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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has congratulated John Hume on winning the RTÉ compettion to identify Ireland's greatest person.

Gerry Adams said:

"I want to congratulate John on achieving this unique and singulare honour. It is a measure of the esteem in which he is held that he secured most votes. I am sure his family will be enormously proud." ENDS

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Speaking after attending a Tasc round table meeting on the economy Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan said there is a growing consensus around his party’s position that the 2014 target for cutting the budget deficit is unrealistic and unachievable.

Deputy Morgan said:

“It is quite obvious that the Government’s economic strategy is wrong. There is a growing consensus now around my party’s position that the 2014 target for cutting the budget deficit is unrealistic and unachievable.

“The Government must now go back to the EU and negotiate a new and realistic timeframe for reducing the deficit.

“The debate now needs to move on to how we reduce the deficit. Sinn Féin is the only party advocating an approach that doesn’t involve cutting vital frontline services and attacking low and middle income families.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA and Executive Minister Conor Murphy has stated that the Executive should now prepare a united approach to fighting the punitive cuts being brought forward by the British government. This follows today’s Executive meeting which dealt mainly with the Comprehensive Spending Review and the affect it will have on the local economy.

Speaking earlier Mr Murphy said:

“Today’s meeting was realistic and dealt with the issues at hand.

“We put it to our Executive colleagues that there needs to be consensus when fighting these cuts. We were elected to do this and represent the citizens of the North, to deliver for them and not to acquiesce to what the British government has proposed. This would be failing our electorate gravely.

“The Tory government, though Owen Patterson, has said that they received an endorsement for their platform of cuts from the electorate and that people knew what they were voting for.

“Let us be clear. That mandate was rejected whole-heartedly at the last election in the North of Ireland with not one conservative candidate being elected. We said no then to cuts then and we are saying no now.

“We have laid out measures to grow the economy based around what was promised from the Gordon Brown. Owen Patterson stated he would honour this agreement yet £4bn has been removed from this package.

“This is a disaster for the local economy, especially the construction industry. There is no fairness in devastating one of the main sectors of the northern economy, as there is no fairness in attacking the most vulnerable in society through attacks on pensions, benefits and low-income families.

“Coming from this we need to see the political parties sitting down, bringing proposals to the table to work out a clear strategy on the best way forward.

“Sinn Féin have already released our document and there has been positive acceptance of it containing viable and workable economic proposals. Let debate these and lets have the other parties bring forward similar proposals. The initiative lies with us all here.

“The Assembly has already been recalled to debate the economic crisis and as an Executive we must follow suit. Today is the start of that process. We need to accelerate our efforts and work towards safeguarding and providing jobs in the immediate future and putting in place economic stimulants for future growth.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA this afternoon met Minster for the Gaeltacht Pat Carey in Leinster House.

Mr. Adams was accompanied by Gráinne Nic Géidigh, Sinn Féin elected member of Údaras na Gaeltachta, Aengus O Snodaigh TD, Gearoid O hEara and Marcas Mac Ruairí.

Speaking afterward Mr. Adams said:

“Today’s meeting was an opportunity for Sinn Féin to discuss in some detail with the Minister a range of issues around the Irish language and the future of the Gaeltacht.

“We had a very full and useful discussion. Among the issues we discussed were Plean 2030, the restructuring of Foras na Gaeilge and the implications of the proposed reorganisation of Údaras na Gaeilge and the future sustainability of the Gaeltacht areas.

“We also asked the Minister to ensure that the Taoiseach actively engages with the British Prime Minister on the rights of Irish speakers in the North including the right to an Acht na Gaeilge.

“The issue of the Irish language is a priority on Sinn Féin’s agenda and it’s important that political parties co-operate on the question of the promotion of Irish in-so-far as is possible.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for TDs salaries to be cut by 20 per cent and Ministers salaries by 40 per cent. The Sinn Féin leader has also criticised the Government and Fine Gael and the Labour Party for standing over the 2014 target date for reducing the budget deficit to 3 per cent of GDP and continuing to promote cuts to frontline services and social protections.


Speaking in Dublin this morning Mr Adams said:

“It is now clear that the 2014 target for cutting the budget deficit doesn't make sense and is unachievable. Furthermore I believe that the Government parties and Fine Gael and Labour are aware that this date can't be met.

