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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

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 Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has called on the State Examinations Commission and the Department of Education and Skills to review procedures in place for the Reasonable Accommodation Scheme now so that no child is left without the support needed for exams next year.

Deputy O’Brien said;

“This year there was an increase in the number of students with learning difficulties and other conditions, or their parents, contacting me having been refused reasonable accommodations in their Leaving Cert exams despite having had them for their Junior Cert.

“Many of these students have dyslexia and were refused scribes and readers to assist them in their exams even though they are integral to them being put on a level playing field at Leaving Cert level with students who don’t have dyslexia or other conditions.

“I am asking the Minister for Education, the Department, and the State Examinations Commission to review the procedures that are in place for allocating assistance through the Reasonable Accommodation Scheme at Leaving Cert level.

“It should not be excessively difficult for students to access supports needed and the application process at Junior Cert and Leaving Cert should be the same.

“Further to this, it is completely unacceptable that the SEC leaves it until so late in the day to make decisions and appeals, these must be dealt with earlier in the year.

“I am hopeful that the Minister will take heed of this and address this scheme as a matter of urgency.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has called on the Irish and British Governments to refocus their efforts to defend the political process in the North and to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent Agreements.

Gerry Adams said:

“This Sunday sees the 20th anniversary of the historic and groundbreaking IRA cessation of 1994.

“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 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 and subsequent Agreements.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has welcomed the truce in the Middle East and said it is now up to the International Community to act to sustain the peace.

Speaking this morning Deputy Adams said;

“I welcome the current truce in the Middle East and am hopeful that it can be sustained.

“The International Community must act now to ensure that international law is kept and that the siege of Gaza is lifted.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the two new air routes opened between Belfast, Poland and Lithuania, which were announced today.

The Sinn Féin economy spokesperson said:

“The new routes announced today by Wizz Air, which will operate between Belfast, Poland and Lithuania from April are to be welcomed.

“This is a boost to the local economy and opens up the north to further markets and tourism opportunities.

“It will also be welcomed by the local Polish and Lithuanian communities, which will now have easier access to travel to and from their home countries.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has criticised the cost of policing operations at a proposed ‘fracking’ site near Belcoo.

Speaking after it was revealed that £461,828 has been spent on policing at the site from July 21 to August 11, the Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA said; 

"The costs associated with policing the proposed fracking site near Belcoo are outrageous. 

"It is wholly unacceptable that this money should come out of the public purse at a time of serious pressures to policing locally. 

"These resources have been directed away from preventing and detecting crime in the local area. 

"The policing operation that was in place was not there for public safety or to protect citizens. It was there because of opposition locally to plans to impose fracking in an area where it clearly isn't welcome.”

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Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has slammed the failure of unionist leaders Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and Jim Allister to condemn the brutal sectarian assault of a Catholic man in Ballygomartin by the UDA. 

Speaking today the West Belfast MP said: 

“The sectarian attack on a Catholic man in the Ballygomartin area of West Belfast was vicious and brutal. Ten men armed with metal bars and a hatchet entered the man’s home and set about attacking him and his family. 

“During the attack the men called him a ‘Fenian’, claimed they were from the Highfield UDA, sprayed UDA slogans on the house and told the victim not to return to the area.  

“What we need now is clear political leadership from Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and Jim Allister whose silence on this attack has been deafening.

“Only a few weeks ago ago unionist leaders walked out of talks to join representatives of the UVF and the UDA in demanding an Orange Order parade through Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales. 

“Twenty years after the first ceasefires the UDA and the UVF are still in existence and active. The question is why?

“Political unionism needs to face these paramilitary organisations down instead of cosying up to them for short-term political expediency.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has said Tory welfare cuts would increase levels of deprivation in the North. 

Speaking after a new report found that more than a quarter of adults in the North are living in multiple deprivation, the West Belfast MLA said; 

"This report looks at important issues such as access to health, education, housing and also looks at basis necessities such as food and heating when measuring deprivation. 

"The people most directly affected by the conflict are also those now suffering the highest levels of deprivation. 

 "The percentage of people in receipt of disability benefits is higher in the North of Ireland than anywhere else in Ireland or Britain. 

"This is due to the physical and mental health issues people are suffering from as a direct result of the conflict here. 

"It is clear that the proposed Tory welfare cuts would also have a devastating impact on people's lives here by increasing levels of deprivation. 

"Sinn Féin will continue to oppose the imposition of these cuts at the behest of a cabinet of Tory millionaires and we encourage others to join with us." ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin councillor Jim McVeigh has described sectarian remarks made at the Ardoyne Fleadh as wrong. 

Councillor McVeigh said; 

"The Ard Eoin Fleadh is a very successful community festival which has been running for many years under often very challenging and difficult circumstances.

“It has attracted thousands of people from the local community and beyond to its open air concerts and to a packed programme of community events.

“There is currently a police investigation ongoing into alleged hate crime at this event.

"Sectarian comments made at this event are wrong. 

“Sectarianism is wrong and it has no place at music or cultural events.”

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Speaking after it emerged that many students are still waiting for their school bus tickets to be issued Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said this was just one in a list of problems with the school transport system, and called for a review by the Department of Education and Skills.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“Thousands of students are still waiting for their bus tickets to be issued due to technical issues with the Bus Éireann website now that all tickets must be purchased online.

“While Bus Éireann are making efforts to facilitate most children, the Department of Education and Skills has a responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

“While the school transport scheme is generally ok, the fact that the rigid online payment scheme that forces parents to pay up to €650 in two instalments leaves many parents to the pin of their collar when it comes to finances.

“There is no reason why this can’t be reviewed to look at the potential of introducing a monthly payment system, particularly now that there is a complete online payment system.

“Further to this, there are problems with changes that have taken place to the system leaving many children unable to attend schools that siblings have gone to because they will be unable to avail of the school transport scheme.

“Considering the financial pressure parents are under when it comes to funding children’s education, between contributions and the cost of uniforms and many schools failure to introduce cost-effective book rental schemes, it is not a big ask for Minister Jan O’Sullivan to instruct her Department to review the scheme.”

ENDS

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Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


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Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh