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Sinn Féin President elect Mary Lou McDonald TD gives her first major speech to party activists


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Sinn Féin TDs have welcomed the government’s decision to accept the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014. The bill was brought before the Dáil this week during Sinn Féin’s Private Members time.

Speaking on the issue, Sinn Féin’s Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley TD said:

“The guidelines published by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government are clearly inadequate and what is instead required is strict regulation of wind turbine developments. Sinn Féin’s bill proposes that a minimum distance of ten times the height of the turbine from any dwelling must be observed. I welcome that the government are allowing this bill to pass through the Dáil.”

Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Energy, said:

“I welcome that the government have accepted this piece of legislation. The Wind Turbine Regulation Bill seeks to impose strict setback distances on wind turbine developments. It also required renewable energy that is produced in Ireland to be for the benefit of Irish energy consumers. This bill should form part of the wider debate on energy strategy.”

The party’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Deputy Martin Ferris, said:

“It is clear that this bill needs to be brought to committee stage as soon as possible. The communities that are affected by wind turbine developments must be given the peace of mind that they will not have large scale projects imposed on them. There must be a clear vision on our energy strategy and this bill will hopefully offer some guidance to government. I hope that this is not just an election stunt on behalf of the government parties in the run up to the local and European election but rather a meaningful engagement on the issue.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, Sandra McLellan TD, has today given a cautious welcome to the government’s commitment to introduce the Housing Bill 2014 in May this year.

Speaking in the Dáil today McLellan said:

“Local authority tenants have been waiting years for the resumption of the right to buy scheme.

“The Housing Miscellaneous Bill must make provision for a building programme to compensate for units sold under an agreed right to buy scheme and provide a solution for the growing number of shared ownership home owners who have slipped into mortgage arrears.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, to confirm whether he intends vote against “the obscene salary of Richie Boucher” at the forthcoming Bank of Ireland AGM.

Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil, which were taken today by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Doherty said:

“Minister, in April of last year An Taoiseach told the Dáil that he expected a ‘substantial contribution from the leadership of the banks on pay and pensions’. He further stated that, ‘it is right that it should be because these are extraordinary salaries’.

“The Taoiseach made his comments in the context of the Mercer Report’s recommendation that a 6-10% payroll decrease be implemented by the banks.

“A year later we know that not one top banker has taken a pay cut as a result of the Mercer Report’s recommendations. In particular, citizens will be shocked and angry to learn that once again Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher has earned an obscene salary at a bank which was only saved by the sacrifices of the Irish taxpayer.

“Mr Boucher was paid a total package of €843,000 last year.

“Bank of Ireland only exists because it was bailed out by the citizens of this state. The costs incurred by the taxpayers on behalf of this bank has been immense.

“Despite all the hardship being endured by ordinary, hardworking people across this state, top bankers like Richie Boucher are continuing, to this day, to show utter contempt for citizens.”

The Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson said that the contribution from top bankers, to which the Taoiseach referred last year and in which he clearly stated the necessity and obligation for pay cuts, never materialised.

He said that officials had informed the Minister for Finance prior to last year’s Bank of Ireland AGM that it would be inappropriate for him to endorse Richie Boucher’s salary on the grounds that the Bank was to submit its proposal on reducing pay in reply to the Mercer Report.

Pearse Doherty continued:

“Yet subsequently you, as the representative of this state, which has a 15% shareholding in the Bank of Ireland, abstained from the vote at the Bank of Ireland AGM.

“Yesterday in reply to a question from myself you said that you have not considered your voting position on Richie Boucher’s salary at this year’s upcoming AGM.

“Minister it is very clear what you need to do. It is very clear what the citizens of this state expect you to do.

“You need to do what you failed to do last year, despite the advice you were given by your own Department, and vote against the obscene salary of Richie Boucher.

“Failure to do this will send out the message that paying obscene salaries while banks are repossessing homes and refusing credit to Small and Medium Enterprises is acceptable to this government.”

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Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has given a cautious welcome to the government’s support for Sinn Féin’s Wind Turbine Regulation Bill.

The Midlands Northwest candidate said:

“While I welcome the fact that the government have indicated that they will not oppose Sinn Féin’s Bill when it comes to a vote tonight, it is important that this piece of legislation is enacted in full and not just left sitting on a shelf.

