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A Fair Recovery Is Possible

Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

A Fair Recovery is Possible logo

Some sights and sounds from the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare on June 21, 2015. Main speaker Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD. During the course of her speech she talked about the need for a fair economic recovery north and south; demanded the British to come clean about collusion; and expressed solidarity with the people of Greece.


Martin McGuinness speaking at Stormont said that Sinn Féin's conditional support for the budget bill will create the space to resolve outstanding issues and ensure the executive has workable and sustainable finances and see the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.



Latest Statements

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“Having already lost the political and democratic arguments on Irish water, reports that Eurostat will rule that the state funds spent on Irish Water will have to stay on the balance sheet mean that the Irish government has now categorically lost the economic rationale as well”. So said Sinn Féin MEP and member of the European Parliament’s Economic & Monetary Affairs committee, Matt Carthy. The decision confirms that Irish Water has been a complete blunder for the Government since the start, he said.

Carthy said:

“The anticipated ruling from Eurostat will come as a blow to the Government and underline the complete shambles that has been the establishment of Irish Water.

“From the get go, Irish Water has lurched from blunder to disaster, highlighting the complete incompetence of the Government and I truly believe that this ruling will be the final nail in the coffin for the utility.

“The fact that over 50% of people have not paid their bills demonstrates further that, as a revenue raising measure, Irish water has failed utterly.

“All of this originates from the fact that the current Government is completely out of touch with the people and failed to understand the huge and overwhelming opposition to water charges.

“Their scrambled attempts to make water charges more palatable to the Irish people have not only failed here at home but appear to also have failed in the eyes of the European Institutions.

“Sinn Féin has consistently argued that water services should be retained in public ownership and investment in our water infrastructure should take place through direct Government spending and through sensible Government borrowing if required.

“It is time for the Irish Government to accept the wishes of the Irish people and scrap water charges once and for all. They had long ago lost the political argument – now any semblance of an economic rationale for the establishment of Irish water is in absolute shatters.”

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said reports today that Eurostat has rejected  plans to keep Irish Water off balance sheet is a major blow to the government.

Deputy Doherty has said that the government’s whole argument against Sinn Féin’s plan to abolish Irish Water is now gone and he called on Enda Kenny scrap Irish Water and water charges.

Speaking this morning Deputy Doherty said;

“Sinn Féin’s view has always been that the government’s entire rationale for the Irish Water was flawed.  It was simply a vehicle to charge people for their water.

“But the view that it could be kept off the state’s balance sheet was fundamentally flawed for three key reasons which we pointed out at the time.

“One, the so-called water conservation grant is nothing more than a transfer from government to Irish Water via households which which means this money would be likely to be deemed by Eurostat as expenditure by the government to Irish Water.

“Two, according to Eurostat a company must be fully functional for a number of years before it goes off balance sheet. 

“And three, given the level of non-payment the government’s figures simply did not add up.  The money put into Irish Water by government must be less than what is returned by its customers.

“The current non-payment level means that the cost of the Water Conservation Grant and its administration costs will exceed the money returned in domestic water charges.

“Sinn Féin is not surprised by the news today as the government had already failed the Eurostat Test when it tried to put €240million into Irish Water off balance sheet in 2013 and it was told that this money must be on balance sheet.

“Today’s ruling has proved Sinn Féin’s analysis correct.  The government is now left with egg on its face as it argued time and again that its plan would pass the Eurostat test.

“As a result of this Eurostat ruling all borrowing by Irish Water is now deemed as government borrowing yet Irish Water has borrowings of €850 million which can rise to €2 billion, mostly from commercial sources at rates higher than what the government is paying for its borrowings.  This is simply money down the drain.

“The whole argument against Sinn Féin’s call to abolish Irish Water is now gone.  Enda Kenny should now accept defeat, he should scrap Irish Water and water charges once and for all.

“If the government continues with its plan to charge for water and to keep Irish Water off balance sheet it will need to scrap the water conservation grant or increase charges.  Either way it will be the customer that pays and the public must be made aware of this.”

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Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has expressed sympathy to the families of the deceased in two tragic incidents in County Louth today.

Gerry Adams said:

“I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the families and friends of two people killed in tragic circumstances in separate incidents near Hackballscross and on the M1 near Ardee today. My thoughts are with all those affected at this sad time.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said the austerity policies of the British government are at the root of the difficulties currently facing the Executive. 

Mr Murphy said; 

"It is ludicrous for Theresa Villiers to talk about the need for all political parties to implement the Stormont House Agreement when her government is continually undermining the political institutions through cuts to the block grant.

"If Theresa Villiers is serious about ensuring the Executive has sustainable and workable finances then her government needs to provide the resources. 

"It is not an independent broker in all of this and cannot stand back and attempt to pass the blame. It has a responsibility to step up to the plate. 

"Instead of austerity policies from the British government we need to see investment which would allow the Executive to grow the economy and protect the vulnerable and frontline public services." 

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Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, has said that he is deeply alarmed at revelations by the Charities Regulator that it is severely understaffed and lacking in the resources required to carry out its statutory functions.

Speaking today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

 “In the wake of the excessive pay and gold-plated pension scandals at CRC and Rehab last year, Sinn Féin introduced a Private Members Bill which called on the Government to fully enact the 2009 Charities Act. The Government committed to a speedy setting up of the Regulator and to ensure that the Regulator was adequately resourced to carry out its functions. The fact that the Charities Act is still not fully enacted 18 months later and that the Regulator is claiming it is critically under-resourced, is inexcusable.”

“Since the foundation of this state charities have been unregulated. The effect of this is that it is now doing untold damage both to the charities themselves but also to all of the vulnerable people who depend on them.”

“The original purpose of the Charities Act 2009 was to reform the law relating to charities. It aimed to ensure greater accountability, offer protection against abuse of charitable status and fraud and also to enhance public trust and confidence in charities and increase transparency in the sector.”

“The Act provided for the creation of a new charities regulation infrastructure; a Charities Regulator, a Register of Charities, Consultative Panels to advise the Regulator and the Charity Appeals Tribunal and the act laid down, for the first time in primary legislation, a definition of charitable purposes.”

“However, after publishing this shiny piece of legislation to regulate the Charities sector, Fianna Fáil never implemented it, thereby failing the charities and public confidence in them.”

“Labour and Fine Gael have had four years to rectify this by fully enacting all the provisions contained within the Act but instead they rested on their laurels, allowing scandal after scandal until it got so big they had no option but to agree to the establishment of a regulatory authority. It now transpires that they too have followed the Fianna Fáil lead by not providing the adequate resources and thereby failing the sector yet again.”

“The most vulnerable in our society are already suffering massively due to the deeply unfair and unjust cutbacks implemented by this government.”

“The failure to fund many schemes which so many of our most marginalised people depended on has meant that more and more people were relying on charities for their very survival. The scandals which have erupted have, understandably, had a hugely negative effect on public confidence which has led to a dip in donations to charities.”

“The charity sector is vital in creating a fair recovery in this State and the Regulator should be supported if public confidence and donation levels are to be restored.”

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said today it is only a matter of time before there is marriage equality across the island of Ireland.  

The Louth TD made his comments before taking part in the annual Belfast Pride Talks Back being held in the Ulster Hall at 7pm tonight.

Gerry Adams said:

“It is only a matter of time before marriage equality is achieved right across the island of Ireland.

“The recent historic referendum result in the South in favour of equal marriage rights was a significant advance for the cause of equality in Ireland.

“The campaign energised and engaged a whole new generation of young people in the democratic process and showed when people fully participate in the political process that change is possible.

“We all know someone who is gay, family members, friends or neighbours and they should be treated in exactly the same way as everybody else.

“There are people with fundamentalist religious views who are opposed to marriage equality.

“They are entitled to their opinion but our task is to legislate for amodern, democratic, progressive and inclusive society, which can only be built on the basis of full equality and human rights for all.

 “I want to express my support for the great work of Belfast LGBT activists in seeking to forge a truly equal society.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work in solidarity with the LGBT community to create positive change in right across Ireland that will activate public and political support for full equal rights.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley has spoken of the dangers of using scrambler bikes in public spaces. This follows the incident involving two bikes on the Glen Road which has left a young man critically ill in hospital. 

Rosie McCorley MLA said: 

“The accident last night involving a number of scrambling bikes has left a young man critically ill in hospital. 

“It is a shame that we are now in this situation highlighting once again the dangers of the use of these bikes in pubic spaces. 

“Young people should not be using these bikes on our streets. There are issues with insurance, licencing and public safety. We can only be thankful that this young man or others were not killed in this instance

“I would urge parents, who buy these bikes for their children to ensure they are used responsibly. Such actions could help avoid the situation yesterday on the Glen Road. 

“Unfortunately there are issue across Belfast with the use of scramblers which need addressed. I will be in contact with the PSNI to ensure that a more robust approach is taken to tackling the use of these bike in our communities.” 

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Peadar Tóibín TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has hit out against the failure of the government to live up to its election promises and legislate to end upward-only rent clauses. Deputy Tóibín stressed the necessity of such a move in order to protect thousands of businesses who are struggling due to excessively high commercial rent.  

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Last week we saw both Best Menswear and Mothercare, who employ 411 people between them, go into examinership. Both retailers cited the crippling cost of commercial rent as a key factor threatening the viability of their stores. It is clear that extortionately high rents are causing great hardship for businesses in Ireland.

“In the wake of the economic crash, businesses found themselves paying inflated boom time rates for rent. However, many were and continue to be locked into upward only rent clauses, meaning rents could not be reduced despite the huge downturn in the economy and falls of up to 50% in the retail sector.

“Fine Gael promised in their 2011 election manifesto that they would “pass legislation to give all tenants the right to have their commercial rents reviewed in 2011 irrespective of any upward-only or other review clauses.” This has been baldly ignored. The Labour Party also made and broke similar promises.

“In 2012, I introduced a bill that provided a mechanism for businesses to seek relief from upward only rent clauses and to enable to government to act on their promises to end these stifling clauses. However the government reneged on its commitment and refused to engage not only with opposition, but with representative business groups on the matter.

“As a result we now find ourselves in the position where businesses are becoming increasingly unviable due to the anti-competitive practice of upward only rent clauses. More worrying still is the many hundreds and potentially thousands of jobs at stake.

“Fine Gael and Labour are once again shirking their responsibility. They are putting the survival of many businesses and the livelihoods of their employees at risk. I am urging the government to stop ignoring the problem and take immediate action if they are genuinely concerned about protecting Irish jobs.”

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has described the current pay gap in Ireland as a significant element in the difference between the haves and the have not’s, and that any talk of a recovery needs to address this glaring imbalance.

Crowe was speaking after his party launched their A Fair Recovery is Possible policy document which aims to replace cronyism and greed with fairness and hope.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“A recent report from TASC, the Think-tank for Action on Social Change, shows that Ireland is now the most unequal country in the European Union when it comes to how the economy distributes income, before taxes and social welfare payments are included.

“The report confirmed what many frontline anti-poverty organizations have being saying consistently to this Government, that Ireland has become the most unequal country in the European Union.

“Unfortunately successive Irish Governments have chosen to protect the interests of vested financial elites over that of ordinary Irish citizens.

“What is quite clear from this, and other significant independent reports, is that inequality in Ireland is growing.

“Sinn Féin shares the Irish Congress of Trade Unions analysis that lower and middle income families have been carrying an unfair burden for the austerity cuts agenda that has been relentlessly pursued by the last two Irish governments.

“In Budget 2015 when they had the chance to ease the burden on many Irish people, they chose to assist the richest 10%.

“The concentration of income in the hands of a small elite, gives wealthy individuals greater clout to lobby Government for tax cuts that benefit their interests.

“Instead those on low to middle incomes and our public services are being consistently targeted, through a heartless austerity policy with hundreds of thousands of our best and brightest leaving our shores for the chance of work or better job prospects.

“Inequality not only leads to poverty and social exclusion but also fuels and energizes the race to the bottom when it comes to wages.

“What is needed is a fair and sustainable recovery, rather than an unequal and temporary illusion of recovery, where inequalities are becoming even more entrenched between the wealthy and the rest

“We want to see a country based on the right to:

·        Decent work for decent pay

·        Access to first class public services

·        Affordable childcare

·        Abolition of water charges and making the tax system fair

·        Addressing the housing crisis

·        Advancing the all-Ireland economy for all

“I believe a fair recovery is possible. Surely it’s not beyond us a people to replace cronyism and greed with fairness and hope.”

Videos

Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015


Photos

Matt Carthy