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No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley has welcomed a series of free intensive Irish language classes offered by DCAL as part of the Líofa initiative. 

The West Belfast MLA said: 

"Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín's announcement of intensive Irish language courses to be held across the North is great news. 

"These dianchúrsaí will cater for all levels of learners, from complete beginners to more advanced speakers. 

"Clases will be held on Saturday, September 13 from 10am to 4pm. 

"The intensive courses are a great opportunity to start learning Irish or to brush up on whatever Irish you may already have. 

"They also provide advice on follow-up classes in your local area. 

"These free classes are being offered at a range of locations in each of the Six Counties as part of the hugely successful Líofa initiative pioneered by Carál Ní Chuilín, which is promoting fluency in Irish. 

"This further highlights Sinn Féin's commitment to the promotion and development of the Irish language." 

Classes will be held at the following locations; 

Down - Gaeláras Mhic Ardghaill, Newry

           - Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle

Fermanagh - County Council offices, Enniskillen

Tyrone - Cookstown Library

             - Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

Anrtim - An Droichead, south east Belfast

             - Croí Éanna GAA grounds, Glengormley

             - Coláiste Feirste, west Belfast

Armagh - Athletic grounds, Armagh

Derry - Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Derry

           - An Carn, Maghera

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Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said emigration is having a devastating impact on rural communities across the North.

 The Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee was speaking after it was revealed that 25,438 people left the North from mid-2012 to mid-2013.

 Mr Flanagan said:

 "These statistics paint a very bleak picture and highlight the very real demographic challenges facing many areas. On average, 489 people left the north every week during this period.

 "Rural areas in particular have been very badly hit, not only by emigration, but also by young people moving to more urban areas for university and for work, the majority of which will never return.

 "This then present serious social challenges for local communities in terms of sustaining rural schools and fielding football teams.

 "Despite all the recent fanfare around job announcements, there is still a huge lack of job opportunities in rural areas. Much more needs to be done to create jobs to enable people to continue living at home in their own communities instead of being forced abroad in search of employment."

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Two leading Sinn Féin representatives, Francie Molloy MP and the Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD will be engaging in a speaking tour across Australia from August 30 to September 7 2014, visiting Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.

Speaking today Francie Molloy said:

 “Sinn Féin has emerged from the local government and European elections held in May as the largest political party on an all-Ireland basis, with the surge in popular support resulting from the party's strong opposition to austerity, north and south.

“There is a clear message that we will be taking to Australian political representatives, trade unionists and community leaders of promoting a united Ireland and the need to call on the British and Irish governments to hold a referendum on Irish reunification under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.  

“Already dozens of Australian MPs, trade unionists and community leaders have added their names to an Irish Unity Motion."

Mary Lou McDonald TD continued:

“Further to this we will also be continuing to promote awareness among Irish workers on temporary visas in Australia of their rights in the workplace, and promoting trade union membership among the Irish community.

“The tour will aim to engage not only with the thousands of young Irish people who've been forced to emigrate as a result of austerity policies, but also to build connections with progressive parties and unions fighting against austerity in Australia.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has praised the commitment of staff at Daisy Hill hospital in Newry. 

Speaking after visiting the hospital alongside party colleagues Martina Anderson MEP and Conor Murphy MP, the Newry and Armagh MLA said; 

"I visited Daisy Hill hospital today alongside Martina Anderson MEP and Conor Murphy MP and met with hospital management and staff. 

"We saw the new theatres and the accident and emergency unit at the hospital and were very impressed by the quality of the facilities. 

"We were also very impressed by the commitment and dedication of the hospital staff to the people of the Newry and Armagh area."

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Sinn Féin Councillor for North Belfast JJ Magee today described as disgraceful the attack on the homes of members of the Sudanese community in the north of the city.

Cllr Magee said:

“These attacks on the homes of members of the Sudanese community can only be described as disgraceful. They must be condemned outright.

