Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on workers and tradesmen to boycott Carroll’s Joinery in solidarity with workers there who are being laid off with no offer of redundancy despite many years of loyal service to the company. Deputy Ó Snodaigh accused the company of using the recession to undermine workers pay and conditions despite being a very profitable company with big orders and massive advertising campaign.
Speaking today as workers picketed the company’s head office in Park West and its plant in Ballingarry, Kilkenny Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “The Labour Court has already ruled that these workers are entitled to four weeks redundancy for every year worked. This is the very least that they should be afforded. We are talking about fifty workers here with an average service of twenty-five years.
“Carroll’s Joinery is a very profitable company with big orders and a massive advertising campaign currently running on our television screens. The company is engaging in a brazen attempt to use the recession to undermine the workforce. We have seen this practice occurring at other companies in recent weeks and it must be stamped out.
“I am calling on the public and other workers in the trade to boycott Carroll’s Joinery and their subsidiary companies Door Store and Door Depot in solidarity with their fellow workers. We must not allow this or any other company to undermine the hard won rights of workers throughout Ireland.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald has congratulated all the Leaving Certificate students who received their results today. However, Ms. McDonald criticised the Government’s decision to re-introduce third level fees saying with one in five students not applying for third level education it is clear that the Government’s decision is already having an impact.
Speaking today as students received their results Ms. McDonald said, “I want to extend my congratulations to all students who took the Leaving Certificate Examinations and are receiving their results today. That includes all those who done well and those students who may be disappointed with their results. Taking the exam is an achievement in itself and every student should be proud to have completed their secondary education.
“However, with just one in five students choosing to apply for third level education it is clear that the Government’s decision to re-introduce third level fees is already having an impact.
“It is hypocritical in the extreme for the Government to, one the one hand, promote the creation of a knowledge based economy, while on the other they introduce a major deterrent to students wishing to go on to third level education.
“The reality of Batt O’Keeffe’s decision to re-introduce third level fees is that thousands of students will be priced out of third level education while those who do go on to study will find themselves in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of euros on completion of their education.
“Education is the cornerstone of this country’s economic future. We face uncertain times as traditional employment sectors such as manufacturing and construction are in steady decline. The decision to re-introduce third level fees is a regressive move which makes no economic, political or social sense.” ENDS
Dublin South Central Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said the latest unemployment figures for Dublin South Central are devastating. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the figures show an absolute failure of the Government to get to grips with the economic recession.
Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “The latest unemployment figures show an increase in each of the three Dole offices that serve the Dublin South Central area. The figure signing on in Bishop Street has shown a 3.4% increase in the last month alone, up to 8,291, while Thomas Street and Ballyfermot dole Offices now have 4,584 and 3,271 signing on respectively.
“These latest figures show the absolute failure of the government to get to grips with the economic recession, their failure to put in place a job creation strategy and to put in place the supports required to assist in job retention for companies struggling at present.
“The Government has been over obsessed with bailing out the banks and their developer friends, through the bank bail-out scheme and through NAMA, than dealing with the real issue of more and more people ending up on the Dole queues. Maybe if some of the ministers ended up on the Dole, then they might understand the urgency of addressing ever-lengthening dole queues.
“In the last year alone, there has been an 81% increase in the numbers signing on in Ballyfermot, 77% in Bishop Street that caters for the Dublin 12 area and a 68% increase in Thomas Street. That is a disaster for those signing on and for their families and it demands immediate action. I call on the government to read and implement Sinn Féin's job retention and creation strategy published earlier this year as a start towards the recovery.” ENDS
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Rural Development Martin Ferris TD has voiced his strong opposition to proposals by Bus Éireann to drastically reduce the number of routes and buses servicing rural communities.
Deputy Ferris said: “I have received a large number of representations on this issue and it is clear that there is a great deal of anger over the proposals. If the cuts are imposed on the scale that is envisaged it will mean that many people and indeed many communities will be further isolated with all the malign impact which that has.
“It would also have serious economic consequences but this Government seems wedded to the notion that closing down rural Ireland will somehow bring about a recovery. Or perhaps they are hoping that a lot of people will simply choose to leave as they were forced to in the past. The attack on public transport also, of course, makes a mockery of the pretensions of the junior partner in the coalition.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney commenting on a number of shooting incidents in the Creggan area overnight.
Speaking earlier Mr McCartney said:
"These are the latest in a series of shootings in Derry over recent months.
“There are justifiable concerns within the community at ongoing anti-social and criminal behaviour. It is up to the PSNI to prove themselves capable of dealing with this. These types of attacks will not solve these problems
"I am calling on those who have carried out these shootings to desist.”
The latest unemployment statistics reaffirm the need for pro-active economic interventions in the north-West, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has insisted.
“The latest unemployment figures show that this region remains the North’s unemployment blackspot,” Ms. Anderson commented.
“Just over 6.5%, or 4,549 people of working age, are out of work in the Derry City Council areas - an increase of 1,641 compared to a year ago. In Strabane 6.4% of people are looking for work while in Limavady the figure is 6.2%.
“With the feared job losses at stream and the ongoing magnified effect which the economic downturn is having on the region, these figures reaffirm the need for pro-active economic interventions in the North-West.
“The legacy of failed economic policy and under investment west of the Bann needs to be fundamentally addressed.
"The Executive's Programme for Government and Investment Strategy, agreed by all of the Executive parties, contains a clear commitment to tackle regional disparities. We need to see this delivered.
“This region should be declared an area of 'Area of Exceptional Economic Needs' with both the Belfast and Dublin administration prioritizing economic interventions here.
“The university needs to be expanded and public sector jobs need to be decentralized here as already recommended by the Bain Review. We also need to maintain the public sector jobs that we do have in the city.
“Unless we begin to take serious short and long term strategic measures now, this city and region will continue to suffer economically.”
Fra McCann MLA, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson at the
Assembly has called on the Social Development Minister to state how the
additional £20million allocated from the June monitoring round to ensure maintenance
and replacement contracts went ahead has been allocated and spent.
Speaking today Mr McCann said:
“Over the past weeks I have spoken to small building contractors who believed that their contracts for housing maintenance were to be met in full by the granting of the additional funding under the June monitoring round.
“They have now been informed that only £5 million is to be allocated to Egan contractors who are involved in kitchen replacements. This is only half of what was expected and this move will ensure that we will once again be at crisis point in relation to the refurbishment of peoples home before the end of the financial year.
Banbridge Sinn Féin Councillor Dessie Ward has said that there frightening similarities between the incident in the Peggy's Loaning area of the town where a loyalist mob came last night to remove two tri-colours to the to the incident in Coleraine earlier in the summer where loyalists went into an area to remove flags which culminated in the death of Kevin McDaid.
Cllr Ward said:
"This incident has frightening similarities to the incident in Coleraine earlier in the summer where loyalists went into an area to remove flags which culminated in the death of Kevin McDaid. Loyalist leaders in the area need to ask themselves how appropriate it was to gather a hostile crowd, which included known loyalists paramilitaries, to go to Peggy's Loaning and seek to remove two tri-colours.
Councillor Ward continued:
"Sinn Féin would like to see Banbridge become a completely flag free area and that includes the hundreds of union and Ulster flags that are erected in the area for several months every year. It is my view that the flying of flags from lamp posts shows total disrespect towards the flag. The tri-colour in particular is supposed to represent peace between orange and green; the majority of nationalist residents in the estate are asking themselves how placing their national flag on lamp posts and causing conflict contributes towards that objective." ENDS
Tyrone republicans were busy this week in their final preparations for the National Hunger Strike rally which will be held on the county this coming Sunday.
Several thousand people are expected for the parade which will mark the 28th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike. The commemoration will also remember Tyrone Hunger Striker, Sean McCaughey who died in on Hunger Strike in the 1940s as well as Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg who died in prisons in England in the 1970s.
The Tyrone Hunger Strike this week has also launched a website detailing events throughout the weekend as well as providing an insight into the 1981 Hunger Strike.