“To stick to this date now is economic folly. To continue to promote savage cuts to public services and social protections is self defeating.

“Instead of attacking the most vulnerable citizens TDs’ and Ministers’ salaries should be cut. Sinn Féin proposes that TDs should take a 20 per cent cut and Ministers salaries should be cut by 40 per cent.”

Mr Adams added:

“SF has organised a mass rally for Dublin City Centre on December 4th in defence of low and middle income earners; of public services and the most vulnerable.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Housing Martin Ferris TD has slammed the decision by the Housing Finance Agency to raise interest rates for local authority mortgage holders by .5%.
 
The Kerry North TD said:
“Local authority mortgages are subject to a variable interest rate that usually tracks the ECB rate. However, the Finance Agency refused to pass on the last ECB decrease and now, even without any change in the ECB rate, it has imposed a .5% increase. This will cause enormous difficulty for local authority mortgage holders.
 
“Only this week it was revealed that the level of arrears for local authority mortgage loans is six times higher than for loans from banks and building societies. This is because local authority mortgage holders are low income by definition. They are the homeowners who suffer most from interest rate increases. It is incomprehensible that this decision would be taken in the wake of that finding.
 
“The government has repeatedly stated that it cannot interfere in the interest rate decisions taken by banks. It cannot use that excuse for local authority rates. The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, must step in immediately.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chief Whip Carál Ní Chuilín MLA has submitted the required number of names today to ensure the recall of the Assembly on Monday the 25th of October.
The recall will be to debate the pressing concerns regarding the impact of the British Government Comprehensive Spending Review.

Speaking today Ms Ní Chuilín said:

“Sinn Fein have been successful in having the Assembly recalled next week to debate yesterdays cuts by the Tory Government.

“The protection of our jobs, of those who are vulnerable, of our health and education systems, and indeed the long term prospects of the economy are much too important to leave to another day. The British Governments proposals affect us all and our constituents right now.

“We must present a united front from the Assembly and make a stand against these cuts and press for real economic levers to determine what happens with our own economy.

“It is not good enough that the British Tory coalition, who have absolutely no-one elected in the North, dictate what form our economy will take.” ENDS

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Gerry Adams will tomorrow, 22nd October, lead a delegation of Sinn Féin elected representatives and Irish language enthusiasts to meet with the Minster for the Gaeltacht Pat Carey.

The meeting will take place in Leinster House and will discuss a range of Irish language issues including the Plean 2030, the restructuring of Foras na Gaeilge and the implications of the proposed Údaras na Gaeilge on the future sustainability of the Gaelatcht areas.

Sinn Féin has previously been involved in regular meetings with the former minister Éamon Ó Cuiv and hope to continue this engagement with Mr. Carey.

Those attending the meeting include Gerry Adams President of Sinn Féin and MP for West Belfast, Gráinne Nic Géidigh, Sinn Féin elected member of Údaras na Gaeltachta and Pearse O Doherty, Sinn Féin elected member of the Seanad and Aengus O Snodaigh TD.

Gerry Adams said, “The issue of the Irish language is very high on the Sinn Féin political agenda and it’s important that political parties co-operate on the question of the promotion of Irish in-so-far as is possible.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey MLA has said that the case of Anton Craig indicates clearly what the party has been saying for some considerable time regarding British Securocrats use and abuse of so called dissident organisations.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said;

“Recent court cases and various other judicial proceedings seem to show a worrying trend of MI5 agents, or indeed those suspected of being MI5 agents, acting as instigators in many of the actions carried out by these micro-groups.

Studying these cases it appears clear to us that the warnings we have been flagging up about the degree of infiltration in these groups is proving hugely dangerous.

We are seeking to discuss these matters with those members of the legal profession who are also raising these same concerns, as well as raising it directly with the Irish and British Governments.” CRÍOCH

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Martin Ferris TD has called on the Government to reallocate some of the tens of thousands of empty houses in ghost estates to people on local authority housing lists.

He was responding to a report published by the Department of the Environment this afternoon which shows that there are 120,000 empty houses on 2,800 estates around the country.

Deputy Ferris said: “While the number of empty houses identified by the report is a telling indictment of the speculative property boom that led to much of the problems we are currently facing, they also present a potential opportunity.

