1916 Revolutionary Quarter

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that 2016, the 1916 Centenary is marked in the most appropriate way possible, as a fitting popular acknowledgement of the past but also, and just as importantly, as a pointer to a better future.

Sinn Féin is not opposed to sensible welfare reforms. We are opposed to the agenda, which seeks to make the most vulnerable and ordinary working families pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers


 “The PSNI were on the scene but despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the PSNI failed to take any action.”



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Responding to the internal HSE memo obtained by the Daily Mail threatening closures of care homes for older people as well as hospital beds, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, said:

 “The cuts threatened by the Minister and the HSE would utterly devastate our public health services. They would target the old, the sick, the vulnerable and families on low incomes.

We do not know whether cuts as extensive as that will be imposed in Budget 2012. They have been described as three years of cuts rolled into one. Whether imposed over one year or over three years they would be disastrous.

 “The minister and his cabinet colleagues are causing fear and anxiety to people all over the country with their threats in advance of the budget. This is part of an elaborate game within cabinet – between Ministers, between Fine Gael and Labour and between the cabinet and the media. But it is the vulnerable who suffer in advance of the budget and it is most assuredly the vulnerable who will suffer after it.

“The minister and his colleagues may hope that this softening up process will lead people to say on budget day ‘Well, it wasn’t as bad as we thought.’

 “Don’t count on it, Minister. The current cuts, begun by Fianna Fáil and continued by this coalition, are hurting people and damaging our public health system. Further health cuts will worsen the crisis. People know that.

 “Any attempt to impose an annual charge – whether €50 or less – on medical card holders, plus an increase in prescription fees, would be an attack on the most vulnerable. And this from a government in which both parties pledged before the General Election to introduce free GP care for all in their first term, a pledge repeated in the Programme for Government.” ENDS

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Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has welcomed the publication of statistics on the achievement of year 12 and 14 pupils in examinations.The figures show continued improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C including GCSE English and Maths.

Describing the statistics as encouraging, Mr O’Dowd said: “This year’s figures reflect the trend of the last couple of years of a growth in the proportion of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and Maths. This year, the figure stands at 59.8%.“This illustrates the success our school improvement policies are having in closing the achievement gap. It also reflects the hard work of teachers and pupils in our schools.

“In my statement to the Assembly on the future of education here I affirmed that my predecessor’s focus on promoting equality and fulfilling potential was the right one. I also made clear that, once we finalise the Special Educational Needs and Early Years strategies, we will have in place a radical and coherent set of policies that will improve educational outcomes for young people.

“The good work done in recent years to raise standards is already starting to improve the life chances of our young people through education.

“Nevertheless, it is clear that too many differences still remain. Despite these improvements, around 40% of young people still fail to achieve the level 2 qualifications they need to gain employment. We must continue the hard work to ensure that all pupils have the same opportunity to achieve, regardless of their social background or whether they are a boy or a girl.

“I have already signaled my intention to make this a priority of my term as Education Minister and will ensure that the focus remains on driving out inequalities and delivering continued improvements in educational attainment.”

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Sinn Féin’s Fra McCann has spoken out against attempts by the British government to compel young people to work unwaged under the threat of destitution.


The West Belfast MLA was speaking after regulations were brought for consideration before the Social Development Committee, of which he is a member. 

As part of the Tory-led government’s Welfare Reform legislation, the statutory rule under scrutiny is a part of the pending Work Experience Programme which will be targeted at young people aged 16 to 24.

“This programme has proven to be highly controversial in Britain and could even be in breach of the Human Rights Act,” says Fra McCann.

 “Work experience for the young unemployed must be meaningful and fair.  The current global economic crisis has hit the prospects of young people particularly harshly here, with joblessness amongst the 18 to 24 group reaching a 15 year high. Young people had no hand in creating this crisis and should be treated with respect."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Sligo/North Leitrim TD Michael Colreavy has called on the government to dramatically improve Irish Fisherman’s quota during the upcoming negotiations.

 Deputy Colreavy was speaking in the Dáil this week on sustainable fishing in advance of EU Common Fisheries Policy negotiations to be held on 15th and 16th December,

 He said:

 “EUROSTAT statistics place the accumulated processed value of fish taken in Irish waters between 1974 and 2004 at around €200 billion. Five times the value of the total transfer funds we received from the EU, mainly in CAP and structural funding over the same period.

 “The Common Fisheries Policy is a very bad deal for fishermen, fish processors and for all involved in Ireland with the fisheries industry.

 “We could increase the share of quota for the Irish fishing sector and indeed use it for future development and growth while at the same time reducing the overall fish take in our waters.

 “At present there are almost 5,000 people employed either directly or indirectly or on a seasonal basis in processing. That is not an insignificant figure but it could be far greater if Irish fishermen had a fairer share of the catch in Irish waters and if more processing of the fish caught in our waters was done in this country.

 “There is little point in tinkering around the edges of a blatantly disadvantageous Common Fisheries Policy. Fundamental change is needed, in particular the quota assigned for Irish fishermen in Irish waters. Minister Coveney must ensure that this is done if we are to meet the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.”

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD this morning accused Labour party leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore of breaking a plethora of pre-election promises since entering Government with Fine Gael.

 Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions Deputy McDonald said:

 “Before the election Labour was crystal clear. In government Labour would not cut child benefit, it would not introduce student fees or increase registration charges.

 “In fact the Labour Party attacked Fine Gael for proposing a 2% increase in VAT; a tax which will hit the poorest hardest.  Yet it appears now that the Labour party has u-turned on all of these pre-election promises.

 “The Labour party also promised to change to the political system and to put an end to cronyism, including big pay and pensions.

 “Yesterday the government’s nomination of Mr Kevin Cardiff to the European Court of Auditors was unsurprisingly rejected by the European parliament’s Finance committee.

 “But this nomination should not have been allowed proceed. The days where government remove officials by promoting them to a job in Europe need to be left behind. We need real accountability at the top.” ENDS

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Responding to the news that the government’s nominee to the European Court of Auditors has been rejected by the Budgetary Committee of the European Parliament Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokeswoman Mary Lou McDonald TD has criticised the government for not withdrawing its nominee despite widespread opposition to the appointment.

Deputy McDonald said:


“Citizens demand and expect full accountability from civil servants. The public deserve and expect transparency and accountability from those who are tasked by government to manage the peoples’ money.

“Like their ministerial counterparts those at the very top of the civil service continue to benefit from massive pay and pension arrangements at a time of soaring unemployment and savage cuts to public services.

“Handing out plum jobs for top dogs in the public sector even when they are clearly not the best person for the job is simply unacceptable.  

“Despite our economic realities Labour and Fine Gael continue to protect high earners’ and senior civil servants’ excessive pay and pensions whilst awarding massive salaries to their special advisors.

“This government promised us an end to political cronyism yet since coming to power ministers have barely tinkered around the edges of reform choosing instead to target middle and low income frontline workers across the public sector and in turn citizens who rely on public services in increasing numbers.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has asked the government to take the voices of the opposition, of civil society, and of the people in to account before deciding on next year's Budget.

 Speaking in the Seanad today, he welcomed the fact that a debate has been scheduled in the Seanad for next week to discuss the budget and alternative proposals to it.

 Senator Cullinane said:

 “I welcome the fact that a debate has been scheduled to discuss the budget and allow opposition parties and independent senators to put forward alternative proposals to the government’s.

 “The steady drip-drip of bad news stories about cut backs emanating from the various ministers and departments illustrate clearly the paucity of imagination which the government possesses, and the clear political choices which they seem set to make.

 “We have heard of cutbacks in capital projects which could have created countless jobs, we understand that the flat regressive Universal Social Charge is to be retained, that the Jobseekers' Benefit is possibly to be cut, that Rent Allowance is to be cut, third level fees to be increased, and a charge of €50 may be levied on the medical card.

 “This is a clear political choice. The government has decided to pursue regressive measures, which hit the least well off, low budget families and do nothing to create jobs, and has ignored the clear ability of high earners to pay more.

 “There is an alternative. Our Pre-Budget Submission proposes a €3.6bn adjustment, which is based on an additional €3.263bn in additional taxation measures, which are progressive and fair in nature and €837.25m in savings. We are also calling for a stimulus to be applied to the economy.

 “Economic recovery and solving the unemployment crisis is not possible without investment. We are proposing a stimulus of €7bn focused on ‘shovel-ready’ schemes which would get the maximum amount possible working as soon as possible.

 “Indeed we are not the only people with an alternative. I have received countless submissions from many voluntary groups, trade unions, business group and NGOs, many of which make excellent proposals worthy of serious consideration. Few of them fit with the Government’s strict adherence to austerity policies.

 “I am asking that the Government take next week’s debate, and any opportunities they have to engage with the public, as a serious opportunity to hear what the people are saying, and to hear how we can get out of this recession, without punishing the vulnerable.” ENDS

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