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Vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in Carlow Kilkenny by-election

Watch and Share this video calling on people to vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in the May 22nd Carlow Kilkenny by-election to replace Fine Gael's former Minister for Irish Water – Phil Hogan.

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.


Speaking before the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meeting in Kilkenny City, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said,

“I'm concerned that the Taoiseach...



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Sinn Féin MEP has said the ending of milk quotas will have a significant impact on the dairy industry in the North. 

Ms Anderson said; 

"The ending of the milk quotas regime is a significant development for the local dairy industry. 

"It will bring in a new era of increased milk production for local dairy farmers. 

"The decision to end quotas was made in 2003 by the EU Council of Ministers so farmers have had time to plan and prepare for this change to their working arrangements as the industry becomes more market-driven. 

"Dairy farmers will have to adapt to this new challenge and I know agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill will be working closely with the industry to support them during this change. 

"The EU must also move to support Irish dairy farmers by reviewing the current intervention price to ensure producers get a fair deal as we move into the new era." 

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Sinn Féin Councillor Kathleen Funchion has refuted the claim made by Cllr Pat McKee that he did not approach Sinn Féin about joining the party.

Cllr Funchion said;

“Cllr McKee met me for lunch back in January. At this meeting he clearly expressed his unhappiness with Fianna Fáil and his interest in joining Sinn Féin.  While he understood that I would be the Sinn Féin candidate for the forthcoming by election, he did express his desire to run in future elections. Pat even went so far as raising the timing of when he would make the move, suggesting that a time after the by election would be the most appropriate.

“I told him that he was free to make an application to the party.

“I left it up to him. He never followed through. We never chased him up.

“He never formally applied to join.

“Had he been genuine then he would have come back to us and made a formal application to join. That would have started a process that the party has for dealing with applications for members from another party. He didn't so that process didn't take place.

"I didn't spend too much time dwelling on it. I was busy preparing for the launch of my by election campaign and raising two young sons.

“The career intentions of a first time councillor, from another party, wasn't high on my list of priorities to be perfectly honest.

“The important aspect in all of this is the political options now on offer in the by election.

“When the dust settles it will become obvious to the people of Carlow & Kilkenny that they have a clear choice.

“We cannot go back to the stale, directionless politics of Fianna Fáil that ruined the country. The politics of austerity and cuts offered by Fine Gael have destroyed the lives of so many. The regressive, rehashed policies of the PDs represented by Pat McKee and Renua Ireland would only cause further hardship.

“Electing a Sinn Féin TD for this constituency is in the best interests of ordinary people and our communities. This party is fighting for a fair recovery, a better deal for rural Ireland and equality for all our citizens.”

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Speaking today in the Seanad, Senator Kathryn Reilly has called on the Minister for Transport to allocate additional funding for Local Improvement Schemes, following calls from local Sinn Féin councillors.

Senator Reilly said:

“Local improvement schemes are the method people in rural areas use to get roads to places which are not serviced by existing county council roads.

“While I welcome that the scheme was reopened and that people living on these private roads and lanes now can have some recourse to assistance with funding, there does exist issues around the funding of the scheme. Demand for the scheme far outweighs supply and the pressures on the public roads funding allocation of local authorities has meant that some councils cannot use their funding for this purpose. 

“It is necessary that something is done for the endless number of people who are waiting for the primary provision of a road to their dwelling house.

“As I said the Local Improvement Scheme may have been reopened but this does not mean additional Government funding, it just means the Council has leeway to use a percentage of its Budget to the works on non-public roads. But having the leeway to do this, and it being practical within the current budgetary constraints and demands on the public roads budget are 2 different things.

“The Local Improvement Scheme needs a special ring-fenced fund of its own, not scrapings from the Roads Budget. By suggesting that the Council can instead use a percentage of their budget for the scheme it is only paying lip service to rural areas- giving the Council permission to do the work but not the real financial backing or ability.

“I agree with the Minister when he has said previously that local authorities, with their community base and local knowledge are best placed to judge the priority of works on private roads. But I do not believe local authorities should make the either/or decision whether they want to operate the Local Improvement Scheme in their area or would prefer to put their resources into regional and local public roads. Specific ring fenced extra funding is exactly what we need. Councillors would rather if it came by way of additional standard roads funding that we could then decide in the council chamber to allocate to LIS.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called on Minister Coveney to start lobbying the EU Commission for the introduction of legislation that includes processed meat in the country of origin labelling regulations.

Speaking today the Dublin MEP said:

“I welcome the new country of origin labelling rules for packaged pork, lamb and goat that come in force today.

“However the Minister must urge the EU Commission to introduce equivalent rules for processed meat, especially after the horsemeat scandal and the pork dioxin scare highlighted the lack of traceability.

In February this year the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution that calls on the Commission to propose legislation on mandatory country of origin labelling for meat in processed food.

Consumers like to know where all their food comes from, consistent polls have demonstrated this. Plus producers and farmers recognise the value of country of origin label labelling, with 36,000 farmers and 122 producers signing up to a voluntary scheme.

Is the government reluctant to push for these rules to be extended due to the exaggerated claims by the business lobby that mandatory labelling will add to business costs?

Studies by consumer groups have shown that the cost of labelling the processed meat within a lasagne would be just €0.015. The Minister must put consumer confidence and health above big business interests. 