“Sinn Féin will keep the government under pressure to ensure that this is not just a kicking to touch in the face of an election. All stages of the Bill must be followed through in a timely manner and all measures enacted in full.

“Communities across rural Ireland have campaigned tirelessly against the construction of large industrial wind turbines in their localities. They should not now be left waiting for these new regulations to come into force.

“I am calling on government representatives to stick by their decision today and ensure that this Bill moves speedily through the Oireachtas and these regulations, that are community-centred, are made law without delay.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson announced last night that she is working to achieve a €1bn stimulus package for infrastructure projects in the North.

Ms Anderson made the announcement during an event hosted in Knock Presbyterian Church last night to discuss European issues. 

“There are huge opportunities in Europe for the drawdown of funding from the European Investment Bank,” said Martina Anderson.

“We need to get the ban lifted on the Executive accessing funds from the European Investment Bank.

“Therefore I am working to achieve a €1bn stimulus package, which could fund the A5 and A6 road schemes, the Narrow Water Bridge, the Desertcreat police and fire training college and a new Children’s Hospital – all of which would create jobs.”

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Go raibh míle maith agaibh as an chuireadh anseo anocht. Thanks very much for the invitation to take part in tonight’s event. It’s a privilege to be here.

It’s timely and very appropriate that this gathering is on the same evening that heads of State of Ireland and Britain, an tUachtarán Michael D Higgins and Queen Elizabeth, are meeting in London for the 1st time.

First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness attendance brings an all-island dimension to this historic occasion, which is about building reconciliation among the people of Ireland and between the people of Ireland and Britain. 

I am an Irish Republican. I want to see an end to partition and a genuine process of Reconciliation based on Equality and Tolerance.

However, I also believe that Ireland’s place, North and South, is in Europe and Sinn Féin’s role in the EU is to Put Ireland First.

That means being Ireland’s voice against cuts in Europe, Cuts for Farmers, cuts for PEACE and Structural funds.

It means working to get the ban lifted on the Executive accessing funds from the European Investment Bank for infrastructure projects.        

Therefore, I am working to achieve a £1bn Euro Stimulus package which could fund the A5 and A6 road schemes, the Narrow Water Bridge, the Desertcreat Police and Fire training college and a new Children's Hospital – all of which would create jobs.

It means supporting our Farmers through our commitment to a fair Common Agricultural Policy and backing the Single Region Model which creates a level playing field for small and big farmers alike.

As MEP I pledged to ‘Bring you to Europe and Europe to you’,

I have hosted SMEs, Farmers, GAA, Rugby, Soccer and many others organizations in Brussels to open up EU funding opportunities.

I fought for Peace IV funding and for Regional Aid to apply across the North.  

I have visited constituencies across the North explaining big competitive funding opportunities, which exist in Europe – and launched a Gateway to EU Funding 

I have worked to control the sale of Tobacco Products to prevent children from starting the deadly habit of smoking.

I am one of four candidates - Sinn Féin is running in this EU election.

A team of 4 SF MEPs will put Ireland First and will work on behalf of all our people. 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

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Sinn Féin MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann has called for stronger action to tackle all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination against women and Young Girls.

Speaking following a meeting with the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo she said: 

"In today’s world women and young girls continue to suffer horrendous forms of violence and abuse because of their gender. 

“The inequalities and discrimination, which allows them to be raped, beaten, trafficked and mutilated on a daily basis, must be challenged by everyone.

“It is a chilling fact that more women and young girls between the ages of 15yrs-44yrs die due to gender-based violence than they do from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined. 

“Reports have indicated that the trafficking of women and girls to Ireland and within the country for sexual exploitation has increased significantly in recent years.

“One in every five women here will be a victim of violence and abuse by a partner or ex-partner at some time in their life.

|There is a responsibility on us all to continue to raise awareness of these crimes. We must ensure the necessary steps and actions are taken to eradicate gender based violence." CRÍOCH/ENDS

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley has called for strict regulation of the location and operation of wind farms. The Laois/Offaly TD was proposing a Sinn Féin Bill that would replace the existing guidelines with a statutory provision for setback distances of ten times the height of a wind turbine.

The legislation would also prevent electricity generated from wind being exported before Ireland achieves its targets in renewable energy.

