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Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD is in Brussels today as part of a delegation of health professionals, educationalists, innovators and stakeholders from the Northwest Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC).

Deputy O'Reilly is in Brussels as the European Council meet to discuss Brexit, and is meeting with officials to discuss how cross border health cooperation will be affected by Brexit.

Deputy O'Reilly said:

“NWHIC spans the arc of the Northwest and was launched in May 2013 by MEP Martina Anderson.  It is an example of how well cross border cooperation can work and it is a positive step towards creating an island wide health care system. The result of the Brexit referendum would prevent this kind of collaboration and therefore this delegation is timely, as European heads of state meet to discuss Brexit.

“During the delegation, we are meeting with European Commission representatives from the Directorate for Health and Food Safety, the Directorate for Research and Innovation, and the Directorate for Communications Networks, Content & Technology. We are also meeting with representatives from Invest NI, the Department of Health in the six counties and the Permanent Representative of the 26 counties. 

“Sinn Féin believes healthcare must be developed on an all-Ireland basis. Ideally, we should be moving from increased cooperation to ultimately full integration of services on the island, maximising the healthcare benefits for all and achieving greater economies of scale. In all our meetings today, we are pressing this and highlighting how Brexit could affect projects like NWHIC and other cross border projects.

“We are serious about ensuring the best interests of all citizens on the island are looked after. Health is paramount to this and we cannot take our eye off the ball on this. These meetings are part of our initial engagements on the issue and we are pushing to ensure that Minister Harris engages closely with Minister for health Michelle O'Neill in the north.

“It is now up to Minister Harris to clarify when engagement will begin to assess and identify how to minimise any adverse impacts on the provision of all-island health services and collaboration, and when measures to ensure no adverse impact or logistical challenges on accessibility issues will be identified.” 

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD and Social Protection spokesperson John Brady TD have welcomed a proposed increase in rent supplement and the housing assistance payment but warned that it must be done in parallel with rent certainty to ensure that it has the desired effect of easing the burden on families at risk of homelessness.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Broin said;

“Just two weeks ago the government, assisted by Fianna Fáil, voted down Sinn Féin’s rent certainty bill which would have linked rents to the consumer price index.

“This was designed to ensure that landlords cannot increase rents by unscrupulous amounts, pushing families further into poverty and increasing the risk of homelessness.

“We welcome today’s proposal to increase rent supplement and the housing assistance payment as it could have the effect of easing the burden on struggling families.

“But unless it is done in parallel with rent certainty there is a risk that landlords will absorb this increase by simply increasing rents further.”

Deputy John Brady said;

“On the face of it this is a welcome move by the government but the worry for most families in receipt of rent supplement is that they will now be met with demands from their landlords for increased rents.

“So the government must look again at its position on rent certainty otherwise a lot of the cost of this increase will end up in the back pockets of landlords across the state while the struggling families that this move is designed to help will continue to struggle to keep a roof over their heads.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly today commended the efforts of all those involved in efforts to reach a resolution to issues around parades and protests on the Crumlin Road.

Gerry Kelly said: 

"Sinn Féin has been consistent in our support for resolving issues around parading and protests through genuine and inclusive dialogue involving local communities and parade organisers. 

"So I commend the efforts of all those involved in this dialogue and particularly representatives of the residents group CARA who invested a lot of time in this process. 

"The issue of parades and protests along the Crumlin Road past Mountainview and the Dales have brought huge challenges to the communities who live there.

"No resolution has been possible at this time.

"However, all of us in positions of political leadership have a responsibility to continue to do all in our power to support those in local communities involved in seeking resolution to contentious issues through dialogue." 

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Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff has expressed concern at the decision of the education minister to withdraw funding for nurture units at two Irish language schools.

Speaking after meeting representatives of the schools this morning, Mr McElduff said;

"I am very concerned at the decision by Education Minister Peter Weir to withdraw funding for nurture units at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin and Bunscoil an Droichid.

"The announcement has caused considerable anger and disappointment at both schools and among the wider Irish language community.

"These schools had been told the funding was in place and had made plans on that basis.

"Studies have shown that nurture units make a huge difference to the educational outcomes of children and should be encouraged.

"I met with representatives at schools following their protest at Stormont this morning to offer them Sinn Fein's support and I will be raising this issue with the education minister." 

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has welcomed the Taoiseach’s statement that the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment will be working to ensure certainty on the terms of the future trading relationship between Ireland and Britain.

