Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that there is a lack of urgency in the Government's response to the flooding issue and that less bureaucracy and more input from local experts are urgently required.
Mr Carthy met with Minister Sean Canney last week, where he raised ongoing concerns of people across the midlands and west residents in relation to the flooding issue.
Matt Carthy said:
“The cost of flood damage across the State at the end of 2015 amounted to an estimated €100 million.
“Over 900 properties have suffered significant water damage, not to mention damage caused to farms, roads and bridges.
“The continuing inadequate Government response to this crisis is a matter of major public concern.
“I met Minister Sean Canney on 23rd November to discuss a range of flood related concerns. I thank the Minister for agreeing to meet me following my correspondence relating to issues in the East Galway region.
“The Government’s poor response to the flooding crisis has highlighted a number of worrying concerns including the fact that the previous Government's budget actually cut capital spending for the OPW's Flood Risk Management Programme in 2016 by €15.6 million, or 25%.
“A Strategic Planning for Flood Risk Management report has revealed that a steering group established to oversee a national programme for flood risk assessment did not meet during a four-year period before November 2014.
“It was also a full six years late in submitting required flood risk and flood hazard maps, as outlined by the EU Floods Directive.
“In 2014, it was estimated that €2bn would be needed in coming years to alleviate flooding hotspots.
“Some works have begun and some funds allocated but the length of time taken to bring projects to realization is a cause of huge frustration to local communities.
“Local Authorities have identified areas of flood risk but have not been given sufficient resources to manage. Areas in Sligo for example have not had any flood investment for over 40 years.
“The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CRAMs) has gone to public consultation and it is vital that this be published immediately and the recommendations be implemented.
“Ultimately the Shannon River, given its vast geographical area, needs one managing authority with consolidated data. Sinn Féin has tabled a Dáil Bill to do this but the Government and the Minister remain opposed for reasons that are not sustainable.
“I raised the issue of Galway County Council recently raising road levels and the concern that this would exacerbate flooding by interfering with the flow of flood waters to the coast.
“During my meeting with Minister Canney I specifically raised the issue of the Coillte wind farm on Slieve Aughty.
“Trenches connected with this wind farm, which were dug into the mountainside, are impacting on the natural flow of water causing it to speed up, resulting in a huge rush of water into a growing body of water, and preventing it from the impact draining away quickly enough.
“The Minister was aware of the issues and Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) have been tasked with designing a solution.
“However, it is unclear how long this process will take and the sheer level of process bureaucracy involved is proving a major obstacle. Again this is entirely unacceptable and I made this point strongly to the Minister Canney.
“What is urgently required in relation to the whole flooding issue need is much less bureaucracy and more input from local experts.
"I will continue to push for action on the flooding crisis by the Government and will raise it at EU level at every opportunity."
Sinn Féin Seanad Housing spokesperson Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has slammed Fianna Fáil for backing the government for a fourth time to block Rent Certainty measures.
Speaking after a Seanad debate on changes to planning and housing laws, Senator Ó Clochartaigh says:
“It’s absolutely disgraceful that once again Fianna Fáil have colluded with Fine Gael to block proposals to put Rent Certainty in place and link rises in rent to increases in the Consumer Price Index. These measures would have taken pressure of thousands of struggling families who are afraid of losing their homes.
“Fianna Fáil again reneged on one of their own manifesto promises and Fine Gael kicked to touch once more on the massive crisis they are perpetuating in the private rented housing sector.
“The parties of auctioneers, developers and speculators joined forces to ensure that nothing will be done to implement this modest proposal which is normal in countries across Europe and is supported by a host of charitable organisations dealing with the homelessness crisis on a daily basis such as the Simon Communities, the Peter McVerry Trust, COPE, Threshold and many, many more.
“Rent Certainty proposals put forward by the real opposition in the Seanad would have provided relief and hope for those tenants who were badly let down by the lack of action on housing and the private rental market. The crocodile tears from FF and FG for tenants were trumped by their overarching bias in favour of landlords.
“Rent certainty can bring certainty to both tenant and landlord and stabilise the market place. Rents have soared by hundreds of euro in some cases in the last year. Galway has been particularly badly affected.
“Vulture funds are coming in and inflating house prices. People are being turned out on the streets and homelessness organisations are finding it impossible to cope with the mushrooming demand on their already stretched services.
“I welcome the further initiative today, led by Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, in launching the Secure Rents and Tenancies Bill. This bill is co-signed by Independents for Change, Labour, People before Profit, the Anti-Austerity Alliance, the Social Democrats, and the Green Party and echoes the three the demands of the Secure Rents Campaign - rent certainty, indefinite leases and removing the sale of the property as a reason for eviction.
“It has been clear from the actions of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the Seanad again this week that there is a fundamental difference of approach to the housing crisis between ourselves and their coalition, who once again are allowing the private sector dictate policy and exploit citizens who should have access to a home of their own at a reasonable price and this must end.”
Bac ag Fianna Fáil ar Chinnteacht Cíosa don 4ú Uair – Ó Clochartaigh
Tá cáineadh géar déanta ag urlabhraí thithíochta Sinn Féin sa tSeanad, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, ar Fhianna Fáil mar gur thacaigh siad don cheathrú uair leis an Rialtas le moltaí faoi Chinnteacht Cíosa a chosc.
Ag labhairt dó i ndiaidh díospóireacht teasaí sa Seanad ar athraithe sna dlíthe pleanála agus tithíochta, deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:
“Tá sé náireach amach is amach gur thacaigh Fianna Fáil arís le Fine Gael le bac a chur ar mholtaí chun Cinnteacht Cíosa a thabhairt isteach ina mbeadh arduithe cíosa ceangailte le h-arduithe ar an innéacs praghas tomhaltóra. Bhainfeadh na moltaí an brú damanta atá ar na mílte teaghlach a bhfuil imní orthu go gcaillfidh siad a gcuid tithe.
“D’iompaigh Fianna Fáil a gcúl arís ar gheallúint réamhthoghchán dá gcuid agus chuir Fine Gael na caora thar abhainn arís ar ghéarchéim a bhfuil siadsan ag cur fad gan gá leis san earnáil tithíochta phríobháidigh.
“Tháinig páirtithe na gceantálaithe, na bhforbróirí agus na n-amhantraithe le chéile arís eile chun cinntiú nach dtabharfar an miosúr bheag seo isteach, atá comónta i dtíortha trasna na hEorpa agus a bhfuil tacaíocht aige ó iliomad eagrais charthanachta a bhíonn ag deileáil go laethuil leis an dream gan dídean, ina measc na Pobail Shíomóin, Fondúireacht Peter McVerry, COPE, Threshold agus go leor, leor eile.
“Thabharfadh na moltaí Cinnteacht Cíosa a bhí muid dhá bhrú chun cinn sa Seanad ag an fíor-fhreasúra faoiseamh agus dóchas do na tionóintí sin atá ligthe síos go dona de bharr easpa gníomhaíochta an Rialtais ó thaobh tithíochta agus an mhargadh cíosa phríobháidaigh de. Scaoil FF & FG leis an bhréag-olagón do thionóntaithe ar son fábhar dáiríre do na tiarnaí talúna.
“Thabharfadh Cinnteacht Cíosa, cinnteacht do thionóintaithe agus tiarnaí talúna araon agus socracht don mhargadh. Tá cíosanna arduithe na céadta euro i gcásanna áirithe le bliain anuas. Tá an cás thar a bheith go dona i nGaillimh.
“Tá lucht na gCreach Chistí ag teacht isteach agus ag ardú praghasanna tithe le díol as cuímse. Tá daoine dhá chur amach ar na sráideanna agus tá na h-eagrais charthanachta ag deireadh na fríde agus iad ag iarraidh dul i ngleic leis an éileamh ollmhór ar na seirbhísí teoranta gur féidir leo cur ar fáil.
“Fáiltím roimh an iarracht nua a thionscnaigh urlabhraí tithiochta Shinn Féin, Eoin Ó Broin inniu, agus é ag seoladh an Bhille Cíosa Daingnithe agus Tionóntachta. Tá an bhille seo co-sínithe ag Neamhspleáigh ar son Athrú, Páirtí an Lucht Oibre, Daoine Roimh Bhrabús, an Chomhghuaillíocht Frith-Dhéine, na Daonlathaigh Sóisialta agus an Comhaontas Glas agus tacaíonn sé go príomha leis an trí bhunphrionsabal atá ag an bhFeachtas Cíosanna Socraithe - siad sin, cinnteacht cíosa, léasanna neamhshonracha agus ag cealú díol an tí mar chúis chun daoine a dhíbirt as tithe.
“Tá sé ríshoiléir ó ghníomhartha Fhianna Fáil & Fine Gael sa tSeanad arís an tseachtain seo go bhfuil difríocht bhunúsach ann idir an cur chuige atá againne agus comhrialtas feidhmeach iadsan, maidir leis an ngéarchéím tithíochta, atá arís eile ag ligean don earnáil phríobháideach an dlí a leagan síos maidir le polasaí tithíochta de, chun bob a bhualadh ar shaoránaithe gur chóir dóibh fáil a bheith acu ar theach dá gcuid féin ar phraghas réasúnta agus caithfear stop a chur leis sin.”
