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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



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



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The Chairperson of the Commission for Energy Regulation, Garrett Blayney, today admitted that domestic water charges may increase substantially when the current charges regime comes to an end in December 2016. Questioned by Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD, Mr. Blaney said that it was “too early to say” at what rate charges would be billed once the current government subventions, allowances and reliefs which are currently available come to an end.

Deputy Stanley said:

“The Commissioner confirmed that Government subventions and allowances, as well as the tax and social welfare reliefs contained in last week’s Budget, are keeping the water charges at a current average of €278 per household. Were they not to be in place, the average rate would be €594.

“Even that figure could be surpassed if the entire costs of Irish water are passed on to households after 2016. Given that the current allowances will end following the next election, the suspicion has to be that they are a stop gap designed for political purposes in order to save the two government parties, and in particular the Labour Party, from the wrath of the electorate.”

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D’iarr Teachta Shinn Féin Peadar Tóibin ar an Aire Iompair miniú a thabhairt ar an athrú intinne maidir leis an ngeallúint a thug a réamhtheachtaí ar comharthaí bóthair Beárla agus Gaeilge a chuir ar chomhchéim.

Dúirt an Teachta Tóibín:

“Dheimhnigh an tiar-Aire Iompair liom i mbliana gur chuir sé iarratas faoi bhráid Údarás um Bóithre Náisiúnta (NRA) togra treorach a chuir ar bun chun go mbeadh an Ghaeilge agus an Béarla ar chomhchéim ar chomharthaí bóthair na tíre.

“Bunaíodh na comharthaí nua-cheaptha seo ar mholtaí Chonradh na Gaeilge. Ní raibh costas breise ar na comharthaí – bhíodar le teacht isteach I gcomharbacht ar na seanchinn. Bhí tacaíocht láidir i measc na ndaoine don bheartas seo de réir pobalbhreith a scaipeadh le déanaí.

“Faraor, taispeántar dúinn nach bhfuil suim dá laghad an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn ag Fine Gael. Is údar frustrachais agus díomá dom go bhfuil Paschal Donohoe ag dul siar ar ordú an iar-Aire Iompair.

“Ná déanfaimis dearmad gur cheap an Taoiseach fear gan Gaeilge líofa mar Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta agus nár cuireadh aon airgead breise ar fáil don Údarás, do Fhoras na Gaeilge nó do Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge fiú. Is léir go bhfuil Fine Gael in aghaidh dul chun cinn na Gaeilge.

“Tá súil agam go seasfaidh an tAire Iompar, Turasóireachta agus Spóirt ós cómhar na Dála agus mínú a thabhairt maidir lena chinneadh dul siar ar an mbeart bheag, beart nach mbeadh costas breise leis agus a chabhródh go mór tacú leis an nGaeilge.

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Sinn Fein TD Peadar Tóibín has today called on the Transport Minister to come before the Dáil and explain his decision to roll back on his predecessor’s commitment to introduce road signage to give the Irish language parity with English on the country’s roads.

The Meath West TD said:

“In May of this year the former Transport Minister confirmed with me that he had asked the National Roads Authority to pilot a scheme of newly-designed road signs to give the Irish language parity with English on the country’s roads.

“These newly designed signs were based on recommendations set out in a study by Conradh na Gaeilge. The new signs were to be introduced on a phased basis as old ones needed replacement making the measure cost neutral, a decision the majority of citizens polled supported. They were also to be similar to those used safely in other countries’. 

“Yet again Fine Gael has shown it has absolutely no interest is supporting or promoting the Irish language. It is deeply disappointing and indeed frustrating that Paschal Donohoe appears to have now rolled back on the former Minister for Transport’s commitment.

“Let’s not forget the Taoiseach just recently appointed a Minister of State for the Gaeltacht who does not have working Irish, and no additional public monies have been allocated to the Údarás capital budget, Foras na Gaeilge or indeed the Implementation of the 20-year Strategy on the Irish language. It appears Fine Gael in government is actively working against the survival of the Irish language.

“'I hope that the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport will come before the Dáil to explain why he has decided to roll back on this small cost free measure that would in time have a significant impact in supporting the Irish language.”

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Speaking during the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation investigation on public procurement today Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín stated that government policy in this area is a disaster and is actively anti jobs. 

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said:

“It is shocking that comprehensive data on public procurement is not available and the government has no clear idea on the expenditure and leakage of citizen’s money. The most complete and recent set of data the government has is from 2011. 

“With regards procurement leaked out of the state Ireland is the poster boy for all the wrong reasons. It is estimated that 27% of all public procurement leaves the state. This is far higher than the EU average and it means the loss of just under €2 billion and 20,000 jobs.  

“The system is set up so that 95% of all Irish business is locked out of the €8.5 billion tendering spend. Unreasonable prequalification criteria practically exclude SMES from pitching for business. 

“Cost criteria does not take into consideration the real economic cost of the loss of contracts outside the state. The cost of social welfare to be paid to those made redundant by loss of contracts and the loss of both business and individual taxes. It does not take into account the multiplier effect of local investment.

“Government policy includes no real objectives or Key Performance Indicators for SME participation in the procurement process. There is a complete disconnect between the enterprise development organisations and the Office of Government Procurement. 

“We see regularly contractors buy tenders with below cost bids and then squeeze either subcontractors or workers for this cost. This can be seen at the Kishogue site where workers are on strike for the payment of wages of less than €5 an hour. This is an intolerable situation where government policy is closing the doors of local business and pushing workers into poverty.” 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that Irish Water as an entity is toxic and cannot be left with responsibility for the delivery of water services.

