Top Stories

No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


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



Latest Statements

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said today those who burn tyres on bonfires should be prosecuted rather than farmers using them for legitimate business purposes. 

The Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson said; 

"I have been made aware of an incident where a farmer could face prosecution for moving tyres on his own land. 

"Many farmers use tyres as an essential part of their business and they are fully entitled under the law to do so. 

"Yet we are now facing the ridiculous situation where farmers are receiving letters from the Environmental Crime Unit of the NI Environment Agency telling them they are being investigated and could be interviewed under caution. 

"These letters contain highly charged language and are causing great distress in the farming community.

"I have written to the Environment Agency and the Environment Minister asking for details on how many farmers are being investigated and how many non-farming businesses are under investigation regarding tyres. 

"I have also asked has the Environmental Crime Unit sent any letters to individuals or groups involved in burning tyres on bonfires. 

"Farmers are a soft target rather than pursuing those causing serious environmental damage burning tyres on bonfires close to the homes, schools, hospitals and businesses and damaging people's health in the process. 

"The farming community on the other hand works daily to protect and conserve our environment and contributes to the economy" 

Toggle

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny to head up an initiative on behalf of the Irish State to secure European Union support for practical measures aimed at a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Adams has written to the Taoiseach and a number of EU premiers asking them to use the space created by the recent ceasefire announcement in Gaza, to work to obtain a resolution at the United Nations Security Council requesting the resumption of serious peace negotiations within a defined period of time.

Gerry Adams said:

“The international community must now ensure that the ceasefire is respected and sustained but what is also clear is the need for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It cannot be acceptable for this conflict to erupt with depressing frequency every few years leading to thousands of needless deaths.

“With this in mind I have written to a number of EU premiers asking them to work to obtain a resolution at the United Nations Security Council requesting the resumption of serious peace negotiations within a defined period of time.

“These should be aimed at securing a two-State solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the borders of 4th of June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its Capital. All European states should now formally recognize the State of Palestine.

“I believe also that European states should support the deployment of a UN protection force in Gaza on the lines of that deployed in Kosovo.

“I have also written to An Taoiseach, asking him to support this approach and to head up an initiative on behalf of the Irish State to achieve these objectives.

“It is clear that the people of Gaza need urgent and massive humanitarian aid. There is now a pressing need to rebuild Gaza. There are now 450,000 people there without homes. There is no electricity, no running water and no sewage system as hundreds of thousands of boys and girls are due to start a new school year. The international community must begin immediately to restore the food, medical, fuel, and electricity needs of 1.7 million people.

“The people of Gaza and of the Palestinian territories need hope. They need to believe that there is a real possibility of positive change in their conditions. They need their rights as human beings and their national rights as Palestinians respected and upheld by the international community. They also need to know that international law will be respected. The Irish Government must do all that it can to ensure that international law is upheld and I have asked the Taoiseach you use his influence with our EU partners to advance this.

“I have travelled to the region on several occasions and have met many of the representatives of the Palestinian people, including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. I have also met Israeli representatives. In my conversations I have stressed that inclusive dialogue, involving substantive and inclusive negotiations, and involving all of the participants is the only way forward. They need the help of the international community to achieve this and I am appealing to the Irish Government to use its influence positively in this regard.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD has today called for a ban on vending machines selling sugary drinks to be implemented in schools to reduce health risks for young people. He criticised Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s refusal to act on the matter, blaming the chronic underfunding of schools on the use of vending machines to generate income.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“Schools are paid between €3,500 and €4,000 a year per vending machine on their premises. This is a significant amount of income for any school that is underfunded by the Department of Education. While schools recognise that sugary drinks are not beneficial to the wellbeing of their students, it seems that the need for increased funding has led to this unfavourable situation.

"Schools cannot be blamed for trying to make the best of a bad situation when they are strapped for resources and presented with a relatively easy source of funds following years of cutbacks.

