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Adams dismay as Kenny again rejects European Debt Conference

"The financial and economic crisis in this State was caused by a small, unrepresentative, wealthy elite. €62 billion in bank loans were in the hands of just 190 borrowers. 50% of the Irish loan book of Anglo Irish bank was held by just 20 individuals.  Ordinary citizens cannot understand the Taoiseach’s refusal to pursue options that could make our debt sustainable and fair." – Adams

I have been made aware of a warning put through my constituency office that stated that there is a bomb planted outside of my home. The cowards behind the threat and their accompanying actions are beyond contempt.


An increased role for pharmacists is essential for the future of Irish healthcare. The western world needs radical change in the way it deals with health care provision. We currently see up to 1 in 7 attendances at GPs and 1 in 12 at Emergency Departments that could and should be dealt with by pharmacists.



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Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the decision by the Electoral Commission to close Moygashel polling station and has called it a victory for common sense which will allow the democratic process to go unhindered.

Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

“The presence of a large number of hostile flag protestors outside the polling station in Moygashel on Election day for the European election deterred many people from voting and exercising their democratic right.

“Indeed several protestors came with knives and removed Sinn Féin posters from the area.

“It was a disgrace this protest was allowed to happen in the first place by the PSNI never mind be in situ for two and a half hours during voting.

“I made representations on this issue on behalf of my constituents to the Electoral Commission expressing our serious concerns.

“I welcome the subsequent consultation and the decision reached to close the Moygashel polling station.

“This is a victory for common sense and one that will now allow the democratic process in this area to go unhindered.

“While I understand that some people may have to travel slightly further to the two new polling stations at Dungannon Leisure Centre and St. Patrick's Primary School it is undoubtedly the a better option than to allow this level of intimidation to happen again.”

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has slammed the European Commission's plans to remove the stalled maternity leave directive from its work plan for 2015.

Ms Boylan was in Dublin attending the EU Affairs Committee on the European Commission Work Programme for 2015.

Addressing the committee the Dublin MEP said:

“A significant element of President Juncker’s work plan involves a nod to corporate interests to the detriment of citizens, especially women. 

For example, the draft maternity legislation looks set to face the chop. The legislation was adopted by the European parliament in 2010 with the aim of strengthening women’s rights by ensuring that 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave becomes standard practice across the European Union.

The directive has now been stuck in the Council for several years and the European Commission has indicated it will withdraw it if no agreement on it can be found between the European Parliament and the Council by summer.

So it’s business as usual at the European Commission. If you oppose and attempt to delay on what you’re against, it will be stalled indefinitely and then tossed into legislative oblivion. This so called sunset clause invoked by the Commission is more like lights out for the maternity leave directive!”

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Sinn Féin has selected Cllr. Kathleen Funchion to contest the forthcoming by-election in Carlow/Kilkenny.

The convention, which was attended by party members from all over the constituency, took place in the Lord Bagenal Hotel, Leighlinbridge, Co.Carlow tonight.

Cllr. Funchion stated that she is a voice for all those struggle to make ends meet under the pressure of the burdens forced upon them by the Fine Gael & Labour Party Government.

Funchion received strong endorsements from Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and Liadh Ní Riada MEP who were also in attendance.

Speaking at the convention, Cllr Funchion said;

“We need to ask if the people of Carlow & Kilkenny really want to send another Fine Gael TD to sit on the backbenches to rubber-stamp the kind of decisions that have devastated families and communities across this constituency.

“Or do they want to send another Fianna Fáil TD to watch on as the government implements their policies?

“Rural towns and villages, such as Leighlinbridge, where we are tonight and across Carlow and Kilkenny are devastated by the curse of emigration.

“Across Carlow and Kilkenny housing is at crisis point. There have been 22 cases of homelessness in the first two weeks of this year alone in Kilkenny City. And people lying on trolleys at St Luke’s Hospital because of overcrowding.

“This is not the Ireland that the 1916 leaders envisaged, in Carlow Kilkenny or anywhere else in 2016.

“I will be a voice for people who go out to work every day, rushing around in the morning, trying to get kids out the door while worrying about bills, thinking will I try to pay the gas or electricity this week.

“I will be a voice for mothers who struggle with the cost of childcare.

“I will be a voice for families that are burdened by mortgages.

“I will be voice for the unemployed who believe that Australia, the USA or Canada are the only options for them.

“I want to be a voice for the people of rural Ireland who are discriminated against because of where they live.

