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Sinn Féin councillor Mary Ellen Campbell has slammed those who vandalised the PIPS suicide prevention and awareness charity on the Antrim Road overnight.

Councillor Campbell said:

“This is a devastating blow to everyone involved with the PIPS charity which provides vital services to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide.

“PIPS was attacked overnight and substantial damage has been done including windows smashed, interior damage and the theft of essential computer equipment.

“This is a serious set back to the organisation.

“The community will rally round to offer its support to have the damage repaired so that services can be restored as soon as possible.

“I’m appealing to anyone with information to bring that forward to the PSNI urgently so those responsible can be held to account for this disgraceful crime.”


Today a Sinn Féin delegation including Gerry Kelly MLA, Alex Maskey MLA, Carál Ní Chuilin MLA and Sean Murray met with the Chief Constable and senior officers of the PSNI to discuss the ongoing investigations into the killing of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan. 

At the meeting the PSNI senior team acknowledged the role played by Sinn Féin in supporting the PSNI and opposing violence and criminality.

Following the meeting Gerry Kelly said,

“The killings of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan, was nothing to do with republicanism. It was an act of criminality. 

“Their families deserve justice. It is imperative the PSNI continues to investigate and bring to court those involved.

“We called again on people with any information connected to these killings to bring it forward to the police.

“We raised concerns about a number of speculative and unhelpful comments made recently.

“We rejected any suggestion the IRA was involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan. The IRA stood down over 10 years ago. 

“It is clear the group Action Against Drugs is a criminal gang totally opposed to the peace process and Sinn Féin.

“This group has been involved in extortion, intimidation and murder in nationalist communities and issued threats against anyone suspected of involvement in the killing of Gerard Davison. These are not the actions of republicans, but of criminals.

“The PSNI senior team acknowledged the role of Sinn Féin in supporting the PSNI and opposing those who seek to promote conflict and the use of violence. Sinn Féin’s commitment to peaceful and democratic progress is beyond question.”


Sinn Fein MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann will address the Newry Pride Celebrations later today, 

 Ms McCann said,

 "I'm delighted to have been asked to take part in the Newry Pride Celebrations.

  “A lot has happened since last year and the historic vote in the referendum in the South in May has I believed created a new dynamic in the campaign of equal rights for the LGB&T community.

 “It is shameful that the North of Ireland is the only region in the whole of Western Europe where marriage equality is not a reality.  It is vital that we continue to fight for the campaign at all levels both in the assembly and in wider society in winning the hearts and minds of people. 

 “The huge turnouts at rally's in support of Equal marriage and the success of Pride events throughout the year illustrates that people want to see change and political representatives from all Parties have to recognise that.

 “They have to act not just on the issue of equal marriage but on bringing forward a robust sexual orientation strategy which will help address the specific inequalities faced by LGBT people. 

 “Nothing less than full equality of rights and opportunities under law should be tolerated in a modern, progressive and inclusive society. "


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has rounded on those who have “opportunistically and cynically seized on the killing of Kevin McGuigan in a deliberate effort to undermine Sinn Féin’s mandate; the rights and entitlements of our electorate, and the peace process”. 

Gerry Adams said:

“The killing of Kevin McGuigan was wrong and those who were involved in it are criminals who do not represent republicanism. The so-called group Action against Drugs is a criminal gang. It is a mix of criminals and former republicans who have engaged in intimidation and violence in pursuit of their criminal ends. 

My thoughts are with the McGuigan family. Anyone with any information on this brutal murder should bring it forward to the PSNI.

So too should anyone with information on the killing of Jock Davison.

There has been a lot of speculation and media spin about whether the IRA was involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan.

The IRA was not involved. 

In July 2005 the IRA left the stage. Its leadership ordered an end to the armed campaign; its representatives to 'engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use' and instructed its volunteers to take part only in 'purely political and democratic programmes' and no 'other activities whatsoever'. 