“The Minister must ensure that vending machines selling unhealthy foods are banned and that, in their place, schools receive adequate funding to both educate students about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to provide healthy food options at lunch time.

“A healthy and balanced lifestyle is key to the growth and learning capabilities of children and young people and must be a priority for schools and the Department of Education alike.

“I urge the Minister to reconsider her position and to implement a ban on sugary drinks in schools to reduce health risks among our young people.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has stated the Government is refusing to deal with the mortgage crisis.

Deputy Doherty was speaking following the release of new figures from the Central Bank which show that there are still 90,343 mortgages in arrears of ninety days or more.

He said:

“It is frightening to think that the financial pressure created by this situation is negatively impacting more lives than the number of people who filed into Croke Park to watch the All-Ireland Football Semi-Finals at the weekend. That is the scale on the crisis at it stands. It cannot be hidden by the government spinning a slight reduction as a success.

“The reality is that here are no grounds for celebration in these figures. They confirm once again that this government will play no hand in solving the mortgage crisis. Minister Noonan will not step in to make banks pass on interest rates or cut excessive pay and he will not step in to tell them to get real about the mortgage crisis. This government is content to let the mortgage crisis unwind at the pace of the banks’ choosing. The increase in long term arrears points to this fact.

“Last month the Oireachtas Finance Committee produced a report following exchanges with the banks and mortgage holders’ groups. That cross-party Report contained 47 recommendations on how the Mortgage Arrears Process could be improved. There is no evidence that any one of those recommendations has been implemented.”

Toggle

Tá an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh as Gaillimh ag impí ar an Aire Sláinte, Leo Varadkar dul i dteagmháil le Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte (FSS) chun cuidiú le fadsaoil Andrew Lydon, atá ag fulaingt leis an ngalar Motor Neuron, a chinntiú.

Deir Seanadóir Shinn Féin:

"Deimhníodh trí bliana ó shoin d’athair beirt chlainne, Andrew Lydon as Conamara, go raibh MND air. Creideann seisean dá ligfí dó obráíd ar a dtugtar tracheostomy air a fháil, go gcuirfí go mór leis na seansanna go mairfidh sé níos faide. Ach, níl an FSS sásta ceadú dó an obráíd a bheith aige in Éirinn.

"Maíonn Andrew nach bhfuil ach cúigear nó seisear daoine in Éirinn gach bliain a bheadh feiliúnach agus toilteanach an obráid seo a bheith acu agus go bhfuil an seans seo dhá cheilt orthu ag an FSS. Measann sé go bhfuil an cleachtas seo ag sárú an ceart atá aige féin chun na beatha.

"Creideann sé mar shaoránach de chuid na tire seo, go bhfuil dualgas ar an stát a bheatha a chaohmnú. Deir sé gurb í an fhadhb atá ann ná nach bhfuil an cúigear nó seisear seo le cloisteáil sách ard ar chúl na mascanna ocsaigín atá orthu le go mbeidís ina údar imní don stát.

"Tá mé ag iarraidh an an Aire Varadkar labhairt leis an FSS féachaint céard is féidir a dhéanamh maidir le cás Andrew agus chun fad a chur lena shaol, sa gcaoi go mbeidh seans aige a chuid páisti a fheiceáil ag fás agus níos mó ama a chaitheamh leo. Creideann Andrew gur ionann don FSS gan cinneadh a ghlacadh agus cead a thabhairt dó bás a fháil go luath.

"Tá sé íorónach gur úsáideadh cuid mhaith acmhainní de chuid an stát le deanaí le cásanna dlí a throid chun an ceart chun na beatha a chosaint agus go bhfuil fear againn anseo atá ag troid chun fad a chur lena shaol féin agus nach bhfuil siad ag tabhairt tacaíocht iomlán dó. ‘Tá feachtas dá chuid féin tosaithe ag Andrew leis an t-airgead a theastaionn don obráid agus I dtreo na gcostas iarchúram a bhailliú agus tá sé ag iarraidh ar an bpobal cabhrú tríd síntiúis a thabhairt ag www.andrewlydontrust.com más féidir leo.

"Caithfidh an tAire agus an FSS gach gur féidir leo a dhéanamh chun cabhrú leis an bhfear óg seo an caighdeán saoil is fearr gur féidir a bheith aige agus chun cur leis na seansanna atá aige a chlann a fheiceáil ag fás gan leithscéalta maoinithe a bheith mar bhac ar sin".

Toggle

Galway Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is calling on Health Minister Leo Varadkar to intervene with the HSE to help extend the life expectancy of Motor Neuron Disease sufferer, Andrew Lydon.

The Sinn Féin Senator said:

“Father of two, Andrew Lydon, from Connemara was diagnosed with MND three years ago. He believes that if he is allowed to have an operation called a tracheostomy; his life expectancy will improve significantly. But the HSE will not agree to him having the operation in Ireland.

“Andrew maintains that every year there are only five or six people in Ireland who would be suitable and would opt for this type of operation and that they are denied that choice by the HSE. He considers this to be a violation of his right to life. “He believes, as a citizen of the state, that the state has a duty to protect his life. He maintains that the trouble is that these five or six people can’t shout loud enough to worry the state and with their ventilation masks on they can hardly be heard at all.

“I am calling on Minister Varadkar to discuss Andrew’s case with the HSE to see what can be done to assist him and to extend his life expectancy, so he can see his children grow up and spend more time with them. Andrew believes that by taking no decision the HSE are allowing him to die by default.

“It is ironic that the state recently expended huge resources in fighting court cases on the right to life and that now we have a man fighting to extend his and they are not giving him their full support.

“Andrew has started his own campaign now to raise the funds he needs to have this operation done and to go towards providing the support needed afterwards and he is asking the public for their support by donating at www.andrewlydontrust.com.

“The Minister and the HSE must do all in their power to help this young father have the best quality of care, for him to extend his chances of seeing his family grow up and not use financial concerns as the barrier to that happening”.

Toggle

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey on presenting a cheque to Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians said it was important that aid continues to flow to the people of Gaza.

Accompanied by MLA Gerry Kelly and party councillors at Belfast City Hall, the West Belfast MP was presenting the cheque for £3,350 collected by Sinn Féin activists in Belfast over recent weeks.

Paul Maskey said:

“The people of Gaza are under severe pressure after the recent murderous onslaught they suffered.

“Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians do great work in helping the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank and any contribution will help in some small way.”

“It will take months if not longer for the people of Gaza to get their lives back to any resemblance of normality.

“The infrastructure and daily necessities are very scarce on the ground after the Israeli bombardment.

“Hopefully this small gesture from the people of Belfast will help in some way and I would encourage people to keep up their donations, whether that be financial or clothes etc, to the Palestinian people.”

Toggle

In an article in today’s Irish News Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD outlines Sinn Féin’s opposition to welfare cuts. 

Sinn Féin have been accused of accused of having no ideological basis for our opposition to Tory welfare cuts.

Either those making the accusations haven’t been listening or has chosen to ignore what Sinn Féin has been saying.

I have long argued for a rights-based, citizen-centred society. Sinn Féin's commitment is to the republican ideals of equality and social justice for all citizens. No-one therefore should be surprised when this results in a consistency of political policy.

Sinn Féin is politically and ideologically opposed to austerity in Ireland - north and south - and in Europe. There is a fallacy that our opposition to austerity is merely to do with an electoral calculation in the south. This is nonsense.

There is nothing in republican ideology that seeks to create a 'benefit-dependent nation' but what Sinn Féin will do is campaign for the right of people to live free of poverty and inequality.

'Welfare reform' is a misnomer for what is taking place under the Tories, which is an attack on the most vulnerable, the sick, disabled, those out of work because of Westminster's policies, and those on low incomes.

These citizens are being made to pay for the excesses and recklessness of property speculators, developers, bankers and tax dodgers. This is being imposed by a British cabinet of millionaires with no experience, understanding or regard for life in the north of Ireland or indeed in working-class communities in Britain.

Tory policy threatens to destroy the economy through savage cuts to public funding and welfare. The implementation of these measures in England has been a complete disaster and has plunged thousands into poverty and deprivation.

The north is a society emerging from decades of conflict. Clearly, you cannot apply here that which applies in England and Wales. What we need is investment in jobs and business, not the removal of £1.9 billion from the economy.

Citizens most directly affected by the conflict are among those suffering the highest levels of deprivation. The percentage of people in receipt of disability benefits is higher in the north than anywhere else in Ireland or Britain. Welfare cuts will merely worsen their situation.

Before the term 'welfare reform' was mooted, the Tories were imposing cuts by reneging on the St Andrew’s commitment of £18bn and imposing a £4bn cut to the block grant. These cuts impacted upon services and the present health crisis in the north can be traced back to these cuts.

At the time when other parties said such cuts were insurmountable Sinn Féin produced a paper on how we could raise up to £1.6bn to offset them. We refused to sign off on the budget until other parties also came to the position of looking at alternative ways of raising money to protect services.

The financial powers currently retained by Westminster should be devolved to the executive because people here are at the mercy of an unaccountable Tory regime, determined to penalise the poor.

Sinn Féin has consistently produced proposals proving there is an alternative to cuts. Welfare cuts should be opposed by a united executive. They are a blow to the rights and welfare of ordinary Protestant working class families as they are to their Catholic neighbours.

It would suit the DUP better to defend the rights and welfare entitlements of working class unionists and loyalists than expend energy on bringing people onto the streets over the flying of flags or the right of Orangemen to parade wherever they please.

Of course, this merely underlines my contention that this is a fundamentally a question of ideology - of what type of society you want to build.

Those politicians now predicting that the sky will fall unless welfare cuts are imposed are the same politicians who were prepared to roll over on the issue of water charges and who told the public then that the taps would be turned off.

Sinn Féin faced down prophets of doom then and we can do so again with the support of citizens, the other parties and civic society."

Toggle

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has joined calls for action to be taken to save St. Brigids Boxing Club in Kildare town.  Mr. Carthy visited the club last Friday, 29th August, and met with Head Coach Pat Phelan to discuss concerns for the club’s future.

St. Brigids Boxing Club has been operating out of its current premises for five years but is now threatened with closure as the unit in which it is housed is being sold by the National Asset Management Agency.

Speaking following his visit the Midlands North West MEP confirmed that he has written to the Minister for Sport, NAMA chairperson Frank Daly and the Ministers for Finance calling for action to secure the future of the club.

Mr. Carthy said: 

“This club is an asset to its local community.  It has over 150 members, has produced many champions and has provided an outlet for many young people in the area.  The present location and facilities are perfect for the Club and try as they might the members have not been able to find alternative suitable accommodation in the area. 

“Since my meeting with Head Coach, Pat Phelan, and other members of the club I have written to NAMA chairman Frank Daly to explore ways of ensuring the future of the Boxing Club.  Section 2 of the NAMA Act states that it shall be an objective of the Agency to contribute to employment and economic recovery and to the achievement of broader social and economic policy objectives.  The closure of St. Brigids Boxing Club would run counter to this objective”.

Carthy continued:

“The closure of such a facility is an outrage considering two in three adults and one in four children in Ireland are overweight or obese. An estimated 90% of people in Ireland will be obese by 2030 unless drastic action is taken, experts have warned.  Reports from the Irish Sports Council indicate that only 19% of primary school and 12% of post-primary school children are meeting Department of Health and Children physical activity recommendations.  Sporting clubs are at the forefront in the battle to address this deficiency.

“I have also written to the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohoe, calling for political intervention to save the club.  It is not good enough for politicians to heap praise on Olympic medal winning boxers such as Katie Taylor while at the same time failing to provide adequate supports for clubs such as St. Brigids.”

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh