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Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



“HAP is not a solution and if the government succeeds in passing it into law, it will have wide ranging negative effects on the future of housing in Ireland and our ability to tackle housing need in the years to come.”



Nuacht

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said that "the activities supported under the PEACE Programme show the value for the EU in continuing with its support"

Ms de Brún was speaking following a meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development which discussed the ongoing activities of the Special EU Programmes Body and the International Fund for Ireland with Pat Colgan of the SEUPB and Denis Rooney of the IFI.

Ms de Brún said:

"I welcome the continuing support shown by the European Parliament towards the peace process in Ireland. The activities supported under the PEACE Programme and through the IFI show the value for the EU in continuing with its support.

"The programme benefits a wide range of sectors, areas, groups and communities that were particularly affected by the conflict and encourages cross-community projects. Cross-border social, economic and cultural activities have been an important part of the programme.

"The grassroots voluntary and community sector is well-known for its achievements in confronting social decline and deprivation and is well-placed to help the inclusion of the most disadvantaged in society, which will be an important part of peace building.

More use could be made of this experience in the various regional development programmes.

"I also look forward in the future to the establishment of a Conflict Resolution Centre, as has been supported by President Barroso earlier this year, and to sharing our experience of peace building and reconciliation with others." ENDS

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Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey has said that the bomb attack on a PSNI vehicle last night only succeeded in bringing disruption to the local community.

Mr Maskey stated,

“A blast bomb type device was hurled at a police vehicle last night and exploded in the grounds of the Kennedy Centre but fortunately no one was injured.

“Even though it was in the early hours of the morning there were still night workers in the building and the grounds of the centre.  The alert also caused the centre to be closed this morning until 10am.

“The people who threw the device are reckless and have no regard for the community as not only are they putting local people in danger but they are jeopardising jobs and creating disruption for local families.

“The people of West Belfast has twice this year voiced their support for the Sinn Féin peace strategy and rejected those groupings that are looking to take us backwards.

“Rather than putting their energies into causing disruption for the local community they should join with that community in building prosperity and securing what precious jobs that already exist.

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Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD will this afternoon seek to introduce a Bill to the Dáil that would dramatically cut payments and salaries to politicians.

The Reduction in Pay and Allowances of Government and Oireachtas Members Bill 2011 seeks to impose pay cuts of up to 30% on senior office holders including the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. The Bill also seeks to abolish outright an additional nine types of payment including allowances for group leaders, whips and committee chairs.

Speaking in advance of introducing the Bill Deputy Doherty said:

“There has been a dramatic decline in the disposable income of the vast majority of people in recent years. Unemployment is rising and wages are falling at a time of rising inflation and interest rates hikes. Many families are now at breaking point.

“Against this backdrop the Government is proposing to reduce the pay of more than 300,000 of the state’s lowest paid workers through a so-called reform of the JLC system.

“All the while elected politicians, Government members and Oireachtas office holders continue to receive salaries many times above the pay of the majority of workers.

“In the current economic climate there is a need for those of us who are elected to public office to show leadership. If there are sacrifices to be borne then we should be in the front line of making those sacrifices.

“Today I will seek to introduce a Bill that would dramatically reduce the gross pay of TDs, Senator’s and all political office holders in the Oireachtas.

“The Reduction in Pay and Allowances of Government and Oireachtas Members Bill 2011 would cut the Taoiseach’s pay by 30%, the Tánaiste’s pay by 28%, Ministers’ pay by 27% and the Ceann Comhairle’s pay by 36%. In addition the Bill seeks to reduce pay to Ministers of State and other office holders on a scale ranging from 20% to 31% and to cut the basic salary of TDs and Senators by 19% and 9% respectively.

“The additional allowances paid to Government ministers and senior Oireachtas office holders are quite frankly outrageous. For example, many people will be shocked to learn that the Ceann Comhairle, in addition to his generous TDs salary, receives an additional €98,745 per year. This is three times the average starting pay of a primary school teacher. When the Ceann Comhairle’s TD salary is included he earns six times the salary of a primary school teacher.

“There are also a further nine types of payments detailed in the Bill including whips, group leaders and committee chairs. There is simply no justification for these payments to continue and the Bill proposes their abolition.

“Some TDs from both government and opposition parties will argue that Government members and Oireachtas office holders pay has been cut in recent years. Some senior office holders were subject to two cuts under the previous government and an additional voluntary cut from the current government. However a TD continues to earn at least three times the average industrial wage while the Taoiseach, even after his 6.6% voluntary salary reduction in April of this year, earns 5.5 times the average.

“Considering the exceptionally high starting point for Irish politicians pay when compared with our EU counterparts the cuts introduced to date are simply not enough.

“The Bill I will introduce today will, in most cases, double the cuts made to date by both Governments. It will also impose cuts on those payments that have been exempt from any reduction.

