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Sinn Féin launch a 'PEOPLE'S PACT'

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said Sinn Féin's progressive politics is the only alternative to austerity.

Some of the sights and sounds of today's massive Right2Water rally on Dublin's O'Connell Street this afternoon (March 21).  Reports that up to...


Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has said documents released today by Sinn Féin clearly show the DUP acted in bad faith over the Welfare Reform Bill.



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Sinn Féin councillor Mary Ellen Campbell has said there is no place for racism in society. 

Speaking after being assaulted while trying to prevent a racially motivated incident on a bus in Belfast city centre, the councillor said; 

"I was travelling by bus to City Hall when I became aware of racist abuse being directed towards an older couple from Poland on the bus by a woman. 

"She was hurling racist abuse at them and using racist language and then assaulted them. 

"I, along with another passenger, intervened and alerted the driver at which point the woman became abusive to us and actually started attacking the driver as well. 

"I was hit in the head several times during the incident while attempting to calm the situation. 

"There can be no place for racism or racist attitudes in our society and I would encourage anyone with information on this incident to report it to the PSNI."

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Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed the announcement the new Rural Development Programme could open in May ahead of final sign off by the EU Commission by July.

Speaking after meeting EU commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the issue, Mr McAleer said; 

"Along with other members of the DARD committee, we met Commissioner Hogan on Friday to discuss a wide range of agriculture and rural development issues. 

"During the course of our exchange, the Commissioner indicated that the final text of the new programme was settled. It will be followed by a three-week consultation period and it could be possible for the Commission to issue a covering letter to DARD.

"Such a letter would enable DARD to open certain programmes for application as early as May.  In addition to this, the Commissioner outlined the possibility of applicants accessing European Investment Bank loans at a competitive rate.   

"This is potentially a major boost for farmers which could provide match funding for programmes such as the Farm Business Improvement Scheme. It may also be an opportunity for some farmers who will miss out on the Young Farmers Scheme.

"While I welcome the Commissioner’s comments on these matters, there is a substantial amount of information which must be provided before a full analysis of the risks and benefits can be established. 

"I therefore welcome the fact that the Minister and her officials are currently engaging with the EU Commission to help maximise the potential opportunities of the new Rural Development Programme for farmers and the wider rural community.”

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams today raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny disturbing reports he has received regarding the treatment of people with Intellectual Disabilities at a care facility in Stamullen, Co. Meath.

Mr Adams said HIQA  indicated a denial of the civil, legal and human rights of citizens at Redwood and that residents at Redwood have been subject to deprivation of  liberty and freedom of movement including a ‘locked-door policy’.

Gerry Adams said:

“I have received representation from families of clients of Redwood Care facility in County Meath. One of these, Eamonn Kennedy, was admitted to Redwood in January 2010. Following several falls he was hospitalised with a head injury and lacerations.

“He was hospitalised a second time with further lacerations. Doctors also noted bruising to his upper body, arms, abdomen and legs. Eamonn spent five months in hospital. He was placed in a wheelchair for nearly a year.

“When first admitted to hospital, Eamonn’s sister took photographs of his injuries. I sent these photographs to the former Minister for Health James Reilly. A Garda investigation resulted in no prosecutions.

“In 2012 a Consultant in Emergency Medicine employed by the family noted that Eamonn’s frequent falls may have resulted from a combination of drugs which lead to an increased risk of falls.

“He also noted that: ‘There are certain aspects of bruising which are suspicious of non-accidental injury.’ And that: ‘There appears to be no medical explanation for this bruising....’.

“Another citizen was living independently, with HSE support, prior to moving to Redwood in 2013. Within two days he was given anti-psychotic medication and taken off a gluten and dairy free diet despite family objections.

“He reacted badly and, due to suffering nine convulsions, was admitted to hospital a few days later. He subsequently returned to Redwood and remained there for 3 months on anti-psychotic medication. He is no longer living at Redwood.

“HIQA has said that there has been “a significant denial of the civil, legal and human rights of citizens” at Redwood and that ‘residents at Redwood have also been subject to a severe deprivation of liberty and freedom of movement’ including a ‘locked-door policy’.”

Gerry Adams said the disturbing reports and others which have come to light in other care centres, showed that the State is failing in its responsibilities towards citizens with Intellectual Disabilities who are clients of such facilities.