Speaking ahead of the parade Chairman of the Tyrone commemoration committee, Sean Begley said:
"Final preparations are well underway for the mobilisation on Galbally on Sunday. As well as a huge interest throughout Ireland we will also be hosting a number of international guests at the parade on Sunday including Basques and Catalans. Each year the march attracts groups from as far away as Scotland, England , Europe and North America . There will also be buses from various locations throughout Tyrone and local people are asked to avail of these services.”
Calling for a large mobilisation on Sunday were the three Sinn Féin MPs representing County Tyrone; Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew and Pat Doherty.
In a joint statement the three MPs said:
"We are calling for people not only from County Tyrone but from across Ireland to make an effort to commemorate the sacrifices made and to celebrate the lives of the hunger strikers.
"We appeal to all those who recognise the contribution of the hunger strikers to the cause of Irish freedom to come to Galbally this Sunday. We would especially encourage ex-POWs to attend as a good opportunity to meet up with former comrades and show solidarity with the comrades who are no longer with us.
"We also encourage the republican and indeed the wider community to take part in many of the other events being organised throughout County Tyrone , these include processions, panel discussions, exhibitions and events coinciding with Na Fianna Éireann's centenary celebrations."
The website can be viewed at www.tyrone2009.com
Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brún has called for the repeal of an anti-Irish law the 1737 Administration of Justice Act ahead of a conference organised on this theme by Irish language organisation POBAL this weekend.
Ms de Brún said:
“When POBAL decided last year to support well known Irish speaker Caoimhín Mac Giolla Chatháin in his judicial review I publicly welcomed this, and although Caoimhghin lost the case this has not been and end to the matter.
“POBAL is organising a conference on Saturday 15 August to be addressed by Official Languages Commissioner for Canada, Graham Fraser.This will be one of a number of events and activities aimed at securing the repeal of this odious piece of legislation.
“It is unbelievable that nine years after they signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the British Government is still defending this relic of colonialism which forbids the use of Irish in the courts.
“The British government must ensure the full protection of the right of irish speakers in all walks of life, including in the courts.”
Tá Feisire Eorpach de chuid Sinn Féin, Bairbre de Brún, ag éileamh go n-aisghairfí Acht 1737 Riar na Córa a chuireann cosc ar úsáid na Gaeilge sna cúirteanna.
Dúirt an Feisire de Brún:
“Nuair a rinne POBAL amach anuraidh tacú le Caoimhín Mac Giolla Chatháin, an Gaeilgeoir agus ceoltóir clúiteach, ó Ghaeltacht Bhóthar Seoigh leis an Athbhreithniú Breithiúnach á ghlacadh, chuir mé féin ráiteas amach ag cur fáilte leis an dúshlán.
"Chaill Caoimhín an cás, ach ní bheidh deireadh leis an scéal ansin.
"Dé Sathairn 15 Lúnasa, san Óstán Europa i mBéal Feirste, beidh POBAL ag reáchtáil comhdhála le tacaíocht idirnáisiúnta ón Choimisinéir Cheanadach na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, Graham Fraser.
"Tá sé dochreidte dom go bhfuil rialtas na Breataine go fóill ag cosaint an iarsma coilíneachais go seasmhach sna cúirteanna 9 mbliana i ndiaidh dóibh síniú suas don Chairt Eorpach ar Mhionteangacha. Cuireann an dlí seo cosc ar úsáid na Gaeilge sna cúirteanna sa tuaisceart.
"Ag an am céanna, déantar freastal ar theangacha mionlacha eitneacha ar bhonn laethúil i gcúirteanna anseo, rud is ceart agus cóir.
"Sa Bhreatain Bheag, tá an ceart ag Breatnaiseoirí an Bhreatnais a úsáid in imeachtaí gach cineál cúirte ó 1942.
"In Albain, cluintear an Ghàidhlig ar bhonn laethúil sna cúirteanna má iarrtar í.
"Caithfidh Rialtas na Breataine lánchosaintí dlíthiúla a chur in áit don Ghaeilge sa tuaisceart le creatlach a fhorbairt d’úsáid na Gaeilge i gcúrsaí uile na beatha, na cúirteanna san áireamh.”
Over the weekend, anti-republican elements in Lurgan and the central area of Craigavon sullied the memory of the hunger-strikers by ripping apart boards containing their images and the image of the Irish national flag.
The same elements, who describe themselves as dissidents, further exposed their anti-republican agenda by burning posters of the Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún on top of a bonfire.
The chair of Upper Bann Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny McGibbon commenting on the weekend's vandalism said:
"Those who desecrated these images have insulted the memory of the hunger strikers. Their behaviour, like that of those who burnt posters of Sinn Féin's MEP Bairbre de Brún on a bonfire, are actions we have come to expect from extreme loyalism, not from individuals within a nationalist community. By their actions, they have exposed their true agenda. Their only rationale for existing is the same as that of the Securocrats and of the extreme unionist TUV party, the destruction of the peace-process and the re-instatement of direct British rule."
The Loughside Councillor expressed criticism of those who vandalised the posters saying:
"The events due to take place over the next weekend in Dungannon and culminating in a procession through the village of Galbally on Sunday the 16th at 3.30pm are part of a national commemoration. They are open to everyone who wants to commemorate the sacrifice of the hunger strikers and gain a better understanding of the role that hunger strikes have played in Irish politics over the last century." ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has expressed his condolences to the Kennedy family on the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver the founder of the Special Olympics.
Mr Adams said:
“As well as being a member of the Kennedy family, Eunice Kennedy Shriver will be best remembered for her work with the Special Olympics movement which she formed in 1968. Through her work and her campaigning she has helped change the perception of those with disabilities around the world.
“When the Special Olympics came to Ireland in 2003 I was felt privileged and humbled to attend what was a truly remarkable event.
“I am sure that the many thousands of people who have been touched by the work of the Special Olympics movement over many decades will be truly saddened at the news of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s passing this morning and I would wish to extend my condolences to her family and friends at this time.” ENDS
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has challenged the Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin to live on social welfare for a month after the Minister today confirmed that welfare rates will be cut in the upcoming budget.
Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Mary Hanafin’s announcement today, that the €21billion social welfare budget is ‘a huge drain on public finances’, revealed how our government prioritises its citizens. Committing the necessary funds to maintain an adequate standard of living a burden on the public finances according to this Government and should be cut.
“Minister Hanafin has expressed that in her considerations she is looking for the system fairest to all before she takes the axe to the Social Welfare Budget. I challenge Minister Hanafin and her colleagues to make concerted efforts to live on social welfare for a month, to provide for a small family on the subsistence the State offers to families, to settle the range of debt that Irish people today have accumulated since the death of the Celtic Tiger, all on the welfare payments that the State provides.
“Talking about Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), the Minister said that young people between 25-40 have accumulated ‘debt all over the place that needs to be managed, needs to be controlled’. Following on from this the Minister warned of Social Welfare cuts. Where is the logical reasoning here? In the same breath the Minister talks about the diverse range of debt that has accumulated and then wants to cut the main form of subsistence that most of these people have.
“Putting more staff in MABS will not resolve the underlying problem. The increase in MABS staff is welcome as they will help struggling families to manage their money. However, the Minister has confirmed that she will be making their jobs much tougher by cutting the main source of income that their clients have to manage.
“It should be remembered that these cuts will come on the back of the cut to the social welfare rate for the under twenty-ones and the abandonment of the Christmas bonus for welfare recipients both of which were introduced before the publication of the Bord Snip report highlighting that Fianna Fáil already had its eye on welfare rates. The McCarthy report has simply given the Government the political cover for its ideologically motivated attacks on the unemployed and their families.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Policing Board member Alex Maskey has said that agreement on the process to deliver policing and justice powers into the hands of locally elected politicians is in place.
Mr Maskey said:
“The transfer of powers on policing and justice away from London and into the hands of locally elected politicians is part of the St. Andrews agreement. It is not an optional extra. It is a British government obligation.
