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An Chéad Dáil

Here is the much celebrated video shown at Sinn Féin's An Chéad Dáil event in the Mansion House Round Room on January 12, 2019. Sinn Féin former Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha wrote and presents this historic and inspiring reflection of the events of 100 years ago.


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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described today's observations of the Human Rights Commission in relation to the citizenship referendum as "a damning indictment of the Government's proposal" that "justify calling a halt to the poll on 11 June."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "today's report from the Human Rights Commission is a damning indictment of the Government's proposal. It confirms my contention that the Government has deceived the public in order to muscle through its ill-conceived and racist referendum.

"The Commission found that Minister McDowell's so-called facts and evidence were 'not adequately researched or analysed' and that much of the evidence is 'vague and anecdotal' and thereby 'insufficient' to allow anyone to draw inferences as to the motives of non-national parents giving birth in Ireland.

"In contradiction to the Government view, the Commission also found that the Referendum could potentially have an impact on the Good Friday Agreement, and that the Government should have consulted with the northern parties in the Assembly. This conclusion has vindicated our position which was dismissed out of hand by the Government.

"The Commission also criticises the Government for their failure to give serious and comprehensive consideration to the impact of the referendum on Constitutional rights and the Government's obligations under international law in relation to children's rights, and that the Government has not proven - as they are obliged to - that the initiative will not lead to discrimination in the enjoyment of rights or that it will be applied in a discriminatory fashion.

"The Government must take notice of this report and call a halt to the citizenship referendum on 11 June. If they do not, the people of Ireland must take notice of this report, and vote NO." ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Local Government candidates will hold a press conference at 10.30am tomorrow, Wednesday 26th May in Buswells Hotel, Dublin, calling on the government to back demands for the Irish language to be made an official working language of the European Union. Sinn Féin MLA Bairbre de Brún, who is attending an event with Irish language speaking children this evening, will make similar demands of the Government.

Attending the press conference tomorrow will be Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Local Government candidates Áine Ní Gabhann, Ciaran MacAnnraoi and Sean O Cadhla.ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has accused the Government of acting dishonestly with regard to the application of the Nitrates Directive. While the Government has reacted recently to pressure from farmers on the issue by stating that it is prepared to reassess the Nitrates Action Programme published in draft form last December, a leaked copy of a May 11th document would appear to indicate that there will be no changes.

Deputy Ferris said:

"The Nitrates Directive has been around since 1991 yet successive Governments have failed to tackle the issue. There is evidence to suggest that it is being applied to this country in a manner that fails to take account of recent studies on water safety, and on the effects it will have on farmers themselves. And yet this Government and its predecessors have been content to put it on the long finger until faced with serious consequences on foot of EU financial penalties for non-compliance. It must act now and seek a re-evaluation of all the relevant scientific evidence and demand that the Directive is applied here in a manner that will not penalise farmers for the incompetence of central Government." ENDS

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The home of Sinn Féin Councillor John Mc Namee was the target of an attack last night when part of a paving slab was hurled through his front living room window.

This is the latest in a long history of attacks on Councillor Mc Namee's home.

Councillor McNamee said

"Last nights attack will not deter me from continuing my work as a Sinn Féin representative nor will it deflect my focus on the last two weeks as Chairman of Cookstown District Council"."This incident is just one of a number of attacks on my home. A large lump of paving slab was thrown through the window covering the room in glass. Had it have been earlier in the evening it could have killed one of my children who would have been in the room. This was a deliberate attack and reflects a growing rise in threats and attacks on Sinn Féin members across the north. Only last week we had a bomb device at a members home in Ballymena.

Over the past year I have represented the council in a fair manner and sought to work for the whole community within the District. Unfortunately there are those within our town who can not see that the future means living together, free from this type of sectarian harassment and intimidation. It is time they woke up to the fact that everyone else is moving forward, Republicans will be central to the changes for a better society and we will not be going back to the days where nationalists were second class citizens.

The NIO and the PSNI need to get off the agenda that it is Republicans who present a threat to the peace process when clearly unionist paramilitaries are continuing to target, threaten and attack our members." ENDS

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Sinn Fein's Dublin candidate in the European Elections, Mary Lou McDonald has described the situation in Ballymun's new Health Centre as 'nothing short of a national scandal' where 'millions have been squandered' without any benefit to the Ballymun community. She was speaking following a visit to Ballymun on Monday where she met with local people and community groups.