Speaking in the Seanad this morning, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan raised the issue of overcrowding and understaffing in the University Hospital Limerick and demanded that the Minister for Health come into the Senate to address the issue.
Senator Gavan said:
“On the 8th of November, it was reported by local media that the UHL had 66 patients waiting on trolleys (37 of which were in emergency services), which was the highest level of overcrowding in any hospital in Ireland that day.
“To put those numbers into perspective, the total bed capacity in Ennis Hospital’s is 50; which meant that UHL had a small hospital worth of additional patients on trolleys that day, with all the implications for infection control and staffing.
“This type of chaos is nothing new to UHL. And, as a consequence of such intolerable conditions, SIPTU nurses and support staff are both balloting for industrial action. They are balloting due to a chronic shortage of staff, and they are balloting because of a new policy of shoving patients on trolleys into the wards.
“I know from speaking to people within the hospital that staff morale is at an all-time low, and it’s easy to see why. They are faced with intolerable workloads and patient care is being compromised under such conditions.
“Patients are also aware of the chaos; they are afraid to enter the hospital. The President of the GP Association, Dr Emmet Kerin, has come out and said that elderly patients with life threatening illnesses are refusing to go to UHL because it is the “worst A and E in Ireland”, those are his words.
“Dr Kerin added that he was surprised that patients have not taken to the streets to protest, like they did on Irish Water.
“The HSE has continued to refuse to hire required additional staff numbers throughout this year to date whilst at the same time spending tens of millions on agency staff to fill the gaps, which of course ends up costing the taxpayer far more.
“Hospital management have, however, finally acknowledged that the Hospital needs an additional 96 SARI compliant beds – something which the HSE outlined in a 2008 report. Here we are 8 years later, finally beginning to address the issue.
“The long promised Emergency Department is built, but plans to open it continue to be put back, the latest official word is May of next year, but I'm already hearing its more likely to be July or August.
“One particular story which illustrates the incompetence at the heart of HSE management is of a man with a van employed by the Ambulance Service to deliver charts across the hospitals in the mid-west. Several weeks ago, his van broke down and neither UHL nor the National Ambulance Service can agree to replace it. So, instead the HSE pays €2000 a week to have charts delivered by taxi. This is the bizarre world of our public health service, and where is the Minister of Health in all of this?
“The history of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour on this issue has been to either starve the public health service of necessary funding or to indulge in wasteful unplanned spending, and here we are in the midst of a huge crisis. There is a rising tide of anger with regard to this issue in Limerick, and they are demanding the government be held to account.
“What I want is the Minister for Health into this chamber as a matter of urgency to address the matter.”
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Education and Skills Carol Nolan has said that the Government could build more schools if they availed of the flexibility within the fiscal rules for capital spend. Deputy Nolan raised the point with the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton this afternoon when he appeared before the Education Committee.
Teachta Nolan said:
“I welcome the fact that an additional €100 million has been invested in school building projects for 2016. This is very much needed.
“However, the Minister confirmed that the additional capital spend in education for 2017 will be €95 million, €51 million of which has been allocated to Public Private Partnership costs.
“Under the Minister’s projections there will be 42 building projects commenced next year in comparison with the 60 currently on site for 2016.
“The Minister’s brief states that the construction programme will provide for a further 62,000 additional places despite the fact that 104,000 pupils are expected to enter the system across first and second level education up to 2019.
“The brief also warns that projects may need to be rescheduled due to funding constraints, which may lead to the continuance of temporary accommodation and approval of additional temporary accommodation.
“The fiscal rules allow for capital spend to be smoothed over four years, meaning that there is flexibility there to increase capital investment in schools.
“The Minister has confirmed that this is something that the Government will be considering within the Capital Review for 2017 but many of the schools and communities that are in dire straits will find little comfort in this.
“They are crying out for investment now and the government should have utilised the flexibility that is available to them in order to invest in vital education infrastructure.
“Sinn Féin put forward an additional investment of €179 million capital in Education, which would include provision for the replacement of prefabs and additional classroom accommodation.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that plans by the European Commission to create a new fund for military procurement and research is part of a wider agenda to form a unified European Army.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh was responding to today’s European Commission in Brussels looking for member states to pool their money into a European Defence Fund to pay for the procurement of armaments such as helicopters, warships and drones and military research.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Despite repeated warnings by Sinn Féin and others, the drive for European arms race continues apace with the decision to create a fund for military procurement and research.
“It is already estimated that the EU will allocate €90 million between 2017 and 2019 to the research fund and this will increase substantially from 2021-2027 to €4 billion. These figures will be dwarfed by the €300 million war chest which is being proposed to buy armaments.
