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Team Sinn Féin - Putting Ireland First

The largest gathering of Sinn Féin candidates in the history of the party took place in Drogheda, 350 local council election candidates contesting seats across all 42 councils in the 32 counties of Ireland joined with Sinn Féin's 4 EU election candidates for a final strategic planning day with the party leadership before the local council and EU elections on the 22nd May in the 6 Counties and the 23rd May in the 26 Counties.

Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said proposed Water Charges are another tax on struggling families, are unfair and unjust, and make no economic sense, adding that Water Charges would be increased over time.

Mr Adams also accused the Taoiseach of bypassing the Dáil and spinning details of Government decisions to the media.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders Questions the Sinn Féin Leader said:

“Taoiseach, yesterday I raised with you the issue of Water Charges, which is causing deep concern to householders across the state.

“In your reply to me you said the Government had not taken a decision; that various matters had to be taken into consideration; and that there was a need to assess a whole range of issues before any decisions could be made.

“You then pulled together an unscheduled Cabinet meeting and sent your spin doctors off to the media to give details of the decision that you told the Dáil you had not taken.

“Taoiseach, this is but the latest in a whole series of major decisions in which your Government has bypassed this Dáil in favour of governing by press release and media spin.

“On each occasion the Government has shown contempt for the Oireachtas, for the Opposition and for the citizens who your decisions will affect.

“The fact that you called a special cabinet meeting to deal with this issues is down to the manner in which the Opposition here has pursued you.

“It is clear that your desire was to kick to touch on this issue. You govern by making it up as you go along.

“What is very clear now is that there will indeed be a standing charge as part of the Water Charge.”

Mr Adams said Water Charges would result in a flat tax, that it is a regressive tax and that will impact most negatively on ordinary working families.

TheGovernment’s Water Charge, borrowed from Fianna Fáil and opposed at that time by the Labour Party, he said, is another tax on top of all the other taxes and charges faced by struggling families, who have already been hit with an unprecedented list of taxes and stealth charges.

Mr Adams said:

“The reality with other charges that have been introduced is that they do not go down. They go up. So, this charge is merely the first step of an escalating Water Charge.

“As I pointed out yesterday, your policy on water provision also makes no sense in terms of water conservation and its real intent clearly is the eventual privatisation of water services in this state.

“Taoiseach, there are no domestic Water charges in the North. You know this because the Department of Regional Development there had meetings as far back as January 2012 with the Department of the Environment in Dublin. DRD officials appraised the Minister Hogan’s Department of the system in the North.

“Taoiseach, Sinn Fein in the North blocked Water Charges and the privatisation of water services there. You could do the same in this state. Why don’t you?”

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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision by Louth County Council and Dundalk Town Council to provide €15k each to Dundalk Women’s Aid in order to remove the immediate threat of closure.

Teachta Adams praised his Council colleagues, and in particular Councillor Edel Corrigan and Councillor Jennifer Green who “each presented a motion to their respective councils condemning the funding cuts to the refuge and demanding a reversal of those cuts.”

Gerry Adams said:

“The decisions by the two Councils are very welcome but they are not the answer to the problem of funding for Dundalk Women’s Refuge and other refuges across the state.

“Women’s Aid Dundalk is in the frontline of helping victims of domestic violence. It provides a 24/7 service. Last year the demand on its services were such that it was unable to accommodate 293 requests for refuge. One consequence of this is that Drogheda Women’s Refuge which has limited space will now have to cope with victims from Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

“The loss of the Dundalk service will leave hundreds of women and children vulnerable to continued domestic violence.

“The reality is that services and support for women and children experiencing abuse in the home is at an all-time low as a result of government cutbacks. The decision by the two Louth Councils has provided an opportunity to campaign to reverse current government policy and I would urge all county Louth representatives, but especially government TDs and Seanadóirí, to use their influence to secure government funding for Dundalk Women’s Aid.”

ENDS

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Speaking at Leinster House today, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture, Martin Ferris TD supported the call for an independent enquiry into the policing of the Corrib Gas Project.

He was responding to a call from Afri, Action from Ireland, supported by other human rights activists, for such an enquiry into serious concerns about the policing of the project.

Deputy Ferris said;

“There are more complaints about gardaí at the Corrib Gas protests than anywhere else in the country. That alone would merit an enquiry, but we are also aware of specific incidents which are very worrying.

“The call from Afri, supported, among others, by Bishop Desmond Tutu, Denis Halliday who is a former UN Assistant Secretary General and Ed Vulliamy of The Guardian newspaper, draws attention to incidents such as the physical assault of Willie Corduff in Glengad in April 2009, the sinking of Pat O’Donnell’s boat in June 2009 and the widely-reported ‘rape tape’ incident.

“These incidents are among many which have taken place and coupled with the failure of attempts to make gardaí accountable for their actions, point to the urgent need for a proper public enquiry.

“I call on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, to respond favourably to this call and prevent further damage to public confidence in An Garda Siochána.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has said that the border, midlands and western region is being severely economically neglected by Fine Gael and Labour.

