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Sinn Féin in government will axe the water tax – Mary Lou McDonald TD

"Sinn Féin in government will reverse water charges. These charges will only cause further hardship for families already struggling to make ends meet."

Today, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD launched the party's vision for water services accompanied by both Brian Stanley TD and Cllr. Cathal King who is the Sinn Fein candidate for the upcoming by election in Dublin South-West.

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“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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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has condemned threats against NI Water employees after workers were threatened for the second time in 24 hours in the city.

Carál Ní Chuilín said: 

“Staff working in the Glen Road area were threatened last night. Today workers received threats when they were working in Rosapenna St in North Belfast.

“The contractor in this case has been working with the local community to minimise disruption during work to improve water pressure and the quality of the water supply.  

"This work is part of a much-needed investment in the water infrastructure. 

“NI Water has made it crystal clear that this work isn’t about installing water meters.

"The threats against the workers must be condemned and should be lifted immediately. 

"The workers involved should be allowed to get on with their work to improve the area's water system and do so free of threats and intimidation."

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Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South questioned the Commissioner Designate for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship about his intentions with regard to the use of the Irish Language in Europe and in Parliament.

 Commissioner Designate Tibor Navracsics was appearing before the European Parliaments Eudcation and Culture Committee today as part of the series of hearings to offer or withold approval for Jean-Claude Juncker's proposed Commission.

Speaking directly to Navracsics, Ní Riada said;

“Our language identifies us, our nationality and our culture and indeed stated by the EU as an important priority. Yet here I am today unable to use my native language which is Irish, despite official recognition by the EU now for 10 years and still I have to speak a foreign language to communicate.

“It is the first official language of Ireland and to not have the right to have full interpretation flies in the face of the prioritisation of languages. This is a direct threat and disrespect to my culture and to those other cultures who deserve recognition and support. If we do not act now and support indigenous cultures, where does that leave us in future years?

“What we stand to lose is beyond comprehension in terms of the arts, literature, music song and dance, there is no point in lamenting the loss of such rich and diverse cultures after the event, the time is now to safeguard and nurture our culture, to do so is to further ourselves, what do you intend to do about it?”

[ENDS]

 An Coimisinéir nua ceistithe ag Ní Riada i dtaobh na Gaeilge.

 Cheistigh an Fesire Eorpach de chuid Shinn Féin agus ionadaí an Deiscirt an Coimisinéir Eorpach i gceannas ar Oideachas, Cultúr, an Óige agus Saoránacht maidir lena chuspóirí i dtaobh úsáid na Gaeilge san Eorap agus sa Pharlaimint

Bhí an Coimisinéir Eorpach ainmnithe Tibor Navracsics ós comhair an Ciste Oideachais agus Cultúir inniu mar chuid don sraith agallamh a bhfuil ar siúl chun Coimisiún nua Jean-Claude Juncker a mholadh nó a dhiúltú.

Ag labhairt go díreach le Navracsics dúirt Ní Riada;

“Ní féidir an tabhacht a bhaineann lenar teanga i dtaobh ár bhéinfhionnanas a mheasú. Tá an Ghaeilge thar a bheith lárnach dár sainiúlacht cultúrtha agus dár náisiúntacht. Cé go bhfuil teangacha luaite ag an AE mar tosaíocht agus gné tabhachtach dár gcultúra difriúla, tá mise anseo inniu, ós do chomar, gan deis nó ceart mo theanga féin a úsáid taobh le taobh le teangacha eile. Tá an Ghaeilge mar teanga oifigiúl ag an Aontas ach fós tá ormsa teanga eile a labhairt ionas go dtuigfeadh tú mé.

“Is í an Ghaeilge céad teanga oifigiúl na hÉireann agus níl ceart teangaireachta agamsa anseo sa Pharlaimint. Tá an staid seo go hiomlán i gcoinne an tosaíocht i dtaobh teangacha a mholann an Aontas Eorpach. Is léir go bhfuil easpa measa i gceist, agus is bagart é i gcoinne mo chultúr, agus i gcoinne na cultúir eile a dhlíonn aitheantas, tacaíocht agus meas faoi leith. Muna féidir linn tacaíocht agus aird a thabhairt do chultúir dúchasacha anois, an bhfuil aon dóchas ann don todhchaí?

