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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.


Former Belfast City Mayor, Sinn Féin South Belfast representative Cllr Alex Maskey has accused Belfast City Council of failing to implement its anti-sectarianism strategy.

Cllr Maskey said:

"In the wake of a number of brutal sectarian murders in Belfast last year Belfast City Council charged the Good Relations Committee with developing a coherent anti-sectarianism strategy. That committee brought together people from trade unions, civic society as well as church, community and political leaders in a groundbreaking move that set in place an anti-sectarian strategy for Belfast.

"I am both angry and disappointed that Belfast City Council has failed to implement its anti-sectarianism strategy. All the good work that has been done is in danger of being completely wasted. This strategy is just sitting on a shelf somewhere within city hall gathering dust yet the problems of sectarianism confront us on an almost daily basis right across Belfast.

"Belfast City Council must not let the initiative or momentum in creating a broad based response to sectarianism be lost because of inaction or the lack of political will. My position remains the same as when I was mayor, Belfast City Council must take responsibility for tackling sectarianism and it must show leadership.

"I am going to call for a special meeting of Belfast City Council in order to take steps to act on the strategy that we have already agreed but is currently gathering dust. People have a right to expect the council to act on its commitments and strategies." ENDS


Commenting on the ongoing revelations of tax evasion by Fianna Fáil elected representatives Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said:

"The debacle over the tax affairs of Deputy Michael Collins demonstrates that the Taoiseach's promise to stamp out corruption had about as much impact as being struck over the head with a sock full of feathers.

"The admitted failure of both the Taoiseach and the Chairperson of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, Seamus Kirk, to find out the detail of Deputy Collins' tax defaulting when they were made aware of it in general terms, clearly highlights a real deficit in the leadership of that party. If they could not deal effectively with this serious issue within their parliamentary party what confidence can people have in their ability to lead and govern in this State?

"If the Taoiseach wishes to rescue what's left of his party's shattered credibility then he must initiate policies that not only effectively combats tax evasion but ensures that the most powerful and wealthy in Irish society pay their fair share. For two terms now this Government has gone out of its way to make sure that the wealthiest in Ireland pay the least in tax. However, not content with being amongst those who most benefit from this Government's taxation policies the same people are to the fore in evading and avoiding paying tax at all.

"It is also worth noting that with the publication of the Governments legislative programme for this Dáil term that a crucial piece of legislation has been omitted since last term. Ironically there is no mention of the Proceeds of Corruption Bill which was meant to tackle white collar crime in both public and private life." ENDS


Speaking at a rally outside the Dáil today against the deportation of the non-national parents of Irish children Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Justice and Equality Aengus Ó Snodaigh called for a moratorium on deportation orders and demanded the granting of residency to the parents.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"We are here today because more than 11,000 Irish children face either separation from their parents or effective exile as a result of this Government's policy. This Government is washing its hands of its obligation to uphold these children's basic constitutional rights, their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Ireland is a party.

"Sinn Féin calls for a moratorium on deportations of Irish citizens and their parents - and also supports the demand for the immediate and unconditional granting of residency to the non-national parents of these Irish citizens. It is this Government's responsibility to provide a proper legislative remedy that will reaffirm and protect the equal rights of these citizens and allow them to remain in Ireland with their parents, and I call on the Minister to take such action on an urgent basis." ENDS


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Policing and Justice, North Belfast representative Gerry Kelly, today said that the Policing Board report claiming that Catholic recruitment is low due to intimidation is a smokescreen to disguise the fact that current policing arrangements are not supported by the majority of nationalists.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

"Today's announcement from the Policing Board claiming that low Catholic recruitment to the PSNI is the result of fear of intimidation is simply a smokescreen to explain the reluctance of Catholics and nationalists to be part of inadequate policing requirements.

"This is clear from the Policing Boards own statistics which claims that Catholic support for the PSNI has risen by only 2.9% from 8.9% to 11.7%. This illustrates the real reason for low Catholic recruitment.

"We need to achieve full democratic accountability in policing and critically the transfer of Policing and Justice powers from securocrats in London to a locally elected Assembly" ENDS


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD has accused the insurance industry of 'bleeding people dry' following the announcement that driven by rampant profiteering in the motor insurance sector, insurance companies have delivered record profits.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "Motor insurance operating profits increased to 183.2 million Euros from a loss of €17.1 million 2001. Overall the record profits announced by the insurance industry amounts to an astonishing 16.4%. Despite this huge increase, the Irish Insurance Federation has the temerity to warn against any likely reductions in insurance premiums.

