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Sinn Féin MEP and member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Lynn Boylan has slammed Labour’s use of a JJ Rhatigan site to launch its affordable housing scheme.

“Labour’s decision to use a JJ Rhatigan site to launch its affordable housing scheme highlights just how far Labour have shifted away from being the party of the working person.

 In 2014 building contractor JJ Rhatigans was exposed for using a complex web of self-employment contracts and sub contracts that resulted in workers being paid €5 per hour on a publicly funded building project.  The use of these so called ‘sub-contracts’ deprived workers of their social protection rights while simultaneously allowing the company off the hook in terms of PRSI payments.

The workers and Unite Trade union were vindicated when the Labour Court ruled that the workers should be compensated as their rights had been breached.  Labour Party Leader Joan Burton’s own department found that the company owed PRSI as the workers had been employed by Rhatigan.

Ms Boylan added:

 “For Labour Ministers Alan Kelly and Jan O’Sullivan to select a Rhatigan site to launch their affordable housing scheme is lending legitimacy to the actions of this company.

How can Labour purport to be standing up for workers’ rights when the actions of companies like this actually drive down working conditions.

This month in the European Parliament, MEPs called for measures to be taken to deal with undeclared work including bogus self-employment.    Bogus self-employment is a major problem in Ireland, especially in the construction industry and an ICTU report released in December stated that since 2007 €640bn has been lost to the Irish Exchequer in bogus self-employment.”


Sinn Féin selected three candidates in Mid Ulster tonight to contest the upcoming Assembly election. 

Following the convention Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy said;  

"A selection convention was held in Mid Ulster tonight at which three candidates were chosen to stand for Sinn Féin in the Assembly elections on May 5. 

"The candidates chosen were sitting MLAs Michelle O'Neill and Ian Milne and Councillor Linda Dillon chair of the new Mid Ulster Council. 

"Sinn Féin has delivered positive leadership for the people of East Tyrone and South Derry over many years, supporting rural communities and encouraging investment.  

"A strong Sinn Féin team, led by Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, will now go forward in this election campaign to build on the leadership provided by Martin McGuinness in the constituency over almost two decades."


Speaking in Dundalk today in response to questions in respect of the Tom Murphy case, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:

 “Whatever sentence is handed down by the Special Criminal Court, and we don’t know what that will be until February 26th, Tom Murphy will have to live with that.

“Sinn Fein is very clear on the issue of tax. Everybody should pay and make tax returns whether they are multi-millionaires, bankers, farmers or anyone else.

“What is interesting is that the Fine Gael party, while Michael Noonan was its leader, he had to make a settlement with the revenue and the sum involved was substantial. Michael Noonan wasn’t taken in front of the Special Criminal Court.

“Our issue isn’t about people who break the law having to face sanctions; it’s about the fact that in this case the Special Criminal Court was used.

“Nor should any of this be allowed to distract from the failure of this and the previous government to properly resource An Garda Síochána. It is they who cut Garda numbers and closed Garda stations and have left An Garda with inadequate resources to tackle organized crime gangs.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has called on the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to apologise to the families of the victims of the Loughinisland Massacre after comments she made yesterday.

Speaking today Mr Hazzard said:

"In yesterday’s speech by the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers she outlined how, in her view, it wasn’t British state agencies who pulled the triggers in Loughinisland and other killings.

"This is a total insult by the British government to the victims and their families of this massacre.

"Maybe Ms Villiers should read some of the files the British government refuse to disclose to learn what happened at Loughinisland or indeed actually meet with the families who have lost their loved ones.

"There remain many questions to be answered into the Loughinisland attack and the original RUC ‘investigation’ and into the role of British state agents in the planning and execution of the massacre and the destruction of evidence by police in its aftermath.

"The weapons used in the attack, two VZ58 assault rifles, were from a consignment of weapons brought in by Ulster Resistance from South Africa in 1988 with assistance from British Military Intelligence and its agent Brian Nelson.

