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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said today that the crisis in the health service is a direct consequence of the Tory government systematically cutting funding for the health service.

Mickey Brady said:

“The Tory cuts of billions of pounds for essential services have caused the crisis in the health service and reduced budgets right across departments.

“The DUP has supported these Tory cuts which have been about stripping out the National Health Service.

“The current crisis has nothing at all to do with the issue of welfare cuts which Sinn Féin successfully resisted during the monitoring round. Otherwise departments would have faced an additional £87 million of cuts.

“The health budget was protected and an additional £20m was allocated to health. Sinn Féin proposed additional funding for health but the finance minister allocated it to DETI. 

“No decision has been made yet on the October monitoring round and Edwin Poots knows well that he needs to bring in any bid for resources to the Executive.

“Mr Poots also suggested today on air that maybe he is not the man for the health job, if this is so then he and his party leader should immediately consider his future.

“His comments today follow criticism from his party colleague, the finance minister, about an overspend by Edwin Poots of £13.1m and his failure to spend £10.2m of capital funding.

“Edwin Poots declared that failure too late for the Executive to reallocate that funding to other areas which are facing cuts.

“The Department of Health requires clear leadership in what is a very challenging time for all Executive departments because of the Tory cuts the DUP has supported. 

“It’s much too important to be held hostage to internal unionist bickering."

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has expressed his condolences to the family of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who passed away this morning.

Deputy Adams said;

“I’m really sorry to hear of the death of Albert Reynolds.

“Albert acted on the North when it mattered.

“My thoughts are with Kathleen and all the Reynolds family.

“May he rest in peace.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned those responsible for causing a security alert in Derry. 

The Foyle MLA said; 

"This incident has brought widespread disruption to this area of the city and must be condemned. 

"It was a very frightening experience for the driver of this vehicle, who was confronted by masked men and ordered to drive what he believed to be a bomb through the city. 

"Workers in local businesses and staff at a school who were preparing to send out GSCE results had to be evacuated as a result of this futile action.

"Those behind this incident showed no regard for the driver of the vehicle or the people of Derry. 

"They are offering nothing to society and need to stop these actions immediately."

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has slammed the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson for his promotion of Tory welfare cuts. 

And said the DUP MP should be challenging his party college and finance minister Simon Hamilton on his refusal to allocate additional funding to victims groups. 

The Sinn Féin economic spokesperson said; 

"Jeffrey Donaldson needs to read the June monitoring paper. It did not contain any welfare-related cuts. 

"The reductions contained in it would have been much more severe if Jeffrey Donaldson's DUP colleagues had got their way. 

"Simon Hamilton proposed cuts of 5 per cent but this was opposed by Sinn Féin. 

"OFMDFM had bid for £3m for victims and survivors. Simon Hamilton allocated nothing to victims but gave £3.6 million to his own department for asset management. 

"We fought those cuts and will continue to oppose the imposition of Tory welfare cuts. 

"Jeffrey Donaldson should also remember that it's his friends in the Tory party who are foisting these devastating cuts on the most vulnerable in society. 

"Sinn Féin has not and will not sign up to the Tory welfare cuts agenda, unlike the DUP who are actively supporting a policy that will drive thousands of people into poverty." 

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Speaking following the publication of figures by the Higher Education Authority regarding the progression of young people from disadvantaged areas to higher education, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Jonathan O’Brien TD said it was time for the government and Department of Education to comprehensively overhaul the education system in order to eradicate educational inequality.

Deputy O’Brien said;

“The HEA figures show that there is a very low level of participation in higher education from pupils who come from economically disadvantaged areas.

“These geographic pockets of socio-economic disadvantage are like that because of decades of government policies that concentrated poverty in particular areas that had little by the way of services and opportunities.

“We welcome the HEA consultation document on developing equity of access to higher education, but this will not be resolved by simply tinkering with HEA
policies.

“Nobody will be surprised that students from privileged areas who go to fee-paying schools have higher progression rates than children who don’t.

“What is needed is a fundamental overhaul of the education system that eradicates the two-tier ethos that is at its very core.

“Students with disabilities and special needs have had their SNAs taken from
them. Traveller pupils are regularly denied sufficient supports, and the government has decimated guidance counselling services.

“Students living in real poverty are caught by SUSI loopholes and denied funding, facing bills of thousands they simply can’t afford to pay.

“If the government is serious about eradicating inequality in education, they will review the whole system and take the steps necessary from early years education onwards to ensure that there is equality of condition in education.”

ENDS

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Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has expressed his solidarity with nurses at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, who are today holding a lunchtime protest over dangerous levels of overcrowding at the hospital's emergency department.

Deputy Adams said,

“I know that this protest is borne out of sheer frustration at the persistent problem of overcrowding resulting in the prolonged placement of patients on trollies.