"Insurance companies are bleeding people dry. Community groups, schools, small businesses have all been hit extremely hard by rising insurance costs. According to ISME their members have endured a staggering 295% jump in insurance premiums over the past three years. Young driv


Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan who has been to the forefront of the campaign on behalf of Survivors of Symphysiotomy and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children will form part of a delegation which is due to meet Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin tomorrow, October 1st 2003. The delegation which comprises of the two Sinn Féin T.D.s and representatives of Survivors of Symphysiotomy (S.O.S.) will ask the Minister to establish a sworn public inquiry into the carrying out of symphysiotomy in hospitals in this State from the 1950's to the 1980's.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Deputy Morgan said

"Hopefully this meeting will enable the Minister to understand the importance of a sworn public inquiry. These women who have suffered so much deserve answers and must not be fobbed off by the Minister or his Department. Minister Martin must address the complete inadequacy of the report on the use of symphysiotomy from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who appear to have no

accurate information on how many symphysiotomies were carried out in this State in the period concerned let alone information regarding individual hospitals. Significantly, the Institute have been unable to provide any information on the number of procedures which have resulted in life long painful health implications as a result of procedure. This meeting is only a first step. I look forward to the announcement of an inquiry in line with what the victims are calling for."ENDS

Arthur Morgan TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and representatives of S.O.S. will be available to speak to the media in advance of the meeting at 2.15pm at the gates of Leinster House.


Sinn Fein Councillor for Ligoniel, Eoin O'Broin, has slammed last night's attack on Ligoniel Primary School. He has said that those responsible will find no support whatsoever for their actions.

Speaking today Cllr O'Broin said:

"This attack is wrong and unjustified. At some point last night a fire was set at the base of an external wall of the school and caused some damage. Fortunately nobody was hurt and there was no disruption to the school or its pupils this morning.

"I have to say that Ligoniel Primary, which is predominately Protestant enjoys a very good relationship with St Vincent de Paul Primary in Ligoniel and the surrounding community.

"If this attack came from the nationalists those responsible have brought shame on the community and will find they have no support whatsoever. I have been in contact with the head teacher of the school and reassured her of this.

"Sinn Fein will be distributing leaflets in Ligoniel calling for these type of attacks to cease immediately and we will do all in our power to bring an end to attacks against schools." ENDS


Sinn Féin Spokesperson, West Belfast representative Cllr Sue Ramsey has welcomed the decision of the Eastern Health Board to implement a continuous admissions service for emergency medical admissions but urged management at the Royal Victoria Hospital to ensure that the Falls Road entrance to the hospital remains open on a permanent 24-hour basis.

Cllr Ramsey said:

"Sinn Féin have argued that once the infrastructure was in place that there was a need for continuous admissions service for emergency medical admissions at the Royal. This decision has to be welcomed.

"However, it is vital in addressing issues around access that the management at the Royal Victoria Hospital ensure that the Falls Road entrance to the hospital remains open on a permanent 24 hour basis.

"Sinn Féin have received a number of complaints from hospital users and staff about the closure of the Falls Road entrance to the hospital. Whether by design or otherwise the closure of the Falls Road doors grossly inconveniences the normally large numbers of people who wish to access the hospital at this point.

"The opposition of the DUP to this progress is a matter of concern. The decision to provide continuous admissions is a reflection of demand and is based on service developments. Mark Robinson misses the point, continuous admissions will actually relive pressures on both the City and RVH and improve access to A&E facilities throughout Belfast." ENDS


Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone representative Cllr McHugh has welcomed the challenge of the Green Party's John Barry to councils to take forward the GM debate particularly in light of the fact that Newry and Mourne Council have already overwhelmingly supported a Sinn Féin motion seeking to ban GM crops and foods.

Cllr McHugh said:

"Sinn Féin is way out ahead in the GM debate. In July Sinn Féin called for an urgent debate on GM food and crops and issued a call to keep Ireland 'GM free'.

"Since then Newry and Mourne Council have already overwhelmingly backed a Sinn Féin motion on GM foods and in other council areas Sinn Féin will also be bringing motions to open up the debate on the whole issue. In Newry and Mourne the call was for legislation banning GM crops and foods and the council have now written to Ministers with responsibility for the issue both north and south.

