Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin has highlighted a number of recommendations made within the Dáil Housing and Homeless Committee report that will help alleviate the housing crisis in South County Dublin.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee published its report last week. There was cross-party agreement that the current government housing plan is not working.
“The Committee strongly recommended a shift in Government away from using private sectors housing to meet social housing need. The reports central recommendation is the provision of 50,000 real social houses over the next five years.
“South County Dublin has 10% of the total housing need in the country. There are over 9,000 families on the Council waiting list and over 200 homeless families.
“If the new Minister for Housing Simon Coveney adopts the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee's report, this would mean 5,000 real social housing units for South County Dublin over the next five years. The current government plan would provide less than 600 Council houses.
“This figure includes acquisitions, refurbishments. and new builds. The recent Housing Agency report showed that there are over 5,000 vacant properties in South County Dublin. The Minister for Housing must provide more funding to the Council to allow them to increase the use of its CPO powers to acquire these units and bring them into the social housing stock.
“Increasing the stock of social housing will alleviate pressure on the private housing market. In the interim, a number of measures were proposed to help families stay in their rented homes.
The report recommended that rent certainty be introduced, by linking rent reviews to an index such as the CPI, in order to provide some stability for both tenants and landlords.
“This measure could be introduced in tandem with rises in rent supplement and housing assistance payment.
“Tenant rights should also be strengthened and this includes providing additional protection to tenants in repossessed buy-to-lets.
“Minister Coveney has the opportunity to be both ambitious and radical in his Action Plan for Housing and I hope he includes all of the 109 recommendations made in the Committee report.
“I would urge him to bring forward the publication of this plan to before the Dáil summer recess as the homelessness problem is getting worse.
“We cannot afford to sit back for the summer and wait more families and children to become homeless. We need action now.”
Speaking this morning at the National Economic Dialogue Forum, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform David Cullinane TD said that the Brexit result was a clear wake-up call for the institutions of the EU and the Irish Government. He said huge swathes of working people and the unemployed are becoming increasingly alienated from the political system at EU and national level.
Addressing the Forum Deputy Cullinane said:
“Today’s National Economic Dialogue is overtaken by events. The Brexit result has sent shockwaves across the EU and Ireland. It raises profound questions for Ireland’s future North and South. It is vital that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny stands up for the rights of voters in the North, as well as the interests of people in the South.
“It is also important that European as well of Irish political leaders listen to the concerns of communities who are being left behind. Hugh swathes of our working people feel isolated, alienated and frustrated with the political system. They see a European Union that is anti-democratic and not working for them and their families.
“They also hear Government politicians talking about ‘keeping the recovery going’. For them, there is no recovery. There is no recovery for those on low pay and low hour contracts. There is no recovery for those living in poverty and deprivation. There is no recovery for those lying on hospital trollies or sleeping in emergency accommodation.
“The EU and Ireland is at a cross roads. We need to change course. We need to fundamentally address the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU institutions. We need to focus on decent work and decent pay, rebuilding our public services, investing in capital infrastructure and fair and just taxation.
“This Government is pursuing a policy of tax cuts for the top 16% while our public services are crumbling. They are adding to the real sense of frustration and alienation felt by so many citizens. Sinn Féin is for building a social Europe, a democratic Europe and an Ireland, north and south, that delivers decent work, decent pay, and an economy that services its citizens and not the other way around.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will this week host a delegation of health professionals and stakeholders from the Northwest Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC) in Brussels.
Speaking ahead of the delegation, Ms Anderson said,
“NWHIC spans the arc of the Northwest to include Sligo, Letterkenny, Derry and Coleraine and was launched in May 2013. Their vision is that by 2020, the Northwest of Ireland will be internationally recognised as a health and social sciences research and innovation zone driving the local economy; creating sustainable growth in employment, and creating improvements in health and social well-being that will address health inequalities in the Northwest through the utilisation of the most advanced technology.
“We will be joined on the delegation by 20 participants, including Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, John Farrell, Department of Health and Geraldine McCarthy, Sligo Mental Health.
“During the delegation we will be meeting with European Commission representatives from The Directorate for Health and Food Safety, The Directorate for Research and Innovation, and the Directorate for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, which we are confident will establish useful contacts for the Innovation Corridor, going forward.
“We will also be meeting with representatives from Invest NI, the Department of Health in the six counties and the Permanent Representative of the 26 counties.
“The NWHIC is an example of how well cross border cooperation can work and it is a positive step towards creating an island wild health care system. The result of the Brexit referendum would prevent this kind of collaboration and therefore it is vital that there is a joined up approach and the NWHIC receives all of the support it can get.” ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today on the outcome of the Brexit referendum called for the “maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north … the Irish government must work to promote the interests of the whole island and the north in particular in future talks at EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. In the time ahead this should include a referendum on Irish unity.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Sinn Féin has a consistent position of opposition to the unacceptable and undemocratic aspects of the European Union. We have also consistently argued for a more robust and less compliant policy from successive Irish governments.