Ms McDonald said: "For 18 months the Health Centre has been lying there vacant, an empty monument to the incompetence of this Government. Over that time it has cost the Health Board 5.25 million Euros in rent but not a single patient has been seen because there is no funding available to furnish and equip the building.

"Millions have been squandered and the Health Board is still obliged to continue using the existing Health Centre, considered by medical staff and the local community to be 'unhealthy, substandard and wheelchair inaccessible.' This situation is nothing short of a national scandal and the treatment of the people of Ballymun is a damning indictment of the policies of this Government.

"Local people have called on the Ministers for Health and Finance to explain their actions, or the lack of them, to the people in person on June 1st and I challenge them to show some political courage and explain themselves." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has said that the decision by the Swiss manufacturer of genetically modified maize not to place its product on sale to consumers, vindicates all those who opposed last week's lifting of the EU embargo. In an interview with the French newspaper Les Echos, a spokesperson for the Syngenta corporation said that they will be with-holding the product, Bt-11, due to the level of consumer opposition

Deputy Ferris said:

"The decision by Syngenta to withhold Bt-11 places serious questions over the manner in which the EU Commission removed the embargo, and on the role played in that decision by Commissioner David Byrne and the Irish Government. Opponents of GM from right across the political and non-political spectrum pointed out that GM is extremely unpopular and yet the embargo was lifted without any democratic consultation. Seemingly, Syngenta can recognise the level of popular hostility while our EU representatives cannot.

"This again highlights the need for the embargo on GM products and crops to be reinforced and that each member state refer any future decision to its sovereign parliament. The Irish Government must now cease its support for GM which has absolutely no mandate from either the people or the Oireachtas." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Meath Councillor Joe Reilly has described the incorrect inclusion of almost 1,000 voters on the Navan Town Council electoral register as an absolute fiasco. He called for an immediate independent investigation into how this situation arose and said that the voters effected need to be informed immediately that they will not have a vote in Navan Town Council election on June 11th.

Councillor Reilly said:

"The incorrect inclusion of almost 1,000 voters on the Navan Town Council electoral register is an absolute fiasco. It is incredible that such a serious error could occur in this day and age and many questions need to be answered.

"At a meeting with the County Manager this morning, Sinn Féin called for an immediate independent investigation into how this situation arose and for the voters effected by this error to be notified immediately

"Sinn Féin will not be detracted by this mess. We are campaigning hard to see three Councillors elected to represent the people of Navan and this work continues."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly members from across the Six Counties and TDs Caoimghín Ó Caoláin and Martin Ferris are in Dublin today to support the campaign for the election of Mary Lou McDonald to the European Parliament and to maximise Sinn Féin representation on local authorities across Dublin City and County. Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP speaking from Grafton Street this morning said:

"The 'twinning' process taking place today is part of Sinn Féin's commitment to the integrated development of the party across the entire island and is in furtherance of our all-Ireland agenda. Undertaking practical steps like this today helps to inform our party and in doing so helps in the development of policies on an all-Ireland basis that address the needs of people from whatever side of the border they live.

"Along with the ongoing meetings and engagements between our elected representative to Leinster House, Westminster, Stormont and Council chambers across the island initiatives like todays are crucial and necessary steps as Sinn Féin, with it's expanding electoral mandate, continues in the drive towards Irish reunification.

"We don't underestimate the level of work involved but we do know that the determination and commitment of Republicans and our supporters the length and breadth of this island will make it a reality.

"Whether you are from Derry or Kerry or whether you are from Ballymurphy or Ballybrack Sinn Féin is the only party to offer that all-Ireland representation and is the only party to offer an alternative to the failed politics of partition. We are confident that the Irish people will recognise that fact and will continue to support Sinn Fein in ever increasing numbers."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Director of Elections Pat Doherty MP, speaking in Dublin this morning said that Dr. Jim McDaid's admission of the real agenda behind Michael McDowell's attacks on the party confirm our belief that this was always about the upcoming elections and the increasing numbers of people who support our agenda for change.

Mr. Doherty said:

"For months now we have seen Michael McDowell engage in almost daily attacks on Sinn Féin. We have always said that these attacks were about the upcoming elections and the increasing numbers of people who support our agenda for change in the peace process, in local communities, in Leinster House and the Assembly and in Europe. And last night a senior government Minister admitted that this was the case.

"Dr. Jim McDaid also clearly acknowledged by his comments that many in Fianna Fáil are deeply unhappy about the PD tail wagging the Fianna Fáil dog particularly in matters relating to the peace process and Irish unity.

"What is very clear is that people across the country saw through this charade a long time ago, particularly those who have borne the brunt of right wing PD policies over the last seven years. They know that Sinn Féin is the real alternative to such policies and that is why they are supporting us in growing numbers."ENDS

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Sinn Fein's candidate in the European Elections Mary Lou McDonald has expressed her outrage at the rise in homelessness in Dublin exposed by the annual report of the Dublin Simon Community. The report states that the number of homeless families is up almost 20% over the last five years and there has been a 15% increase in the number of homeless children.

Ms McDonald said: "These figures are nothing short of outrageous but the facts behind them are even more disturbing. According to the report not one homeless person, not a single one, helped by the charity in the last year was housed by any of the four local authorities in Dublin. The report also exposes how the policy of this Government 'curtails rather than assist homeless people to move into long-term rented accommodation.'"

"Sinn Fein introduced legislation in Leinster House to enshrine the right to housing in the Constitution of this State. The Government opposed this progressive, rights based legislation. Their reponse to the housing crisis has been to eliminate the first time buyers grant and amend planning legislation to allow developers to avoid building social housing.

"In our Manifesto for Dublin, Sinn Fein proposed:

  • The use of Compulsory Purchase Orders at current use value to enable local authorities to secure land for housing.
  • Surpluse State and Church land to be transferred to Councils to allow building of local authority homes
  • The sale of local authority homes to existing tenants to not proceed without being replaced by at least one new home on local authority housing stock
  • No Council house to remain boarded up for more than two months.

"Underpinning all this is the notion of housing as a right. Sinn Fein is at the forefront of campaigning for a right to housing in the Constitution, as is the case with other EU member states and we will continue to fight for this in Councils, in Leinster House and in Europe." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD has welcomed indications that EU Fisheries Ministers will today approve the establishment of regional councils that will allow fishermen to be part of the management process. Deputy Ferris said:

"We have long called for fishermen to be given a statutory role in the management of stocks and conservation programmes. In the past, Minister Ahern has said that it would not be possible to facilitate this at national level but I am pleased that he now appears to support it on an EU basis. It is vital that those who are trying to make a living from fishing are given a role in determining the best means to protect stocking levels while ensuring that fishermen are able to earn a viable living.

"This proposal needs to be followed up by a wider-ranging reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. When I have pressed this on previous occasions, Minister Ahern has claimed that the most recent review addressed all outstanding issues. It is clear that this is not the case and that, particularly for Irish fishermen, the regime covering the national quota, fishing days and licences needs to be radically overhauled if the Irish fishing industry is to survive."ENDS

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Speaking following his attendance at the launch of the Dublin Simon Community's Annual Report today, Dublin Sinn Féin T.D. Seán Crowe said that the report was an indictment of the Government's failure to address the housing needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Deputy Crowe said:

"The Dublin Simon Community's Annual Report serves to highlight the appalling failure of the Government to address the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. The Government should be ashamed that not one of the 400 homeless people who used the Dublin Simon Community's Shelter last year was housed by a local authority. This is directly the fault of central government which is not making adequate funding available to local authorities to increase their stock of social housing.

"This Government has made absolutely no attempt to address the housing needs of those people sleeping rough on Dublin's streets or permanently stuck in inappropriate temporary accommodation. Minister of State with responsibility for Housing Noel Ahern has made little contribution, except to cynically attempt to deny that many of these people are actually homeless. Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to make available to local authorities the necessary revenue for councils to commence social housing building programmes so that social housing stock may increase by 30% and to acknowledge the differing needs of groups such as single people who currently find it virtually impossible to secure social housing because suitable accommodation is not being constructed. There is very obviously a gap in policy where only temporary accommodation is considered - there needs to be a proper policy towards housing people on a permanent basis.

"I welcome the Dublin Simon Community's call for a referendum on the right to housing. Sinn Féin tabled a constitutional amendment Bill on this very issue last November, as we believe it would put an obligation on the Government to ensure that everyone has access to appropriate and affordable housing. I am calling on the Government to adopt the Sinn Féin Bill and bring forward a referendum to enshrine the right to housing in the 1937 Constitution." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today officially launched the party's Six County EU Election campaign in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Mr. Adams was joined by the candidate Bairbre de Brún and Sinn Féin MLAs and Councilors from across the six counties.