"Since legislation on the regulation of genetically modified food and feed was passed by the European Parliament, along with further passing of co-existence guidelines which wish to prohibit national or regional governments in banning the use of Genetically Modified Organisms, the European Union has rolled over to the threats of the US and the profit hungry GM companies.

"It is vital that a full public debate takes place and that all of the issues surrounding GM are aired. Irish farmers and consumers are being denied the opportunity to voice their opinion. This debate must take place on an Island wide basis; it is nonsense for one part to opt for Genetically Modified Crops or Food, while the other part abstains. Cross contamination of hybrid plants and crops could contaminate the whole island.

"Farmers in particular have a lot to loose if Genetically Modified Food is grown in Ireland, they have no to control over the Hybrid nature of these plants. There is so little knowledge about the possible impact from cross contamination and the entry of new genes into the Irish. Crop gene pool. Local farmers will also be at the mercy of consumers if this technology goes wrong, they will be the ones who will suffer huge losses not the large corporations like Monsanto." ENDS


Sinn Féin representative for north Belfast Gerry Kelly has slammed the attack on Our Lady of Mercy Girls secondary school today. The attack has left five cars destroyed and another three damaged.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

"This is a completely unjustifiable attack. It has left both teachers and pupils distressed and shaken. There is no other reason for this attack other than blatant sectarianism and it is an attempt to target and intimidate the most vulnerable in the community.

"Schools are regarded by the vast majority of the community as revered and untouchable. Parents leave their children to school and believe it will be a safe and secure environment. Those responsible for these attacks are attempting to make this impossible.

"Attacks against schools, their pupils, and their teachers of whatever denomination are wrong. The recent escalation in the targeting of schools must cease immediately and they must be left as places of safety and education for our children.

"I am calling on all those with influence within the loyalist community including the UPRG and the Loyalist commission to do all in their power to bring these attacks to an end" ENDS


On the return of the Dáil for its autumn session the Sinn Féin TDs have tabled a motion demanding that the British government call Assembly elections in the Six Counties. Publishing the motion, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"The repeated collapse of the institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement, and the repeated cancellation of elections by the British government is a cause of concern to all true democrats in Ireland. One of the last acts of the Dáil before the recess was to call for those elections to be held this autumn 'regardless of any other considerations'. The British government has still not called the elections and the Agreement which was supported overwhelmingly by people throughout Ireland is in limbo.

"This is not just an issue for people in the Six Counties. The all-Ireland basis of the Agreement has been undermined and the benefits for all our people, throughout the 32 Counties, in terms of rights, equality and economic development are being denied. The Dáil should make its voice heard loud and clear and I will be urging the Taoiseach to allow Government time to debate this vital issue."


That the Dáil:

- firmly reiterates its view as expressed by vote of the House on 28 May 2003 that it deeply regrets the decision of the British government to postpone the Assembly elections scheduled for 29 May 2003, a decision taken without the support of the Irish Government;

- strongly reiterates its view that those elections should take place quickly and, regardless of any other considerations, no later than the autumn;

- demands, therefore, that the British government calls Assembly elections without further delay.

- Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Seán Crowe, Martin Ferris, Arthur Morgan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh.


In a Dáil motion tabled today Sinn Fein's five TDs accused the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Martin Cullen of implementing policies that have led directly to a situation of confrontation in Dublin and the imprisonment of bin charge protesters. He is also accused of being anti-democratic by depriving elected representatives on local authorities the power to determine waste management policy.

The motion goes on to call for the immediate release of bin charge protesters and demands that the Minister bring forward legislation to amend the Protection of the Environment Act 2003 to ensure that local authorities fulfill their responsibility for public health and safety and provide a refuse collection to all householders.