“In 1972, Sinn Féin and other progressives campaigned against membership of the EEC. Over the decades since then we have modified our position to one of critical engagement. This position was formally adopted by our Ard Fheis in 1999.
“Reform of the EU has been necessary for decades now. The outcome of the Brexit referendum should encourage such a process and it should be undertaken with urgency.
“On this island, notwithstanding partition, we should also accept the vote in the north. People voted to remain within the EU. That should be upheld.
“Some will say we are bound by a so-called United Kingdom vote. Sinn Féin says we are not. We need to put the island of Ireland first. We stand by the vote of the people of the north. All of us need an island wide vision.
“There is a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think nationally – on an all-island basis. The government, as a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the agreement and its political institutions.
“The British government has forfeited the claim to represent the north at EU level. Their policy has been rejected by the people.
“The Irish Government must work to promote the interests of whole Island and the north in particular in future talks at an EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. This can be achieved by the maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north.
“In the time ahead, this should include a referendum on Irish unity.
“The Democratic Unionist Party must also respect the Remain vote. The majority of citizens in the north, including many unionists, rejected its exit policy. The DUP should accept this.
“The task of everyone, therefore, must be to agree policies and strategies that can minimise any problems that will arise as a consequence of Brexit and to use this crisis, if we are able, to create a new Ireland and a new EU.”
Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish Version Follows
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is calling for more action in relation to drugs misuse in Westside.
After raising the issue at today’s Galway City Joint Policing meeting, the Galway West – South Mayo Senator says:
“I met people in a number of estates in Westside at the weekend who are extremely concerned at the increased activities of drugs users in the area. People are openly using drugs in parks and alleyways and leaving the syringes strewn around in places where children are walking and playing. I witnessed at least five syringes in one location backing on to a garden with a young family this weekend.
“I also heard of ongoing anti-social behaviour disturbances where elderly single people in particular are being targeted for abuse. Property is being damaged and people are being intimidated by a small handful of bullies.
“The Westside area is one that has seen huge cutbacks in funding for community supports over the last number of years. More needs to be done to support the younger people and to keep them actively engaged with the local community. The issue of drug misuse must be seen as a health and a justice issue however, with appropriate responses from the relevant state agencies.
“I have called on the City Joint Policing Committee and the Gardaí to look at initiatives that would tackle the level of drug abuse in the Westside and other areas in the city with similar problems. City Council need to look at the use by drug users of alleyways in estates, lighting, littering with drug use paraphernalia and the impact on local families.
“More investment in the social and community sector in areas like Westside is essential if issues such as drug abuse and anti-social behaviour are to be combatted properly and the government must make those supports available.” ENDS
Níos mó aicsean maidir le mí-úsáid drúgaí ag teastáil i ‘Westside’ – Ó Clochartaigh
Tá Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, ag iarraidh níos mó aicsean maidir le mí-úsáíd drugaí I ‘Westside’.
I ndiaidh dó an t-ábhar a ardú ag cruinniú de Chomhchoiste Póilíneachta Chathair na Gaillimhe inniu, deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:
“Chas me le daoine i roinnt eastáít I gceantar ‘Westside’ ag an deireadh seachtaine a bhfuil an-imní orthu maidir leis an ardú atá ag teacht ar ghníomhaíochtaí lucht úsáídte drugaí san áit. Tá daoine go h-oscailte ag tógáil drugaí sna páirceanna agus ar na cosáin, ag fágáil snaithaidí caite timpeall áít a bhfuil páistí óga ag spraoi agus ag siúl. Chonaic mé féin ar a laghad chúig snáthaid in áit amháin ag an deireadh seachtaine in aice le cúlgháirdín teaghlaigh le páísti óga.
“Chuala mé freisin faoi cuid mhaith mí-iompar sóisialta ag tarlú agus go bhfuiltear ag díriú ach go h-áirithe ar sheanóirí a chónaíonn leo féin. Tá damáiste dhá dhéanamh do shealúchais agus tá imeaglú dhá dhéanamh ag buíon beag bulaithe.
“Facthas ciorruithe móra i dtacaíochtaí pobail do cheantar an Westside le blianta beaga anuas. Caithfear níos mó a dhéanamh le cuidiú leis an aos-óg chun iad a choinneáil gníomhach ina gcuid pobail féin. Caithfear deileáil leis an gceist faoi mhí-úsáid drugaí mar ábhar sláinte poiblí agus ní mar cheist dlí & cirt amháin le gníomhaíocht cuí ag teacht ó na h-áisíneachtaí stáit oiriúnacha.