“There are many people on local authority housing lists throughout the state and I would propose that so-called ‘ghost estates’ be transferred to local authorities to be allocated to these people. Where work remains to be done on infrastructure before people could move in then that would also provide a stimulus to the construction and other trades and help to address local unemployment.

“There are currently 1,000 people on the housing list in my own county and this report has identified 675 houses in Kerry that are complete but unoccupied. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out where at least a partial solution lies.”

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Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the 2014 target for reducing the budget deficit to 3% is completely unrealistic and called on the Government to negotiate a new timeframe with the EU.

Deputy Ó Caoláin accused the Consensus for Cuts - Government, Fine Gael and Labour - of deceiving the Irish people in an attempt to bluff international bondholders.

Speaking today after the ESRI report vindicated Sinn Féin’s position on cutting the deficit to 3% by 2016 Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“This morning’s ESRI report has completely vindicated the Sinn Féin position that 2014 was an unachievable target for cutting the deficit to 3%.

“I believe that the Government has known that this target is unachievable but pursued a political consensus around it in a fundamentally flawed attempt to create confidence in Ireland among international bondholders.

“The Government is also attempting to soften up the Irish people for a savage Budget 2011 with at least three more to follow. This is not just about the duration of the deficit reduction - it's also about how it is done and the Consensus for Cuts is preparing to attack people on low incomes, vital front-line public services and jobs.

“The Government, and their cohorts in the Consensus for Cuts, have been deceiving the Irish people in an attempt to bluff international bondholders. But this approach was always doomed to failure because it was a bluff that would inevitably have been found out.

“It is now time for these political parties to come clean and admit that 2014 is unachievable. The Government must go back to the EU and negotiate a more realistic target for reducing the deficit and all these parties must accept that there is a better way.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Benefits spokesperson Mickey Brady has criticised the move to abolish the baby element of Child Tax Credit from 6 April 2010.

Speaking from Stormont today Mr Brady said;

“This move is a retrograde one and in particular during this time of economic hardship will cause greater distress to parents of young children.

The initial report indicated that this was a like for like change but after questioning at the committee it became clear that this would actually mean a £10.50 loss for people with children under the age of one.

The committee has written to the Department of Social Development seeking urgent clarification on this matter.” CRÍOCH

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Speaking to the media this morning in Belfast, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, said his party was seeking the urgent recall of the Assembly to meet early next week to discuss our response to the British Tory cuts package.

Mr Adams said:

“We are looking to have the Assembly recalled to meet next week and allow the Finance Minister to make an urgent statement following yesterdays cuts by the Tory Government.

“We are currently collecting the necessary signatures to allow for this and we are looking to all of the other parties to support us in this.

“There will be an Executive meeting tomorrow.

“As some one who lives here I was deeply offended having to watch a British Tory Minister dictate how people here will live.

“We need to make a stand. We need to have control over our own economic levers. The British have been threatening cuts for some months.

“Sinn Féin has opposed these and last week we published proposals to defend front line public services; generate revenue, and cut waste. And to stimulate the economy. There is better way than that being dictated by London. The Tory proposals are unacceptable and must be opposed.” ENDS

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Speaking this morning following the publication of the third quarterly report by the ESRI Arthur Morgan said the Sinn Féin position of advocating for a longer period of time for reducing the deficit had been vindicated.

Deputy Morgan said:

“This morning’s Quarterly Economic Commentary by the ESRI has rubbished the Government’s , Fine Gael and Labour party’s target of achieving a budgetary position of 3% of GDP by 2014. In fact they say that it is 'incredible' and go on to suggest a longer timeframe of 2016.

“2016 is the timeframe that Sinn Féin has been proposing for the last number of weeks and is the deadline set out in our pre-budget submission to be launched in next few weeks.

“Of course we were told by the economic whiz-kids which form the ‘Consensus for Cuts’ that our position was not viable. The blinkers have been on these parties for so long that economic reason escapes them. Now we have ICTU, Professor Karl Whelan and the ESRI supporting the case for a longer timeframe for economic recovery.

“There is a place for these establishment parties in our consensus for stimulus and recovery - the consensus that does not savage the public services or ordinary people.

“We did not row in behind the other Dáil parties in their ‘Consensus for Cuts’ because we knew there was a better, fairer way.

