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Some sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil December 10

Some of the sights and sounds of the Right2Water National Assembly outside the Dáil on December 10.  Includes Gerry Adams address to the crowd and Damien Dempsey's rendition of the ballad James Connolly

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has stated that government policy is making the richer even richer and the poor even poorer.


The passing of this motion, in conjunction with the passing of similar motions in Parliaments across the EU, is an important act of solidarity with the Palestinian people.



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his support and solidarity for the Ballymurphy families who protested today at the joint proposal in last week’s negotiations from the British and Irish governments, which would deny bereaved families access to an Inquest.

The Sinn Féin leader criticised the Taoiseach Enda Kenny who in the past has supported the families’ demand for an Independent Panel into the Ballymurphy Massacre; promised to back the families ‘120%’; and volunteered to bring into the Dáil an all-party motion in support of the families.

The Louth TD said: 

“Mr Kenny has broken all of these commitments.

“Today the families were back in court seeking a date for the commencement of the inquest hearing which the PSNI and British Ministry of Defence have thus far stalled by refusing to hand over important documentation from 1971.

“The Taoiseach has failed to honour commitments he gave to the Ballymurphy families in respect of support for an Independent Panel to investigate the deaths of the 11 victims in 1971 or to introduce an all-party motion in support of them.

“Last week he also signed on for a British government proposal which would deny bereaved families their right to Article 2 compliance inquests and allow the British government to hide behind the use of ‘national security’ concerns.

“Under last year’s Haass proposals outstanding inquests were protected. Under the proposal from the two governments the Ballymurphy Massacre and other similar disputed cases would be moved to the ‘Civil Inquisitorial’ section of the Historical Investigations Unit if their inquests have still not been completed. 

“Given the delays in disclosure by the PSNI and British Ministry of Defence it is unlikely that many of these inquests will have concluded.

“The powers and remit of the ‘Civil Inquisitorial’ process are unclear and will be dependent on ‘national security’ concerns.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called for additional police resources for Larne to tackle loyalist criminal gangs. 

The East Antrim MLA said; 

"This latest incident where a man was beaten with hammers and pick axe handles in the Bay Road area of Larne must be condemned. 

"This fact this happened in a quiet area highlights the problem in Larne where the absence of policing is being exploited by loyalist gangs and their criminal cohorts. 

"Previously the PSNI had a quick response team located in Larne but they withdrew it and relocated it to cover Ballymena and Coleraine. 

"The PSNI need to reinstate this team to Larne and target resources at the loyalist criminal gangs who are behind the vast majority of crime in the area. 

"I am calling on the PSNI’s Chief Constable to review policing resources in Larne and to seriously tackle the criminals who are holding the town to ransom."

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Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Dessie Ellis has called on the Minister to work with opposition representatives to ensure that the penalty points system is not damaged irreparably by recent problems in legislation. He also made the point that road fatalities were now rising and more Garda resources were needed to ensure the effectiveness of the system in place.

Deputy Ellis said:

"Major strides have been made in the last decade with the introduction of Penalty Points and strategy which had greater success than even the government of the time had expected.

“The strength of the deterring effect of penalty points was down to two things; mostly that the public saw the administration of penalty points as fair and that they had sufficient reason to believe that they would receive penalty points if they flouted the law.

“These two essential planks of the Penalty Points system’s effectiveness have been severely damaged over the last 3 years and this issue has not helped the matter.

“The failure to commence the other section in question was another case of human error which we must work to avoid at all costs but will always be a possibility.

“The Minister has met with Transport spokespeople both in the Dáil and the Seanad and I would ask that this engagement become more commonplace and certainly be continued for the duration of the out working of this Bill. I would ask the Minister to agree to update the spokespeople and the Committee over the New Year.

“This is a case for transparency and fairness in the administering of the scheme, not scrapping it as some might argue.

“This is especially important in the context of a policing organisation which has weathered three years of harsh austerity. Cuts made by this government has meant fewer Gardaí, fewer vehicles, fewer stations but all the while more responsibility for road safety laid at the door of the Gardaí.

“They have clearly worked extremely hard to fill the gaps caused by this lack of resources but they cannot be spread so thin and continue to be as effective. Less capacity for the Gardaí to do their job means more people continuing to drive dangerously on the road.

“Without proper resourcing we cannot return to the success of previous years. I do not believe we have reached a threshold. There are still people flouting the law and endangering lives and we can do better. The key is giving the correct supports to the Gardaí to do their job.

“NCT waiting times must also be tackled. I have dealt with people who have had to wait between 2 and 5 months and this is not acceptable."

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has welcomed the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire by Colombian revolutionary group, FARC.

Speaking after FARC declared a unilateral ceasefire, Mr McGuinness said;

"This announcement by FARC of a unilateral indefinite ceasefire which will begin on Saturday is very welcome.

"I travelled to Colombia earlier this year and met with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos to assist the peace process. 

“Sinn Féin representatives also met the Columbian Government and representatives of FARC to assist the efforts of everyone involved in ending the conflict.

"I am  encouraging all of those in positions of influence to support the Colombian peace process and to continue to demilitarise the situation. 

"During my engagements with all of those involved in the Colombian peace process I impressed upon them the importance of inclusive dialogue.

"I hope that this opportunity to move the process forward will be embraced by all parties to the conflict."

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has urged all Senators to vote against the Water Services Bill when it comes before the Seanad later today.

Speaking from Leinster House, Senator Cullinane said;

“The Seanad has an opportunity to stand up for ordinary people by voting against this bill which imposes water charges upon them.

“Throughout the towns and cities of this state people have protested in their thousands calling for the abolition of these charges.

“The government has refused to listen to those protesters even after they came to the doorstep of the Dáil last week to voices their opposition.

“The government has failed to introduce measures in this Bill which would protect against the further privatisation of our water infrastructure.

“That should alarm the majority of Senators.

“The Seanad only recently voted in favour of a motion opposing any moves to privatise our water services.

“To be consistent, those Senators who voted in support of that motion should now vote against the Water Services Bill.

“The outcome of this vote will come down to the decisions of handful of independent Senators

“The onus is on them to prove their political worth.

“They should vote in the best interests of ordinary citizens and hard-pressed families for whom these charges are a bridge too far.

“The Government’s attempts to undermine the democratic process within the Oireachtas by threatening to impose the original water charges, if the Seanad votes down this Bill, should also give those who are undecided pause for thought.

“The people want see water charges scrapped. They want constitutional certainty that our water services cannot be privatised without their say so.

“The Water Services Bill satisfies neither of these two clear and important demands.

“I am urging all Senators to vote against the Bill.”

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Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Chris Andrews has echoed community concerns relating to the proposed sale of Harold’s Cross greyhound stadium.

Speaking this morning Cllr. Andrews said

“The proposal by Bord na gCon to sell Harold’s Cross stadium raises serious concerns for local residents which have not been addressed by the board. The stadium is a vital local amenity and should be maintained as an area of leisure for the residents of Harold’s Cross, Rathmines, Kimmage and Terenure."

“Over the years the stadium has been a focal point for the community, an important source of local employment and has been a home for greyhound racing, as well as having a rich history as a ground for numerous League of Ireland clubs throughout the years. Whatever its future as a greyhound stadium its value to the local community must be preserved.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his grave concern at the increasing numbers of sick citizens who are confronted at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda with chronic overcrowding and long waiting times.

Describing the crisis in Emergency Departments as “unacceptable” the Louth TD called on the Minister for Health to “take urgent steps to allocate additional resources, including funding, to open closed beds, recruit additional staff and provide for more community homecare nursing support”.

