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


Sinn Féin Councillor for north Belfast, Eoin O'Broin has stated today that Belfast City Council must act now on the issue of the flying of the Union Flag 365 days a year. This follows the completion of an internal equality impact assessment, which has stated that the council could face legal action if the issue is not resolved satisfactorily.

Speaking today Cllr O'Broin said:

"It is Sinn Féin view that under the equality legislation the issue of the flying of the Union flag must be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

"It has taken two years to arrive at a position which everybody knew at the start. That is that there is no legal defence for the current policy, the current policy conflicts with Belfast City Councils own equality scheme and good relations guidelines and that change has to happen.

"The majority of parties want change and Sinn Féin is calling on the city council to take a decision on this issue without delay.

" Sinn Féin's position is a matter of record. Our preferred option is for both the Irish Tricolour and the Union flag to fly from Belfast city hall in recognition of both the nationalist and unionist communities. If this is not possible we would then favour neutrality, implying the removal of all flags." ENDS



This dossier lists sectarian attacks carried out by loyalists across the Six Counties, between July 1st - October 6th 2003, (as reported in An Phoblacht, UTV, the Newsletter and the Irish News.) Although by no means comprehensive, due to the fact that so many attacks go unreported it offers a chilling picture of orchestrated sectarian intimidation, particularly in areas where there is a vulnerable nationalist minority.

This dossier will be sent to both the British and Irish Governments. The Irish government has a duty to defend Irish Citizens who are the target of these attacks. The British government has a responsibility to explain the role of their agents inside the loyalist paramilitaries responsible for this campaign.

The British government's suspension of the institutions and cancellation of the elections created a lengthy political vacuum, which unionist paramilitaries are trying fill with sectarian attacks.

Despite the relative calm at interfaces over the last three months, loyalist violence has persisted with more than 160 separate sectarian attacks on Catholics across the Six Counties. These attacks are in part the result of the sectarian divisions within our society, but the majority are being orchestrated by unionist paramilitary groups.

This has included 54 pipe and petrol bomb attacks, a number of shooting incidents, 43 attacks on people including a man stabbed eight times, a pregnant women beaten so severely that she lost her baby and several attempted abductions. There have been scores of attacks on Catholic houses and property with families forced to leave their homes.

And in the last few weeks we have seen an upsurge in attacks on Catholic schools and churches. On the 18th September five Catholic schools in Larne, North Belfast and West Belfast were forced to close due to UDA bomb hoaxes and on 15th September devices were left at two Catholic schools in Dungiven and Limavady. The fact that the UDA in particular is heavily infiltrated by Special Branch and Military Intelligence agents raises the question about who is setting the agenda for such attacks.

In the past much sectarian loyalist violence had been focused on the interface areas. But as a result of the work done in these areas over the past year this avenue was largely closed to those wishing to orchestrate sectarian violence in the past number of months.

Sinn Féin has been aware that over the past year intensive contacts between the political leaderships of unionism and the leaders of the various unionist paramilitary groups have been ongoing. Unionist politicians should explain the insight this has given them into what is going on within these armed groups and tell us when this sustained campaign will end. Those involved are given succour when they hear unionist politicians defending sectarian threats and protests such as those which occurred at Carnmoney Cemetery and in other blatantly sectarian incidents.

All political parties and civic society need to speak out with one voice on this campaign. This dossier is merely the tip of the iceberg and does not include the nightly attacks and intimidation in parts of North Belfast, Lisburn, Larne and Coleraine or the many unreported acts of intimidation. There is an urgent need for the political process to be put back on track and for a cross-party initiative against sectarianism.

5th October

A 21year old man had his skull fractured in a sectarian attack near St. James Church in Belfast.

A Catholic family was forced to leave their home in the Parkhall estate in Antrim after a number of masked and it is believed armed men attacked their house and attemted to force their way inside.

4th October

Petrol bomb attack on a house in Deerpark Road in North Belfast.

2nd October

Catholic family in Coleraine were forced to leave their home when they came under fire from loyalists for the second time this week - gunshots were fired at their home.

30th September

Catholic family in Coleraine had a brick put through their window by loyalists for flying a Tyrone flag.

29th September

Attack on Our Lady of Mercy's school in North Belfast -- six cars belonging to staff were destroyed and two badly damaged after loyalists entered the grounds carrying petrol cans, doused the cars, smashed the window screens and set them on fire. This is the second attack on the school in 20 months.

27th September

Two teenage boys, aged 13 and 14, were attacked by loyalists in Durham Street in West Belfast.

Loyalists smashed the windows of a car parked outside St. Comgall's Club in Victoria Road.

26th September

A van belonging to workers, removing sectarian graffiti from apartments in South Belfast, was destroyed by loyalists. This was the third attack on this apartment block in four weeks

24th September

Pipe bomb left at the gates of the Dominican College, a Catholic Grammer School, in North Belfast. The attack followed a sectarian arson attack on the school just over a year ago.

21st September

A Catholic family with two young children escaped serious injury after loyalists threw rocks through the back window of their car as they drove along Market Hill Road in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

Petrol bombs were thrown at two homes on the outskirts of Belfast

20th September

A ten-day-old baby escaped injury after loyalists petrol bombed four Catholic homes on the Bawnmore estate on the Northern outskirts of Belfast. Up to five devices where thrown in the sectarian attack, which happened when loyalists travelling in a red car stopped outside the nationalist homes.

A 20-year-old man and his father were viciously attacked by loyalists after a night of greyhound racing at Ballyskeagh dog track near Lisburn. Louise Conlon told how when she arrived by car to collect her husband and son after the race meeting, the pair were set upon by a number of men.

Loyalists smashed windows and the front door of a home in Stoneyford, near Lisburn during the night. UVF slogans were sprayed on a wall.

18th September

UDA bomb hoaxes in Larne and North and West Belfast closed five Catholic schools. At around 1.15pm, a caller claiming to represent the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA, made a call to a Belfast newsroom to say bombs had been left at Catholic schools. St. Comgall's High School in Larne was forced to close, as was Fortwilliam, St. Gabriel's, Our Lady of Mercy and Holy Cross schools.

15th September

Two devices were found at Catholic schools in Derry - St Patrick's High School, Dungiven, and St Mary's High School in Limavady, just ten miles away.

14th September

A number of Catholic graves were desecrated at St Patrick's Church cemetery, Ballyargan, in Scarva, County Down, the latest sectarian attack at a graveyard. Eight graves had headstones broken and flowers and wreaths were strewn about the grounds.

On Sunday also, loyalists attacked Catholics homes in the Deerpark Road area of North Belfast for the third week running.

Glengormley priest Father Dan White received a death threat from the Loyalist Action Force, a cover name used by the UDA. On the same day loyalists blew horns and whistles outside the gates of the Cemetary in an attempt to disrupt the blessing of the graves ceremony.

12th September

Loyalist paramilitaries bombed a pensioner's home in Larne, Co Antrim.

Members of the PSNI visited the offices of the North Belfast News to warn a journalist with the paper that his life is under threat from unionist paramilitaries.

A car carrying three nationalists, one wearing a County Antrim GAA shirt, was attacked by around 20 to 30 loyalists, but they managed to escape unscathed.

Loyalists attacked cars at the West Circular and Ballygomartin Roads in Belfast. A young driver, targeted for wearing a Celtic top, was assaulted and robbed but narrowly escaped being abducted.

11th September

Bomb attack on a home in the Upper Cairncastle Road area of Larne, Co. Antrim

In Derry last week, the UDA threatened to take action against what it described as 'known republicans' in the Waterside area. The warning was issued in a statement released by the Ulster Political Research Group and comes on the back of a press conference last month when the UPRG warned that the UDA ceasefire in Derry was coming under strain.

10th September

Loyalists daubed sectarian graffiti on the front of St Mary's Catholic chapel in Glengormley. The slogan KAT (Kill all Taigs) was painted across the doors of the church on the Carnmoney Road.

9th September

Loyalists attack graves at Carnmoney Cemetary outside Belfast

8th September

Pipe bomb attack on a house in Magherafelt

7th September

A Catholic man was struck on the head with a hatchet by a gang of Shankill loyalists, as he walked home along Carrick Hill.

6th September

Pipe bomb thrown at a house in Lisburn

Car destroyed in an arson attack in Randalstown

3rd September

Man attacked by loyalists on Deerpark Road -- a brick is thrown in his face

2nd September

Two Catholic families were forced to flee from their homes in North Belfast

Loyalists attack the home of a Catholic mother who lives with her 15 year old autistic daughter in North Belfast.

1st September

A loyalist pipe bomb attached to the gates of Holy Cross Girls' Primary School disrupted the first day of term and renewed fears of a resumption of a sectarian campaign of violence against the North Belfast Catholic School. The attack took place against the backdrop of a sectarian campaign of intimidation by Glenbryn loyalists targeting Catholic homes in nearby Deerpark Road.

31st August

An Armagh family's car was attacked with stones by loyalists as they returned from watching their team win the All-Ireland football semi-final against Donegal in Dublin. The family from Lurgan were stopped at traffic lights in the Malcolm Road area of the town when their car was stoned by a group of loyalists.

23rd August

Three teenagers were attacked by a gang of seven unionist paramilitaries carrying baseball bats and golf clubs, as they walked along Alliance Avenue in Belfast.

22nd August

Catholic family forced to move. A woman whose North Belfast home has been the target of a series of sectarian attacks by loyalists has said she cannot take any more and is moving out.

21st August

Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Butler's home was attacked by loyalists with fire bombs and numerous threats, including one naming his partner, have been painted on walls in Dunmurry and outside the council office in Lisburn. Mr. Butler also received a live bullet through the post along with a death threat. In recent months 12 Catholic families have been forced to put their homes up for sale in Stoneyford.

17th August

Loyalists pipe bomb a house in Queens Park area of Newtownabbey

16th August

Buses with Celtic football supporters were attacked by loyalists as a loyalist band parade on the Ballyclare Road near Glengormley. Supporters escaped serious injury as bottles and bricks crashed through the windows of the bus.

15th August

LVF issue death threats to people at a dole office in Downpatrick and intimidate people entering and leaving the building

12th August

Members of the PSNI stopped and assaulted 12-year-old Garvan Brown after he was asked a question and answered them in Irish. The assault happened as he walked through the Fernabbey estate in Derry with his older sister.

A dream home being built by a Catholic family in Desertmartin, County Derry has been burnt down in an arson attack by loyalists, the sixth attack since construction began several years ago. The house, on the Tobermore Road in Desertmartin, was gutted by fire.

10th August

Nationalist homes in Cupar Street, just off the Springfield Road in West Belfast, 12 petrol bomb were thrown into the back gardens of nationalist homes.

9th August

Up to ten devices were thrown across the 'peaceline' at houses in Cupar Street from the loyalist Mayo Link.

Poleglass man receives a death threat from loyalists

Newtownabbey Sinn Féin councillor Briege Meehan received a death threat from unionist paramilitaries using the name the "Loyalist Action Force".

A young nationalist in Glengormley was threatened by an armed man shortly after 9.30pm

7th August

The UDA in Derry issued a new threat of violence at a loyalist press conference in the Waterside.

6th August

Two Catholic schoolboys were attacked and robbed by a group of loyalists as they left York Street train station North Belfast.

5th August

There was an arson attack on St Enda's GAA Club in Omagh. Almost three quarters of the roof of the new stand, which is under construction, has been destroyed as well as around 200 seats.

4th August

A highly flammable bomb was thrown from a passing car at the house of councillor Paul Butler, which he shares with his partner and three children.

31st July

Loyalist gangs attacked Catholic homes in the Stiles estate in Antrim.

30th July

Homes in the Clandeboye area of the Short Strand came under fire from loyalist youths using ball bearings and golf balls.

Loyalist paramilitaries erect Nazi insignia in Ballymena and distribute White National Party literature as part of their campaign against non whites.

27th July

Members of South Antrim UDA beat and kicked a 31-year-old Protestant mother so hard she lost her unborn baby, because she had Catholic friends. Mary Norris said seven masked UDA men smashed their way into her Rathcoole home, destroying everything in their way and stealing £800 in savings.

A 17-year-old girl had a gun put to her head and her two male companions, aged 14 and 26, needed hospital treatment after they attacked by up to 15 members of the UDA in Dunmurry.

26th July

An historic South Derry Catholic church has been badly damaged in a sectarian arson attack. Extensive damage was caused to the altar of St John's Church, on the main Magherafelt to Castledawson Road A window at the rear of the church was broken and flammable liquid was poured in. The floor at the rear of the building, which dates from the time of the penal laws in Ireland, was also badly damaged.

24th July

Unionist paramilitaries abandon 3 pipe bombs and a grenade in the Camlough/Bessbrook area of County Armagh. They say they were to be used to attack Sinn Féin representatives living in the area.

