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Massive crowd in Dublin for Right2Water rally

Some of the sights and sounds of today's massive Right2Water rally on Dublin's O'Connell Street this afternoon (March 21).  Reports that up to 80,000 people from all across Ireland traveled to attend.

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has said documents released today by Sinn Féin clearly show the DUP acted in bad faith over the Welfare Reform Bill.


"If the DUP want to strip benefits from children with disabilities, from adults with severe disabilities, the long-term sick; or push children further into poverty, then they need to explain and justify that. Sinn Féin certainly will not accept that approach." - Martin McGuinness 



Latest Statements

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin’s Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín accused the Jobs Minister of deepening geographic economic division, describing the Governments regional enterprise strategy as a rehash of commitments made in 2014 with little additional investment and not yet delivered on.

The Meath West TD said:

“Ireland’s tentative economic recovery is predominantly concentrated in the Dublin region. Lopsided economic policies are deepening geographic economic division resulting in employment stagnation and decline in the border, west and south west regions. CSO figures illustrate starkly the economic division Fine Gael and Labour are physically creating throughout the state.

“Employment is falling in the west and southwest, and is stagnant across the border region. This is a divergent trend which means that the spatial imbalances are getting worse.  Internal migration to the east is congesting resources whilst at the same time making life more difficult in the depleted west.

“Government Ministers have their face against implementing practical policy changes that would put more money in low and middle income workers pockets, reduce costs for SMEs, maximise the potential of online sales, assist healthy SMEs tackle legacy debt or strengthening supply chain linkages between indigenous Irish business and FDI.

“Recent promises of a Regional Enterprise Strategy are no more than a rehash of commitments made by government in early 2014 that were not implemented with little new investment and a markedly hands of attitude by a Minister who tells us his number one priority is job creation.

“New structures arising from this framework will need resourcing yet many Local Enterprise Offices across the state are already understaffed. We’ve already highlighted the government’s failure to utilise all-Ireland bodies and cross border projects in the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 and we urge the Minister to revisit this proposal.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has called on the DUP to clarify its position over the allocation of homes in a new social housing development in Carryduff. 

Mr O'Muilleoir said; 

"Loyalists have erected UVF flags, painted fences and daubed slogans around the site where 42 social homes are being built in Killynure Green. Carryduff. 

"This behaviour is deplorable and is a clear attempt to mark out territory and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. 

"Despite this, Castlereagh DUP councillor Vikki Nelson said the erection of the flags and the slogans are linked to what she described as 'sectarian concerns' and fears that the houses would be allocated to people from the Markets and the Ormeau Road. 

"Both the councillor and her party need to clarify exactly what she means by these remarks

"Sinn Féin believes that all social housing should be allocated on the basis of need and not creed.

"We all have a responsibility to confront sectarianism in all its forms. I am calling on the DUP to make it clear that it won’t support any attempt to deny people much-needed homes on the basis of their religious belief.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described a JobBridge scheme which is seeking fully qualified solicitors as ‘exploitative to the extreme’ and ‘a joke’.  

Deputy Ó Snodaigh has blasted the scheme for hiring graduates who have already had up to two years’ work experience as a part of their qualification and has written to the Law Council of Ireland to highlight how the scheme is denigrating solicitors’ qualifications.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“I have written to the Law Council of Ireland on this matter as it implies that a fully qualified solicitor, who is on the role of solicitors in Ireland and who is eligible to hold a practising certificate as issued by the Law Society of Ireland, is in fact wanting of experience.

“JobBridge offers people work for nothing. Joan Burton has loudly proclaimed that it will ‘help people gain valuable work experience’. However this work offers no structure or training to those who are in need of qualifications. For those who have already put in a lot of unpaid or low paid work experience to get their qualifications, it is a joke.  

“Qualified solicitors already have up to two years of experience as part of their qualification, usually on a very low wage. Trainee solicitors work in law firms for months at a time as part of gaining their professional qualifications through the Law Society. That firms are allowed to employ these graduates under the JobBridge scheme is exploitative to the extreme.

“This flies in the face of what JobBridge is supposed to be about. JobBridge has placed additional, unnecessary internship schemes which ignore the practical training that has already been completed. It does not offer meaningful experience for countless thousands.

“The scheme is also preventing fully-trained or qualified professionals attaining full-time employment at the going rate by allowing employers to hire people at a cost far below minimum wage.

“JobBridge is not working – it is a scheme that benefits employers, exploits workers and allows the government to exaggerate employment figures.

“Sinn Féin has introduced an alternative to JobBridge which proposes to bring about a fair recovery as well as offer decent pay for decent work. The people of Ireland deserve better.”

Link to JobBridge internship for fully qualified solicitor http://tinyurl.com/p7wb86t

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Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has today written to Dunnes Stores urging management to engage with workers and their trade union representatives and to fulfil their obligations under the existing industrial relations agreement. 

The Sinn Féin Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson said:

“High levels of low paid insecure work dampen domestic demand; reduces tax revenue and increases social protection expenditure. Over the last four years the numbers signing on the live register in casual and part-time work have reached an unprecedented level.”

“Women with children, young people and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable when it comes to zero hour contracts that provide little in the way of secure hours and decent work.” 

“In real terms poverty wages do not benefit businesses as low pay places external and internal cost burdens on companies in the medium to long term and if the prevalence of low paid insecure work in a number of sectors continues this trend will undermine Ireland’s recovery, and social cohesion.”

“Dunnes Stores refusal to engage their employees trade union representatives and in turn the states industrial mechanisms, despite its obligation under an existing collective agreement is damaging to the workers, to the company, to the economy and the states industrial relations mechanisms.” 

“Ireland’s system of industrial relations is voluntary in nature therefore when an employer as large as Dunnes Stores refuses to engage with workplace relations structures they in effect make the case for us on mandatory trade union recognition and collective bargaining.” 

“The bottom line is the responsibility for averting strike action lies squarely at the door of Dunne Stores management and I would urge them to immediately enter into negotiations with their workers tare union representatives.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament’s Budgets Committee of the proposal to provide €2.49 million in employment, training and enterprise supports for 250 redundant workers and 200 unemployed young people in the Rathcoole area of Co. Dublin.

Liadh Ní Riada sits on the Budgets Committee and yesterday spoke on the proposal, encouraging her colleagues from across Europe to give a green light to the use of European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) monies for a suite of personalised services to help workers retrain, find jobs or start businesses.

Ní Riada said:

“The EGF exists to support groups of workers who have lost their jobs through factory closures and relocations. Member states can apply for money to provide tailored programmes of supports such as guidance and career services, training and further education programmes, higher education programmes, enterprise and self-employment supports, income supports and education and course expense grants schemes.

“Dublin’s Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan and I had discussed the situation in Rathcoole at length ahead of the vote, and I am pleased to see that in addition to services for the 250 affected workers, 200 young unemployed people from the area will be entitled to avail of the supports on offer.

“I called on my colleagues on the Budgets committee to recognise the need to provide assistance to those who find themselves out of work as a result of the economic and social crisis, and to support this proposal to mobilise this funding for an area beset by unemployment.

“Job losses of any size are devastating for the workers involved and for their community. The knock-on effect of large-scale job losses on the economy of an area can be seismic. I hope this €2.49 million EGF intervention, alongside additional state funding, will have a positive impact on workers, young people in the area and the economy in general.

“Sinn Féin’s four MEPs will continue to work together to secure the best deals for the people of Ireland.“

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to prioritise the introduction of fair rent controls to tackle the rising rents which are putting families at risk of losing their homes and causing severe hardship for low and middle earners.

He made his call in light of recent figures released by the Private Residential Tenancy Board which found that the average rent price for a home was up by nearly 1200 euro in Dublin and nearly 300 euro across the state since last year.

Deputy Ellis said:

“This isn't news I've been raising these issues for years. Rents have been going up since this government as there are too few houses available and very high demand. Rents are out of control, especially in Dublin and are putting people at risk of homelessness.

"Minister Alan Kelly recently admitted that rents were out of control but has so far done nothing to help. He has talked about rent certainty but given no details and has also floated the unacceptable idea of tax breaks for landlords who charge fairer rent levels. We need action on this issue. They have completely stalled on tackling rents but I appreciate they are no longer claiming falsely that rent controls are unconstitutional.

“Sinn Féin supports fair rent controls. This will not solve the problem and is needed as part of a package of initiatives to help to ease the housing crisis. Renters who are now facing homelessness cannot wait for more social housing to come on stream and so rent control is needed as a matter of priority.

“People have already lost their homes because of rent increases. We need to stop this from happening in the future.

“The state needs to step in to stop rack renting and to ensure that rents are set at a fair level which takes into account the Consumer Price Index and the quality of the accommodation. Along with significant investment in housing as outlined by Sinn Féin during recent debates in the Dáil we can begin to really tackle housing need and bring rents under control.”

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has reacted angrily to a parliamentary reply from the Minister for Justice in which she makes clear the government has no intention of taking action against financial services who advertise on their website as “being in a lightly regulated environment”. Deputy Doherty said the website’s assertion is sadly still accurate.

Deputy Doherty said:

“In the Ireland of 2015 it is unacceptable that a wealth management body which presumably deals with huge amounts of money can openly be selling itself as operating “in a lightly regulated environment”. While there is unfortunately a lot of truth in the statement the company should not be allowed to sell itself on this basis.

“The broader issue here is that sadly the website is accurate in its statement about being in a lightly regulated environment. Despite the economic turmoil of the last number of years in the financial sector a company can still, proudly it seems, boast that Ireland provides light touch regulation. That fact should act as a call to action to the government and regulator to look again at the regulatory regime for these bodies.

“The website, recently brought to my attention, belongs to a financial services firm in Dublin which is advertising itself to wealthy clients by selling itself as operating “in a lightly regulated environment.” I raised this issue with the Minister for Justice who is responsible for the licensing of these Trust Management companies in the State. Her answer shows a complete lack of interest in dealing with the issue I raised.


“How we sell ourselves as place to do business is an important part of an economic policy. The days of Ireland being seen as a wild west for regulation should be put well behind us. A grown up regulatory environment is required and expected of us. This type of blatant cowboy advertising and the tolerance of it by government should be consigned to the past. Moreover the existence of a regulatory environment where such statements are true and accurate should be tackled. It does damage to our reputation and that fact should outweigh any other consideration given the international scrutiny Ireland is currently under.”(See attached file: Thomondview.png)


QUESTION NOS:  437 & 419

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Pearse Doherty
for WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.  


 
 *  437.  To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of trust or company service providers authorised by her Department; her views on the website of a company (details supplied) which advertises on the basis that it operates in a lightly regulated environment without the costs or inconveniences associated with an offshore jurisdiction..

                                                            - Pearse Doherty

*  419.  To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the website of a trust management company (details supplied) which advertises on the basis that it operates in a lightly regulated environment without the costs or inconveniences associated with an offshore jurisdiction..

                                                            - Pearse Doherty

  
REPLY.

I wish to inform the Deputy that a total of 298 entities are currently authorised to operate as Trust or Company Service Providers (TCSPs) under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2013.

Authorisation to operate as a TCSP, which is granted by me in my role as 'State Competent Authority' under the above Acts, is in respect of money laundering controls only. It is the function of the State Competent Authority to ensure that entities such as TCSPs are compliant with anti-money laundering measures specified in legislation; this function is discharged through a compliance monitoring regime and the taking of measures that are reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing such compliance. To give effect to the role of the Competent Authority under the Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit was established in my Department on the enactment of the Act and Authorised Officers have been appointed under Section 72 of the Act.  Authorised Officers have wide-ranging powers under the Act to determine the position with regard to the compliance standing of entities authorised to carry on business as TCSPs.  

In the specific case referred to by the Deputy I can confirm that this entity was granted authorisation in 2012 for a period of 3 years with a request for a renewal of that authorisation currently pending.  During that 3 year period the entity was subject to an inspection by an Authorised Officer of the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit in my Department.  The Officer was satisfied that the entity was fully compliant with the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2013.


