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Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language derogation in the the European Parliament while on language strike in Brussels.

The Minister has acknowledged the negative impact of zero hour contracts for workers, yet his proposals to address this are totally inadequate.  Sinn Féin's position on zero hour contracts is that they should be banned.


Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has welcomed the climb down from Minister Michael Noonan on the introduction of a Mortgage Insurance scheme. The dropping of the proposal was confirmed to Deputy Doherty in a parliamentary reply.



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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has claimed the government's attempts to introduce water charges is ill thought out and doomed to failure.

Responding to the launch of the Report on Water Provision by the Joint Committee on Environment, Deputy Stanley said:

“Sinn Féin made a full and detailed submission to the consultation process. In our submission we clearly outlined the reasons why we opposed the installation of domestic water meters and the imposition of water charges.

“The government's arguments in favour of water rates simply do not stand up. The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates is more about privatisation than about conservation. Water meters and water charges does not encourage conservation.

“Sinn Féin is calling for the establishment of a National Water Sector Framework Team. This team would oversee governance of the water sector and capital investment for the sector. We support the introduction of district metering which is far more effective and cost effective than installing domestic water meters in every household.

“This allows for local authorities to monitor water usage and leakage at neighbourhood level. According to the Irish Academy of Engineers the cost of meter installation will be at least €500 million. This €500 million would fund the water conservation strategy for six years. It would be far more appropriate to invest the €500 million in water conservation rather than meter installation.

“Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan, has failed at every opportunity to outline how much it will cost to establish Irish Water. At a time when people are faced with extra charges, extra taxes and cuts to public services it is reckless in the extreme to give Minister Hogan a blank cheque to establish and run Irish Water. The minister must explain under what rainbow he hopes to find this funding.”

In conclusion, Deputy Stanley said, “the government attempts to impose water charges will be met with strong resistance from households and it is doomed to failure.”

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Responding to the increased rate of unemployment as detailed in the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey published today Sinn Féin Deputy Peadar Tóibín said that after 450 days in office the government was clearly failing the working generation.
The survey showed that there was an annual decrease in employment of 1.0% or 18,100 in the year to the first quarter of 2012, bringing total employment to 1,786,100. Unemployment increased by 13,300 (+4.5%) in the year to Q1 2012. The long-term unemployment rate increased from 7.8% to 8.9% over the year to Q1 2012. Long-term unemployment accounted for 60.6% of total unemployment in Q1 2012.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 14.5% to 14.8% over the quarter. We also know that over 70,000 people emigrated last year.

According to deputy Tóibín: “Behind each of these figures there is an individual and often a family”. These figures are a shocking indictment of a government which fought an election campaign and then a referendum campaign on the basis of jobs. It puts pay to the nonsense of the vacuous spin that jobs are a priority of this government. The record of the last 450 days of government speaks for itself.
“Sinn Féin is calling for a three year investment package in the region of €13 billion focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises. This money could be sourced from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund, matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from the Private Pension sector. This stimulus along with enterprise reforms and supports would help kick start the Irish economy, create long term competitive advantages and get create 130,000 jobs directly over three years.”
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Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has urged all TDs to vote yes on June 20th.

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's Back the Bill campaign, Stanley explained;

“Sinn Féin opposes the Household Charge. On June 19 we will introduce a bill, the Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012. This Bill aims to reverse the Household Charge and reimburse all those who have paid the charge.

“The charge was introduced in last year’s budget because the Fine Gael/Labour government cut the funding to local authorities. The funding was taken from local government and redirected to bail out zombie banks. A yes vote on June 20th will consign the Household Charge to the rubbish bin of history.

“People should not be paying for local government services twice. Households already have to pay for services including waste collection, call out charges for the fire brigade, septic tank charges and soon water charges.

“Sinn Féin believes that the household charge is a double tax and should be resisted. It is grossly unfair as it penalises those on middle and low incomes. Millionaires will pay the same as pensioners and lone parents, who have had their benefits cut.

