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Michelle O’Neill has been named the new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

Please watch and share this exclusive interview below which tells a bit of her life story as a mother of two from a small village in County Tyrone, her work in politics and in the Executive, standing up for equality, respect and integrity in government and continuing the work that Martin McGuinness has done stretching himself for peace and reconciliation.

You can view a biography of Michelle O’Neill here


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Sinn Féin's Sinéad Ennis has said there can be no place for racism or any form of discrimination in our society. 

The South Down Sinn Féin candidate said:

"Sinn Féin wants to build an inclusive, welcoming society where everyone is welcomed and valued. 

"There can be no place for racism, sexism, homophobia or any form of discrimination in our society. 

"People should be free to live their lives free from intimidation or fear, regardless of their colour, religion, background, sexuality, identity. 

"After the EU referendum there has been a lot of uncertainty around EU Migrant Workers status. Sinn Féin believes that EU Migrant Workers who have come to this island to make their home and start their new lives, should be allowed to remain."

"Sinn Féin is committed to equality and respect for everyone."

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Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has confirmed that he has made a proposal to the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to organise an official mission to Ireland to examine the impact of Brexit on farming communities and the Irish agricultural sector. 

Carthy explained:

“In Ireland, the agricultural sector operates on an all-island basis with animals often reared one part of the island and slaughtered on the other. Similar operations are true for the dairy sector where farmers from one side of the border bring their milk to creameries on the other.

“Studies have shown that if the EU’s current tariff for imports of milk was re-established on the island of Ireland, trade north and south would almost definitely stop and cooperation of this kind would cease. This would devastate the dairy sector and farming communities who depend on this trade for their livelihood.

“Trade is not the only reality of farming life that stands to be destroyed by Brexit. The effects of Brexit will make working across the border increasingly difficult for farmers who may now be subject to customs controls (rules of origin checks, import licence requirements, documentation, physical border checks) as well as the costs of two different regulatory regimes.

“Despite the people of the North of Ireland voting to remain in the EU, they currently face the prospect of withdrawal of direct payments that make up 87% of their annual farm income, as well as the breakdown of longstanding trading relationships, business relationships and legislative harmonisation.

“The mission I have proposed this week would bring a cross-party delegation of MEPs from all over the EU to examine these issues in detail. In the run-up to Brexit negotiations, it is of vital importance that MEPs of all political backgrounds and nationalities are aware of the difficulties faced by Irish farmers.

“Securing a Designated Special Status for the North within the EU is the priority of Sinn Féin during this negotiation period and it is my hope that this mission will help gather the necessary support within the European Parliament as well as draw attention to the all-island realities of the agriculture sector.

“I will be reaching out to MEPs across all political groups in the coming weeks to gather support for this Mission to proceed.”

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Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan made an impassioned call for the Irish Government to adopt trade sanctions against the state of Israel in the Oireachtas this week.

Speaking under the Order of Business, Senator Gavan informed the Seanad that in the month of January 2017 the Israeli Government had approved the construction of 566 new settlement units in Occupied East Jerusalem as well as approving the building of another 5,500 units throughout the Occupied West Bank.

The Castleconnell based Senator, who visited the West Bank last summer, explained " Things are getting worse by the day. A total of 240 Palestinian families have been put out of their homes and their homes have been demolished in the past month alone."

Addressing Senate Leader Jerry Buttimer, Senator Gavan said "The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade has taken no meaningful action to date. I ask the Leader to arrange for the Minister to come into the House in order that we can debate this issue. We need the Government to embrace the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid Israeli state. There is no room for ifs and buts in this regard. We were very clear regarding South Africa in the 1980s that we would not endorse an apartheid state. We cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in occupied Palestine today."

In response Senator Jerry Buttimer agreed to call the Minister for Foreign Affairs into the Seanad in the coming weeks to allow the chamber to debate the issue.

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said not a single credit servicing firm has been authorised under 2015 legislation that was meant to regulate the vultures and their middle men.