Advertising Ireland's 'lightly regulated environment'

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Leagan Gaeilge thios - Irish version follows

Sinn Féin Senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has expressed disappointment that the Task Force on Equality set up by NUIG has snubbed unions, students’ and workers’ representatives by not consulting, or including them. He says the Minister for Education is washing her hands on the issue and the University’s management have serious questions to answer.

The Galway West Senator raised the issue in the Seanad recently with Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, who said she was satisfied with the way the University’s management is approaching the investigation.

Ó Clochartaigh has expressed his surprise that a Minister whose party has such strong links to unions, could be satisfied that neither SIPTU, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), NUIG Students’ Union nor USI are represented on the Taskforce or were consulted about it. It appears that a student member for the taskforce, not representative of the Students’ Union but selected by management, is now being sought as an afterthought.  Ó Clochartaigh has also expressed serious concern that the Minister appeared to support the view that ‘this is not specifically an industrial relations matter.’

He says:

‘It is very difficult for workers and students concerned about equality issues in the university to engage with this taskforce in a meaningful manner, due to the attitude of NUIG’s president and  management team to them up to this point and the lack of engagement with unions on the makeup of the taskforce.

‘This is a taskforce overloaded with managerial and ex-management types and the workers I have spoken to do not feel confident in the ability of the task force to be independent in its work; as a result they are very reticent to engage with this body. There are fears that any report will be a ‘whitewash’ and there are concerns over the terms of reference and timescale envisaged.

‘The unions on the NUIG campus have called for an independent inquiry and I asked the Minister to assess whether she would invoke her powers of visitation, as set out in the 1997 Universities Act, to do her own independent analysis of work practices in NUIG.

‘It is also unacceptable that the President of NUI Galway and the University’s management team have rebuffed efforts by myself and other elected representatives to meet with them and express our concerns about the approach they are taking. That simply isn't good enough, particularly not from a public institution.  NUI Galway is in receipt of substantial amounts of public funding and we are trying to engage with them on behalf of constituents who have expressed reasonable concerns to us. At this stage, it would appear that NUI Galway’s President and management team have serious questions to answer on a growing number of issues.  

‘We are now examining other mechanisms to follow up on these concerns to ensure that workers’ rights and equality issues are taken very seriously and dealt with in an open, effective and transparent manner and we will continue to do so until NUI Galway’s management engage in a meaningful way with workers, students and their representatives.’

An tAire Oideachais ag níochán a cuid lámha ar cheisteanna Cothromaíochta OÉG - Ó Clochartaigh

Tá díomá léirithe ag Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, go bhfuil an Tascfhórsa ar Chothromaíocht atá bunaithe ag OÉG tar éis droim láimhe a thabhairt do cheardchumainn, ionadaithe oibrithe agus mic léinn, gan iad a chur san áireamh ná dul i gcomhairle leo. Deir sé go bhfuil an tAire Oideachais ag níochán a cuid lámha ar an ábhar agus go bhfuil ceisteanna dáiríre le freagairt ag bainistíocht na hOllscoile ina leith seo freisin.  

D’ardaigh Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar an cheist sa Seanad le déanaí leis an tAire Oideachais, Jan O’Sullivan, a deir go bhfuil sí sásta leis an mbealach atá an bhainistíocht ag déileáil leis an bhfiosrúchán. 

Tá iontas faoi seo léirithe ag Ó Clochartaigh faoi Aire a bhfuil dlúthbhaint ag an páirtí a mbaineann sí leis le ceardchumainn, go bhféadfadh sí a bheith sásta nach bhfuil ionadaíocht ag SIPTU, Cónaidhm na dTeagascóiri Ollscoile (IFUT), Aontas na Mac Léinn OÉG, ná Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éireann ar an Tascfhórsa, ná ní dheachas i gcomhairle leo faoi. Is cosúil go bhfuil mac léinn dhá lorg anois le cur leis an tascfhórsa, ní ionadaí ar son Aontas na Mac Léinn, ach duine roghnaithe mar iar-smaoineamh ag an mbainistíocht. Tá imní dáiríre léirithe ag Ó Clochartaigh freisin, gur cosúil go dtagann an tAire leis an tuairim ‘nach ceist shonrach caidreamh saothar atá anseo’. 