“Tá an ollmhéid ann le cailiúnt, i dtaobh na healaíon, litríocht, ceol, amhránaíocht agus damhsa. Ní haon mhaith ann an caileadh a caoineadh i tar éis dúinn é a chailiúnt. Tá orainn ár gcúltúir a cosaint agus a spreagadh. Cad atá ar intinn agat déanamh faoi?”

 [CRÍOCH]​

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Sinn Féin Cork East TD Sandra McLellan has today called on the government to end the inhumane practice of Direct Provision, calling it a blight on the state.

Speaking during a PMB, Deputy McLellan said:

“The idea that the needs of people at their most vulnerable could possibly be met by accommodating them in cramped, unsafe and crowded conditions is a disgrace.

“Direct Provision is meant to provide for the welfare needs of asylum seekers and their families. It does not.

“It provides a measly €9.60 a week for each child living in these horrendous conditions.

“What child can be cared for on €9.60 a week?

“What child can be fed or sent to school on €9.60 a week?

“The cost of raising a child in Ireland is by no means cheap.

“A child’s wellbeing, both physical and mental, is not cheap.

“Securing a decent future for a child is not cheap.

“Why then, has this government found it fit to expect parents of children in Direct Provision to provide for their needs, to care for them, to carve out opportunities for their future on €9.60 a week? This is unacceptable. It is shameful

“Children have been born in these centres. They have lived their whole lives in this system.

“Their rights have been infringed upon by a state that has no positive history when it comes to the protection of children under its care.

“The state has a duty of care to everyone living here.

“According to the Refugee Council of Ireland, approximately 2,000 children are living in Direct Provision centres.

“That’s 2,000 children whose basic needs are not being met.

“That’s 2,000 children being failed by this state.

“2,000 children whose families were forced to flee war, famine, risk of death or severe punishment and who came here seeking a better, safer life.

“This is state sponsored social exclusion and poverty.

“The government must act now. End Direct Provision. Protect vulnerable children.

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pears Doherty TD has said the ESM Bill before the Dáil is proof that Minister Michael Noonan has delivered nothing in the issue of retroactive recapitalisation.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Twenty seven months after the Taoiseach and Tánaiste announced they had achieved a seismic shift and a game changer it is clear that nothing has been delivered.

“Now over two years later and it’s all gone quiet. There is no more talk of seismic shifts or game changers or the ESM stepping in and lifting the banking debt off the shoulders off the Irish people.

“TDs are being asked to back a Bill that leaves the issue of retroactive recapitalisation up to the Eurozone Finance Ministers some of whom have already said retroactive recapitalisation is not going to happen.  Even if they were favourable, there is no detail of how the process would work or the benefits to the states.

“Sinn Féin will support any application for retroactive recapitalisation but this government looks defeated. I am not convinced that they have put up any fight. Our debt to GDP ratio remains dangerously high and Minister Noonan cannot answer simple questions about how a retroactive recapitalisation would work.

 “I will be bringing an amendment to the Finance Committee next week tying the Minister’s hands’ ability to pass this Bill without first reporting to the Oireachtas on how a retroactive recapitalisation would work and committing the government to make an application. This Bill should be used to strengthen Ireland’s hand in getting the people’s money back.”

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 Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the issue of planned all-party talks in the North and the British Government’s failure to implement key aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking in the Dáil today Mr Adams called on the Taoiseach to ensure the Irish Government holds the British Government to account on the issue.

Gerry Adams said:

“Can the Taoiseach confirm that the Irish Government will raise the failure of the British Government and others to implement key aspects of the Good FridayAgreement?