“The government could have made other choices. Funding and savings could have been made from one of the following options:

• Introduce a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000. Raises: €410 million
• Abolish ‘Group relief’ availed of by companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts. Raises: €450.3 million
• Abolish legacy property reliefs. Raises: €341.8 million
• Cap all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum. Saves: €265 million

“Any one of the above would have more than covered the cost of local government services but instead Fine Gael & Labour TDs chose to dip deeper into our pockets.

“Sinn Féin launched the Back the Bill campaign to encourage residents groups, trade unions and campaign groups to support this bill. We are happy to have received support from both Unite and Mandate trade unions, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and a number of community groups. We have written to SIPTU and the TEEU and are confident that others will come out in support of this bill.

“The public now has an opportunity to put pressure on government TDs in reverse this unjust and unworkable household Charge. I am encouraging all TDs to vote Yes on the June 20th and support this bill.

“There will be a Back the Bill rally outside the Dáil at 5pm on Wednesday June 20th to coincide with the vote that evening.” ENDS

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Europe needs an emergency fund fit for purpose
Speaking today during the Dáil debate on the European Stability Mechanism Bill Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD, said that: “the Eurozone needs an emergency funding mechanism” but that “it must be fit for purpose.”
Deputy Doherty said:
“Sinn Féin’s firm view is that Ireland and the Eurozone need an emergency funding mechanism. Not only because the Irish government will need to access it come 2014, but because such a fund is vital to stabilise the Euro. This is why we supported the proposed amendment to 136 of the European Treaties.
“But there is no point in agreeing to a fund that is not fit for purpose, that will not achieve its stated objectives and that in all likelihood will make matters worse.
“The ESM in its current form is not fit for purpose. It is based, like the EFSF, on the failed policies of crippling austerity and unlimited bank bailouts.
“Unless the ESM Treaty is amended Sinn Féin will not be in a position to support this Bill.
“Fortunately, for Ireland and for the Eurozone a window of opportunity to amend the ESM Treaty and improve the fund is still available.
“Other EU member states are actively seeking changes to the Treaty. These changes could well be made at the forthcoming European Council summit at the end of June.
“The Irish government should do likewise.
“Next week at committee stage I will table amendments to the ESM Bill. The amendments will be based on five key changes that we believe are required for the ESM to do what it is being set up to do including;
“An explicit option of ESM funds being used to invest in jobs and growth as part of a credible deficit reduction strategy rather than the current focus on austerity; an option for direct ECB funding of the ESM to provide the necessary firewall to stabilise the Euro while limiting the liability to taxpayers and individual member states; a clause ensuring that programme countries are not required to contribute to the fund; a requirement for strict stress tests and write down of toxic debt as a precondition for any ESM funds being used to recapitalise banks, whether directly or indirectly via loans to governments; greater accountability at an EU and member state level and the removal of the immunity granted to the fund and its board members.
“It is time for the government to stand up for the interests of Irish citizens just as the government of Spain is doing for its citizens. Ensuring that Ireland has access to an emergency fund that works for Ireland and for Europe is the best way of doing this.”
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Note for editor:
Full text of Pearse Doherty TD ESM Bill Second Stage – 7.5.12
The crisis in the Eurozone is deepening every single day. Nobel Prize winning -economists are telling us that the euro has only a 50-50 chance of survival.
Since 2010 the peoples of Greece, Ireland and Portugal have been paying the price for an economic crisis that we did not create.
We are being forced to pay the bills of bankers, speculators, developers and politicians who ran our economies into the ground.
Some of these bankers, speculators, developers and politicians were home grown. But many were also from the stronger economies of the European Union such as France and Germany.
And all of these national actors were encouraged in their reckless endeavours by a European Commission that was part of the same failed policy consensus.
The policies of light touch banking regulation; unsustainable tax regimes; cheap money; and aggressive lending all combined to create an unsustainable boom and a catastrophic crash.
It should come as no surprise that the very same politicians and bankers who got us into the crisis have proved unable to get us out of the crisis.
How could it be any different?