The information was confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply from Minister Noonan.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said:

“When this legislation was brought in we were told it would regulate and put manners on the vulture funds. I expressed my disappointment at the time that the government flip flopped and took the wrong option by choosing to regulate only the middle men - the so called ‘credit servicing firms’. The actual owners of the loans remained untouched.

“Now, 18 months after the legislation was passed, we learn that none of these firms have been authorised by the Central Bank. Instead they are benefitting from transitional provisions that allow them to carry on while their application is being looked at by the Central Bank. That is simply unacceptable.

“They are allowed write letters seeking to repossess homes or demand that a tenant move out simply because they were doing that before this regime came into force. We can criticise light touch regulation but the current situation is closer to no regulation at all. 

“The Central Bank needs to start making decisions fast and the government needs to look again at the way vultures are still running rings around them. I will soon be bringing forward legislation that will regulate the owner and not just the middle man.”

Parliamentary Question follows:

QUESTION NO:  114

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)

by Deputy Pearse Doherty

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 16/02/2017 

To ask the Minister for Finance the number of credit servicing firms that have completed the authorisation process following the passing of the 2015 credit servicing legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act, 2015 was enacted in July 2015. It was introduced to fill the consumer protection gap where loans were sold by the original lender to an unregulated firm. The Act introduced a regulatory regime for a new type of entity called a 'credit servicing firm'. Credit Servicing Firms are now subject to the provisions of Irish financial services law that apply to 'regulated financial service providers'. 

Following the enactment of the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2015, the Central Bank focused on developing a robust regime for this new category of regulated firm. The objective was to ensure that borrowers whose loans are transferred from a regulated lender have the same level of consumer protections they had prior to the sale under the various statutory codes issued by the Central Bank.

The Central Bank has developed detailed Authorisation Requirements and Standards for credit servicing firms which set appropriately high requirements on applicant firms. These include requirements on how these firms deal with their loan owner in order to ensure that borrowers receive the full protections of Irish financial services legislation, including Central Bank codes.  

I understand that the Central Bank is currently putting applicant firms through its application process to ensure that only firms that demonstrate compliance with these authorisation standards are authorised.  

A register of those applicant firms who have notified the Central Bank that they wish to avail of the transitional provisions provided for in the legislation (whereby, by virtue of the Act, they are taken to be authorised to carry on the business of a credit servicing firm pending a decision on their application by the Central Bank) is available on the Central Bank website. No firms have been granted an authorisation to date but it is worth highlighting that the full requirements of Irish financial services legislation (including Central Bank codes) apply to these firms.

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Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd has called on the DUP to clarify who funded its lavish pro-Brexit advertising campaign. 

Mr O'Dowd said; 

"Revelations that the DUP received huge amounts of money from England to fund its lavish pro-Brexit advertising campaign raise serious questions. 

"The DUP took hugely expensive newspaper ads in a London newspaper which is not circulated in the North and DUP campaign material was also used in other British cities where they do not stand for election. 

"The DUP need to come clean and clarify who gave them the money and how much they received. 

"It is vitally important in the wake of other scandals that the DUP clarify this in order to ensure integrity in the political process. 

"There are strict rules around corporate sponsorship and there can be no place for anyone attempting to get around those rules." 

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on urban regeneration Deputy Ellis has welcomed aspects of Kieran Mulvey's outline plan for the social and economic regeneration of the north inner city.


"The plan announced last night has positive aspects but it doesn't deal with the wider and longer term issues in the area. This is the consequence of not engaging fully with the local community. Successful urban regeneration has to understand the social, environmental, cultural, educational, safety, business  and structural needs of the area. This report focuses on the short term and finding the solution to immediate crisis, but unless a holistic long term approach is forthcoming the regeneration will problematic. "


Deputy Ellis continued " the actions outlined in the plan will have a positive effect on the area in the short term where the limited funding outlined will allow, but no thought is given to what the north inner city will develop into over the next number of years , such as how the effects of gentrification will effect it. However, the initial step taken by the Government is welcome in so far as that they are engaging with a community that they have ignored for years."

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Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has welcomed the near-unanimous vote on whistleblowers in the European Parliament this week, which calls for protection for whistleblowers who report corruption and fraud that directly involves EU funds.

 

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament's Panama Papers inquiry committee, said: "Recent events in Ireland have highlighted once again how important the role of whistleblowers is in society, and how those who speak up are often targeted, intimidated and vilified. We have a long way to go in making effective whistleblower protection a reality, both in Ireland and across Europe.

 

"The European Parliament vote on whistleblower protection is a small but significant step forward – it recognises the importance of whistleblowers for the correct use of EU funds and deplores the fact that the Commission has failed to submit any legislative proposals aimed at establishing a minimum level of protection for whistle-blowers. It calls on the Commission to make a proposal by the end of this year on protecting whistle-blowers as part of the prevention of and fight against fraud affecting EU funds.

 

"This initiative relating to EU funds came in response to the so-called ‘Trade Secrets’ directive adopted last year. The Trade Secrets Directive was a serious attack on the rights of whistleblowers and investigative journalists. It defines 'trade secrets' very vaguely and reduced the rights of whistleblowers to the benefit of big corporations.

 

"Over the past six months I have been working on the Panama Papers inquiry and have engaged with several whistleblowers through that process. The entire inquiry was set up because of the actions of the whistleblower who leaked the Mossack Fonseca data. Last week in the Panama Papers inquiry hearing, we heard from compliance officers who blew the whistle on the bank they were working for, and were immediately sacked in response. 

 

"Likewise, the Luxleaks case that revealed Luxembourg's sweetheart deals with multinationals is another example that shows just how important the role of whistleblowers can be in exposing wrongdoing and bringing about change. 

 

"Progressive forces have been campaigning for broad whistle-blower protection at the EU level for several years. This proposal, as it is only relates to EU funds, should be easier to adopt, and I hope it can be swiftly agreed to and implemented. When it comes to fraud involving European funds, the interests of whistleblowers should be given prime importance."

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Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has condemned the painting over of the pedestrian crossing outside Tesco, Bray overnight.

Teachta Brady said:

“The Mandate Trade Union have said that Tesco were behind the painting over of the pedestrian crossing. If true, this is a new low for the company.

“Strike action by Tesco workers in Bray has been taking place at the pedestrian crossing since Tuesday.

“The damage caused is not only outrageous, but a criminal offence as the pedestrian crossing is on a public road.

“I have been in contact with the Gardaí and Wicklow County Council; both are taking these actions very seriously.

“The blatant disregard for the local community, especially for young children who use the crossing daily on their way to school, with four schools in the area, is unacceptable.

“The careless actions of those responsible threaten health and safety and have made crossing the road extremely dangerous.

“I have been supporting Tesco workers in their strike action at Bray and Greystones and I continue to support the workers.

“Any actions taken by management that impacts on the community are especially unnecessary and this behaviour will not be tolerated.” 

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Sinn Féin's Pat Sheehan has welcomed the investment of £750,000 by health minister Michelle O'Neill into suicide prevention and mental health programmes. 

The Sinn Féin health spokesperson said; 

"I welcome this announcement from my party colleague and health minister of an additional  £750,000 investment in suicide prevention and mental health programmes. 

"More than 60 groups right across the north will access this funding to address specific health needs for mental and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, drugs and alcohol support services and support for vulnerable groups. 

"This investment will ensure that positive mental health programmes, which are community-based and delivered by local organisations remain a priority. 

"This is yet another example of a Sinn Féin minister making a positive difference to the lives of people in the community." 

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning addressed the Civic Dialogue Conference in Dublin Castle. The Sinn Féin leader was accompanied by Michelle O’Neill, the party’s leader in the North.

The Sinn Féin leader called on the Irish Government to publish a White Paper on Brexit outlining its strategic policies and economic, trade and political objectives.

Gerry Adams said:

“Since we last met in November, the British Prime Minister Theresa May has published the British Government’s White Paper outlining their approach to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. They are now expected to trigger Article 50 within weeks.