Speaking after tabling the motion Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan TD said:

"The ongoing confrontations taking place in Dublin between anti-bin charge protesters and local authority management are a direct consequence of the anti-democratic stance taken and policies adopted by the Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen. It is because of his actions that two people are in prison for taking part in principled and peaceful opposition to the unjust bin charges. We are calling for the release of these protesters and the ending of court action against all others. We are also calling the Minister to end his anti-democratic drive by amending his controversial Protection of the Environment Act 2003 to allow the elected representatives on local authorities the power to decide on waste management policies and strategies instead of un-elected city and county managers."ENDS

Sinn Féin motion

That the Dáil:

Deplores the fundamentally flawed waste management policy of the Government as implemented by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Martin Cullen which has

- led directly to the current situation of confrontation in Dublin and to the imprisonment of bin charges protesters, including elected representatives who should be released

- deprived elected representatives on local authorities of powers to determine waste management policy

- empowered and encouraged city and county managers to refuse to collect refuse from homes who have not paid the bin tax or who are in arrears, thereby creating a serious health hazard

- compounded the double taxation of refuse charges

- facilitated the privatisation of waste management and other local authority services


demands that the Minister bring forward without delay legislation to amend the Protection of the Environment Act 2003 to ensure that local authorities fulfil their responsibility for public health and safety and provide a refuse collection service to all householders and replaces refuse charges on householders with the proper application of the polluter pays principle to target the main producers of waste as part of a comprehensive and effective waste management strategy.

Arthur Morgan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Seán Crowe, Martin Ferris, Aengus Ó Snodaigh


Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has backed calls for full access to affordable childcare in the workplace and greater flexibility to challenge the barriers many people, and specifically women face in fully participating in the workforce.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Our record in providing affordable childcare is among the worst in Europe. This means that there is a significant barrier to full participation in the workforce. This barrier is unacceptable.

"The political consensus that has emerged on the important issue of childcare is very positive. Employers have taken important steps to develop employer supported childcare. It is vital that we build on these commitments. The Employers for Childcare objective to enable working parents to fully participate in the workforce deserves to be realised. It will benefit not just employers and parents but also the wider local economy.

"Sinn Féin is fully supportive of the work of the Employers for Childcare in improving childcare options and the development of the employer childcare voucher scheme. There is a role for all our government departments, agencies and as employers, to lead by example in turning around our poor record in the provision of affordable, accessible and reliable childcare places for working parents and also for parents in further and higher education." ENDS


Sinn Féin North Belfast Representative Gerry Kelly last night addressed the Agreed Ireland Forum at the British Labour Party Conference. Mr Kelly used the opportunity to call on the Labour Party to renew its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and to rally in support of the holding of Assembly elections." Mr. Kelly said:

"The Good Friday Agreement is about rights and entitlements. It is about gaining rights and entitlements that have been denied to a section of our people since Partition. It is about bringing about political and constitutional change. It is about a new beginning to the political reality in the North of Ireland. It is full of promise.

"The last five years have not been dominated by delivering on this promise but on undermining it. Through four suspensions of the political institutions and the eventual cancellation of the elections to renew the mandates to those Institutions Tony Blair has continuously undermined that embryonic democratic process.

"The Agreement has to be implemented in full and in order to do that there needs to be an election. Tony Blair is the one that must call a date for the election and he must do it now. Rather than a process of implementation what we have is a process of undermining the Agreement by anti-Agreement unionists and faceless securocrats attempting to suck the momentum out of the Agreement."

In response to a question on the possibility of British Labour organising in the North Mr Kelly said:

"It would have no impact on Sinn Féin support but as an all-Ireland and a united Ireland Party our task is to see the end of British political intervention in any part of our country not an extension of it. ENDS


Sinn Féin County Councillor Gerry Murray has called on the Government to publish its comprehensive rights-based disability legislation in November 2003. Councillor Murray said he was amazed at how Government cuts backs were impacting on people with disabilities. Many Parents have contacted me in relation to resource teachers not been made available to their children, while even school transport has not escaped the wrath of the Government's cuts, and all of this in the aftermath of the Special Olympics.

Councillor Murray said:

"Following the debacle of its totally inadequate disability legislation which was rejected by people with disabilities and withdrawn last year, the Government has given a clear commitment to publish a new Disability Bill in November. This legislation must be rights-based. It must recognise that every person living with a disability has the legally enforceable right to have their whole person recognised, their capabilities valued and developed to full potential, and their dignity respected. People with disabilities must have the right to access appropriate, coordinated services. The state has the duty to provide such services, as well as proper individual needs assessments.

"Sinn Féin in the Dail will be holding the Government to its promise to publish such legislation in November. People with disabilities must not be disappointed yet again."ENDS


Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at a conference hosted by Sinn Féin at BIFHE in West Belfast has highlighted the importance of increasing awareness of Breast Cancer.

