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Gerry Adams launches Sinn Féin proposals for 1916 Revolutionary Quarter

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that 2016, the 1916 Centenary is marked in the most appropriate way possible, as a fitting popular acknowledgement of the past but also, and just as importantly, as a pointer to a better future.

Sinn Féin is not opposed to sensible welfare reforms. We are opposed to the agenda, which seeks to make the most vulnerable and ordinary working families pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers


 “The PSNI were on the scene but despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the PSNI failed to take any action.”



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Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has accused Labour Minister Brendan Howlin of looking after those at the top of the public and semi state sector whilst attacking at every turn those on low and middle incomes.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Minister Howlin’s decision to award the new ESB Chief a salary over 30% in excess of the Government’s own pay ceiling for commercial semi states is an absolute scandal.

“Just a few short months ago Brendan Howlin as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced to great fanfare that he intended imposing a generous pay cap of €250,000 on the salaries of newly appointed commercial semi state CEO’s.

“Yet when the next plum CEO job in the commercial semi state comes up the Minister awards the new ESB boss a salary €68,000 euro in excess of the pay cap. It is worth noting that the new Chief comes from within the organisation so claims of needing to shell out extra cash to attract ‘new’ talent really won’t wash.

“This is not the first time the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has broken his own Departments pay ceilings, in fact it’s at least the fifteenth time in recent months. He has already awarded at least 14 Ministerial special advisors salaries over the Government’s pay ceiling. The Minister has also presided over bonanza pension pay offs to top dogs in the civil service.

“This Government like the last continues to look after those at the top of the public and semi state sector whilst attacking at every turn those on low and middle incomes. Self-interest and greed were the hallmarks of successive Fianna Fail led Governments and it appears not much is changing on that front with Labour and Fine Gael at the helm.” ENDS

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The Sinn Féin Seanad leader David Cullinane has hit out at the government parties in the Seanad for denying Sinn Féin Senators the same opportunity as others to question the Minister for Health.

Senator Cullinane said that Sinn Féin will continue to challenge this failure to implement any real reform in the Seanad.

Senator Cullinane said:

“Senators have been waiting five months for the Minister for Health James Reilly to come to the Seanad. The health service is in crisis, hospitals are buckling under the pressure of bed closures and cuts. It is timely that the Minister has eventually come to the Seanad to account for this dire situation.

“The fact that Sinn Féin senators have been denied the opportunity to formally question the Minister is nothing short of a scandal. A measly one minute was offered to the team out of a two and a half hour debate.

“We want the same opportunity as any other Senator or any other party.

“After all the hype over political reform during the General Election, it is clear that this government is no more interested in any meaningful reform or hearing dissenting views.

“Sinn Féin will continue to challenge the government in this failure to stick by their word and put in place meaningful political reform that takes in all views and all voices.”

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Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD has said that the Irish Government has “missed a clear opportunity to put Irish banking debt on the agenda and to negotiate a reduction in the billions of euro that Irish taxpayers are having to pay to toxic bad banks and unguaranteed bondholders.”

Mr. Adams said “the government has signed off on a 50% cut on debt for Greece and is now on a plane home to get a cheque for €700 million ready to hand over to unguaranteed Anglo Irish bondholders.”

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“During Leaders Questions yesterday in the Dáil I asked the Taoiseach if he would ensure that a writedown of Irish banking debt was on last night’s agenda. He failed to do this.

“I also asked him to give a clear undertaking that the government will not pay the planned €700 million next Wednesday to unguaranteed bondholders in Anglo. He refused.

“Having signed off on a 50% cut in Greek debt the government is now on a plane home to get a cheque for €700 million ready to hand over to unguaranteed Anglo Irish bondholders.

“There is no political, legal or moral obligation on the government to pay this.

“Sinn Féin is not opposed to the write-down in Greek debt. But what is good enough for Greek citizens should be good enough for Irish citizens.

“Irish taxpayers are being forced by this government to endure extreme hardship while paying billions of private banking debt to unguaranteed bondholders.

“The only people arguing that this should happen is the Government and the Anglo bondholder.” ENDS

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Speaking today after a Topical Issue debate on the European Globalisation Fund, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty called on the Government to explain why a significant portion of a €55 million EU training fund may be returned to Brussels.

Under questioning from Deputy Doherty Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn accepted that there was ‘maladministration involved’ in the roll out of the fund and apologised to the workers.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Today the Government admitted that ‘maladministration’ has undermined the rolling out of a €55 million EU retraining programme for redundant workers. As a result a significant portion of the €55 million may be returned to Brussels and thousands of unemployed workers will loose out.

“Under questioning this afternoon Minister Quinn apologised to the workers who may now lose access to the retraining provided by this fund. Almost 5,987 construction workers who lost their jobs in 2009 and early 2010 are eligible for tailor made retraining programmes under this funding.

“However, more than a year has passed since the funding was applied for and the Department of Education has not even contacted any of these individuals. Nor has the Department conducted a detailed assessment of the workers training needs. Indeed the Department does not even know if any of these workers have emigrated.

“Apologies from Minister Quinn are not good enough. He has been in office for almost eight months. It is only next month that he will inform 5,987 redundant construction workers, some of them who are now out of work for over two years, that there is €55 million retraining fund that is in their name. These former construction workers will be left with only seven months to avail of this fund due to the maladministration of not only the previous Fianna Fáil government but the current Fine Gael-Labour administration.

“Across the country thousands of workers and their families who should have been accessing this funding have been left completely in the dark as to the supports and funding which should be available to them. Many of these people may have emigrated. This is nothing short of a scandal.

“Unfortunately it appears that this is not the first time this has happened. Similar problems were experienced by workers in Dell, SR Technics and Waterford Crystal.

“I am calling on Minister Quinn to outline in detail how much funding has been lost under this scheme to date, how much of the €55 million earmarked for construction workers he expects to have to return to Brussels, and to explain why he failed to act since taking office to ensure that vital funds for assisting redundant workers were wasted.”

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Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has described the bumper pay outs to developers by NAMA as completely unacceptable and morally wrong.

Deputy McDonald said:

“NAMA bosses revealed during today’s Public Accounts Committee that up to 120 developers are being paid by NAMA, two of whom are getting a whopping €200,000 a year.

“This is yet another truly awful example of the attitude that prevails amongst Government and State agency chiefs, that one rule applies for a small section of society and another for everyone else.

“NAMA’s Chief Executive is in receipt of an annual salary in excess of €400,000 and we can only imagine the salary scales of the rest of NAMA and the NTMA management as the Government will not release these figures.

“Now we find out that failed developers are being paid excessive salaries by NAMA as some sort of incentive despite having already been bailed out by the people in the first instance.

“Of course Fine Gael and Labour have form is this regard, as Ministers have already exceeded the Government’s own special advisor pay ceiling on 14 separate occasions, including the a massive salary of €130,000 a year for the Minister for Social Protection’s recently appointed Advisor.

“The IMF/EU troika continue to oversee our fiscal management yet Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore still think its ok to pay out scandalously high salaries to themselves, their Ministers, State Agency bosses, senior civil servants and now it appears to failed developers.

“Across the country elderly people, families dependent on social welfare payments, parents of children with special needs and carers are struggling to get by and are living in real fear of the upcoming December budget. Growth continues to stagnate and unemployment remains at a record high.

“These people need leadership, they need a real commitment to equality and most importantly they need to see an end to the culture of self-interest and greed that continues to prevail across Government and the state agency sector.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín has expressed his disappointment at the decision by the government parties to block the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill which aims to protect the lowest paid workers in society.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“During the recent Dáil debate the government indicated that they would not block the progress of this Bill, however it is now actively blocking its progress.

“It is claimed that the secretariat dealing with it does not have enough resources to start to process the Bill at this current time. It is clear that the government is simply stalling for time in the hope that our Bill will get buried in bureaucracy.

“I am extremely disappointed that such a serious issue as the JLCs was being put on the back burner. Over 200,000 people who are surviving on an average wage of €18,000 are in danger of having their livelihoods undermined. This situation needs to be dealt with now.

“The government may or may not bring about legislation on this issue next month but given the division that exists between Labour and Fine Gael on this issue it could just as well be two or three years before they get their act together. Also our Bill has the imprimatur of the Dáil now and this government should not treat an opposition bill as any less equal than a potential government bill that has not even been published yet.

“Furthermore the government is on record as stating that their bill will include wage reductions and our bill is radically different in that seeks to defend against wage cuts.”

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Speaking today from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún welcomed the Environment Committee's support for an ambitious stance at the upcoming UN COP 17 climate change negotiations to be held in Durban, South Africa.

 

de Brún, who will be part of the European Parliament's official delegation to the summit in December, said,

 

"The resolution on the UN climate negotiations adopted in the committee, and which I was proud to co-sponsor, contains many encouraging aspects. It is a very positive signal that MEPs today strongly defended the Kyoto Protocol and the continuation of a legally-binding international agreement committing industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases. The resolution recognises that we need to close the gap between our current actions and those needed to tackle one of the major challenges of the 21st century, and to scale up the finance provided to help developing countries meet this challenge. The EU must not falter in demonstrating strong leadership in global climate negotiations."

 

"MEPs also agreed that we need to strengthen our efforts and that the EU should aim beyond its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020. It should be noted that increasing ambitions for reducing emissions will not only significantly benefit the environment but will also create vital green growth."

 

"At a time of severe economic hardship for many, it is essential that EU policymakers quickly realise the incredible growth potential the move to resource-efficient and low-carbon economies could have. We need to recognise that climate policies can strengthen not hinder economic recovery."

 

The resolution is due to be voted by the whole Parliament during its 15-17 November plenary session.

 

Ms de Brún concluded: "I am also pleased to co-host and co-organise an important conference on this topic in the European Parliament on 10 November. The international climate negotiations and the potential for green jobs will be among the themes discussed by participants from across Europe and beyond."

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