“The Government is a co-equal guarantor to the Agreement. Issues such as Acht na Gaeilge, the lack of a Bill of Rights, the lack of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, the lack of a North-South Consultative Forum and numerous others remain.

“The Taoiseach will also be aware that there is an anti-Agreement axis which is trying to hollow out the provisions of the agreement and undermine the institutions.

“Will the Taoiseach make it clear that the planned talks must take place free from threat and without precondition, and that they should be time-bound and commence as quickly as possible?

 “Will the Government act as defender, guarantor and champion of progress in the North and hold the British Government to account for its failure to implement key aspects of the agreement?”

In the course of his reply Enda Kenny said he was happy that the Irish and British Governments, as co-guarantors of the agreement would now involve themselves in a process that could hopefully bring matters to a conclusion.

 “We can discuss Acht na Gaeilge, the Bill of Rights and other matters such the murder of Pat Finucane.  We need a serious analysis of the situation. We need to find a mechanism to deal with the sensitive issues of the past because, if they are transferred into the new system, the same problems will be recreated in a different way.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has hit out at plans by the Orange Order and political unionism to bring people on to the streets as part of the so-called graduated response. 

Speaking after the announcement of rallies in protest at the Parades Commission decision on a section of an Orange Order parade in North Belfast, Mr Kelly said; 

"We need less parades in the North, not more. 

"This move can only heighten tensions and is part of a unionist effort to undermine the Parades Commission and put pressure on the British Secretary of State to reward intransigence.

"Clearly the DUP, Orange Order and their allies in negative unionism, which includes loyalist paramilitary groups, are more concerned about one parade than entering into genuine negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues around parades, flags and the past. 

"In the past when unionist leaders have called people out on to the streets we have seen a descent into street violence.

"There is a responsibility on the organisers to ensure that any rallies or public demonstrations are peaceful."

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will be attending a conference on so-called 'legal highs' in Derry on Friday. 

Speaking ahead of the conference, which will be held in the Tower Hotel as part of Legal High Awareness Week, Ms Anderson said; 

"The dangers of legal highs are well known and unfortunately there are families who have lost loved ones as a result of these substances. 

"Many others, particularly young people, have also been severely damaged by taking legal highs. 

"And the problem is these substances continue to be sold legally over the counter. 

"I am glad to see that this awareness week includes events in Derry and Donegal because the devastating impact of legal highs is the same everywhere. 

"That is why we need an all-Ireland approach to dealing with legal highs. 

"Currently, once a substance is banned in the North it can go back on the market if a single ingredient is changed. In the South a new license must be obtained before a product can be sold. 

"Effective legislation is needed right across the island to protect people from these potentially deadly substances. 

"I have been raising the dangers of legal highs in the European Parliament and will continue to have these products banned." 

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation to commit to a debate in both Houses of the Oireachtas on the European Free Trade Agreement.

Referring to Columbia as a serial human rights abuser, Senator Cullinane said:

“The FTA has human rights provision but they are not, and will not be enforced. One need look no further than Israel.

“I am asking the Minister to give a commitment that he will bring the FTA Agreement before both Houses so that the issue can be debated and voted on in both the Seanad and Dáil.

“Members want to make a contribution to the debate and others need to be fully informed of what this Agreement entails, and I believe the Minister needs to afford the Houses of the Oireachtas that privilege.

“Despite formal talks on peace and land reform in Colombia, more than 70 human rights defenders were murdered there last year alone.

“Colombia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist.

“We cannot ignore this violation of human rights. The Minister must allow the Oireachtas to debate and vote on this very important trade agreement”.

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Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has condemned threats against NI Water employees working in west Belfast. 

Speaking after staff working in the Glen Road area was threatened, the West Belfast MLA said: 

"These threats against workers must be condemned and should be lifted immediately. 

"This work being carried out in the area is part of a much-needed investment in the water infrastructure. 

"The workers involved should be allowed to get on with their work to improve the area's water system and do so free of threats and intimidation." 

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Mary Lou McDonald TD