Deir sé:

‘Tá sé an-deacair ar oibrithe agus mic léinn a bhfuil imní orthu faoi cheisteanna cothromaíochta comhoibriú ar bhealach dáiríre, de bharr meon Uachtarán OÉG agus an fhoireann bainistíochta go dtí seo agus an easpa caidreamh le ceardchumainn ar chomhdhéanamh an tascfhórsa. 

‘Is tascfhórsa í seo atá ag cur thar maoil le lucht bainistíochta agus iarbhainisteoirí agus deir oibrithe ar labhair mé leo nach bhfuil siad muiníneach as cumas an tascfhórsa chun a bheith neamhspleách ina gcuid oibre; mar thoradh ar seo tá fíor drogall orthu oibriú leo. Tá faitíos orthu nach mbeidh in aon tuairisc a dhéanfar ach iarracht chun plána mín a chuir air an scéal agus tá amhras orthu maidir leis na téarmaí tagartha agus an amscála atá leagtha amach. 

‘Tá iarrtha ag na ceardchumainn ar champas OÉG go mbeadh fiosrúchán neamhspleách ann agus d’fhiafraigh mise don Aire an mbeadh sí sásta a cuid cumhachtaí cuartaíochta, mar atá leagtha amach in Acht na hOllscoileanna 1997, a úsáid chun a h-anailís féin a dhéanamh ar chleachtais oibre OÉG. 

‘Níl aon ghlacadh agam ach an oiread go bhfuil droim láimhe tugtha ag Uachtarán OÉG agus foireann bainistíochta na hOllscoile dom féin agus ionadaithe tofa eile a bhí ag iarraidh bualadh leo leis an imní atá orainn faoin gcur chuige atá acu a phlé. Níl sé sin sách maith, go h-áirithe ó eagraíocht poiblí. Faigheann OÉ Gaillimh ualach maoinithe ó fhoinsí poiblí agus tá muid ag iarraidh plé a dhéanamh leo ar son toghthóirí atá tar éis ceisteanna réasúnacha a ardú linn.  Ag an bpointe seo, is cosúil go bhfuil ceisteanna tromchúiseacha le freagairt ag Uachtarán agus foireann bhainistíochta OÉG ar roinnt cheisteanna. 

‘Tá muid ag féachaint anois ar shlite eile leis na ceisteanna seo a fhiosrú tuilleadh, chun cinntiú go dtógtar cearta oibre agus ceisteanna cothromaíochta lán dáiríre agus go ndéileáiltear leo ar bhealach oscailte, éifeachtach & trédhearcach agus leanfaidh muid de sin nó go dtiocfaidh bainistíocht OÉG i mbun fíorchaidreamh le h-oibrithe, mic léinn agus a gcuid ionadaithe.’

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that Carlow/Kilkenny needs a change from the type of politics epitomised by former Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

Speaking in Carlow this evening at a by-election launch for Sinn Féin candidate Kathleen Funchion, Gerry Adams said:

“The Carlow/Kilkenny by-election has resulted from the departure of former Environment Minister Phil Hogan to Europe. In many ways, Phil Hogan epitomises what’s wrong with this Government.”

“There remain serious and unanswered questions around Phil Hogan's cancellation of inquiries into planning problems at six local authorities this State. This was his first act as Minister when this Government took office.”

“This is particularly serious considering the failure to implement key recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal into corruption in the planning system. It’s also widely accepted that corruption in planning was not confined to Dublin.”

“Meanwhile revelations that there are no records and no minutes of Phil Hogan’s meetings with the Chairwoman of Bord Gáis - meetings that led to the establishment of Irish Water - raise serious questions for the Government, especially in light of the scandal around the huge sums of public money spent on private consultants.”

 “Phil Hogan is a key political ally of Enda Kenny, but citizens now want a change of political direction from this type of politics.”

“The latest Water Charges debacle and the Government’s failures in relation to the serious issues facing the health service, the housing crisis and the attacks on rural Ireland require a change of political direction.”

“There is a better and fairer way of doing things. That is what Sinn Féin offers and that is the platform on which Kathleen Funchion faces into this by-election.”

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Massive crowd in Dublin for Right2Water rally


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Sinn Féin Dublin South West