Deputy Stanley said;

“Every representative from the midlands region will be aware that the proposal for industrial scale wind farms has generated massive debate and a lot of opposition. The proposed turbines were of a height and size never seen before in this country. Many people were frightened by the prospect of huge turbines being erected in their hundreds and the impact that would have on the landscape and potentially on the quality of people’s lives.

“We clearly need planning regulations that are fit for purpose and are mandatory rather than voluntary or suggestions. One of the key proposals in this Bill is that there be a minimum setback distance of ten times the height of the turbines.

“All proposed wind farms must also comply with and be consistent with County Development plans, and that they cannot be over ridden by the Strategic Infrastructure Act of 2006. Wind farms must be located in areas zoned by local councillors.

“The basis for the Midlands project was the memorandum of understanding between this state and Britain to export electricity to Britain. In this Bill we propose that no such export contracts be concluded before this state attains its own targets in relation to electricity generated from renewable sources.

“While the export of electricity from wind and other renewable sources has a lot of potential for this country in the future, we ought surely to be reducing our own dependency on imported fossil fuels, before we go down that road.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s EU candidate for Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada, has said that SMEs throughout South Leinster & Munster are on their knees due to the Government’s preference for spin over substance.

Ní Riada made the comments today as Sinn Féin in Kilkenny launched the party’s proposals for supporting SMEs effectively.

She said:

“We are constantly fed the Government spin that there is real support for SMEs. However, the reality is far removed from this rose garden view held and perpetuated by the Fine Gael and Labour Government.

“Throughout this constituency I have heard of the struggles of small and medium enterprises struggling to stay afloat.

“It's time to properly support our SMEs and not just give them lip service. Local SMEs such as coffee shops, hairdressers and retail outlets form part of the fabric of every village, town and city on this island. These businesses provide significant employment and contribute so much to both the local and national economies.

“Despite the clear importance of SMEs, they have not been supported. They are on their knees and closing down on a daily basis.

“Rates are one of the fundamental issues regarding the survival of our SMEs. Sinn Féin is proposing a rate based on profit and not square footage. How can the smaller shops compete with the Multi Nationals under the current system?

“Sinn Féin proposals entitled ‘Putting SMEs First’ provide 10 steps that can and must be taken to effectively assist SMEs to develop and create jobs. These steps will help alleviate the unemployment crisis now and ensure our SMEs retain a competitive advantage in the future. “For Sinn Féin, SMEs are the priority when it comes to fostering indigenous industry and ensuring job creation.”

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Minister Michael Noonan is washing his hands of the banks’ policy of legal actions against homeowners.

Deputy Doherty was speaking after challenging Minister Noonan in the Dáil today.

He said;

“I am bitterly disappointed that Minister Noonan has expressed his satisfaction that the banks are meeting the Central Banks’ resolution targets. When I put it to him that the banks are only meeting those targets through wholesale legal actions he did not change his tune.

“Today in the Committee Ulster Bank defended its use of legal proceedings in over 4,000 cases which make up almost half of their proposals under the targets set by Minister Noonan and the Central Bank. They know they can get away with this because of Minister Noonan’s Pontius Pilate attitude. I expect the three other main banks will tell the same tale tomorrow and Thursday.

“The latest data from the banks shows that six years into this crisis the banks have only made a sustainable offer to one third of mortgage holders in distress when legal threats are excluded.

“Minister Noonan has stated on numerous occasions that he does not believe that legal letters constitute a sustainable solution. He has said he has communicated this assertion to the banks yet he is hiding behind the Central Bank who are accepting the banks’ figures including legal letters and removal of people from their home as sustainable solutions.

“It is not good enough the Minister to hide behind the Central Bank in the midst of a mortgage arrears crisis. Ministers should lead and not hide behind the Central Bank or civil servants.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said this morning he is concerned about the loss of Irish jobs if a European free trade treaty is agreed with the US.

 Mr Flanagan was speaking after a meeting in Brussels looking at the proposed Transatlantic, Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States of America.

  “Jobs could be lost as a result of these proposals and the environmental impact could be devastating,” said the Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee.

 “This agreement would stipulate that any US regulations would be sufficient for the European market and as such, any additional European regulations would be sidestepped.