"There is also a large body of evidence which points to the involvement of at least two state agents in the murder and a concerted attempt by state agencies to cover up the role of police and British intelligence in the massacre 20 years ago.

"Ms Villiers should apologise to the families immediately and ensure that files relating to this massacre are released. If she is serious about addressing legacy issues this would be a very good start.”


Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan said today that British government claims it is prepared to do its part in resolving the issue of legacy of the past will be measured against actions rather than empty rhetoric.

Speaking on the 27th anniversary of the murder of human rights Pat Finucane by a British intelligence-led loyalist gang Pat Sheehan said:

"Sinn Féin has brought forward proposals which does not endanger lives while facilitating maximum disclosure of relevant information to families of victims of the conflict on the killings of their loved ones.

"The first option is for the Director of the Historical Investigation Unit (HIU) to have similar powers to the Police Ombudsman of full discretion on onward disclosure of information to families, free of any veto by the British government.

"The second option, is the creation of an independent and international appeal panel. This would incorporate three judges, one each appointed by the British and Irish governments respectively, and a third international judicial figure appointed jointly by both governments. 

"Theresa Villiers has said for some months now that a resolution to the issue of the past is doable but her government continues to delay, frustrate and hinder the courts and the inquest system at every turn.

"On the anniversary of the murder of Pat Finucane the British Secretary of State has an opportunity to show her bone fides and announce the independent inquiry that was promised by her government at Weston Park.

"Theresa Villiers’ credibility on resolving this issue will be measured against her actions in ending the cover ups rather than her penchant for empty rhetoric and spin.”


Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada, has raised questions on a new report “Landing the Blame” by the New Economic Foundation regarding the placement of Ireland being at the forefront of overfishing.

Ní Riada said;

“Fishermen, particularly smaller Irish fishermen, are at a fundamental disadvantage as they lack the ability to gather their own scientific data to contest the scientific data and advice of other organisations.

“The claims in this report by the NGO highlights the need for the reform of fisheries management structures and to make them more democratic by involving fishermen in the collection of independently verifiable scientific data.

“We agree with the NEF that a move towards more sustainable fishing is required, and that an emphasis on sustainability would not only safeguard our stocks, but also be of immediate benefit to fishermen and fish producers in Ireland.

“Insofar as overfishing is taking place in Irish waters, it is due to the easy access that large-scale, foreign registered boats have to our waters.

“Any insinuation that Irish fishermen are more culpable than anyone else of overfishing is highly contentious and inaccurate.

“Irish fishermen, especially in small scale fisheries, are very compliant with the already harsh control and enforcement regime that the authorities here operate, whilst factory vessels operated by foreign multinationals fishing in Irish waters are not subject to the same scrutiny and are more likely to overfish.

“It is on that basis that I find the recent RTE headline that “Ireland is ranked the worst offender for overfishing” hard to fathom.”


Sinn Féin MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann has announced a £1.1 million fund to help groups working with ethnic minorities. 

Ms McCann said; 

"The Minority Ethnic Development Fund will provide £1.1 million to help those groups and organisations working with, and on behalf of, ethnic minorities. 

"Many groups across the North do sterling work to support ethnic minorities and to make our society more inclusive and fairer. 

"This excellent work in tackling racism, inequality and discrimination will be supported and enhanced by this funding package. 

"It is open to groups who help people from ethnic minority backgrounds access public services, promote inclusion and challenge racism and inequality. 

"Groups who may be eligible for funding can find more information and application forms at or email [email protected]"


Sinn Féin representative Grace McDermott has welcomed new powers to strengthen animal cruelty legislation in the North. 

The West Tyrone candidate said; 

"Few people will forget the harrowing images of the pet dog, Cody, who was horrifically injured after being doused in petrol and set alight in 2012. 

"This shocking case of animal cruelty rightly prompted calls for tougher powers to deal with those who abuse animals. 

"The new powers contained in the Justice Bill will see the maximum sentences handed down from the Crown Court for animal cruelty increase from two years to five years. 