Mr. Adams said:

"This morning Bairbre and I attended the launch of our national EU election campaign in Dublin. We are standing candidates in all five EU Irish constituencies as well as standing over 250 local government candidates in the South.

"People right across this island will be given the opportunity to endorse our work in the peace process and within local communities.

"Without taking the electorate for granted I am confident that we can make significant advances in these elections. We are asking voters to send a team of Sinn Fein MEPs into Europe for the first time. Sinn Féin wants to build a Europe of Equals - a real partnership of equal sovereign states, co-operating in social and economic development in Europe and beyond.

"For this work to continue it is vital that we see Baribre de Brún returned from the six counties.

"Having been in most of the six county constituencies over the past number of weeks I believe that this is an achievable goal. But we are not complacent. We must ensure that we chase every vote.

"This election cannot be divorced from the ongoing problems within the Peace Process. Without there will be negotiations after the election. As the largest pro-Agreement party and the party best placed to challenge the rejectionist agenda of the DUP and others it is crucial that Sinn Féin get the maximum vote possible.

"A strong Sinn Féin vote will send a message to the British government in particular that people are not giving up on the Agreement and are not prepared to accept anything other than their basic rights and entitlements.

"So the task ahead of us is very clear. We all know the work which is required over the next three weeks. But we all know the importance of this election and the importance of delivering the largest Sinn Féin vote possible and the largest number of seats possible." ENDS

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Is tráthúil an ócáid í seo do Shinn Féin. Tá deis ann anois Feisirí Eorpacha Shinn Féin ar fud an oileáin a thoghadh do Pharlaimint na hEorpa. Is clár athraithe é clár Shinn Féin. Teastaíonn uainn an clár sin a thógáil go croílár na hEorpa le próiseas na síochána a chur ar aghaidh, leis an chlár uile-Éireannach a chur ar aghaidh agus le hÉire chothrom laistigh de Eoraip chothrom a thógáil. Teastaíonn uainn, fosta, oscailteacht, trédhearcacht agus réalachas a chothú in institiúidí na hEorpa do ghnáth mhuintir na hÉireann.

This election marks an important point for Sinn Féin. Its holds out the opportunity to elect Sinn Féin MEPs from across the island to the European Parliament.

Sinn Fein's agenda is one of change. We want to bring that agenda to the heart of Europe to promote the peace process; to further the all Ireland agenda; to build an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals; and to make the EU institutions more open, more transparent and more real to ordinary people across the island.

Sinn Féin wants to be in there playing our part. We want to support and enhance those aspects of the EU which are good for people, and we want to play a part in changing those things which are not. Our agenda for change is positive, progressive and rooted in the belief that the EU must work in the interests of ordinary people, and not solely the larger states or interest groups.

This is a time of great change for Europe. Sinn Féin has welcomed the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 member states, and we want to make the most of the opportunities which this new reality offers us. Sinn Féin has have actively engaged in the debate around CAP reform and advocated an expanded programme of rural regeneration. We have campaigned for a complete reform of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies. We will continue to put the needs of our rural and fishing communities at the heart of our work.

We have lobbied London, Dublin and Brussels and mobilised the community sector in order to secure continued financial support for peace building and conflict resolution. This work will continue

Sinn Féin are concerned that 68 million people across the EU live in poverty, that inequality and discrimination remain a feature of life for many, that homelessness, racism and prejudice define many peoples lives. We want to play our part in confronting and combating these realities at home and across the EU.

We want an EU that protects workers' rights and promotes equality for women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and the lesbian and gay community. We want an EU that promotes and protects social and economic as well as civil and political rights for all. We want to see the Irish language given its proper status as an official working language of the EU.

Sinn Féin also believes that as a major player on the world stage the EU must lead by example and play a role in developing a global social & trade justice agenda, eliminating developing world debt, protecting human rights and bringing about an end to conflict.

Is é seo clár leathan, dearfach, leanúnach an pháirtí le hathruithe a bhaint amach.