Noting that the work of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland will take on an even more crucial significance in the months ahead, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“Already, Enterprise Ireland has identified diversification into other international markets; enhanced UK market supports, management and competitiveness supports, and the management of any potential currency exchange impacts, as key priorities.

“The UK’s decision to leave the EU will present significant new challenges for Irish companies exporting to the UK and Irish companies will need additional support to help them maintain their UK presence. 

“It is in this context that I find reports in the media that the government has been engaged in a cost cutting exercise at Enterprise Ireland astonishing.

“Reports suggest that the workforce at the agency has been cut from 797 people at the end of 2011 to a targeted 597 at the end of this year.

“Enterprise Ireland has said that managing a downsized organisation, generating income from investments and rolling out a new engagement model to clients will pose challenges.

“If we add to this set of existing challenges, Brexit, and the fact that companies supported by Enterprise Ireland employed more than 192,000 people last year cuts to staff and to its budget make absolutely no sense.

“There can be little doubt but that Brexit has created huge uncertainty across EU and in Ireland.

“Going forward the emphasis must be on initiatives and policies that foster the best interests of Irish businesses both at home and abroad, and that protect the jobs of workers in Ireland.

“Middle and low-income workers in Ireland will not tolerate further cuts to wages and services under the guise of Brexit paranoia.

“The onus is now very much on the government and on the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to step up to the plate. Workers pay and conditions must be protected and a conscious and deliberate policy of balanced regional development vigorously pursued.

“We must also protect Irish businesses and ensure that Enterprise Ireland is adequately staffed and resourced to do its job.” 

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Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary Deputy Carol Nolan has said that the Irish Government has a duty to stand up for the interests of all Irish citizens on this island in the aftermath of Brexit.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Nolan said:

“There can be no doubt that the impact of last Thursday’s vote will be felt for years to come.

“The Irish Government has a clear duty to immediately assert itself in order to ensure that the interests of citizens, north and south, are protected.

“The Government must do its very best to ensure that the effects of Brexit in terms of trade and travel between Ireland and Britain are minimised and it must work to identify and realise the opportunities that arise as a result of the vote.

“One of those opportunities is to establish a referendum on Irish Unity and end the partition of Ireland.

“The fact that the majority of the citizens of the six counties, many of whom are Irish passport holders, voted to remain in the EU cannot be ignored by this Government.

“A referendum on Irish Unity is actually the only mechanism by which the democratic mandate of the people of the north can be realised.

“It is the only mechanism by which the island of Ireland can remain within the EU; something which is of clear economic and social benefit for all our people.

“It is my clear view that the Irish Government has a duty to stand up for the interests of all citizens on this island and must support a border poll for Irish unity.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said political leaders have a responsibility ensure that democratic decision of the people of the North to remain in the EU is realised.

Mr McGuinness said;

"Sinn Fein made clear in the referendum campaign that a vote to leave would be bad for business, bad for citizens and bad for Ireland.

"We are now witnessing the fallout of the vote in Britain to leave the European Union.

"We are witnessing growing economic chaos, we are witnessing the leave campaign move their away from their lies and we are witnessing political turmoil in London.

"This is very much an evolving situation which will be played out over the coming years. What is clear is that the people of the north voted to remain in the EU.  

"As political leaders we have to work together to give effect to the democratically expressed decision of the people to remain in the EU and to put the needs of all our people and economy across Ireland to the fore.

"I will be meeting with political leaders including the Taoiseach, to discuss how we can give effect to the democratic wishes of the people to remain in the EU.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has said Brexit is the price of the continued partition of Ireland and called for Theresa Villiers to resign. 

Speaking in the Assembly, Mr Kearney said; 

"In recent days the EU referendum result has dramatically changed the political and economic landscape.

"The majority of voters here from across the political spectrum said the north should remain in Europe and it is unacceptable that the democratic will of this region should be over ruled by English voters.

"Our economic and financial future is now one of unprecedented uncertainty.

"200,000 jobs in Ireland depend upon 1.2billion euros of trade between North and South each week. Brexit directly threatens all that, and more.

"Theresa Villiers should follow David Cameron and resign. She has absolutely no authority to represent the economic or social interests of people in the north

"Brexit is the price of Ireland’s continued partition.

"This Assembly and Executive should respect and underpin the democratic decision of the North.

"Our urgent focus must be upon retaining our special relationship with the EU, and protecting the trade, investment and funding which are essential to support our regional and island economies.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley has said the implications of the EU Referendum result will have major implications for the future of young people.