"It also includes the doubling of the maximum prison sentence for anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering, or organising or attending animal fights from six months to 12 months, as well as increasing fines to up to £20,000. 

"These powers will strengthen our existing animal safety regulations implemented by Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill. 

"Sinn Féin will work with the Justice Minister to ensure these new powers are implemented so that animal cruelty can be stamped out."


Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will spend her last day in Palestine today, after leading a week long delegation there.

Speaking at a press conference in Makasse hospital, Ms Anderson said,

“Since October almost 200 people have been killed; almost 170 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis. Yesterday a 16 year old Palestinian boy was killed in Hebron during the time when we were speaking with the Governor and Mayor of Hebron.

“We send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who have been killed.

“An alarming number of arrests have taken place over the last three months resulting in hundreds being imprisoned, 330 have been held in administrative detention and among them are children.

“And every minute of every hour of the last 79 days the world has been watching with deep concern as news of the health of hunger striker Mohammed Al Qiq has circulated.

Chair of the Delegation, Ms Anderson continued,

“During these few days the Isreali policy of demolishing Palestinian properties has stepped up with over 70 demolitions and a number of these have been EU funded projects destroyed. 

“Settlements are illegal under international law. It is long past the time for the EU to implement the rules and regulations governing all agreements – regardless of who they are with.

“Rest assure that we leave here carrying with us the strength of your spirit and resilience. You are unbowed and unbroken. And I feel personally proud of who you are and what you represent.”  ENDS


Sinn Féin Councillor and General Election Candidate Darren O'Rourke has said the 92,998 patients on trolleys in 2015 were as a result of the Governments ideological commitment to private health care. 

Speaking today, Cllr O'Rourke said,

“Labour broke pledges to reform the HSE, to bring in universal health insurance and free prescriptions, and to protect child benefit and disability allowance.

“Now, two weeks before they face the electorate, they suddenly remember all their 2011 promises and set out to promise them again in an attempt to save their own necks.

“During the first leaders debate of the election Joan Burton said to the Irish people: the crisis is over. It was a staggering piece of arrogance and self-delusion

“Labour claim they are committed to ending the two-tier healthcare service – a service they created. 

“This two tier system is why we had 92,998 patients on trolleys in 2015 - a 37% increase from 2013. 

Continuing the Meath East Candidate said,

“Whenever Labour are challenged on their failure to keep to any of their promises they repeatedly claim they were not given the mandate to do so and had to work with Fine Gael who were opposed to their plans.

“They were ineffective in the previous coalition and if returned we’ll see a repeat of that ineffectiveness. That is the one promise they are capable of keeping.

“Sinn Féin has a different vision. We are committed to fully free healthcare. We are committed to increasing capacity. We are committed to prioritising mental healthcare.  

“We are the only party with a plan for a fair recovery, and the only party with credible costed policies to deal with the health crisis and deliver quality public services.” ENDS


Sinn Féin Canidate for Dublin North West, Cathleen Carney Boud has hit out against Fianna Fáil’s childcare plans, highlighting the fact that they will neither improve quality of care nor accessibility and will actually increase costs for parents.  

Cllr Carney Boud said:

“This is Fianna Fáil of old - trying to fix the country on the cheap. A closer look at their childcare plans reveals that they are utterly empty and will not in any way improve the quality of childcare services in this state. 

“Their proposal to use tax credits as a substitute for actual structural investment is shallow and simplistic. The fact is that it will have zero effect on the quality and accessibility of childcare for parents. 

“International reports show that tax credits have no long-term impact on affordability and end up increasing the cost of services as providers adapt their prices to absorb the credit.

“Only Sinn Fein is committed to the type of infrastructure investment needed to combat the issues facing Irish households today in terms of costs, access and quality.

“Sinn Féin has a fully costed plan for actual, real investment in child care, health, housing and infrastructure.

“Fianna Fail has given us nothing today nothing but a fully costed plan for tax credits - and tax credits end up being absorbed within a year by rising costs. 

“By 2018, under Fianna Fáil's tax credit plan, we will be back to square one with no real change in affordability, quality or access to show for it.

