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Gerry Adams launches Sinn Féin proposals for 1916 Revolutionary Quarter

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that 2016, the 1916 Centenary is marked in the most appropriate way possible, as a fitting popular acknowledgement of the past but also, and just as importantly, as a pointer to a better future.

Sinn Féin is not opposed to sensible welfare reforms. We are opposed to the agenda, which seeks to make the most vulnerable and ordinary working families pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers


 “The PSNI were on the scene but despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the PSNI failed to take any action.”



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Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann described the annual Iveagh House lecture delivered tonight by US Congressman John Lewis in Dublin as ‘inspirational’.

The US Congressman was speaking to an audience, invited by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, about the US Civil Rights movement and its impact around the globe.

Former leader of the People’s Democracy movement in the North, Michael Farrell, also addressed the audience of human and civil rights activists, political activists, lawyers and academics.

Jennifer McCann said the lecture had been ‘hugely enjoyable and informative’.

“Congressman Lewis brought a wealth of information and personal experience to the lecture on the US Civil Rights movement and its struggle for equality,” she said.

“He emphasised the absolute need for equality and human rights for all to underpin society.

“He made the connections between the demands of the civil rights movements in the US and in Ireland.

“The audience included Geraldine and John Finucane, the wife and son of murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, and the Congressman’s contribution on the importance of human rights was inspiring.”

Congressman Lewis is due to travel to the North later this week to meet with political parties and the priests of Clonard monastery.

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Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Lynn Boylan has today criticised Labour’s Education Minister for picking a fight with teachers this week instead of taking the conferences as an opportunity to learn about the negative impact of his budget decisions on the education system.

Lynn Boylan said:

“Building a positive relationship with teachers during a time of recession is a challenging prospect for any Education Minister. Over the last number of years teachers like all public sector workers have had their wages significantly reduced and those coming into the system are faced with short term contracts and lower rates of pay than their colleagues.

“That is the context against which this week’s teacher conferences have taken place. The Labour Minister’s response has been to pick a fight with teachers instead of taking the conferences as an opportunity to learn about the negative impact of his budget decisions on the education system.

“Teaching hours have increased as has the demand on teachers dealing with the fall out of Labour and Fine Gael’s socially regressive right wing austerity policies. Year after year Sinn Féin has published detailed and costed alternative budgets which met the government’s deficit reduction targets and sought to protect critical frontline services like education.

“Sinn Fein is fully committed to the delivery of an education system that serves all children equally and that is why we have chosen the Department of Education in the Assembly for three consecutive terms since 1998. We have worked hard to close the performance gap, increasing access and equality and transforming education management and resourcing frontline services and delivery.

“Despite £4 billion of cuts imposed by the British Tory government on the Executive and Assembly budget Sinn Fein in government identified expenditure savings which minimised cuts to education. Sinn Féin Education Minister John O’Dowd has, during his in term in office, secured substantial additional resources to reduce pressures on schools budgets.

“Politics and government is all about choices and as Social Justice Ireland and the OECD have shown it is the most vulnerable who have been targeted time and again by Labour and Fine Gael’s right wing austerity policies. Policies let’s not forget that were first set out by Fianna Fáil and adopted by the current government on taking up office in 2011.”

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Speaking following the events of the teacher conferences over the past few days, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD said it was clear that there is now a massive gulf between the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and the teachers expected to deliver the Minister’s reforms.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“Having attended the teacher conferences over the past few days, it is now very clear that there is a massive gulf between the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and the teachers expected to deliver the Minister’s reforms.

“Given the pressure teachers are under to deliver for students while facing increasing cutbacks to the education sector, it is not surprising that they would have a fairly strong reaction to the Minister’s contributions.

“I am very concerned that the Minister has floated the idea that Higher Level Maths should be made a requirement for teaching at primary level.

“The students who study for primary teaching degrees come from the top 15% of Leaving Cert students and the work that they put in should not be undermined or diminished by an ill-thought out notion that that their 460 or 550 points don’t have the same value because they didn’t take honours maths.

“The Minister hasn’t stated what this is based on and I would call on the Government to ensure that education policy is based on evidence and best practice and I am unconvinced that teachers taking honours maths at Leaving Cert is an antidote to the deficiencies in teacher training or the lack of additional learning support for maths that are intensive and individualised.

“Last year teachers were forced to accept Haddington Road and now between this proposal and the Minister continuing to push through Junior Cert reforms without the necessary resources and training, I am very concerned as to how this is going to play out.

“I am calling on the Minister to set aside his differences with the unions and sit down and talk with the teachers who he is expecting to deliver his reforms.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan has called on farmers and rural businesses to sign up to Broadband Enabling Technology, which could provide speeds of up to 2Mbps.

 Ms. McGahan said,

 “At present there is no high speed broadband in rural areas and while it is imperative that we continue to campaign to have it implemented I welcome the latest initiative from BT. 

 “Using Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) BT may be able to provide a broadband service of 2Mbps over their existing line for farmers or other registered businesses.

 “While these speeds are not as fast as high end speeds currently experienced elsewhere they do offer a broadband service to areas where none currently exist.

 “I would urge farmers and rural businesses to check out if they are eligible to access the service by completing the eligibility form on www.fasterbroadbandni.com/faq-builder.php.

 “I have also contacted BT and asked them to provide an alternative application method as many people looking to apply don’t have Internet to download the application.

 “This stopgap cannot be a substitute for proper high speed broadband that rural communities deserve and Sinn Féin will continue to work until these communities get equality in infrastructure to attract inward investment and give householders the same access to the Internet as everyone else.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Sport & Tourism Sandra McLellan TD will today lead an Oireachtas delegation to meet Minster for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan to discuss the development of Moore Street.

Deputy McLellan said:

“We are meeting the Minister to reiterate our opposition to the planned destruction of the "lanes of history" associated with the 1916 Rising. The government cannot be allowed oversee destruction of Moore Street

“The Oireachtas Group on Moore Street supports the call of the 1916 Relatives for the full preservation of the historic terrace on Moore Street.

"We will be telling Minister Deenihan that the revised Chartered Land plan is unacceptable.

“We accept, however, that the plan was modified to take into account the Minister's decision regarding the preservation of the National Monument , 14-17 Moore St. But unfortunately these new plans would still see the destruction of most of the east side of Moore St. This is the block occupied by the Republican forces at the end of the 1916 Easter Rising.

"Sinn Féin fully supports the call of the 1916 relatives for the full preservation of the historic terrace and that the Chartered Land revised plan is unacceptable.

“People in all parties feel very strong on this issue and the proposed levelling of most of this area for a giant shopping mall will not be tolerated.

“Sinn Féin wants to see Moore Street fully preserved and developed as the cornerstone of a 1916 Revolutionary Quarter incorporating Moore Street surrounding lanes of history and the GPO, as outlined in our proposal document launched by the party’s president Gerry Adams TD on Easter Sunday ."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has criticised the lack of binding targets to be included in the Government’s Climate Change legislation, as outlined in the heads of the Bill published today by Minister Phil Hogan.

Deputy Stanley said:

“While I welcome the decision at long last to proceed with legislation, the failure to set binding targets will be a fatal flaw in any legislation. In the absence of targets the legislation will amount to no more than aspirations. The Minister claims that we will have to abide by EU targets. If so why not include them in the Bill?

“What we need is specific targets to be set, and for that to be combined with an overall strategy for the renewable energy sector that will set out a road map for reducing our dependence on and use of imported fossil fuels.

“The absence of an overall climate change and energy policy has meant, and will continue to mean that we allow the agenda to be set by private operators, as we have seen in the case of the abandoned project to export wind generated electricity rather than utilise renewables to reduce our CO emissions, as ought to be the objective of any climate change legislation.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has today condemned the decision by Minister Joan Burton to cease social welfare support for those returning to education to attain a teaching qualification.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“From this September Back to Education Allowance will no longer be available to people who wish to qualify as teachers. In taking this decision the Minister for Social Protection is closing off access to teaching profession for people dependent on social welfare.

“This decision will impact on people who have already commenced down a career path and are in the process of obtaining a primary degree with a view to following this with the relevant teaching qualification.

“They would have commenced down this path in the knowledge that the necessary post-graduate course, which was a Higher Diploma, was covered by Back to Education Allowance but they will now find their career path has been closed down.

“From September the H Dip is being replaced with a Professional Masters in Education and the Minister is opportunistically using this changeover as an opportunity to cease BTEA cover, rather than logically extending the BTEA to the new secondary school teachers’ qualification.

“The teaching profession should not be the preserve of the wealthy. It is in everyone’s interests that we would continue to have a social mix of teachers qualifying into the future

“The Minister’s change will also prevent those with a BA, Bsc, or BCom who have not been able to find work from returning to education to enhance their degree with the teaching qualification as they would have been able to do in the past.

“I have written to the Minister and asked her to reverse her decision and reinstate Back to Education Allowance support for social welfare recipients to pursue a career in teaching.”

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