All of this was done as part of a genuine initiative to build a just and lasting peace and in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Those who threaten to take action against Sinn Féin in the Assembly and Executive have no basis whatsoever for this. Sinn Féin’s mandate and the rights and entitlements of our electorate deserve exactly the same respect and protection as anyone else’s’.

The events surrounding the murders of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan and their investigation are matters for the PSNI." ENDS/CRÍOCH

Gerry Adams TD will attend the National Hunger Strike Commemoration March in Dundalk where he is the main speaker. The march and parade is scheduled to Assemble at 2.15pm at Bailigh and will make its way to New Inn, the Newry Road, Dundalk for 3pm


Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said he will be reporting a number of breaches of a Parades Commission determination tonight during a band parade in Rasharkin.

Daithí McKay said:

“Thankfully tonight’s loyalist band parade through Rasharkin passed off peacefully.

“Residents will be glad to see the village return to normal after the huge policing operation today because of this parade.

“There were a number of breaches of the Parades Commission’s determination and we will be reporting those to the Commission and the police.

“There were bands which took part which were not allowed to carry UVF and UDA flags and that is to be welcomed. However, residents do not want bands of this nature invited to the village.

“We also saw a band take part which was not notified to the police or the Parades Commission.”


Sinn Féin is set to take action across Dublin tomorrow, Saturday, to highlight the need to build social housing to resolve the current homelessness crisis.

Cllr. Daithí Doolan, chair of Dublin City Council’s housing committee said:

“The current housing crisis in Dublin is a result of consecutive Government inaction on social housing. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael & Labour Party Government have all starved local authorities of essential funding needed to build council housing. No amount of spin or press statements will distract from the fact that this Government have failed, utterly, to tackle the homeless crisis in Dublin.

We now have twice as many people homeless in July this year than we did in June 2014. In July this year 770 adults with 1,185 children were homeless in Dublin while in June 2014 this number was 346 adults and 567 children. Dublin City Council were expected to spend €55m on homeless services this year. I expect that figure will be nearer €60m by December.

Sinn Féin has identified several sites across  where council houses can be built. Tomorrow's protests are to draw attention to the fact that all we need is the Government to release the funding and let building commence as soon as possible.”

Sites of protest include:

Dublin South Central- Noon, Cór Na Mona site, Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot

Dublin Central- O' Devaney Gardens and Croke Villas

Dublin North West- Ballymun 

Fingal- Tyrellstown

Dublin West- Blanchardstown Council Offices

Dublin Bay North- Belcam and Mountain View in Darndale

For further comment call Cllr. Daithí Doolan 086 3888 152


Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Tom Frawley, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and a number of women's groups to discuss the administration of European Social Fund (ESF) by the Department of Employment and Learning.

 Ms. Anderson said,

 “A number of months back I met with several groups at Stormont to discuss the administration of the European Social Fund by the Department Employment and Learning as I was concerned that funding applications affecting the women's sector were being rejected due to a lack of clarification on guidance notes and the fund being used to plug a hole in the minister's budget.”

 “The ESF is aimed at reducing economic inactivity and has several thematic objectives including promoting gender equality and social inclusion, as well as educational skills and life long learning.

 “The Minister said he needed most recent management accounts in order to conduct a financial capability assessment and this change caused confusion leading to the process having to be rerun

 “Departmental obstacles had the potential to see the loss of 6000 training places and 40 jobs IN the women sector.

 “I organised a meeting with Parliamentary Ombudsman Tom Frawley to look potential maladministration and way of correcting the process for future ESF funding opportunities. 

 “If we are serious about gender equality then we must address issues like child care and allowing women to return to work, training and education in a safe and local learning environment then it is important that ESF is available to women’s groups that are doing sterling work.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh today launched Sinn Féin’s budget proposals on rural ambulance services. Sinn Féin are proposing to increase services to guarantee a basic level of care to isolated rural communities across the country, the cost of which would almost equal that of administering the Irish Water Conservation Grant.  

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“I want to raise a concern about rural ambulance services across the region. Many communities across the country experience long and dangerous delays waiting for ambulances. Isolated rural communities have been underprovided for in so many aspects of health and have faced particular challenges when it comes to ambulances. The state must guarantee basic levels of care across the country.

“Paramedics in our health service are working under increasing pressure, with an increasing number and complexity of callouts. The Government has failed to support them by providing adequate numbers of staff. With depleted numbers servicing areas and some even being left without any emergency cover this directly increases the risk of serious injury and deaths.

“In 2013 only one in every three cases classified as serious were reached within the target time. These targets themselves were reduced by the HSE to 80 per cent in 2012 and then to 70 per cent in 2013. Despite this the service is still missing its targets. In the most recent set of figures all regions apart from North Leinster fail to meet targets for the most serious calls.

“Compared to the Six Counties and to Scotland the number of ambulances and paramedics in this State per head of population is totally inadequate.

“Sinn Féin would fund an additional two ambulances and personnel for each of the four regions.  We would provide for increased emergency ambulance cover - 2 additional ambulances including personnel for each of the four regions. Overall that would mean 88 staff and 8 ambulances at a cost of €6.67 million.

“It’s not a huge amount of money. If you look at the €6 million spent on administration costs the water charges grant alone, calling for €6.6 million to be made available for life-saving services across rural Ireland and across the country is clearly an investment that should be made immediately.”


 Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said this is a time for calm heads and political leadership and he called on political leaders to stand together in facing down the threat to the political process posed by people trying to drag society back to the past. 

 Gerry Kelly said:

 “The families of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison and Kevin McGuigan deserve justice and the task of the police is to carry out a thorough investigation.

 “These killings were wrong and those responsible need to be brought to justice. 

 “The PSNI have said that the Action Against Drugs group threatened to kill anyone involved in the killing of Gerard Davison only days before the killing of Kevin McGuigan.

 “I am on record as saying, and I repeat, this is a criminal gang which has been involved in extortion, intimidation and murder in nationalist communities.

 “The PSNI need to get on with their investigation and bring to justice those responsible for the killing and I call again on people with any information connected to these killings to bring it forward to the police. 

 “I and my party colleagues have repeatedly called on the public to support and co-operate with those investigations and the criminal justice system needs to be allowed to run its course. 

 “The actions of the criminals responsible for the killings of Gerard Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan are an attack on all the people of this community.

 “This is a time for calm heads and mature political leadership.

 “What is required now is mature leadership from all of our political parties in standing together against criminal gangs trying to bring us back to the past.” ENDS/CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin have announced the selection of two candidates for this year’s  upcoming Assembly Elections. Selected last night (Thursday 20th) were sitting MLA and Minister for Education John O’Dowd and party colleague, Deputy Mayor of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon, Catherine Seeley.

 Mr O’Dowd MLA, who topped the poll in the last Assembly election, and Ms Seeley, who earned Sinn Féin’s highest ever vote in the constituency back in May’s Westminster election, will be viewed as a very strong duo as the party aim to win two seats in Upper Bann.

 Mr O’Dowd MLA said,

 “I am very pleased to announce that Sinn Féin will be running two candidates in the next Assembly election in Upper Bann. I am honoured to have been one of those selected, along with my colleague Catherine Seeley.”

 He continued,

 “Sinn Féin have a realistic project in this constituency to maximise progressive representation based on equality for all. I firmly believe only the election of 2 Sinn Féin candidates in Upper Bann can make a real, progressive impact; as we face in to a difficult, but important, battle against the British Government’s Austerity Agenda. An agenda that it is aimed not only aimed at the most vulnerable and poorest in our society but also at struggling, working families. Austerity is not working, we need strong voices to stand up against it.”

 Catherine Seeley also made it clear that only Sinn Féin can make the type of impact required to challenge the Tory Government,

 “Austerity is an attack on our society, and on all sections of our society. In the last Assembly term SF had 29 seats, just one short of the 30 seat mark required to avail of the Petition of Concern mechanism. A mechanism that can stop legislation not based on equality or aimed to serve the few. Huge political importance lies with the gaining of more seats to reach this mark, not least as we stand up to the Austerity Agenda.”

 She concluded,

 “As always I will strive to represent all the people of Upper Bann to the best of my ability, and I am confident that the electorate will see the importance of Sinn Féin’s anti-Austerity message.”


Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said tonight he will be meeting the PSNI to discuss the investigation into the killings of Gerard Davison and Kevin McGuigan.

Gerry Kelly said:

“Sinn Féin has called consistently on people to support the PSNI investigations into the killings of Kevin McGuigan and Gerard Davison.

“The killing of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison was wrong and nothing to do with republicanism. Equally the killing of Kevin McGuigan was wrong and nothing to do with republicanism.

“These killings need to stop now.

“The PSNI have said that the Action Against Drugs group threatened to kill anyone involved in the killing of Gerard Davison only days before the killing of Kevin McGuigan.

“I am on record as saying, and I repeat, this is a criminal gang which has been involved in extortion, intimidation and murder in nationalist communities.

 “The PSNI need to get on with their investigation and bring to justice those responsible for the killing and I call again on people with information on these killings to bring it forward to the police. 

“I will meeting with the PSNI to discuss this.” 



Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed confirmation that film and TV production looks set to begin at the former British military site at Ballykelly.

 Speaking following a visit to the Shackleton Barracks site with Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilin and representatives of NI Screen, the Foyle MLA said the potential of the site was massive.

 "This is a huge site with the potential to become a massive economic driver for the entire north west region."

 "Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill is already in the process of decentralising her entire department to the site and now another portion is being developed for TV and film production.

 "The Minister heard how Shackleton Studios Limited have secured a license to begin work on bringing four vacant buildings on the site back into use for film production.

 "The success of the Paint Hall studio at Harland and Wolff has shown how much economic benefit can be generated by TV and film production and there's no reason why this success can't be replicated in the north west."


Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has reiterated his calls for the Irish Government to re-open its Embassy in Iran.

Crowe was speaking following the British Government’s announcement that they were now re opening their Embassy in Tehran, which is located on Bobby Sands Street.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“It was truly historic and welcome that negotiations between Iran and the EU3 +3 came to a successfully conclusion and that the potential for greater co-operation now exists. I believe this deal strengthens the potential for peace and security in the region.

“The re-opening of the British Embassy in the Iranian capital was another indication of the potential of dialogue and diplomacy.

“Iran is a hugely strategic and important country in the Middle East and has an important role to play in ensuring that ISIS and its genocidal sectarian project is stopped and defeated.

“Sinn Féin opposed the Irish Government’s decision to close Ireland’s Embassy in Tehran in 2012. I believe this short-sighted decision harmed the public perception of Ireland as a neutral and independent broker in international affairs, as well as negatively impacting on the potential for Irish trade with this huge country.

“I raised the issue directly with Iranian Government Ministers when I visited Iran as part of an Oireachtas Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee delegation January 2014.

“I am again reiterating my calls for the Government to re-open the Irish Embassy in Tehran. It will be a positive step and will improve relationships between the peoples of our two countries.” 


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers Rights has condemned the news that the HSE are using JobBridge to hire a clinical psychologist to work with its mental health services in Waterford. The advert calls for a candidate with a masters in psychology who will work for 30 hours a week for a €50 top-up on their dole payment.

Senator Cullinane said:

“This is further proof of the exploitative nature of the JobBridge scheme which the Minister herself now agrees is long past its sell-by date. Her assertion earlier this week that JobBridge was introduced ‘as a temporary response to an unprecedented collapse in the economy’ and is now being evaluated at a time that ‘real jobs’ are being created, flies in the face of this latest scandal.

“This is coming at a time when thousands of vulnerable people in this country are on waiting lists for months or even years for HSE psychology services. Áine O Connor, Director of mental health service for the HSE, has highlighted the recruitment of psychologists as a key issue for delays in provision of services. The HSE has admitted that it has the money and the authority to recruit psychologists but cannot find recruits.

“As I speak, there are over 80 psychologists including graduates, on a HSE Psychology Recruitment Panel unable to access HSE psychology jobs due to restrictive recruitment practices that have been in place in Ireland since 2009. I urge the Minister look at this discriminatory and restrictive recruitment practice and rectify it immediately.

“As recently as May 2015 the Psychiatric Nurses Association expressed concerns about Waterford Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services which has stopped taking new referrals due to the inability of the HSE to appoint a permanent consultant psychiatrist.

“It appears to me that our current government has let the ball drop yet again. They are showing their utterly scandalous disregard for those vulnerable children, adolescents and adults afflicted by mental health issues in our society.

“They’ve now added insult to injury and put salt in the wounds of the people of Waterford by offering yet another yellow-pack solution to plug the yawning hole in mental health provision.

“I urge the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to ensure the HSE use the funds they have at their disposal to employ a full- time clinical psychologist, in a ‘real job’.

“Exploiting another young graduate under the abusive JobBridge scheme, undermining the psychology profession itself and displacing a job at a time of extraordinary need when our Heath service is in crisis, is nothing short of outrageous.”


Sinn Féin Youth Affairs spokesperson, Senator Kathryn Reilly, has stated that it is abhorrent that the Health Service Executive are using JobBridge to look for someone with a psychology degree and a psychology masters with relevance to a clinical area to take on a job working with the Waterford Mental Health Services.

Senator Reilly stated:

“With all the government talk about recovery over the past few months one would be guilty of assuming that there would be more properly paid jobs available for young people and not internships with minimal pay. Young people need careers not internships.

“This is a job opportunity and for the HSE to advertise this and offer it as a JobBridge internship is a complete scandal. How the HSE can stand over such a state of affairs is a mystery.

“If we genuinely want to keep young Irish people at home, then we need to stop paying pauper wages for real jobs.

“JobBridge is being and has been exploited, not least by certain private employers, but it is now clearly being exploited by organs of the state, and by that definition the current government are complicit in such exploitation.  

“It is clear to all that what has happened in this instance is that a genuine job opportunity working in the Mental Health Services area being pawned off as a JobBridge internship. This is completely unacceptable, what is needed is for the role to be offered as a full time paid job whatever applicant is successful.

“It is frivolous to bemoan the number of young people leaving Ireland when organisations like the HSE offer internships and inadequate wages for real jobs. If such practices continue it is difficult to see our young people choosing to stay here ahead of moving abroad where they can get genuine employment and will have more advantageous career prospects.”


Responding to reports of the Government’s rural resettlement scheme, Cllr. Daithí Doolan, chair of Dublin City Council’s housing committee said:

“Government proposals to introduce a rural resettlement scheme to tackle homelessness in Dublin totally misses the point. No amount of spin or press statements will distract from the fact that this Government have failed, utterly, to tackle the homeless crisis in Dublin. We have a homeless crisis not because people have not moved down the country but because consecutive governments have starved local authorities of essential funding to build social housing.

“The rural resettlement scheme was successful in the 1990’s. It was hugely popular by giving Dublin families a chance to experience a new rural based life and brought new life to many rural towns and. But to dress it up now as the silver bullet to homelessness just proves how out of touch this Government really is.

“We now have twice as many people homeless in July this year than we did in June 2014. In July this year 770 adults with 1,185 children were homeless in Dublin while in June 2014 this number was 346 adults and 567 children.

“The Government must take action and introduce rent controls, increase rent allowance and release funding to local authorities so they can commence a building programme to meet the needs of the 21,000 housing applicants on Dublin City Council’s housing list.”


Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Management at Oberstown Detention Centre in north Co. Dublin and on the Minister for Children James Reilly to “face up to the fact that staffing levels, and training and supports for staff at Oberstown, are not at an acceptable and safe level”.  The Cavan/Monaghan Deputy has urged the Minister to take immediate action before a tragedy occurs.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“I was one of a number of TD and Senators who, as members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, visited the Oberstown Detention Centre on Tuesday 23rd June.  The visit was useful and informative, to a point.  We were not afforded an opportunity to meet directly with care staff whose concerns and experiences were essential to an understanding of the workings of the Centre and of the high instances of assaults on staff and of the stresses and strains of working there.  Staff members met us on our departure and advised they had not been accommodated in the course of our scheduled visit.

“Committee members, myself included, subsequently met members of the staff at Oberstown in an informal session where they brought us through the reality of their daily work life and of the difficulties and the dangers involved, dangers that had increased significantly with the transfer of the under 18s from St. Patrick’s and with further transfers pending from Wheatfield.  Our Committee members decided to bring the information shared to the attention of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and copied our letter to both Patrick Bergin, the Oberstown Campus Manager and to the Chairperson of the Board of Management at Oberstown, Prof Ursula Kilkelly.

“I am greatly concerned that having brought this information to the attention of the Minister, and of the other responsible parties, we have seen a further series of distressing events take place at Oberstown, including a multiple escape and a number of serious attacks, including last night’s vicious assault that left one detainee and three members of staff with injuries, all subsequently, I believe, brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

“Minister Reilly must face up to the fact that staffing levels, and training and supports for staff at Oberstown, are not at an acceptable and safe level.  I am demanding that Minister Reilly act immediately and not await a tragedy before he takes the required steps to ensure the safety of both those detained in Oberstown and of those who work there.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay called today on anyone with information relevant to the sale of NAMA’s northern loans to bring it forward to an Assembly inquiry.

Daithí McKay said:

“Hearings into the sale of the NAMA portfolio will resume next week when the Law Society will appear in front of the Finance Committee’s inquiry. 

“I am appealing to anyone with information relevant to this inquiry to bring it forward so that we can shed light on the events surrounding the sale of the NAMA loans.

“To date we have invited several key players to appear before the committee, including former ministers and government officials. 

“No stone will be left unturned in this inquiry and we will use powers to compel key witnesses to appear in the interests of transparency.”


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has again called on the Minister for Health to source an alternative supply of the BCG vaccine, part of the primary childhood immunisation schedule provided by the HSE for newborn babies, given that supplies have run out and children are not currently receiving the vaccine.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“While I recognise that the Minister reports that there is no threat to public health from what he calls a temporary vaccine shortage, a threat could come about if the situation is to continue. No cases of TB in children less than 4 years of age were reported in Ireland in 2014. 

“I also understand that a lack of BCG vaccine stock is being experienced across the EU member states and that it has occurred in the past. There are other suppliers of the vaccine, however, and I have contacted the Minister to ensure that these avenues are explored. I understand that the HSE is in consultation with the Health Products Regulatory Authority about sourcing this alternative supply. I have asked for an update on this and for the Minister to reassure parents that supplies will be available as soon as possible.” 


Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Chris Hazzard has congratulated everyone who received their GSCE results today and teachers and parents.

 And the South Down MLA praised Education Minister John O’Dowd who has been successful in maintaining an improvement in educational standards in the face of stiff Tory cuts.

  Mr Hazzard said,

 “We have seen another rise in the number of children achieving A-C grades in their GSCEs and they deserve to be congratulated for their hard work.

 “I would also like to congratulate the teachers and staff of the schools as well as the Minister John O’Dowd for the continued improvement in results despite the Tory onslaught on school finances.

 “The number of children achieving top grades in the North has grown to 78% which has also shown that there is no need for academic selection as grammar schools only make up around one third of the schools.

 “I would also like to say to children who didn’t achieve their preferred grades not to panic but to talk to their teachers and parents about how to progress to the next stage.”

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