The Midlands Northwest candidate was speaking following a meeting with senior IDA staff in Leinster House.

Cllr Carthy said:

“The Border, midlands and western region has an enormous amount to offer FDI. It has access to markets through motorways, ports and airports. It has a young, well educated population. But decades of government under-prioritising the area has left the border, midlands and western region struggling to deal with the effects of unemployment and emigration.

“Indeed this region is among the worst in the state for investment in jobs.

 “My colleague in the Dáil, Peadar Tóibín TD, recently raised this issue via a Parliamentary Question with the minister.

“During 2013 78 new investments were brought to this state by the IDA. By far the greatest number of investments was for Dublin with 55. That’s 70% of all new IDA business going to 25% of the population.

“Meanwhile 14 counties received no new IDA investment at all last year and eight others received only one new investment. Most of these forgotten counties are in the border, midland and west regions and are suffering from high unemployment, emigration, poverty and depopulation.

“I was glad to be able to raise these issues with members of the IDA this afternoon. It would be fair to say that job investment along the border has all but collapsed and immediate action must be taken in order to rectify the situation and ensure that no more families are torn apart due to forced emigration.

“I am calling for the government to increase the regional funding differential in favour of the BMW region, to allow local regions a structure to better inform FDI policy, to create linkages between local SMEs and FDI and to create and implement real FDI targets to meet the real potential of this region.”

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Sinn Féin Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD today described the disparate attitudes amongst the main banks in dealing with SME debt as deeply worrying.

The Meath West TD said:

“The Chief Executives of Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and AIB all attended today’s meeting of the Committee on Jobs as part of its hearings on access to finance for SME’s.

“It is clear from groups representing the SME sector and the government’s own data that issues remain for SME’s seeking to access credit and whilst approvals have increased Ireland still lags behind the EU average.

“Members also raised the issue of debt write down for struggling SMEs with the Chief Executives and it is worrying that Ulster Bank continues to take a hard line on this issue.

“SME debt is a cause of concern not just for the business concerned but for the wider economy, and the disparate approach from the sector is a cause of concern. Government cannot continue to take a bystander role. SMEs need real solutions.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking in the Dáil this evening during a debate on the ambulance service, warned of the consequences for patient safety if the government’s failure to properly resource the ambulance service.

Teachta Adams said:

“In my own constituency of Louth, there have been serious delays, including one at the start of the year in which a man died.”

Speaking in the debate Gerry Adams said:

“I want to pay tribute to the emergency front line ambulance staff who carry out vital work under difficult circumstances but whose efforts are often frustrated by the numbers of available ambulances; their location and the arrangements for the rostering of staff.

“There is a deep and widespread public concern at the crisis in the ambulance service.

“In my own constituency of Louth, there have been serious delays, including one at the start of the year in which a man died.

“In 2008 there were 320 ambulances serving the state. Last year this dropped to 265. At night it drops to a mere 113. The health service has only half the paramedics per capita compared to the North and as a result last year only one in three patients with life-threatening conditions was responded to within the target time.

“Government cuts have led directly to this situation. The recent RTÉ Prime Time investigation, indicated that despite life-threatening absence of available ambulances, rapid response vehicles, costing taxpayers €100,000 each, are parked for weeks outside the homes of senior management.

“What’s more, the taxpayer was on the hook for the fuel used.

“It’s time that this Government took action to tackle this serious problem. It must lift the burden off the ambulance service by allocating more resources to it as a matter of urgency.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin EU candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has stated that the latest update from the Government on its stability programme highlights the need for ordinary families to elect Sinn Fein MEPS who will fight against the consensus for cuts.

Speaking today, Ní Riada said:

“This document confirms that  Fine Gael and the Labour Party are firmly wedded to their vicious form of austerity. The update shows that the Government is committed to taking a further €2 billion out of the economy through cuts to public services and taxes.

“Undoubtedly, we will again see the targeting of the most vulnerable and struggling families.

“The consensus for cuts is an agenda that is being driven by the European Union and implemented willingly, in this state, by a subservient Government. Fine Gael and Labour have focused on ring fencing the wealthy and their MEPs have danced merrily to the tune of austerity. They have remained silent while the people who elected them suffered.

“The ordinary people of this state have a great opportunity to create a bulwark between them and the attacks that will be unleashed at the next budget.

“They can create this bulwark by electing Sinn Féin MEPs who will stand up to the austerity agenda at European level and who will not shriek from challenging the Government at home on how it treats the poor and the vulnerable.

“Fianna Fáil have shown themselves to be completely changeable when it comes to protecting ordinary people. They signed the first memorandum of understanding with the troika. This would all still be happening if Fianna Fáil had retained power in 2011. For Fianna Fáil, speaking up for ordinary people is not a matter of principle but one of political expediency.

“People have an opportunity to elect four Sinn Féin MEPS in May. A strong Sinn Féin team of MEPs will not remain silent while our communities and our families are subjected to even further hardship as result of the next budget.”

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