Teachta Adams said;

“On two days of this week Our Lady of Lourdes hospital has topped the list of hospitals across the state facing serious overcrowding. On Tuesday the Irish Nurses and Midwifes Organisation reported that there were 38 patients in the Emergency Department – the highest in the state. And on Wednesday that number was 31 – again the highest in the state.

“Our Lady of Lourdes is regularly in the top three hospitals facing major difficulties in its Accident and Emergency dept.

“We have also learned today that the Louth Hospital Group General Manager has written to General Practitioners advising them that Our Lady of Lourdes is ‘experiencing extreme levels of surge with regard to medical presentations at present.’

“As a result the hospital has been forced to put in place ‘measures to manage this level of escalation internally.’ This includes advising GPs that the Louth Hospital Group is suspending ‘direct GP referrals to the AMAU (Acute Medical Assessment Unit) in OLOL hospital in order to prioritise current acute medical patient presentations and flow.’

“Earlier this week the INMO described the situation facing the health service as the ‘most significant overcrowding situation since the INMP began counting trolleys over ten years ago.’

“The Minister has the responsibility to ensure patient safety, as well as appropriate standards of care. He must take urgent steps to allocate additional resources, including funding, to open closed beds, recruit additional staff and provide for more community homecare nursing support.”

ENDS

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has labelled Brian Hayes’ comments regarding Sinn Féin this morning as, “laughable and inaccurate.”

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms Boylan said:

“Unfortunately the latest round of untrue and childish commentary from Brian Hayes has become par for the course. It appears Brian has lost the run of himself since he moved out to Brussels.
Sinn Féin has never excused the fact that the domestic economic policies of Fianna Fáil fed into the economic crises. Sinn Féin challenged those policies of back into 2007 we flagged that the continued reliance on the housing market was unsustainable.  We also criticised Fine Gael on its auction style politics before that last general election, and we will continue to do so as they implement the austerity programme that Fianna Fail brought in after the crash.

However, that does not absolve the ECB and the EU Commission for their role in both creating the economic crisis and then post-crash, heaping the burden on those least able to pay. We are not going to apologise to anybody for highlighting this in Europe.

For Brian Hayes to equate the thousands of people out on the streets protesting against austerity and the water charges as being somehow racist and anti-European is very ignorant . Clearly people are hurting and maybe Brian should spend some more time listening to the voters who are suffering under the policies of the Fine Gael and Labour.

Instead of making these inaccurate observations, Brian Hayes’ time would be better spent looking out for his constituents back home in Dublin. The Irish people want someone to be seen to be standing up for them in Europe and challenging things and not just getting the pat on the head like Mr. Hayes who just wants to be the best boy in the class.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the British and US governments must apologise for the use of torture.

Speaking during a European Parliament debate on torture by the CIA, Ms Anderson said;

"The senate report into torture by the CIA made for alarming, if unsurprising reading.

"The British government used the same techniques as the CIA when it tortured 14 Irish men interned more than 40 years ago.

"The case of the 'Hooded Men' led to the only instance where a European member state took another member state to the European Court of Human Rights.

"In 1976 the European Commission on Human Rights ruled that the British government was guilty of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. The case was then referred to the European Court of Human Rights.

"In 1978, after pressure from the British government the European Court of Human Rights overturned that ruling and found that the five techniques used against the internees amounted to inhumane and degrading treatment - but not torture.

"Recently uncovered information showed the British government lied to the European Court of Human Rights on the effects of the techniques the hooded men were subjected to.

"These techniques were sanctioned at the highest level of the British government by the then minister of defence, Lord Carrington.

"In fact the US Attorney General justified the use of torture techniques in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by quoting the EU Court's 1978 ruling on the Hooded Men.

"Now at last the Irish government has referred the Hooded Men case back to the European Court of Human Rights to revise its judgement.

"The British government must apologise for its use of torture techniques and the US government must do the same."

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Adams proposes all-island process to deal with issue of abuse


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Senator David Cullinane speaks to media