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Sinn Féin in government will axe the water tax – Mary Lou McDonald TD

"Sinn Féin in government will reverse water charges. These charges will only cause further hardship for families already struggling to make ends meet."

Today, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD launched the party's vision for water services accompanied by both Brian Stanley TD and Cllr. Cathal King who is the Sinn Fein candidate for the upcoming by election in Dublin South-West.

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“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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Sinn Féin MLA and finance spokesperson Daithí McKay has stated that today’s election promises by David Cameron are quite simply mis-selling their proposed tax breaks for the working poor.

“While David Cameron makes promises on tax cuts it is important to remember who will benefit from this proposed Tory policy.

“The working poor will gain nothing.

 “In fact they are one of the main groups to be disadvantaged by Tory welfare cuts.

 “In contrast anyone who would earn close to £50,000 has received a double tax break.

“They now won’t be taxed at all on their first £12,500 earned.  

“While at the other end they will allowed to earn a further £8,000 before being taxed at the higher rate of 40p in the pound. 

“Once again it’s a case of the Tories looking after the well off.

“If the Tories were serious about helping the working poor they could raise by 20% the amounts that a family can earn before benefits are reduced.

“This would exclusively benefit the low paid lifting more working families out of poverty and would cost less than David Cameron’s proposals.

“Couple this with a guarantee of a Living Wage and you are building a road out of poverty for the working poor.

“What we have seen from the Tories is a costly policy which will only benefit the few.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy today questioned Britain's nominated Commissioner Jonathan Hill over retrospective recapitalisation of Irish Banks.

 Jonathan Hill is the Commissioner designate for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union.

As part of his role on the Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Matt Carthy inquired as to whether Hill would support a bid from Ireland for bank recapitalisation.

During the hearing Carthy stated:

"In June 2012 the EU Council agreed to break the link between sovereign and banking debt.  The Irish government stated that this was a 'game-changer' and would ensure the return of at least a sizeable portion of the monies that were taken off the Irish people in order to save the European banking system.

"This may appear as a parochial question but you will understand that Ireland, that has less than 1% of the EU population, has paid over 40% of the cost of the banking crisis.

"Although it will not be your direct responsibility, if you become a member of the College of Commissioners you will have an important economic portfolio - I therefore want to ask will you, in principle, support an application by an Irish government, and others with similar experiences, for the retrospective recapitalisation of banks so that we can see a real economic recovery across the European Union?"

Hill replied that it was legally possible for recapitalisation of Irish banks and that any decision would be made on a case by case basis.

Speaking after the hearing Carthy said.

"The question must now be asked of the Irish Government what is stopping a bid to seek recapitalisation.

"It is clear that the Irish people were laden with a grossly unfair burden of debt and it was the Irish people who effectively bailed out the European Financial System.

"Ireland has a strong case to make in seeking to recoup a substantial portion of the money that was taken from the Irish people without their consent.

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has welcomed the government’s move to prevent ministers from claiming water charges on their second home through their tax bills under the Dual Abode Allowance.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said Enda Kenny must now move to do away with the laundry allowance and other ridiculous allowances under the Dual Abode Allowance.

Deputy Doherty said;
“This allowance is a hangover from the Fianna Fáil days of looking after the boys. Enda Kenny promised to do away with it while in opposition.


“However, his government is only doing away with the section that allows ministers to claim their water charges against their tax and, while welcome, it does not go nearly far enough.


“Many people will be shocked to learn that Ministers and Ministers of State who buy a second home in Dublin are entitled to claim back their auctioneer fees, solicitor’s fees, and their annual mortgage interest. Also, €6,500 of the costs of maintaining the house is deductible for tax purposes.


“And if a Minister or Minister of State is staying in a hotel they get a €3,500 laundry allowance.


“This sort of stuff is indefensible at the best of times but at a time when thousands of families are struggling as a result of government policy these allowances simply wrong and should be done away with immediately.”

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has blasted new Junior Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey TD after he denied there was a crisis in housing calling the dire situation a "challenge". The Minister made his comments in an interview at a conference held today by the Construction Industry Federation dealing with issues relating to the crisis.

Deputy Ellis said;

"Either Paudie Coffey is insulting our intelligence or he is completely misinformed on the scale of the housing need in our state. Whatever it is it shows he is not fit for the role of dealing with the crisis.

“Everyone in the housing sector, all the councils, local representative I know and every housing and homeless charity are in agreement that have a social housing crisis on a very large scale which requires a serious approach and major investment to begin resolving.

“Since this government have taken office the number of people on the housing waiting list has gone up by 30,000 people. There are nearly 40,000 more people either in need of housing or currently being inadequately housed by the state never mind all the people in existing council housing which is falling apart.

“Rents have increased in Dublin by 26% since 2011 while Rent Supplement has been cut. We have more people in homelessness than ever before. We have more rough sleepers. We have 1,500 adults and 640 dependent children in emergency accommodation and we're spending 4 million a year in Dublin putting families in hotels rather than homes.

“If this isn't a crisis then nothing is. Junior Minister Paudie Coffey needs to either get real with himself or get real with the public. The well over 100,000 people on waiting lists depend on him and his government to begin tackling the crisis, if they can't even admit it exists then we are in big trouble but it is those vulnerable families who will suffer most."

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil today, asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in the context of the Government’s decision to go ahead with a redress scheme for the victims of symphysiotomy, when the Government would announce further details about the scheme.

Gerry Adams said:

“The unnecessary and inexcusable delay by the Government in adequately dealing with this issue has been a source of great frustration and upset to victims.

“Some victims have welcomed the redress scheme. It is, for them, an opportunity to secure some financial compensation for the pain and hurt which they have endured as a result of the barbaric practice of symphysiotomy.

“However many of the victims are angry and unhappy at the Government’s redress scheme. Almost 200 survivor members of the support group SOS have voted to reject this redress scheme and ICCL has strongly backed the decision of these survivors.

“They are particularly angry about the Government’s refusal to lift the statute of limitations and thus allow victims the right to choose which course of action they wish to take for closure. The Government’s has denied victims who wish to go down the legal route their day in court.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach if his officials would meet with the SOS group to discuss these concerns.

In his response, Mr Kenny said that in meetings with Patient Focus, Survivors of Symphysiotomy Limited and Survivors of Symphysiotomy, Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed that the scheme would be put in place as quickly as possible. The Taoiseach did not give any specific details of when the redress scheme would be rolled out and he did not agree to Mr Adams request for further meetings with the survivors’ groups.

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said today the party remains 100 per cent committed to the political institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement.

Raymond McCartney said:

“Sinn Féin remains totally committed to the political institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement.

“We have consistently called for all-party negotiations to tackle the logjam in the political process.

“Martin McGuinness has called for a lifting of the penalties being imposed by Tory millionaires to allow negotiations to proceed in a constructive manner.

 “Sinn Féin has also been lobbying for increased powers to be transferred to the Assembly and the all-island bodies.

“The whole notion of the Assembly being suspended for a ‘devolution holiday’ is frankly insulting to the people who elect us.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to direct rule in any form. 

“I would challenge any politician to highlight the benefits British direct rule ministers have brought to the North of Ireland. And given that the Tory government in London is driving millions of people further into poverty who would seriously want to hand them over the reins of power?

“I challenge those who are semi-detached from responsibility and engaged in backroom briefing to work directly with Sinn Féin and other parties rather than being engaged in the sound-bite politics of despair.” 

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, met with representatives from the Crosscare Migrant Project today and supported their proposal for the creation of an Emigrant Register.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Crosscare Migrant Project came before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee today to discuss their Emigrant Register proposal, which calls for the Government to create an e-mail based database for emigrants to sign up to in order to periodically receive an information newsletter from the State.

“This register could transform how Ireland communicates with its diaspora, which needs huge reform, especially in this age of technology.

“The register could not only open better channels between emigrants and the State, but promote job vacancies in the public and private sector. It would also be a clear sign that the Government wants to connect with emigrants and bring them back to Ireland.

“The Government should also bring in Diaspora voting measures and this register could act as a way to connect with our emigrants on how to get registered and where they can eventually vote.

“While I recognise that most of the people this register is aimed at are the young or middle age emigrants who have left in recent years, it is important that we don’t ignore the plight of those emigrants who left this island in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

“Some of these emigrants are living extremely vulnerable and lonely lives, particularly the so-called Forgotten Irish in Britain.

“Now that the Government has created a Minister for State for the Diaspora it is vitally important that it acts on these extremely important issues in a tangible and meaningful way.

“It should act on this proposal and explore all the positive possibilities it could bring.”

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed a move by the Government to deal with the situation where Government Ministers are exempted from paying Water Charges on a second home.

Deputy Adams drew attention to the issue in the Dáil yesterday during Order of Business. He pointed to the fact that a reply from revenue to a question from Pearse Doherty TD made clear that, under Taxes Consolidation Act 1977, Water Charges are a deductible expense.

Speaking this afternoon Gerry Adams TD said:

"I welcome this belated move to deal with this privilege. It had been Sinn Féin's intention to bring forward an amendment to Section 836 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1977 to exclude Water Charges as a deductible expense.

"Sinn Féin is implacably imposed to domestic water charges which are an unfair double tax on struggling families and we would reverse them in Government."

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Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has described a threat against a Belfast Sinn Féin member as a sinister development. 

Speaking after a Belfast Sinn Féin member received two bullets and a Mass card in the post, the West Belfast MP said; 

"This threat against a member of Sinn Féin must be condemned. 

"The individual came home from holiday to find two bullets and a Mass card in the post. 

"This is a sinister incident and has been reported to the PSNI. 

"However, it will not deflect Sinn Féin from continuing our work to represent and improve the lives of everyone in the community." 

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Mary Lou McDonald TD