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Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



“HAP is not a solution and if the government succeeds in passing it into law, it will have wide ranging negative effects on the future of housing in Ireland and our ability to tackle housing need in the years to come.”



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Sinn Féin’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA has called on society to stand together against those who are involved in hate crimes.

Speaking following coordinated attacks against the Romanian community in East Belfast over night and an attack on a DUP Councillors home in Coleraine Mr McGuinness said: 

“Overnight we have witnessed a number of hate crimes. These are wrong and to be condemned outright.

“The extent of the attacks in East Belfast strongly indicates a level of co-ordination targeting the Romanian community. 

“Further to this a third attack on the home of the DUP Councillor, George Duddy, is equally offensive.

“There can no room for racism or sectarianism in our society. 

“Our thoughts are with all of those who have suffered intolerance in these attacks. As a community we all must stand united against those who wish to engage in hate crimes and face these actions down.”

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has backed calls from the Palestinian Government and the UN for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. So far Israel has declined the ceasefire offers.

Speaking after one of bloodiest nights of Israeli bombings, Deputy Crowe said:

“Israel carried out 60 air strikes last night and more this morning. Since midnight over 100 Palestinians have killed by Israeli attacks, including entire families.

“Over 1,150 Palestinians have been killed, and some 6,700 have been injured, since Israel launched its brutal attacks on July 8th. According to reports over three-quarters have been innocent civilians and children.

“UNICEF’s Head of Office in Gaza, and a specialist in child protection during emergencies, Pernille Ironside, has stated that there is nowhere safe for children and their families in Gaza.

“Israel has also destroyed the power plant in Gaza and there is a severe shortage of water, oil, and gas. While residents only had a couple of hours of electricity a day before, that has now been taken from them and the humanitarian crisis is growing more and more severe by the day.

“Israel should agree to this offer of a humanitarian truce and work towards lifting the siege on Gaza so the international community can help avert this humanitarian crisis.”

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that serious questions need to be answered by the Minister for Health and National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB)  in relation to the way contracts for engineering and design of the new €650 million Children's Hospital at the St James's Hospital site have been awarded.

The latest revelation, in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend, that there were question marks over the awarding of the mechanical and electrical engineering contract, follows questions as how the contract for the architectural works was granted to the company who submitted the flawed plans for the original Mater site. 

Responding to the latest news Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Once again there seems to be chaos, incompetence or worse in the public tendering process. Given the history of this project I find it incredible that simple procedural processes such as a public tendering seem to open to question. This must be got right to ensure there are no additional costs or delays in delivering this much needed, and long-awaited, National Paediatric Hospital.

“In order for this to be the case, the Minister must step in and ask the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) to substantively address any criticisms and flaws that existed in the original tendering process for contracts and, if needs be, start the tendering process again.”

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Sinn Féin councillor Sean McGlinchey has condemned those responsible for paint bomb attacks on the homes of DUP Councillor, George Duddy and others in Coleraine last night.

Councillor McGlinchey said:

"I condemn without reservation those responsible for this activity. There is no place in our society for those who attempt to intimidate others for whatever reason. 

There is no justification or excuse for such anti-community activity and I call on those involved to cease. 

"Anyone with information about any attacks whether on elected representatives - no matter their political affiliation - or on members of the public should give that information to the PSNI."

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The rules for the next round of European funding for the north and the border region must make it accessible to the most marginalised sections in society, said Sinn Féin Junior Minister Jennifer McCann MLA.

Speaking today, as she submitted Sinn Féin 's response to the consultation on the new Peace IV and Interreg V programmes, she said that the party welcomed proposals in the draft operational programme to simplify and speed up the processes of application and receipt of funds post project approval.

However Jennifer McCann also raised some serious concerns about how some sectors would be able to receive funding. 

"We are concerned that in the case of former political prisoners' groups, who have carried out sterling work funded by these programmes in the past, that - unlike in Peace III - they are not named as a target group this time around. The important work of these groups must continue to be supported and funded through the Peace IV programme."

"Similarly, despite a very positive response in the first consultation for a focus being put on the Irish language, there is no reference to an Ghaeilge at all in this latest draft.

“Irish is an important cultural symbol of identity to many here, but in addition, work ongoing in places like East Belfast show that it can be a powerful tool for cross community sharing and building mutual understanding - the exact values these programmes are about".

Ms McCann concluded:

"We will continue to raise these issues, and we look forward to the opening of the new programmes and we will work with local groups in applying for, and hopefully accessing, much needed funds to help build co-ooperation and reconciliation between all our communities.”

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Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile has condemned a series of overnight racist attacks in east Belfast. 

Speaking after windows were broken, cars damaged and racist slogans painted on walls in a number of areas in east Belfast, councillor Ó Donnghaile said; 

"This rampage of racism must be condemned by everyone. 

"We want to create a welcoming city where people from all backgrounds can live in peace, free from fear of attack. 

"The spread and scale of these attacks is very concerning and suggests a high degree of organisation. 