“I agree with the Taoiseach’s assessment that Brexit poses unprecedented political, economic and diplomatic challenges to peace and prosperity on our island. However, Mr. Kenny’s rejection of the proposition that the north be afforded a special designated status within the EU is a grave mistake. Without such a designation, a hard border is inevitable. I very much welcome the vote in the Dáil calling on the Government to negotiate for the north to be designated as having special status within the EU. Tá mé tar éis é sin rá le tamall anuas.

“On Wednesday, we learned that officials are involved in contingency planning for customs posts along the border. Though when I asked the Taoiseach about this in the Dáil, he said, ‘I hope nobody is looking for sites along the border’. When Pearse Doherty pressed the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on this, Minister Noonan said Revenue was engaged in contingency planning.

“The Taoiseach again yesterday said he ‘didn’t know’ of any such plans. As a matter of urgency, the Government needs to give clarity on this issue. The Taoiseach also needs to publish a White paper on Brexit as soon as possible.

“Farmers, the fishing industry, the tourism sector, the building industry, local businesses, and all of those hoping to invest and create jobs want certainty from our government. So that means the Government laying out a clear, proactive position to the British Government, to other EU member states, and to all of the other stakeholders involved, including the people in this room and throughout the island of Ireland.

“Our Government cannot continue merely reacting to what the British government have to say, or what they may or may not do, or worst still repeating the British line with an Irish spin on it.

“It also means we have to fight our corner at every negotiating table where the implications of Brexit will be thrashed out. That is what every other member state will be doing. It means forging new relationships and making new allies within the EU.

“There is also an opportunity and a need to reform the European institutions; including the strengthening of the role of smaller member states within it. That has been Sinn Féin’s consistent position. That must be an objective of our Government.

“The Taoiseach in his Mansion House speech this week on Brexit referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He said it was in this city that ten countries, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe joined the European Union in 2004. It ended definitely the border that had divided Europe for decades.

“It would be cruelly ironic if it was here in Ireland that EU borders and customs posts and division would re-emerge. That a new European frontier would run from Dundalk to Derry. That must be avoided at all costs.” 

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Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the Fine Gael Government is a sinking ship irrespective of the captain at the helm, highlighting that the media hype around the internal Fine Gael leadership row is deflecting from the crises in health that are gripping people’s lives in real life.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The Fine Gael Government is a sinking ship irrespective of the captain at the helm. Media and public concentration on who will take over from Enda Kenny whenever he signals his intent to step down is deflecting from the real, pressing issues of the present; waiting lists, trolley crises and serious under capacity in our health service.

“The real and clear fact is that while the deck chairs may move in Government, the same failed policies will remain. We will have a new Taoiseach who will be equally as complicit in the scandals and crises that have gripped the health service; indeed, one potential candidate according to media reports is the Minister for Health himself.

“The media circus around the Fine Gael leadership is playing into their hands as they do not have to be held account for the crises they are governing over. Questions are not being asked of patients languishing in pain waiting for hospital appointments, why emergency departments are stretched to overcapacity or why our medical professionals are being forced into industrial action. 

“We have a perpetual health crisis and one which is being neglected because of political posturing and grandstanding. We are lurching from crisis to crisis weekly- from overcrowded A&Es to cancelled surgeries. It is all inextricably linked. We need to stop the public charade of pretending that a new Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader will change anything and remember that it is only when this Government is removed in its entirety that change may occur and that does not mean going back to the default position of Fianna Fáil, who themselves laid the foundations for the crises that we see.” 

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Sinn Féin’s leader in the North Minister Michelle O’Neill today joined party leader Gerry Adams in Dublin today for the plenary meeting of the Civic Dialogue forum on Brexit.

Ms O’Neill expressed her disappointment at the decision by the Irish government not to support a designated status for the North.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“I want to commend the decision by the Dáil yesterday to vote in support of a Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil composite motion on Brexit. The motion supports a special designated status for the north.

“It also endorses a Bill of Rights, the maintenance of EU funding streams, and protection for the human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I very much regret that that government has decided not to support a designated status for the North. I believe that a special designated status and acceptance of the Remain vote there should be official government policy and should become the overarching objective in the Article 50 negotiations.

