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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

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has welcomed 'constructive' discussions today with the Welsh First Minister, aimed at securing a common approach with Scotland and Wales to ensure maximum decision-making powers in the three Assemblies.

Mr McGuinness was speaking after discussions in Cardiff between the First and deputy First Minister and the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Martin McGuinness said:

“Today's discussions were very constructive and follow similar talks with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond earlier this week.

“It is clear the three Celtic administrations are facing many of the same challenges as a direct result of the British Government’s austerity agenda. 

“But there is also clearly a combined will to use our collective strength as effectively as possible to protect the people we represent.

"And while there are big challenges ahead, there are also opportunities, particularly as a result of the changes to devolution arrangements that are expected to follow the Scottish independence referendum.

"Again there is a need and a willingness to co-operate on areas of commonality in this regard. 

“For my part, I certainly feel the North needs to be seeking the additional powers and economic levers which will enable Executive departments to better serve the people we represent.

"These powers should be in the hands of an Executive elected by and accountable to the people of the North, not a Tory cabinet of millionaires in London who are wedded to an austerity agenda for ideological reasons."

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Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the announcement by Lakeland Trading Standards of 49 new jobs based in Enniskillen.

 Ms Gildernew said,

 “The announcement today of 49 new jobs in Enniskillen is good news for the area and I hope that more jobs can be created in the future.

 ‘The injection of money by Invest NI has also to be welcomed as there has been a lack of investment in the past by Invest NI in the Fermanagh area. So it is good to see a change on emphasis from Invest NI to include smaller towns.

 “We need to continue to work together with businesses and Invest NI and other politicians to attract more employment into the region.

 “Fermanagh and the surrounding area has proven that it has a highly qualified skilled conscientious workforce. So there is no reason why we cannot continue to bring new jobs into the area.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Agricultural spokesperson Oliver McMullan has welcomed a £70m fund announced by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to tackle rural inequalities.

Mr McMullan said;

“The £70m Priority 6 fund will be delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme. It will help tackle some of the rural inequalities like poverty, as well as improving rural infrastructure, supporting business development, basic services and the renewal of villages.

“It will also provide funds for activities aimed at the restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of rural areas.

“The money divided across ten areas managed by the newly founded Local Action Groups (LAGs) has been allocated on the basis of rural population levels, poverty and deprivation. 

“A minimum level of funding has been set to ensure the effectiveness of the new LAGs.

“The minister has shown that targeting the most vulnerable areas of our society will allow rural communities to come together to become more economically sustainable and provide greater availability and access to basic services.

“This is the minister delivering on tackling inequality and disparity in services for rural areas.  

“This program now awaits European approval. I would encourage community groups and organisations to begin engaging with their Local Action Groups once they are established in the coming months so that the positive impact of these funds can be maximised."

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Speaking from Strasbourg today after the European Commission has been officially ratified by the European Parliament, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy said:

 “What Europe needed in a new Commission was a change in direction.  Certainly, across member states the people demanded change in last May's elections.

"The people of Europe want and deserve an end to the Austerity Agenda, an end to the conservative, regressive and undemocratic policies that underpin much of the character of the EU today. 

"They want a social Europe that protects public services, that invests in sustainable jobs for our young people and reinvigorates the regions and rural communities.

"What is on offer in the new Commission is more of the same.  This commission is representative of the old-boys club that is intent on continuing the socially regressive, undemocratic Europe that has become disengaged from the communities it claims to serve.

"Sinn Féin MEP's voted against the college because we want fair Europe in which member states work together on matters of mutual interest rather than the two-tier unequal EU that is represented by this commission.

Hogan

"I have made no secret of my concerns surrounding the nomination of Phil Hogan as Ireland's nominee to the European Commission. 

“That being said, I have always been firmly of the belief that the position of European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development is one that has the potential to be of huge benefit to Ireland. 

“I am aware too that today is a proud day for Phil Hogan and his family. I would like to acknowledge that and I wish him success in his new post.

“As a member of the Agricultural and Rural Development Committee myself, I am only too aware of the issues facing Irish Agriculture and I am committed to working with all stakeholders in the sector in order to ensure that the interests of Irish Agriculture are protected.

“In that sense, while I intend to hold the commissioner accountable at all times, I also hope to develop a productive working relationship with Mr. Hogan and I hope we can work together in good faith for the benefit of Irish Agriculture and Rural Development.”

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Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has called for loyalist death threats against a number of men from west Belfast to be lifted. 

Speaking after the threats were issued at the weekend, the West Belfast MP said; 

"I am calling on those loyalists responsible for the death threats against these men from west Belfast to lift them immediately. 

"Two of those named, Tom Hartley and Seánna Walsh, have been engaged with unionists and loyalists for most of the last 20 years of the peace process on a range of topics. 

"Many of these engagements have been in loyalist areas. At no time did either Tom or Seánna encounter any hostility to their presence. 

"In fact, Tom Hartley spoke at an event in east Belfast several weeks ago. 

"These death threats need to be lifted to ensure this essential peace building work can continue in unionist and loyalist areas. 

"I am also calling on loyalists and others from the unionist community to condemn these threats and to use their influence to ensure the work Tom, Seánna and others are engaged in can continue free from threats and intimidation."

