Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Latest Statements

Sinn Féin President elect Mary Lou McDonald TD gives her first major speech to party activists


Toggle

Bairbre de Brún MEP has called for strong European legislation under REACH proposals, to protect people from harmful chemical contamination.

Ms de Brún was speaking after a WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) report identified a wide range of industrial chemicals in the blood of thirteen EU ministers and previously thirty nine MEPs. The WWF had conducted a study on the effects of chemicals which exist in some fire-resistant sofas, non-stick pans, grease proof-pizza boxes, flexible PVC, fragrances and pesticides. A number of MEPs and EU Ministers had volunteered to take part in the survey to ascertain levels of chemical contamination in their blood.

The blood tests, which took place in December 2003 and June 2004, are one of the WWF's contributions to the debate within the EU on REACH, the proposed new chemicals law.

Ms de Brún said:

"The continued release of these contaminants in the environment and subsequent health risks cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. The recent study is an indication of the effects of chemical contaminants in the bloodstream of the wider population. These studies had shown an average of 37 chemicals in the blood of various EU Ministers. If these are the results amongst adults then we can only wonder about the effects upon our children.

I pledge to use my position on the Committee of Environment, Health and Public Safety in favour of strong measures to ensure that dangerous chemicals are no longer introduced into the environment. I will work for the implementation of strong, progressive, public safety based legislation in the proposed new system; Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH)" ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Fein MLA for north Belfast, Gerry Kelly, has slammed the recent treatment of asylum detainees being held in Crumlin Road prison. This follows reports that two of the detainees were moved to Maghaberry at the weekend due to staff shortages where they were racially abused and strip searched by staff.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

"The treatment of these two men is completely unacceptable. Over the weekend they were transferred to Maghaberry Prison due to staff shortages where they were racially abused, strip searched and locked in their cells for most of the weekend.

"If anything the NIO has learnt nothing over three decades here. Republicans struggled for, and won the right to proper prison conditions, a right that all who are detained should be able to avail of.

"The asylum detainees, should not even be held in prison as they have committed no offence, and yet while there, they are still treated in this disgraceful manner that no-one ought to encounter.

"This is yet further indictment of the Prison Service, following the damning report by the Human Rights Commission revealing widespread human rights abuses at Maghaberry Prison.

"Sinn Féin have already requested access to the Crumlin Road detainees on a fact finding basis and I will be in contact with the British minister for Prisons, Ian Pearson, to address this issue as a matter of urgency." ENDS

Note to Editor: According to statements the two men, who are Muslim, have given to the Refugee Action Group they were:

· Subjected to strip searching

· Subjected to racist comments by a female prison officer

· Denied access to hot water while fulfilling the fasting obligations of

Ramadan

· Denied access to telephones for three days

· Locked in their cells for most of the weekend

· Denied open air exercise.

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has stated that the SDLP accepting assurances from the PSNI in closed meetings is an admission that the DPP's are unable to hold the PSNI to account.

Mr McCartney said,

"Over the past few weeks we have seen the SDLP in Belfast and Derry entering into private meetings with the PSNI and getting assurances which they are unwilling to make public.

"In the case of Ibhram Shoukri, a known Belfast Loyalist, who was allowed to walk free although he was blatantly breaking his bail conditions, the SDLP accepted assurances in a private meeting with Hugh Orde as to why the PSNI did not intervene.

"In Derry the SDLP accepted assurances from the PSNI over the use of CS Gas in the city, again in a private meeting".

"In both cases the SDLP refused to make public what assurances were given by the PSNI as to why Ibhram Shoukri was allowed to openly break his bail conditions or why the youth of Derry have been subjected to CS Gas on a near weekly basis.

"The SDLP who have previously championed the DPP's as the way forward to hold the PSNI to account in an open and transparent way have now failed to use this method. This is a clear admission that the DPP's are either unable to hold the PSNI to account or that the answers that the PSNI have provided would expose the untenable nature of the working of the PSNI.

"The SDLP must now explain why they have disregarded the DPPs in terms of holding the PSNI to account".

Toggle

Following his attendance at a Citywide Family Support Network conference in Dublin today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Family and Community Affairs, Seán Crowe TD reiterated his call for the introduction of a new carers allowance for Grandparents caring for the children of drug addicts. The Citywide conference was organised to draw attention to the growing number of grandparents who find themselves in the position of being full-time carers for their children's children as a result of drug addiction.

Deputy Crowe said, "The reality is because of the escalating drug problem, especially in urban centres, that there is a growing number of grandparents who find themselves in the position of rearing the children of their drug addicted sons and daughters. Unfortunately this group in many instances find themselves in a limbo situation where they are not recognised as the legitimate guardians of the children and therefore cannot access the support services that exist for other carers.

"Surely encouraging the retention of family units should be a priority. Grandparents willing and prepared to offer a caring and loving environment for their grandchildren should be given every support possible. A priority must be to remove the barriers preventing that support. We need to make available dedicated support staff to deal with this growing phenomenon. We also need to ensure that grandparents have access to financial support like that afforded to those receiving fostering allowances.

"I would like to commend the work of the Citywide Family Support Network for the work they have done on this issue. I would urge the new Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Seamus Brennan to work with his colleagues in the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Finance to ensure this issue is urgently addressed in the upcoming budget." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said that it was ironic that the UUP should this afternoon be in Dublin meeting with the Irish government exactly one year on from the day that they lost their nerve and pulled out of a deal which would have seen the political institutions restored.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Exactly one year ago today David Trimble reneged at the very last minute on a deal and a sequence which would have seen the political institutions restored.

"It is ironic that one year on the UUP, now in the position of the minority unionist party, are in Dublin meeting with the Irish government presumably with the intention of seeing a deal agreed allowing the same political institutions to be re-established.

"Both unionist parties have in recent weeks been engaged in dialogue with the Irish government and we obviously welcome this. However both parties still need to come to terms with and grasp the process of change which is required and which the Good Friday Agreement demands." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd has said that he is very concerned after a party member in Portadown was visited by the PSNI and informed that an attempt was to be made by on his life.

Mr O'Dowd said;

"This man is a member of Sinn Féin in Portadown. He was visited at his home by the PSNI and informed that an operation was underway by a group who they refused to name to procure weapons and use them to kill him.

"The information given to the man by the PSNI was incomplete and has left many unanswered questions. Given the situation within loyalism we can only presume that this death threat and murder plot is emanating from one of the unionist paramilitary gangs.

" Over the past number of months there has been a fairly sustained unionist campaign against Sinn Féin members, particularly in areas like North Antrim. This information is suggesting that this campaign is now going to focus on republicans in other areas. I would urge republicans to remain vigilant in the face of these threats." ENDS

Toggle

Commenting on the meeting today between the Finucane family and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly said that it was vital that the Irish government 'make it clear to the British government that the years of cover up and concealment had to end'.

Mr Kelly said;

" Since the murder of Pat Finucane successive British governments have failed to allow the sort of independent inquiry which is acknowledged as the only mechanism which can reveal the truth to proceed. In short they have continued to cover-up and conceal their role in the state sponsored murder of citizens.

" The approach of the British government to the Finucane case in recent weeks has served to reinforce fears that this British policy of concealment is set to continue. It is vital that following today's meeting in Dublin with the Finucane family that the Taoiseach makes it clear to the British government that the years of cover-up and concealment must end." ENDS

Toggle

Speaking during an Adjournment Debate in the Dáil tonight Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government, Arthur Morgan TD called on the Government to reject the latest Constituency Commission report saying if implemented it would dilute "the proportionality of our electoral system". The County Louth TD said the proliferation of three seat constituencies was a "subtle form of tullymandering" which would result in the loss of the respect of the electorate.

Deputy Morgan said, "The recommendations in the constituency commissions report take this State further down the road of diluting the proportionality of our electoral system. This is most starkly illustrated by the decision to divide County Leitrim between the two proposed new constituencies of Sligo/North Leitrim and Roscommon/South Leitrim, but it is part of a much more fundamental problem.

"For the third consecutive commission, the number of five-seat constituencies, has been cut, while the number of three-seat constituencies grows steadily.

