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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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Mhol an CTR Sinn Féineach Róise Ní Thoirealaigh an tAire Cultúir ó thuaidh Carál Ní Chuilín as an chosaint a rinne sí ar bhuiséad Fhoras na Gaeilge.

Bhí Ní Thoirealaigh ag labhairt i ndiaidh chruinniú den Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh/Theas in Ard Mhacha. Aontaíodh buiséad an Fhorais ag an chruinniú.

Dúirt urlabhraí Shinn Féin ar chúrsaí Gaeilge:

“Beidh Foras na Gaeilge ábalta pleanáil don todhchaí agus obair go dearfach leis an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn agus a fhorbairt.

“Tá ardmholadh tuillte ag an Aire Cultúir Carál Ní Chuilín as ucht na cosainte a rinne sí ar bhuiséad an Fhorais agus ar bhuiséad Ghníomhaireacht na hUltaise. 

“D’éirigh léi seo a dhéanamh in ainneoin phleananna rialtas na hÉireann le ciorruithe a chur i bhfeidhm.

“D’oibrigh Carál Ní Chuilín lena comhghleacaí sa Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta leis na buiséid a aimsiú agus a chosaint do na fearais seo.  

“Is fianaise í a cosaint ar na buiséid seo de thábhacht na Gaeilge agus de choimitmint Shinn Féin do chur chun cinn na teanga.”

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Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn has said he is concerned at reports of people queuing from 3am for visa renewals at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and of heavy handed treatment of vulnerable people by the Gardaí.

Speaking after hearing reports of protests outside the GNIB office at Burgh Quay this morning Deputy Mac Loochlainn;

“It is very concerning to hear of people spending hours queuing at the office in order to renew their visas. We have heard reports of people queuing from 3am in what was one of the coldest nights of winter so far.

“We have also heard reports of some particularly vulnerable people being dealt with aggressively by members of the Gardaí when protesting that there were no more slots available after waiting hours.

“I will be raising the issue with the Minister for Justice next week and calling on her to make more resources available to ensure that people do not have to continue to wait in these dire conditions simply to renew their visas.”

ENDS

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The North’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA today spoke to the Taoiseach at the meeting of the British Irish Council in the Isle of Man, on the need for an all-Ireland approach to supporting victims of abuse to access supports and justice.

Speaking after the meeting Martin McGuinness said,

“Throughout the course of the conflict many victims of abuse did not trust, or were failed by the RUC and justice system. Some of these sought to have the matter dealt with by armed republican and loyalist groups.  Many victims of abuse did not have access to supports or the justice system.  That wrong needs to be put right.

“I have written twice to the Taoiseach on this matter and today I raised the matter directly with him. I have proposed measures, which will provide and encourage victims to access supports and for those with information regarding abuse to pass it on to the relevant authorities for investigation by an Gardaí and PSNI.

“Any process must be respect the primacy of the due process of the legal system and the ongoing reviews.  I believe this could be progressed through the North South Ministerial Council.

“All victims of abuse must be treated equally and with respect as we all seek to address the failures of the past.

“I will continue to work with An Taoiseach to develop and agree proposals to meet the needs of all victims of abuse during the course of the conflict.”

ENDS 

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Dublin South West Seán Crowe TD described the HSE National Service Plan announced by the HSE as ‘not up to scratch’ and wholly insufficient for the almost daily crisis facing the health service.” The National Service Plan 2015 for the health services has been published and given full approval by the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.

The plan lays out the type and level of services that the Health Service Executive hopes to provide both directly and through agencies, funded by them

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

"By the Health Service Executive’s own admission its plan will not be ‘up to scratch’ to fully address the increasing demands being placed on our hospital system.

There is a mounting crisis facing the health service with 50,000 patients waiting for an appointment for more than a year. We have seen the waiting lists soar this year as a direct result of the earlier plan that was approved. In the first nine months this year figures suggest that there has been a 20% increase in waiting times for inpatient cases, and the number of people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment rose from 9,406 in January to 46,642 at the end of September – a whopping jump of 385%. Behind all these numbers there are real people desperately hoping for a life transforming operation or specialist medical advice. There is nothing in the plan that will reassure those waiting that numbers will be drastically reduced any time in the distant future.

"The so called ‘Fair Deal’ for elderly patients continues to underprovide with  hard pressed  families having to make up the shortfall, stretched to breaking point. There are ongoing delays in discharging patients and this has contributed in no small way by a lack of step down beds, but the plan only offers a miserly €25 million.

 “The tiny increase in numbers of doctors and nurses will be welcome, but will have no real impact considering the incremental cuts in frontline personnel in recent years.

 “Many of the other positive elements in this plan have already announced.  There will be a broad welcome for the additional €20m funding for disability services, but again this will be seen as playing ‘catch up’.

 “Sinn Féin’s alternative budget published in early October would have provided an additional €31 million for these services, openly acknowledging that even that would not be enough due to years of severe underfunding.

“€25m is allocated for free GP care for children under the age of 6, but there is still uncertainty surrounding the so called ‘nominal’ charge by GPs for this care.

 “This plan is being promoted as adding an extra €625 million to the health spend next year, but €510 million is  already part of the 2014 overspend carried forward, so that will leave an additional €115 million.

 “Knowing only too well the HSE’s history the likelihood is that much of this will be used to paper over existing cracks rather than any thought-out patient centred plan

“The plan also aims to cut spending on patent drugs with a greater emphasis on alternative generics.

 “There is a general consensus among those interested in health that the spend on agency staff particularly in the nursing area, has to be reduced  but it cannot be done in isolation and  without also looking at any possible impact this will have on health delivery.

 “This proposed plan is ‘not up to scratch,’ appears to have been cobbled together and gives us little new  content, unfortunately nothing that would give a person waiting on services any great confidence.”

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Commenting this evening on remarks by Enda Kenny that the next election will be a choice between a Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD called on the Taoiseach ‘to resign and call an election and let the people have their say now.’

Teachta Adams said:

“The next election will be about the direction our society takes. Will it be more austerity and bad politics by the conservative parties or do we grasp the opportunity for new politics, for real change and a more transparent and accountable system of government?

“I believe that citizens want a change from the conservative politics of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and Labour and are open to voting for genuine republican politics.

“Since taking office Fine Gael and Labour under Enda Kenny’s leadership has stumbled from one debacle to another. Their policies have been rejected and the Government now faces widespread public anger.

“Government support has now been eroded beyond the point where they can claim a mandate for what they are doing.

“The Taoiseach should allow citizens to make a choice. He should resign and call a General Election. Let the people decide.”

ENDS

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan MEP has reiterated her strong continuing solidarity with the Palestinian people and her support for the recognition of Palestinian statehood.

This expression of solidarity comes ahead of tomorrow's UN International Day of Solidarity with Palestine.

Speaking today Ms Boylan said:

 "I wish to particularly express my solidarity with the people of Gaza, still suffering following the deadly Israeli onslaught this summer which saw over 2000 Palestinians lose their lives. The UN has just declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip after two days of heavy rain led to severe flooding. Over 400,000 Palestinians were displaced since the most recent conflict and many Gazan families were already facing into a cold winter without electricity or running water after homes and buildings were bombarded by Israeli forces.

The international community has already pledged over €4.3 billion for rebuilding Gaza, with the Irish government promising €2.5m in funding. Will this prove to be a waste of taxpayers money if the conflict escalates again? Why is the EU footing the bill for Israel's criminality? Surely Israel should be forced to foot this bill?

The international community is also complicit in the destruction of Gaza by the Israeli military, as much of weaponry used was purchased from other countries.  I’m reiterating my colleague Martina Andersons’ call that Ireland must end its arms trade with Israel. 

A recent report by Trócaire highlighted the fact that from 2011-14 the Irish government paid almost €3 million to an Israeli firm which provides equipment for the apartheid wall surrounding the occupied West Bank. The Irish Defence Forces also bought ten ground surveillance radar systems from this firm.

Next month in Strasbourg GUE/NGL MEPs will call on the European Parliament to stand with the 135 countries that already recognise the state of Palestine when a plenary vote on recognising Palestine takes place.

This would send an important message of support to the struggle of the Palestinian people against occupation and would be an important step towards a just and peaceful two-state solution."

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said European funding makes a genuine difference to the lives of thousands of people each day in the North. 

Speaking after addressing the European Regional Forum event in Belfast this morning, Ms Anderson   said; 

"There is no doubt that membership of the European Union makes a huge contribution to everyday life in the North. 

"Today's event was about maximising the benefits of European engagement and to explore new ways of realising the potential that Europe holds. 

"I told the delegates that every piece of work I take on in Brussels and Strasbourg is done on he basis that it will benefit the people I represent. 

"In particular, I highlighted the role that I have played in Europe in the campaign against so-called 'legal highs'. 

"To date, as a result of working closely with Belfast City Council and the Attorney General, we have been able to stop the sale of these toxic and potentially deadly substances in Belfast. 

"I also updated delegates on my role as chair of the European Parliament's Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council in promoting and defending the rights of the Palestinian people."

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Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin who is also the chair of the health committee at Stormont has welcomed the appointment of Dr Michael McBride to the position of Head of the Belfast Trust stating that the Department of Health must provide the support he needs to turn the Trust's fortunes around. 

Speaking today Ms McLaughlin said: 

"I welcome the appointment of Dr Michael McBride to the position of Head of the Belfast Trust.

"It is a position that will present great challenges that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"The Trust has been rudderless for too long given that it has not had a head of operations in place in over 7 months and it has been in the headlines over this period for all the wrong reasons.

"Mr McBride will undoubtedly have to hit the ground running and he must receive any support he needs from the department of Health in order to turn the Trust’s fortunes around."

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to ensure that the victims of Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí are given access to the report of the internal garda review of the investigation.

Teachta McDonald has reacted to a statement from the Department of Justice which said her claims were incorrect and untrue.

She said;

“We know that the internal garda review concluded in July. We know that the victims have been denied access to that review.

“Minister Fitzgerald should confirm when she received the report and ensure that the victims have access to it.

“It is also our understanding, and the understanding of the victims, that the HSE Tusla inquiry has been delayed because information is required from An Garda Síochana and the Department of Justice.

“I am calling on Minister Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan to ensure that this information is passed on.

“Far from telling untruths or being incorrect, yesterday I raised a very important and specific issue. The Tánaiste decided to deflect attention away by slurring my party.

“If she was not briefed on the issue she would have been better served by giving an assurance to look into the matter rather than engaging in cheap political point scoring with such a sensitive issue.”

ENDS

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