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Some sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil December 10

Some of the sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil on December 10.  Includes Gerry Adams address to the crowd and Damien Dempsey's rendition of the ballad James Connolly

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has stated that government policy is making the richer even richer and the poor even poorer.


The passing of this motion, in conjunction with the passing of similar motions in Parliaments across the EU, is an important act of solidarity with the Palestinian people.



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Sinn Féin party President, Gerry Adams TD, has welcomed the positive statement from the International Verification Commission (IVC), that ETA is continuing the process of putting its “arms, ammunition and explosives” beyond operational use.

The IVC were established in September 2011 to verify the “permanent, general and verifiable ceasefire” declared by Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA).

Mr Adams said:

“The International Verification Commission statement is testament to the ongoing commitment by ETA to a demilitarisation of the Basque conflict.

“This positive development is further evidence of the resolve of ETA to advance the peace process and must be acknowledged and welcomed by all those determined to create the conditions for achieving a just resolution to the conflict.

“I would urge the Spanish government to build on this and to promote and support a process of dialogue to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Basque country.

“The immediate release of General Secretary of SORTU, Arnaldo Otegi, would be an important first step in this process. He has been a key player in the building of the peace process.

“Basque prisoners who have been dispersed far from their homes should be transferred closer to their families and seriously ill prisoners released.

“These and other related measures would facilitate progress in the Basque Peace process.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has expressed his condolences after a 20-year-old was killed in a road traffic collision near Downpatrick. 

The South Down MLA said; 

"This is very sad news for the family and friends of this young man, particularly coming just days before Christmas. 

"My thoughts and sympathies are with the man's family at this difficult time. 

"I would also encourage everyone to take care on the roads to ensure a peaceful and safe Christmas." 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the revelation that Government Senators were debating the Water Services Bill while under the influence of alcohol, again raises the problematic issue of the Dáil Bar.

Mr Adams, who is in Stormont for political talks involving all parties there and the Irish and British Governments was speaking in the wake of comments by his party colleague Senator David Cullinane in the Seanad today.

The Sinn Féin Leader was told in October by the Oireachtas Joint Sub Committee on Administration that the Dáil Bar is a "parliamentary privilege", and that it would remain unregulated.

Gerry Adams said:

"This latest revelation that Senators were voting under the influence of alcohol on Thursday night has again shone a spotlight on the issue of the Dáil Bar.

"I have sought over the past few years to have this issue dealt with, but those who have the power to address this recurring scandal point blank refuse to do so.

"The Oireachtas Joint Sub Committee on Administration is dominated by Government TDs who are clearly out of touch with how this issue is viewed by the average citizen.

"This is symptomatic of the detachment and arrogance of the Fine Gael/Labour Government.

"The Oireachtas is a workplace. The idea of a bar, open until any hour of the morning, where important legislation affecting the lives of citizens is being debated, is unacceptable.

"It is anathema to most people and yet another factor damaging the reputation of politics and the political system. I intend to raise this matter again when the Dáil resumes in the New Year."

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Sinn Féin have said that the fight back against the Governments plans to introduce household water charges remains unfinished business as the Seanad passed the Water Services Bill this evening.

Speaking from Leinster House, Senator David Cullinane said;

"The Government has failed to listen to the Irish people, despite marching in their thousands outside this parliament on 10th December from across the state to demonstrate their widespread opposition to this unjust tax.

"The Government Bill narrowly passed through the Seanad this evening due to the support of the majority of the Taoiseach's 11 nominees who essentially prop up the Government and their failed policies.

"However, Sinn Féin has committed to exhaust every means possible to resist and prevent this legislation becoming law by using every tool at our disposal through the democratic process and it is not over yet.

"The people rightly demand a referendum on this issue which is of huge national importance.  The Government will not concede to this demand, but the President has the constitutional power where he may decline to sign this Bill into law on the grounds that it contains a proposal of such national importance that the will of the people should be ascertained by way of a referendum.”

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said;

"Sinn Féin is in direct contact with the Office of the President where we are seeking clarification around whether invoking a joint petition from Senators and TDs under article 27 of the Constitution requesting that the President declines signing the Bill into law and until a referendum is held is possible."

"If this option is ruled out the President within his own constitutional powers has the right to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court.  That is a call for the President himself of course.

"We believe that every consideration must be given to every option within the democratic process which can potentially stop this legislation becoming law and that there is a moral obligation on us to do so."


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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said proposed reductions in public transport would have a huge impact on rural areas. 

The East Antrim MLA said; 

"Public transport provides a real lifeline to rural communities across the North. 

"For many people it is the only form of transport available and they really depend on it. 

"Reports that Translink could cut between 80 to 100 bus routes in 13 areas across the North is very concerning, particular for people in rural areas. 

"Removing the vital service from rural communities would increase isolation and result in people not being able to access a whole range of services. 

"I am calling on Translink and the Regional Development minister to ensure that services continue in rural areas and that any decision taken are rural proofed so that everyone, regardless of where they live, has access to public services."

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Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the presentation of a business case for the expansion of Magee to the Minister of Employment and Learning Stephen Farry.

 Ms. McLaughlin said,

 “The expansion of Magee is central to the economic regeneration of the entire North West region so I welcome the fact that a business case for the expansion of the university his now with the minister.

 “This is the latest stage of the campaign to increase the number of students at the university and I hope the minister will now join with us in making this a reality.

 “The report commissioned by Derry City Council, University of Ulster, ILEX and campaigning group U4D highlights the benefits of increasing student numbers to the university over a ten-year period.

 “The transformation of the economic development of the region can be based upon the expansion of Magee and Minister Farry promised to scrutinise any business case brought forward.

 “The minister must now work with his executive colleagues to deliver a new beginning for the people in the North West by approving this business case and implementing its recommendations.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Leagan Béarla Thíos/English Version Follows.

Tá urlabhraí Shinn Féin ar Ghnóthaí Tuaithe agus Cúrsaí Gaeilge, an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh tar éis iarradh ar an Aire Oideachais athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar threoirlínte atá dhá bhrú ag an Roinn Oideachais ar na Boird Oideachais & Oiliúna (BOO) i dtaca le h-ionadaithe a cheapadh ar bhoird bainistíochta na scoileanna ina gceantar feidhme.  

Ag labhairt dó sa Seanad, deir an Seanadóir Ó Clochartaigh:

"Tá diongbháilteacht an rialtais nach féidir ach baill ó an BOO a chónaíonn i bhfoisceacht 20 ciliméadar do scoil a cheapadh ar an mbord bainistíochta ann go h-iomlán dodhéanta i gceantair tuaithe. In áiteanna cosúil le Conamara, áit a dtagaim féin as, tá formhór na scoileanna faoi scáth an BOO ós cionn scór ciliméadar óna chéile agus ciallaíonn sin go bhfuil formhór baill na h-eagraíochta dícháilithe ó bheith ar na boird bainistíochta ina gceantar BOO féin.

"Tá casadh eile ar an scéal nuair a thógtar scoileanna Gaeltachta agus Gaelscoileanna san áireamh. Tá fadhb ag formhór na BOOanna, a bhfuil scoileanna a mhúineann tré mheán na Gaeilge faoina scáth acu, maidir le baill boird a cheapadh a bhfuil Gaeilge ar a dtoil acu agus ansin iad siúd a roghnú do bhoird bainistíochta na scoileanna féin a fheidhmíonn tré Ghaeilge. Níl ag eirí leo dá bhrí sin, baill den BOO a chuir ar na boird seo ata ábalta a gcuid gnóthaí a dhéanamh i nGaeilge agus tá sé sin iomlán mícheart. 

"Ní bhaineann seo le costaisí ach an oiread de réir mar a thuigim. Tá comhleacaithe de mo chuid féin gur baill de BOO iad atá sásta ionadaíocht a dhéanamh ar scoil lasmuigh den limistéir ceadaithe gan aon chostas breise don BOO, mar tá spéis agus scil faoi leith acu a bheadh tairbheach sa gcomhthéacs sin, nó nuair atá Gaeilge ag teastáil, ach tá cosc orthu sin a dhéanamh mar gheall ar rialacha míphraiticiúla na Roinne. 

"Caithfidh an tAire tuiscint nach féidir an réiteach céanna a bhrú anuas ar phobail tuaithe, mar aon le ceantair uirbeacha agus gur gá athmhachnamh a dhéanamh ar sheasamh na Roinne ina leith seo. 

"Freisin, tacaím le prionsabal na gcuótaí inscne chun ionadaíocht na mban ag gach leibhéal de ghníomhaíocht an stáit a leathnú. Ach, tuigtear dom chomh maith go bhfuil seo ag cothú deacracht eile ar roinnt Boird Oideachais & Oiliúna, mar de thoradh na rialacha go bhfuil na húdaráis áitiúla ag cur brú ollmhór ar ionadaithe ban dul ar bhoird na BOOanna, in aghaidh a dtola, leis an gcuóta a chomhlíonadh

"Is léir domsa de bharr na ndeacrachtaí seo go gcaithfidh an tAire idirghabháil a dhéanamh láithreach le réiteach a fháil atá infheidhmithe agus praiticiúil chun cinntiú go ndéantar seirbhísiú mar is ceart ar scoileanna tuaithe, Gaeltachta agus gaelscoileanna agus go bhfuil na cuótaí inscne dhá chur i bhfeidhm ar bhealach indéanta agus cothrom'.

