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Latest Statements

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


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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, who is in Galway with North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty said "It is clear that the decentralisation plan unveiled by the Minister for Finance last December is unravelling. It was ill-thought out, badly planned and produced without any consultation and ignores the need for a real programme for rural development."

Mr. Adams said:

"It is clear that the decentralisation plan unveiled by the Minister for Finance last December is unravelling. It was ill-thought out, badly planned and produced without any consultation and ignores the need for a real programme for rural development.

"Sinn Féin believes that every person, no matter where they live, should have equal access to public services; be that health, transport, education, post offices or banking. The reality for many rural communities is very different. Many of these services are either non-existent or have been withdrawn from these communities. That is clearly illustrated by the health crisis within the regions.

"The government have completely failed to fulfil the commitments, which they made in their White Paper on Rural Development. Their National Spatial Strategy, which was supposed to address the imbalance in employment, was strong on commitments, weak on delivery. The three main gateway centres into rural Ireland in the National Development Plan are Galway, Waterford and Limerick but in each of those cities, unemployment has risen since 2002.

"Public services in rural areas are under siege as the privatisation agenda is implemented. Government promises to rural-proof all state-wide policies are worthless as rural post-offices and rural areas continue to be left without access to public transport.

"Empowering rural communities - decentralisation - does not just mean the relocation of Government offices from Dublin - it means the real empowerment of local government. This is especially important for many of our marginalised and neglected rural communities, particularly in the Western region, Border and Midlands." ENDS

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Sinn Féin will launch a Charter for Senior Citizens tomorrow, Tuesday 7th June, at 12.30pm in Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Attending the press conference will be Sean Crowe TD, Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald and Councillor Dessie Ellis.

Following the press conference Ógra Shinn Féin will unveil a satrical poster campaign to highlight the government failures.

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus O Snodaigh will tomorrow attend a press conference organised by the 'Alliance for No vote' calling for the electorate to vote No in the forthcoming Citizenship Referendum. Representatives of approximately 40 groups will be in attendance at tomorrow morning‚s press conference, which will take place at the Shelbourne Hotel Dublin.

Speaking today, Deputy O Snodaigh said:

"The 'Alliance for No vote' campaign are calling upon people to vote No in the forthcoming Citizenship Referendum on 11th June 2004. Sinn Féin is in full support of this position.

"Sinn Féin believes that this referendum will place inequality at the heart of the Irish Constitution. The government are using the referendum as a smokescreen for their ineptitude and failures over the past number of years. This referendum fundamentally undermines the Good Friday Agreement, and it comes as no surprise that the DUP has welcomed it.

"We are urging people to vote No to the racist referendum on the 11th June." ENDS

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Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast, Kathy Stanton, has said that nationalists are concerned about the growing number of loyalist attacks coming into the summer. She has also called on unionist leaders to do whatever is in their power to ensure a peaceful summer can be enjoyed by all. Speaking today Ms Stanton said:

"This weekend there was an attempted stabbing outside the Boundary Bar in Bawnmore by loyalists, some of whom were wearing Celtic tops, a ploy used by loyalists before. In the past three weeks a number of sizable holes have been deliberately cut in the interface fence at Newington and today we see a team of Catholic workmen attacked and their van having all its windows smashed on the Oldpark Road.

"It is certainly ominous that all these attacks have occurred in such a short space of time in different areas across North Belfast. I would strongly urge all nationalists to be cautious and extremely vigilant in the coming weeks. We are entering the marching season and this is well known a time when loyalists up the ante.

"I would also call on those leaders in the unionist community who have said that they will not talk to republicans at interface areas, or those who have stated that they will not be working to ensure that we can have a peaceful summer, to think realistically what that will achieve.

"We need all representatives, community workers and statutory agencies working flat out to realize that the summer need not be overshadowed by the threat of violence." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Daithí Doolan, speaking today in response to the government's announcement that they were allocating 1.1 million euros in capital funding to Local Drugs Task Forces has slammed what he calls, "Minister Noel Ahern's multi million euro election ploy."

Mr. Doolan said, "While of course this money is badly needed it is also long over due and wholly inadequate. Those of us involved in tackling the causes and consequences of drug addiction have long called for proper funding to made available. Yet here we are, once again, only days away from an election witnessing an election ploy by Fianna Fáil. This money could and indeed should have been made available over recent years. The money has been in the Dormant Account, now it is being used to win elections.

This government has one of the worst track records of social inclusion and this cynical attempt to reclaim themselves will not go unnoticed. Here in the inner city it is too little too late. Our communities do not need election stunts with Minister's attempting to reduce the problem to simply one of a hand outs at election time. We need an increase in health board spending to combat an ever increasing cocaine problem in Dublin, we need long term investment in existing projects, we need a holistic approach to a complex problem."

Mr. Doolan concluded by calling on the Minister, " to desist from electioneering and deal with the drug problem in a proper long term strategic way which must involve consultation, investment and resources." ENDS

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Speaking today at a womens endorsement event for Bairbre de Brún MLA, Derry City councillor Mary Nelis said that she 'was proud and honoured to have been asked to formally endorse Bairbre's candidature for the upcoming EU elections'. The event took place at Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast.

Ms Nelis said:

"I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to say a few words about my comrade and good friend Bairbre de Brún. I know only to well the many barriers which stand in the way of women playing a full part in political and community life.

"One of the most important ways of overcoming the under representation of women is providing young women today with positive and strong role models whom they can look up to and aspire to. If younger women see that old hands like us can do it then they will know that they too can achieve whatever it is they want, in political, community or any other aspect of public life.

"As someone who has known Bairbre throughout all of this period I am both honoured and humbled to have been asked to endorse her candidature today. Bairbre is a committed and determined republican. She will take all of these skills to the European parliament. But more importantly she will take her compassion, her humility and her strong commitment to the all Ireland and equality agendas to everything she does.

"On June 10th, we have an opportunity to elect one of the great women in modern Irish politics to the European parliament. As the old saying goes, on that day, may the best woman win." ENDS

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has called on political leaders to speak out against the intimidation of political activists after the home of senior Sinn Féin member Michael Agnew and another home were targeted by unionist paramilitaries in Ballymena.

Mr Adams said:

"I want express my outrage at these two attacks this morning on the homes of two people living in Ballymena.Across the north there has been a significant increase in attacks on Sinn Fein members and elected representatives. Political leaders should speak out against the intimidation of political activists.

"These attacks will not deflect Sinn Fein's commitment to achieving peace or in delivering Irish reunification. They will not deter Sinn Féin from defending the Agreement or in delivering the agenda for change required to transform society on this island." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald, will this afternoon participate in the annual Flora Women's Mini Marathon 2004. Participants are due to assemble at Stephens Green East at 1.00pm for the commencement of the marathon at 2.00pm.

Ms McDonald is taking part in the event to raise money for Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross which is 125 years old this year.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking from Galway this morning extended his sympathies to the family and friends of Simon Cumbers who was killed in Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Mr. Adams said:

"I want to extend my sympathies to the family and friends of Simon Cumbers who was killed in Riyadh yesterday. Simon was well known to those involved in the peace process over the last ten years and I recently spoke with him in London when he covered a press conference organised by families of people killed as a result of colllusion. Simon was a well respected journalist and will be missed by all those who knew him."ENDS

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Sinn Fein North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty, addressing public meetings in Galway today, has said that the 'Sinn Fein Agenda for Change is hitting home with people throughout the North West of Ireland'. Mr Doherty said:

"Throughout Ireland people are rejecting the failed politics of the establishment. They are rejecting the cronyism and the right-wing agenda of the government that has failed to share the wealth generated in the last decade.

"Everywhere people are saying it is time for change. It is time that we had politicians who listened to people and took their views seriously. People want to see an end to the corruption and sleaze that has become the trademark of the establishment politicians and their friends.

"People are telling me that Sinn Fein's 'Agenda for Change' is something that they believe in and that they believe that Sinn Fein will stand up to the vested interests in the war on inequality.

"When people like the PDs say they want inequality. Sinn Féin reject that type of politics. That is why they are worried.

"At the heart of Sinn Fein's election campaign has been our commitment to the agenda for change; our determination to challenge the status quo and our promise that we will not take people for granted.

"Sinn Fein is determined to see official status for the Irish language. This alone can only be a first step - much greater commitments are required to see our native language further develop. Sinn Fein wants to see real investment to meet the needs of the North West now. Not more empty promises about investment in some far off distant future.

"There are also huge changes in terms of agriculture and fishing that will have an enormous impact on rural Ireland. These communities must be an equal partner in developing the new common agricultural and fishing policies.

