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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




Latest Statements

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Limerick Council Group Leader Maurice Quinlivan has rejected comments made by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny today in the Dáil regarding Sinn Féin’s role in a water charges protest that took place in Limerick last night.

Cllr Quinlivan stated:

“I reject these accusations levelled at Sinn Féin by the Taoiseach today. Sinn Féin was not involved in the organisation or attendance of this protest.  

“There is a lot of righteous anger surrounding water charges. However protests should be peaceful.

“Sinn Féin only supports those protests that are carried out in a manner that is family friendly and respectful."

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Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken tonight at the European Parliament in Strasbourg about the negative impact of precarious employment on the health of workers.

Lynn Boylan was participating in the debate on EU Commission Health & Safety at Work objectives for 2014-2020 where while she welcomed the commission’s declared desire to protect workers, she also questioned the ongoing pursuit of policies that are leading to precarious and insecure working conditions.

 “In Ireland precarious and part time work is becoming the norm, since 2008 there has been a 46% increase in the number of workers underemployed.  Women, migrants and young people are especially vulnerable and are disproportionately affected. The psychosocial health impacts this phenomenon has on workers cannot be underestimated.

Job insecurity and the pressure of irregular working hours causes significant stress for workers with many of them trapped in jobs that don’t pay a living wage. In Ireland alone over 25% of our workforce is low paid and these low wages negatively impact on workers ability to access healthcare and nutritious food.

 The insecure nature of employment in Ireland is now coupled with the fact that wages are dropping, with working hours increasing. The new CSO preliminary estimates released today indicate that the wages of the average worker have fallen by 1.9% in the three months between July and September 2014.

 Longer hours for less pay, or zero hours for an indeterminate amount of pay seems to be the new working mantra in Ireland.

 If we truly wish to engage with the issue and of health and safety for the working population then we must also tackle the issue of low pay and insecure working conditions.”

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Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesperson in the Assembly, Oliver McMullan has welcomed Minister Michelle O’Neill’s commitment to the agricultural and rural communities as part of her 2015/16 budget consultation draft.

Speaking after attending a briefing of the DARD Committee, Mr McMullan said:

“Quite clearly the minister has had to take some difficult decisions due to the Tory government’s imposed restrictions to the Executive’s block grant.

“Michelle O’Neill has however, demonstrated her commitment to the long-term sustainability of the agricultural and rural sectors by maintaining vital frontline services such as the DARD Direct offices. This includes a further financial commitment to advance the proposed new office in Strabane.

“The minister has also indicated her commitment to maintain important initiatives such as the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation programme.

“This will provide essential services to rural communities which have suffered greatly due to historic neglect and deprivation.

It’s also reassuring to learn in the draft consultation that other programmes such as the decentralisation of public sector jobs continues to be progressed.

“It is stated that other priorities such as the payments to farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) will remain. The Rural Development Programme including LEADER continues to develop with an expectation that it will open for bids next year.

“It’s now the Minister’s intention to put out to consultation the contents of this draft budget and I’d encourage all agricultural and rural stakeholders to have their say.”

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín raised concerns regarding inadequate resourcing of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation following a much publicised two year delay by the Minister and his officials in forwarding a witness statement regarding serious allegations’ of tax evasion.    

The Meath West TD said:

“Recent revelations by a civil servant in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation that he submitted a witness statement, sought by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, two years ago which remained sitting on a desk in the department until recent weeks, is a real cause of concern.

“The Jobs Minister had previously attributed in part this unconscionable delay to the retirement of key personnel, and today he confirmed that the number of civil servants working in his department has been slashed by 25% since 2008. 

“We know from parliamentary questions that the department recently spent a total of €195,244 on professional fees in relation to Workplace Relations Bill which suggests that the Department does not have the requisite in-house legislative skills required to deliver employment related legislation. 

“It is clear that Richard Bruton did not attach any importance to the statement in question despite very serious allegations within it, and it is deeply worrying that he failed to demand or secure adequate resources for his Department.