“The 'Consensus for Cuts' brigade were the same parties who got the economy so spectacularly wrong in the run-up to the crisis when they all jumped on the cutting taxes bandwagon. They got it wrong then and they are getting it wrong now.
 
“Sinn Féin is the only party that is right on the economy and we are the only party offering a real alternative that protects frontline services and does not target those who cannot afford to pay.” ENDS

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Speaking this morning following the publication of the third quarterly report by the ESRI Arthur Morgan said the Sinn Féin position of advocating for a longer period of time for reducing the deficit had been vindicated.

Deputy Morgan said:

“This morning’s Quarterly Economic Commentary by the ESRI has rubbished the Government’s , Fine Gael and Labour party’s target of achieving a budgetary position of 3% of GDP by 2014. In fact they say that it is 'incredible' and go on to suggest a longer timeframe of 2016.

“2016 is the timeframe that Sinn Féin has been proposing for the last number of weeks and is the deadline set out in our pre-budget submission to be launched in next few weeks.

“Of course we were told by the economic whiz-kids which form the ‘Consensus for Cuts’ that our position was not viable. The blinkers have been on these parties for so long that economic reason escapes them. Now we have ICTU, Professor Karl Whelan and the ESRI supporting the case for a longer timeframe for economic recovery.

“There is a place for these establishment parties in our consensus for stimulus and recovery - the consensus that does not savage the public services or ordinary people.

“We did not row in behind the other Dáil parties in their ‘Consensus for Cuts’ because we knew there was a better, fairer way.

“The 'Consensus for Cuts' brigade were the same parties who got the economy so spectacularly wrong in the run-up to the crisis when they all jumped on the cutting taxes bandwagon. They got it wrong then and they are getting it wrong now.

“Sinn Féin is the only party that is right on the economy and we are the only party offering a real alternative that protects frontline services and does not target those who cannot afford to pay.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD for North Kerry/West Limerick Martin Ferris has called for more action to be taken to tackle the serious escalation in burglaries. While the Sinn Féin Deputy welcomed the protection of homeowners contained in the new Criminal Law Bill, he contrasted that with the failure of the Government to ensure a better Garda response, particularly in the light of budget constraints.
Deputy Ferris said:
"I welcome section 5 of the Bill which provides that injuries inflicted by a householder within the parameters of this Bill will not give rise to civil liability as long as the trespasser had criminal intent.
“However, I also note that the main thrust of the Bill simply reiterates the law as it currently stands and that the Minister needs to take real action to tackle burglaries and crime. The Gardai have been hampered in that effort by the recruitment embargo and the failure to civilianise Garda administration.
“Only last week I spoke at a Joint Policing Meeting about the rise in the level of burglaries in my own constituency and the fact that many of the victims are people living in isolated areas. While anything which provides more protection for them is to be welcomed, it is unlikely anything will change unless more action is taken by the state at community and street level.” ENDS

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Speaking this evening following the breakdown of the Government’s ‘consensus’ talks, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Arthur Morgan TD said that while the much hyped talks have 'crashed spectacularly', a consensus for cuts still existed between the Government, Fine Gael and Labour.
He said a growing chorus of voices were now supporting Sinn Féin’s more realistic proposals for reducing the deficit by 2016.

Deputy Morgan said:
“It is clear from this evening’s statement by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore that the Government’s much hyped ‘consensus’ talks have crashed spectacularly.
“However, the ‘consensus for cuts’ involving the Government, Fine Gael and Labour still exists.
"Fine Gael and Labour remain committed to cutting the budget deficit by 3% by 2014. They have locked themselves into a hopeless and unrealizable goal that will entail great hardship for ordinary people.
"Sinn Féin’s more achievable target of 2016 for reducing the deficit is being supported by more and more individuals and organizations as each day passes.
“The deficit must be reduced, not by cuts that hurt ordinary people but through a stimulus package, the creation of jobs, an overhaul of the tax system to make the wealthy pay more, and the elimination of wasteful spending.
“There is an alternative to the Consensus for Cuts and people realise this.
“Sinn Féin wants all those who believe there is a better, fairer way forward to form an alternative economic consensus to that being provided by the establishment political parties.
“We are also asking people to come onto the streets of Dublin on 4th December and to make a stand for a better way.” ENDS

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Speaking in the Seanad on a Fine Gael Bill to allow for more Seanad nominators, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said that there is something rotten in the core of the Seanad and that piece-meal changes will in no way address the root of the problem.