“It goes without saying that Fianna Fáil have no vision, no planning, no energy and no ideas and have absolutely no solution for improving childcare in Ireland”


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning met Peter Moroney from SOSAD, the Suicide Awareness and Prevention group in Louth.

Teachta Adams commended “all of the countless suicide prevention support groups and all of those in our health service and related agencies that work hard every day of the week in seeking to reduce suicide”.

Gerry Adams said:

“According to the most recent statistics available for suicide in this state 459 persons - 368 males and 91 females - took their own lives in 2014. During the same period there were 62 undetermined deaths which in the north and in other countries are normally counted as suicide. At the same time around 300 citizens in the north die each year from suicide.

"It is generally accepted that the real figure for suicide is higher and that as many as 1000 citizens die across this island each year by suicide.

"The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating. The reality is that all sections and all generations of our society are affected, from the very young to the very old, and in rural and urban areas.

"Self-harming is also a huge issue in Irish society today. Thousands are admitted to hospitals every year as a result of self-harm which in many cases go unreported.

"Mental Health is an area that successive governments have failed to provide an adequate level of service. This is despite the fact that 644,000 people or one in seven adults have experienced mental health issues in the last year.

"The funding allocated to mental health is insufficient. The framework documents, ‘A Vision for change’ proposed a mental health funding of 10% of the overall health budget. This has never been achieved.

"Among our detailed proposals on mental health Sinn Féin would increase the mental health budget in year one by €35 million.

"We would complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses. Only 24 of the 35 nurses approved for this programme had been recruited by mid 2015.

"We would recruit mental health nurses, specifically to liaise with homeless services commencing with five in year one.

"We would reverse cuts introduced by the government in 2012 to guidance counsellors.

"And we would update the Mental Health Act and Criminal Law (insanity) Act to bring them into line with international best practice.

"One significant contribution to tackling suicide and self-harm would be greater co-operation between the health services north and south. In particular the creation an all-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency that would co-ordinate the work of all of those involved would bring immediate benefits.”


Sinn Fein Senator Kathryn Reilly has called the recent bomb threats in Cavan and Monaghan a disgrace and stated that they are an attack on our people, our communities, the democratic process, and civilised society as a whole.

Senator Reilly said:

“Earlier this week there was a suspect device was found in Virginia District Court. The Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team of the Army was called whereupon the device was discovered to have been an elaborate hoax. Nonetheless the device was described as a two-and-a-half-foot pipe with a sizeable package on the top, which has been taped over with black insulation tape with an oval-shaped timer device attached.

“To think that a District Court could be targeted in this way is shocking. Those present and working in the courthouse as well as those in the vicinity were put in fear for their lives by a vile act that has no place in civilised society.

“An even more sinister act took place in Monaghan yesterday as a viable bomb with the potential to cause death or serious injury was discovered in Ballybay.

“The Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team of the Army was again called to the scene and thankfully the scene was made safe.

“Again, as in Cavan, this incident has terrified residents in the area. Such an act is a disgrace; it is an attack on our people, our communities, the democratic process, and civilised society as a whole.

“I would implore anyone with information on either of these heinous crimes to report it to the Gardaí immediately.

“This incident has also shone the spotlight back on the closure of Garda staions and reduction in number of Gardaí in Cavan and Monaghan. There has been a reduction in 10 Garda stations in the constituency since 2006 and Garda numbers have dropped leaving people feeling vulnerable and isolated in our communities.

“There are serious fears about the ability of the Gardaí to provide the standard of policing as demanded and necessitated by the public. These concerns have also been expressed by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI).

“It is against this backdrop that we see the creation of environment in which crime is increasing.

“With no plans to reopen any stations this year and with Garda numbers below pre-recession levels, local Fine Gael TDs need to come clean on their plans to tackle crime and to protect local communities. There needs to be a commitment to re-open Garda stations and to bring Garda levels back to pre-crisis levels in order to protect our people and communities from attacks such as those that happened in Virginia and Ballybay.

“Again, I would urge anyone with information on either of these heinous crimes, or any crime for that matter, to report it to the Gardaí immediately.”


Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has said Sinn Féin in government will ensure commitment to the creation of 250,000 jobs over the next five years. 

Speaking at a party press event outlining measures for the development of good jobs and long-term economic recovery, Deputy Tóibín said;

“After five years of Fine Gael and Labour in government we are left with many people still unemployed and with many people working but still struggling to put a roof over their heads and food on the table.  Many more have left the country to get good quality jobs.

“Sinn Féin believes in quality jobs in Ireland.  We believe in jobs in Donegal rather than Darwin, in Meath rather than Melbourne, in Tallaght rather than Toronto.

“Fine Gael say they want to keep the recovery going, but with the overall unemployment rate recorded at 8.6% and youth unemployment recorded at 19.1%, it highlights that for many, the recovery has yet to start.  The past eight years have seen the citizens of this state disenchanted by successive governments; therefore our priority is the creation of decent jobs with decent pay.

“We will use the budget room available over the next five years to invest heavily in capital projects to deliver tens of thousands of jobs and to fill infrastructural needs in water, housing, roads, schools, and health.

“In both our manifesto and our Invest in the West policy document, we have committed to a series of initiatives which aim to address the historical regional imbalance in job creation.

“The hundreds of thousands of people that left this state in the last decade in the hope of finding employment elsewhere need something to return to and Sinn Féin in government will deliver a consistent, lucrative jobs market.” ENDS


Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has stepped in to help fund broadband services for rural businesses across the north.

The Broadband voucher scheme is delivered through Belfast City Council on behalf of all council areas to assist with broadband installation costs. However, due to the limited funding available at the time a number of businesses where not able to avail of the scheme.

Minister O’Neill has stepped in and allocated almost £0.5million from her Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme (TRPSI), to contribute to the Scheme.

Announcing the funding Minister O’Neill said:

 “I met with rural business owners in Magherafelt and they impressed upon me how the lack of quality broadband was significantly affecting the growth of their businesses

“I am therefore delighted to provide funding under my TRPSI Programme to help secure broadband services for those rural businesses that applied for but did not receive a voucher under the previous scheme. The scheme will continue to be delivered through Belfast City Council on behalf of all council areas across the north, with each business potentially receiving up to £3,000 towards installation costs of faster broadband.”

The broadband voucher scheme ran out of money before Christmas and many of the last applicants to apply were unable to avail of the voucher to assist them with installing a good quality high- speed broadband service.

Minister O’Neill continued:

“Once these businesses are connected to broadband they have the potential to show the world the high quality products and services they can supply and I am sure this will lead to the creation of more rural jobs within these businesses. Gone are the days when a business can operate without good broadband. This scheme will supplement the funding I have previously allocated to improve broadband services to all rural dwellers and business people across the north.”

The scheme will see up to 170 rural businesses benefit from a voucher which can contribute up to £3,000 towards the cost of installation of a broadband service. 

The Minister concluded:  

“I hope that as many of the approved businesses as possible that are offered a voucher will use it. This is a good example of councils, and in particular Belfast City Council, working with government departments to deliver a good result for our rural community”.


Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has joined with her counterparts from Scotland and Wales to call on the BBC to ensure it properly represents all jurisdictions, regions and communities.

The Ministers agreed that the Westminster Government must honour its agreed obligation to the devolved administrations on charter renewal, and that they will work together to ensure the process of BBC Charter renewal reflects and prioritises their shared interests

DCAL Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture Ken Skates questioned Rhys Evans, Head of Strategy and Digital, BBC Cymru Wales, Peter Johnston, Director, BBC NI and Ken McQuarrie, Director, BBC Scotland, about the future of the BBC by videoconference. Secretary of the BBC, Phil Harrold, also participated in the videoconference.

The Ministers made clear they expect more from the BBC on issues including representation, governance, commissioning of local content, funding and broadcasting in Scots Gaelic, Welsh and Irish.

