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No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has again accused the Fine Gael/Labour Government of "blatant and unashamed cronyism" for packing state boards with party political hacks.

Mr Adams was speaking today as further denials emerged about appointments by Pat Rabbitte to the board of Bord na Mona and Finance Minister Michael Noonan's appointment of a long-time Fine Gael activist to the board of NAMA.

Gerry Adams said:

"We see today that Pat Rabbitte has admitted that the political affiliations of the two appointees to the board of Bord na Mona, did indeed influence those appointments.

"Meanwhile Michael Noonan admits that his appointment of a long-time Fine Gael activist to the board of the National Management Agency (NAMA) was not made through any public appointment process.

Gerry Adams said:

"This Fine Gael/Labour government has so clearly betrayed the electorate.

"It promised a ‘democratic revolution’ but has delivered the same stale, old politics of previous governments.

"Apart from the blatant and unashamed cronyism that we have again witnessed in recent days in relation to state boards, there are other issues such as Ministers favouring their own constituencies for funding and the Government seeking to retain control over the banking inquiry by stuffing it with Government TDs and Senators.

"This is a far cry from the much vaunted new politics of openness transparency that we heard so much about during the 2011 General Election."

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Martina Anderson MEP said today the four Sinn Féin MEPs will be supporting the GUE/NGL nominee, Pablo Iglesias for European Parliament President. 

Martina Anderson said:

“The four Sinn Féin MEPs representing every county in Ireland will be supporting the GUE/NGL candidate for European Parliament President.

“Pablo Iglesias is a member of the Spanish ‘PODEMOS’ (‘we can’) Party which like Sinn Féin fought a successful election on a clear anti-austerity platform.

“We aim to challenge the cosy consensus in Europe which has promoted austerity legislating for cuts attacking the living standards of millions of people across Europe.

“Our Sinn Féin team will work with other like-minded MEPs to deliver economic growth and job creation based on social justice and equality for the people of Ireland.” 

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Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD, speaking in response to a sudden drop in lamb prices this week, said:

“This is another blow to the weaker sector of farm producers, with 60c/kg drop in sheep prices.

“It is despite the fact that demand is up due to the start of Ramadan. There is clear need for regulation of the meat industry. Beef farmers are suffering too and it seems as if meat prices can change at the whim of the processers, while the producers go under.”

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Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today cut the first sod at the site of the new Tannaghmore Primary School in Lurgan. 

The new 21 classroom school will provide state-of-the-art facilities for pupils and staff as well as giving a boost to the local construction industry. The Department of Education has invested £6million in this project. 

Speaking at the site the Minister said: 

“Tannaghmore Primary School has been part of the educational fabric in the Lurgan area for over 100 years and today marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the school. 

“The start of construction work represents an investment of £6million by my Department in the future of this area and its community. The new facilities will deliver a modern, progressive learning environment for the school’s 600-plus children. The provision of this new accommodation will also ensure Tannaghmore Primary School is well equipped to deliver the curriculum to the existing pupils and future generations.”

In conclusion the Minister said:

 “I would like to thank and pay tribute to everyone involved with this project for all the hard work they have undertaken to reach this very exciting stage in the future of Tannaghmore Primary School. 

“I also look forward to coming back in the future to see the new school building once it is completed.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has welcomed the announcement that St Michael’s Primary School, Clady, will remain open. 

The Newry and Armagh MLA that he is absolutely delighted for this small rural community which has endured the threat of closure and uncertainty for the past two years.

Cathal Boylan said;

“This positive response will now give the Principal, staff, parents, school children and local community an opportunity to develop and grow the school and continue the delivery of an extremely high standard of education for its pupils. 

“I would like to recognise the hard work of St Michael’s Steering Group, under the guidance of Chairperson Mickey Savage and secretary Tracey Toner, for their diligence in producing a very professional report during the consultation process.  

"Recognition must also go to all those in the local community who supported a very well organised campaign to retain the education of their children in Clady.”

The Sinn Féin MLA concluded by saying that it is now important that every necessary resource is supplied to ensure the children of the Clady receive a first class educational experience. 

“CCMS, having made this announcement today, must now support proposals for modern facilities that will deliver for all of the pupils of the parish of Kilcluney.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the agreement that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will move to Ballykelly saying that it is a boost to the entire region.

 Mr Ó hOisín stated,

 “The news that there is now agreement that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will set up its headquarters in the former British Army base in Ballykelly is a massive vote of confidence to the entire region.

 “This will be the first time that a full department will be situated West of the Bann and will provide huge economic benefits to the local community.

 “This decision will not just deliver many public service jobs to the area but will create many more ancillary jobs in the service and supply sectors across the North West. It will also secure jobs in the local retail sector through the additional disposable spending power it will bring to the region.

 “There will also be an opportunity for civil servants currently residing in the area to apply for a transfer so they can work closer to home.

 “We now need to move to the next stage and begin to prepare the site for the department which again will create jobs in the local construction sector and this should begin immediately.

 “I am also pleased that there is now agreement on a fund of up to £650m to be spent on rural development projects.  This will allow for rural communities to access services that people in urban areas take for granted.

 "I would call on other Ministers to take their lead from Michelle O'Neill and follow through on the Programme for Government's commitment to tackling regional disparity through decentralisation.” 

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This report confirms what republicans have said about the RUC Special Branch for many years. This force within a force showed complete disregard over decades for the lives and safety of the nationalist community.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the latest report from the Police Ombudsman is a damning indictment of the RUC Special Branch.

 And the Policing Board member said it highlights the need to implement the Haass proposals on dealing with the past. 

 Speaking following the publication of a Police Ombudsman's report which found that senior RUC officers could have prevented the killing of a police officer in 1977, Gerry Kelly said; 

 "This report confirms what republicans have said about the RUC Special Branch for many years. 

 “This force within a force showed complete disregard over decades for the lives and safety of the nationalist community.

 “However, in the case of Joseph Campbell it was also clearly prepared to sacrifice the life of one of its own officers to protect an informer. 

 "This case details the rotten core of the RUC going back almost four decades. 

 "As the report clearly demonstrates, this cannot be explained away by pointing the finger of blame at individual RUC officers.

 “The Head of Special Branch and probably even the Chief Constable knew of the threat to Sgt Campbell’s life and took no action to prevent his killing.

 "Once again, like other investigations into collusion and wrongdoing by the RUC, former officers have refused to co-operate with the Ombudsman and key files have been destroyed. 

 "These continued attempts to block the truth, only adds to the pain and suffering of the victims. 

 “This case shows once again the need for mechanisms such as those contained within the Haass proposals to deal comprehensively with the issue of the past.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said tonight the British government must end its policy of obstructing inquests into the state murders of six men shot dead in Co Armagh in 1982.

 The North Belfast MLA was speaking after Coroner John Leckey revealed he had written to British Secretary of State Theresa Villers three weeks ago about further delays in the inquests. Theresa Villiers has so far failed to respond.

Gerry Kelly said:

 “The families of the six unarmed men executed by state forces in a series of shootings in Co Armagh in November and December 1982 have been denied even the most basic inquiry into the killings of their loved ones.

 “The judicial system, the police and the British government have treated these families with contempt.

 “There is nowhere else in Europe where families have been forced to wait more than 30 years on an inquest.

 “Theresa Villiers and her colleagues continue to ignore European rulings on inquests.

 “They are piling insult on top of injury to the families of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman, Sean Burns, Michael Tighe, Seamus Grew and Roddy Carroll.

 “If further evidence were needed, Theresa Villiers has demonstrated once again that not everyone is being treated equally and fairly in the eyes of the law.

 “The cover-ups need to stop now and the information requested by the coroner should be provided immediately.”  ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has paid tribute to President Michael D Higgins for organising a reception for elected representatives from across Ireland. 

Speaking ahead of visiting Aras an Uachtaráin on Saturday to attend a reception for parliamentarians from throughout Ireland, the West Tyrone MLA said; 

"President Michael D Higgins has written to every MLA and TD in Ireland to invite them to a reception at Aras an Uachtaráin. 

"I was honoured and proud to accept and will be attending the presidential reception alongside my colleagues Martin McGuinness, Caitríona Ruane, Cathal Boylan, Phil Flanagan and Mickey Brady. 

"As an all-Ireland party, a number of Sinn Féin TDs will also be in attendance. 

"I would like to commend President Higgins for taking this initiative and inviting all of Ireland's parliamentarians from across the Ireland together to Aras an Uachtaráin. 

"I am looking forward to attending the reception and I am pleased that the doors of Aras an Uachtaráin will be open to people from each of the 32 counties. 

"Over recent years Sinn Féin has taken many bold and generous steps to benefit the peace process and promote reconciliation. 

"Hopefully other parties will make similar gestures and accept the invitation from President Higgins an attend this historic event.” 

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh