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Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language derogation in the the European Parliament while on language strike in Brussels.

The Minister has acknowledged the negative impact of zero hour contracts for workers, yet his proposals to address this are totally inadequate.  Sinn Féin's position on zero hour contracts is that they should be banned.

Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has welcomed the climb down from Minister Michael Noonan on the introduction of a Mortgage Insurance scheme. The dropping of the proposal was confirmed to Deputy Doherty in a parliamentary reply.

Latest Statements


Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has expressed disappointed that 200 jobs are under threat at Ageas Retail (RIAS) in west Belfast. 

Mr Maskey said; 

“I was extremely disappointed that Ageas Retail have announced a 90-day consultation on the future of 200 jobs at its West Belfast site.

"This decision has come out of the blue to staff who are understandably shocked. Some of them left today in tears concerned about their future. 

“I will be engaging with Ageas Retail throughout that consultation period to ensure everything possible is done in order to find alternative employment for those involved. 

“I have been in contact with Invest NI today and plan to meet them tomorrow morning in order to discuss this issue. 

“I have also spoken today with employees and the Communication Union and will be meeting them again tomorrow and throughout the consultation period."


Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the Gas to the West scheme, which is to be launched in Enniskillen today.  

 “The Gas to the West scheme introduces the natural gas utility to areas such as Dungannon, Coalisland, Enniskillen and Derrylin.  It will not only benefit the environment, as natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it will also hugely benefitclients in terms of easier budgeting and lower energy costs.

“It will also be of huge advantage to the elderly and vulnerable in our area, as it is a more convenient option to oil and coal.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP continues,

“With the difficult financial times we are facing at the minute, investments and projects like this are vitally important and I hope in the not so distant future that the network will be extended to the rest of Fermanagh.

“Construction work is due to start later this year and to be completed by late 2017. It is anticipated that this phase will create 200 jobs, which again can only be welcomed.

 “It is estimated that around 40,000 businesses and consumers are to be connected to the natural gas network and I can only hope that this is the beginning of a long awaited investment in the West.”


Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Childrens Affairs, Sandra McLellan said that she was delighted to support Anti-Bullying Awareness month which began at the beginning of March.

Speaking today after the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) met with Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas to highlight the initiative, Deputy McLellan said:

“The issue of bullying is increasingly a very real problem for a large number of children in Ireland. With the surge in children’s and teenagers’ access to interactive and social media, the reality of bullying has become a huge challenge to deal with not only within schools but also during children’s free time.  

“In March 2012 the ISPCC launched their Shield Anti-Bullying Campaign, to work towards protecting children from bullying. Their services not only provide young people with the necessary coping skills to deal with and protect themselves from bullying, but also help empower them.

“The successful Shield Anti-Bullying Campaign is now in its fourth year and almost 200 schools across Ireland have availed of the Shield My School Anti-Bullying Toolkit. This is a great success and I commend the ISPCC for such a forward thinking initiative. 

“Today, I along with Sinn Féin and other Oireachtas Members took part in the important initiative at Leinster House to highlight the issue during Bullying Awareness Month of March. 

“I hope the focus remains on tackling bullying not only during this month but for the months to come. It deserves commitment from us all.”

Launch of ISPCC Anti Bullying Awareness Month


 Sinn Féin Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly said today he intends to raise the attempted murder of Francis McCabe Jnr and a campaign of threats and intimidation against the community of south Armagh at tomorrow’s meeting of the Policing Board.

 The North Belfast MLA said he will also be quizzing police about unacceptable delays to coroners’ inquests and stalling tactics in the case of police informer Gary Haggarty.

 Mr Kelly said:

 “I will be raising a number of issues at the Policing Board tomorrow which we have major concerns about.

 “Last week a criminal gang attempted to murder Francis McCabe Jnr in south Armagh. This follows a campaign of intimidation and threats against members of the local community who have stood up against the criminals and who have advocated accountable policing. 

 “The PSNI needs to demonstrate that it is up to the challenge of policing with the community and tackling organised criminal gangs in the south Armagh area.

 “I also intend to challenge the Chief Constable on a series of delays to inquests including the failure of the PSNI to provide the proper documentation in several cases including the murder of Sean Brown.

 “In my opinion it is unacceptable that inquests are being delayed, some more than 30 years, and the PSNI is still failing to bring forward the documentation necessary to enable the coroner to do his job.

 “The PSNI has a responsibility to the courts and a duty to the families of the victims to make any information available which will facilitate the progress of inquests. 

 "Furthermore, last week the senior coroner Mr Lecky stated that inquests would be halted as the PSNI have informed him that they cannot carry out investigations and the coroner does not have his own investigators to do what is required.

 “I am also concerned about the delays in bringing the case of police informer Gary Haggarty to court.

 “The five-year delay in bringing this case to courts is unprecedented. My concern is that this case is being deliberately delayed in a bid to cover up the role of RUC handlers in assisting informants in the murders of citizens.

 “I will be demanding answers to these issues from the senior management of the PSNI and will continue to hold them to account until these matters are satisfactorily resolved.” ENDS/CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today slammed Government inaction on the crisis in hospitals. Raising the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil, he highlighted a damning letter from a senior emergency department doctor regarding the plight of critically ill patients at Beaumont Hospital.

Deputy Adams said:

"The number of citizens lying on trolleys in our hospitals stands this morning at 478.”

"Conditions in the emergency department of Beaumont Hospital are now so bad that a senior emergency department doctor, in a letter to hospital management and the HSE has described it as being the equivalent of "healthcare in Guantanamo".

"This letter was written in December - before the crisis in trolley patients escalated.”

"The doctor says critically ill patients are receiving blood transfusions on chairs. Heart attack patients are regularly also treated on chairs.”

"He struggled to get a trolley for a man with liver failure. Two patients with advanced cancer were 'doomed to sit on chairs' for 24 hours. He had to resuscitate a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest after being placed in an annex corridor.”

"A HSE report shows there are 705 hospital patients who no longer need to be in hospital and should be transferred to a nursing home, a rehab bed or their own house with a home care package. Age Action Ireland have described these patients as 'prisoners of the State'.”

"The Government must now prioritise the crisis in our hospitals by immediately increasing the number of step-down beds; Ensuring the Fair Deal scheme is adequately funded; and speed-up funding for house adaptations and Home Help packages."

"Citizens will be deeply angered at the contrast, revealed in a Comptroller and Auditor General report, between the conditions endured by patients in Emergency Departments with reports that HSE managers are claiming public money for nights in five-star hotels, flights to New York for a guest, and alcohol on trips.”

"The audit report also found that a former retired employee was rehired on a contract of six hours per week for a salary of €156,000.”

"Compare this obscene amount of money with the plight of citizens who are prevented from going home because they can't get financial support for a home care package or basics such as grab-rails or appliances. Little wonder that people are angry or cynical when they hear listen to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health.”

"The Government allocated a mere €25 million to go towards extra nursing home beds under the Fair Deal scheme. The Tánaiste has been telling us all how a recovery in public finances means the Government can now make long term investment plans.”

"However, nowhere has she mentioned the need to allocate money to deal with the current overcrowding crisis in our hospitals or the 24,369 citizens who have been awaiting elective surgery for longer than six months. Meanwhile the Minister for Health acts the part of a neutral commentator. The current health budgeted is entirely unrealistic, is insufficient to deal with the crisis and requires an emergency supplement." 


Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has raised concerns that cuts proposed by transport minister Danny Kennedy will have a particularly negative impact on rural areas. 

Mr McAleer said; 

"Danny Kennedy’s has proposed a reduction of services for community and rural transport. 

"We received a briefing at today’s DRD committee meeting where senior Translink officials, including the Chief Executive, revealed that the company was starting a review and consultation exercise beginning with non-profit making services.  

"They stated that the consultation would be ‘extensive and meaningful’ and will begin next week.  

"I raised concerns that any reduction of services will leave many communities, particularly in rural areas such as the Sperrins, isolated. 

"It would also have a disproportionate impact on older and vulnerable people. 

"This is compounded by the proposed cut to rural transport, which is a lifeline for people in isolated areas to access essential services.

"Any decisions relating to future transport needs must be fully rural proofed.  It is vital that political representatives and rural stakeholder organisations make a strong case to retain the public transport services currently available in rural areas.”


Sinn Féin TD and Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has indicated his strong support for the appointment of a Junior Minister for Drugs but has raised concerns regarding the inadequacy of the way the state deals with drug abuse. 

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The present Government is the first in 21 years without a Minister for Drugs. The appointment of a Junior Minister in this role would be very much welcomed. I am concerned that the Minister for Health was unaware that this role was under consideration. This suggests a lack of communication in Government.”

“I call on the Minister and the Taoiseach to clarify whether there will be a Junior Minister with this responsibility, presumably appointed to both Health and Justice, and when this will occur.”

“More needs to be done. I have secured agreement of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children to address the issue of ‘legal’ highs, mindful of the deaths that have occurred consequent on the use of these substances not only in Ireland but on a European basis.”

“There are also serious deficiencies in the Garda network of drugs taskforces. From my own constituency of Cavan Monaghan, to the larger urban centres, we need increased Garda manpower and a clear direction so that dedicated drugs taskforces exist in every Garda Division in the state.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for the Assembly Commission to provide a sign language interpreter for future debates on issues facing people with hearing difficulties. 

Speaking after raising the issue at a meeting of the Employment and Learning Committee, Mr Flanagan said; 

"Action for Hearing Loss told the committee that Stormont was one of the best parliaments in terms of accessibility for people with hearing problems.

“However, this does not extend to providing a sign language interpreter for plenary debates or committee discussions.

“It may not be possible to provide this service on a constant basis, but there is considerable merit in offering it on an initial one-off basis to assess demand among people with hearing difficulties.

“This could be arranged to coincide with a committee motion on issues facing people with hearing difficulties.

“Committee members have agreed to my proposal to write to the Assembly Commission to request this facility be put in place for such a debate and to consider proposing a debate on the issue.

“Deaf and hard of hearing people have every right to be included in the democratic process. They should be afforded the opportunity to understand what MLAs have to say about the issues affecting them." 


The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has criticised the response to his question at the Dáil Environment Committee Minister regarding the report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. Minister for State Anne Phelan confirmed that no funding has been provided for the implementation of the 34 specific measures that are included in the Commission’s report.

Deputy Stanley said:

“The only funding provided is €1 million to be used for ‘co-ordination’ of existing services. People in rural Ireland were led to believe that the Commission chaired by Pat Spillane was going to be this Government’s main initiative for the economic development of rural Ireland.”

“While all of the recommendations are worthy, most of them require funding. Recommendation 14 for example which is the introduction of a funding mechanism for ‘early stage development of social enterprises’ will require funding; as will recommendation 17 which sets out the need for ‘continued improvement of the road network’.”

“Others on rural transport and developing tourism and renewable energy and enterprise would require some level of funding.  Sinn Féin is not simply advocating throwing money at all of these issues or that funding alone will solve the problems of rural Ireland.  We do believe however that without funding many of the 34 recommendations of the CEDRA report will not be implemented.”

“There is little point in the Government setting up this commission to come up with recommendations if they do not provide at least some resources to enable this to happen.”

“Otherwise people in rural areas will see this as just window dressing by Fine Gael and Labour in the run up to the general election. Glossing reports that are left to gather dust will do nothing to address the challenges facing rural areas.” 


Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels


Mary Lou McDonald TD, Cllr Catherine Seeley & Francie Molloy MP