“It is my intention to have this Bill debated and voted on the floor of the Dáil and Seanad at the next available opportunity.’ ENDS

Reduction in Pay and Allowances of Government and Oireachtas Members Bill 2011 - Table of Salary Adjustments
Position Current Pay Reduced Pay % Reduction
Taoiseach 200,000 139,872 30%
Tainiste 184,405 132,354 28%
Minister 169,275 123, 497 27%
Minister of State 130,042 103,538 20%
Ceann Comhairle 191, 417 121, 532 36%
Leas-Cheann Comhairle 139,266 95,772 31%
Cathoirleach 137,038 94, 333 31%
Leas-Cathoirleach 117,101 85, 616 27%
TD 92,672 75, 064 19%
Senator 65,621 59, 978 9%
All others (leaders, whips, committee chairs, see below) 3,000 – 19,000 0,000 100%

Note: The above figures include the basic TD salary & the addition payment for holding the listed office.

Note: An electronic copy of the Bill is available on request.

Note: The nine payments to office holders in the Seanad and Dáil which the Bill proposes to abolish are: Government whip, Assistant government whip, Opposition party’s whips, Opposition party assistant whips, Leader of the House, Deputy Leader of the House, Opposition leaders, Chairpersons of Oireachtas Committees and Commission members.

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Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for immediate and urgent action from Health Minister James Reilly to address the impending massive crisis in our public hospitals due to the shortage of junior doctors from 11 July.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Health Minister James Reilly’s statement on RTÉ’s Frontline programme that smaller hospitals will struggle and may have to curtail services is totally unacceptable.

“We are facing a real crisis in our A&E departments and public hospitals from 11 July and the Minister offers no programme of action to address it.

“This is not a new problem. It has been known and widely recognised for years that the hospital system is totally over-reliant on junior doctors. Successive Governments have failed to address this and now it is looming again, worse than ever.

“Minister Reilly must act. Recruiting sufficient additional junior doctors will be required in the short term. But that is not enough.

“Nurses need to be freed up to fulfil more responsibilities in our hospital A&E departments as they are qualified and willing to do.

“Hospital consultants must be required to fulfil their contracts to serve the public hospital system, contracts which are being widely breached. More consultants are required in our public hospital system and the current excessive remuneration for consultants needs to be reduced to facilitate the employment of more consultants.

“Minister Reilly must come into the Dáil today and address this crisis.”

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'Níl suim ar bith ag an Rialtas seo in iascairí na tire, ach an oiread leis an Rialtas a chuaigh rompu', deir an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Bhí an Seanadóir as Gaillimh Thiar ag labhairt agus é ag lorg diospóireacht sa Seanad ar an tionscail, mar ábhar práinne, rud ar eirigh leis a bhaint amach.

‘Ó chuaigh mé isteach sa Seanad mí ó shoin tá mé ag éileamh díospóireacht faoi thionscal na hiascaireachta', a deir an Seanadóir Ó Clochartaigh. 'Tá go leor ábhair fíor-thábhachtach le plé agus tá ríméad orm go bhfuil an t-am le cur i leataobh anois chun sin a dhéanamh'.

'Tá sé soiléir, mar shampla, go bhfuil méadú mór tagtha ar na stocanna trosc, ach níl meadú ar bith tagtha ar an gcuóta a bhaineann leo. Tá flúirse trosc sa farraige, ach níl cead ag na h-iascairí iad a thabhairt i dtír'.

'Tá mé iontach míshasta freisin, go bhfuil coirpigh dhá ndéanamh fós d'iascairí a dhéanann botúin bheaga ó thaobh riaradh nó páipéarachais de. Is scannal shaolta é seo', dar leis an Seanadóir agus caithfear aghaidh a thabhairt air.

Léirigh sé a thacaíocht freisin maidir le cé doimhin mhara a thógáil i Ros a Mhíl agus beidh sé ag lorg soiléiriú maidir lena bhfuil in ann d'fhorbairt duganna na Gaillimhe.

‘Tá faillí déanta ar iascairí na tire seo le fada an lá. Tá líon na n-iascairí imithe i laghad agus caithfear tacú leo. Is acmhainn thábhachtach í tionscal na h-iascaireachta, go mór, mór do phobal an Iarthar, agus tá sé fíor-thábhachtach go gcabhróidh an Rialtas leo gach bealach gur féidir. Dá bhrí sin, ceapaim go mbeidh an diospóireacht seo fíor luachmhar, go bhfeicfidh an Rialtas na deacrachtaí atá ann, chomh maith leis an póitéinseal atá sa tionscal.'

Beidh plé ar an iascaireacht sa Seanad i gceann trí seachtaine. Tá sé i gceist ag an Seanadóir na hábhair seo agus tuilleadh a phlé ann agus an tAire a cheistiú go mion futhú.

Críoch

The Government not interested in Fishing industry – Ó Clochartaigh

“The government has no more interest in the fishermen of this country than the previous one” according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

The West of Ireland Senator was seeking a debate in the Seanad as a matter of urgency.