“Tá iarrtha agam ar Chomhchoiste Póilíneachta na Cathrach agus ar na Gárdaí féachaint ar thioncnaimh a chur ar bun a thiocfadh i ngleic leis an leibhéal mí-úsáid drugaí atá ar bun i Westside agus ceantracha eile sa gcathair. Ní mhór don Chomhairle Cathrach féachaint ar an mhí-úsáid drugaí ar chosáin sna h-eastáit, soilsiú, an t-ábhar a bhaineann le bruscar úsáideoirí drugaí agus an tionchar atá acu sin ar theaghlaigh áitiúla.
“Is gá breis infheistíochta a dhéanamh sna h-earnálacha sóisialta agus pobail sa gcathair i gceantracha cosúil le Westside má tá muid chun dul i ngleic mar is ceart le ceisteanna cosúil le mí-úsáid drugaí agus iompar frith-shóisialta agus caithfidh an rialtas na tacaíochtaí sin a chur ar fáil.”
Upper Bann Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley has condemned the sectarian arson attack carried out on Muckery Orange Hall in Derrytrasna.
Ms Seeley said:
"This attack represents not only an attack on the Orange Hall but an attack on the entire community in Derrytrasna. The people who carried out this reprehensible act have nothing to offer the community and do not represent the people of this area in any way.
"I have been in contact with the Lodge Secretary tonight to convey my own and my party's disgust at this incident. I wish to offer our support in whatever way possible.
"I also conveyed an offer made by Ógra Shinn Féin Upper Bann who wish to help with the clean up and repairs of the hall if possible. Incidents like this should be confronted for what they are - naked sectarianism.
"Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area should contact the PSNI"
Sinn Féin member of Seanad Éireann, Niall Ó Donnghaile, has called on the Irish government to open a passport office in Belfast.
Speaking today Mr Ó Donnghaile said:
“It is very clear that, in the wake of England voting to take the North of Ireland out of Europe, there has never been a larger demand for Irish passport applications in the north of Ireland.
“Passport forms have been snapped up across the north by all sections of the community and we have seen notices go up stating that, due to unprecedented demand, many places have run out of application forms and are waiting on more arriving.
“Sinn Féin have consistently made the case to the Irish government to open a passport office north of the border.
“Given the fact now that there is huge uncertainty over the implications of the North of Ireland being pulled out of Europe there is no better time for the Irish government to act.
“I have written to the Irish foreign affair minister Charlie Flanagan in order to draw his attention to this matter and to urge him to open a passport office in Belfast.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning said that the “Executive and the Irish government must uphold the vote of the electorate in the north to remain in the EU”. His constituency colleague Imelda Munster TD added that Fianna Fáil’s position on this issue is “typically confused and partitionist”.
Deputy Adams said:
“There is now a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think nationally; that is with an all-island view. The government, as a co-equal guarantor of the agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its political institutions.
“The British decision also puts at risk the human rights legislation that underpins much of the Agreement and the all-Ireland structures.
“The people in the north voted to remain a part of the EU. English votes threaten to drag it out of the EU. It is imperative that this democratic deficit is challenged.
“Sinn Féin believes that that can best be achieved by the maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north. In the time ahead, this should include a referendum on the border.”
Commenting on Fianna Fáil Deputy Declan Breathnach’s call to respect the outcome of the referendum, Deputy Munster said:
“Deputy Breathnach says we should respect the outcome of the vote. He also states that ‘as an island we must stand united’. The northern six counties of this island voted to stay with the EU. Will Deputy Breathnach stand with his fellow Irish citizens in the north who voted to remain or will he stand with those little Englanders who voted to leave?
“The Fianna Fáil position on this issue is typically confused and partitionist. Worse he wants the Irish government to meet with the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, who campaigned to leave the EU, to discuss how to protect the border region. Declan Breathnach is living in cloud cuckoo-land.”
Following the vote to leave the European Union, farmers in the north will lose out by as much as €34,000 a year, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned.
“The agriculture industry, one of the most vital industries on this island, now faces serious problems.
"When this referendum was called, and indeed throughout the campaign, the case of Irish farmers did not cross the mind of the British Tory party.
“The economy in the north relies heavily on EU agricultural payments and subsidies, as well as other important regional funding. Given the Tory agenda of austerity and thire cutting of the bloc grant, we in Sinn Féin have absolutely no confidence that the British government will replace these lost funds"
"In terms of the Common Agriculture Policy alone, farmers could lose in the region of €34,000 a year, which would cripple their livelihoods.
"This is not to mention the impact possible restrictions placed on cross-border trading would have.
"We in Sinn Féin fear that in future negotiations and in the eventual case of a Brexit, the British government won't fight for farmers in the north. Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for Irish farmers and fight their case in Europe, Leinster House, the Assembly and local government." ENDS
Speaking in the aftermath of the British referendum result, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD expressed concern for the future of all-island healthcare initiatives.
Deputy O'Reilly said:
“Sinn Féin believes healthcare must be developed on an all-Ireland basis. Ideally, we should be moving from increased cooperation to ultimately full integration of services on the island, maximising the healthcare benefits for all and achieving greater economies of scale.
“Indeed, in the past decade there have been developments in health cooperation between the Assembly and Leinster House, with a number of exciting joint departmental projects being developed. These include work on shared radiotherapy and paediatric cardiac services; health promotion focusing on alcohol, tobacco and obesity; cancer research; mental health; and suicide prevention.
“The result of the British referendum is deeply worrying for the future of this cooperation and parents, families and communities are anxious to see the continuation of this cooperation. This is particularly important given that the new children's hospital will have a state of the art cancer centre, which will service children across the whole island. However, this needs a critical mass of population to be effective and expert briefings have pointed out that this is envisaged as operating on an all island basis.
“Minister Simon Harris needs to engage with the Minister of Health in the Assembly as a matter of urgency to ensure that current and future cross border projects are maintained and secured for the future. Illness, disease and health know no borders and it is important that success in cross-border projects are continued into the future.”
Sinn Féin Senator and LGBTQI+ activist Fintan Warfield has wished the LGBTQI+ community, allies and friends across the island a safe, happy and healthy Pride. Senator Warfield also sent solidarity and love to all those affected by the tragic events in Orlando.
Dublin Pride takes place today, Saturday 25th June. The march assembles at the Garden of Remembrance at 12 noon.
Senator Fintan Warfield said:
“I want to wish the LGBTQI+ community, allies and friends across the island a safe, happy and healthy Pride.
“I want to give a special welcome to those who join the protest for their first time. I recall still being in the closet as I marched in my first Dublin Pride parade with Sinn Féin friends and comrades. Without direct knowledge, they alongside all of the participants provided a safety net, and facilitated my being there.
“All of those marching today understand acutely what it means not to be in a position to join the protest and celebration that is Dublin Pride.
“In an effort to promote inclusion and to reach out to those struggling with their sexuality, I believe there to be an onus on public service broadcasters to cover the occasion in a meaningful manner. Dublin Pride has quickly become the second largest festival parade after St. Patrick's Day.
“This year’s Dublin Pride follows the harrowing, tragic, and senseless attack on the LGBTQI+ community in Orlando, which devastatingly left 49 people dead. The news from Florida struck our community to its very core and Dublin Pride will undoubtedly reflect that sombre mood.
“Sinn Féin activists again take the opportunity to send love and solidarity as we continue to come to terms with the distress and devastation of the attack.
“Dublin Pride began following a public outcry and response to the homophobic murder of Declan Flynn. To this day, Republicans continue to support Pride, marching visibly, publicly and proudly against persecution and discrimination.”
Sinn Féin Cllr and now former Mayor of South Dublin County Council Sarah Holland spoke today in her last appearance in the office to thank all those who made her Mayorship both a success and a pleasure.
Cllr Holland said:
“A dhaoine uaisle, fáilte róimh go dtí an ócáid speisialta seo – this will be the new Mayors most oft used phrase.
“Fellow councillors, county officials, friends, comrades – it has been a huge honour for me as a working class woman from West Belfast to represent South Dublin County as first citizen, especially during this historic centenary year.
“I have never felt so proud to be a Republican. This council facilitated a huge number of events and we commemorated one of the most radical and progressive events of our nation’s history in a dignified and fully inclusive way. Republicanism was examined and celebrated and a new generation of children learned about the sacrifices which were made for us and the blows which were struck for our freedom. The role women played was hidden in the past and we blew the cobwebs off the dusty revisionism and shone a light on these radical, brave women who blazed a trail for us. Cllr Francis Noel Duffy did this beautifully in his stunning exhibition in Ballyroan library. Delighted to have someone of his ability as a constituency colleague.
“They also learned about the Proclamation, and made their own minds up about whether all of those ideals exist. I was particularly struck by Comhairle Na nÓg, who in their event, noted that we as a society had much more work to do before we could claim that we cherish all of the children of this nation equally.
“On the day the results of the Brexit results come out, I note that the 6 counties voted to remain in the EU and I believe that the only way that mandate can be respected is to start making plans to allow them to vote to join the 26 counties if they so wish.
“A key part of our events was community participation. One of our strengths as a country is our people. We live in a diverse and multi-cultural society where equal rights and opportunities as laid out in the Proclamation are still not available to all.
“The overall theme of my Mayorship was social inclusion, and I am proud to say we live in one of the most progressive local authority areas in Ireland. Our social inclusion and community teams are tireless in their efforts to make sure that every citizen has an opportunity to be included in civic life here in South Dublin County.
“High points for me included attending the Street League finals, the Bealtaine festival, the health and wellbeing program, the schools cross country tournament, engineers week, social inclusion week, having Terry from St John of God on Job Shadow day, attending Filipino Independence Day, the Ahmadiyyah annual meeting and ladies dinner, Kannada Rajyotsava, Diwali and the launch of the Tallaght Roma Integration Project report. My motion making Job Shadow a permanent feature of the Mayorship was passed unanimously, so every Mayor can benefit from this going forward. Special mention here goes to Cllr Vicky Casserley who quietly and tirelessly works to make sure that all citizens including those with different abilities are included in civic life, and she was instrumental in making sure that there was a new Paralympic section added to the schools cross country tournament among other achievements.
“I cannot thank the community team enough – the work they do behind the scenes here is second to none - their hearts and minds are open and this makes a huge difference to our citizens although it may not be obvious – I publicly thank them here.
“This Mayorship also brought visitors from Tampa – we were delighted to receive a delegation from Tampa, Florida and our Chamber was instrumental in organising a reciprocal visit within 8 months. This blossoming relationship will be of mutual benefit to us from a business, tourism, educational perspective and widens our horizons as a county. We want to make this the best place in Ireland to live, work and do business and have made huge leaps forward in this regard with high profile tenants moving into our business parks providing employment and rates revenue to the people of this county.
“I was proud to lead that delegation as Mayor and very proud to have my fellow female councillors with me Cllr Emer Higgins and Cllr Pamela Kearns. Those ladies know how to work a room - the women who represent the people of this county are trailblazers one and all and we can represent. We bring a lot to this table and that needs to be celebrated. By and large, the women in this room are true feminists who support each other (special mention to Cllr Breeda Bonner) hon the sisterhood.
“Cllr Louise Dunne in particular fought hard for an allocation for a new women’s shelter and inspires me daily with her work on highlighting domestic violence. I was also humbled by the Magdalene women and forced adoptees. Every public representative needs to hear their stories and I was grateful to Cllrs Dermot Richardson, Nicky Coules and Charlie O’Connor for taking the time to spend an afternoon listening. This is an injustice perpetrated on women and their children in our lifetime and we cannot allow that to be swept under the carpet. I’ll say it once more while I have this platform – the Magdalene women did nothing wrong and sex and reproduction are not sinful but a natural part of our existence which should never have been criminalised or suppressed. Trust women to make our own decisions and that includes having bodily autonomy. I call on the Government to initiate a referendum and let the people decide on Repealing the 8th amendment.
“Our incoming Mayor has a wealth of experience and is a tireless advocate for his community and will do the same for people all over this county. I tried to keep the office of Mayor as accessible to the people as possible. No event was too big or too small and this was made easy by the fact that we have the warmest and most welcoming communities in Ireland here in this county. I know Guss will do the same because he is a warm and open hearted and open minded man himself.
“All that remains is to sincerely thank everyone who made this year an incredibly positive experience – my fellow councillors, council staff and every man, woman and child I met along the way. I also want to thank the management team, the communications unit especially Elaine Leech, Marie and Cathy who made my job much easier and it was a pleasure working with them for the year. I also want to thank Tom who has been a rock of support, and the area chairs, Cllrs Francis Timmons, Guss O’Connell, Deirdre O’Donovan and Cathal King.
“The memories will stay with me - I have loved this job. Biggest thanks go to my daughter Gracie who has had to put up with a very busy working Mam and has accompanied me to a lot of events providing photographic assistance and moral support and to Jimbo, who patiently ferried me around and was a rock of support.”
Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said being dragged out of the European Union will have major complications for farmers.
The East Antrim MLA said;
"Following the move by a narrow-minded section of the British Tory party to drag us out of the European Union, there is widespread concern and fear among the farming community.
"Successive British governments have tried to reduce and withdraw subsidies and Brexit will only make matters worse.
"Our farmers receive vital support from the EU, Brexit will put all that in jeopardy.
"I have absolutely no faith that the British government will replace the funding from Europe which could now be lost.
“Following the Remain vote in the North there is now a democratic imperative for a referendum on the border.
"We also need to see the agriculture minister standing up for our farmers and working with her counterpart in Dublin and also in the European institutions.