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has apologised to victims of abuse who were let down or failed by the IRA’s inability to resolve these issues.

He said that those who wish should come forward now and report complaints to the appropriate authorities, North or South.

Mr Adams rejected allegations that Sinn Féin was involved in any cover-up of such issues and said the issue had been politicised in the Dáil chamber by Sinn Féin’s opponents.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Gerrry Adams said:

“I am mindful that there are victims and families affected by abuse watching us today. Sexual abuse and abuse of any kind is wrong. The abuse of a child is a particularly heinous crime. The consequences for victims and their families are devastating. We know this having seen the human cost of abuse right across Irish society.

“I have set out the circumstances in the North when there was no democratic, civic policing service. The IRA sought to deal with some cases of abuse when asked to do so by families and victims. While IRA Volunteers were acting in good faith, the IRA was ill equipped to deal with such matters.

“IRA actions against sex abusers failed victims. That is a matter of profound regret for me and other republicans. I am acutely conscious that there may be victims who were let down or failed by the IRA’s inability to resolve these issues.

“As Uachtarán Shinn Féin, I want to apologise to those victims.

“Those who wish should come forward now and report their complaint to the appropriate authorities – An Garda Síochána or the HSE in the south, or the PSNI or Social Services in the North. They will have Sinn Féin’s full support in doing so.

“Secrecy has surrounded abuse in Ireland. It was taboo to discuss, and some victims were very fearful to disclose. The only way to face this problem is to support victims, and to empower them to speak out. To cover up child abuse is to deny the basic humanity of the victim and to shield the perpetrator. It is an unthinkable act of cruelty.

“Sinn Féin has not engaged in a cover-up of child abuse as some of our political enemies cynically suggest. This accusation is a slur on thousands of decent people.

“Republicans are no different to any other Irish citizens. Like most other parents we do our best to protect our children, to keep them safe. Republicans have learned, like every other section of society that ongoing vigilance and believing children when they disclose is essential. Republicans, like everyone else know that reporting quickly and to the right channels is the way to seek and achieve justice.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach to accept that such difficult issues need to be dealt with in a victim-centred way by the appropriate authorities and not politicised as they have been in the Dáil chamber.

Referring to Enda Kenny’s meeting today with Maíria Cahill, the Sinn Fein Leader said that all those Sinn Féin representatives who supported Maíria believe that she has been a victim of abuse and suffered trauma.

He went on:

“However Maíria has made some grievous allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin representatives. I and all the others refute those allegations – allegations that are now embellished and reported as fact.

“Taoiseach these matters were addressed in the courts. Four people were charged and acquitted in a court of law in relation to these allegations. You have yet to meet with me to address these allegations.

“Taoiseach having met with Maíria is it not right and proper that you meet with myself and the other Sinn Féin members to hear of their experience of trying to help Maíria, to hear of their support and the advice they offered? Is that not right and proper before you rush to judgment?”

The Taoiseach, in his response agreed to Mr Adams’ request to meet with him and other Sinn Féin members to hear of their experience of trying to help Maíria Cahill.

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has welcomed the appointment of former senator Gary Hart as US envoy to the current talks. 

Speaking following the appointment, Mr McGuinness said; 

"I welcome the appointment of former senator Gary as the United States' envoy to the current round of negotiations. 

"The United States has played a key role in supporting the peace process an political process in the North over the years. 

"We have also benefitted from US foreign and direct investment in that time. 

"This appointment is a positive indication of the US administration's continuing interest in the development of the political process. 

"It sends out a clear message to everyone that we need to be involved in a proactive and constructive way if we are to have a credible process." 

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In a welcome vote of confidence in her early efforts, Liadh Ni Riada Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South has been ranked the hardest working Irish MEP since the Parliament returned in July, according to the MEP Ranking site.

Ní Riada said:

“Last May I was given a mandate from the people of Ireland South to go and be their representative in Brussels and I have done my best to prove their trust was well placed. As a member of the Budgetary committee I brought forward my first piece of legislation relating to the EU Globalisation Fund which was set up to assist workers displaced by global market trends, and as part of the Fisheries committee, we are bringing forth a new piece of legislation on sea fishing that should go towards helping the Irish fisherman in the competitive EU market.”

“It is an honour to serve the people of Ireland South and this strong start will not abate. The Irish people gave Sinn Féin their highest ever level of support in the May 2013 elections and we must work tirelessly to ensure that this support is rewarded.” 

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Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD, today revealed that the Minister for Agriculture is not willing to disclose the details of companies which import beef into Ireland, the amount of such imports and when the imports took place.

Deputy Ferris said that he had posed a parliamentary question on the matter, following representation from beef farmers who are in dire straits due to the drastic drop in prices within the sector.

Deputy Ferris said:

“Farmers are concerned that the market is being manipulated by the big players and that the ordinary producer is being run into the ground.

“The Minister says that information about who is importing beef into Ireland, when it is being imported and in what quantity, is commercially sensitive and therefore will not be disclosed.


“This is a disgraceful response to a very relevant question, considering the state of the industry and widespread suspicion among hard-pressed farmers that some processors are importing while paying Irish farmers unreasonably low prices.”

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