The Party’s spokesperson for children, young people and childcare said:

“I can only describe the referendum result as heart wrenching.

“Thursday’s result will have a greater impact on our children and our children’s children as their opportunities to study, live, love and work in 27 other countries gaining invaluable life experiences are snatched away from them. “Linkages between universities could be severed, the Erasmus school exchange programme called into question and those young people, from our neighbouring countries, who have taken a brave step to live and work here now face huge levels of uncertainties.

“Let there be no doubt – young people will disproportionately bear the brunt and the effects will be long-lasting.

“The vast majority, 75 percent of 18-25 year olds voted to remain. This again raises the urgent need to extend the vote to 16 year olds.

“I therefore want to express solidarity with young people right across Britain who have been let down by inter party rivalry in a campaign whereby their interests were not at the heart.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said progressive and left wing parties across Europe should work together to create a better Europe. 

Ms Anderson said; 

"It is clear from the success of left wing parties across Europe that people are voting to oppose austerity. 

"I want to congratulate left wing parties Podemos, United Left and EH Bildu on their success in the recent election. 

"There is an anger across Europe at the policies of right wing elites. 

"Given the result of last week's EU referendum, where the most right wing elements of the British Tory party are attempting to drag the people of the North out of the EU against their democratically expressed wishes, it is more important than ever for left wing parties to work together. 

"Working together we can create a better, more social and more democratic Europe."

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Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann said the result of Thursday’s European Referendum vote has huge implications for the voluntary and community sector in the North. 

The West Belfast MLA said:

“There is €270m from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund along with €270m of Peace Funding that is at risk. 

“Major cross-border programmes under interreg are also threatened while disability groups, women’s organisations, victim and survivors groups and bodies that deliver a wide range of essential front line services will be impacted upon.

“Peace funding that promoted and facilitated reconciliation and cohesion programmes between people from different community backgrounds will not happen.

“No one can be under any illusion of the serious impact this will have on communities right across the North and in Ireland as a whole. 

“A Tory government that have already targeted cuts to the most vulnerable and marginalised in society will not return any extra money diverted from Europe into the North. Anyone who believes this will happen are fooling themselves.

“All parties must show a united front and protect the interests of all the people, the majority of who voted to remain, that we represent here in the North.”

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Declan Kearney South Antrim MLA has raised a question today with the Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard, concerning existing road safety dangers in Glenavy village including the Main Street and adjoining Chapel and Glen Roads.

 Speaking today Mr Kearney said:

 “I raised the issue of road safety concerns in Glenavy village with the Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard after meeting with the Glenavy Residents Association on Saturday last.

 “Glenavy is a fast growing village and the volume of traffic is dramatically increasing. Along the busy main street there are no dedicated pedestrian crossings or traffic calming measures.

 “Concerns have also been raised regarding the volume of traffic and the safety of the Chapel and Glen Roads which lead to the local church, school, community hall and sports clubs & facilities.

 “I hope that by bringing these concerns to the Minister's attention and asking for road safety surveys to be undertaken that this will begin a process of urgent remedial works.

 “I will be meeting with the Minister in the coming weeks to further address these concerns and take my representations forward.”

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Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard and Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced joint funding of £2.25million to extend the Active School Travel Programme until 2021.

Sustrans has been awarded the contract to deliver the programme for the next five years which is jointly funded by the Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency (PHA).

The Active School Travel Programme is an exciting initiative that looks to increase physical activity in children; reduce congestion around schools; improve health and road safety awareness and improve confidence, all of which can contribute to improved health and educational achievement.

The Programme began in 2013 and since then 191 schools have enrolled with more than 60,000 children taking part. This has resulted in an increase in cycling and walking for the school commute and a reduction in car congestion around participating schools.

Minister Hazzard said: 

“The school journey is a great way of establishing an active travel habit from an early age so I am pleased that we, alongside the Public Health Agency have been able to award Sustrans this £2.25million contract. This means that as the name suggests the school run can be exactly that - a run on the bike, the scooter or a walk to school. 

“Encouraging young people to get active to and from school fosters healthy habits from an early age. The use of active travel and giving our young people the best start in life - aspirations all included in the Programme for Government – will help lay the foundations for longer, healthier, more active lives.”

Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill said:  

“This Active School Travel Programme ensures children are being given the best opportunity to participate in physical activity which will benefit their health and wellbeing as they develop. We want our children to have memories of playing outside, of made-up adventures and games, rather than being indoors playing with technology.

