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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

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

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



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



Latest Statements

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Speaking in Dundalk this evening at a public meeting on Water Charges, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:

"Sinn Féin's message is clear - we are completely opposed to domestic Water Charges North or South.

"Sinn Féin government in the North has blocked the introduction of domestic Water Charges and we will reverse them if in government in this State.

"We will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to privatise water services.

"Irish Water has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with the Fine Gael Labour Government - cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and ever mounting taxes on struggling families.

"Water Charges can be defeated at the ballot box but it is vitally important that citizens throughout the State continue to mobilise and campaign for their abolition.

"Pressure needs to be exerted in communities, on the streets and in the Dáil. With unity of purpose and determined action, Water Charges can be defeated."

Tonight's public meeting, which was also addressed by Sinn Féin MP and former Minister for Regional Development in the North, Conor Murphy and Councillors Tomás Sharkey and a Edel Corrigan, heard Mr Adams call for the biggest possible number of people from across County Louth to attend the 'Right2Water' mobilisation in Dundalk on 1st November.

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a statement made by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, urging all parties in the North to enter into talks.

Schulz made a statement at the opening of this month’s parliamentary session in Strasbourg, saying he wanted the EU to accompany Irelands successful Peace Process and urged all parties to contribute towards finding peaceful solutions.

The statement comes following Martin McGuinness’ engagements with various European Parliamentary leaders where he highlighted the need for continued international support for the peace process.

Martina Anderson spoke in response from Strasbourg this evening saying:

“Many people in Europe and around the world view the Irish Peace Process as a success; however, we must not take this success for granted”

“For a number of years the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement have been working successfully but for the institutions to continue to work there needs to be a political will from all sides. In recent years that political will has been absent.”

“I welcome the statement made by President Schulz calling on all parties to contribute to finding peaceful solutions and to engage in new talks.

“The EU can play an important role in reminding people in the north of Ireland of the importance of the peace process. The successful advancement of our peace process can be of benefit, not just for the people of Ireland, but also for the EU, as an example for the resolution of other conflicts throughout the world.

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has welcomed European Parliament President Martin Schulz's call for all parties to engage in meaningful dialogue during the current negotiations at Stormont.

Speaking after Martin Schulz addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr McGuinness commented:

"The ongoing support from President Schulz and the European Parliament for the peace and political process in the north of Ireland is to be welcomed.

"I had a series of very positive engagements with European Parliament leaders in Brussels last week when I updated the various political groupings on the current challenges facing the political process and sought their support for the efforts to find a positive resolution to the political and financial difficulties currently facing the Executive.

“President Schulz’s comments are a very welcome manifestation of that support and a continuation of the positive role which Europe has played with regards to the peace process for many years now.”

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Responding this evening to remarks by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny Gerry Adams said:

"In comments today, the Taoiseach suggested that my recent blog was 'part of an attempt to discredit' Maria Cahill.

"The Taoiseach is entirely wrong and his remarks are mischievous and clearly politically motivated.

"The blog was a sincere effort to deal directly with the issue of how allegations of abuse had been handled in the past by republicans. The Taoiseach should not try to score cheap political points about these sensitive and serious issues.

"The Taoiseach also said in relation to people who have suffered abuse in the past that he understood more ‘there are more to follow’.

"Abuse of any kind is totally wrong. If anyone, including the Taoiseach has any information whatsoever about any child abuse, they should give that to the appropriate authorities North or South and they will have the full support of Sinn Féin in doing this."

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has appealed for a common approach with Scotland and Wales to ensure maximum decision-making powers in the three Assemblies.

Mr McGuinness was speaking after discussions between the First and deputy First Minister and their Scottish and ahead of a meeting with their Welsh counterparts.

Martin McGuinness said:

“No one should be under any illusions about the scale of the financial crisis which is facing the Executive as a direct result of the British Government’s austerity agenda.

“The Block Grant has been raided every year since the Tory-led coalition came into power in Westminster.

“But there is worse still to come. The Tories have made it abundantly clear that they are ideologically committed to dismantling the welfare state and the destruction of public services. They intend to slash the North’s budget even further in the years ahead.

“Scotland and Wales are facing the same challenges and these discussions with Alex Salmond and Carwyn Jones provide an opportunity to agree a joint approach to the challenges ahead.

“There is no reason why we cannot do that because there is already a great deal of common ground between ourselves, the Welsh and the Scottish.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said legislation is needed to deal with so-called legal highs. 

Speaking after meeting Attorney General John Larkin to discuss legal highs, Ms Anderson said; 

"It will shock many that Ireland has the highest use of so-called legal highs in Europe. 

"These substances are toxic, they can kill and unfortunately have tragically taken the lives of too may so far.

"It is clear that action is needed urgently to remove these toxic substances from sale in order to protect young people. 