“This is especially important in light of the decision in the British Parliament last week by the Conservative Party, the DUP, the UUP, and UKIP to vote against protections for the Good Friday Agreement in the wake of Brexit.

“Our Government needs an equally robust focus on Irish national interests that are in the interests of all of the people on the island of Ireland. The Civic Dialogue and sectoral meetings can contribute significantly to the response of the island of Ireland to Brexit. I look forward to working with the Government when the election in the North is over.” 

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Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has said that he is gravely concerned following the HIQA decision today to close four out of eight residential units at the St John of God premises at Drumcar. 

Speaking following an RTE report which highlighted the consistent difficulties with St. Mary’s Drumcar, Gerry Adams said:

“In recent years, I have raised my concerns about the inappropriate use of residents’ money for medical aids and examinations, top up payments to senior staff, and the suspension of respite services on the site last summer. This latter caused great distress.

“I am acutely aware that the decision by HIQA will mean further confusion, uncertainty and worry for the residents of these units and their families. 

“Once again, St John of God has failed people with disabilities in county Louth. 

“The HSE must act to ensure that the safety and comfort of residents is guaranteed. 

“If St John of God is incapable of delivering the services which they are being funded to deliver to an appropriate standard, alternatives must be considered. I will be writing to the Minister for Health Simon Harris seeking urgent action by him to address the failures at St. Mary’s and to ensure that residents affected by the closure of four units will be found safe alternative accommodation.

“It is grossly unfair that the most vulnerable in our society must constantly campaign and fight to access services which should be theirs by right.” 

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Sinn Féin's Fra McCann has condemned the shooting of a man in west Belfast tonight. 

The West Belfast candidate said:

"Tonight's shooting in Forest Street in west Belfast was wrong and I condemn it. 

"There can be no justification for such actions and whoever is responsible needs to stop. 

"I would encourage anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI." 

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Sinn Féin candidate in Upper Bann John O'Dowd has called on the DUP to tell the electorate who funded its extravagant Brexit advertising campaign.

John O’Dowd said:

"The enormous amount of money that the DUP spent on its pro-Brexit campaign is far in excess of its normal election spending.

“The consequences of the Brexit decision are so profound that the public are entitled to know who was funding the DUP's Brexit campaign.

"The DUP’s mishandling of the RHI scandal damaged public confidence in the political institutions.

"There is an onus on the DUP to tell the public who funded its extravagant Brexit advertising campaign."

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Speaking this evening after the launch of the North East Inner City Initiative, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said that while the Initiative contained some interesting and positive ideas, she was concerned that the funding made available was a drop in the ocean and that the lack of community engagement was worrying.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“After attending the launch tonight, I welcome the North East Inner City Initiative. The area is in need of long term investment and continued commitment. This Initiative must signal a policy shift in terms of how the inner city is viewed. 

“There are interesting and positive ideas in the report and I acknowledge the good work of Mr Kieran Mulvey in drawing up the Initiative.

“I especially welcome the renewed public commitment to the redevelopment of Rutland St school;  there is an expectation that this commitment will be honoured. 

“However, this report is just a foundation that will require expansion and updating as the process advances. As it stands, the Initiative is not a comprehensive programme for change. I believe that the additional funding of €5million allocated is but a drop in the ocean of what is required. 

“Much more work needs to be done in housing, education and job opportunities in the area. 

“One particular shortfall is in the area of community engagement. This was articulated to An Taoiseach and Mr Mulvey at the launch by those from the community. The only way that such a project of long term regeneration can be successful is through healthy consultation and equal partnership with the community.” 

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Sinn Féin TD for the Offaly and North Tipperary constituency Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that the ongoing Tesco dispute highlights the need for legislation underpinning the right of workers to access trade unions. Teachta Nolan was speaking during the Topical Issue motion on the dispute in the Dáil this evening.

Teachta Nolan said:

“The wider issue at the heart of this dispute is that of the real fear among union members that this is an attempt by Tesco to undermine trade union membership as we have seen in other retailers.

“There are reports that Tesco have written to staff in order to encourage them to leave their union as part of Project Black.