"We need to continue build to the all-Ireland agriculture sector, working with others, for the benefit of all our farmers."
Sinn Féin Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that there is an immediate imperative FG/Independent government to open negotiations with Britain over the constitutional future of the north of Ireland.
The Meath West TD said:
“The Brexit decision will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Irish people north and south with regards trade, work, education, shopping, leisure and sport. Brexit will physically reduce the market within which our businesses function and it will reduce opportunity for all the people on the island.
“Before the Brexit referendum, Fine Gael admitted that normal life would not be the same if Britain chose to leave. Will they now passively simply accept this negative change?
“To protect people north and south from this damage, the Government has a moral responsibility to institute the necessary changes to rebuild the all-Ireland economy. Also if it is unacceptable for Scotland to have its democratic will obstructed, the same is true for the north of Ireland.
“This is a once in a century opportunity for us all on these islands to redesign our constitutional future. We should grasp this opportunity with both hands. We need a government that will be ambitious, bold and creative for Ireland at this critical juncture. However, I am concerned that the ‘Little Irelander’ mentality within the regional political parties of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will paralyse the southern establishment at this vital time.”
Following the results of the Brexit referendum, where English and Welsh votes will now drag the north out of the European Union, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said that there must now be a border poll on a united Ireland but that also the EU needs to view this as a wakeup call.
The Dublin MEP said,
“Sinn Féin have constantly highlighted the glaring democratic deficit at the heart of the EU and in recent polls trust in the EU continues to fall. A Pew Research Poll before the last European elections showed that a majority of citizens of seven major European Member States felt that their voice doesn't count in the EU.
"Sinn Féin campaigned for a remain vote but that campaign should not be interpreted as a ringing endorsement of the current EU. The EU status quo cannot continue. The European Institutions have got a serious wake up call and they must take on board the growing disillusionment among voters."
“In all negotiations, the impact on the island of Ireland must be central, but this British vote to leave is a clear message to the European Union that people are feeling discontent and it must be acted upon.
"Enda Kenny must heed that message and go to the EU Council next Monday and demand real reform, not just a tinkering around the edges.
"We need to build a progressive, prosperous and social Europe, which respects sovereignty." ENDS
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady said today, that despite welcoming the Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill, the Government need to go further in addressing the childcare crisis.
Deputy Brady said:
“It is simply not enough for the Government to introduce paternity leave pat themselves on the back and leave it at that. There is a crisis in childcare that goes much further than this Bill and it needs to be tackled.
“The 26 weeks of paid maternity leave that new mothers in this state are entitled to is paid at a low flat rate and it is one of the lowest levels of payment in the EU. €230 per week for mothers to remain at home from work is simply not enough and it is leading to hardship for parents.
“According to the OECD, Ireland has the highest childcare costs in the EU. Nothing is being done to tackle this and introducing paternity leave will not address this issue which has been ongoing and ignored by Government for years.
“Across the European Union, childcare costs around 12% of a family’s income, but in Ireland, it accounts for 35%.
“With this, the Government has taken away the lone parent allowance and expects lone parents to find employment while paying these massive costs for childcare on a reduced income. It really makes no sense.
“The absence of paid paternity leave to date has been a stain on successive government’s parental policy. This new bill should be implemented immediately, as proposed in Sinn Féin’s Budget 2016 submission A Fair Recovery.
“However, it must not be taken that the job is done once the Bill goes through. There must be a wider approach to organise leave and tackle the childcare crisis in Ireland.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking at Stormont Castle today along with First Minister Martin McGuinness and other Executive Ministers said:
“There is an onus on the British government to respect the democratic wishes of the people of the north.
“The Taoiseach has to think nationally in a real sense. The Irish government needs an all-island, all-Ireland view.
“The referendum result will have very profound effects for all of us on this island.
“There are real worries it will have an adverse impact on the two economies on this island. This will have serious consequences for jobs and investment and for families and communities.
“We could well see the reintroduction of border security controls between the north and south as well as the reintroduction of customs controls.
“The Brexit decision also presents real concerns in respect of its likely detrimental impact on the Good Friday Agreement and the Human Rights Act. The Tory government is already committed to the repeal of the Human Rights Act.
“The referendum will also adversely impact on equality issues, including equal pay; workers’ rights laws and anti-discrimination legislation. It will also reinforce the existing two-tier Europe.
“This referendum had nothing to do with the best interests of our people, our island and our economy and all do with factionalism within the Tory party.
“The people in the north voted to remain a part of the EU. The Good Friday Agreement is an international agreement. As a co-equal guarantor of the agreement the Irish government must also defend the interests of all the people of the island of Ireland at the EU Council meeting next week and in any future negotiations.
“A British exit from the EU presents a particular danger on the equality and human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement. These are at the core of that agreement.
“The British government has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the north in any future negotiations with the EU.
“There is now a democratic imperative for a border poll. The Irish government should support this.”
Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish Version Follows
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has said that the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government misled the Dáil and Seanad during the week on the issue of bin charges and that he must come back in to readdress the issues he failed to disclose.
Speaking today the Sinn Féin Galway West – South Mayo Senator was extremely critical of the Minister’s arrogant attitude, saying:
‘Minister Coveney was incredibly dismissive of us in the Seanad this week in a debate on a Sinn Féin motion to withdraw the Statutory Instrument that is allowing Waste Companies to rip off the citizens. He told us categorically that no-one would be paying more as a result of the new regime and that he had assurances from waste companies that people would probably pay much less under the new model.
‘It has come to light today however, that he is totally incorrect. Here in Galway for example, Barna Waste Recycling have confirmed to Raidió na Gaeltachta that this is only the case for current registered customers. Anyone previously using bags, or recycling their own waste will now have to register with the company as new customers and will have to pay a standing charge and pay by weight on their waste. This will certainly mean that they will be paying more than they have done thus far.
‘Either the Minister wasn’t aware of the companies’ plans to do this, hadn’t clarified this with them, or wilfully withheld this information and misled the Dáil & Seanad. Either of these is totally unacceptable.
‘Fianna Fáil wholeheartedly supported and praised the Minister for his handling of this situation, opposed our motion to maintain the status quo until this had been fully worked out, and are therefore fully complicit in this deceit.
‘This more than ever shows that Sinn Féin were correct this week in calling for the statutory instrument giving effect to these powers to be withdrawn and this can still be done. It is clear that the Waste Companies cannot be trusted to implement this new system fairly and that the privatisation model and the government are failing citizens on this issue.
‘Sinn Féin are calling on the Minister to come back in to the Dáil and Seanad as soon as possible to address this situation, repeal the bin hikes and put a process in place to provide waste management services which are effective, efficient and promote environmentally friendly activity which doesn’t financially penalise the people of Ireland.’
Chur Coveney dallamullóg ar an bParlaimint faoi Tháillí Bruscar – Ó Clochartaigh
Tá sé ráite ag Seanadóir Shinn Féin Trevor Ó Clochartaigh gur chur an tAire Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtas Áitiúil dallamullóg ar an Dáil & Seanad an tseachtain seo i dtaca leis na táillí bruscar agus go gcaithfidh sé teacht isteach arís chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na nithe nár nochtaigh sé le linn na díospóireachta.
Ag labhairt dó inniu bhí Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas thar a bheith cáinteach ar phostúlacht an Aire, ag rá:
‘Rinne an tAire Coveney beag is fiú ar fad don imní a léirigh muid sa tSeanad an tseachtain seo i ndíospóireacht ar rún le Sinn Féin chun Ionstraim Reachtúil atá ag ligean do chomhlachtaí bruscar saoránaithe a bhánú, a tharraingt siar. Deir sé linn go neamhbhalbh go raibh geallúintí aige ó na comhlachtaí dramhaíola nach mbeadh daoine ag íoc níos mó agus go mbeadh a bhformhór, mór ag íoc níos lú faoin gcóras nua.
‘Tá sé tagtha chun solais inniu áfach, go bhfuil sé seo mícheart amach is amach. Anseo i nGaillimh mar shampla, tá sé deimhnithe do Raidió na Gaeltachta ag Comhlacht Athchúrsála Bhearna nach mbaineann seo ach do chustaiméirí atá cláraithe leo cheana féin. Beidh ar aon duine a bhí ag déanamh a gcuid athchúrsála féin, nó ag ceannacht málaí bruscar sna siopaí clárú anois leis an gcomhlacht mar chustaiméirí nua agus mar thoradh ar sin beidh orthu táillí nua seasta a íoc agus costais íoc de réir meáchan sa mullach ar sin. Níl aon dabht mar sin, go mbeidh siadsan ag íoc i bhfad níos mó ná mar a bhí siad go dtí seo.
‘An amhlaidh nach raibh fhios ag an Aire go raibh i gceist ag na comhlachtaí seo a dhéanamh? An é nach raibh sé tar éis seo a fhiafrú dóibh? Nó an é gur choinnigh sé an t-eolas seo siar in aon turas agus é ag cur dallamullóg ar an Dáil & Seanad dhá bharr? Níl ceachtar de na cásanna sin inghlactha.
‘Thacaigh Fianna Fáil go h-uile agus go fonnmhar leis seo agus ardmholadh acu don Aire faoin gcaoi ar láimhseáil sé an cheist seo, ag cur i gcoinne rún s’againne a bhí ag iarraidh an staid reatha a choinneáil nó go mbeadh sé seo oibrithe amach ar fad agus bhíodar mar gheall ar sin lán pháirteach sa chomhcheilg seo ar fad.