And they renewed their pledge to work together to:

· hold the Westminster Government and the BBC to account for the continued delivery of the public service broadcasting principles on which the BBC was founded

· continue to ensure each devolved administration is guaranteed a formal, consultative role in developing reviewing and agreeing the new BBC Charter

· ensure the Westminster Government and BBC provide for a truly representative service to all the jurisdictions, regions and communities 

· ensure the BBC’s clear obligation to provide services for all of its communities, is fully met in relation to English and indigenous language broadcasting

· push the BBC to take a more representative approach to commissioning, talent development and production from and for all the jurisdictions and regions.

After the meeting, Minister Ní Chuilín said: 

“I believe that the three jurisdictions have many areas of common interest and have jointly made a strong case for change to the BBC. For too long there has been underrepresentation in BBC broadcasting in the north of Ireland for those who consider themselves to be of Irish nationality and, just as importantly, those who speak Irish and who have the right to see and hear content in Irish. Furthermore, I agree with my counterparts in Scotland and Wales that the BBC in each area must commission more locally made and focussed content, and that the broadcaster must put in place more accountable and fit-for-purpose governance systems, which include adequate and fair representation from each jurisdiction. 

“I hope that the BBC has taken on board our concerns, which reflect the views of the people we represent, and will take appropriate action to address them.”


Consensus across the dairy industry is vital if there is to be a solution to the current crisis facing farmers. 

That was the key message from Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill following a high-level meeting with dairy stakeholders including the UFU, NIGTA, processors, banks and other key representatives to discuss the challenges facing the industry. 

Speaking after the meeting in DARD headquarters in Belfast, she said:

 “It has been a very productive meeting and I am grateful for the contribution from each organisation and business represented. 

“While I welcome the ideas and proposals put forward, there is still more work to be done. I am continuing to press EU Commissioner Phil Hogan to ensure that all available mechanisms at his disposal are effectively deployed to benefit the local dairy sector at this difficult time. Our financial institutions are also key to supporting farmers in managing their immediate cashflow difficulties and I will follow up today’s meeting by communicating with the individual banks and finance companies too.

“Government has a part to play but solutions lie in the hands of industry and can only be achieved successfully if everyone in the dairy supply chain collaborates and works together, with the same vision and an agreed strategy to achieve it. We therefore need consensus to addresses issues such as cash flow on farms and the current over-supply of milk coming from farms.” 

The Minister pointed out that the Agri Food Strategy Board and Supply Chain Forum as industry led structures and mechanisms, have been established to deal with industry challenges and to develop workable solutions. 

She said:

 “This model of industry collaboration has already worked very well to deliver a project on livestock genetics improvement. I encouraged all those represented today to come together within that framework to progress this very important work on behalf of the local dairy sector.”

She said she has asked her officials to work with representatives to establish a dedicated working group under the existing structures, with a specific remit of addressing the issues facing the dairy sector right now.The Minister added: 

“It is important that DARD plays its role and my commitment to supporting our farmers is undiminished. I will continue to lobby on their behalf in Brussels, Dublin and London. I will also continue to work with the banks and finance companies to encourage maximum flexibility. My department has made more than 96% of Basic Payments to date and is working hard to complete the remainder.” 

 She concluded: 

“I will work with political representatives across these islands, and with industry representatives to achieve our long-term goals for the sector. I want everyone to engage in a united way to identify potential solutions and develop strategies that will address the issues we face.”


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his sympathy and condolences to the family of well-known music producer Billy McBurney who has died.

Gerry Adams said:

“Billy was a legend in music circles. In the late 60’s and 70’s he recorded and distributed records by some of the most iconic Irish traditional and folk and republican musicians of the period, including Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, The Flying Column, Eugene McIldowney, The Fureys, Sean Maguire, and many others.

The family business, Premier Record Shop and then Outlet Records were familiar Belfast landmarks in Smithfield. In the late 60s and early 70’s he gave a voice to the revival of republican songs as well as to the political revival that took place at that time. 

After the introduction of internment Billy produced one of the most iconic songs of the period, The Men Behind The Wire. 