  “This is of particular concern to anti-fracking campaigners across Europe, especially in Fermanagh and Leitrim.

 “Pro-fracking politicians tell us that regulation will protect us from fracking and the mistakes from the industry in America won’t be repeated in Ireland.

 “This treaty would remove those protections.

 “Another worrying aspects of this agreement, would be to allow the European market to be flooded with genetically modified (GM) foods imported from the US.

 “This could put Irish farmers out of business as a result of food being imported from industrial and intensive US farms.

 “In reality, these negotiations are not about free trade, but they are about removing and undermining much-needed regulations, which serves public policy goals and corrects market failures.” CRÍOCH/ENDS


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Speaking from Brussels today Senator Kathryn Reilly stated that the Youth Guarantee must be part of a holistic response to youth unemployment.

Senator Reilly made the comments after attending ‘Youth Guarantee: Making it Happen’- a high level conference on the youth guarantee organized by the European Commission.

"The overwhelming theme from this conference was the need for quality and making sure young people were facilitated into appropriate education, training or apprenticeships relevant to their own needs. While the government may talk about increases in jobs, the fact remains there is still a jobs crisis and this is particularly evident in high levels of working poverty amongst young people.

"The youth guarantee cannot be a short term solution or a quick fix to the youth unemployment problem. The Government need to take holistic actions to make sure that all young people are catered for in securing a job in the future- not just investment in the guarantee, but also to ensure jobs are being created and that young people are not being exploited. We cannot have a revolving door of low paid jobs or placements that do not go anywhere.

"Young people should have a critical role in the design, implementation and indeed evaluation of the guarantee itself. Without the feedback and opinions of those at the centre of the process, there is an inherent danger that we will end up back at square one.

"Listening to contributions from the ILO, the OECD and the G20, it became clear that the benefits of investing in the guarantee outweigh the costs of inaction. The Irish government needs to move to reassess the funding it has earmarked for the guarantee with a view to further funding so that more young people can be targeted earlier. Similarly, youth organisations need to play a central role in the guarantee and I would urge the minister to detail the partnership approach she intends to pursue with these groups in the achievement of the guarantee"

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Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the occasion of President Higgins’ State visit to Britain visit should focus minds on the need for political leaders to resolve all of the outstanding issues in the Peace Process.

Saying that peace needed to be celebrated on the streets as well as in the palaces and the big houses, Mr Adams said that the real and lasting significance of President Higgins’ visit will only be realized if the peace and political processes are built upon by both governments.

Speaking during Leaders time Gerry Adams said:

“As you know, this momentous event, which has taken 93 years to agree, has only been made possible because of the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement.

“We also know that this is part of a journey; and that much more needs to be done on the ground in the North and between both parts of the island, particularly on the issue of rights. There are great possibilities. That needs a focus and a commitment by us all. All identities on this island – Irish and British - must be respected on the basis of equality.

“The participation of Martin McGuinness in the State visit is a sign of a positive commitment by Irish republicans to engagement with our unionist neighbours and to a new relationship with Britain based on equality and mutual respect.

“The Peace Process and the political transformation that has begun on this island remain work in progress.This State visit should be an incentive to build the peace and to continue the journey of transformation.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach if he agreed that the occasion of this week’s State visit should also focus minds on the need for political leaders to resolve all of the outstanding issues in the Peace Process.

He continued:

“Taoiseach, whatever other disagreements there are in this Dáil, there is widespread agreement across the island, that building the peace is a national priority. The State visit opens up great possibilities for a government committed to this objective.Peace needs to be celebrated on the streets as well as in the palaces and the big houses.

“There are numerous initiatives which would have a very direct and positive effect within communities in the North and along the border corridor, which the Government could sponsor. A successful peace process benefits all the people of this island, not just in the North.”

Saying he was sure President Higgins, his wife Sabina and all the other Irish representatives will “do us proud”, he added that the real and lasting significance of President Higgins’visit, will only be realized if the peace and political processes are built upon by both governments.

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The Sinn Féin EU candidate for the Midlands Northwest, Matt Carthy, has said that Longford is “in dire need of jobs investment”.

Carthy was speaking on a visit to the county where he launched his party’s proposals for small and medium enterprises.