“This proposal is totally at odds with the EU being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It has more to do with global posturing and EU imperialism than the supposed peaceful intent that led to the formation of the European Union in the aftermath of two world wars.
“Earlier this month, EU foreign and defence ministers agreed to establish a centralised command headquarters and create joint rapid-reaction forces that could be deployed at short notice. Today’s proposal adds weight that the ultimate goal behind these decisions is the creation of an EU defence union and a standing European army.
“Sinn Féin will calling on the government to reject out of hand this proposal when it comes before the European Council when it meets on the 15 and 16 of December.
“On Thursday (1st December), the Dáil will vote on a Bill that I jointly tabled last week with my party colleague Deputy Seán Crowe the purpose of which was to enshrine neutrality within the constitution. The Government and Fianna Fáil have indicated they would oppose the Bill which is hardly surprising as they attach little value to our neutrality. This is further evidenced by their support for increased EU spending on military research and armaments and their refusal to take a stand and oppose European military expansionism.”
Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has commended all those who turned out today in support of Ardmore Studios outside Leinster House, saying unconditional sale of Ardmore Studios will not be acceptable.
Teachta Brady said:
“I was delighted to join with protestors, who are predominately workers within the film and television industry, outside Leinster House today in support of Ardmore Studios and its continued existence as it is in Bray. I also joined the protesters in handing in a petition with over 2,500 signatures to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor.
“The recent announcement that Ardmore Studios is to be sold came as a huge shock to all those involved in Ardmore Studios and also to me as a public representative. During previous meetings, I held with the CEO, discussions were about the expansion of Ardmore Studios and never any potential sell off. The huge concern was highlighted in the huge numbers that turned up to the protest today.
“Ardmore Studios are internationally renowned as Ireland’s leading provider of film and TV studio infrastructure. The studios are highly regarded and have been home to hundreds of national and international film and TV productions since it was established in 1958.
“The silence from Ministers Heather Humphreys and Mary Mitchell O’Connor to numerous representations that have made to their offices cannot continue.
“On the one hand, Minister for Arts Humphreys has launched a new economic analysis on screen based creative industries and on the other hand, both Ministers have failed to address the potential sale of the State’s almost 32% share in Ardmore Studios.
“The Ministers must confirm that the State’s shares will be protected and if the private shares are to be sold, this must be as a going concern. Any unconditional sale of Ardmore Studios will not be acceptable.
“It is essential that the prospectus in relation to the sale of Ardmore Studios is made available to both the employees and concerned public representatives.
“I will be making further contact with both Ministers, who have failed to reply to me as of yet. The questions and concerns put to both Ministers must be addressed.”
Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd has said there is a demand from the community and voluntary sector in the North to have designated special status within the EU.
Speaking after attending a panel discussion organised Féile an Phobail called 'Brexit - A case for special status,' Mr O'Dowd said;
"This morning's discussion was positive and reflected a wide range of views but the central message was clear; the majority of people in the North voted to remain in the EU and that vote must be recognised and respected.
"There is widespread concern across society about the potential of being dragged out of the EU against our will.
"Across society there is a growing demand for the remain vote of the North to be respected, as we have seen with Border Communities Against Brexit and events like this organised by the community and voluntary sector.
"It is clear the British government hasn't got a clue what it is doing over Brexit and gives little or no thought to how it will impact on communities here.
"The Irish government too needs to act in the best interests of all Irish citizens and work to secure designated special status for the north within the EU."
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said today’s report by the Fiscal Council underscores again how the government are making the mistakes of the past in reducing taxes and relying on unsustainable corporation tax receipts to pay for public services.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Another day, another warning that the government is making the same old mistakes of years gone by. I have consistently pointed out that Corporation Tax receipts may have recently surged but there is great doubt as to how permanent that increase is. We know too that within that surge is a huge concentration on a small number of companies with the ten biggest companies now paying 40% of the total Corporation Tax take. Corporation tax payments from the top ten companies are now the equivalent of what stamp duty was in 2007. All the signs of a dangerous over-reliance on Corporation tax are there.
“Likewise the reckless cutting of solid tax streams like the USC while our public services and capital infrastructure require spending is a recipe for disaster.
"The report is littered with warnings about Brexit, optimistic medium- term forecasts as well as the warnings about tax I have consistently been drawing attention to. It confirms that much of next year’s fiscal space has already been spent by this year’s Budget.
"The Fiscal Rules are becoming, as Sinn Féin said they would, an anchor on the potential for Ireland to develop its economy in a fair and sustainable way. They have narrowed our choice significantly but the immediate problem as pointed to again today is that even within that narrowed choice the wrong options are being taken time after time.
“The public pay pressures that are now increasing, the threat of Brexit and a general slowing down of growth all point to the need for spending and investment to be prioritised and to be based on the reality of our economy not optimistic or temporary figures that can be made to match unrealistic and reckless political promises.”
Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has said that water charges through the front door or through the backdoor are “unacceptable”.
While welcoming some of the recommendations of the Expert Commission, she rejected the proposal for a charge on so-called ‘excessive’ waste usage, saying it would “inevitably lead to the introduction of across the board water charges in the future”.
Teachta McDonald said:
“Yesterday evening, we received the long awaited report of the so-called Expert Commission on the future of water charges. I welcome aspects of it, particularly its call for constitutional protection to keep our water services in public ownership. Sinn Féin has long argued for this.
“I also welcome the Commission’s recognition that the best way to pay for general domestic water usage is through general taxation. Sinn Féin has long argued that case too.
“The report also rightly recommends fair treatment for those in group water schemes and those who paid water charges. In Sinn Féin’s view, this means no domestic charge for those on group water schemes or those with their own water source and involves refunding those who have paid water charges to date.
“However, we do not support the Commission’s proposal of a charge on so-called ‘excessive’ use. This is just a re-hash of the original Fianna Fáil-Green Party proposal devised in 2009, and would inevitably lead to the introduction of across the board water charges in the future; that’s the reality.
“A low charge now to soften the blow, before hiking up charges in the future.
“Given Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s track record on water charges, how could anyone trust them not to increase water charges?
“In any case, the report acknowledges that determining what ‘excessive’ water usage is would be extremely difficult to calculate, and it’s highly likely that the cost of administering and enforcing such a scheme would be greater than the revenue it might generate.
“So let’s be clear; no water charges through the front door, or through the backdoor. That is what citizens have demanded.
“The government must also clarify, in light of Simon Coveney’s comments this morning, is it their intention to pursue those who did not, or who could not, pay unjust charges? And will that be through the courts, or through the Revenue Commissioners or through deductions from social welfare payments?
“They must also act to enshrine water services in public ownership by committing to a referendum on the matter.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the results of a survey conducted by Equality Commission which showed women questioned in the North said they believed their finances, their career opportunities, their status at work and their health were affected by having a baby.
Ms Archibald said:
“Sinn Féin is committed to equal rights for all and the report that pregnant and new mothers feel they are being discriminated against is unacceptable.
"The survey showed that women in the North believe their career opportunities were negatively affected by having a baby.
“It also showed that over one third of them felt they had been treated unfairly or disadvantaged because of their pregnancy or because they took maternity leave.
“This is not acceptable 40 years after the introduction of legislation in the North to provide protection from sex discrimination in employment.
“Steps have been taken to address the issue of gender pay as employers are now legally bound to publish information showing whether any gender pay disparities exist between their employees and draft an action plan to eliminate any discrepancies.
“Sinn Féín is committed to reducing discrimination and inequality in the workplace."
Sinn Féin TD and Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has launched the Secure Rents and Tenancies Bill. The Bill will be debated during Sinn Féin’s private members time this afternoon and is co-signed by Independents for Change, Labour, People before Profit, the Anti-Austerity Alliance, the Social Democrats, and the Green Party.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“This Bill echoes the three the demands of the Secure Rents Campaign. The demands are rent certainty, indefinite leases and removing the sale of the property as a reason for eviction. The campaign was launched by Uplift earlier this month and is supported by the Communications Workers’ Union, IMPACT, Mandate, CPSU, SIPTU, UNITE and the Dublin Tenants Association.
“This crisis is affecting all those living in the private rented sector. Low and middle income renting families are now paying between 40% and 60% of their disposable income on rent, with families relying on rent supplement or HAP being priced out of the market. The 200% increase in family homeless since 2014 is a direct result of this crisis in the rental sector.
“Young people now have nowhere to rent in the city that they work in. According to the Residential Tenancies Board, in Dublin the average rent for a one bedroom home has increased by 24% that’s an additional €2,940 per year. The average cost of renting a two bedroom has increased by 21%, which is an extra €3,204 per year.
“Renters cannot wait any longer for the government to act. We are tabling this Bill the Dáil today to put pressure on the government and Minister Simon Coveney to include rent certainty and real security of tenure in his long awaited rental strategy, due to be published in a few weeks.”
Minister for the Gaeltacht, Seán Kyne, must guarantee the people of Inis Mór a ferry service from tomorrow onwards according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
Speaking from Leinster House this morning Senator Ó Clochartaigh says:
“Minster for Seán Kyne has a responsibility for ensuring that there is a ferry service to the Aran Islands. He should have sorted out this debacle previously, but now it is imperative that he clearly outline what his Plan B is to ensure that the people of Inis Mór can get on and off the island by ferry from tomorrow onwards.