“I have heard reports from constituents that their loved ones have been placed on trollies in corridors for days at a time.

“This is simply unacceptable and cannot contribute to optimum patient care.

“I have great sympathy with the nurses who are forced to work under these conditions and who often face the wrath and irritation of patients and their families.”

Mr Adams called on the Heath Minister to immediately address the chronic underfunding of the Health Service in this country saying;

“In March of this year I raised the level of overcrowding at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in the Dáil. Unfortunately the Government has chosen not to address this dangerous issue and we now see this protest by nurses – a damning indictment on this Government.

“Some €4 billion has been slashed from the health budget since 2008. This is unsustainable and I am calling on Minister Varadkar to change the Government's health policy and to urgently address the levels of overcrowding in Irish hospitals.”

ENDS

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Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to clarify if her department is cold-calling employers to try and get advertised jobs converted to JobBridge internships.

He says:

“I have been contacted by the National One Parent Family Network who tell me that at least two companies where their members work were cold-called by individuals on behalf of the Department of Social Protection on foot of jobs advertised, asking if they would convert them into JobBridge internships.

“Michelle Frawley, Secretary of the Network, told me that the members were shocked by the practice and that a government Department would be acting in such an underhand manner when what the government should be doing is supporting the growth of real jobs in our economy.

“I understand the companies in question are in Galway and in the South East, so this would appear to be a national approach. What is not clear is whether this is being done by staff in the department, or if it is being outsourced to a private company.

“The jobs in question had been advertised on the internet and it would appear that the people involved have been trawling websites, cold-calling the companies and inviting them to turn the real jobs into internships under JobBridge. It is hard to see what benefit the state would gain from such a practice.

“Sinn Féin has been very critical of the JobBridge scheme since it was initiated. We believe that it encourages employers to put off creating real jobs in the economy. If the new allegations are found to be true then that is taking the whole thing a step further and is totally unacceptable and must be stopped.

“It would be incredible if this is happening under the watch of two Labour Ministers, the Tánaiste herself and the newly appointed Junior Minister, Kevin Humphreys, who has specific responsibilities in the area of job activation.

“They need to give a full and frank account of how the department is going about its business in this regard and ensure this underhand practice, if substantiated, is stamped out immediately.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has encouraged people to sign a petition opposing the introduction of Tory welfare cuts.

Launching the Sinn Féin petition against the cuts with West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann, the North Antrim MLA said; 

"There is growing concern among the community about plans to introduce Tory welfare cuts in the North as more and more people realise the devastating impact they would have. 

"We want to give people the opportunity to register their opposition to the cuts agenda being peddled by a cabinet of millionaires and being supported by their allies in unionism. 

"The petition, which will be available online and in hard copy, is the first in a series of initiatives being organised throughout the North to allow people from all sections of the community to show the deep opposition to these devastating cuts. 

"It is been clearly demonstrated that the introduction of welfare cuts in Britain has plunged tens of thousands of people who were already struggling deeper into poverty.

"We will not allow the same situation to unfold here. 

"Sinn Féin is totally opposed to welfare cuts and will stand in support of the most vulnerable in our society, the poor, the unemployed, families on low incomes, those with disabilities and older members of the community." 

The petition can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-tory-cuts

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has met the Parades Commission to raise concerns about a proposed Band Parade taking place in Newry later this month.

And the Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA has appealed to the organisers to end their refusal to engage in dialogue with local residents.

Mickey Brady said:

“The South Down Defenders Band Parade takes place on August 29th.

“Band parades like this have always been hugely contentious in Newry, closing down two main roads in the city causing maximum inconvenience, traffic chaos and delays.

“Several bands fly UVF bannerettes and flags which is clearly designed to insult nationalist residents in the area. This is also a direct violation of previous determinations made by the Parades Commission.

“I have received complaints from people living along this route who once again fear that they will be forced to stay in their houses for much of that night.

“I have also spoken to business people who are concerned that trade will be badly affected due to road closures and customers avoiding the area.”

Mickey Brady called on parade organisers and unionist political representatives to begin meaningful talks with residents living along the route.

“Local people are frustrated about how their genuine concerns are being dismissed by the parade organisers and unionist politicians.

“This is not about denying people’s right to march. Those who wish to celebrate their culture should be free to do so, but this right must be exercised with full respect for the rights of others, and in particular, the rights of host communities.

“The people of this area are entitled to have their voices heard and the organisers should begin a genuine process of negotiation with the residents.

“Organisers should acknowledge the serious disruption caused for residents, the wider community and businesses.

“These issues can be resolved through dialogue and agreement.

“I am willing to meet the organisers of this parade and Unionist representatives at any time to facilitate any meaningful process of dialogue.

“The refusal of the parade organisers to talk to residents in Newry points up once again the need for a comprehensive solution to the issues of parades, flags and the past as set out in the Haass proposals.” 

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh