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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 President Gerry Adams TD has reiterated his call for the Irish government to expel the Israeli Ambassador following another day of Israeli attacks on the civilian population in Gaza.

The Sinn Féin leader also accused the Irish government of “political cowardice in abstaining today in a vote during an emergency debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva which seeks to establish an international Commission of Inquiry into allegations of war crimes.”

Mr. Adams said:

“Almost 700 Palestinians have now been killed in 15 days of intense attacks by Israel by land, sea and air. According to the United Nations 74% of those killed by Israel have been civilians. Homes, hospitals and schools, including buildings housing refugees, have been bombed by Israel.

"One hospital was bombed four times and four people were killed and scores of people were injured. Thirty of the wounded were medics. The Israeli assault on the civilian population is in clear contravention of international law.

"This view is widely acknoweldged internationally and was evident in the course of today’s debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. To its shame the Irish government abstained.

"The Irish government needs to take a clear stand in support of the civilian population of Gaza and send a clear message to the Israeli government that its actions will not be tolerated. This can best be achieved by expelling the Israeli Ambassador.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a call from the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council for an end to the occupation of Palestine.

Speaking after the Foreign Affairs Council called for an immediate end to the violence in Gaza; Ms Anderson said; 

"While it was selective in its condemnation of violence and legitimises the spurious claim by Israel that human shields are being used in Gaza, the Council has been forthright in its calls for the indiscriminate targeting of civilians to end. 

"The council has said it is particularly appalled by the human cost of the Israeli military onslaught and also expressed deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. 

"It also called for the immediate an unconditional opening of border crossings to allow the flow of humanitarian aid and people. 

"Crucially, the council's conclusions examined the root of the problems and said the only way to end the conflict is through agreement that would end the occupation which began in 1967. 

"This is particularly welcome as it directly addresses the crux of the problems faced by the Palestinian people. 

"It also reaffirmed its commitment to to a two state solution and called for a halt on the expansion of illegal israeli settlements. 

"The conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council go much further than the frankly weak resolution passed by the European Parliament which failed to recognise the significance of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories." 

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Sinn Féin Councillor Cathleen Carney Boud has today welcomed the ongoing investigation by Dublin City Council and Inland Fisheries Ireland into the source of water contamination in the Tolka River that has depleted the river’s fish stock.

Cllr Carney Boud said:

“The contamination of the Tolka River is not only a big blow to the local community and eco system but also to the fishing clubs who use their own resources to increase its now diminished fish stock.

“I was in contact with Inland Fisheries Ireland today and am aware that they are following lines of enquiry. I hope that the findings of this investigation will be published soon and that whoever is responsible will be held fully to account. I will follow up with this in the coming weeks.

“The environmental costs of this incident are untold and there are huge risks to any other wildlife that may rely on the river.

“Tolka River is also a great amenity and wonderful tourist attraction and it is disgraceful to see such blatant disrespect for the area.

“I would truly hope that an incident such as this one will not happen again.”

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Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed remarks made by British Labour MP John McDonnell speaking during a Back Bench recess debate in the House of Commons yesterday, when he raised concern over attempts by the British government 'to impose their welfare reform legislation' on the people of the north of Ireland.

Michelle Gildernew said:

“I welcome the contribution by John McDonnell yesterday, where he highlights the effects of the Tory coalition welfare cuts policies, already implemented in Britain, as a "disaster" with serious "adverse consequences" for ordinary people.

”During my regular contacts with MPs from Britain I hear at first hand the dire consequences of measures contained in the Welfare Reform Bill. John McDonnell is right to point out the growing concerns from Sinn Féin and others about the effect of having these cuts imposed on us. As John argues, the hardship people are already experiencing "especially the most vulnerable -- children and people with disabilities" is unacceptable.

“His comments also reflect the widespread dismay at the British government's response to those of us who object to and resent the threat to impose fines on the Assembly executive if we do not acquiesce in the Tory demand that we rubber stamp their agenda of cuts.

“These threats of graduated fines are clearly seen as a blatant act of political blackmail by the British treasury.

“John McDonnell is absolutely right to state: "The proposals threaten not just to impose a significantly harsh welfare regime on the people of Northern Ireland, but to undermine the whole concept of devolved government."

“Given the evidence of the negative affect of these cuts in Britain, this is not a theoretical debate. The effects of these Tory welfare cuts will cause serious hardship to the people we represent from all communities and we will continue to oppose them.


“We will also continue to work with like-minded people and groups in Britain and in the South to fight the austerity agenda of the Conservative led governments in both London and Dublin.  We will be resolute in defending the living standards of ordinary people across Ireland.”

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Sinn Féin MLA and social development committee chair Alex Maskey has said Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has serious questions to answer. 

Speaking after the publication of a report which found that Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland misled the DSD committee, the South Belfast MLA said; 

"Nelson McCausland claimed in a letter to MLAs on the committee that he has met representatives of the Glass and Glazing Federation when in fact he was actually met with representatives of an individual company. 

"A senior civil servant was then told to change the record of that meeting in the letter to the committee to back up the minister's claim. 

"All parties with the exception of the DUP took the view, based on the extensive evidence in the report, that the minister deliberately misled the committee. 

"Not only was the committee misled but there was a concerted effort to change the record of the meeting. 

"I would encourage people to read this report. 

"This is a comprehensive report and its findings are very serious. 

"The conclusions of this report will be debated in the Assembly and serious questions will have to be answered by the minister and his colleagues.

"Nelson McCausland needs to explain why he deliberately misled the committee and his party colleagues must also out and say where they stand. 

"The thousands of people on housing waiting lists across the North look to the minister to get on with the job he has been elected to do. 

"Nelson McCausland would be better working to build houses rather than attempting to frustrate the democratic process." 

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe, has called on Israel to immediately end its brutal bombardment and invasion of Gaza which has now killed at least 650 Palestinians.

As the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrives in the region, Crowe also backed the calls of the Palestinian President who has stated that the lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza must be part of any peace process.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I am completely outraged and appalled at Israel's continued invasion and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza. Israel’s attacks have now killed 650 Palestinians, with estimates that at least 80% were innocent civilians, including almost 150 children.

“This is Israel's 3rd major offensive on Gaza in 6 years, which it besieges by land, air and sea.

“Israel continues to refuse to accept international law as the basis for resolving its conflict with the Palestinians and it is seemingly killing civilians and committing war crimes with impunity.

“Israel should immediately end hostilities and enter meaningful and inclusive dialogue to create a lasting peace process which respects the sovereignty and independence of Palestine along the pre-1967 borders.

“I also agree with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, that the lifting of the illegal blockade on Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment, must be part of any peace process, in order to tackle the huge humanitarian crisis.

“In face of Israel’s continued human rights abuses and rejection of international law it is time for the Irish Government to take a proactive and principled stand in its bilateral and multilateral relations with Israel.

“Sinn Féin continues to call for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, for an arms embargo against Israel, and for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has said he is committed to the redevelopment of Armagh Gaol. 

Speaking following media reports regarding the Armagh Gaol project, the Newry and Armagh MLA said; 

"Sinn Féin supports the redevelopment of Armagh Gaol and is committed to seeing this goal achieved.

"The current business case was premised on very different market conditions which existed years ago.

"Sinn Féin will continue to explore options for the redevelopment of this site. A clear example of good practice already exists if we look at how the Crumlin Road Gaol has been transformed.

"Any development must have at its centre the needs of the local community and should progress in a way that benefits local businesses and infrastructure in Armagh city."

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that new figures showing an increase in demand for homelessness services show that the government is still failing miserably to deal with the crisis in social housing. He made his comments following the publication of Focus Ireland's annual report which shows a 25% increase on demands for its services to people experiencing homelessness.

Ellis continued;

"We have a very serious problem in that there is simply not enough housing available to meet the need for it. This means that rents have increased year on year since this government has taken office. Families are being squeezed out of their homes due to the inflexibility of government policy to address these problems and the unwillingness of the Minister for Housing, his department and local authorities to provide new council housing.

“In the last year 10,000 people sought the homelessness services of Focus Ireland which is only one of the major voluntary bodies dealing with this crisis.

“There is no easy solution to this crisis but the necessary steps are clear.

“We need to implement a plan of Rent Control to stop unabated rent hikes and stabilise rates to a level people can afford. This must be done in conjunction with a change to rent assistance schemes in place to make them more flexible in order to protect families from becoming homeless for the sake of a few euro a week.

“Finally, we must build more social housing through local authorities which are best placed to do so. This requires a major investment of funds such as the €1 billion identified by Sinn Fein in the Strategic Investment Fund. It also requires councils to access new funding through the Housing Finance Agency by setting up arms-length housing trusts. We must also fast track the delivery of NAMA housing units and put in place a mechanism for the Department, Local Authorities and NAMA to work to overcome obstacles blocking some units from being used.

“Homelessness and the severe housing need in our state will not be solved by well-meaning statements and strategy documents. It will be solved by delivering housing for the people who need it. Until the government accepts this and acts accordingly this crisis will continue and more families will face homelessness."

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that Maydown Precision Engineering (MPE) will create 40 jobs in Derry after Manchester-based A2E Venture Catalysts bought a majority stake in the company.

The Foyle MLA said; 

"This announcement by Maydown Precision Engineering (MPE) that it is to create 40 high skilled jobs in Derry is a great boost for the local economy.

"The confidence of this investment will also send a positive message that the North West is competitive and a good place to invest.

"It is important that we attract more jobs of this high category into this region."

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Demand for Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled reiterated