"We will only deliver that future for the North West if we have an agenda for change that challenges the way things have been done in the past. The Sinn Fein 'Agenda for Change' is hitting home. It has our political opponents worried. They are right to be worried because the stronger the mandate for Sinn Féin the greater our ability to bring about change." ENDS

Full text of Speech

Throughout the island of Ireland people are rejecting the failed politics of the establishment. They are rejecting the cronyism. They are rejecting the

right-wing agenda of the government that has failed to share the wealth generated in the last decade.

Everywhere I have been - and I have crisscrossed these nine North West counties many times over - people are saying the same thing to me. It is time for

change. It is time that the North West received its fair share of investment. It is time that we had politicians who listened to people and took their views seriously.

People want to see an end to the corruption and sleaze that has become the trademark of the establishment politicians and their friends. People are telling me that Sinn Fein's 'Agenda for Change' is something that they believe in and that they believe that Sinn Fein will stand up to the vested interests in the war on inequality. When people like the PDs and their friends say they want inequality. Sinn Féin reject that politics. That is why they are afraid.

At the heart of Sinn Fein's election campaign - at EU and at local government level has been our commitment to the agenda for change; our determination to challenge the status quo and our promise that we will not take people for granted; that we will deliver for marginalised communities.

The EU election comes at a crucial time in the development of Europe. I know that many people do not share Sinn Fein's sense of urgency when we say that it is vital that the current direction of Europe is questioned.

Yes Europe has brought many important advances that have benefited people in Ireland, particularly in terms of EU funding and important steps forward in

the protection of workers rights, for women, disabled people and the elderly and also in terms of the environment and the benefits of Objective One status.

There are also many serious questions about how the EU wants to develop. And there are many powerful vested interests that will not specifically work in

favour of the sovereign rights of smaller nations. There are those who want to dilute the protections of rights for ordinary people in favour of big business and the interests of some of the larger economic powers.

This election is about the choice of electing someone the EU that will not disappear off into the Euroland - the chance to elect someone who will make

the EU and the important decisions that are taken there real and relevant to people here in the North West of Ireland where they will have a huge impact.

As I have said the EU has delivered benefits and there are great opportunities to bring further benefits to the North West. But the full potential of these benefits has not been realised.

The North West has not had the investment in infrastructure that was promised and is required to sustain and bring in new jobs. In my on townland

in Donegal unemployment is four times the national average. We have had the empty promises and they have been nothing more than that. This government

has delivered nothing except empty promises that mean nothing the day after the election.

The Hanly report threatens regional hospital services across Ireland. Housing stands as a national disgrace. Communities have not seen the commitment to education, to jobs, to the social infrastructure that they need to allow them to get up off their knees. Yes the rich have got richer. But that is not sustainable.

Getting it right locally, nationally and in Europe will all create the opportunity to bring about real change right here for communities in Galway; or in Donegal, Mayo, Clare or Belfast, Dublin or Derry.

Sinn Fein is determined to see official status for the Irish language. This alone can only be a first step - much greater commitments are required to see our native language further develop.

Sinn Fein want to see real investment to meet the needs of the North West now. Not more empty promises about investment in some far off distant

future.

There are huge changes in terms of agriculture and fishing that will have an enormous impact on rural Ireland. The experience and expertise - the voice

of these communities must be taken as an equal partner in developing the new common agricultural and fishing policies.

I want a future for myself and the community I live in. That means that people need to use the power they have. In this election there is

the democratic opportunity to make a real difference. Not just be giving Sinn Fein your first preference in the EU and local government election but

maximising your vote and backing every candidate that will delivery for the communities and parts of this island that have been marginalised and ignored.

We will only deliver that future for the North West if we have an agenda for change. An agenda that challenges the way things have been done in the past.

Everywhere I have been these last couple of months I can see that people want change. That the Sinn Fein 'Agenda for Change' is hitting home. It has

our political opponents worried. And they are right to be worried because the stronger the mandate for Sinn Féin and others who oppose the establishment the greater our ability to bring about change. ENDS

Note to Editors

North West EU election candidate Pearse Doherty was joined on the campaign trail by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP and local government candidates (Sinn Fein are standing in 10 out of 11 local government electoral contests in County Galway) in Galway City on Monday 7th June. Campaign trail

itinerary: Arrival Galway Airport; Public meeting, Ballybane Community Resource Centre; City Centre Canvas; Public meeting, St Josephs Community Centre.

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy has accused the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde of deliberately misleading the public over the disappearance of Armagh man Gareth O'Connor. Mr Murphy's comments come after Crown Prosecutors admitted in court that Mr. O'Connor was linked to the PSNI Special Branch.

Mr Murphy said:

"Last year Hugh Orde in a well planned media intervention declared that he believed that the IRA was involved in the disappearance of Armagh man Gareth O'Connor, this despite the fact that the IRA had denied all knowledge of this. This intervention was clearly planned to cause the maximum political disruption possible to the peace process. His intervention was latched onto by the predictable anti-Republican elements in the media and elsewhere.

" What Hugh Orde failed to declare was that Mr. O'Connor had been working closely with the PSNI Special Branch and that he had in his possession two mobile telephones provided by his officers. On Friday the PSNI slapped a Public Interest Immunity Certificate on the case. It is clear that the PSNI have information relating to Mr. O'Connor which they wish to keep from his f amily and the rest of the general public.

" Hugh Orde was clearly aware of the relationship between his organisation and Mr O'Connor when he made his public intervention. Hugh Orde now needs to explain his position. He needs to tell us why he deliberately misled the public about this matter. He needs to explain why he made the political intervention he did. He needs to provide to the family of Mr O'Connor all of the information relating to this case which he is presently hiding.

" This case again demonstrates the malign influence that Special Branch continues to have over policing in the six counties. The use of the Public Interest Immunity Certificate shows that the culture of concealment is alive and well at the heart of Orde's PSNI. Mr Orde and those who provide his political cover cannot continue to be allowed to ignore cases like this. They need to tell us how political policing of this kind fits into their model of an accountable and acceptable policing service." ENDS

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP will join North West EU election candidate Pearse Doherty and local government candidates on the campaign trail in Galway City tomorrow, Monday 7th June. Mr Adams and Mr Doherty will be available to speak to the media at 1.45pm (aprox) during the City Centre Canvas.

Campaign trail itinerary

Arrival Galway Airport 10am

Public meeting

Ballybane Community Resource Centre 11am

City Centre Canvas

Shop Street and Quay Street 1.20pm

Public meeting

St Josephs Community Centre, Shantalla 2pm

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Sinn Féin is holding a womens endorsement event for our EU candidate Bairbre de Brún MLA. The event will take place on Monday June 7th at 11.00 in the Orueam Baths Gallery, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. In attendance will be Bairbre de Brún MLA, Michelle Gildrenew MP, Cllr Mary Nelis and a cross section of republican women from the political and community sectors.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in advance of today's radiotherapy rally in Waterford said the government should be ashamed of its heartless treatment of cancer patients throughout the state. Mr Adams said: "Seriously ill patients, from children to senior citizens, are being forced to travel long distances to Cork City week in and week out for treatment. The government has failed these people." Mr. Adams met with the march organisers in Waterford at lunchtime.

Mr Adams said:

"It is absolutely outrageous that people with serious illnesses are being forced to travel hundreds of miles to receive the most basic life saving treatment.

"If you take the South East as an example - the area has a population of 450,000 people but doesn't have its own Radiotherapy Unit. Seriously ill patients, from children to senior citizens, are being forced to travel long distances to Cork City week in and week out for treatment. The government has failed these people. The centralisation of radiotherapy in Dublin, Cork and Galway places an intolerable burden on families and this situation is exacerbated by the three months delay which now exists for public patients.

"This government has presided over a completely unequal health care system. Instead of delivering on the promises they made before the general election to provided more medical cards, more hospital beds and better care, they have given us the Hanly Report, which strips away services from already under-funded and under-resourced hospitals.

"People are suffering and dying unnecessarily, because this government can't get its act together and run a proper health service. The government needs to look beyond population templates and arbitrary quotas and look at the reality on the ground for people. What is required and what people want is accessible care in their region based on the actual conditions, not theoretical figures. The government must make it a priority to provide radiotherapy services to the regions which have been deprived of them for so long."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly will travel to Colombia over the weekend at the invitation of the Bring them home campaign. Speaking before departing for Colombia where he will visit the three Irishmen recently found innocent of training the FARC, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly said:

"These three men have been in prison in Colombia under threat of death for almost three years. They have been found innocent of the charge of training the FARC by a Colombian court yet they have been unable to return home to their families in Ireland.

"It is vital that the spotlight remains on this case and that the campaign for the return of the three men continues. As part of this effort I will travel to Colombia over the weekend and meet with the men.

"There is no basis for the appeal currently being mounted by the Colombian Attorney General and the men's lives are undoubtedly under threat. It is vital that the three men are allowed to leave Colombia and return home safely to their families in Ireland." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East Daithí Doolan speaking after attending the Christian Brothers Westland Row student awards, called on Minister for Education Noel Dempsey, "to make available the funding to refurbish and improve this historic inner city school. This is the school that provided education to Irish patriots Padraig and Willie Pearse. It is a total disgrace that the current government would let a school of this status run into serious disrepair while government Minister Martin Cullen can waste 50 million euros on the never to be e-voting."

Mr. Doolan congratulated parents, pupils and staff on, " ensuring that this school, in the heartland of Dublin's inner city has set the standard in second level education. I have visited your school and spoken with parents, pupils and teachers and one thing is clear, the conditions in which pupils are forced to learn are wholly inadequate and it's time that this government invest in the education and future of young people here in the inner city. In any other country this school would have been returned to it's former glory but this government and in particular this Minister appears to want to let a historic institution fall into further disrepair and in turn undermine the future of our young people. It appears that Fianna Fail would rather forget our past in order to cut corners in current spending."

Mr. Doolan concluded by calling on the Minister, " to do justice to the efforts here today and to ensure that this school continues to have a long and healthy future in providing a high standard of education to this community."

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Sinn Féin EU Election Party Political Broadcast 2004

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be in Dublin on Sunday 6th June to canvas with the party's EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald.

Itinerary

11.15am - Finglas Market - Cappagh Road in Finglas at the Church of the Enunciation

12.45pm - Canvas in Drumcondra, Clonliffe Road and Ballybough Road areas (meeting on Drumcondra Road - at the Whitworth Road)

2.15pm - Croke Park to attend Leinster Senior Football Championship games

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Sinn Fein's candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming EU elections Mary Lou McDonald this morning joined other Anti-War candidates who will be contesting the elections in calling on voters to support parties who opposed the invasion of Iraq and who are committed to protecting Irish neutrality. She was speaking at a press conference organised by the Stop Bush Campaign in the ATGWU Hall this morning.

Ms McDonald said: "When tens of thousands of people marched against the war on Iraq last year the Government was arrogant enough to dismiss their concerns with platitudes and soundbites. Anti-War activists were arrested and prosecuted. The Coalition ignored the people and their conerns about supporting the US invasion.

"It is now clear that it is the Government that was duped, that Bertie Ahern believed lies about weapons of mass destruction and the US fighting a humanitarian crusade and was an active and willing participant in the invasion of Iraq.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the electorate to back only those candidates committed to protecting Irish neutrality and who opposed the war on Iraq. They should neither vote for, nor transfer to, parties that have an agenda of militarisation of the EU. And while we hope that people take their politics into the polling booth, we hope they will also come out and join us in the protest to mark the visit of George W Bush." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD and the party‚s candidate for Dublin in the elections to the European Parliament, Mary Lou McDonald, have jointly called on Minister Seamus Brennan to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as a matter of urgency. Deputy Crowe said that such a paper should be "an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry". Ms McDonald called on the Minister "to listen, instead of to lecture" and highlighted the importance of air transport to Ireland.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "There is no Government air transport policy beyond caving in to vested interests. There is no strategic and integrated approach to the development of the aviation industry in Ireland that takes into account issues of such fundamental importance as the future of state companies like Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus. The Government has no plan for creating an All-Ireland air transport policy that integrates the aviation infrastructure in the Six Counties or for future investment to cope with increasing passenger demand.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the Minister to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry such as the sell-off of Aer Lingus or the break up of Aer Rianta. He has provided no socio-economic rationale for his proposals and over a million Euros of taxpayers money has been spent paying for independent reports that have argued against the break-up."

Ms McDonald said: "For an island people the role of air transport is one of fundamental importance. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly dependent on it and vast numbers of people in areas such as tourism and trade are reliant on a dynamic and successful aviation industry. We are calling for Minister Brennan not just to begin work on a White Paper on the issue, but to change his entire approach to the creation of policy. We are asking him to listen, instead of to lecture." ENDS

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