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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here

“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Speaking in response to the news that the general government debt is €3.6bn lower than originally expected, Sinn Féin spokesperson on public expenditure and reform Mary Lou McDonald described the news as “deeply embarrassing”.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Today’s news that the government debt is €3.6bn lower than originally expected is deeply embarrassing for the government and the officials involved.

“The idea that an ‘accounting error’ of this size went unnoticed for so long is truly amazing.

“What is even more shocking is the failure so far of the government to comment on this news.

“On the basis of this information the government no longer needs to cut €3.6 billion in the budget to meet the EU/IMF deficit target of 8.6% next year.

“I am calling on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to make a statement on the matter outlining how, if at all, today’s news changes his government’s approach to the budget.”


Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson, Phil Flanagan (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) has expressed his disappointment at the massive reduction in loan approvals by local banks to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The success rate of SME’s applying for bank loans has fallen by 27% between 2007 and 2010, according to the most recent figures released by NISRA.

Mr Flanagan said:

“This massive drop in the approval rate confirms what we as elected representatives hear on a daily basis.

“Despite billions of pounds in taxpayers money being poured into the banks, they are still unwilling to provide the necessary assistance local local businesses require in their time of need. Nobody, even in a solid economic climate expects banks to fund unviable business plans but at present even loan proposals backed by sound business plans are being rejected by the banks.

“In our proposals last year designed to ease the pressure on small business as a result of the British governments £4billion cut in our block grant, Sinn Féin as one of a number of measures proposed the establishment of a Sustainable Economic Development Bond, with each of the four local banks contributing £25 million annually as their contribution to the economic recovery process. I believe that the Executive should now take a collective look at how this could be brought about so that funding would again be available to SME's and other indigenous enterprises.

"Such a fund, administered through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment should be designed to revive and grow our economy by encouraging an entrepeneurial spirit with a major focus on investing in SME’s, social enterprises, new technologies, tourism and manufacturing designed for export." CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on the Minister for Employment and Learning Stephen Farry to clarify the future of the Step Ahead Programme following concerns in the community and voluntary sectors in Derry  about the future of the programme.


The programme was launched in 2009 and was aimed at people who have been out of work for 30 months or more. 

Raymond McCartney said “When the  Steps to Work was launched it was  in direct response to the economic downturn and the increasing numbers of unemployed.


At that time the then Minister Reg Empey said it is anticipated that this initiative would  last up to two years or until the economy shows signs of recovery. Clearly the economy has not recovered and we have more people on the dole queues.

There is a concern in Derry that this scheme could be under threat .Many of those working on the scheme have been involved in very important projects such “ Operation Snowball” and without their assistance community groups may struggle to meet the needs of the community.

I have raised those concerns with the new Minister Stephen Farry .It is crucial that projects like this ,which are working and are having a positive impact on local communities continue.



Sinn Féin's Phil Flanagan MLA, (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) has called on RTE to ensure that its digital service will be available to viewers in the North following the switchover next October.

Mr Flanagan said:

“I share the concerns of many of my constituents that the decision by RTE to opt for a different technological format to that available in the North could result in Northern viewers being unable to receive RTE and TG4 on free-to-air television. 

“Freeview signal in the North is received via MPEG-2 compression technology, whereas in the south, the government has opted for MPEG-4 format. 

“This effectively means that people in the north wishing to watch RTÉ or TG4 after the digital switchover next October will be forced to purchase additional freeview boxes or to change their televisions, all of which will come at a significant cost to consumers. It is beyond comprehension why the national broadcaster would decide on a format that could not only cut off a section of its present viewers but deny itself a significant advertising revenue from northern sources.

“It also flies in the face of the much heralded memorandum of understanding between the Irish and British governments to live up to the agreements laid out in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) to ensure that Northern viewers have access to Irish language broadcasting through TG4.

“I have written to both Ministers with responsibility in order to push for a satisfactory outcome in this regard; it is completely unacceptable that their departments have been advising people here to purchase their digital equipment early while indications are that those wishing to receive RTE, TG4 and TV3 will have to purchase an additionsal receiver box to do so. In times of economic restraint and pressures on household budgets this is an additional cost that could be easily avoided with just a little consideration and forethought. I believe that it is not too late for the Irish government to rethink this decision and live up to its committments in the GFA

“In the meantime, I would encourage people who are considering purchasing digital equipment to ensure that it will support MPEG-4 to enable them to receive RTÉ, TG4 and TV3.” CRÍOCH


South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has welcomed the apology by the British MOD to the family of Billy McKavanagh who was shot dead by the British army in 1971.

The apology followed three months after a report by the HET described Billy McKavanagh as an innocent victim.

Alex Maskey said:

 “The apology is a further vindication for the McKavanagh family who have persevered for 40 years to get the truth revealed.