‘Léiríonn seo níos mó ná ariamh go raibh an ceart ar fad ag Sinn Féin an tseachtain seo agus muid ag éileamh go dtarraingeofaí siar an ionstraim reachtúil seo a chealódh na cumhachtaí breise seo agus is féidir sin a dhéanamh go fóill. Tá sé ríshoiléir nach féidir muinín a chur sna Comhlachtaí Dramhaíola leis an gcóras nua seo a chur i bhfeidhm go cothrom, go bhfuil teipthe ar cur chuige an mhargadh príobháidigh agus go bhfuil an rialtas ag loic ar a gcuid dualgais do shaoránaithe na tíre.
‘Tá Sinn Féin ag iarraidh ar an Aire teacht isteach sa Dáil & Seanad chomh luath agus is féidir arís chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar an gceist seo, na h-ardaithe ar tháillí bruscar a tharraingt siar agus próiseas a chur sa tsiúl a chuirfidh seirbhísí bailithe bruscar i bhfeidhm atá éifeachtach, ar ardchaighdeán agus a spreagfaidh deá-chleachtais ó thaobh an chomhshaoil agus nach leagfaidh pionóis bhreise airgid ar mhuintir na hÉireann.’
Speaking today on the Water Services Bill Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, John Brady TD reminded the Government that the thousands of people that took to the streets in County Wicklow did not do so for the suspension of water charges, but their abolition.
Deputy Brady said:
“The imposition of the water charges has compounded the hardship on some of the most vulnerable people in our society and has impacted disproportionately on low income households.
“The terms of reference for the Expert Commission need to be expanded to include issues such as how best to avoid water poverty. It has been proven that where water charges have been introduced, water poverty levels have escalated. Almost a quarter of households in England and Wales suffer from water poverty due to water charges imposed on people. Water is a basic human right and not a commodity.
“Many people through intimidation and coercion reluctantly paid water charge bills, effectively paying a third time for such a basic human right. These payments must be repaid to anyone that has paid this tax to date and I’m calling on the Minister to initiate that process with immediate effect.
“It is critically important that our water services remain in public ownership to stop water becoming a commodity for the capitalist profiteers.
“The Minister has said that the government want to keep our water services in public ownership. Frankly, I have no faith in this government in keeping their word on this.
“The only way to ensure that our water services remain in public ownership is to set a date for a referendum and enshrine it in our Constitution. There is no reason why a date cannot be set for that now; we don’t need a commission to report back, if we believe what the government have said on this.
“The terms of reference for the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services are too narrow. It is clear that they have been designed to direct the works of the Commission in a particular way. If it is to have any value, it should be tasked to look at the funding and delivery of all water and sanitation services. This should include an examination of what is the best model for delivering high quality water services on the basis of need and not ability to pay.”
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin has called the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2016, “another example of this government kicking difficult issues into touch.”
Despite the majority a majority of the 32nd Dáil being elected on an anti-water charges platform, the Bill that was debated today only provides for the suspension of domestic water charges for nine months. The Bill also fails to deal with the issue of arrears from the first year of billing.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Bill debated today is a result of a ‘grubby little deal’ made between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to secure power.
“This Bill doesn’t provide for the abolition of Irish Water and it does not guarantee that domestic water charges will be discontinued.
“It only offers a temporary suspension of domestic water charges, which is contrary to all Fianna Fáil’s pre-election promises.
“The expert commission does not provide a ‘clear path for an end to water charges’.
“All the suspension and commission does is buy time for the government.
“For a real review to be effective, the expert commission must address the key concerns of water poverty and water conservation, and not solely focus on payment models for water charges.
“The enormous problems in our water and sanitation services are as a result of decades of severe under investment by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil led governments.
“The government does not want to invest in water and sanitation services. It has chosen tax cuts over investment in public services.
“The Right2Water movement has outlined an alternative to failed water policies of previous governments.
“Water will be provided for on the basis of need and not on ability to pay. Water services will be funded through direct taxation.
“Public ownership of water and water services must be enshrined in the Constitution.
“It will be delivered through a democratically accountably and transparent board working with the river basin management groups and local authorities.
“It will implement an ambitious capital investment programme in the water and sewage system, while meeting the broad objectives of the European Water Framework Directive.
“The Right2Water movement will be watching Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil closely on this issue.
“There will be a huge electoral cost for any politician that was elected on a platform for the abolition of charges and then fails to keep their promise.
“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for the total abolition of domestic water charges and keep our manifesto promise.”