“The ferry operator has issued notice that he will withdraw the service from tomorrow due to an ongoing disagreement with Galway County Council over levies to be charged at Kilronan Pier on Inis Mór.
“However, against the advice of islanders and opposition spokespersons, the Department decoupled a contract for ferry services to the Aran Islands a number of years ago, therefore they no longer have any hold over the operator in relation to providing a year round ferry service for Inis Mór.
“The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs do have an obligation in relation to transport services to the islands.
“At a meeting of elected representatives on the 18th November I once again asked the Minister to outline what his plan B would be if this outcome came to pass. He now needs to tell us what arrangements are in place to ensure continuity of the ferry service to Inis Mór.
“Last night I asked the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Irish Language, Gaeltachta & Island Affairs to write to Minister Kyne immediately asking him what alternative arrangements are in place.
“I have also asked my colleague Peadar Toibín TD, who is chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to call the Department officials, Galway County Council, Island representatives and the ferry operator before the committee as soon as possible to investigate how the impasse can be resolved and put in place a longer term plan in relation to ferry services to the Aran Islands.”
Caithfidh an tAire Seirbhís Farantóireachta d’Inis Mor a chinntiú ó amárach ar aghaidh – Ó Clochartaigh
Caithfidh an tAIre Gaeltachta, Seán Kyne, cinntiú go mbeidh seirbhís farantóireachta ag muintir Inis Mor ón lá amárach ar aghaidh, dar le Seanadóir Shinn Féin Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
Ag labhairt dó as Teach Laighean ar maidin, deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar- Maigh Eo Theas:
"Tá freagracht ar an Aire Seán Kyne cinntiú go mbeidh seirbhís farantóireachta chuig Oileáin Árainn. Ba chóir go mbeadh an praiseach seo socraithe aige i bhfad roimhe seo, ach anois tá práinn leis agus caithfidh sé léiriú cén Plean B atá in áit aige chun cinntiú gur féidir le muintir Inis Mór dul isteach is amach ón oileáín ar bhád farantóireachta ón lá amárach ar aghaidh.
"Tá fógra eisithe ag an gcomhlacht farantóireachta go gcuirfear deireadh leis an tseirbhís ón lá amárach ar aghaidh mar gheall ar aighneas leanúnach le Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe maidir le táillí calafoirt atá le baint ag Céibh Chill Rónáin in Inis Mór. Ach, i gcoinne comhairle muintir na h-áite agus baill tofa freasúra, rinne an Roinn dí-chúpláíl cúpla bliain ó shoin ar na conraí maidir le seirbhísí farantóireacht chuig trí Oileán Árainn, rud a fhágann nach bhfuil smacht ar bith feasta acu ar an té atá ag cur seirbhís farantóireachta ar fáil d’Inis Mór ó cheann, ceann na bliana.
"Tá oibligeáid ar an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Reígiúnach, Tuaithe & Gaeltachta chun deimhniú go mbeidh seirbhísí iompar in áit do na h-oileáin.
"Ag cruinniú le baill tofa ar an 18ú Samhain d’iarr mise arís eile ar an Aire Kyne cén Plean B a bhí ag a Roinn dá dtarlódh a leithéad seo. Caithfidh sé inseacht dúinn anois céard atá beartaithe aige chun cinntiú go mbeidh seirbhís farantóireachta leanúnach ann do mhuintir Inis Mór.
"Aréir, d’iarr mé ar Chathaoirleach an Comhchoiste Gaeilge, Gaeltachta & Oileáin scríobh láithreach chuig an Aire Kyne ag fiafrú dó cé na socruithe malaratach iompair atá in áit aige.
"Tá iarrtha agam freisin ar mo chomhIeacaí, Peadar Tóibín TD, atá mar Chathaoirleach ar an gComhchoiste Oireachtais um Ghnóthaí Ealaíona, Oidhreachta, Réigiúnach, Tuaithe & Gaeltachta iarradh ar fheidhmeannaigh na Roinne, Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe, ionadaithe ó na noileánach agus ón gcomhlacht farantóireachta teacht ós a gcomhair a luaithe agus is féidir féachaint teacht ar réiteach ar na fadhbanna leanúnacha a bhaineann leis an tseirbhís farantóireacht d’Oileáin Árainn’.