This is a tiny cost to preserve the quality of the Irish brand and for consumer piece of mind.

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Speaking following news that legislation is going to cabinet this week on school admissions procedures, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on Minister Jan O’Sullivan to ensure that this Bill addresses the matters important to parents and children and said that if it failed in this, the government would need to go back to the drawing board.

 The Cork North Central TD said:

 “Although we have not yet seen the reformed admissions procedures the Minister wants to introduce, we are in favour of broad reform of the school admissions system.”

 “However, we are very mindful of the fact that this Bill is not going to address many of the matters important to parents.”

 “We understand that the issue of deposits for waiting lists will be addressed but barring schools from charging €30 to parents to apply for a place for their child will do very little to change things when those same parents will be charged hundreds of euro in voluntary contributions if their child gets in – it’s a drop in the ocean.”

 “Further to this, this admissions bill may streamline the application process but it is not going to address the fundamental problem of children being excluded from schools based on the fact that they are the wrong religion.”

 “No child should be excluded from their local school because of this and I’m calling on the Minister to ensure that the laws are changed to make equality in education a reality.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the news that Irish universities will now award higher entrance marks to students studying A Levels.

 Mr McElduff said,

 “In 2005 a reduction in the number of points awarded to top grade A ‘level results created an anomaly whereas it was virtually impossible for students from the North or Britain to access top courses in Irish universities.

 “I have raised the matter at every level over the past few years including at the North South Ministerial Council so I am delighted that following a review by the Irish Universities Association, the body representing the seven universities in the South that more points will now be awarded to students who achieve top marks.

 “This will mean that students here should find it easier to access the top courses and open up new opportunities and choices.

 “At a time of austerity many students are put off from travelling to Britain to attend top courses and either accept a lesser course or leave third level education all together so this may create a better option for those students.

 “I hope that this is the first step in creating an all Ireland clearing system that will give students a clear picture of offers from universities both in Ireland and Britain at the same time allowing them to make informed choices when choosing a career.” 

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Speaking following last Frisday's publication of the Copenhagan Economics Report commissioned by the Irish Government into the effects of the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the Irish Economy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy said that it is now beyond question that the deal could have devastating consequences for Rural Ireland. 

Carthy said:

“The report commissioned by the Government is flawed but it couldn't but admit the fact that the Irish beef sector is under serious threat as a result of the proposed trade deal between the EU and the US.

“Beef is one of our most important indigenous industries, making up over half of all farms in Ireland and we rely heavily on the European Market where we export over 90% of all beef product.

“Ireland is currently the largest exporter of beef within the EU and the 5th largest exporter of beef in the world.

“According to the report, there are over 77,000 farms across Ireland dependent on the beef sector with a high proportion of these (over 20,000) centred in the western counties of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

“The report indicates that the opening up of the EU market to US beef producers will result in increased competition for Irish farmers and will lead to a decline in Irish exports.

“This will result in the loss of jobs at all skill levels of the beef sector. This comes on top of a report by the CSO which shows a steep decline in the number of jobs in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. 

“There can be no doubt about it – a bad TTIP deal could devastate rural Ireland and this Government must make a clear commitment to ensure that the Irish beef sector is protected in these negotiations. “ 

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Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said health minister Jim Wells is failing those dealing with addiction issues by ruling out cross-border cooperation in the north west. 

The chair of the Assembly's health committee said; 

"Dealing with addiction is one of the most important health issues we face today. 

"Problems associated with substance abuse and addiction do not recognise borders and neither should the strategies put in place to deal with them. 

"In Derry we have a purpose-built detox and addiction treatment facility on our doorstep at Whiteoaks, just over the border in Donegal. 

"However, this facility is not operational because of a lack of cross-border cooperation. 

"I raised this issue with the previous health minister who said he would explore greater cooperation with the two health boards. 

"The current health minister, however, has now ruled out increased cooperation over Whiteoaks. 

"That is unacceptable and is failing all of those who are struggling with addiction. 

"Addiction issues cost the health service £250 million a year and we must be exploring new and innovative ways of tackling it. 

"Health is an area where it has been proven that cross-border cooperation can make a real difference. The minister could now make a real difference to the lives of families dealing with addiction if the political will existed." 

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has criticised environment minister Mark H Durkan for his handling of budget cuts in his department. 

Speaking after a meeting of the Assembly's health committee, Mr McElduff said; 

"At today's meeting of the environment committee I questioned the minister and his officials over his poor handling of reductions in his department's budget. 

"Firstly, the minister did not appear to take account of the £800,000 raised through the plastic bag levy challenge fund until now. Surely this could have been used earlier to offset some of these reductions. 

"Mark Durkan is now also saying that he will be able to redirect money as a result of the voluntary exit scheme but has failed to make even outline projections for this. 

"All of this shows a lack of creativity and forward planning. 

"The announcement of these budget cuts, which will see many environmental organisations lose all or nearly all of their funding, was very insensitive with letters detailing the cuts going to administrative staff in many cases.  

"Many of these groups, such as the Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trail in my own constituency of West Tyrone, have warned that they could lose match funding from Europe. 

"I have asked the minister to come back before the committee before the end of April with detailed plans of how the money raised through the plastic bag levy, and any other money identified, will be allocated."

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Sinn Féin the only party in the North firmly opposed to austerity - McGuinness


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Martin McGuinness answering questions from pupils of St Patrick's Primary School.