He was shot by loyalists but despite this  "Despite being shot he continued to record and produce records.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to extend my sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

Go ndeanfaidh dia trocaire ar a n’anam dílis.


Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central has said that the policies implemented by Enda Kenny and Fine Gael have decimated the lives of ordinary people in Cork.

He said that Mr Kenny’s election campaign message is both patronising and insulting.

Deputy O’Brien was speaking as the Taoiseach was visiting Cork City this morning.

He said;

“Enda Kenny is in Cork today asking ordinary people to keep the recovery going. Sadly, the idea of a recovery is not being felt in many of the communities across this city that have, over the last 5 years, borne the brunt of Fine Gael’s regressive, right-wing policies.

“The policies implemented by Enda Kenny and Fine Gael in government have decimated the lives of ordinary people in Cork City. To many, Mr Kenny’s campaign message is downright patronising and insulting. He is campaigning as though he has not been power since 2011.

“His policies have delivered an unprecedented housing crisis in which 15,000 people and their dependents, across city and county, are waiting for social housing. Thousands of people are in mortgage distress and families are struggling to pay sky-high rents in the private market. Rents in this city are increasing at a frightening rate. Throughout all of this crisis, Fine Gael has simply refused to build social housing.

“Fine Gael and the Labour Party created the conditions which allowed for a 63% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in Cork City. 41 people were sleeping rough on our streets in December.

“Fine Gael’s approach to the health service has been to undermine its viability through a purposeful strategy of underfunding, under-resourcing and under-staffing. This has led to patients, many very sick and elderly, being left on trolleys at Cork University Hospital and the Mercy Hospital. This is happening day in and day out. There were 31 patients lying on trolleys in Cork City's hospitals last night.

“Under Mr Kenny, this government has cut supports for the most vulnerable in our society while ring-fencing the wealth of the most well-off. They systematically set about shredding the social safety net that is used, by any civil society, to catch people when they fall behind. Fine Gael and the Labour Party introduced €1.09b worth of cuts to the Social Protection budget in the years  2012-2014.

“Enda Kenny’s whole agenda, during his time as Taoiseach, has been to create a two-tier society. In Fine Gael’s Ireland, due to increasing underemployment, low wages and zero-hour contracts, holding a job is a not even a guarantee that you won’t fall into the poverty trap. There is a cost of living crisis in this state that has been fostered by the government parties.

“I don’t think that the values followed by Fine Gael in  government are shared by the vast majority of Cork people. The people I meet, on a daily basis, are compassionate and they hold a deep desire to see some common decency and fairness from those in power. They care about the people who are sleeping in doorways on Patrick’s Street and those caught up in the hospital chaos.

“A Sinn Féin led government would not turn its back on people in Cork who are crying out for a fair recovery. We have a plan to deliver sustainable economic growth and to invest in our critical public services. Sinn Féin wants to elect three TDs in Cork City to help make that vision a reality. If the people of this city want change, they have to get out and vote for it.”


Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has described Fianna Fáil’s position on Water Charges announced at the launch of their election manifesto today as a massive u-turn and a reminder that Fianna Fáil has not changed its colours despite its attempts to re-brand itself.

Speaking today Deputy McDonald said;

“The abolition of water charges is a key red line issue for Sinn Féin.  We will not enter government unless we can deliver on this commitment to the people.

“Despite having come up with the plan to introduce water charges Fianna Fáil has been busy with a populist rebranding exercise, part of which was a commitment to abolish water charges.

“Indeed, it was a key part of Micheál Martin’s Ard Fheis speech this year when he said, ‘we will scrap Irish Water and the failed, loss-making charge which funds it’.

“Today’s announcement that they will not scrap the charges but simply suspend them for five years is a massive u-turn and a reminder that Fianna Fáil has not changed its colours despite its attempts to re-brand itself.

“Not only did Fianna Fáil join Fine Gael and Labour in cooking the books to over promise in this election but it is now clear that they are all on the same side when it comes to water charges.”


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