He said:

“The government is paying little attention to fishermen. Many outstanding matters related to fishing and fishing communities remain to be addressed but this Government simply isn't acting quickly enough. This is why I have been calling for an urgent debate since taking my seat in the Seanad.

“It’s clear for example that there has been an increase in cod stocks, yet the quotas have not risen to reflect this. There are plenty of cod in the sea, but the fishermen are not allowed to land them. It’s essential that the government reviews the stocks and the quotas as there are jobs and livelihoods dependent upon it.

“I find it scandalous as well that fisherman are still being made into criminals by our judicial system for minor administrative infringements and this must be addressed urgently.

“I would also like to acknowledge my support for the development of a deep sea harbour in Ros a' Mhíl, which is an essential resource for modern ports, and I would like clarification on the Galway Harbour Development plans.

“The fishing industry has been historically neglected. The amount of fishermen has been continually falling. It is very important that the government supports fishermen and their families; they have a difficult, but essential job. The fishing industry is a valuable resource, in particular to the communities of the West coast, and it is crucially important that the government gives them its support, following years of neglect.'

“I therefore believe that a debate on this matter would be immensely valuable, and I would hope that not only would the government take on board the challenges the industry faces but also recognise the immense potential which I believe it undoubtedly has.

“The senator was successful in seeking the debate, which will take place in three weeks time. He has indicated he intends to raise these issues, among others, and to question the Minister on the government’s plans on these matters.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA and Health Spokesperson Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the development of a new drug that will combat Cystic Fibrosis.


Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

“Cystic Fibrosis can be extremely debilitating for sufferers and unfortunately can also lead to the deaths of many sufferers. This break though will give many sufferers new hope and respite.

“While the drug targets those with the so called Celtic gene it is a break though that could lead to the next step in understanding and tackling the disease as a whole.

“Those who have worked hard to design this drug must be congratulated for their endeavors and their continued work to design treatments that will affect all sufferers.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Sean Lynch has encouraged people to participate in Bike Week in an effort to get healthy and even to help the environment.

Speaking after participating in a bike ride around Stormont Estate Mr Lynch stated,

“I have been an avid bike rider most of my life and I would like to take this opportunity today to encourage others to look at using their bike more often.

“Cycling has many benefits especially in terms of personal health but it is also an environmentally way to travel.

“Bike Week is a novel way of encouraging people to get on their bikes and get healthy and it has to be supported.I am also calling on local councils and the DRD Road Service to use this week to review the number of cycle lanes across the North and how these can be increased.

“One of the biggest deterrents to cycling is safety on the road and an increased number of safe cycle lanes will encourage more people onto their bikes.

“I would also call on motorists to be aware of the extra number of cyclists on the road this week and to drive accordingly to ensure their safety

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has called on Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland to bring forward a much awaited mortgage scheme for people in danger of loosing their homes given the current economic climate.


Speaking before a Sinn Féin motion on the issue comes to the floor of the Assembly Mr McCann said;

“Over the past term in the Assembly the two successive SDLP Social development Ministers promised, yet failed to bring forward a Mortgage Relief Scheme.

“This scheme would bring much needed financial relief to those who are facing immense pressure to meet the demands of mortgages provided at a time of super-inflated house prices.

“Whilst mortgage assistance has been enacted in other jurisdictions, sadly that hasn’t been the case here in north. This has left many in danger of loosing their homes.

“Sinn Féin are seeking to explore with the new Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland,  as to what his plans are for the delivery of such a scheme.

Further to this we wish to see an effective process of giving advice on financial matters to people as early as is possible in order to help alleviate and plan for a sustainable housing market where people are not forced to give up their homes.”


Rún/MotionMortgage Relief Scheme

Molta/Proposed:

That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Social Development to implement a mortgage relief scheme to help those people who are experiencing difficulties in paying their mortgages and are at risk of losing their homes.

Mr F McCann

Mr A Maskey

Mr M Brady

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Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Padraig MacLochlainn has sent his best wishes to the crew of the MV Saoirse, the Irish Ship to Gaza which will travel with the International Freedom Flotilla.

Speaking today Deputy MacLochlainn said the Flotilla should be allowed safe passage to Gaza to bring much needed aid to the besieged Palestinian people there.

Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“I want to congratulate the organisers of this trip and wish them the best of luck. It is an extremely brave thing to do given the murderous actions of Israeli forces when they boarded the Mavi Marmara last year when the first flotilla attempted to enter Gaza.

“This second flotilla should be allowed safe travel and the Government here should be speaking to the Israeli authorities to ensure that they get it.

“Furthermore, the Government should be doing all in its power to end the siege of Gaza and the suffering of the Palestinian people there including calling for an end to the preferential trade agreement between the EU and Israel until such time as the siege is lifted.” ENDS

Videos

Demand for Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled reiterated


Photos

Michael Colreavy TD & Cllr Darren O'Rourke