“Electing a Sinn Féin TD will be the first step in achieving a brighter future for Carlow and Kilkenny. It will be the first step in achieving a brighter future for this country.”

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Speaking from County Carlow today Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada expressed her delight and gratitude at being nominated and shortlisted for the 2015 MEP awards in the Regional Policy Category. The awards bring together Members of the European Parliament and EU stakeholders to celebrate the work and highlight the outstanding achievements of both new and returning MEPs.

 Ní Riada said;

“I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated and shortlisted for this ward. I wasn’t aware of the nomination until recently, and I am humbled by the support and trust that it shows.

 “The nomination is an acknowledgement of the work that Sinn Féin as a party is undertaking across the country, and a recognition of the team that we have standing up for Ireland in Brussels. Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy and understand the historic mandate that we received from the people of Ireland last year and we will continue to work as a team to put Ireland first.

 “I understand that the nominations came from stakeholders in the rural and local development sector here in Ireland on account of my work in campaigning against Phil Hogan’s disastrous attempt to take control of vital LEADER funds away from locally-based community groups and put it in the hands of the Department of the Environment and local authority managers.

 “In November I hosted a delegation of over forty key stakeholders from this sector, where they raises a number of very serious concerns about the so-called reform process with the European Commission. 

 “Following this delegation we have seen some movement from the Department of Environment but there is still a long way to go in ensuring these vital funds for local development are used in a transparent, accountable and community-controlled way.  I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work, perseverance and strength of all within the local and rural development sector who are fighting hard to protect this crucial part of Ireland’s social and community infrastructure.

 “I will continue to pressure Minister Alan Kelly to find a solution, as the Government’s failure to resolve this issue is delaying the entire Rural Development Programme. “

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Commenting on the latest CSO Annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions Report, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy has said that the figures demonstrate the impact of successive Government’s neglect of rural Ireland.

Carthy said:

“The CSO figures show that, in 2013, the majority of those classed as being at risk of poverty (50.1%) or living in consistent poverty (51.3%) came from rural areas. This is despite the fact that the population of rural Ireland has declined with figures showing that rural dwellers made up 39.5% of the overall population – a decrease from the 2012 figure of 40.6%.

“The report also indicates that the rates of rural dwellers at risk of poverty (19.3%), deprivation (31%) and consistent poverty (10.7%) have increased significantly between 2012 and 2013, while the corresponding figures for urban areas showed a decline.

“The disposable income of those living in rural areas has also decreased from the average of €18,971 in 2012 to €18,653 in 2013 while the disposable income of those living in urban areas increased from €22,078 to €22,357 in the same period.

“Let there be no mistake about it – rural Ireland has been badly let down by successive Governments and these figures highlights the impact of failed Government policy on rural areas.

“The lack of an appropriate level of broadband, the lack of investment in infrastructure, the lack of a coordinated effort to create jobs and protect public services in rural areas has led to a decline in our rural population and the decimation of rural communities.

“While I welcome the small reduction of poverty and deprivation rates in urban areas in recent times, efforts must be made to avoid a two tier economic recovery, which places those living in rural areas at a disadvantage.

“The fact that the study shows that 1.4 million people across the country experience deprivation – an increase of 128% since 2008 – suggests that there is a lot to be done before this Government can claim a recovery for all.”

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD spoke by telephone this evening with the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Mr Adams congratulated the Prime Minister on his historic election victory and wished him well in his new position as leader of the new coalition government.

The Sinn Féin Leader also pledged Sinn Fein’s support for Mr Tsipras’s opposition to austerity and for the resolution of the debt burden as a European issue.

Speaking afterwards, Adams said:

“I spoke this afternoon with Greece’s new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. I congratulated Mr Tsipras on Syriza’s historic and stunning election victory, and I wished him well in his new position.”

“I pledged Sinn Fein’s continued support for Mr Tsipras’s opposition to austerity, for the resolution of debt as a European issue and for the idea of a European Debt conference.”

“Austerity has heaped severe hardship on citizens in Greece, Ireland and across Europe. It has seen public services dismantled and vicious attacks on the welfare of working people. It makes no economic or social sense, except for the elites.”

“The Fine Gael/Labour Government in Ireland is ideologically wedded to austerity and has shown no appetite in seeking a better debt deal for Irish citizens.”

However, there is still time for the Government to take a more progressive position in defence of Irish national interests and that of citizens across the European Union.”

“The result of the election in Greece has given renewed hope to working people across Europe, including Ireland, that there is and fairer and more just way to deal with the economic challenges that we face.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said he is amazed that certain unionist political parties are more focused on maintaining an outdated, unjust and unregulated testing system for 11 year-olds than the development of our children’s education.

Speaking today Mr Hazzard said:

“For years with the 11+ much of P6 and a significant part of P7 years were taken up with coaching children within the class room for the test.

“With the abolition of this unfair test some schools have continued to coach children for unregulated tests established by the grammar sector in order to maintain their elitist position.

“This could be time spent in improving numeracy and literacy, developing linguistics and languages or IT skills.

“Many of these grammars while making these unregulated tests a prerequisite for entering the school will take all grades from A to D making a nonsense of the argument being put forward by Grammars for the need for tests.

“The TUV and UUP are now critical that the Department of Education is warning schools not to waste valuable class time to coach children for these unregulated tests.

“If any other sectors within Departments such as Health, Justice, or Regional Development were wilfully ignoring guidance these politicians would be the first out screaming from the roof tops.

“However in order to score political points over a Sinn Féin controlled department the wellbeing of children and their families are being used as a political football. This is a disgrace.

“It is as simple as this. Schools should not be placing the education of our children at jeopardy in order to coach for unregulated tests.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has said he has no confidence in the chairperson of the DCAL committee, Nelson McCausland. 

Mr Ó hOisín said; 

"At last week's committee meeting, chair of the committee Nelson McCausland refused to allow questions to be asked during a presentation by the Confederation of Ulster Bands. 

"In doing so, he actively stymied effective questioning of the organisation as part of an inquiry into participation of working-class communities in the arts. 

"This is a statutory committee with the equivalent of High Court questioning powers so when members are gagged they are prevented from carrying our their duties and responsibilities. 

"A Sinn Féin proposal to recall the bands' representatives was voted down by the chair and his unionist colleagues, effectively making the inquiry redundant. 

"This is unacceptable and Sinn Féin will be raising this matter through the appropriate Assembly structures.”

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 Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has criticised the current direct provision system and expressed his “serious concern at the dangerous and inhumane conditions that exist in many of the direct provision centres”.

The Louth TD raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.

The Taoiseach confirmed to him that the working group, under Mr. Justice Bryan McMahon, which is looking at all of the issues, will report in March. Mr. Kenny also revealed that there has been an increase in applications for asylum of 51%.

Gerry Adams said:

The government needs to move beyond the rhetoric of concern for asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres and move speedily to consult widely on this issue, produce a Bill and bring it before the Dáil.

The government needs to urgently address the many concerns about direct provision centres that have been raised by TDs, Amnesty International, the Irish Refugee Council and others, including ending the secrecy that often surrounds them.

A first step in this would be to extend the Ombudsman’s remit to the Direct Provision Centres and include the administration of the centres within the Freedom of Information rules.

The Direct Provision system was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years and many have been there longer than that.25% of people living in the centres have been there for more than six years.  At least one person has been in the system for 14 years. In addition recent figures from the Minister for Justice have revealed that 61 asylum seekers have died in direct provision since 2002. 16 of these were under five. This is unacceptable.

Conditions in the centres are also unacceptable. They are overcrowded with families often sharing one room.

To the government’s shame around one third (1529) of those in the 34 DP centres are children. This creates its own difficulties. In the last five years the social services have been alerted to over 1500 child protection or welfare concerns

Successive Irish governments have paid private contractors over €850 million to run these centres since 2000. Some own more than one centre and some have received more than €100 million in state funding.

There is also serious concern at the inspection process surrounding conditions in DP centres. This needs to be carried out in a thorough and confidential manner by an independent body. This should include impromptu inspections where the DP centres do not receive advance notice.

The Direct Provision centres and system is a blight on the state. It reflects a government attitude which in previous years created the Magdalen laundries and the residential homes. The system should be dismantled and a new, more humane and transparent and accountable system put in place which provides dignity for those who are fleeing torture and hardship and want to build a new life in a new place.”

Concluding the Louth TD said:

“Sinn Féin has long campaigned in support for those Irish citizens who are living and working in the USA and who have no legal status.

This campaign has also been supported by the Taoiseach and all of the parties in the Dáil. It’s only fair that we treat people who come to our country the way we want our people to be treated when they travel to other states.”

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