"There can be no place in society for racism and all sections of the community in east Belfast must stand  together and face down the racists in our midst. 

"I would call on anyone with information on these attacks to contact the PSNI so those responsible can be apprehended."

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has this morning appealed to the Taoiseach to recall the Dáil to support “an end to violence and in support of the United Nations appeal for a 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. This would send a powerful message of solidarity to the people of that region and encourage an intensification of pressure on the Israeli government to accept the United Nations ceasefire proposal.”

The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD this morning spoke to Saeb Erekat in Ramallah who is the Chief Negotiator of the Palestinian Unity government.

Mr. Adams said:

“Within the last hour I have spoken to Saeb Erekat who is the Chief Negotiator for the Palestinian government. He has asked that the Irish people and the international community support the United Nations call for a humanitarian 72 hour ceasefire.

“The Palestinian Unity government has agreed to this.

 “The government of Israel has refused.

 “He told me that there is no oil, no water, and no electricity in Gaza. Saeb described to me this current Israeli assault as seeking the total destructio

n of Gaza.

 “Last week the Irish government refused to support a UN Human Rights Council motion calling for the setting up of an International Commission of Investigation into events in that war torn region.

 “I wrote to An Taoiseach last Thursday requesting that he recall the Dáil to discuss the situation in Gaza and the position of the Irish Government. The Taoiseach has not answered my letter but he has indicated that he is not willing to accede to Sinn Féin's request for the Dáil to be reconvened, despite this call receiving support from TDs across parties and none.

“I believe that this is a mistake, particularly now that the Seanad will be reconvened to discuss this urgent issue, but also in light of the Palestinian support for the UN ceasefire call.

“The Irish government and the Dáil can provide leadership at this critical juncture as efforts are made to end the violence.

“I would appeal to the Taoiseach to request the Ceann Comhairle to immediately recall the Dáil.

“Given our own history as a people, our experience of conflict and our peace process, we can and should play a constructive role in seeking to find a resolution to conflict in the Middle East.”

Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD said:

“A recalled Dáil uniting in support of an end to violence and in support of the United Nations appeal for a 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire would send a powerful message of solidarity to the people of that region and encourage an intensification of pressure on the Israeli government to accept the United Nations ceasefire proposal.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, has today welcomed the findings of the independent review group’s report into the Department of Justice and Equality. He also said that the Government cannot shirk their responsibility for the serious failings in the Department.

Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“The findings of this report highlight what we already knew about the ‘closed, secretive and silo driven culture’ within the Department of Justice and Equality.

“However, we also know that the political management of the Department by those who were democratically elected by the people was an absolute shambles. This is shown by the startling revelation that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who was in office for over three years, didn’t once meet with the Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate Bob Olson.

“The report unfortunately doesn’t clarify what happened on the now infamous night where the then General Secretary Brian Purcell was dispatched by his political masters to the house of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan which clearly led to his resignation the next morning.

“So what we have had since then is a situation where the Minister himself and the Secretary General have had to move aside. We need the Taoiseach to urgently clarify what the message delivered was that night. We want answers.

“The confidence within the Department has been eroded and this has had a knock on effect on the delivery of policing and justice in this state.

“This report shows that there is a need for a new approach to the administration of policing and justice across the island.

 “What has been uncovered amounts to very deep-rooted and systemic deficiencies within senior levels of An Garda Síochána and other institutions of the state.

“In May of this year, Sinn Féin published our policy document ‘A New Beginning to Policing – Proposals for Reform’ that outlined our recommendations on how to reform the current system and, in light of this report, I once again urge Minister Frances Fitzgerald to take them on board and consider their implementation.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said she will continue to oppose the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the European Parliament.  

Speaking as negotiations continue on the proposed agreement between the EU and the USA, Ms Anderson said; 

"This proposed partnership has the potential to have a one of the biggest pieces of legislation ever to come before the European Parliament. 

"TTIP could see major US companies and their subsidiaries sue European governments for legislating in a way that reduces their ability to make profits. 

"That is totally unacceptable as it would allow business interests to override democratically elected institutions. 

"I and my Sinn Féin colleagues, Lynn Boylan Liadh Ní Riada and Matt Carthy, have already opposed TTIP in the European Parliament and will continue to do so. 

"Opposition to this proposed partnership is growing with trade unions, environmental groups and anti-poverty organisations voicing serious concerns about the impact this could have on Europe. 

"The discussions around TTIP need to reflect this impact, particularly on a government's right to legislate for its own people. 

"The debate needs to be open and transparent so people can learn the truth about TTIP.

"Those in favour of the legislation, including British prime minister David Cameron, have made claims about job which have been described by academics from across Europe as vastly overblown. 

"The reality is that TTIP, far from solving unemployment problems, could actually lead to the loss of one million jobs in the EU and USA." 

Videos

Demand for Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled reiterated


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Michael Colreavy TD & Cllr Darren O'Rourke