“There can be no place whatsoever in our society for racism.

“I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious to report it immediately to the PSNI.  

"Racists who carry out such despicable actions in an attempt to instill fear into families living here need to be taken off our streets.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said today that the Health Minister Edwin Poots must convince his Executive colleagues of the financial management of his department.

The Health Committee member said:

“Sinn Féin will take this latest document from the Health Minister Edwin Poots and examine the figures within it.

“Sinn Féin is under no illusions that the health service faces growing challenges.

“However, we have a minister who has failed to convince his own party colleagues on the Executive of his ability to manage his budget.

“Edwin Poots as Health Minister has been allocated over £200m of additional monies on top of his budget since 2011.

“He is also the only minister permitted to keep any savings made within his department.

“Edwin Poots’ bottom line figures varied between £160m to £60m last week and this week he is now demanding £80m.

“We need the Health Minister to invest his time and energy in working with the Trusts, the medical staff and unions as well as the health committee to protect frontline services while addressing costly issues such as payments to private health companies and bonuses.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness met today with US Senator Gary Hart who is on a fact-finding mission to Ireland. 

The Deputy First Minister said:

“I met with Senator Hart and briefed him on the current serious challenges facing the political process in the North.

“I made it clear that Sinn Féin welcomes continued US engagement in the political process as the US has played a positive role in the development of the Irish peace process.

“It remains our view that we can find a resolution to all the difficulties facing the political process through genuine engagement by all parties and a hands-on proactive approach by the British and Irish governments in any negotiations.”

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The Irish and British governments should refocus their efforts to defend the political process in the North and to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements as we approach this Sunday’s 20th anniversary of the historic and groundbreaking IRA cessation of 1994, Gerry Adams has said.

Gerry Adams TD speaks to reporters at Leinster House about the 20th anniversary of the cessation

The Irish and British governments should refocus their efforts to defend the political process in the North and to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements as we approach this Sunday’s 20th anniversary of the historic and groundbreaking IRA cessation of 1994, Gerry Adams has said.

Speaking at the Dáil, the Sinn Féin leader noted that that decision by the IRA leadership opened up the potential of the peace process, eventually leading to the Good Friday Agreement.

“The direct involvement of the Irish and British Governments and the support of the US Administration was crucial to that achievement,” the former MP for West Belfast recalled.

Gerry Adams said:

“The same level of engagement is now required to deal with those outstanding issues which have bedeviled the political process and which threaten the progress that has been made since.

“However, neither the British Government or unionist political leaders have shown any commitment to substantive negotiations on these issues.

“There is now a strongly anti-Agreement axis within political unionism.

“This negative axis has been encouraged by the refusal of the British Government to honour its own obligations and its efforts to impose draconian cuts in the welfare system.

“The North's political institutions now face their most serious challenge for many years.

“Regrettably, the Irish Government has been far too passive in pursuing a pro-Agreement agenda.

“The Irish and British governments, as co-equal guarantors of the Agreement, must ensure that outstanding issues are implemented.

“I am calling on both governments to urgently refocus their efforts to defend the political process and ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements.”

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Sinn Féin’s MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has taken part along with several local groups in a series of engagements with the MEP Martina Anderson on how Europe can deliver at a local level.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

“The Sinn Féin MEP visited Springvale Employment & Learning Solutions where she was shown the crucial work undertaken at the complex and met with young people attending the programmes.

Paul Maskey said:

“Martina Anderson has spent a productive day in West Belfast.

“With four MEPs now in Brussels Sinn Féin is intent on delivering for the people throughout Ireland and being a strong voice for the country in the European Parliament.

“After Martina saw at first hand the excellent work being carried out at Springvale she met with representatives of social enterprises throughout West Belfast in what was an informative session.

“These engagements are essential in terms of bringing Europe to local people and explaining how groups and businesses can in Belfast can benefit from greater links and knowledge of how the European parliament can work.”

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh