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Sinn Féin MLA and vice chair of the Justice Committee Raymond McCartney has welcomed the the joint meeting of the Health and Justice Committees at Stormont and stated that all must be done to safeguard the victims of sex offenders.

This follows the announcement by the Justice Minister David Ford that he is to review the way in which cases involving sex offenders are conducted.

Speaking today Mr McCartney said:

“I welcome the opportunity for MLA’s from both the Health Committee and the Justice Committee to have an input into the review of how cases involving sex offenders are conducted.

“Obviously these issues have been brought to the fore following the case in Donagh where numerous clerical errors were reported and the offenders were allowed to return to the village.

“Any review must deal sensitively with the subject and produce clear and concise outcomes and recommendations. Certainly I don’t think that David Ford’s statement provided enough clarity to restore public confidence following the series of errors that occurred with relation to this one case.

“We are interested in restoring public confidence that, if any such cases may occur in the future there remains no doubt as to the remit, duties and responsibilities of the various agencies involved.

“What we need to see is that the both the Health and Justice Departments work together in comprehensive way to ensure that the proper protocols exist to safeguard and protect the victims of any such cases." ends

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Sinn Féin MLA and vice Chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill has stated that the investigative report highlighting huge discrepancies between actual and departmental figures, indicate that carers for children with autism are being failed when it comes to the provision of assistance.

Speaking today Ms O’Neill said:

“The report highlighting huge discrepancies between the amount of carers of children with autism who have applied for assistance compared to actual amount of carers that have indicated, through this report that they need such help, is shocking.

“The fact that most carers indicated that they were unaware of the service is an indictment on the Health department and a failure to meet the needs of carers who require assistance.

“Is it really that hard for the Department of Health to target those who are carers of children with autism or the children's families with an information pack outlining their rights and entitlements?

“There must also now be adequate finances made available to meet the levels of need out there. We cannot have a situation of a proactive approach being adopted to letting people know about what services and assistance exist when monies are not forthcoming to support such schemes.”

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Speaking at his party’s think in meeting in Dublin today Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty described Brian Cowen’s comments, that the Donegal South West by-election will take place sometime in 2011, as an insult to the people of Donegal.

Senator Doherty, who has taken a High Court action against the Government over its failure to hold the by-election said the decision over when the election will take place may not be for the Taoiseach to take.

He said:

“The Taoiseach’s comments this morning in relation to the Donegal South West by-election are an insult to the people of Donegal. It is now nearly sixteen months since this seat became vacant and the Government has blocked every attempt to hold a by-election up to now.

“This by-election needs to take place at the earliest opportunity rather than whenever suits Brian Cowen or the Government. In the coming Dáil term I and my party intend to step up the pressure on the Taoiseach and the Government to hold each of the outstanding by-elections.

“One thing that is for sure is that my case will go ahead unless the writ for the election is moved and passed in the Dáil before October 18th.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed Bríd O’Brien, Policy Director of the INOU to the Sinn Féin Pre-Dáil resumption think in meeting today in Dublin.

Speaking during the course of his introduction Deputy Ó Snodaigh announced that Sinn Féin will once again call for the restoration of the Christmas Bonus Social Welfare payment in its pre-budget submission which will be published in the coming months.

He said:

“We are delighted to have Bríd O’Brien of the INOU here with us today. Sinn Féin members played a roll in the foundation of the INOU. The work of the INOU and in particular their work highlighting the real experience of the unemployed as they interact with the welfare system has been valuable to me in my role as Sinn Féin spokesperson on social protection.

“We find ourselves on the same side of the argument in our efforts to oppose punitive measures against the unemployed which have been increasing in frequency.

“Sinn Féin is campaigning to provide jobs for the unemployed. In stark contrast to the Government, Sinn Féin has a job creation strategy. In 2009 we published our three year plan ‘Getting Ireland Back to Work’ which sought to save the one thousand jobs per day that were being lost.

“Earlier this year, together with Ógra Shinn Féin, we published ‘Solutions to Youth Unemployment’ which created over 40,000 jobs for the young unemployed along with thousands more opportunities for education and training.

“And last week we published ‘Let’s Get Dublin Working’ which includes proposals to save and create almost 100,000 jobs in Dublin in 2011.

“Sinn Féin is also advocating that social welfare for the unemployed be increased in the form of the return on the Christmas bonus. We have identified the necessary revenue for this and it will be detailed in our pre-budget submission.

“Sinn Féin rejects the Government’s approach to economic recovery. Rather we see increased funding for the welfare state as an integral part of our approach to economic recovery. Social welfare recipients spend their income and as such this form of public spending acts as a much needed stimulus for the real economy and involves a significant employment kick-back.” ENDS

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP MLA will this week attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.


Gerry Adams is a member of the CGI which was set up by President Bill Clinton in 2005.


While in New York Mr. Adams will also meet with the Comptrollers of New York State and City to discuss investment in the north of Ireland.

And on Friday September24th Mr. Adams will be the speaker at the Woodrow Wilson School of International Politics at Princeton University, New Jersey at 2:30pm on the topic "No Conflict is Intractable".

Speaking today Gerry Adams said:

“The work of the CGI is hugely important in bringing much needed economic investment and support to developing nations. It provides an opportunity to meet political leaders from around the world, to listen to the difficulties and challenges confronting them and to speak about the Irish peace process.

However, a major focus of my meetings next week will be my discussions with the New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and the New York City Comptroller John C Liu.

Both Comptrollers are responsible for billions of dollars of pension funds and my discussions with both Comptrollers will be centred on encouraging them to invest in the north and border counties.”


Note to Editor:
The CGI brings together global leaders, activists, celebrities, Nobel Prize winners, business leaders and scholars for four days of discussions about some of the world's biggest challenges including energy & climate change, global health, education, and poverty alleviation.
Its purpose is to encourage co-operation between governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other global leaders to confront the world’s most pressing problems.
The primary focus of the CGI is to turn ideas into action and to raise funding. In its 5 years it has had enormous success raising over 52 billion dollars for development projects around the world.

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Speaking in relation to the two attacks on a Protestant and Catholic household in Rasharkin over the weekend North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said

“Both attacks which took place over the weekend are to be condemned equally.


“There needs to be political leadership shown across the board and politicians need to ensure that their words cannot be used as political cover by those carrying out these attacks.


“Outstanding issues in the area, such as the issue of controversial parades, need to be resolved as a matter of urgency to help create a better environment in the village. The divisiveness which such issues have created is feeding existing tensions. These issues cannot go on unresolved nor can they be used as an excuse for these attacks.


"We need to see all political parties along with other organisations and groups whether they be community, church, or businesses sitting down and hammering home a resolution and standing united against sectarianism.


“Local people abhor these attacks and want them to come to a total and absolute end. We can deliver this but only if all parties are serious about challenging those behind them head on and sending a unified message out that they need to stop ” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President and west Belfast MP Gerry Adams this morning hosted a press conference at which John Kelly of the Bloody Sunday families formally launched a new leaflet for the Ballymurphy Massacre families.


Gerry Adams said:


I want to welcome the Ballymurphy families here this morning.


I also want to welcome four of the Bloody Sunday relatives who are here in solidarity with the Ballymurphy families and to launch this new Ballymurphy Massacre leaflet – Time for Our Truth’.

 
The leaflet outlines the detail of the events surrounding the killing of eleven people - ten men, including a local priest and a mother of eight children - in the 36 hours after the introduction of internment in August 1971.
All of those killed were shot by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment.


Six months later the Parachute Regiment killed 14 people in Derry and six months after Bloody Sunday 5 people were killed in Springhill, including a second Catholic priest.


The accounts of how the 11 died in Ballymurphy bears a striking similarity to the stories told by the Bloody Sunday families.


The families have carried out substantial inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones.


They believe that not all of the facts pertaining to the shootings were made known or that the killings properly investigated the killings.


They also have concerns about the inquests that were carried out.


In July the Catholic Church released archive documents surrounding the events in Ballymurphy in August 1971.

This included new eyewitness accounts which lend support to the families opinion that vital evidence was withheld.


The demand of the families is very clear. They want truth.


The families are campaigning for an independent international investigation into the circumstances of the 11 deaths and a statement of innocence and apology from the British government.


Briege Voyle spoke for the Ballymurphy families. She outlined some of the detail that is contained in the new leaflet.


John Kelly spoke for the Bloody Sunday families. He said:


“I can still clearly remember the first time I met this group. I was asked to speak at an event in St. Mary’s Hall, but after listening to the heartbreaking stories I was completely overcome by what I heard.