The Senator said that the Seanad in its current form is not only a drain on finances but is undemocratic, elitist and an apartheid system that has no place in modern 21st century politics.

Senator Doherty also criticised Fine Gael for on one hand claiming to want to abolish the Seanad while on the other bringing forward legislation for irrelevant changes.

Senator Doherty said:

“There is something rotten in the core of the Seanad and this piece of legislation in no way addresses what is really wrong here and that is that the Seanad totally undemocratic and irrelevant to the day to day lives of ordinary people.

“The public rightly see the Seanad as little more than a talking shop and a drain on the state’s finances. The fact that all one needs to do to be elected a Senator is hand out the goodies and keep a hundred or so councillors happy is a disgrace to democracy.

“What is needed for the Seanad is not piece-meal, token changes such as those contained in this Bill, but real and radical reform and that needs to happen now.

“I have to doubt the sincerity of the Fine Gael party on this issue. On the one hand their party leader calls for the abolition of the Seanad while at the same time the Fine Gael Senators are calling for more nominators. Either Fine Gael is being untruthful here or else the senators simply didn’t get the memo from head office.

“The Seanad in its current form should be abolished. Urgent and radical reform is needed in order to transform the Seanad into an institution that works for the people. Anything other than that is a waste of time.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has warned that the Government, Fine Gael and Labour approach to the fiscal crisis will damage economic growth, push up unemployment and cause severe hardship for ordinary people.

Speaking outside Government Buildings, Gerry Adams said:

“Sinn Féin will publish in our pre-budget submission, practical, costed proposals that can protect jobs and public services and create a stimulus package to take the economy out of recession.

“There is an alternative to the consensus for cuts being pursued by Fianna Fáil, the Greens, Fine Gael and Labour.

“They have all agreed to cut the exchequer deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014.

“This is an unrealistic deadline involving savage cuts to public services and welfare entitlements.

“It will damage economic growth and cause severe hardship to ordinary people.

“It is regrettable that the Government does not want to hear the voices of those who disagree with them.

“The same cosy political consensus on social and economic matters by the same parties created our present difficulties.

“Sinn Féin believes that there is a better, fairer way.

“Sinn Fein wants to build an alternative consensus on how to deal with the crisis and get us on the road to recovery.

“Five core elements should be at the heart of any plan to rebuild the economy:
· Reducing the deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014 is unrealistic
· The bulk of the reduction must come from a stimulus plan
· Cuts to essential public services and increased taxes on low and middle income earners must be avoided
· The tax system needs to be overhauled to make the wealthy pay more
· Expenditure savings can and should come from eliminating waste

“Sinn Féin wants all those who believe there is a better way to agree on these basic points and form an alternative economic consensus. We are also asking people to come onto the streets of Dublin on 4th December and to make a stand.” ENDS

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Speaking outside the Department of the Taoiseach in advance of the Taoiseach’s meeting with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, the Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said his party would not be part of a Consensus for Cuts and was joining with trade unionists, community and voluntary organisations and other progressive voices in calling for an alternative way forward.

He said:

“Today’s meeting involving the leaders of Fianna Fáil, the Greens, Fine Gael and Labour represents an effort by a totally discredited Government to win support for its slash and burn policies.

“The Fine Gael and the Labour Party leaders have already bought into the Government’s strategy of attempting to reduce the deficit to 3% by 2014. In doing so Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are backing a totally flawed strategy that will worsen the recession and further depress the economy.

“They are facilitating what will be a savage Budget this December with three more to follow.

“It is especially disappointing that the Labour Party should lend itself to this course of action.

“Now is a time when parties of the left should be joining with trade unionists, community and voluntary organisations and other progressive voices in demanding an alternative way forward. That is what Sinn Féin is doing today. We are calling for

· The abandonment of the unrealistic and damaging target of 3% deficit reduction by 2014
· Revenue saving and raising based on fairness and efficiency
· Stimulus measures to protect and create jobs
· Protection of vital frontline public services including health, education and social supports.

“There needs to be a Consensus for Real Recovery not a conspiracy of political parties against the people. It is the people who have been left out of the equation and to include them we must have a General Election.”

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