Mr Adams said:

"I want to welcome Liz Atkinson, Action Cancer's Director of Services, Professor Patrick Johnston, Oncologist at the City Hospital to this mornings press conference.

"October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Campaigners and activists will be working hard this month to raise awareness about this disease and to specifically highlight the importance of early detection, research and the need for significantly increased resourcing.

"Today's event is one contribution to this, and I am pleased to say that it also provides us with an opportunity to publicise the Action Cancer mobile clinic which will be visiting west Belfast and will be based at:

  • BIFHE's Whiterock Campus on Sept 29th and 30th
  • The Ballymurphy Women's Centre October 1st
  • Maureen Sheehan Centre, Albert Street October 22nd
  • Tar Anall, Conway Street October 23rd
  • Tullymore Community Centre October 27th
  • Colin Community Forum, Dairyfarm Shopping Centre October 28th

"This is an important initiative for women throughout this constituency. The statistics surrounding Breast Cancer are absolutely appalling - 300 women die each year in the north while almost a thousand new cases are diagnosed. But these figures give no sense of the trauma, pain and anguish that individual women and their families endure. Anyone who read Christine Bradley's account of her experiences in last week's Andersonstown News will have been given just a small insight into the enormous difficulties faced by individuals and their families.

"I know personally of this as it has affected friends and family members. My hope is that the initiative we are announcing today, coupled with the work of the coming month, will increase personal awareness among women and that lives will be saved.

"Prevention is the key to tackling breast cancer.I would urge women, but especially those in West Belfast where the mobile clinic will be visiting this month, to avail of its screening service.

"I would also like to commend those who have set up stalls this morning - The Ballymurphy Women's Centre, Tar Anall and Cancer Lifeline." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP this evening expressed sympathy and solidarity to the family of Pronsias Mac Aonghusa, expecially to his wife Catherine, on his death. He described Proinsias as an outstanding Irishman and patriot and said he would be sadly missed."

Mr. Adams said:

"Proinsias was a outstanding Irishman, a patriot in the truest sense. He was imbued with a sense of national consciousness and a pride in Irish culture. He was an outstanding gaelgóir and made a huge contribution to Irish language movement, journalism and the life of the whole nation. He will be sadly missed."ENDS


Speaking after a meeting of the National Election Strategy Group in Dublin, Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said:

" This mornings meeting of the National Electoral Strategy group was the first since Gerry Adams put the party on an election footing last week. Feedback from across the island was positive and preparations for the Assembly election are at an advanced stage.

" Clearly in recent months much of our focus has been on getting the British government to call an Assembly election. This has not yet happened and remains a priority. However there are a range of other issues which need to be addressed if the current crisis in the process is to be resolved and confidence is to be restored. We all know what these issues are - transfer of powers on policing and justice, demilitarisation, equality and human rights and the sustainability of the political institutions.

" Resolving the current crisis in the process is not simply a matter for republicans alone. It is a collective responsibility on all of us including the unionists and British government. Sinn Féin are committed to seeing these matters resolved and seeing the Agreement implemented in full and we will continue with our intensive engagements with the two governments and the other parties in the coming period." ENDS


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, North Belfast representative Gerry Kelly and former Six County Health Minister Bairbre de Brun are to attend this years British Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth. Central to the Sinn Féin agenda will be the need for democracy to be upheld and the Assembly elections to go ahead.

North Belfast Representative, Gerry Kelly travels to Bournemouth tomorrow, Sunday 28th September where he will address the Agreed Ireland Forum on the theme 'Good Friday Agreement through Thick and Thin'. He will also attend the Irish Embassy Dinner in the Royal Bath Hotel on Monday evening.

Chief Negotiator Martin Mc Guinness will arrive in Bournemouth on Tuesday morning where he will hold a Press Briefing for the North American Press Corps. He will also attend an Irish Embassy reception at the Royal Bath Hotel on Tuesday evening.

Former Health Minister, Bairbre de Brún will address the Sinn Féin Fringe Meeting in the Gresham Hotel, Grove Road, Bournemouth on Wednesday at 1.00 pm.

The Sinn Fein delegation will also attend the Breakfast reception hosted by Lord Dubs and Baroness Blood in the Highcliffe hotel on Wednesday morning.

For further information cantact Dominic Doherty @ 07074 267235 or Jayne Fisher @ 07940565123

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