What I heard were stories of blatant murder and terrible brutality conducted by the Parachute Regiment, the same regiment who were responsible for the same murderous brutality carried out in Derry on Bloody Sunday.


The Ballymurphy massacre happened six months before Bloody Sunday. It and many other murders by the British Army around that time, helped set the precedent that British soldiers were immune from prosecution and knew that they could, would and did get away with murder. We know that the agencies of the British state, from the government down through the prosecution services, helped to promote and encourage this culture of immunity.


Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday stand side by side in history as massacres carried out by the British Army. I can tell you that after the Saville report they will not get away with murdering our loved ones and they hopefully be brought to justice at long last.


We have achieved some justice with the publication of the Saville Report, and we hope that the families here can get the same. The Bloody Sunday families will always be there to support the Ballymurphy families, and all the other victims that cry out for truth and justice.


With that, I am pleased to launch the Ballymurphy leaflet. Hopefully it will travel the world, educating and making people aware of the type of atrocities and war crimes carried out by the British Army against innocent Irish people. Hopefully it will be part of these families getting the truth and justice they deserve.

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Speaking at a party think in prior to the commencement of the new Dáil session North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said his priorities for the coming Dáil term will be protecting workers’ wages and conditions, protecting farm incomes and resisting Government cuts.

Deputy Ferris said: “The coming Dáil session will see our party once again at the forefront of defending ordinary people from the current Government who appear intent on making them pay for the incompetence of the bankers and speculators.

“Working people in particular are being targeted both through an onslaught on their wages and conditions and the overall impact of cuts in public provision. I will continue to be particularly vigilant in regard to legislative attempts to undermine agreed wage rates as was proposed earlier in the year.

“Farmers are also experiencing a bad period. Farm incomes fell by 30% in 2009 and a further fall is expected this year. One of the key reasons for this has been the attempt by the major processors to cut the prices which they pay to farmers for milk and other produce.

“While we as individual TDs will continue to represent our constituents we are also part of a party that will continue to be to the forefront of resistance to this reactionary Government and which will be putting forward a clear alternative to the current politics of negativity as we approach the next general election.” ENDS

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Speaking at his party’s annual think in meeting in Dublin today Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan set out his party’s approach to the upcoming budget. Deputy Morgan said Sinn Féin is the only party in the Dáil that is opposing €3billion cutback proposal and demanding an economic stimulus.

He said:

“As we did last year, we will be using this year's pre-budget submission to comprehensively debunk the myths around the Irish economy that are propagated by the Government and supported by FG and Labour.

“Our analysis is completely different – we do not buy into the government's €3billion deficit reduction. We believe in a stimulus package to create jobs which will in turn reduce the deficit. We believe in overhauling the tax system to make it fairer, which will bring in the revenue to both create a stimulus and reduce the deficit.

“We are the only party in the Dáil with a progressive economic policy, which is opposes the proposals to cut €3billion from the economy and is demanding an economic stimulus package.

“The only spending cuts we believe in are cuts at the top end such as cutting the pay of hospital consultants and capping the pay of the highest earners in the civil service.

“Cutbacks in general don't help the economy and they don't help people. They contract the economy and drive people into poverty. We won't be joining the chorus line of establishment parties who all parrot and support a policy of austerity that has been shown throughout history not to work.

“In this pre-budget we will also be exposing the truth behind the state's finances. Fianna Fáil, The Greens, Fine Gael and Labour all agree that €3billion and maybe more should be cut from spending. They're not talking about the 25 billion or countless more billions gone into Anglo, the other banks and NAMA.

“Let's be honest to the public – they are taking your tax money to pay for a failed banking strategy, not reduce the deficit. The deficit is growing because of the banks and no amount of health and education spending cuts will bridge the gap.

“Again this year we will be working with a team of economists and we will be revisiting the big ticket items that we proposed last year and which have now been taken up by other groups, such as the wealth tax.

“We will also be highlighting the poverty traps being created by the main parties’ policies and proposals. Our mission with this budget is to tell the truth about the state's finances and to show that there is an alternative. That is what people are looking for.” ENDS

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We have three main tasks to focus on today and to pursue in the period up to and beyond the Budget:

• To present the constructive and progressive Sinn Féin alternatives to the disastrous policies of the Fianna Fáil-Green Coalition Government.