Tá sé in am don Eoraip guth úr a bheith inti, guth úr uile-Éireannach. Tá sé in am dúinn guth Shinn Féin a bheith san Eoraip.This is Sinn Féin's broad ranging, positive and progressive agenda for change. It is time for a new voice in Europe, an all Ireland voice in Europe. It is time for a Sinn Féin voice in Europe." ENDS

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Sinn Fein South Down MLA Willie Clarke has welcomed indications that EU fisheries Ministers will today approve the establishment of regional councils that will allow fishermen to be part of the management process and said that any Fishing Council needs to cover the 32 Counties.

Mr Clarke said:

"Sinn Féin have long argued that fishermen should be given a statutory role in the management of stocks and conservation programmes. In the past there have been barriers to this type of approach at governmental level but I am pleased that it now appears to be gaining support on an EU basis.

"It is vital that those who are trying to make a living from fishing are given a role in determining the best means to protect stocking levels while ensuring that fishermen are able to earn a viable living.

"A regional Fisheries Council needs to have an All Ireland remit. The best way to secure a long-term future for all fishing communities throughout the island is to make sure that across Ireland that fishermen are able to speak with one voice. This is particularly important in the context of the EU.

"This proposal needs to also be followed by a wider ranging reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. When pressed on this issue Ministers North and South claim that the most recent CFP review addressed all of the outstanding issues. This is clearly not the case. The regime covering quotas, fishing days and licences needs to be radically overhauled if the Irish fishing industry is to survive." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Gerry McHugh has welcomed the exploratory talks between the UFU and IFU on developing a common way forward on the introduction of EU directives on Nitrates.

Mr McHugh said:

"Sinn Fein have been at the forefront in arguing for a common way forward on agricultural issues across Ireland. There needs to be a strong single voice for farming and fishing communities on this island, especially in Europe. This is one of the reasons that it is so exciting and important that Sinn Féin will be able to offer representation from across Ireland after the EU election in the heart of Europe.

"Sinn Féin believe that should be a reassessment of the application of the Nitrates Directive in light of evidence that nitrate levels in Ireland are currently within the 50 mg limit for the water supply and ground water.

"These exploratory talks between the IFU and UFU show that there is growing acknowledgement of the importance of adopting a common agenda in the key issues facing our farming and fishing industries.

"I particularly welcome the recognition from the UFU that an All Ireland approach to Europe can represent the best way of challenging and influencing the way that EU directives are implemented, and CAP and CFP reform in order to deliver a better future for all of our Irish agriculture and fishing industries.

"There are many key decisions to be taken in the coming months that will impact on the long-term viability of Irish farming, not least the Nitrates directives and the Phosphates issues next year, but also on CAP reform and the impact of enlargement and the global market where it will be vital that our interests are represented with a single strong voice within Europe."ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, speaking at the launch of the party‚s campaign for the European elections, said: "Sinn Féin is asking voters in all parts of this island to return an all-Ireland team of MEPs to Europe. Our message is simple - a vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for an alternative, for a working voice in Europe, it is a vote for the peace process, it is a vote for neutrality, it is a vote for equality and change."

Mr. Adams said:

"Sinn Féin is the only all-Ireland party standing candidates in all five constituencies on the island with the ability to win seats on both sides of the Border. By electing Sinn Féin representatives, the people of Ireland can have truly national representation in the EU Parliament for the first time. Sinn Féin is working to bring about real change, in the peace process, in local communities and in presenting a viable alternative to the present direction of the European Union.

We want a Europe of equals. We take the same approach to the European Union as we do to the peace process and building for Irish unity. We will engage, campaign and bring forward alternative policies. We will take on those vested interests who want a federal Europe to act in the interests of big business.

The last five years have in many ways been a real learning experience for Irish people in relation to the EU. The government‚s decision to ignore the wishes of half a million voters and re-run the Nice Treaty was blatantly anti-democratic. The government failed to listen to the people and failed to address the many concerns that were raised about the direction of the EU.

"The Irish Presidency of the EU was another real opportunity to put issues raised by the Irish people on the European agenda. The government could have acted to protect neutrality. They could have acted to demand that Irish is recognised as an official EU language. They could have acted to address a wide range of concerns about the growing lack of democracy within the EU. But the Irish Presidency is almost over and the government have spent the entire time transfixed by the effort to secure a deal on the proposed EU Constitution, even if such a deal means a further dilution of Irish sovereignty.

"Our message to voters is simple ˆ a vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for an alternative, for a working voice in Europe, it is a vote for the peace process, it is a voate for neutrality, it is a vote for equality. If voters choose to put their trust in us, they can be assured that we will bring our agenda for change to the European stage."ENDS

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Sinn Féin EU candidate for the North West Pearse Doherty speaking at the launch of the party's EU candidates in Dublin today said: Sinn Féin is for engagement with the EU and has supported many EU measures that promote and enhance human rights, equality and the all-Ireland agenda. But unlike other establishment parties in this state we will not adopt a wholly uncritical attitude to any and all developments in the EU, regardless of their impact on Ireland."

Mr Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin wants to build a Europe of Equals - a real partnership of equal sovereign states, co-operating in social and economic development in Europe and beyond. We are for engagement with the EU but we believe that you have to look at the many complex developments in the EU on their own merits.

"We have supported EU and other Europe wide measures that promote and enhance human rights, equality and the all-Ireland agenda. We argued for the inclusion of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Good Friday Agreement. We support the incorporation of the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights and the European Social Charter in EU law. These measures are an example of the EU at its best.

"But Sinn Féin has never been afraid to stand up against EU measures damaging to Irish interests. We oppose moves towards an EU superstate with its own army. We oppose any further infringements on Irish sovereignty, or attempts by this Government to curtail further our neutrality.

"Sinn Féin's priorities are:

-to bring our agenda for change and demand for Irish unity to the European stage,

-to create an economically and socially just EU, not an EU super-power,

to make Irish a working and official language in Europe,

-to protect Irish neutrality,

-to bring an all-Ireland approach to Europe on issues such as agriculture, funding and social policy,

-work for the reform of EU institutions, particularly the Commission and the council,

-to rebuild the Peace Process.

"Sinn Féin MEPS will be part of an active, radical team in Europe. We won't second-guess the concerns of the Irish people. We will consult and debate at local level and in elected forums and report back to communities across Ireland through our councillors, TDs MLAs and MPs.

"The bottom line for Sinn Féin is that democracy is built upon the sovereignty of the people. We support co-operation at EU level where appropriate and necessary, Sinn Féin MEPs will not only engage critically and constructively with EU policy, we will also challenge the persisting democratic deficit in EU decision-making as well as the democratic deficits here on this island."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Daithí Doolan, speaking today in Pearse Street, has called on Minister for Education Noel Dempsey, "to refurbish the historic Christian Brother's school in Dublin's Pearse Street. This is the Christian Brother‚s school which was attended by two of our greatest patriots, Padraig and Willie Pearse. Yet in recent times it has fallen into disrepair. In light of the refurbishment that is taking place in the surrounding community, it is important that this unique school also benefits from government funds."

Mr. Doolan said,:

"I have visited the 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, providing education in this unique building, but this government and in particular the Education 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 government spending.

Mr. Doolan concluded by calling on the Minister "to do justice to Padraig Pearse's memory and the future of young people in Pearse Street and immediately release funds to repair and upgrade this school." ENDS

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Speaking today during a canvass in Belfast Sinn Fein EU candidate Bairbre de Brún has called on the EU to "develop a comprehensive global justice agenda‚. The West Belfast MLA said that one of her key priorities if elected will be to promote such an agenda as a Œkey element in future EU external relations policy."

Ms de Brún said:

"Developing a comprehensive global justice agenda which can see the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals on global poverty reduction by 2015 must become one of the main objectives for EU external relations policy.

"It is not acceptable for the EU to act as an economic superpower, imposing a free trade agenda that hurts the developing world. Instead it must use its considerable economic power responsibly by pursuing policies that eradicate the exploitative trade relationships that prevent the developing world from establishing independent sustainable economies.

"Sinn Féin believes that the EU must: strengthen its commitment to Developing Country Debt Cancellation ˆ with an urgent priority on debt cancellation for countries with a high HIV/AIDS prevalence; establish a permanent EU monitoring group to review members‚ implementation of the Monterey and Barcelona Commitments on aid increases, aid harmonisation, the untying of aid, and an increased proportion of EU aid to poor countries; reverse the present imbalance in EU military v. development aid spending; and redirect a significant portion of the •160 billion presently spent annually by EU states on defence towards the estimated •100 billion cost of cutting global poverty in half by 2015.

"It is also crucial that the EU argue for the reform of the International Financial System to strengthen representation of developing countries in international economic decision making and adopt the EU as Currency Speculation (Tobin) Tax Zone.

"Taken together these measures would ensure that the EU plays a leading role in tackling global poverty and inequality." ENDS

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