While struggling families could not afford the Water Charges or the newly revealed call-out charge, executives at Irish Water were in line for bonus payments.

Addressing the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny in the Dáil today, Gerry Adams said:

“From the outset, Irish Water has been mired in scandal. The manner in which this company was established, how it has been managed, and the unfair imposition of Water Charges has been chaotic and farcical.

“Now it has emerged that Irish Water will hit struggling families with a hugely expensive call-out charge of €180 to repair leaking pipes! Meanwhile, senior management at Irish Water are paid hugely exorbitant salaries. And over the weekend we learned that these same executives are in line for bonus payments despite the very obvious management failings.

“Taoiseach, this is despite your guarantees that there wouldn't be a bonus culture in Irish Water! You told me here on 7th October that no bonuses would be paid.”

Mr Adams said the latest noises from government appear designed to scapegoat the board and senior management team at Irish Water. But he said the “fiasco” was the creation of the government.

He said:

“Irish Water as an entity is toxic; that in its present form, it cannot be left with responsibility for the delivery of water services in this state and that it must be fundamentally and radically reformed into a single utility that acts in the interests of citizens.

“The message sent loudly and clearly by citizens in the recent by-elections and by the thousands who recently took to the streets of Dublin, was that any reform must include the complete abolition of domestic water charges, which he said many families simply could not pay.

“Irish Water has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with the Fine Gael/Labour Government - cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and escalating taxes on struggling families.

Mr Adams made a public appeal for to mobilise against the Water Tax on November the 1st.

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has spoken out strongly against an obsession with economic austerity policies in Europe and in Ireland.

Matt Carthy was speaking today from the European Parliament in Strasbourg during a debate on the European Semester for economic policy coordination.

Carthy stated:

"Countries that have needed a new radical economic policy have instead been subjected to a disastrous agenda which has resulted in high levels of public debt and unemployment. Those jobs that are being created in many cases are low paid and short term.

"In Ireland we've seen the devastating results of our government's obsession with an austerity policy. In my own constituency entire rural communities have been left desolate with no employment opportunities for the young resulting in mass emigration from these areas.

"The Irish government has now created a two-tier recovery that has yet to reach those families that actually suffered most throughout the recession and it appears that the European Commission are also cheerleading this approach.

 "To achieve any kind of sustainable fiscal adjustment the sole priority should be to achieve full employment.

 "The failure of austerity policies and the ineffectiveness of the current monetary policy is obvious to the citizens that we represent. Too many here today, I fear, are blind to the requirement for a real stimulus package that will reinvigorate our domestic economies".

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Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North West Matt Carthy has today called on the Government to change the legislation in order for childcare facilities to be exempt from commercial rates.

Mr Carthy said:

“Commercial rates on community and private childcare facilities increase the costs on parents, many of whom are already struggling.  Numerous childcare providers and anxious parents have been in contact with me in relation to their increased concern on this issue and many local authorities have supported Sinn Féin motions calling for the exemption of childcare facilities from commercial rates.

“However, it is disappointing that the Government, by refusing to take action on this matter to date, has effectively ignored the views of local elected representatives, demonstrated by the motions carried in several local authorities.

“The Government must recognise that this issue primarily affects working families across this state – the squeezed middle that Minister's pledged to protect in last week’s budget.

“Many childcare providers simply cannot afford to pay these rates and may struggle to keep their doors open when faced with a bill that, in some cases, may run into thousands of euros.

“They have no choice but to increase their fees which, in turn, is forcing some parents to remove their children from the facility.

“It is laughable that this Government claim to support measures to reduce unemployment yet will not take action to reduce one of the most prohibitive barriers to employment – the cost of childcare.

“I am calling on the Government to amend the legislation in order to allow childcare facilities be exempt from commercial rates in the same way as other educational facilities.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement of a review of cases linked to abuse allegations by Mairia Cahill. 

Speaking after the Director of Public Prosecutions announced the review, the Foyle MLA said; 

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has said there will be an independent review of these cases and that is to be welcomed. 

"The review will be carried out by an independent legal expert and that is entirely appropriate as these are sensitive legal issues that need to be dealt with professionally. 

"It will also examine whether any lessons can be learned from the way this has been handled to date. 

"The needs of victims must always be paramount in dealing with cases of this nature. 

"I look forward to the completion of this review."

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Speaking in Dundalk this evening at a public meeting on Water Charges, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:

"Sinn Féin's message is clear - we are completely opposed to domestic Water Charges North or South.

"Sinn Féin government in the North has blocked the introduction of domestic Water Charges and we will reverse them if in government in this State.

"We will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to privatise water services.

"Irish Water has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with the Fine Gael Labour Government - cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and ever mounting taxes on struggling families.

"Water Charges can be defeated at the ballot box but it is vitally important that citizens throughout the State continue to mobilise and campaign for their abolition.

"Pressure needs to be exerted in communities, on the streets and in the Dáil. With unity of purpose and determined action, Water Charges can be defeated."

Tonight's public meeting, which was also addressed by Sinn Féin MP and former Minister for Regional Development in the North, Conor Murphy and Councillors Tomás Sharkey and a Edel Corrigan, heard Mr Adams call for the biggest possible number of people from across County Louth to attend the 'Right2Water' mobilisation in Dundalk on 1st November.

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