“Time and again we are told this is a reforming government yet the Minister left these very serious allegations sitting on desk and only acted when forced to in the full glare of the public eye.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness today contrasted the actions of party leader Gerry Adams in apologising for an inappropriate comment and the DUP’s Gregory Campbell who insulted the Irish language community at the weekend.

Martin McGuinness said:

“Gerry Adams has clearly apologised for an inappropriate comment he made last night in an unscripted remark at a public meeting. That was entirely the right thing to do.

“In contrast Gregory Campbell repeated comments in a prepared speech at his party conference, which have caused deep offence to the Irish language community. This speech was carried in full on the DUP website with the offensive passage actually highlighted.

“I would like to know where the DUP leadership stands on this latest outburst by Gregory Campbell.

“Was Gregory Campbell speaking on behalf of the DUP when he made those offensive remarks or was he representing only his personal view?

“It’s important that the DUP leadership makes it clear that it will not condone anyone in their party attacking any community in this society.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for a ban on alcohol advertising in the European Union. 

Ms Anderson made the call during Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH). 

The MEP said; 

"The European Union is the highest drinking region in the world resulting in huge level of harm. 

"Twelve per cent of children across the European Union live in families adversely affected by alcohol. 

"As well as the cost to health, alcohol-related harm also costs the economy more than €155 billion every year, of which €74 billion is a result of productivity losses. 

"Alcohol is linked to more than 60 diseases including cancer, liver and digestive diseases, alcohol dependency and depression.

"At this morning's event I asked the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, is he could commit to an advertising ban during his time in office. 

"He agreed on the need for such a ban but acknowledged if will be a challenge. 

"I will continue to lobby for all measures to protect people from alcohol-related harm."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has stated that reports that the numbers of HSE senior managers in hospitals have increased are “hard to accept given the harsh cutbacks to frontline services over the same period.”

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

“It has come to light that the number of senior managers in HSE hospitals has increased by over 10% in the past three and a half years. Over the same period nursing and support staff levels fell dramatically. This included a drop of 5,200 nursing posts or 13.5% at one point.

“We are dismayed to find that a management-heavy HSE is still with us. The HSE that we have been told so many times is not fit for purpose is also still with us. We have learned that those employed in middle management roles in the acute hospital sector has also risen.

“The HSE has tried to argue that these roles are essential for an organisation of its size, unfortunately they fail to grasp that nursing and support staff, are equally, if not more important roles. These roles ensure that every citizen has access to quality care in a dignified manner.

“It is clear that the HSE needs reform and that the Minister must ensure that this reform places the needs of patients at its centre” - concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, Liadh Ní Riada MEP for Ireland South confirmed that she has written to all Irish MEPs asking for their support in relation to the lifting of the Irish language derogation that is currently in place.

Ní Riada said:

"I believe that for Irish MEPs, it is a fundamental right to have these essential services available to us in our native language. The Irish language got full Official and Working Language status back in 2007 but as you will be aware, there has been derogation in place since then. This means that there is no Irish translation outside of full plenary sessions. This means I can speak Irish with translation for four days a month”

"It is also important to note that if the derogation were lifted, 188 jobs would be created. The creation of these jobs would only equate to a few eurocents per person per year in all 28 EU countries. To create these jobs, the Irish government has only to formally ask the Council of Ministers to lift the derogation that has been in place for 10 years. They have until the end of 2015 to do so. If it is not lifted by then, there will not be another opportunity until 2020.”

“If the derogation is not lifted, there is a real risk that the impetus will be lost. As a consequence, qualified Irish language translators will lose a real opportunity to secure employment in their chosen field and without the prospect of employment, third level study of Irish could well go extinct.”

 "As a woman from the Gaeltacht, it is regrettable that I cannot use my native language while carrying out my work. As well as that, I believe that this is another example of the lack of interest this government has for the language and for people from the Gaeltacht. I believe that we all need to work collectively and to put pressure on the Government to have this derogation lifted without delay, and to do this, it is vital that we have cross-party support." 

