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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here

“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay

Latest Statements


Schools across the north are benefiting from over £10million investment under the Education Minister John O'Dowd's minor works scheme.

Speaking about the investment, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “In the second quarter of this financial year a total of 131 minor works projects amounting to more than £10million were agreed across all board areas. This investment will enable improvements to be carried out across the schools estate, positively impacting on pupils, teachers and school staff.” 

Minor works are projects ranging from minor repair to more significant work projects and extensions. Investment includes £300,000 to replace the fire alarm system at Knocknagoney Primary School, Belfast; over £450,000 for new changing rooms at Fort Hill Integrated College, Lisburn; over £490,000 for a multi-purpose hall at Bunscoil an Chaistil, Ballycastle; £30,000 for fire risk improvement work at St Eugene’s College, Roslea and £21,500 to upgrade the heating controls at Portadown College.

In conclusion the Minister said: “I am confident that the substantial investment in minor works projects will help in the drive to improve educational standards. The completion of all of these works will ultimately provide better facilities for our children and young people to learn in and an improved working environment for teachers and other school staff. This ongoing significant investment also provides a boost to our local construction industry, helping to sustain jobs.”


Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has reiterated her call for Tánaiste Joan Burton to assure RAS tenants, those in receipt of rent allowance and people in privately rented accommodation that they will not be evicted from their homes for not paying water charges.

Deputy McDonald said;

“I acknowledge that Joan Burton has said that she will be investigating the letters that were sent to RAS tenants by Wicklow County Council in which the threats were made.

“However, she has yet to assure such tenants that they will not be evicted from their homes should they not pay water charges.

“I honestly think that the Tánaiste doesn’t get it.

“She doesn’t seem to get that many people simply can’t afford to pay. It will be the charge that breaks a great number of families.

“Rather than acknowledging this reality and scrapping water charges, this government has deemed it appropriate to bully these families with threats of eviction should they not pay.

“This approach has created a real fear amongst hard-pressed families who know that they will not be able to pay these charges.

“Her failure to allay these fears further demonstrates that the Tánaiste is out of touch with ordinary people right across this state.

“Joan Burton has a clear responsibility to assure these families that they will not be evicted from their homes.”


Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams has welcomed two significant decisions by the Press Council to uphold complaints regarding articles about him in the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent.On 17th May, the Independent claimed Gerry Adams had attempted to “gag” the newspaper. 

The Sinn Fein President said the article was based on an “unfounded accusation” against him and the Press Ombudsman agreed. An appeal by the Independent to the Press Council was rejected.

The Press Ombudsman also upheld complaints by Gerry Adams that statements in an article about him in the Sunday Independent on 18 May 2014, were in breach of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines. Again, an appeal by the Sunday Independent to the Press Council was rejected.

Welcoming the decisions Mr Adams said:

“As everyone knows, the Independent Group of newspapers has for many years had a profound bias against Sinn Fein as a political party and against me as an individual.

“This is reflected in the most offensive terms week-in, week out in these newspapers. This has been bad for journalism and bad for politics.

“I believe the decisions of the Press Ombudsman which have now been upheld by the Press Council are a significant step forward in curbing unfair, politically biased and discriminatory coverage in the Irish media.”


Sinn Féin Deputy President Mary Lou McDonald this morning welcomed Government support for a Sinn Féin Bill on the mandatory inclusion of social clauses in public contracts. The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform outlined how the Bill would protect the vulnerable and ensure value for money.

Deputy McDonald stated: 

“We welcome Government support this morning for our Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill. The Bill has attracted support from all sides of the house as well a welcome consensus on its core objectives.

“This Bill outlines how public purchasers and suppliers will be legally required to protect the vulnerable and promote other social goals and community benefits. This can be done by including social clauses in public contracts. Social clauses are a tool for getting more value out of each public euro spent.

“The Sinn Féin Bill legislates for the mandatory inclusion of social clauses in all public procurement contracts worth over one million euro.The state spends approximately 9 billion euro each year on goods and services.

“While social clauses have been included in a very small number of public contracts, they are not currently part of our legislation. 

“New EU rules mean that the Government is now legally obliged to legislate on the issue of social clauses. This will enable public authorities to put more emphasis on social considerations while still taking account of price considerations

“Our Bill offers a simple, strong start that this EU legislation could be built upon and we welcome that the Government today expressed support for our legislation.

“Sinn Féin have already shown that progress is also possible at local authority level with our proposed legislation. In March 2014, the Sinn Féin Dublin City Council Group succeeded in passing a motion on including social procurement clauses in council contracts based on this Bill.

“It is worth noting that Sinn Féin has successfully pursued the inclusion of social clauses in public contracts in the north. There is no reason why such an approach cannot be rolled out on an all-island basis.

“It is not just a matter of promising what Sinn Féin would do if we were in Government.  We have demonstrated that where we have the power, Sinn Féin has delivered this.”


Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Daithí Doolan has announced details of a Day of Action against the introduction of water charges, which is taking place this Saturday, 18th of October.Speaking today, Councillor Doolan said:

“Sinn Féin, building on our ongoing contribution to the growing Right 2 Water campaign, is holding a Day of Action across Dublin this Saturday the 18th of October against the introduction of domestic water charges.
"Sinn Fein continues to actively oppose water charges. In government we will reverse these charges, but struggling households cannot wait that long. Building on the momentum of last Saturday’s hugely successful national Right 2 Water march, Sinn Féin’s Day of Action will involve a number of events including pickets, protests, information stalls and the gathering of petitions.
“Sinn Féin has organised this Day of Action to keep the pressure on the government to abolish domestic water charges. This government is effectively forcing people to pay for their water three times, through general taxation, through the money siphoned off to establish the shambolic entity of Irish Water and now through charges.”
“Budget 2015 doesn’t do enough to alleviate the burden of these charges, with the government itself admitting that up to 12% of households, consisting of the most vulnerable in our society, will not benefit from the new budget measures.”
“Sinn Féin is committed to the reversing these unfair charges and we strongly urge all those against them to join us on our Day of Action. Help us consign this unfair, inequitable charge to the rubbish bins of history, never to be revisited.”


Upper Bann Sinn Féin have announced Craigavon Deputy Mayor Catherine Seeley as their Candidate for the upcoming Westminster Election, in May 2015. 

Ms Seeley, a Councillor in Craigavon, was recently elected to the new Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council and was selected to fight the Westminster campaign at a party convention meeting on Thursday night (16th Oct.)

Accepting her nomination Ms Seeley said;

“I am humbled to have been nominated and supported by the local Sinn Féin organisation to fight the Westminster campaign. I will work diligently and as best I can to fight and win this seat for Sinn Féin. 

"It is time for change in the Upper Bann area; the old mantra has to change and with a maximised nationalist vote we can make it happen.”

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd wished his party colleague luck and spoke of the major gains made by the party, remembering in particular Sheena Campbell a leading party activist whose anniversary coincided with the selection convention.

“We have come a long way in terms of the peace process and the politics of this island, and we still have a road to go. Many of the advancements in the political process would not have been possible without the efforts of people like Sheena Campbell.”

He continued,

“Catherine Seeley is an excellent candidate who has already faced many challenges in her public life. I am happy to say she has overcome them and continues to provide a positive, inclusive and progressive voice in the Upper Bann area. Her professionalism, leadership and ability speak volumes as to what can be achieved in Upper Bann. Change.”


The Sinn Féin councillors, who form part of the Dublin City Council housing strategic policy committee, have raised the issue of the effect of the non-payment of water charges for Rental Authority Scheme (RAS) tenants who fall the remit of Dublin City Council.

 Speaking today, after the committee meeting, Councillor Ní Dhálaigh, Chair of the Strategic Policy Committee on Housing said:

 “RAS is supposed to offer citizens a secure tenancy and the uncertainty over the effect of the non- payment of water charges makes tenants feel uneasy. We have asked the City Manager to clarify the position of tenants under such agreements and he has agreed to get back to us.”

 Councillor Ní Dhálaigh also called for sub-group to be established to examine and address the serious issue of the current sub-standard housing stock managed by DCC.

 “This sub-committee will have a particular focus on the flat complexes in desperate need of refurbishment and we will seek to source additional funding in order to bring that accommodation up to standard.”

 “In relation to DCC investment in social housing, we welcome the City Manager’s confirmation that that it is examining the possibility of establishing a municipal housing body. Sinn Féin has long called for an independent Municipal Housing Trust to be established to develop a housing programme to meet the housing needs of this city.”


Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for changes to be made to the way in which further and higher education students receive financial support.

Mr Flanagan was speaking after the leadership of National Union of Students/Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI) briefed the Assembly Employment & Learning Committee on the financial challenges facing students.

The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:

"The current financial situation facing students is gravely concerning, with incomes falling and the cost of living continuing to rise. 

"It is a long standing pattern for many students to avail of part-time employment to help them survive financially. 

"However, with the high level of unemployment having a negative impact on prospects for students seeking work it is now harder than ever for students to make ends meet.

"This means that most students are now more reliant than ever on the income they receive through student loans and other support funds. 

"However, these payments are made three times a year making it difficult for students to manage their budgets. I believe that if these sources of income for students were instead paid on a weekly or monthly basis it would be more manageable and relieve some of the pressures on students. 

"Many students are being forced to rely on food banks or short term loans at excessive interest rates to see them through until the next student loan instalment.

"I am calling on the Employment & Learning Minister Stephen Farry to review the methods of student financial support so that students can access them in a more manageable way. I will be raising this issue with him at the earliest opportunity."


Sinn Féin Sandra McLellan TD has welcomed the fact that Feileacáin, the Still and Neonatoal Death Association of Ireland, has had the opportunity to speak at the Oireachtas Health Committee today. The group, appearing at the invitation of Deputy McLellan, called for a National Baby Loss Awareness Day as a day of remembrance for bereaved families.

“Feileacáin is a charity that offers vital supports and services to bereaved parents. It is funded by parents who have also been bereaved. I invited Feileacáin to speak at the Oireachtas Health Committee today to talk about the charity as well as the experiences of parents who are grieving the loss of their children.

“Representatives of Feileacáin spoke very movingly today about the pain experienced by families at the loss of their babies. A bereaved parent also shared his experience. It was very emotional.

“The appearance of Feileacáin at the Oireachtas Health Committee was closely timed with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is a national day of remembrance honoured in the USA, Canada and New South Wales. This day affords bereaved parents a day to remember their children by.

“The introduction of a similar day in Ireland would require no legislation. I believe that a National Baby Loss Awareness Day would be helpful to parents in commemorating the lives of children lost in stillbirth or in pregnancy.  


Sinn Féin launch alternative Budget for 2015