"Do the people of Finglas in 3 seat Dublin North-West have the same opportunity for putting their chosen party or representative into Leinster House as the people in leafy Dundrum in 5 seat Dublin South? Is it merely a coincidence that there is a proliferation of 3 seat constituencies north of the Liffey

whereas larger constituencies are more common south of the Liffey? Will the people of Leitrim have any chance of ever electing another representative from the county to the Dáil? Is the legislation restricting constituency size to three, four and five seaters a deliberate attempt by the establishment to keep the marginalised marginalised? Perhaps this would be best described as a more subtle form of tullymandering which is being implemented over a longer time-frame.

"Though I expect the Government to dismiss concerns being raised by referring to the independent nature of the commissions this is not good enough. The essential problem is that the commission is constrained by legislative act to have constituency sizes between three and five seats.

"The proportionality possible under the PRSTV system in place in this state has been diluted substantially through the selective redrawing of constituency boundaries and the reduction in constituency size in terms of members elected from nine and seven seat constituencies of the 1920's when the system was instigated to today's five, four and three seaters.

"Proportional Representation with a Single Transferable Vote (PRSTV) using multi seat constituencies is a unique system and practiced hardly at all outside of Ireland. It was not designed with the intention of applying it to three seat constituencies. The number of members returned per constituency is a crucial component of the Irish electoral system. The higher the number of members returned per constituency the greater the proportionality of the system

"I am asking the Minister to amend Section 6(2)(b) of the Electoral Act of 1997 to allow for the formation of six and seven seat constituencies. This would restore the positive attributes of the PRSTV system, in terms of local accountable representatives and voters being able to make inter and intra party choices. I would ask him, as a member elected in a five-seat constituency, if he accepts that the larger constituency size adds the quality of extra proportionality to the electoral system as a whole?

"Specifically I would ask the Minister considering the importance of maintaining the integrity of county boundaries to reconvene the Constituency Commission, after introducing the aforementioned legislative changes, to consider the possibility of establishing one six seat constituency comprising the three counties of Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The Government needs to recognise that we risk losing the respect of the people in places such as Leitrim for the electoral system when it is seen to be unfairly applied in way which prevents them from electing their chosen representative to parliament." ENDS

Toggle

This week saw a little flurry of media speculation around the talk's process. This attention was sparked by remarks from both the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, and the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy. They separately indicated some optimism that the process could see a breakthrough in the short term.

I have to say that such remarks always irritate me and I always wonder why they are made. Perhaps it's no more than the compulsion of politicians to be positive. Perhaps it is a political instinct to have fingerprints on a process just in case there is a breakthrough. Whatever the reason when you hear such off the cuff comments from either of the two governments, take it with a pinch of salt.

Of course, a breakthrough is possible. That's what we're working for and it will happen but better to wait until it is actually achieved before flagging it up. The British Secretary of State also disclosed that there were ongoing intensive discussions. There's no great deal about that, I suppose. We have all the time been engaged with the two governments in an effort to see the outstanding issues resolved. But no matter how much they may pretend or present themselves to the contrary, not all the parties are involved in this process. That's not Sinn Fein's doing or our wish, but I'm sure they are irked to hear public confirmation of such a process because it reduces them to the role of spectators and that can't be good.

So what is happening?

I won't commit the sin I have accused the governments of, but by following the logic of their utterances over the last number of months it is possible to form certain conclusions. For example, in June there were all-party discussions hosted by both governments in Lancaster House in London. These, despite Sinn Fein protests were brought to a halt because of the advent of theorange marching season and because senior DUP representatives had to go to Harvard. Obviously on business much more important than the effort to get a breakthrough back home.

In their absence the big task for the rest of us was to try to get a peaceful summer. We succeeded. Only just.

The next summit was at Leeds Castle. There the two governments told the world that they were satisfied that the IRA was going to make an unprecedented contribution to the process. The DUP appeared to hit a wobble. It was obvious to everyone that the IRA would only move in the context of a comprehensive agreement. As I said at the time the IRA was unlikely to move for less than the Good Friday Agreement.

So where stood the DUP? For their part they have been sending positive signals. They said they were for power sharing. Ian Paisley visited Dublin to meet with the Taoiseach as part of a publicly stated desire to build good neighbourliness. All this was positive and welcome but a month after the Leeds Talks the process is no further on. If the governments are satisfied with what they have proclaimed the IRA is going to do then who are they waiting on? Obviously the DUP. And if Ministers Ahern and Murphy have said there is going to be a breakthrough then clearly the logic of their position is that this must be coming from the DUP. I see no evidence of that, though it is possible.

As I understand it the DUP are seeking changes in the Agreement which would alter its fundamentals. Regular Irish Voice readers may know the governments have ruled this out, and I hope they are serious about this. But I have concerns, not least because both governments have tampered with the Agreement already. The suspension of the institutions is one example of this. The power which a British Minister now has, contrary to the Agreement, to take action against Irish political parties is another example.

The DUP are also making their own particular demands of the IRA at a time when their newly proclaimed conversion to power sharing has yet to move beyond the rhetoric. In fact in every local government council where the DUP has majority power in the north of Ireland they refuse to share power.

There is also the issue of policing. The DUP is a devolutionist party and obviously it would like to see the powers of policing and justice transferred from London toBelfast, but thus far it has resisted efforts to do this. Why?

So, from all of the above there is still a mountain to climb for Ian Paisleys party. I hope the two Ministers are right. Sinn Fein is leaving no stone unturned in our effort to bring about a breakthrough. The big question arising from the Ministers remarks is what do they do if there is not a breakthrough?

How long must we wait for the DUP to come into the real world?

ENDS

Toggle

Bairbre de Brún MEP speaking today in Brussels after signing an online petition to defend and protect Irish Language newspaper Lá said:

'In recent days we have seen an unacceptable attack on the Irish language daily newspaper Lá by Unionist politicians.

Lá has been become an increasingly successful newspaper, through the dedication of its staff, whose livelihoods Lord Laird seeks to jeopardise, the generosity of the Andersontown News Group, funding from Foras na Gaelige, Interreg and the support of Irish language speakers.

Unionist threats to funding seem to be based on nothing more than resentment at the continuing revival of the Irish language. They would create a cultural deficit if acted on by those in positions of influence.

I with my colleagues and other Irish language speakers throughout the island will seek to protect the integrity of Lá. I commend those organising this petition and urge everyone to support it'

Note to Editors : The online petition to support Lá can be found at:

http://www.petitiononline.com/32130966/petition.html

Ag caint i ndiaidh di achainí ar-líne chun an nuachtán laethúil Gaeilge, Lá, a chosaint a shíniú sa Bhruiséil inniu dúirt an Feisire Eorpach, Bairbre de Brún:

"Le laethanta beaga anuas rinne polaiteoirí Aontachtacha ionsaí samhnasach ar an nuachtán laethúil Gaeilge, Lá.

"Tá ag éirí le Lá, trí dhíograis a fhoirne, foireann a bhfuil an Tiarna Laird ag iarraidh a chur as obair, flaithiúlacht Ghrúpa an Andersonstown News, maoiniú o Fhoras na Gaeilge, Interreg agus tacaíocht lucht labhartha na Gaeilge.

"Tá an chuma ar an sceal go mbaineann bagairtí Aontachtaithe le doicheall roimh athbheochan leanúnach na Gaeilge. Bheadh folús cultúrtha ann dá leanfadh daoine a bhfuil tionchar acu a moltaí.

"Déanfaidh mise, in éineacht le mo chomhghleacaithe agus cainteoirí eile Gaeilge ar fud an oileáin, ár ndícheall staid Lá a chosaint. Molaim iad siud atá ag eagrú na hachainí seo agus iarraim ar gach duine tacaíocht a thabhairt di.

Nótai d'eagarthóirí: Is féidir teacht ar an achainí chun tacaiocht a thabhairt do Lá ag:

http://www.petitiononline.com/32130966/petition.html

Toggle

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams this evening extended his condolences to the family of party colleague Fra McCann after his brother Manuel committed suicide earlier today.

Mr Adams said:

"We are all shocked and numbed at the news that Manuel McCann the younger brother of West Belfast MLA Fra McCann was today found at his home after committing suicide. This is the second time in recent years that suicide has visited the McCann family.

"Indeed today's death brings to three the number of suicides in West Belfast alone in the past week. Three local families are now grieving and our thoughts and prayers are with all these families at this difficult time.

"Only last Wednesday Fra accompanied myself and other party colleagues as we joined local community workers to discuss the issue of suicide in North and West Belfast with the Health Minister Angela Smith.

"It is clear from the suicide rates, particularly amongst the young, that the current system is failing and urgent action needs to be taken." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD briefed officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin this afternoon on the worsening situation in Palestine. Mr Maskey called upon 'the international community to act immediately to ease the sense of despair in Palestine'.

Speaking on his return from Ramallah, Mr Maskey said:

"Myself and my colleague Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD briefed officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs on the worsening situation in Palestine. On my recent trip to Ramallah I was struck by the sense of despair and alienation many Palestinian people feel. There is a growing belief amongst Palestinians that the international community has abandoned them.

"The barrier erected by Israel continues to run through Palestinian land and separate families from each other. Many areas of Palestine are under curfew and people feel isolated and disconnected from each other and the outside world. The so-called 'Road Map for Peace‚ lies in tatters. The message from the Palestinian people is that 'the peace process is dead and we are bleeding on a daily basis'.

"It was important for me to give the Department of Foreign Affairs a first hand account of the situation which now exists within the Middle East. Sinn Féin seeks a commitment from Minister Ahern that he will use his influence to assist in the search for peace. It is imperative that the issue of the Middle East is made a policy priority for the Minister.

"We reiterate our call for the international community, under the direction of the UN to act immediately to ease the sense of despair felt in Palestine. An initiative is required to place pressure upon the Israeli Government to remove its troops and illegal settlements from Palestinian lands. I am also calling upon the EU to support the suspension of preferential trade with Israel." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has described today's second Human Rights Commission report into the treatment of women detained at the Mourne House Unit at Maghaberry Prison and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Unit as 'a scathing indictment of the scandalous conditions in which women remand and sentenced prisoners are being held.'

Mr. Adams said:

'Sinn Féin welcomes the detailed report by the Human Rights Commission and its series of 41 recommendations which culminate in calling for an Independent Public Inquiry into the role of all the key players. Anyone concerned at the conditions under which women are being held in prison should examine this report carefully. Our initial view is that it should be implemented in full.'

Recalling that three women have committed suicide in recent years in Maghaberry the Sinn Féin President called for the Prison system to 'immediately lift its block on the Human Rights Commission having access to the Women's Unit at Hydebank.'

'Sinn Féin has been demanding that the British government provide the Human Rights Commission with the power to enter places of detention. This is now needed more than ever given the refusal of the Prison Service to permit the Commission access to Hydebank, and the appalling conditions under which women are being held as revealed in today's report.'

"It is clear that the prison system has failed and continues to fail women, particularly those at greatest risk. There is a lack of healthcare, effective monitoring and support for women caught up within the prison system.

"The Prison Service has failed to draw up, and more importantly implement, a policy or strategic plan for the gender specific treatment of women in custody. Transferring women from a female unit in Maghaberry to a unit in Hydebank, which mostly holds young male offenders, has not addressed any of the problems caused by the absolute failure to provide protections for women in custody, particularly where they are at risk.

"The prison regime at Maghaberry was unacceptable and the move to Hydebank has not been accompanied by the necessary changes to prison policy. The Prisons Inspectorate made clear recommendations for the treatment of women, on separation of women, separate management structures, in-cell sanitation and effective training of staff. These have been totally ignored.

"One of the greatest areas of concern has been the fact that no special provision was made for children and young people thus breaching International Human Rights Standards. What also was of concern was the failure to provide appropriate medical, and crucially psychiatric, care especially for vulnerable women. The failure of the Prison Service to develop a policy on the treatment of women has compromised the health and well being of women in custody and has unfortunately led, on a number of occasions, to young women dying while in Maghaberry.

"The case of one of my constituents, Roseanne Irvine, raises all of these issues. Roseanne died in Maghaberry Prison in March. This young woman should never have been placed in prison. Roseanne was failed absolutely by the Prison Service, by social services and by the courts."ENDS

Toggle

Commenting after the publication this morning of a new report into suicide among the young, Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton said 'the stark fact that suicide accounted for one third of all deaths in the 15 - 24 age group in Ireland was evidence that the system was failing young people'.

Ms Stanton said:

" Today's report highlights again what many of us working with young people have been saying for sometime. The system is failing our young people and others at risk of self-harm. The stark fact contained in this report that one third of deaths in the age group 15 - 24 are a result of suicide is evidence of that.

"Last week I was part of a joint Sinn Féin and community sector meeting with the Health Minister Angela Smith to discuss the issue of youth suicide particularly in North and West Belfast. In these two areas the rate of suicide in our communities is 50% higher than average and the people most at risk are our young people.

"Last week we asked the Minister for Health to lead the exchange in information, understanding and best practice by identifying Suicide Prevention as a priority area for co-operation between the Department of Health in the six counties, and its counterpart in the 26 counties, under the auspices of the North-South Ministerial Council.

"The reality on the ground as demonstrated by the figures contained in the report launched by the Chief Medical Officer this morning means that we can no longer carry on as we have done. Action is urgently required. "ENDS

Note to Editor

The delegation of political and community representatives who met with Angela Smith last week included Gerry Adams MP MLA, Cllr Fra McCann MLA (West Belfast), Kathy Stanton MLA (North Belfast); Patricia McQuillan (Lenadoon Counselling Project), Mairead Gilmartin (Suicide Awareness Group), Phil McTaggart and Jo Murphy (PIPS, Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide)

Toggle

Sinn Fein Equality Spokesperson, South Down MLA Catriona Ruane commenting on the updated statistics published by National Statistics Office has said that action is required to tackle the higher levels of unemployment that exist within the Catholic community.

Ms Ruane said:

"People from the Catholic community are twice as likely to be unemployed than Protestants. That is a simple indisputable fact.

"There are clear commitments within the Good Friday Agreement to eradicate the differential between the communities but nothing has been done to make any impact.

" This report is also of course a timely reminder for those unionist politicians and British direct rule ministers who regularly attempt to revise history and pretend that discrimination in employment is a thing of the past. It is not and it needs addressed urgently.

" We need to see an action plan developed by government to tackle effectively for the first time ever institutional employment discrimination in the six counties." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Fein has called for the immediate removal of plastic bullets ahead of a conference being held today in Dublin by Jane's Defence about the use of these and other weapons. Sinn Fein will join a protest this evening at the "Less than lethal weapons" conference which is being held in The Berkley Hotel, Ballsbridge, on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th October.

Aengus O Snodaigh, TD, said that the

"Sinn Fein has consistently demanded that these lethal weapons are withdrawn. There is no more debate required on this issue, only action. It is a sad reflection on the thinking of those involved in policing in Ireland today, that this conference is being held to discuss the tactical advantages of plastic bullets and other weaponry. Since the organisers do not want to listen to the voices of human rights campaigners inside their event, then we are left with no option but to make our voices heard outside today‚s event. Our message is simple: stop using plastic bullets against Irish citizens. Plastic bullets have no role to play in policing in any part of Ireland."

Gerry Kelly, MLA, Sinn Fein spokesperson on policing and justice, said :

"Plastic bullets are lethal weapons. They have no use in a human rights-based, community policing service. 17 people have been killed by plastic bullets, 8 of whom have been children, and many more people have been injured. The Patten Commission supported the call by human rights campaigners and community activists for use of plastic bullets to be stopped immediately. Instead, the PSNI and the Policing Board have continued to purchase these deadly weapons over the last two years spending almost £1million on 120,000 plastic bullets. At Leeds Castle negotiations, Sinn Fein again pressed the British government to honours it commitment to remove plastic bullets from use. Alternatives to plastic bullets must be found immediately and these must be non-lethal. There is no point replacing the current plastic bullets with a new plastic bullet. They must be banned once and for all. Sinn Fein, in solidarity with human rights groups, will continue campaigning to achieve that goal. "

ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Councillor Daithí Doolan has called on Dublin City Council, ''to do all in their power to curtail illegal dumping on the Poolbeg Peninsula in Ringsend and to bring those involved in this activity ot justice.''

Cllr. Doolan said,

''I have had several reports from residents of illegal dumping taking place here in Ringsend. I have raised it with the relevant authorities but now it is time for action. This behaviour should not be tolerated and those involved should face the full rigours of the law. Their activity is damaging both the community and is a threat to local people's health.''

''City Council must deal with this dump as a matter of urgency, it's ongoing activity is sending out the wrong signal to others who may be contemplating doing the same. We must be clear, illegal dumping anywhere must stop and it must stop now.''ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has today called upon the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to 'move immediately to regularise the status of the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen children, as the Government's present policy would likely be found illegal under EU law in view of the ECJ ruling on Chen'.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments after the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Man Levette Chen, the non-national mother of a Belfast-born child EU citizen. The ECJ found that as an EU citizen the infant has an equal right to reside in her country of origin in the care and company of her parents.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"In light of the decision in the Chen case, I am once more calling upon the Minister to move immediately to regularise the status of the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen children. Under the Government's present policy these Irish children presently face either separation from their parents or effective exile from Ireland. This is fundamentally unjust. They have the equal right to remain in Ireland in the care and company of their parents as do Irish children with Irish citizen parents, and the ECJ has now confirmed this.

"This landmark decision calls into question the legitimacy of the policy of this government in regards to deportations of these parents, which may be illegal under EU law in view of the findings of the European Court of Justice this morning.

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the government's policy is both regressive and inhumane. We now require a commitment from the Minister for Justice to recognise the significance of this ruling and to immediately grant residency rights to the non-national parents of Irish citizens.

"I have submitted a motion to the Dail to move to adjourn normal business so that this important and groundbreaking decision can be discussed." ENDS

Toggle

Speaking today from Dublin Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said;

"The two governments are not simply facilitators or commentators on this process. They both have a crucial role to play particularly in honouring their outstanding commitments, if we are to achieve agreement on a comprehensive package.

"Four weeks ago there was progress made at Leeds Castle. However it is crucial that this work is brought to a speedy conclusion. Republicans want to see a deal done. We want to see the political institutions back up and running and the outstanding elements of the Good Friday Agreement implemented.

"However the safeguards and protections in the Good Friday Agreement cannot be diluted. There has to be democratic accountability in policing.

"Both governments have declared their belief that the DUP is for power sharing. There is no evidence thus far to support this and it flies in the face of the DUP attitude in local councils where they have majority control." ENDS

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Sean Crowe has this morning said that 'the problems of deprivation, poverty and anti-social behaviour in Tallaght West are not insurmountable but require a long-term commitment by the agencies of the state to effectively and adequately tackle them'.

Deputy Crowe was speaking following a public meeting in The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght West last night, which discussed the findings of a report entitled: 'How are our kids?' The survey was commissioned to ascertain levels of poverty and social exclusion amongst children in the West Tallaght area.

Speaking today Deputy Crowe said:

"Last nights meeting brought together over 200 residents and community activists to discuss the findings of the report and to suggest a common way forward for the community. There was a palpable sense of anger in the community in light of the report, that sections of the media were intent on portraying a purely negative picture of Tallaght. There are many residents and community activists in Tallaght West who are working tirelessly for the betterment of people living in the area.

"The meeting was very focussed on the problems that need to be addressed. The difficulties in Tallaght West stem from the root causes of poverty and years of neglect by the state authorities. It is blatantly obvious that there are no quick fix solutions. However these problems are not insurmountable, they require a long-term commitment by the agencies of the state to effectively and adequately tackle them.

"Minister Willie O‚Dea‚s comments on national television last night are an absolute disgrace. He placed the blame for many of the problems in Tallaght West firmly at the door of the community by claiming that there was a 'lack of community cohesion'. In the same breath Minister O‚Dea admitted that he was not overly familiar with the area. It is typical of this government to shift the blame and make contradictory statements.

"It is important to recognise that there are similar problems of deprivation and poverty across the state which must be tackled also. At a time of unprecedented economic growth in this state the government has failed to invest in whole communities. The considerable wealth generated by the Irish economy over the past number of years has not benefited those most in need.

"Sinn Féin believes that with political will and a multi-faceted approach to the causes of poverty and deprivation that we can overcome these problems. The community require urgent actions not empty promises."ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin

Photos

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir speaking during a debate.

An Phoblacht Ad

Videos

1916 Lost Leaders March


Like us on Facebook

Sinn Féin Shop