“As it stands, an agreement on the process to deliver policing and justice powers is in place. Key stages in that process have been implemented, including the AERC report and legislation passing through the Executive and onto the Assembly. The British government have committed to bringing forward the detail of the financial package in early September. This process is moving ahead, like many other things, with or without David McNarry and the UUP.
“While the UUP haven chosen a semi-detached approach to the Executive it is not surprising that David McNarry’s analysis is so far removed from the real politick of the current situation. David McNarry can, if he likes, adopt the usual UUP approach of ignoring political reality but that will not change it.
“It would be more constructive for the UUP to engage fully in the institutions rather than sniffing around after electoral agreements with the TUV rejectionists. But that is their business. Those of us committed to making this process work and these institutions deliver for the people will simply get on with the real work.” ENDS
South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Member Willie Clarke and local party spokesperson Sean Doran have both expressed their shock at the announcement on Friday of the loss of over 80 jobs in the Aircraft factory in Kilkeel.
Cllr Clarke said:
“Last week’s announcement of 88 people being paid off from the Aerospace factory in Kilkeel is a major blow to the people of the Mournes. It comes at a time when the economic downturn is already seriously impacting on families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The loss of these jobs will also have serious implications for the wider economy and everything must be done to find alternative work and training for those who have been made redundant.”
Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson in the Mournes, Sean Doran, described the job losses as yet another serious blow for the town. He continued:
“Considering the decline in fishing and the seafood industry in general, combined with what is happing in the building sector, then quite clearly this is terrible news for the town of Kilkeel and families living throughout the Mournes.
“Kilkeel’s aerospace factory is probably south Down’s biggest employer and its diversely skilled workforce have helped sustain the local economy.
“Sinn Féin will work with the company’s management in a bid to help them in their current difficulties and everything possible must be done to support the workforce of the aerospace factory.” ENDS
Speaking following today's meeting of Sinn Féin activists in Navan, party president Gerry Adams said:
"Today's meeting, attended by Sinn Féin activists and representatives from across Ireland, was the culmination of a series of party meetings in recent weeks.
"Activists today put forward proposals on a range of pressing issues.
"We discussed Sinn Féin's ongoing efforts to bring forward outstanding aspects of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, such as the transfer of Policing and Justice powers and an Irish Language Act for the North.
"The meeting endorsed the Ard Comhairle’s decision to oppose the Lisbon Treaty in the upcoming referendum.
"The political establishment in this state has never accepted the decision of voters to reject the Lisbon Treaty last year. The government, assisted by Fine Gael and Labour, are being untruthful by saying that voters concerns on the Treaty have been met.
"Sinn Féin will also be vigorously opposing the NAMA legislation when it comes before the Oireachtas next month. This is not the way to sort out the banks and every euro of public money spent on the banks is a euro taken away from education, from health, from social welfare and from job creation.
"Sinn Féin will be supporting local communities fighting to keep resources for all these essential entitlements.
"We will focus particularly on the Government’s cuts in education in the Autumn. Cutting education is the worst thing the government could do. It will have disastrous long-term consequences for children and for the economy. Sinn Féin is committed to opposing this.
"December's budget is on course to implement savage cuts to public services and social protections. The McCarthy report gave some sense of what can be expected. This is the wrong approach.
“Sinn Féin believes that there is massive popular opposition to these punitive measures. Our party is committed to playing a leadership role in the development of an alternative which will usher in politics based on citizens rights and incomplete contrast to anti-people policies of the Government and its mirror reflection in Fine Gael.”
Speaking following a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle today the party’s Vice President Mary Lou McDonald confirmed that the party will launch a vigorous campaign for a second no vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
Ms. McDonald said, “Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a better deal for Ireland and the European Union.
“Following the decisive defeat of the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, Sinn Féin presented the Irish government with a detailed series of proposals for a better deal for Ireland and the EU. We called on Brian Cowen to use the strong mandate given to him by the electorate to go to his European counterparts and secure a better deal.