"I met with Attorney General John Larkin to explore all the legal options available to deal with legal highs. 

"I also met with councillors Deirdre Hargey and Ciaran Beattie  who working on the ground in Belfast dealing with legal highs to discuss how they have been successful in preventing shops selling these substances. 

"Europe also has a role to play and I will following up on this meeting by asking the European Commission to explore all options, legislative and otherwise, to deal with the scourge of legal highs." 

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has appealed for anyone who has been the victim of abuse – or suspects that abuse is taking place – to report it to the PSNI or relevant statutory service.

Mr McGuinness said; 

“The recent publicity surrounding the case of Maíria Cahill has again highlighted the issue of sexual abuse within Irish society and I would urge anyone who has any information whatsoever about abuse to bring it forward so that cases can be properly investigated and victims properly supported.

“If, for any reason, victims are reluctant to speak to the police, as was initially the case with Maíria Cahill, there are a number of statutory and voluntary organisations which offer confidential 24-hour helplines through which abuse can be reported.

“These organisations will also help support the victim and help ensure they receive the ongoing after-care which is required.

“As a society, I think we all have to acknowledge that victims of abuse have been failed in the past. Only now is society beginning to accept and deal with the true extent and horror of what has been perpetrated across the island of Ireland.

“However, there are now support structures in place and the relevant agencies are properly equipped to pursue complaints and assist victims. I would again appeal to anyone with concerns about abuse to use them.” 

The Nexus Institute which provides support to victims of abuse advise that the following organisations offer 24-hour helplines:

The Rowan: 08003894424

Lifeline 0808 808 8000

The Samaritans 0845 790 9090

Childline 0808 802 1414

NSPCC 0808 800 5000

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Waterford based Senator David Cullinane has called on the Minister for Education to intervene in the case of the Technological University of the South East and to expedite the important and urgent delivery of this multi-campus in the region. 

Senator Cullinane said:

"I am an enthusiastic supporter of a multi-campus Technological University in the Southeast. It has the potential to unlock economic stagnation and lift the region socially and economically. I also support the high benchmarks set out in legislation as part of the qualifying criteria. I have long argued that a multi-campus technological university must be one that takes its place among the top universities on the island.

"The benchmarks in relation to student numbers, research activity, staffing PhD levels and attendance of international students are vital in ensuring that a future regional university can do what it says on the tin. A simple name change would be of no benefit. 

"Time is of the essence. We do not have the luxury of waiting one year, two years, five years or possibly longer. The Southeast needs a technological university and urgently. 

"Both institutes in the region are committed to progress. Every effort is being made within both institutes and their boards to move the process along. There are forces within the institutes, the Department and the Higher Education Authority who are resistant to change.

“Yes, Minister, politics must not prevail. I would call on all interested parties to work together in the spirit of their duty to current and prospective students to provide the highest level of learning that can be provided. 

"I am calling on the Minister to hold steadfast on the setting of the high standards and benchmarking, and to hold each Institute to equal measure. This is about the future of the Southeast and its people. Let's not let academic politics or unnecessary delaying tactics hold us back. This is too important an issue."

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has stated that Irish Water is clearly not fit for the purpose of serving the interests of ordinary citizens in its current form. 

The party Spokesperson on Public Expenditure & Reform said that the litany of debacles, set in train by the government under the current management of the company, adds further weight to the argument for the scrapping of water charges.

Deputy McDonald said;

“The manner in which Irish Water was established, the management of the company to date and the imposition of water charges has been an unmitigated disaster. Even government back-benchers have woken-up to this reality.

“The approach that Irish Water and the government have taken to public dissent has been one focused on the use of serious bully-boy tactics and threats as the company stumbles from one shambles to another. The whole operation of Irish water thus far has been farcical.

“Families have been threatened that their water pressure will be reduced to a trickle should they fail to pay. We have heard how those on certain tenancy scheme have been told that they could be evicted for non payment. There have also been numerous miscommunications in regards to who is liable should someone not pay. It is a mess.

“Today, we see reports in the media about how families will face a staggeringly expensive call out charge of €180 for repairs of leaking pipes.

“The backdrop to all this is the fact that the top-brass at Irish Water are being paid exorbitant salaries. These executives are waiting in line for gratuitous bonus payment despite the Taoiseach’s guarantees that there wouldn't be a bonus culture in Irish Water.

“This madness has to stop. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Alan Kenny must now get their finger out and move to address the debacle in a comprehensive manner. This must include the complete abolition of domestic water charges.

 “Irish Water cannot remain as the utility responsible for the delivery of water services in its present form. The company is toxic. It must now be radically reformed into a single utility that acts in the interests of our citizens as suggested by Sinn Féin in our proposals for the delivery of water services.”

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