Ní neart go cur le chéile

 Ag labhairt ó Parlaimint na hEorpa i Strasbourg inniu dúirt Liadh Ní Riada, Feisire Eorpach de chuid Sinn Féin, go bhfuil litir seolta aici chuig gach Feisire Éireannach de Pharlaimint na hEorpa ag lorg tacaíocht uathu maidir le ardú an maolú atá i bhfeidhm ar an nGaeilge.

 Dúirt Ní Riada:

 "Fuair an Ghaeilge stádas iomlán mar Theanga Oifigiúil agus Oibre siar i 2007 ach tá maolú déanta uirthi ó shin.  Ciallaíonn sé sin nach bhfuil oibleagáid ar na hInstitiúidí Eorpacha gach cáipéis a chuir ar fáil trí Ghaeilge. Chomh maith le sin, ciallaíonn sé nach bhfuil seirbhísí ateangaireachta ar fáil d´úsáid na teanga laistigh de chruinnithe nó coistí sa Pharlaimint.

 "Creidim gur ceart bunúsach é seirbhísí cosúil le seo a bheith ar fáil inár dteanga dúchais féin.

 "Dá gcuirfí deireadh le maolú na Gaeilge chruthófaí 188 bpost ar chostas na hEorpa ar fad, sé sin, cúpla eurocent in aghaidh an duine gach bliain.

"Chun na poist seo a chruthú níl le déanamh ag rialtas na hÉireann ach a iarraidh go foirmeálta ar Chomhairle na nAirí go gcuirfí deireadh leis an maolú sealadadh, atá i bhfeidhm le 10 mbliana. Ní mór cinneadh faoi sin a dhéanamh roimh dheireadh 2015.  Mura n-ardaítear an maolú anois, ní bheidh deis eile ann go 2020! 

 "Muna n-ardaítear an maolú tá baol ann nach éireoidh le aistritheoirí gaeilge atá cáilithe, post a aimsiú. Mar aon le sin tá baol ann go dtitfidh líon na ndaoine a dhéanfaidh staidéar ar an nGaeilge de bharr "nach bhfuil poist ar bith ar fáil".  

 "Mar bhean ón Ghaeltacht is cúis aifeála é domsa nach bhfuil mé in ann mo theanga féin a usáid agus mé i mbun mo chuid oibre. Mar aon le sin, ´sé mo bharúil go léiríonn sé arís an neamh-shuim atá ag an rialtas do mhuintir na Gaeltachta.

 "Creidim go gcaithfidh muid uilig brú a chuir ar Rialtas na hÉireann an maolú seo a ardú gan mhoill agus tá sé thar a bheith tábhacht go bhfuil tacaíocht uile-pháirtí againn cun é seo a dhéanamh". 

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women by participating in a demonstration in Strasbourg.

Speaking today Lynn Boylan said:

“The sad fact is that everyday women are beaten and trapped in their own homes by those closest to them and this afternoon the European parliament debated the issue, following up on the European Parliament legislative own-initiative report on combating violence against women.

“It is a timely discussion as the annual Women's Aid 'One in Five Women' 16 Days Campaign takes place focusing on demonstrating solidarity with the one in five womenwho are affected by domestic violence.

“Last week Sinn Féin moved the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill in the Dail which would have would have enabled the victims of domestic violence to obtain social housing.  Current legislation prevents victims of domestic violence from seeking social housing if they are co-owners of a home with their abusive partner. Our Bill recognised the rights of victims of domestic violence to seek rehousing.

In addition, this Monday coming the Sinn Féin team in Dublin City Council will table a motion focusing on the primary responsibilities of the local authority on the issue.”

It was a small step, but step in the right direction, especially as a number of refuges in my own area of Tallaght could face closure due a lack of funding, including Saoirse and Cuan Álainn."

ENDS

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