A number of families living in Leckagh Drive Estate in Magherafelt, County Derry, were evacuated from their homes due to a suspect bomb, later declared an elaborate hoax. This was the latest act of intimidation carried out in the estate which has been plaqued by unionist paramilitary violence against Catholics over the last 18 months.

20th July

A 21year-old Catholic was seriously injured after he was attacked by a gang of 20 loyalists wielding golf clubs, iron bars and poles painted red, white and blue as he played golf at Aberdelghy Golf club, outside Lisburn. The 21-year-old victim and his brother-in-law were playing a round of golf when they were confronted by two men wearing Glasgow Rangers' football tops. The men ordered the Catholic golfer to remove his Celtic shirt.

19th July

Loyalist youths have been attacking nationalist homes in Clandeboye Drive and Clandeboye Gardens with ball bearings, golf balls and other missiles daily. Car windscreens, sun roofs as well as houses have been hit by missiles fired from catapults over the interface wall from the loyalist Cluan Place.

17th July

Denise Crudden, a Catholic mother of three said that after an Orange Order march a gang of loyalists youths bombarded her home, in the mainly Protestant village of Magheraveely, with bottles, bricks and other rubble in a three-hour rampage. During the onslaught, Crudden had to hide her children in a room at the back of the house.

16th July

Loyalist issue death threats against two Derry postmen. The two Catholic workers are on special leave from their jobs at Derry sorting office after receiving UVF sympathy cards at their home addresses. The cards, which were signed UVF, bore the words 'RIP, Fenian Scum'. They were delivered at the weekend. The latest threat is not the first time postal workers in Derry have been targeted by loyalist paramilitaries.

15th July

Loyalist supporters of the White Nationalist Party (WNP) have been erecting Nazi flags and distributing party leaflets in the loyalist town of Ballymena, County Antrim. White Nationalist Party flags have been put up on lampposts beside the joint offices of the Social Security Agency and the Housing Executive in Twickenham House at Mount Street and in the Clonavon area of the town.

11th July

A number of Catholic residents from Ardoyne who applied for a judicial review against the Parades Commission decision to allow an Orange parade through their area have received death threats from the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA.

10th July

Two malicious fires have left children in the New Lodge/Duncairn area of North Belfast without a playground. The fires, which caused more than £6,000 damage to the Star Neighbourhood Centre, were started by loyalist arsonists who returned to torch the centre a second time only days after their first attack. Now, nearly 60 children are without any play area over the summer holidays.

8th July

A PSNI officer has attacked a young girl who had already been victimised during the Holy Cross dispute, leaving the child bruised and traumatised. Twelve-year-old Shauna Millen was standing with female friends on Clifton Park Avenue after a PSNI raid had been carried out on a home nearby.

7th July

A FOUR-year-old Co Antrim child escaped injury in an early morning petrol bomb attack by loyalists. The boy and his parents were asleep upstairs at their home in Willow Walk, Aghalee, in the early hours of the morning when the attack with two petrol bombs was launched.

5th July

It was revealed in a Housing Executive report that almost 90 families have been intimidated from their homes in Antrim in the past year. The vast majority of the cases were of Catholics being forced from their homes by unionist paramilitaries.

3rd July

An American woman whose family business was destroyed and whose home was attacked by loyalists has said she is considering returning to the United States. The UVF in the South Derry area have admitted they are responsible for the sectarian attacks.

A Catholic man was knifed in the back up to eight times, when loyalists attempted to abduct the man, outside Bushmills, Co Antrim.

2nd July

A 28-year-old Catholic man was viciously assaulted in sectarian attack carried out by a loyalist gang who targeted him as he walked along the Cloyfin Road near to Coleraine County Derry.

1st July

A Catholic man was stabbed in the stomach by a loyalist bandsman only hours after a controversial Orange Order march took place on the nationalist Springfield Road in West Belfast. The 27-year-old father of two was walking to a local shop on Clifton Street in north Belfast with his two-year-old son at around 5.30pm on Saturday when he was attacked.

The attempted murder of a 20-year-old John Stewart by loyalists in Ballynahinch last weekend was the most serious of a series of attacks in the County Down town in recent months. Ballynahinch's 50% Catholic population has been targeted by loyalists from the Langley Road estate. And in the run up to this year's marching season, loyalists have festooned the town with loyalist flags including UDA, UVF, YCV, Ulster Flags and Union Jacks. UVF and YCV flags have been erected outside a Catholic primary school and the local library.


that places are being cut in such schemes and this is having a huge knock-on effect with many schemes being forced to close down altogether? Day care, adult literacy schemes, meals and transport for the elderly - all of these are effected. This attack on communities is compounded by the cuts in the Voluntary Training Opportunities Scheme - VTOS ? whereby people availing of educational opportunities are having their childcare support withdrawn?

"Does the Taoiseach accept that CE posts have become an integral part of the community infrastructure throughout this State? Will the Taoiseach reverse these cuts and recognise the valuable work that is being done both for communities and, very importantly, for CE participants themselves, many of whom will not be able to adapt to full-time work in mainstream employment?

"These schemes are doing work the Government has failed to do otherwise through better funding for local government, the health boards and the community and voluntary sector. As a result of these cuts valuable facilities such as community centres are becoming white elephants because they will not have the CE workers to staff them." ENDS


Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has hit out at the PSNI for 'deliberately obstructing' attempts by a Coroner to find the truth surrounding the killing of Roseanne Mallon and nine other people in Tyrone. Ms. Gildernew also criticised the Policing Board for its silence on the matter.

Speaking outside Dungannon Courthouse Ms Gildernew said:

"The PSNI this morning refused to comply with the direction of the Coroner and hand over documents relevant to his inquest. Hugh Orde has taken a decision to continue the cover-up of the murder of Roseanne Mallon and nine other people in Tyrone. His actions and that of his force are not those of a transparent and accountable policing service. It shows us clearly that the Special Branch are still in charge.

"The silence of the normally vociferous Policing Board including Desmond Rea, Denis Bradley and Alex Attwood on this matter has been deafening. Not once have they spoken about the PSNI deliberately withholding evidence from an Inquest. Not once have they spoken about a PSNI decision to deny families of people killed the truth.

"They have not spoken because they are powerless to do anything about it. The truth of the matter is that the old guard from the RUC Special Branch is calling the shots and Attwood, Rea and Bradley are simply incapable of tackling them." ENDS


major traffic congestion already causing chaos across the city, with roads dug up for LUAS, it would seem to defy logic that you then make arrangements to disrupt another main source of public transport, and force more private cars on to the roads, by closing it down at weekends for the next nine to 18 months.

"It is clear that there is a complete lack of communication between all the agencies and State Departments responsible for controlling traffic and providing public transport in the capital city. This outrageous situation cannot continue. Minister Brennan needs to get a grip on his brief." ENDS


Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has hit out at the PSNI for 'deliberately obstructing' attempts by a Coroner to find the truth surrounding the killing of Roseanne Mallon and nine other people in Tyrone. Ms. Gildernew also criticised the Policing Board for its silence on the matter.

Speaking outside Dungannon Courthouse Ms Gildernew said:

"The PSNI this morning refused to comply with the direction of the Coroner and hand over documents relevant to his inquest. Hugh Orde has taken a decision to continue the cover-up of the murder of Roseanne Mallon and nine other people in Tyrone. His actions and that of his force are not those of a transparent and accountable policing service. It shows us clearly that the Special Branch are still in charge.

"The silence of the normally vociferous Policing Board including Desmond Rea, Denis Bradley and Alex Attwood on this matter has been deafening. Not once have they spoken about the PSNI deliberately withholding evidence from an Inquest. Not once have they spoken about a PSNI decision to deny families of people killed the truth.

"They have not spoken because they are powerless to do anything about it. The truth of the matter is that the old guard from the RUC Special Branch is calling the shots and Attwood, Rea and Bradley are simply incapable of tackling them."ENDS


Sinn Féin spokesperson on the issue of Collusion Conor Murphy has called on the British government to publish without delay the recommendations of Judge Cory.

Mr. Murphy said:

"We are told by British government sources that the Cory Report has to be vetted by the securocrats before it will be considered for publication. Even if you accept this argument, which we do not, there should be no excuse for failing to publish the recommendations of Judge Cory immediately.

"The Cory Report itself should not even have been necessary. The British government should have moved two years ago after the Weston Park discussions to establish independent international inquiries into these matters.

"Sinn Féin have consistently supported the demands of individual families who believe that their loved ones were killed as a result of British state manipulation, control and direction of unionist paramilitary gangs. We will continue to do this until they are satisfied that the truth has been established." ENDS


Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams will be in Cork on Wednesday 8th October for a number of engagements.

  • 9.30 photo call outside the City Hall
  • 10.00 Press Conference at the Imperial Hotel South Mall
  • 1.0 Signing of his new book at Easons in Patrick Street.

Gerry Adams will be briefed by the Sinn Féin local election team, including the candidates for next years City Council elections. Sinn Féin will be contesting all six wards in the city.


Speaking in advance of tomorrows resumed inquest into the deaths of ten people killed in Tyrone by the British State or its agencies, including the case of Roseanne Mallon, Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew said that tomorrows hearing 'would go a long way to establishing the intentions of the British government and the PSNI regarding these families right to the truth'.

Ms Gildernew said:

"For over ten years the British government have actively attempted to subvert due process and deny these families the right to truth and justice. At every turn they have frustrated the inquest system and attempts by the Coroner to gain the necessary documents have been met with resistance.

"At the last hearing the Coroner gave the PSNI and the British Military 21 days to bring forward the necessary documentation. Tomorrow will be the test of this. Will the PSNI finally come clean and furnish the court with the documents it has been ordered to surrender, or will Hugh Orde continue to obstruct these families in their search for the truth.

"Much has been made by the supporters of the PSNI about its supposed transparency and accountability. These people have been silent about the behaviour of the force at these inquests. We have heard nothing from the Policing Board or from the SDLP, usually so vociferous on Policing matters. I can only assume from their silence that they are satisfied with the approach being taken by the PSNI regarding this matter. Either that or they know they are powerless to instruct the Chief Constable to adopt another course of action." ENDS

The Inquest will resume at 10.30am at Dungannon Courthouse.


Sinn Féin education Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has challenged direct rule Education Minster Jane Kennedy to come clean on the end date for the 11+ transfer test after fresh concerns that delays will affect the decision to end the 11+ by 2005.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Jane Kennedy must come clean and tell us if there has been a decision to overturn the decision of Martin McGuinness to end the 11+ transfer test by 2005.

"The equivocation of Jane Kennedy has thrown doubt her ability to deliver an alternative by 2005. This uncertainty is not good for young people ritually forced to sit the 11+ and it is not good for the development of the primary and post primary education sectors.

"It looks as if the working group set up by Jane Kennedy is going nowhere fast and that the timetable for developing the alternative will not be meet.

"While being deeply concerned that Jane Kennedy is attempting a U-turn this also sets a dangerous precedent in terms of direct rule ministers overturning plans and decisions made and developed by locally elected representatives. In that way this situation is not dissimilar to the mess that Des Browne made of the acute hospitals review." ENDS


Sinn Féin Children and Young People's Spokesperson, West Belfast representative Cllr Sue Ramsey and Equality Spokesperson, Upper Bann representative Dr Dara O'Hagan meet with the new Commissioner for Children and Young People Nigel Williams today in Belfast.

Commenting on the meeting Cllr Ramsey said:

"Nigel Williams has made a big impact. Now it is important that we see change on the ground, particularly in the way the services for children and young people are provided.

"Sinn Féin have also voiced concerns that the remit of the commissioner does not allow him to deal properly with the issue of juvenile justice.

"If we are to effectively champion the rights of children and young people then the commissioner must also be a position to impact directly on decisions that will effect the lives of children. This must include the ability to impact on cross-departmental decisions. For example in any new housing development announced by the Department of Social Development the commissioner should be able to impact on decisions around traffic calming, recreational facilities, public transport etc.

Dr O'Hagan added:

"It is also vital that the commissioner has a role in tackling child poverty. Only last week the report in Low Income Families highlighted the fact that 37% of children are now at risk from low income and poverty and this will have consequential implications on their future." ENDS


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh described as "alarming" and "shameful" the latest figures from the UN that states that 1 billion people across the world are living in slums and that the figure is expected to more than double in the next 30 years. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Today's UN report on slums highlights in a very dramatic and shameful way the negative impact of globalisation. Rather than 'lifting all boats' economically as the captain's of industry and promoters of the so-called 'free market' would have us believe it is clear that globalisation is having a very corrosive effect on the worlds population. Over 30% of the worlds urban population or almost one billion people are currently living in slums and extreme poverty. This figure is expected to more than double in the next 30 years. That will represent more than half the world's urban population. That is an extraordinary and alarming figure.

"It is no coincidence that the massive growth in slum dwelling happened during the 1990s as the free marketeers gained complete control of and influence over the economic strategies and policies of all the major economies of the world.

"This report shows that there is no such thing as the free market. A price will always be paid somewhere. The developing world is increasingly being made pay a massive price for the unfettered consumerism and commercialism of the West.

"The Irish Government in taking over the EU Presidency shortly will have an opportunity to play a central role in addressing the imbalance that exists and which this report dramatically highlights between the so-called developed and developing countries. Last week in Dáil I called on the Government to adopt a global social justice agenda for its Programme for the EU Presidency in 2004.

"I urged the Government to use the Irish Presidency of the EU as an opportunity to put fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals at the top of the EU and international agenda as the most effective means of ensuring human and global security.

"As part of a global social justice agenda and in light of this UN report I would again urge the Government to commit the Irish EU Presidency to the following:

·To bring the EU partners on board to match Ireland's stated commitment to developing country debt cancellation.

·To prioritise Trade Justice by committing to support creation of a multilateral binding code of conduct for EU participation in trade negotiations, and by pressing for a conclusion on the 3 outstanding Doha Development Round areas acceptable to the developing world.

·To show leadership in the EU on Official Development Assistance (ODA) by returning to multi-annual ODA budgeting; publishing a plan for incremental growth in Irish ODA between 2004-2007 as recommended by Development Cooperation Ireland and Dóchas - starting with a guaranteed increase from 0.41% to 0.48% GNP for Budget 2004; ensuring policy coherence on poverty eradication as the guiding principle for EU external action; and proposing the establishment of permanent EU monitoring group to review members' implementation of Monterey and Barcelona Commitments (aid increases, aid harmonisation, untying of aid).

·To show global leadership by committing to introduce legislation establishing a Tobin Tax in this state (as France has already done), and by campaigning to establish the EU as a Tobin Tax Zone.

·To spearhead a campaign to mobilise the EU behind UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's appeal for support for radical UN reform in the aftermath of the tragedy at the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

"If the Government emphasises these points in the Irish EU Presidential Programme, the broadest section of the Irish people will support it wholeheartedly and moreover regard it as a source of pride. If they fail to do so, however, the Irish EU Presidency will join the Irish tenure on the UN Security Council as another opportunity wasted." ENDS


North Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Gerry Kelly has added his name to those, including the O'Hara family, who are calling for an inquiry into claims that 19 year old Gerard O'Hara was murdered in 1992 by the UFF on the basis of information given to them by the RUC.

Mr Kelly said:

"The O'Hara family have always believed that their son was murdered as a result of collusion between British State agencies and the unionist paramilitary gang responsible.

"Fresh claims are now being made that the killing was carried out as a result of information passed to the UFF by a member of the RUC. These claims must now be investigated fully including whether or not this individual is now a member of the PSNI."


Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin responding to remarks made by the SDLP Deputy Leader Brid Rodgers blaming republicans for the crisis in the process said that 'it was disappointing that the SDLP had now moved onto the ground of justifying the cancellation of the elections in line with the position taken by their sister party the British Labour party and the unionists'.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"I read Brid Rodger's comments blaming republicans for the crisis in the peace process. She claims that republicans have not moved. Where exactly has Brid Rodgers been over the past ten years and over the past year in particular?

"Last May Tony Blair posed three questions. Gerry Adams answered them. The British then demanded that Gerry Adams say 'will' instead of 'should'. He did this and that was not enough either, they went ahead and cancelled the Assembly elections.

"It is disappointing that the SDLP and Brid Rodger's have now moved onto the ground of justifying the cancellation of the elections in line with the position taken by their sister party the British Labour party and the unionists. It is a position which is completely out of line with nationalist and republican opinion on the island." ENDS


Speaking on the day that Judge Cory will deliver his report on collusion to the British government, Sinn Féin Representative on the issue Conor Murphy has called on the report to be published and it recommendations acted upon.

Mr Murphy said:

"In the past reports into collusion by Stalker, Sampson and Stevens have been suppressed by the very British securocrats whose activities they were supposed to be investigating. This cannot be allowed to happen to Judge Cory's report.

"Already there is overwhelming evidence in a number of the cases that Judge Cory has investigated that the British State were directly involved in the murder of citizens through the manipulation, control and direction of unionist death squads. In line with the wishes of these families independent inquiries should now take place without any further delay." ENDS


South Antrim Sinn Féin Representative Martin Meehan has accused unionist paramilitaries of attacking the home of a catholic family in the Parkhall estate in Antrim last night. The family have now left their home.

Cllr. Meehan said:

"Last night a number of masked and it is believed armed men attempted to gain entry to a catholic home in the Parkhall estate in Antrim. When the householder saw the masked men he bolted the door and prevented them entering his home. After failing to gain entry to the house the men then attacked the family car and smashed nine windows in the house before fleeing.

"The family have now left their home and they are in temporary accommodation determined not to return to their home. This is the latest blatantly sectarian attack on a catholic family in Antrim. It is part of a sustained campaign by unionists to intimidate Catholics from mixed estates in the town. Many nationalists will be watching closely the response of the various unionist political leaderships in the town in the face of this latest attack." ENDS


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has described as "alarming" the announcement by An Post Chief Executive Donal Curtin that he plans to cut almost 1500 jobs in the next two years. Deputy Ó Caoláin said Communications Minister Dermot Ahern should not give the plan the go-ahead. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"It is alarming to find that at a time when the postal service has actually got worse for many customers An Post is proposing to cut 1500 jobs. This is purely a cost-cutting measure. If recent changes are anything to go by it is being done without any consideration of its impact on the service to the public, especially to people in rural Ireland.

"For example, in my own constituency the sorting office at Monaghan has been closed and mail is being routed through Athlone, causing considerably delays to delivery times. This is yet another blow to the already meagre infrastructure provided by Government outside the larger urban centres.

"I urge Minister Ahern not to rubber-stamp this proposal but to ensure that existing services are not only maintained but improved." ENDS


of the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission in breach of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be over estimated.

"There is enormous resentment among republicans and nationalists at the behaviour of the British government, and the constant, singular and unwarranted focus by it on blaming republicans, as evidenced by Paul Murphy's comments at the British Labour Party conference." ENDS

The Sinn Féin leadership has been in conversation with both governments ahead of tomorrow's meeting between the Taoiseach and British Prime Minster.

Speaking after the Sinn Féin Officer Board met today in Omagh, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness played down the likelihood of a breakthrough before elections.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Our discussions with the two governments and the UUP have focused on the need to secure firm commitments - guarantees - on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the sustainability of the institutions.

"The rejection by the two governments of substantive initiatives earlier this year from the IRA, and then by the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, and the decision of the British Prime Minster Tony Blair to twice cancel elections, inflicted enormous damage.

"On top of this the negative effect of the establishment of the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission in breach of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be over estimated.

"There is enormous resentment among republicans and nationalists at the behaviour of the British government, and the constant, singular and unwarranted focus by it on blaming republicans, as evidenced by Paul Murphy's comments at the British Labour Party conference." ENDS


Speaking after receiving a response from the Minister for Justice that it costs €2.9 million per year to provide cars and drivers to Cabinet Ministers Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said:

"Obviously I recognise the need for Cabinet Ministers to have access to drivers and cars so that they can properly get on with doing their jobs but I find the figure of €2.9 million to provide such a service for fifteen or so people each year as staggering and impossible to justify.

"It's an utter disgrace when we have all the problems we have with public transport and the debacle that is LUAS that we have Ministers being ferried around this country, often for very frivolous and party political matters, at a cost of €170,000 per Minister per year. There is no justification for this whatsoever.

"That figure is properly placed in prospective when compared to the Governments recent decision to cut Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) childcare funding for people trying to get back to education and work. For a fraction of that €2.9 million almost 1,400 parents were left without proper funding for childcare facilities as they arranged to go back to full time education this September, forcing many of them off VTOS programmes.

"Ministers speeding around the country in the high-powered Mercs need to take a reality check." ENDS

Question and Answer below

Question No. 1122

To the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Question: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost to the State on an annual basis of providing each Cabinet Minister with a car. - Seán Crowe.

For written answer on Tuesday, 30th September, 2003.

Answer: I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the annual cost of providing cars for Cabinet Ministers is €2.9 million. This is an annual cost of approximately €170,000 per Minister.


Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP is in Omagh today conducting a series of internal party meetings. Speaking from Omagh Mr. Adams called for a reception to be held in Stormont for the victorious Tyrone All-Ireland winning team.

"Last Sunday's historic Tyrone victory in the first all-Ulster final should be marked by an official reception at Stormont for the victorious team, mentors and family." ENDS

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