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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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Responding to the UUP proposals on Haass published this morning, Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said that the proposals were ‘fantasy politics driven by electoral concerns rather than any desire to deal with the outstanding issues’.

Mr Kelly said:

“The proposals published today by the UUP include a march at Drumcree, the investigation of people who have been told no evidence exists against them and the dropping of investigations into offences where the PSNI have identified prosecutions can take place.

“Even by recent Mike Nesbitt and UUP standards these proposals are fantasy politics. Does he seriously think that they provide a basis for dealing with the outstanding Haass issues? Does he seriously think that anybody will take them seriously as a basis for moving forward?

“This is a list of unionist demands and entirely ignores the concerns and positions of nationalists and republicans.

“I suspect Mr Nesbitt knows very well that these proposals are not realistic proposals and are more about the upcoming election campaign than any sensible desire to deal with the past, parades or issues of cultural equality.”

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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams recently met with Margaret Swords, Group General Manager, of the Louth Meath Hospital Group and Angela McNamee, Director of Nursing, to discuss the impact of the National Service Plan on hospital provision for Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and Our Lady of Lourdes in Navan.

The Sinn Féin leader was accompanied by Councillor Imelda Munster, Councillor Tomas Sharkey, East Meath representative Eimear Ferguson and Drogheda representative Kenneth Flood.

The Louth TD said:

“This was an informative and very useful meeting. Ms Swords acknowledged that the Louth-Meath group would see cuts to its funding as a result of the National Service Plan but said that these could be absorbed within the group’s current strategy.

“The Group General Manager said that there would be no cuts to services and outlined additional services that would be provided in the year ahead, including an ophthalmology service providing cataract operations in Louth County Hospital and an ongoing new build programme in Our Lady of Lourdes that will see new operating theatres and a new emergency department.

“However Ms Swords acknowledged that that there are difficulties in moving patients through the emergency department as quickly as she would like into beds. Ms Swords revealed that of the 209 beds in the hospital 107 are occupied by patients over 75 years of age and 160 of the patients are over 65. Some of these patients have been treated but because they cannot go home without a home care package or there are no residential places, they are taking up beds which should be used for patients.

“The failure of the government to provide appropriate residential accommodation or home care packages have put Our Lady of Lourdes under unacceptable pressure.”

Commenting on the situation Councillor Imelda Munster said:

“It is clear from our conversation with the Group General Manager that the failure by the government to provide residential care for elderly citizens and the removal of long stay and respite beds from the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda in 2012 is adding to the burden on health service provision for the elderly.

“At the time the public was told that 16 transitional care beds would be provided in the Cottage Hospital along with increased funding for home adaption and mobility grants for the elderly to assist those who want to remain living independently in their homes.

“Since then funding for the home adaption and mobility grants has been slashed from €80 million to €38 million.

“At the time there was a commitment to provide a new 100 bed unit in St Mary’s Hospital on the Dublin Road before the HIOA standards come in to force in January 2015. There was been no application for funding in 2012 or 2013. An application for funding was made in recent months but there is no guarantee that the funding will be given.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader has said Frank Flannery must accept an invitation from the Public Accounts Committee for him to come before them.

Deputy McDonald was speaking today after the Irish Times revealed that Rehab paid Mr Flannery to lobby the government.

She said;

“Just as rehab have been arrogant and dismissive of public concerns so too has Frank Flannery.

“For the second time the PAC has written to invite him to appear before the committee.

“He must come in and address all of the issues in relation to executives pay and pension pots, in relation to Rehab’s dealings with his company Complete Eco Systems and in relation to his consultancy which Rehab paid him for.

“Frank Flannery shouldn’t imagine that he can put his head in the sand and hope these issues will go away. That won’t happen.

“He must accept the invite extended to him by the Public Accounts Committee.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Lynn Boylan today accused Labour and Fine Gael for pursuing anti-women policies in government.

Boylan was speaking at today’s National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Soap Box initiative in Dublin city centre to mark International Women’s day.

The young Tallaght woman said:

“This week the National Women’s Council published a policy document calling for a women-friendly parliament, a report released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights once again detailed the stark reality of violence against women and girls.

“Low levels of female participation in politics and the prevalence of violence against women and girls must be tackled, and so too must the impact of austerity on women and their children.

“Years of austerity budgets have systematically inflicted pain on women with cuts to child benefit, maternity benefit and disability supports targeted.

“In the government’s 2011 budget lone parents, of which women make up 73%, effectively saw a 5% cut to their income and they were targeted again in subsequent years by cuts to one parent family payments and back to school clothing & footwear allowances. 

“Since the crisis began Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have pursued fiscal and social policies that are anti-women.

“Some employers and their representative groups, with the assistance of government, have sought to turn the recession into an opportunity making low paid work even more precarious by championing zero hour contracts and attacking wage agreements.

“Women often make up the majority of workers in sectors such as retail, hospitality and healthcare where employment has become increasingly insecure creating an avoidable cycle of poverty.

“Government talk of fairness is nothing more than lip service as we’ve seen from the last three budgets which have targeted women for the meanest of the cuts.

“No surprise really as the annual budget is actually decided on by the four man Economic Management Council.

“Labour talks the talk of equality but time and again fails to walk the walk. Labour Ministers have turned their back on the very notion of Equality Budgeting despite the endorsement of this progressive policy by their own party members.

“For women out of work the picture is not much better with numbers on the live register stagnating, and in some parts of working class Dublin their numbers are increasing. Is it any wonder that the number of women experiencing deprivation has doubled in the last three years?

“To mark this year’s International Women’s Day I am calling on all organisations and individuals committed to equality of opportunity to unite in the demand for equality budgeting and decent work for all.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesman on fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has called on Minister Simon Coveney to ensure that the Naval Service is very vigilant of a Lithuanian-registered super trawler, the Margiris, which is off the west coast.

Deputy Ferris said:

“I am gravely concerned at the news that the Fisheries Protection Authority has confirmed that this ship, which was previously banned from Australian waters, is off our coast.

“The Irish Naval Service has seen the vessel’s log and confirmed that it has a 5,000 tonne quota for blue whiting.

“However, this is the second biggest fishing vessel in the world and now it is registered in Lithuania so it can fish in European waters. This begs the question if the Lithuanian flag is a flag of convenience.

“Irish fishermen and women are constantly monitored by the Naval Service to ensure that they are not fishing over quota or for fish for which they do not have a quota.

“I hope that the same vigilance will be employed on this super trawler for as long as it remains in Irish waters and that a physical inspection of its catch will take place.”

ends

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) call for a two region policy on Single Farm Payments does not represent the best option for all Farmers.

Ms Anderson said:

"I have been engaged in extensive visits to every part of the North during the period on negotiations of CAP reform. I have met with hundreds of farmers and the constant that I hear in all of these engagements is the desire for a single region model.

"The present model cannot be justified any longer as it is based on production levels from more than a decade ago, therefore creating an historical imbalance. The two region model would further exacerbate this and create a ghetto for farmers in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas, who are contrary to UFU views productive farmers. 

"The single region model would be more equitable and sustain productive farmers in all areas not just some. 

"The UFU should review its position and listen to the working farmers." 

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Sinn Féin EU Midlands Northwest candidate, Matt Carthy, has described media reports of the possible shelving of proposed large wind farms across the midlands, if true, as “a victory for communities who have been campaigning and making their voices heard on this issue”.

Carthy said that it was now time for the government to develop all-Ireland wind farm planning regulations that put communities at the heart of decision-making processes.

Cllr Carthy said:

“Media reports today of the possible shelving of these proposed large-scale wind farm projects across the midlands, if true, point to a victory for all those communities who have been tirelessly campaigning and making their voices heard on this issue.

“Aside from the legitimate concerns regarding land value, agriculture and tourism, the fact that the electricity was to be exported to Britain never made any economic sense. It also cut across this country’s own need to replace its dependence on imported fossil fuels with domestically generated renewable energy.

“It is now time for the government to put in place stringent guidelines on wind farm planning regulations. These regulations should be people-centred and put communities at the heart of decision-making processes. We cannot have another situation where large-scale developments such as this are rail-roaded through without the consent of the communities affected.

“Despite the reports today Sinn Féin will be shortly producing a Bill which would ensure that any future wind farm projects are strictly regulated in terms of set-back distances, height and consultation with communities.”

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