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Next election a choice between Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government - Gerry Adams TD

"The next election will be a choice between a Fine Gael-led or Sinn Féin-led Government. It is a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society." - Adams

There is a need for new political and human relationships based on trust and respect. We may never agree on the past but that must not be allowed to hold back the future.


Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD this morning launched his party’s alternative internship scheme which he says will replace the current government’s JobBridge Scheme if his party is in power after the next election.



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Thosaigh Liadh Ní Riada Feisire Eorpach de chuid Shinn Féin ar a stailc teanga inniu. Sa chéad cruinniú de chuid an Bhuiséad agus Gnóthaí Eacnamaíocha agus Airgeadaíochta bhí an Junker Investment plan á phléigh. Rinneadh iarracht pointe a chuir chun tosaigh trí Ghaeilge ach cuireadh stop léi láithreach.

Agus í ag labhairt ón Pharlaimint sa Bhruiséil dúirt Ní Riada

"Ní féidir glacadh leis an méid a tharla le linn an choiste sin. Chuaigh mé i dteagmháil leis na dá choiste an tseachtain seo chaite chun iad a chuir ar an t-eolas faoin stailc. Mhínigh mé go raibh mé á dhéanamh mar chomhartha agóide i gcoinne an maolú teanga agus mura rabhadar sásta seirbhís ateangaireachta a chuir ar fáil bhí leigheas an scéal againn tríd úsaíd a bhaint as mo chomhairleoir polaitíochta chun an ateangaireacht a dhéanamh.

“Níor tugadh cead dom mo phointe a chríochnú agus tá ´sé sin do-ghlactha toisc go bhfuil stádas oifigiúil ag an Ghaeilge san Aontas Eorpach.”

ENDS

Liadh Ní Riada, MEP for Ireland South began her language strike today. The Junker Investment Plan was being discussed in the first joint committee meeting of Budget and Economic and Monetary Affairs. An attempt was made to make a point through Irish but her contribution was interrupted almost immediately.

Speaking from the parliament Ní Riada said:

"It was inadmissible what happened in the committee today. I contacted the committee secretariat last week to inform them of the strike. I explained that I was doing it in protest against the language derogation that is currently in place and if they were not willing to provide interpreting that my political advisor would be able to do so on my behalf.

“I was not allowed to finish my point and this is totally unfair considering the fact that I was speaking in official working language of the EU.”

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Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the commitment of the Education Minister John O’Dowd to promote the STEM subjects.

Mr Hazzard said,

“The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are subjects that are having a bigger impact in the modern world as we see major technological advances in the way we work and live and we need to ensure that they are promoted if we are develop our economy.

“Todays motion is about ensuring that our children are given the proper tools to compete in a modern world and that we develop an education system that embraces and encourages these subjects.

“I am delighted that the Minister has stated his commitment to promoting the STEM subjects and has already embarked on some invaluable work in getting children to retain these subjects through to degree level.

“These include supporting the ‘STEM is Cool’ initiative as well as The Young Scientist Awards and the promotion of the subjects through careers classes.

“I am confident that the Minister will continue to promote STEM subjects to ensure our children are properly equipped to compete in a modern world.” 

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Sinn Féin TD and Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has responded to reports from the Higher Education Authority that Student Assistant Fund claims are up 28%.

The Cork North Central TD said -

“Once again we are seeing the impact of an underfunded education system. The HEA are today reporting a significant increase in applications for the Student Assistant Fund. This payment, in many cases, is key to ensuring that individuals whom otherwise would be unable to take up third level education, are in a position to do so”

“Despite her acknowledgment in February that the objective of the student assistance fund, is to assist, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, students who might otherwise, as a result of financial reasons, suffer severe hardship or be unable to continue with their third level studies, Minister Jan O’Sullivan has refused to provide a top-up to the fund as was done in the past”

 “This comes just days following the Labour party’s annual conference in which there was much pontificating on the need for action in tackling the issue of inequality in education. While I welcome the sentiments expressed by the party, what we need now is for the Minister to take action on this issue and ensure any roadblocks to education are eliminated”

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe has described as ‘a nightmare scenario’, the 3am raid and subsequent shooting of an 11 year old boy on Saturday in Tallaght.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I am utterly appalled at the actions of these individuals. Not only was this an attack on an innocent young boy, it is an attack on society.

“This shooting can only be described as the ultimate nightmare scenario. A family were awoken from their beds by raiders and attacked whilst attempting to flee. It is difficult to imagine the fear and panic such a scenario would provoke.”

“The rise in aggravated burglaries and assaults, including incidents such as that witnessed on Saturday, is a worrying development, as is the increase in the use of firearms. I am relieved at  media reports that the injuries incurred by the young boy are not life threatening, however the deep psychological impact and the gravity of this attack cannot be underestimated. It could all too easily, have gone the other way and resulted in a fatality.”

“This is a new low, not only for Tallaght but for the Island of Ireland. When citizens cannot sleep soundly in their beds without fear of attack, we have a cause for serious concern. Families are entitled to live out their lives free from fear and intimidation from criminals. I am appealing to the Gardaí use all their resources at their disposal and act swiftly in bringing these perpetrators to justice.” 

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Speaking from Cork today, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien today called on the Minister for Education and teacher unions to go back in to discussions to resolve the ongoing dispute on the reform of the Junior Cycle.

 The Cork North Central TD said;

 “Parents and students will be relieved to hear that there are no plans for a third day of strike action as we get closer to exam time, but this issue needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency.”

 “The Minister will not succeed in ramming through a reformed Junior Cycle in the absence of co-operation from teachers and it would be unreasonable to expect parents and students to have faith in the reforms should that be the approach she takes.”

 “I am calling on the Minister to go back and speak to the unions again and listen to their concerns and desist from floating the idea of sanctions and penalties in order to scare teachers in to agreement.”

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Sinn Féin TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has welcomed comments by the Minister for Environment that he is planning to introduce measures to regulate residential rents but has said more detail of his plan is needed so that high rents can be dealt with without delay. He made his comments following a statement from Minister Alan Kelly that he would be seeking to introduce a framework to give rent certainty to tenants.

Deputy Ellis said:

"Whether you call it rent control, rent regulation or rent certainty we have been calling for measures to limit rent rises and bring fairness to rates for years now. The Minister and his government have consistently said that they would not introduce any such measures, even ridiculously claiming that to regulate the rental market would be unconstitutional. We know that was rubbish so why has it taken so long for the government to even admit some action on rents was needed?”

“What the Minister said at the weekend was positive and I welcome that but we need clarity. A temporary rent freeze and new limits on future increases would be very positive but how does he plan to do this. Based on previous comments in January it is questionable if the Minister's definition of rent certainty would meet the standards of many people calling for such measures. Speaking at the beginning of the year he floated the idea of new 5 year leases which would provide for more stable rent levels for tenants. This would be helpful but we need rent regulation to help people in current difficulty and we need to ensure that this is binding for all landlords and tenants.”

“The Minister has also proposed giving tax breaks to landlords to take up these leases. That's not the right way to go. The government does not need to further fund landlords in order for them to charge fair rents. We need mandatory regulations for all leases which set maximum rent limits based on the consumer price index, limit future increases and to promote longer leases as well.”

“Real action is needed not tax breaks for landlords or more statements from the Minister. He must introduce rent regulation without delay.” 

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Sinn Féin's Gearóid Ó hEára has called on Employment and Learning minister Stephen Farry to lift the cap on the number of students at Magee. 

Mr Ó hEára said; 

"Everyone is in agreement on the need to expand Magee and increasing the number of students is key to that. 

"Lifting the Maximum Student Numbers (MaSN) cap is essential to ensuring the growth of Magee. This is something, which could be easily done, and it is within the power of the employment and learning minister to do so. 

"This would be a clear indication of the minister's commitment to the expansion of Magee. 

"I welcome the fact Stephen Farry has said he intends to bid for additional funds to expand Magee in the next Comprehensive Spending Review but this now needs to be followed up with action by lifting the MaSN cap. 

"Not only would this be a concrete step towards the full expansion of Magee, it would also help generate revenue to pay for that expansion through additional students. 

"This is within the power of the minister and if he is serious about the expansion of Magee then he needs to show it by lifting the MaSN cap immediately."

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Michael Colreavy Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has made a submission on energy affordability and fuel poverty.

Focusing on the need for government to protect those most at risk of fuel poverty, Deputy Colreavy said:

“Fuel poverty is in many respects a matter of distributive injustice as it is the poorest in society who are often those who suffer greatest from the lack of adequate heat and warmth in their homes.”

“An EU wide recognition of fuel poverty is essential in tackling the issue due to the fact that wider energy issues are being addressed at a European level. Member states have signed legally binding agreements to increase the amount of energy from renewable sources that they consume.”

“Member states are also obliged to reduce their CO2 emission output. It is essential that fuel poverty is not forgotten during European discussions on energy.”

“There are also strong associations between inadequately heated homes and increased rates of morbidity; higher incidences of various cardiovascular and respiratory diseases have been associated with chronic cold exposure from within the home through living in fuel-poor conditions.”

“Retrofitting of homes is an obvious means of tackling fuel poverty.”

“Fuel poor households are concentrated in the worst buildings in terms of thermal insulation.”

“Rural houses in particular suffer greatly from poor insulation and rural households are at a higher risk of being fuel poor. A higher proportion of fuel poor households live in non-cavity houses. Retrofitting not only saves on carbon emissions, there are also many indirect savings to be made.”

“These include the amount spent by the HSE each annum on dealing with illnesses caused by fuel poverty. Therefore, it is essential that supports such as the National Fuel Scheme and Household Benefits are protected by government into the future.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to engage on proposals for an all-island process to address the legacy of the handling of cases of abuse during the conflict.

Martin McGuinness said:

“I wrote to the Taoiseach last November with proposals for a process to assist victims who suffered abuse during the conflict. I have written on two further occasions and have yet to receive a substantive reply.

“It has been fully acknowledged that many victims of abuse across the community were let down by the RUC, by the judiciary, by social services and on occasion by republicans.

“This was an injustice that needs to be put right for all victims.

“In November I first wrote to An Taoiseach to propose the establishment, through the North South Ministerial Council, of an all-island process to support victims of abuse in all communities. This was to ensure greater access to counselling and other supports for victims and to facilitate victims and survivors in accessing the justice system and making official complaints.

“When I failed to receive any substantive reply I wrote again on two other occasions and raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach.

“I have yet to receive a satisfactory reply to the proposals or even a detailed response or discussion on how to proceed on this matter.

“The lack of engagement by the Taoiseach on these proposals and his comments in the media and in the Dáil calls into question his commitment to establish a process which genuinely meets the needs of all victims.

“Addressing the needs of victims of abuse should be above party politics. I urge the Taoiseach to move beyond commentary and to work with all of us to develop processes which place the needs of victims first.”

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Mary Lou McDonald TD, Cllr Catherine Seeley & Francie Molloy MP