“However, as with their mismanagement of the economy, the government spent the following twelve months dithering and delaying, ultimately wasting the opportunity given to it by the voters.
“Instead of a better deal, the Irish government has returned with exactly the same Treaty as before. Not a single word has been changed. The so-called legally binding guarantees tell us nothing new and change nothing.
“What has changed, however, is the economic crisis that has engulfed Ireland, the EU and the wider world.
“Twenty years of right wing market fundamentalism has come to an end and with it the politicians and policies that caused the crisis are now being challenged. These same politicians were responsible for the Lisbon Treaty and the right wing economic policies they promoted are contained within its pages.
“Sinn Féin believes that a better deal is still possible, and that now, more than ever, a new Treaty is required. The Lisbon Treaty is part of the failed economic consensus of the past. We need a new Treaty for the new times in which we find ourselves.
“In the forthcoming referendum Sinn Féin will campaign vigorously for a no vote. Our campaign will be based on a serious and honest analysis of the Treaty and its implications for Ireland and the EU. However, as with the previous campaign, we will also outline what we believe are the positive and progressive alternatives available for those of us who believe that Ireland and Europe can and must do better.” ENDS
Sinn Fein MLA and New Chair of the Committee for Finance & Personnel Jennifer McCann has welcomed todays decision by the Minister not to pay bonuses to senior civil servants.
Ms McCann said:
"The Committee for Finance & Personnel recommended an Independant review of bonuses handed out to senior civil servants here. It was believed that senior civil servants were already paid large salaries and shouldn't als be recieving these added bonuses.
"There is no justification for bonuses of this scale - an average of £8,000 each last year being paid to staff working at a senior level in the Civil service including permanent secretaries while the base pay increases for people at the lower grades are not on the same scale.
"I welcome this decision by the Finance minister not to pay bonuses to senior civil servants and I would ask him to ensure that the issue of those civil servants who were unjustly treated by the British Treasury for years through inequalities over pay scales be resolved. Monies owed to these civil servants should be given to them now." ENDS
Sinn Féin Councillor Paddy Butcher has announced that applications in the Limavady area for grant assistance under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) has already topped £2.3million across 78 projects when the first call closed at 12 noon last Friday. Cllr Butcher serves on the Joint Committee which governs the distribution of the £18.4 million fund locally.
Cllr Butcher said.
“This is very encouraging. Indeed the level of interest in Limavady Borough has exceeded all expectations. This £2.3million together with 50% match funding would represent a £4.6million boost for our local economy.
"It is a very positive barometer of the confidence and determination of our local entrepreneurs to rise to the challenge of the global economic downturn and get the people of our borough back to work. It is also a credit to the promotional groundwork which Catherine Walsh (RDP Project Officer) and Caitriona Orr (Business and Project Officer) have undertaken over the last six months throughout the borough of Limavady.
“There are six measures in the total fund but we took a strategic decision to prioritize Measures 3.1 Diversification into Non -Agricultural Activities and 3.2 Business Creation and Development because they are exclusively targeted at job creation. The other four measures will be launched in September and hopefully we can reopen 3.1 and 3.2 again before Christmas.”
A number of applications will require planning permission and if they are successful letters of offer will be issued subject to receiving statutory approval within a reasonable period of time say six months. Cllr Butcher, who is also Chairperson of the Planning and Services Committee, has organised a public meeting with the Planning Office on Wednesday 12th August at 2.30pm at the council offices on Connell Street.
“We intend to do everything in our power to fast track grant dependant planning applications under the RDP scheme.” concluded Cllr Butcher.
“We will provide information on the types of applications and forms needed, the policies that need to be addressed in relation to making the applications and then finish with a questions and answers session relating to possible fees and planning constraints. Obviously we will not be able to give individual advice on which schemes are likely to be successful or not but we will direct people towards relevant policy as these applications are usually quite complicated. Anyone wishing to attend this public meeting should advise Catherine or Caitriona so that we can arrange tea and coffee from 2.00pm.” CRÍOCH