• To join with communities the length and breadth of the country in fighting the cuts and demanding a real strategy for job creation.

• To strengthen the Sinn Féin mandate and ensure the return of more Sinn Féin TDs at the next General Election.

Tá clár oibre soiléir ag Sinn Féin – cur i gcoinne na gciorraithe, stráitéis fostaíochta a chur os chomhair an phobail agus méadú ar neart ár bpáirtí san Oireachtas.

We meet at a time of deepening recession with 455,000 people unemployed in this State, half a million on the whole island. Mass unemployment and emigration are the direct consequences of the boom and bust policies pursued by Fianna Fáil-led governments since 1997.

Fianna Fáil may publicly try to deny their responsibility for the social and economic mess in this State, but they know and everyone else knows that they cannot shirk that responsibility and they will pay dearly for it come the General Election.

The question now is how much more damage will they do to Irish society and to the Irish economy before they are thrown out of office?

The Fianna Fáil-Green Coalition response to the recession has been as fundamentally flawed as the mismanagement that led to the recession in the first place.

That is seen above all in their appalling handling of the banking collapse. They have poured billions of the people’s money into the zombie Anglo-Irish Bank, the very financial institution which, more than any other, fuelled the madness of the property boom. They have kept in place a bank guarantee which is costing the taxpayer dearly, demands little accountability from the banks and allows them to continue to exploit customers with excessive interest rates, massive mortgage debt and a credit famine for viable businesses. Sinn Féin’s opposition to the legislation that set the terms of the bank guarantee has been vindicated.

The zombie Anglo-Irish Bank should have been wound up and the gamblers who bet on it should have taken the hit, not the ordinary taxpayer.

We need a strong State bank that serves the people and not multi-millionaire executives and shareholders.

A commission should be established to examine the most responsible and economically safe method of dismantling NAMA, another huge imposition on the Irish people, courtesy of Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Not only is this shower of incompetents leaving us the toxic legacy of the recession, they are leaving us the toxic legacy of their criminally incompetent response to the recession.

And, make no mistake, this is having a real and damaging and lasting impact on people’s lives. Each of the 455,000 jobless is a real person, not just a statistic.

In education Government cuts mean dilapidated schools, larger classes and neglect of special needs.

In health the cuts mean longer waiting lists, cancelled operations, more people on trolleys and chairs in A&E, hospital services closed down. If the recruitment ban in the public health services is maintained over the next three years then a further 6,000 posts will remain unfilled.

All of this is being done in pursuit of a totally flawed fiscal policy that dictates the cutting of €3 billion in public spending each year up to 2014. That includes at least €3 billion in the forthcoming Budget, as Brian Lenihan was so eager to remind us. The softening up process has already begun.

Unfortunately for Brian, his colleague, Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Batt O’Keeffe let the cat out of the bag when he said they would be taking €3 billion “out of the economy”. That is exactly what they are doing, imposing public spending cuts that take the life blood out of the Irish economy.

Many economic commentators would have us believe that savage cuts to vital public services are inevitable. That is not the case. In 2009 Sinn Féin identified €3.059 billion that could be raised and saved, without attacking public services and the incomes of the least well off.

Sinn Féin has also done what the Government has failed to do and that is to produce a coherent jobs strategy. Investment in job retention and job creation will make a real difference in people’s lives and provide a real return to public finances.

We have set out our proposals in detail and I call on the other opposition parties to do so also. A Fine Gael/Labour coalition is being presented as the inevitable outcome of the next General Election. But what would their programme for government be? We don’t know.

What we do know is that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny recently parroted the discredited catch-phrase of George Bush the First: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Of course George reneged on that one. Enda’s political fiancée, Eamon Gilmore, said, quite rightly, that nobody could give such a commitment. But then Labour’s Finance spokesperson, Joan Burton, when asked would Labour carry out Fianna Fáil’s plan to take the lowest paid into the income tax net refused to rule it out.

The truth is that there are still too many privileged individuals not paying their fair share of tax – and I don’t mean workers on and below the minimum wage. Those workers should remain outside the income tax net.

Real political change requires more than just a change of Government. That is why Sinn Féin is a campaigning party. We are in our communities fighting against the cuts and for economic justice. Only people power will bring about real change. The real coalition we need is a coalition of communities, trade unions, voluntary organisations, campaigning groups and parties of the left to shape a better, fairer Ireland.

The current Government has bred disgust and disillusionment with politics. They are hoping people have their heads down and will accept the forthcoming savage budget with little protest. But people have become politicised. They will not accept this lying down. For our part we will be stepping up our campaigning work, culminating in a pre-Budget rally against cuts in Dublin on Saturday, 4 December.

Today we will plan our work for the months ahead.

We are challenging the Government in the courts on its refusal to hold the long overdue Donegal South-West by-election. It should proceed this autumn as should those in Waterford and Dublin South. A Government with no mandate from the people for NAMA and the bank bailout and their savage cuts has added insult to injury by denying full representation to the people.

We are preparing for a General Election which may occur at any time. The sooner the better as far as we are concerned. We are confident that we will strengthen the Sinn Féin mandate and provide the effective leadership that is so badly needed in Ireland today.

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Sinn Féin MLA for South Down, Caitríona Ruane has congratulated Cork in winning the 2010 All Ireland football championship and commiserated with a very impressive Co. Down team on a valiant performance, bringing the match decider down to the last minute.

Speaking from Croke Park Ms Ruane said:

 “Today’s match was a contest between two great teams. In the end Cork clinched it and brought the match to a nail-biting finish against a strong and impressive Down side and congratulations to them.

“It must be heartbreaking to reach the pinnacle of Gaelic Games to be defeated, following such a defining representation, by only one point, and I send all my heartfelt wishes to the Down players who did not let themselves, or their county down with their performance at Croke Park.

“It is unfortunate that the Sam Maguire cup will not be coming to Ulster but on the performance I saw in Croke Park I firmly believe this Down team will be back.

“However Ulster did have success in the minors with Tyrone lifting the Tom Markham Cup after another fine display of Gaelic football and congratulations are due for this win to all of the team.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has congratulated Katie Taylor on winning her third successive world title this evening.

Mr Adams said:

"Katie has made the whole of Ireland proud tonight with third successive world title.

"This is a magnificant achievement for Katie and for Irish boxing.

"I also want to pay trubute to the Irish Ladies under 17s who got to the world cup quarter finals and were unluckily beaten by Japan last night."

ENDS

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Cllr. Maurice Quinlivan is to be the Sinn Féin candidate at the forthcoming general election in the new constituency of Limerick City. Cllr. Quinlivan was unanimously selected at a party convention in the Absolute Hotel on last Thursday evening 16th September, which was chaired by Martin Ferris TD (Kerry North/West Limerick).

In his address to the convention Cllr. Quinlivan thanked the party for putting their faith in him and thanked his family and all who had been supportive of him since his election to Limerick City Council last year.

Cllr. Quinlivan said:

“Everybody knows that the next general election, which is likely to come sooner rather than later, will be fought around the theme of getting the country back to work and out of the appalling economic and social mess into which Fianna Fail and their banking, big business and developer friends have landed it.

“In the run up to the last general election in 2007 Sinn Féin put forward proposals to dampen down the property boom and lessen our economic and fiscal dependence on the construction industry. We also called for the broadening of the tax base and for investment in vital social infrastructure. We steadfastly opposed the hospital co-location programme and resisted plans to sell off vital public utilities.

“We argued strongly for the strengthening and expansion of indigenous industries. And for all this we were derided by Fianna Fail ministers as ‘economic illiterates’. Many people now see the sense of what we were saying and also see the nonsense of putting faith in the real economic morons who got us into this mess to now get us out of it.”

“The urgent priority now is to get our people back to work and Sinn Féin has put forward realistic and costed proposals for the creation and retention of jobs. In contrast this government has no coherent jobs strategy. Their obsession with pleasing international bondholders and money markets means they are quite prepared to see unemployment rise even further.

“We also need to urgently reverse the insane policies that are seriously threatening to wreck our health service to the extent that sick people are now being told to stay away from our public hospitals. Along with this there is a crying need to completely overhaul our employment and social services in such a way as to serve the ever growing needs of our people. Yet this government insists on pursuing policies that have created chaos in such vital public services at a time when they are most needed.

“People who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are burdened with massive mortgage and other debts are surely as worthy of support from the state as the banks and developers. Sinn Féin is determined to fight to ensure that such support is forthcoming. People need hope and the belief that there is a better way out of the economic mess this government has landed us in, we intend to provide fresh ideas and leadership and build a better Ireland. ”

Congratulating Cllr. Quinlivan on his selection, Deputy Ferris said “neither Maurice nor Sinn Féin are going into this election simply to make up the numbers. Rather, we are going in to win seats I am confident that Maurice is more than capable of taking a seat here in Limerick.” ENDS

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Over six hundred people braved the lashing rain today to voice their support for Navan Hospital. The crowd was addressed by the Cllr Phill Brennan, Journalist and Health Analyst Maire O Connor, Local Doctor Niall Maguire and Campaign organiser Cllr Peadar Tóibín. The protest was the third in a series of mass meetings to protest against the closure of Services at Navan Hospital.

Deputy Mayor and Campaign Chairperson, Cllr Peadar Tóibín stated:

“It would be easy for me to stand here and give you platitudes about our hospital. But sooner or later we have to get real. We cannot dance around the fact that people must be made accountable for what is happening to Navan Hospital. If an overpaid Fianna Fáil minister says to the people of Meath on the eve of an election, that he will go to the wire for the hospital, he better come up with the goods. When he promises that the future of Navan Hospital is safe in his hands or that a new regional hospital will be built in Navan on his watch, well we the people have a right to hold him to account.

“The HSE is the creation of and is responsible to this Fianna Fáil government. Each Minister has collective responsibility for the decisions that are made. Minister Dempsey claims that he knew nothing about these cuts. Yet the HSE claim they told the cabinet a week in advance. Dempsey’s legacy as a public representative in Meath will be determined by this issue. The choice is his. Will he step up to the plate or will Dempsey be remembered as the ‘Minister for Navan Hospital Closure’?

“He claims he is disappointed by what has happened. Well Noel, disappointment is not good enough. Disappointment is not a strategy. Disappointment is not going to save lives. Disappointed Dempsey needs to come up with a plan for the maintenance of efficient and effective services in Meath or he needs to go.

“This campaign is only getting started. We need to mobilise thousands of people onto the streets. We need to rival the marches in Roscommon and else where. In three weeks we need to fill the Fairgreen with 5,000 Meath people. This Campaign will be difficult, with lots of hard work. We cannot at this point be certain of the outcomes, but let it not be said that 250 years of essential Hospital services in Navan came to an end in our generation.” END

Photos of the Rally can be got from John Doyle on 085 7479268
Further interviews are available from Peadar on 087 2707985

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A meeting of the Save Navan Hospital Committee took place in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan yesterday. Over 250 people attended, many people were left with just standing room such was the size of the crowd. The crowd was made up people from all walks of life and from all political persuasions. According to Campaign Chairperson and Deputy Mayor of Navan, Peadar Tóibín, ‘the purpose of the meeting is to mobilise a people power campaign to fight for Navan Hospital. Our first opportunity to do this will be this Saturday at 12.30pm where we intend to bring people out in their hundreds to protest outside of Noel Dempsey's office on the Fairgreen, Navan. We need to put pressure on those who are responsible for the decision to close Navan Hospital.
During his address to the crowd Cllr Tóibín stated:
"People are furious and disgusted at the vandalism of our Health Services, but being angry is not enough. We the people of Meath are not powerless pawns at the end of the political food chain to be dictated to by this government or the HSE. We elect these so called representatives and are the people who pay their wages, as a result we have a right to be listened to.
"None of us can guarantee that this campaign will be successful but we will do 2 things. We will build a cross community cross party campaign which will do its damnedest to save services at Navan. We will make such a racket that when the HSE or any other government department coming looking to cut anything in future they will know that the people of Meath are no soft touch."
The meeting was also addressed by local GP Dr Niall Maguire, Tony FitzPatrick spokesperson from the INMO and Noleen O Donaghue SIPTU representative at Navan Hospital who all indicated strong support for the campaign. ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s annual pre-Dáil Think-in meeting will take place this Monday, 20 September, in the Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street.

During the course of the day the Sinn Féin Dáil team and background staff will discuss the party’s approach to the upcoming budget, tackling the jobs crisis and dealing with the banks. There will also be a discussion on the upcoming by-elections and strategy for a general election.

Bríd O’Brien, Policy Director of the INOU, will also address the meeting.

Media opportunities:

The Sinn Féin team will arrive at the Gresham Hotel at 9.30am and will address the media at the front steps at 9.30am.

Media are also invited to Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin’s opening address to the meeting at 10.05am and Bríd O’Brien’s address at 3.30pm.

For further press requests please contact Shaun Tracey on 0877735218.

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A Sinn Féin delegation led by Party President Gerry Adams including Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, Vice President Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin City Councillor Dessie Ellis and South Dublin County Councillor Seán Crowe today visited the National Monument at 14-17 Moore St, site of the last meeting of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic in 1916.

Speaking afterwards Gerry Adams said:

“Visiting 14-17 Moore St. today in the company of relatives of the 1916 leaders reaffirms our commitment to ensure the complete preservation and restoration of these historic buildings.

“The battle to save the historic battle site and final meeting place of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic at Easter 1916, must be won. Environment Minister John Gormley must protect this National Monument and ensure that its destruction is not allowed to proceed.”

Caoimhghín O Caoláin said:

“While this historic site has been designated a National Monument, a developer plans to level most of it apart from some outer walls of the four buildings. That is totally unacceptable and it would be an abomination if this key part of our heritage was displaced by a shopping mall.

“As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising we owe it to the memory of those who died, to the present generation and to our children to fully preserve this site which is hugely important not only for Ireland’s heritage but on an international scale also. Sinn Féin advocates the creation of an historic 1916 quarter of the city, encompassing the GPO and Moore St.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Culture Committee member Billy Leonard MLA has said that the DCAL Committee must explore urgently the legal ramifications of the failure of the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure to bring forward a comprehensive Irish Language policy.

Mr Leonard was speaking after Human Rights Commissioner Monica McWilliams submitted a letter to the Committee outlining their position following the report from the EU’s Committee of Experts into the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages.

Speaking this afternoon Mr Leonard said;

"The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure received a letter today from Monica McWilliams regarding the report from the EU's Committee of Experts which has considered the implementaton of the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages.

The letter highlights further a number of the findings from the Committee of Expert’s report; notably their call for the implementation of a ‘comprehensive Irish Language policy’.

As Sinn Féin has been stating for some considerable time now, the report also stresses the need for both An Ghaeilge and Ulster Scots to ‘be treated in accordance with its own specific situation’.

The Human Rights Commission has asked the Minister Nelson McCausland if he intends to take any measures to promote respect for Irish given the conclusions of the Council of Europe. Mr McCausland needs to spell out clearly his intentions with respect to this.

Given the findings of the Committee of Experts, the Assembly scrutiny committee on culture, arts and leisure will now have to explore the legal ramifications for the Department and the Minister for the failures with respect to the Irish language.

Nelson McCausland must now move to implement his languages strategy and introduce Act na Gaeilge.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin deputy Chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill MLA has proposed at today’s Committee meeting that a joint sitting of the Health and Justice Committees takes place to discuss outstanding questions around the return of the McDermott Brothers to the village of Donagh.

Speaking from the Assembly this afternoon Ms O’Neill said;

“I proposed the joint sitting after it was revealed at today’s meeting that the Lord Chief Justice had written to the Justice Minister David Ford seeking to clarify the position around the judgement in relation to the McDermott brothers and their allowing their return to Donagh.

A number of serious questions around the judgement in this case remain unanswered, even after several weeks of two scrutiny committees, Health and Justice, having sought answers on behalf of the victims and survivors.

The Chairs and deputy Chairs of both Committee’s will be coming together to discuss this matter. We must ensure that the victims and survivors of abuse in Donagh are central to all of this and that we learn the lessons in order to prevent a repeat of this type of incident in the future.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin DETI Committee Member Jennifer McCann MLA (West Belfast) has called on the Minister to give assurances that the Social Economy Budget will be treated as a priority.

Following a meeting of the Enterprise Committee today Jennifer McCann said:

“I have grave concerns that the Social Economy Budget could see its funding reduced by up to £50,000 a year.

“The Social Economy Budget is a vital component in efforts to revitalise the economy and in the drive towards economic recovery. It not only creates local employment but also assists in regenerating communities. Rather than considering a reduction in this funding I believe it would assist regeneration of communities and strengthen the local economy if there was more focused investment in this sector.

“I am calling on DETI Minister, Arlene Foster to ensure that the Development of the Social Economy remains a priority within her department and that she ensures that it is given the attention and financial support it requires to grow and make its full contribution to economic recovery. CRÍOCH

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