Department of Education guidelines on Boards of Management unworkable in Rural Areas - Ó Clochartaigh

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs & the Irish Language, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the Minister for Education to review guidelines being imposed by the Department of Education on the Education and Training Boards in relation to appointments to the Boards of Management of schools in their catchment area. 

Speaking in the Seanad Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

"The government’s insistence that ETB members can only be appointed to the Boards of Management of schools within a 20km radius of their homes is totally unworkable in rural areas. In areas like Connemara where I come from most ETB schools are well over 20km apart and this would exclude members being on most school boards in their ETB areas.

"This issue becomes more complicated for Gaeltacht and Irish medium schools. Many ETB's have issues over the number of Irish speakers they have as board members, who can then be appointed to the Board of Management of Irish medium & Gaeltacht schools in their areas. Therefore, they are finding it impossible to ensure that there is ETB representation on these boards that can fulfil their duties through the medium of Irish and this is totally unacceptable.

"I understand that this is not an issue of expenses either. Colleagues of mine who are members of ETB's have indicated that they are willing to represent the organisation outside the allowable area at no extra cost to the ETB, if they have a particular skills set which would be of use to other schools and where the Irish language is essential, but they are precluded from doing so by impractical departmental regulations.

"The Minister needs to realise that the one size fits all approach is failing rural areas yet again and she needs to revise the department’s stance on these issues.

"I support the principle of gender quotas to increase female representation at all levels of state activity. But I understand also, that the gender quota on some ETB's is causing a difficulty, which is resulting in female local authority representatives being pressurised to go onto ETB boards against their wishes, to cover the gender quota necessity.

"These issues make it clear to me that the Minister needs to intervene immediately to find solutions that are practical to ensure that rural and Irish medium schools are properly serviced by their boards of management and that gender quotas are fulfilled in a practical and workable manner".

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs & the Irish Language, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the Minister for Education to review guidelines being imposed by the Department of Education on the Education and Training Boards in relation to appointments to the Boards of Management of schools in their catchment area. 

Speaking in the Seanad Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

"The government’s insistence that ETB members can only be appointed to the Boards of Management of schools within a 20km radius of their homes is totally unworkable in rural areas. In areas like Connemara where I come from most ETB schools are well over 20km apart and this would exclude members being on most school boards in their ETB areas.

"This issue becomes more complicated for Gaeltacht and Irish medium schools. Many ETB's have issues over the number of Irish speakers they have as board members, who can then be appointed to the Board of Management of Irish medium & Gaeltacht schools in their areas. Therefore, they are finding it impossible to ensure that there is ETB representation on these boards that can fulfil their duties through the medium of Irish and this is totally unacceptable.

"I understand that this is not an issue of expenses either. Colleagues of mine who are members of ETB's have indicated that they are willing to represent the organisation outside the allowable area at no extra cost to the ETB, if they have a particular skills set which would be of use to other schools and where the Irish language is essential, but they are precluded from doing so by impractical departmental regulations.

"The Minister needs to realise that the one size fits all approach is failing rural areas yet again and she needs to revise the department’s stance on these issues.

"I support the principle of gender quotas to increase female representation at all levels of state activity. But I understand also, that the gender quota on some ETB's is causing a difficulty, which is resulting in female local authority representatives being pressurised to go onto ETB boards against their wishes, to cover the gender quota necessity.

"These issues make it clear to me that the Minister needs to intervene immediately to find solutions that are practical to ensure that rural and Irish medium schools are properly serviced by their boards of management and that gender quotas are fulfilled in a practical and workable manner".

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley has accused Irish Water of presiding over the effective destruction of the water service. He was responding to the latest revelations regarding the enormous capital budget available to the company.

Deputy Stanley said:

“While it is now admitted that the level of water wastage is approaching 50%, the amount being spent in Irish Water on addressing leaks and mains rehabilitation is actually lower than that spent annually prior to the decision to establish the new entity.

“Prior to the decision to establish Irish Water the state was spending on average €430 million a year on water infrastructure, including mains rehabilitation and leaks. Irish Water spent just under €300 million in the last year on capital works, despite wasting hundreds of millions of euro of public funds on meters and consultants and yet it has an enormous budget, which will amount to almost €1.8 billion between 2014 and 2016.

“When one adds to that, the fact that people will now be charged for water, there are serious questions to be asked. Irish Water has already accounted for nearly €600 million for a water meter programme they were advised by Bord Gáis was not needed, and on top of that have spent tens of millions more on bonuses for executives, legal fees and over €85 million in consultancy fees.”

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Sinn Féin MEPs final report back to the Irish people of 2014.


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Senator David Cullinane speaks to media