“Although everyone in the Markets knew the truth about the murder of Billy McKavanagh and the mistreatment of his brother Pat and cousin Teddy Rooney, it is important that wider society knows that they were totally innocent and were cut down in cold blood.” CRÍOCH/END


Sinn Féin spokesperson on public expenditure and reform Mary Lou McDonald has hit out at the government for not convening the Dáil the day before €700 million of taxpayers’ money is to be handed over to an unguaranteed bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Tomorrow the government will hand over €700 million of taxpayers’ money to an unguaranteed, unsecure senior bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank.

“Last week my colleague and party leader Gerry Adams called on the government to convene the Dáil today in advance of this handover to allow all parties to debate this important issue. They refused.

“Tomorrow’s payout comes just one month before an austerity budget which will inflict hardship on children, on carers, on the disabled and on the working poor. In January a further €1.2 billion will be paid out – tomorrow is only the first payment of billions of taxpayers’ money.

“This is simply not acceptable and what is even more unacceptable is the fact that the government would rather take a duvet day today than allow TDs to debate this crucial issue that will affect so many.

“There is still time to stop this outrageous handover. The government should do the right thing by the people and use this money for the good of the people, not toxic banks.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, has described the vote to accept Palestine as a full member at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), as a “milestone towards freedom for the Palestinian people.”

The organisation voted by an overwhelming margin of 107 nations for to 14 against with 52 abstentions.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn welcomed the Irish Government's support for the application, describing this as “representative of the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people.”

He said:

“This is truly wonderful news for the beleaguered Palestinian people. It is a clear signal that the international community supports their struggle for justice and freedom and their right to statehood. It is a milestone to freedom for the Palestinian people.

“The response of the US Administration to the vote has been deeply disappointing and disingenuous. Firstly, they have now removed US funding from UNESCO in line with deeply undemocratic US legislation passed in the 1990s. Secondly, any suggestion by the US that efforts by the Palestinian people to attain recognition of their statehood at the UN or elsewhere “undermines peace negotiations” is patent nonsense.

“Israel has full recognition of their state internationally despite not having clearly defined borders due to their ongoing plundering of Palestinian land to facilitate illegal settlements. It is these actions that have undermined a peace settlement yet the US stands idly by and placates Israel at every turn.

“The ‘Arab Spring’ is an opportunity for the US and European Union to build new relationships of trust in this region that has been blighted by conflict and failed by the international community. The US and the EU must now step up to their responsibilities to confront illegal Israeli settlements and broker a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn concluded:

“I welcome the Irish Government's vote in support of the Palestinian Authority's application to UNESCO. Ireland's reputation in the field of human rights and justice is immense and the Palestinian Mission to Ireland has conveyed to me their delight at the support of the Irish Government. This important vote is representative of the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Dessie Ellis TD has unreservedly condemned the FG/Labour government’s cuts to homelessness services by 10%. He called the move “the lowest point yet for a government set on punishing the vulnerable for the mistakes of the political and financial elite.”

Deputy Ellis said:

“In Dublin alone we have seen a huge increase in rough sleepers. Simon and other voluntary groups who deal with homelessness are operating above capacity, struggling with the meagre budgets they have to provide for the most vulnerable and marginalised. This cut is an insult to them and their clients. It’s says two things – either the government
feels that homeless people don’t deserve support or they think the voluntary groups aren’t working hard enough. Both of these ideas are totally false and are nothing short of a scandal.

“The government has done very little other than pay lip service to homelessness since they came to power. They now do not even offer lip service as they are taking away essential supports with this cut.

“NAMA should to be used to support our homelessness strategy and to make real progress in ending this terrible example of the great inequality that exists in our society.

“The government must get real about tackling this major issue. There is also the fact that the majority of homeless people suffer with a physical health condition and require support.

“These threaten lives as we enter the dangerous winter period when rough sleepers are most at threat. This comes at a time when €700 million is being paid for an unsecured Anglo bond next week.”


Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has accused Labour Minister Brendan Howlin of looking after those at the top of the public and semi state sector whilst attacking at every turn those on low and middle incomes.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Minister Howlin’s decision to award the new ESB Chief a salary over 30% in excess of the Government’s own pay ceiling for commercial semi states is an absolute scandal.

“Just a few short months ago Brendan Howlin as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced to great fanfare that he intended imposing a generous pay cap of €250,000 on the salaries of newly appointed commercial semi state CEO’s.

“Yet when the next plum CEO job in the commercial semi state comes up the Minister awards the new ESB boss a salary €68,000 euro in excess of the pay cap. It is worth noting that the new Chief comes from within the organisation so claims of needing to shell out extra cash to attract ‘new’ talent really won’t wash.

“This is not the first time the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has broken his own Departments pay ceilings, in fact it’s at least the fifteenth time in recent months. He has already awarded at least 14 Ministerial special advisors salaries over the Government’s pay ceiling. The Minister has also presided over bonanza pension pay offs to top dogs in the civil service.

“This Government like the last continues to look after those at the top of the public and semi state sector whilst attacking at every turn those on low and middle incomes. Self-interest and greed were the hallmarks of successive Fianna Fail led Governments and it appears not much is changing on that front with Labour and Fine Gael at the helm.” ENDS


Sinn Féin launch alternative Budget for 2015