Speaking in Longford Town Cllr Carthy said:

“With twice the national average unemployment rate, Longford is a county in dire need of investment in jobs.

“Businesses are regularly closing down on the main street here to be replaced by false facades. Longford is suffering from an unemployment crisis and little has been done by central government to rectify it.

“The last official visit here by the IDA was in 2011 which resulted in the creation of five jobs. Recently, after much pressure from local Sinn Féin representatives, James Bannon TD organised a visit by the IDA to the county, the recommendations from which were that some areas need a “facelift”. A follow-up visit has been mooted but no date has been given.

“Sinn Féin has a plan to get areas like Longford working again. Our proposals for small and medium enterprises, which we launched today, outline ten steps that can be taken to effectively assist SMEs to develop and create jobs now.

“Our proposals, which we outline in detail, are to increase consumer demand; abolish upward only rents; tackle utility costs and rates; revive ‘Brand Ireland’; open up procurement; end unnecessary license delays; resolve SME distress and priorities access to credit; increase labour intensive infrastructure investment and to tackle the costs of doing business on the border.

“For Sinn Féin, SMEs are the priority when it comes to fostering indigenous industry and ensuring job creation.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, attended a special GUE/NGL conference in Brussels today, which focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The TTIP is a proposed deep and comprehensive free trade agreement between the US and EU, which is being negotiated at the moment, but there are serious concerns over the impact it will have on the environment, agriculture, workers’ rights and socio-economic development.

A key part of the conference was the launch and discussion of a study commissioned by GUE/NGL which found considerable downside risks associated with removing remaining trade tariffs and very few actual economic gains from TTIP in terms of GDP, jobs, and real wages.

Deputy Crowe said:

“It was great to take part in this conference on behalf of Sinn Féin and to discuss concerns over the TTIP with our European partners in the GUE/NGL group.

“Due to the secrecy surrounding the TTIP negotiations it’s extremely difficult to get unbiased information about what’s happening, largely due to the exclusion of civil society groups, which is extremely worrying.

“There is a complete lack of any scrutiny beyond the disingenuous headline of supposed benefits of the trade worth €500 billion.

“In fact the TTIP is primarily about deregulation and it will inevitably lead to a watering down, or the outright removal, of existing hard won rights and regulations in the EU.

“This would mean the rolling back of decades of gains in social and environmental protections and it would pose a serious threat to consumer health, public health, and environmental safety.

“The GUE/NGL study which was launched and discussed at this conference also strongly criticises the proposal for an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism as part of TTIP, as it could lead to governments abstaining from enacting regulation that ran counter to multinationals' interests. Such a mechanism could see governments having to pay compensation to multinationals with taxpayers' money.

“Another worrying aspect of the study is that it finds that TTIP will actually reduce trade between EU countries by up to 30% as EU countries' exports won't be able to compete with increased levels of cheap imports from the US.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work with our GUE/NGL partners in opposing these measures and ensuring that the EU maintains and improves its regulations and protections in these areas.”

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has insisted that the first real test of Rehab’s sincerity about taking steps to regain public confidence is whether former CEOs Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday.


Speaking in response to the announcement of a ‘root and branch review into governance and structures of the Rehab Group’ by Rehab CEO Brian Kerr earlier today, Deputy McDonald said:


“I welcome the announcement of the review by independent management consultant Dr Eddie Molloy, Rehab’s belated acknowledgment that the Board ‘has not exercised strict and appropriate oversight’ and their stated commitment to ‘a programme of transformation and change’.

“However, none of this changes the fact that former Rehab CEOs Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery have not yet responded to the invitation of the Public Accounts Committee to appear before it to answer questions this Thursday. This is not acceptable.


"The first real test of Rehab’s sincerity about doing ‘whatever is necessary’ to regain public confidence in the charity is the attendance of Ms Kerins and Mr Flannery before the Public Accounts Committee, and the quality of their testimony.

“That is what the public interest demands, and nothing less will do.”

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Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has called on all TDs to listen to their communities and support the Sinn Féin Bill in the Dáil on the regulation of industrial wind turbines.

Speaking in Longford today the MEP candidate for the Midlands Northwest said:

“Communities are rightly concerned about the impact that large-scale industrial wind turbines could have on their homes.

“These communities have fought hard for their voices to be heard and have been kicked back time and again by the government.