Speaking on Fianna Fáil’s Flood Insurance Bill 2016 last night, Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said the inaction of this Government and successive Governments to tackle flooding has been extremely frustrating for those that have been affected and that investment in flood defences has been bottom of the list for far too long
An Teachta Brady said:
“Sinn Féin will be supporting this Bill to move to the next stage of the legislative process for further debate and scrutiny.
“We have seen the devastation that flooding has had in our own communities and in towns like Bray and Arklow, on more than one occasion.
“The inaction of this Government and successive Governments to tackle flooding has been extremely frustrating for those that have been affected. The absolute failure to invest in flood prevention is what has given insurance companies an excuse to refuse insurance cover for home and business owners.
“The Government need to invest in flood prevention measures, and that investment must go hand in hand with Fianna Fáil’s call for insurance cover for home and business owners.
“Investment in flood defences has been bottom of the list for far too long, it has never been a priority for Government. Sinn Féin look forward to scrutinising this Bill further; however, we would caution that this Bill is not an ultimate solution and it is not the only issue which must be tackled when it comes to flooding.”
Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley has praised the hard work and dedication of the ambulance service.
The Sinn Féin Assembly health spokesperson said;
"The staff and emergency medical teams of the Ambulance Service play a vital role in our society while working in very challenging circumstances.
"Every day their hard work, dedication and professionalism literally saves lives.
"My party colleague and Health Minister Michelle O'Neill is currently engaged in the most radical shake up of the health service for decades and is engaging with all health care workers to do that.
"Ambulance Service staff, and all those delivering health and social care, have a vital role to play, in partnership with the Minister in the transformation of our health service."
Sheol Sinn Féin plécháipéis thábhachtach ar aontú na hÉireann.
Dúirt ionadaí áitiúil de chuid Shinn Féin Trevor Ó Clochartaigh go bhfuil deis iontach ann le BreatImeacht chun aontú na tíre a mheas agus a phlé.
Ag labhairt dó i dTeach Laighean inniu dúirt sé:
"Is fearrde an geilleagar, seirbhísí poiblí, infheistíocht an talmhaíocht, póilínteacht, dlí is ceart agus spórt uilig an tAontú.
“Níl buntáiste ar bith ag baint le hoileán beag le daonra 6.4 mhilliún ar imeall na hEorpa agus dhá chóras cánach is dlí agus dhá chlár forbairt eacnamúla in iomaíocht a chéile.
“Tiocfaidh forbairt eacnamúil ar fud na tíre le himeacht na teorann a chrithaíonn constaicí ar thráchtáil.
“Le haontú na hÉireann d'fhéadfadh muid Seirbhís Sláinte náisiúnta
Tá cur síos cuimsitheach ar an aontú agus a mbaineann leis sa phléicháipéis" I dTreo Éire Aontaithe " seolta ag an pháirtí an tseachtain seo.
“Tá Sinn Féin ag iarraish Éire úr a mbeidh sé de cheart ag saoránaigh fostaíocht agus tithíocht a bheith acu agus ardchaighdeán oideachais.
“Caithfidh cineál polaitíochta nua a theacht le hÉirinn úr, aontaithe a athróidhan córas mar atá ó thuaidh is ó theas ó bhun.
“Beidh gá le Bunreacht agus Bille na gCeart agus b'fhéidir go mbeidh gá le cosaint pholaitiúil agus bhunreachtúil d'fhéiniúlacht na nAontachtóirí ó Thuaidh.
“Soláthraíonn Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta bealach chun athrú bunreachtúil síochánta trí reifrinn ag aon tráth ó thuaidh is ó theas.
Deis stairiúil do mhuintir na hÉireann reifreann ar aontú na hÉireann a thabharfaidh an rogha dúinn vótáil ar an gcineál rialtais is sochaí ba mhaith linn.
“D'éiligh Sinn Féin reifreann ar cheist na teorann agus muid ag iarraidh díospóireacht atá measúil, eolach agus réasúnta ar an gceist.
“Seo an t-am chun pleanail a dhéanamh agus tacaíocht a chruinniú ar son aontú. D'fhéadfadh ceannasaíocht na bpáirtithe atá ar son aontú, ag gníomhú le chéile, an cheannaireacht sin a chur ar fáil.
“Creidim gur chóir don Rialtas réamhphleanáil don aontú a dhéanamh agus grúpa uile-pháirtí a bhunú chun Páipéar Glas a thabhairt chun tosaigh ar Aontú.
“Creidim fosta go bhféadfaidís plean a fhorbairt le haghaidh Seirbhís Sláinte uile-Éireann.
“Tá súil agam go scrúdóidh gach duine an doiciméad seo agus ba mhaith liom go ndéanfadh páirtithe agus eagrais eile a gcuid tuairimí féin ar an cheist thábhachtach seo a chur chun cinn.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin TD has said there are no surprises in the recommendations of the expert water commission report published this evening. While welcoming some of the report’s recommendations the Dublin Mid-West TD rejected the proposal for a charge on so called ‘excessive’ waster describing it as ‘the thin edge of the wedge for across the board charges’.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“I welcome the reports call for a constitutional protection for the public ownership of water. I also welcome the Commission’s recognition that the best way to pay for general domestic water usage is through general taxation.
“The report also rightly recommends parity and fairness for those in group water schemes and those who have already paid their water charges. In Sinn Féin’s view this would be no domestic charges for those on group water schemes and refunds for those who have paid water charges to date.
“However Sinn Fein does not support the Commission proposal of a tariff for so called ‘excessive’ usage. This would be the thin edge of the wedge for across the board water charges in the future.
“Given their track record on domestic waste charges how could anyone trust Fianna Fail or Fine Gael not to increaser water charge in the future.
“The report also acknowledges that determining what is ‘excessive’ water usage would extremely difficult to calculate. I also suspect that the cost of administering and enforcing such a scheme would be greater than the revenue it would generate.
“The report did not have much to say on future investment in water and sanitation infrastructure and on the issue of conservation.
“Sinn Féin believe that the best way of reducing waste would be for Government to proactively promote water conservation technologies for new builds and to provide financial support or tax incentives for retro fitting public and private buildings. This should all be done alongside a comprehensive education campaign.
“I look forward to participating, along with my colleague Deputy Jonathan O'Brien, in the special Oireachtas committee on the future of water charges. However, nothing in this report changes our core view that domestic water charges should be abolished.”
Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has welcomed support from the Scottish First Minister to have the Remain vote of the north respected.
Speaking after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed Seanad Éireann this morning, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said:
“I welcome the opportunity to hear directly from Príomh Mhinistearan na h-Alba Nicola Sturgeon today.
“Her commitment to and passion for the Scottish Nation and people were palpable. She outlined comprehensively the case for Scotland and the North of Ireland to remain in the Europe Union (EU) as voted for by the majority of people in both.
“It was heartening also to hear the broad levels of support from other Senators for First Minister Sturgeon’s desire not, just for Scotland to remain within the EU but also their expressed support for Scottish Independence.
“I hope and trust this same expression of support will be found in the Seanad, Dáil or Government when it comes to the North securing designated special status within the EU and the campaign for Irish reunification.
“Ireland and Scotland have deep rooted and binding connections which continue to bear fruit in the spheres of culture, linguistics, the arts, the economy, politics and the environment.
“The future aspirations of Scotland and indeed the future of Ireland is best served when it lies in the hands of our own people.”
Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley has welcomed news that the international rankings – Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) published today – show the North has the highest-achieving primary school pupils in Europe in major international tests in maths.
The statistics also show that pupils in the North are the sixth best in the world at maths.
The party’s spokesperson on Children and Young People said:
“I welcome these statistics.
“It is a real success story that numeracy has improved among students in the North.
"As Education Minister Caitríona Ruane initiated the Literacy and Numeracy Signature Projects and it was launched in 2012 by my party colleague, then Education Minister John O'Dowd.
“The Literacy and Numeracy Signature Projects have seen year-on-year improvements in achievement and attainment levels.
“Under Sinn Féin ministers over the past decade we have seen year-on-year improvements in achievement and attainment levels.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said her party will continue to work to build international solidarity in support of the Palestinian people.
Speaking from Palestine today on International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, Ms Anderson said;
"Sinn Féin continues to support the people of Palestine and is constantly working to build solidarity at home and internationally.
"Just this week I attended the Fatah congress in Palestine to show solidarity and welcomed the re-election of Mahmoud Abbas.
"The international community has a responsibility to support the Palestinian people and challenge the continuing human rights abuses of Israel.
"For our part, Sinn Féin will continue to support the people of Palestine and efforts to secure a just and lasting peace in the region."
Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane has called on the Minister for Education to listen to the people of South Down and continue to fund the Outdoor Education Centres.
Speaking in the Assembly today Ms Ruane said:
“Killowen OEC and Ardnabannon are vital assets to the South Down community.
“These centres not only keep young people active, but also help with young people’s mental health.
“As outdoor education centres they provide quality learning experiences in the outdoors for all young people in the area and provide experiences that other centres, like youth centres, can’t provide.
“I offer my full support for both centres remaining open and I have already written to the Minister for Education regarding this.
“They aid our young people by offering a place where they can enjoy themselves while also being outside exercising.
“I believe this funding should be continued for both these centres and I call on the minister to listen to the people of South Down and keep Killowen and Ardnabannon open.”