He said there is growing concern about the consequences of outsourcing care for citizens with disabilities to the private sector:

“Care of our most vulnerable citizens is not compatible with the profit motive. Redwood is part of the privately owned Talbot Group which contracts the HSE to provide services.

“Last July I raised concerns with former Minister for Health, James Reilly about the safety of clients at Redwood.

“In December, a HIQA report into this facility found:

·  Recurrent and lengthy durations of physical intervention

·  An incident in which a patient struggled to breath and turned blue during physical restraint

·  Medication administered by injection during episodes of challenging behaviour

“HIQA recommended no new admissions until these issues were addressed. It is now clear that serious issue regarding the care of citizens with intellectual disabilities is not confined to one care facility. What is required now is a fully Independent, root-and-branch inquiry into all care facilities for citizens with intellectual disabilities in the State.”

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Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Education, Jonathan O’ Brien, has said that he was pleased with the positive impact Anti-Bullying Awareness month has had.

Speaking on the last day of the anti-bullying campaign, Deputy O’ Brien said:

“Bullying has a severe impact on children’s lives, causing great harm to their sense of self-worth. Nowadays, it is not only confined to the classroom and the playground, but can manifest itself in the daily online activities children and teenagers are engaged with.

“Tackling bullying should be a national priority. That’s why the ISPCC Shield Anti-Bullying campaign is so valuable. It works not only to protect children from bullying, but provides children with coping skills as well a

s raising awareness of the issue.

“I would like to commend the ISPCC for their progressive initiative which has really captured the imagination of Irish people across the country. There are now almost 200 schools participating in the anti-bullying campaign. The ISPCC have also provided online resources to help parents directly as well as a Parent Mentoring Service. 

“The ISPCC Anti-Bullying Awareness month extended its reach beyond schools, as it was rolled out to clubs and community groups. It was championed by national organisations and political parties such as Sinn Féin as well as celebrity ambassadors who contributed to the campaign.

“Given the gravity of bullying, it is my sincere hope that the message of the campaign will continue to resonate with children, teenagers and their guardians throughout the year. I would also hope that each person recognises the part they have to play in standing up against bullying and protecting those most vulnerable to it.”

Jonathan O' Brien and Sandra McLellan

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Sinn Féin MEP has said the ending of milk quotas will have a significant impact on the dairy industry in the North. 

Ms Anderson said; 

"The ending of the milk quotas regime is a significant development for the local dairy industry. 

"It will bring in a new era of increased milk production for local dairy farmers. 

"The decision to end quotas was made in 2003 by the EU Council of Ministers so farmers have had time to plan and prepare for this change to their working arrangements as the industry becomes more market-driven. 

"Dairy farmers will have to adapt to this new challenge and I know agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill will be working closely with the industry to support them during this change. 

"The EU must also move to support Irish dairy farmers by reviewing the current intervention price to ensure producers get a fair deal as we move into the new era." 

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Sinn Féin Councillor Kathleen Funchion has refuted the claim made by Cllr Pat McKee that he did not approach Sinn Féin about joining the party.

Cllr Funchion said;

“Cllr McKee met me for lunch back in January. At this meeting he clearly expressed his unhappiness with Fianna Fáil and his interest in joining Sinn Féin.  While he understood that I would be the Sinn Féin candidate for the forthcoming by election, he did express his desire to run in future elections. Pat even went so far as raising the timing of when he would make the move, suggesting that a time after the by election would be the most appropriate.

“I told him that he was free to make an application to the party.

“I left it up to him. He never followed through. We never chased him up.

“He never formally applied to join.

“Had he been genuine then he would have come back to us and made a formal application to join. That would have started a process that the party has for dealing with applications for members from another party. He didn't so that process didn't take place.

"I didn't spend too much time dwelling on it. I was busy preparing for the launch of my by election campaign and raising two young sons.

“The career intentions of a first time councillor, from another party, wasn't high on my list of priorities to be perfectly honest.

“The important aspect in all of this is the political options now on offer in the by election.

“When the dust settles it will become obvious to the people of Carlow & Kilkenny that they have a clear choice.