“Across the counties affected Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil representatives are telling local communities what they think they want to hear. But these three parties, when in government, have failed to address community concerns and have instead allowed the state's entire renewable energy strategy to be dictated by private wind energy firms.

“Sinn Féin is listening to these communities by pushing the issue to a vote in the Dáil tomorrow night.

“Our Bill is common-sense and puts communities at the heart of decision-making processes. It attempts to impose proper regulation of all aspects of wind turbine construction. This includes proper zoning of areas for wind turbine developments, the duties of planning authorities, setback distances and the responsibility of decommissioning wind turbines.

“I am calling on all TDs from all parties to do the right thing, stand up for their communities and vote in favour of the Sinn Féin Bill this week.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has linked the silence of unionist politicians on recent UDA activity in south and east Antrim to reports that it has pledged support for the DUP in this area.

 Mr McMullan said,

 “I understand the UDA has urged its membership to vote DUP in the forthcoming election. So it is no surprise that unionist parties are failing to tackle unionist paramilitary attacks in the Larne area.

 “I have highlighted the ongoing paramilitary problem in East Antrim for nearly a year now, yet on several occasions Unionist politicians accused me of scaremongering.

 “The attacks on the families in Larne by the gang of around 150 to 200 armed and organised men has once again shown who really is in control in this sea-side town.

 “The lack of condemnation by Unionist politicians is testament to the fact that there are those who depend on the UDA to mobilise its membership to vote in elections. With an election looming they don’t want to rock the boat.

 “It is time that unionist politicians made a stand and told the people whether they support paramilitaries controlling their area or that they are prepared to face them down. 

 “There is no room for sitting on the fence. Decent people in Larne continue to suffer at the hands of criminals and thugs who can travel from their power base in Carrickfergus where they have been carrying out their criminal activity for quite some time now.” CRÍOCH/ENDS

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has today expressed the party's concern by the ECB report on Anglo Bonds.

Deputy Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin was the only party who expressed serious concerns and opposition when IBRC was liquidated and the promissory notes were essentially converted to sovereign debt bonds by the Government.

"It's clear that there was no real 'deal' here, just a moving around of the pieces on the board.

"While these bonds remain at the Central Bank the government still has some options. Currently the government can still delay the issuance of the bonds.

"One of the concerns we raised is that the ECB would push for a faster timeline for the disposal of the bonds than originally planned. Once the bonds are out on the open market our debt increases and our options are closed down.

"Given the abject failure of this Government to achieve recapitalisation for the State's bank debt, it should be looking at these bonds/promissory notes as the only leverage it has with Europe and should be refusing to play the cards the ECB wants it to play. The ECB is not interested in helping Ireland manage its debt - the Government should be, and it should be refusing to dance to the ECB's tune."

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has quizzed the ECB directly.

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has cautiously welcomed reports of the appointment of Eugene F Collins Solicitors to review the advice not to sue KPMG for their role as auditors at Irish Nationwide prior to the bank’s collapse but warned that the review must move swiftly if the Statute of Limitations is not to be activated.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Today’s announcement is long overdue but welcome. The Special Liquidators have been forced to take this route due to pressure from myself and some others. The decision raises questions once more about the suitability of KPMG to carry out the role of Special Liquidators at IBRC given their history at Irish Nationwide.

“Last month, I formally submitted a complaint to the accounting standards body CARB asking them to examine the role of KPMG at Irish Nationwide. I am awaiting a decision on whether they will launch a full investigation.

“This move reflects the reality that the Special Liquidators at IBRC are not in a position to decide whether KPMG should be sued for their role at Irish Nationwide, as Ernst and Young have been sued for their role as auditors at Anglo Irish.

“I have also written to the Special Liquidators and Minister Noonan questioning the accuracy of evidence given by the Special Liquidators at a recent Finance Committee meeting regarding the role Mc Cann Fitzgerald had played as advisor to Irish Nationwide.

“This new review must be thorough and needs to be completed swiftly to prevent the statute of limitations becoming an issue. The terms of reference of the review should be made known.

“I will continue to push Minister Noonan and the Special Liquidators to make sure a truly independent and informed decision is made on whether KPMG have questions to answer about their time as auditors at Irish Nationwide.”

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