“I am delighted that the Public Health Agency is continuing to work closely with partners such as the Department for Infrastructure and Sustrans to take this programme forward for another five years. Working in collaboration on this project will help our children and young people to meet the Chief Medical Officer's Physical Activity Guidelines of being moderately active for at least 60 minutes every day and help us tackle societal problems such as overweight and obesity.”

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Responding to the latest statement by EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella on the issue of domestic water charges, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused the Commission of ‘flatly contradicting previous on the record statements’ and of ‘playing politics with domestic water charges in Ireland’.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The latest response by Commissioner Vella to a question from MEP Marian Harkin flatly contradicts previous on the record statements on the issue from his office. Until today, the official position of the Commissioner was that he did not respond to hypothetical questions.

“On a number of occasions, Commissioner Vella has told Lynn Boylan MEP and other Irish MEPs that the issue of the Irish Governments use of the derogation on water charges contained in Article 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive could only be considered in the context of the Second River Basin Management Plan. This plan is currently being drafted and will be submitted to the Commission next year.

“Article 9.4 is very clear. Member States may seek an exemption from applying the polluter pays principle if they can demonstrate that their overall plan allows them to achieve the objectives of the Directive.

“Equally, replies from the Commission on the issue of what constitutes ‘established practice’ relates to practices in place at the time of the transposition of the Directive. At this time, there were no domestic water charges in Ireland.

“Commissioner Vella's latest statement represents a very significant shift in position from what he has said on the matter previously. It appears that he is playing politics with the issue of domestic water charges in Ireland. This is very unfortunate as it gives the impression of the Commission actively interfering a highly contested domestic political debate in a very partisan manner.

“Both I and Lynn Boylan MEP will be meeting with officials from the Water Unit in Commissioner Vella’s Department in the coming weeks to discuss this issue.

“Sinn Féin’s position remains the same. We believe that the Government can and should invoke the exemption contained in Article 9.4 as party of their Second River Basin Management Plan. In doing so, they must clearly outline how they intend to deliver on the objectives of the Water Framework Directive including a more ambitious capital investment programme to bring our water and sanitation system up to EU standards.

“If the Commission were to reject the Second River Basin Management Plan solely on the grounds of  domestic water charges, the Government should then seek legal advice before deciding how best to proceed.” 

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Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has said the rights of the Irish language community must be protected in the aftermath of the EU referendum result. 

Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said; 

"The impact of the result of last week's EU referendum will be felt across all sectors of society, including the Irish language community. 

"At present the only protections the Irish language community has in law come from the EU with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 

"We must make sure we do everything we can to see these protections are secured. 

"The rights and entitlements of the Irish language community need to be protected, both in terms of the existing EU legislation and also with an Irish Language Act in the north."

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin has highlighted a number of recommendations made within the Dáil Housing and Homeless Committee report that will help alleviate the housing crisis in South County Dublin. 

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee published its report last week. There was cross-party agreement that the current government housing plan is not working.

“The Committee strongly recommended a shift in Government away from using private sectors housing to meet social housing need. The reports central recommendation is the provision of 50,000 real social houses over the next five years.

“South County Dublin has 10% of the total housing need in the country. There are over 9,000 families on the Council waiting list and over 200 homeless families. 

“If the new Minister for Housing Simon Coveney adopts the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee's report, this would mean 5,000 real social housing units for South County Dublin over the next five years. The current government plan would provide less than 600 Council houses. 

“This figure includes acquisitions, refurbishments. and new builds. The recent Housing Agency report showed that there are over 5,000 vacant properties in South County Dublin. The Minister for Housing must provide more funding to the Council to allow them to increase the use of its CPO powers to acquire these units and bring them into the social housing stock.

“Increasing the stock of social housing will alleviate pressure on the private housing market. In the interim, a number of measures were proposed to help families stay in their rented homes. 

The report recommended that rent certainty be introduced, by linking rent reviews to an index such as the CPI, in order to provide some stability for both tenants and landlords. 

“This measure could be introduced in tandem with rises in rent supplement and housing assistance payment. 

“Tenant rights should also be strengthened and this includes providing additional protection to tenants in repossessed buy-to-lets.

“Minister Coveney has the opportunity to be both ambitious and radical in his Action Plan for Housing and I hope he includes all of the 109 recommendations made in the Committee report.

“I would urge him to bring forward the publication of this plan to before the Dáil summer recess as the homelessness problem is getting worse.

“We cannot afford to sit back for the summer and wait more families and children to become homeless. We need action now.”

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Speaking this morning at the National Economic Dialogue Forum, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform David Cullinane TD said that the Brexit result was a clear wake-up call for the institutions of the EU and the Irish Government. He said huge swathes of working people and the unemployed are becoming increasingly alienated from the political system at EU and national level.

Addressing the Forum Deputy Cullinane said:

“Today’s National Economic Dialogue is overtaken by events. The Brexit result has sent shockwaves across the EU and Ireland. It raises profound questions for Ireland’s future North and South. It is vital that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny stands up for the rights of voters in the North, as well as the interests of people in the South. 

“It is also important that European as well of Irish political leaders listen to the concerns of communities who are being left behind. Hugh swathes of our working people feel isolated, alienated and frustrated with the political system. They see a European Union that is anti-democratic and not working for them and their families. 

“They also hear Government politicians talking about ‘keeping the recovery going’. For them, there is no recovery. There is no recovery for those on low pay and low hour contracts. There is no recovery for those living in poverty and deprivation. There is no recovery for those lying on hospital trollies or sleeping in emergency accommodation. 

“The EU and Ireland is at a cross roads. We need to change course. We need to fundamentally address the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU institutions. We need to focus on decent work and decent pay, rebuilding our public services, investing in capital infrastructure and fair and just taxation. 

“This Government is pursuing a policy of tax cuts for the top 16% while our public services are crumbling. They are adding to the real sense of frustration and alienation felt by so many citizens. Sinn Féin is for building a social Europe, a democratic Europe and an Ireland, north and south, that delivers decent work, decent pay, and an economy that services its citizens and not the other way around.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will this week host a delegation of health professionals and stakeholders from the Northwest Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC) in Brussels.

Speaking ahead of the delegation, Ms Anderson said,

“NWHIC spans the arc of the Northwest to include Sligo, Letterkenny, Derry and Coleraine and was launched in May 2013.  Their vision is that by 2020, the Northwest of Ireland will be internationally recognised as a health and social sciences research and innovation zone driving the local economy; creating sustainable growth in employment, and creating improvements in health and social well-being that will address health inequalities in the Northwest through the utilisation of the most advanced technology. 

“We will be joined on the delegation by 20 participants, including Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, John Farrell, Department of Health and Geraldine McCarthy, Sligo Mental Health.

“During the delegation we will be meeting with European Commission representatives from The Directorate for Health and Food Safety, The Directorate for Research and Innovation, and the Directorate for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, which we are confident will establish useful contacts for the Innovation Corridor, going forward.

“We will also be meeting with representatives from Invest NI, the Department of Health in the six counties and the Permanent Representative of the 26 counties.

“The NWHIC is an example of how well cross border cooperation can work and it is a positive step towards creating an island wild health care system. The result of the Brexit referendum would prevent this kind of collaboration and therefore it is vital that there is a joined up approach and the NWHIC receives all of the support it can get.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today on the outcome of the Brexit referendum called for the “maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north … the Irish government must work to promote the interests of the whole island and the north in particular in future talks at EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. In the time ahead this should include a referendum on Irish unity.”

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“Sinn Féin has a consistent position of opposition to the unacceptable and undemocratic aspects of the European Union. We have also consistently argued for a more robust and less compliant policy from successive Irish governments.

“In 1972, Sinn Féin and other progressives campaigned against membership of the EEC. Over the decades since then we have modified our position to one of critical engagement. This position was formally adopted by our Ard Fheis in 1999.

“Reform of the EU has been necessary for decades now. The outcome of the Brexit referendum should encourage such a process and it should be undertaken with urgency.

“On this island, notwithstanding partition, we should also accept the vote in the north. People voted to remain within the EU. That should be upheld.

“Some will say we are bound by a so-called United Kingdom vote. Sinn Féin says we are not. We need to put the island of Ireland first. We stand by the vote of the people of the north. All of us need an island wide vision.

“There is a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think nationally – on an all-island basis. The government, as a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the agreement and its political institutions.

“The British government has forfeited the claim to represent the north at EU level. Their policy has been rejected by the people.

“The Irish Government must work to promote the interests of whole Island and the north in particular in future talks at an EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. This can be achieved by the maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north.

“In the time ahead, this should include a referendum on Irish unity.

“The Democratic Unionist Party must also respect the Remain vote. The majority of citizens in the north, including many unionists, rejected its exit policy. The DUP should accept this.

“The task of everyone, therefore, must be to agree policies and strategies that can minimise any problems that will arise as a consequence of Brexit and to use this crisis, if we are able, to create a new Ireland and a new EU.”

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Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish Version Follows

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is calling for more action in relation to drugs misuse in Westside.

After raising the issue at today’s Galway City Joint Policing meeting, the Galway West – South Mayo Senator says:

“I met people in a number of estates in Westside at the weekend who are extremely concerned at the increased activities of drugs users in the area. People are openly using drugs in parks and  alleyways and leaving the syringes strewn around in places where children are walking and playing. I witnessed at least five syringes in one location backing on to a garden with a young family this weekend.

“I also heard of ongoing anti-social behaviour disturbances where elderly single people in particular are being targeted for abuse. Property is being damaged and people are being intimidated by a small handful of bullies.

“The Westside area is one that has seen huge cutbacks in funding for community supports over the last number of years. More needs to be done to support the younger people and to keep them actively engaged with the local community. The issue of drug misuse must be seen as a health and a justice issue however, with appropriate responses from the relevant state agencies.

“I have called on the City Joint Policing Committee and the Gardaí to look at initiatives that would tackle the level of drug abuse in the Westside and other areas in the city with similar problems. City Council need to look at the use by drug users of alleyways in estates, lighting, littering with drug use paraphernalia and the impact on local families.

“More investment in the social and community sector in areas like Westside is essential if issues such as drug abuse and anti-social behaviour are to be combatted properly and the government must make those supports available.” ENDS

Níos mó aicsean maidir le mí-úsáid drúgaí ag teastáil i ‘Westside’ – Ó Clochartaigh

Tá Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, ag iarraidh níos mó aicsean maidir le mí-úsáíd drugaí I ‘Westside’.

I ndiaidh dó an t-ábhar a ardú ag cruinniú de Chomhchoiste Póilíneachta Chathair na Gaillimhe inniu, deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:

“Chas me le daoine i roinnt eastáít I gceantar ‘Westside’ ag an deireadh seachtaine a bhfuil an-imní orthu maidir leis an ardú atá ag teacht ar ghníomhaíochtaí lucht úsáídte drugaí san áit. Tá daoine go h-oscailte ag tógáil drugaí sna páirceanna agus ar na cosáin, ag fágáil snaithaidí caite timpeall áít a bhfuil páistí óga ag spraoi agus ag siúl. Chonaic mé féin ar a laghad chúig snáthaid in áit amháin ag an deireadh seachtaine in aice le cúlgháirdín teaghlaigh le páísti óga.

“Chuala mé freisin faoi cuid mhaith mí-iompar sóisialta ag tarlú agus go bhfuiltear ag díriú ach go h-áirithe ar sheanóirí a chónaíonn leo féin. Tá damáiste dhá dhéanamh do shealúchais agus tá imeaglú dhá dhéanamh ag buíon beag bulaithe.

“Facthas ciorruithe móra i dtacaíochtaí pobail do cheantar an Westside le blianta beaga anuas. Caithfear níos mó a dhéanamh le cuidiú leis an aos-óg chun iad a choinneáil gníomhach ina gcuid pobail féin. Caithfear deileáil leis an gceist faoi mhí-úsáid drugaí mar ábhar sláinte poiblí agus ní mar cheist dlí & cirt amháin le gníomhaíocht cuí ag teacht ó na h-áisíneachtaí stáit oiriúnacha.

“Tá iarrtha agam ar Chomhchoiste Póilíneachta na Cathrach agus ar na Gárdaí féachaint ar thioncnaimh a chur ar bun a thiocfadh i ngleic leis an leibhéal mí-úsáid drugaí atá ar bun i Westside agus ceantracha eile sa gcathair. Ní mhór don Chomhairle Cathrach féachaint ar an mhí-úsáid drugaí ar chosáin sna h-eastáit, soilsiú, an t-ábhar a bhaineann le bruscar úsáideoirí drugaí agus an tionchar atá acu sin ar theaghlaigh áitiúla.

“Is gá breis infheistíochta a dhéanamh sna h-earnálacha sóisialta agus pobail sa gcathair i gceantracha cosúil le Westside má tá muid chun dul i ngleic mar is ceart le ceisteanna cosúil le mí-úsáid drugaí agus iompar frith-shóisialta agus caithfidh an rialtas na tacaíochtaí sin a chur ar fáil.” 

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