“We cannot go back to the stale, directionless politics of Fianna Fáil that ruined the country. The politics of austerity and cuts offered by Fine Gael have destroyed the lives of so many. The regressive, rehashed policies of the PDs represented by Pat McKee and Renua Ireland would only cause further hardship.

“Electing a Sinn Féin TD for this constituency is in the best interests of ordinary people and our communities. This party is fighting for a fair recovery, a better deal for rural Ireland and equality for all our citizens.”

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Speaking today in the Seanad, Senator Kathryn Reilly has called on the Minister for Transport to allocate additional funding for Local Improvement Schemes, following calls from local Sinn Féin councillors.

Senator Reilly said:

“Local improvement schemes are the method people in rural areas use to get roads to places which are not serviced by existing county council roads.

“While I welcome that the scheme was reopened and that people living on these private roads and lanes now can have some recourse to assistance with funding, there does exist issues around the funding of the scheme. Demand for the scheme far outweighs supply and the pressures on the public roads funding allocation of local authorities has meant that some councils cannot use their funding for this purpose. 

“It is necessary that something is done for the endless number of people who are waiting for the primary provision of a road to their dwelling house.

“As I said the Local Improvement Scheme may have been reopened but this does not mean additional Government funding, it just means the Council has leeway to use a percentage of its Budget to the works on non-public roads. But having the leeway to do this, and it being practical within the current budgetary constraints and demands on the public roads budget are 2 different things.

“The Local Improvement Scheme needs a special ring-fenced fund of its own, not scrapings from the Roads Budget. By suggesting that the Council can instead use a percentage of their budget for the scheme it is only paying lip service to rural areas- giving the Council permission to do the work but not the real financial backing or ability.

“I agree with the Minister when he has said previously that local authorities, with their community base and local knowledge are best placed to judge the priority of works on private roads. But I do not believe local authorities should make the either/or decision whether they want to operate the Local Improvement Scheme in their area or would prefer to put their resources into regional and local public roads. Specific ring fenced extra funding is exactly what we need. Councillors would rather if it came by way of additional standard roads funding that we could then decide in the council chamber to allocate to LIS.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called on Minister Coveney to start lobbying the EU Commission for the introduction of legislation that includes processed meat in the country of origin labelling regulations.

Speaking today the Dublin MEP said:

“I welcome the new country of origin labelling rules for packaged pork, lamb and goat that come in force today.

“However the Minister must urge the EU Commission to introduce equivalent rules for processed meat, especially after the horsemeat scandal and the pork dioxin scare highlighted the lack of traceability.

In February this year the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution that calls on the Commission to propose legislation on mandatory country of origin labelling for meat in processed food.

Consumers like to know where all their food comes from, consistent polls have demonstrated this. Plus producers and farmers recognise the value of country of origin label labelling, with 36,000 farmers and 122 producers signing up to a voluntary scheme.

Is the government reluctant to push for these rules to be extended due to the exaggerated claims by the business lobby that mandatory labelling will add to business costs?

Studies by consumer groups have shown that the cost of labelling the processed meat within a lasagne would be just €0.015. The Minister must put consumer confidence and health above big business interests. 

This is a tiny cost to preserve the quality of the Irish brand and for consumer piece of mind.

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Speaking following news that legislation is going to cabinet this week on school admissions procedures, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on Minister Jan O’Sullivan to ensure that this Bill addresses the matters important to parents and children and said that if it failed in this, the government would need to go back to the drawing board.

 The Cork North Central TD said:

 “Although we have not yet seen the reformed admissions procedures the Minister wants to introduce, we are in favour of broad reform of the school admissions system.”

 “However, we are very mindful of the fact that this Bill is not going to address many of the matters important to parents.”

 “We understand that the issue of deposits for waiting lists will be addressed but barring schools from charging €30 to parents to apply for a place for their child will do very little to change things when those same parents will be charged hundreds of euro in voluntary contributions if their child gets in – it’s a drop in the ocean.”

 “Further to this, this admissions bill may streamline the application process but it is not going to address the fundamental problem of children being excluded from schools based on the fact that they are the wrong religion.”

 “No child should be excluded from their local school because of this and I’m calling on the Minister to ensure that the laws are changed to make equality in education a reality.”

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Sinn Féin launch a 'PEOPLE'S PACT'


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