“This is seen by many within the trade union movement as a clear attempt by Tesco to further undermine the terms and conditions of staff in order to increase their already large profits.

“This Government needs to stand with workers; it needs to act to ensure that trade union membership is protected and it needs to stand up to the corporations that are exploiting workers in this state.

“I would like to commend my colleague Deputy David Cullinane for bringing forward legislation next week on this issue.

“The Industrial Relations (Right to Access) (Amendment) Bill would place the right of access to trade union membership on a statutory footing.

“It will protect the rights of workers to engage with their union and is in operation in New Zealand. 

“I am encouraging all members to support this bill, which will be brought to second stage next week.

“We need to put a stop to the race to the bottom and protect ordinary workers, who are the backbone of our economy.” 

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Speaking today after the Terms of Reference to the public tribunal of inquiry into the smearing of Sergeant Maurice McCabe were agreed, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD said that “Maurice McCabe and Katie Hannon have done the state a service”.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“We have accepted the Terms of Reference to establish a Tribunal of Inquiry into the whistleblower claims and the treatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

“We now have much more comprehensive terms of reference compared to what was in place before.

“Sinn Féin met with the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald yesterday regarding the terms of reference and suggested a number of amendments to the Terms that were aimed at making the Tribunal as open, accountable, and comprehensive as possible.

“Six of these amendments were accepted in some format and we welcomed the Minister’s willingness to engage with members of the opposition on this.

“We welcomed that the case of Keith Harrison was accepted and included specifically in the draft terms of reference.

“We also note that there is a clause within the Terms of Reference that will allow for other whistleblowers to be included in this. We had said that we wanted other whistleblowers included so we are glad that there is scope for the judge to come back and request an additional module.

“Importantly, we wanted to see whether there was a pattern of behaviour among senior Garda managers in how they dealt with whistleblowers with media. We believe that there was potentially a pattern of behaviour where media figures were used to discredit whistleblowers when they were saying, quite reasonably, that there are systemic and chronic problems within An Garda Síochána.

“There has been a consistent line of bullying and harassment present whenever individual Gardaí stated that there were problems. We could be forgiven for suggesting that, had the recommendations of the Morris Tribunal been implemented in full, we would not be where we are today.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Garda Commissioner will remain in place while this Inquiry is ongoing. It is mind-boggling that this is being allowed to happen and the fact that the Government are willing to stand over this is typical of their arrogance.” 

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Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy has challenged DUP minister Simon Hamilton to state if anything is currently being done to stop money being paid to potentially fraudulent claims under the RHI scheme.

Conor Murphy was speaking after revelations on this morning’s Nolan Show that RHI claims were being made which simply were not credible.   

Mr Murphy said: 

"The drip-feed of allegations and revelations over the RHI scandal continues with news that massive overpayments are being made for some RHI boilers.

"Cost controls were removed from the flawed RHI scheme by the then DETI minister Arlene Foster.

"The removal of cost controls left the scheme open to abuse.

"The latest revelations on this morning’s Nolan Show raises questions about what DUP minister Simon Hamilton is currently doing to stop the flow of money to potential abusers of the scheme.

"He now needs to state what if anything is being done to stop more public money going up in smoke.

"The public is entitled to this information before they go to the polls on March 2 so they can make an informed choice."

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Sinn Féin Councillor Chris Curran has welcomed a peaceful ending to an armed standoff which took place in Ballyogan today.

Councillor Curran was speaking this afternoon after armed Gardaí sealed off the Ballyogan estate when a man who claimed to have a gun and a grenade held his partner in his house for a number of hours.

Councillor Curran, who was on the ground in Ballyogan for most of today, said;

“I am glad to see a peaceful ending to this situation and want to thank the gardaí and the army for their work in what was a very serious and dangerous episode.

“The local community in Ballyogan are also to be commended for how they handled this difficult situation.  There was a cordon put on the estate and many couldn’t get out to collect kids from school and other important stuff.

“This type of thing is not the norm in this area and so I am particularly happy to see the community rallying round, looking after each other and ensuring that the Gardaí and the army were able to do their jobs without interference.”

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