For two years political leaders across Europe have been dithering and procrastinating. They have held eighteen European Council crisis summits. Most of these have been marked by indecision and disagreement. When decisions have been made they have either been insufficient or counterproductive.
Throughout the entire Eurozone crisis our political leaders have been misdiagnosing the causes of the crisis and in turn proscribing the wrong medicine. As a result they have been making the patient sicker and sicker by the month.
If they are allowed to continue they will kill off the patient entirely – with devastating consequences for the economies and societies of the member states of the Eurozone.
The crisis in the Eurozone is not a fiscal crisis. The excessive deficits are a symptom of much more fundamental problems.
The crisis in the Eurozone was not caused by the profligacy of the periphery. The unsustainable debts of some member states are a symptom of much more systemic problems.
The crisis of the Eurozone was firstly a banking crisis; leading to a debt crisis which in turn had led to an investment and employment crisis.
Focusing on deficit reduction alone, important as it is, is a mistake. The two most urgent questions facing the Eurozone are firstly how to reduce unsustainable levels of debt and secondly how to increase investment in job creation to stimulate economic growth and social regeneration.
Unfortunately our political leaders simply don’t understand this. The European Council, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and our own Fine Gael-Labour government continue to misunderstand the problem and in turn pursue the wrong solutions.
That is why the Eurozone crisis is getting worse.
That is why Greece is approaching a state of social, economic and political collapse. That is why Spain is now in the process of negotiating access to emergency funding. That is why the Irish and Portuguese governments will more than likely be looking for additional emergency funding when the current programmes end.
For two years political leaders across Europe argued that the Eurozone crisis was a fiscal crisis confined to the periphery of the Eurozone. By this logic the solution was to impose harsh fiscal discipline on the people of the periphery while all the time protecting the European banking system with unlimited bailouts.
Crippling austerity and unlimited bank bailouts has been the sole focus of actual Government policy at home and in Brussels.
When Fianna Fail and the Green party led the state into the Troika programme in 2010 Sinn Féin said that it wouldn’t work. We were right.
When Fine Gael and Labour committed themselves to continuing the same failed policies of their predecessors Sinn Féin said it wouldn’t work. We were right.
The policies of crippling austerity and unlimited bank bailouts are not assisting our return to the sovereign bond markets.
Rather the consequences of these policies are; rising unemployment; declining growth; mortgage distress; emigration; inequality; poverty – a downward spiral of social, economic and political instability.
The policies pursued by European political leaders, including our own Government have failed.
Increasingly even bodies such as the OECD, the IMF and now the European Commission are waking up to this failure.
The Eurozone’s problem is not lack of fiscal discipline; it is a famine of investment forcing millions of people onto the dole; it is a decline in living standards relentlessly depressing the domestic economy; it is crippling banking debt loaded onto the shoulders of tax payers and in turn freezing country after country out of the sovereign bond markets; it is the futile policies of austerity which not only fail to resolve the crisis but actually make it worse.
For two years Sinn Féin has been arguing for a better way. We have put forward solutions aimed at reducing the debt; growing the economy; and getting the public finances in order in a way that is fair and assists economic and social recovery.
We have argued for a write down of that portion of the public debt that originated with the banks – most importantly the promissory note – both to make our debt more sustainable and to assist our return to the markets.
We have argued for an EU wide approach to the banking crisis – demanding a new and rigorous round of stress tests of all European banks to expose the full extent of their toxic assets to be followed by a write down of these toxic assets before any recapitalisation.
We argued for the European Central Bank to become a lender of last resort, either directly or indirectly, both to banks in need of recapitalisation and to states locked out of the sovereign bond markets.
And crucially we have argued for a massive investment in job creation
– through national funds and European Investment Bank funds to get people off the dole and back to work.
You can-not balance the books with 14% unemployment. You can-not cut and tax your way out of this crisis. Only with real and substantial investment in jobs can you return to growth and in doing so reduce the deficit to sustainable levels.
In the context of this alternative strategy for jobs and growth Sinn Fein supports the creation of a Eurozone emergency fund to provide funds to member states frozen out of the bond markets.
Our preference would be for the ECB to fulfil the role. Only the ECB has the firepower required to shore up the euro. The ECB is also the only body capable of providing such funding without exposing ordinary taxpayers and individual member states to the kinds of liabilities that have been foisted on the people of this state in recent years.
Given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Spain and Greece we believe that a vehicle for providing such emergency funding is urgently required.
And so to the legislation and treaty that are before us today.
The question the Oireachtas must ask itself during this debate is not whether the Eurozone needs an emergency fund – clearly it does.
Nor is the question whether Ireland should have access to such a fund – clearly we should.
The key question we must address is whether the European Stability Mechanism as it is currently presented will provide Ireland and the Eurozone with the necessary tools to assist in stabilising the currency crisis in order to assist Governments to regain access to the sovereign bond markets.
When the EFSF was established Sinn Féin, along with many others, rightly criticised its design.
We argued that imposing anti-jobs and anti-growth austerity as a condition for emergency loans would be counterproductive.
We argued that mounting toxic private banking debt onto the shoulders of the state and taxpayer would make our debt burden unsustainable.
We argued that such conditions would block a return to growth and reduce the ability of the state to return to the sovereign bond markets.
The fact that Government ministers are starting to accept that the state is unlikely to re-enter the bond markets in 2014 is evidence that Sinn Féin’s analysis has been proved correct.
We also argued that the EFSF would not be big enough to cope with the growing debt and investment crisis across the Eurozone.
The fact that the European Council has come forward with a new permanent emergency funding vehicle in the form of the European Stability Mechanism demonstrates that again Sinn Féin’s analysis was correct.
Unfortunately neither the European Council nor the Irish government appear to have learned from the mistakes of the very recent past.
The ESM is based on the very same flawed policy agenda as its EFSF predecessor. It contains many of the same limitations and weaknesses of the EFSF.
Sinn Féin has a genuine concern that the fund as currently proposed will not help stabilise the Irish or Eurozone economies. Indeed we fear that, just like the EFSF, it will make matters worse.
At the core of the fund are the failed policies of unlimited bank bailouts and crippling austerity; these are the strict conditions referred to in the ESM Treaty.
The Treaty is very clear when it says that the conditions attached to any future loans will be negotiated by the European Commission and European Central Bank.
And what will these conditions be? More austerity in the form cuts to spending on front line services in health and education; more tax hikes on low and middle income families; more sales of profitable and strategically valuable state assets; more damage to the fabric of our society; more damage to our domestic economy.
This approach has failed both Ireland and the Eurozone.
For any emergency fund to work it must be part of a strategy aimed at investing in jobs creation and economic growth.
In Sinn Féin’s view the articles of the ESM Treaty must be amended to include an explicit commitment for emergency funding to be used to stimulate social and economic recovery – primarily in the form of investment in job creation.
If the Irish government is serious about developing a European wide growth agenda; if the European Council is serious about developing a Europe wide growth agenda then amending the ESM Treaty to transform it into a tool for job creation and growth is essential.
Sinn Féin is also concerned that, once again, taxpayers, will be forced to bail out banks to an unlimited extent. The current total fund for the ESM is €700 billion. Ireland’s contribution to this is a staggering €11 billion. While the initial call up is €1.2 billion, once established the ESM can call on the remainder of the total as it sees fit.
The Treaty also gives the ESM board the power to increase the total fund at its disposal.
This morning the newspapers were reporting that Spanish banks may require funds in the region of €100bn and this may come from the ESM funds.
Theoretically such funds would be provided in the form of loans – either to the Spanish government or directly to the Spanish banks. But does anyone in this house really believe that a loan to toxic Spanish banks in the region of €100bn would be repaid in full?
Just as the Irish government will never recoup the vast majority of the €64bn plus that was pumped into the Irish banks – nor will the ESM fully recoup funds injected into the Spanish banks on the basis of the current ESM funding model.
In Sinn Féin’s view the articles of the ESM Treaty must be changed to reduce the risk of exposure to the taxpayer and indeed to the state. This could be achieved by providing an option for direct funding of the ESM by the ECB – either through the issuing of bonds or through quantative easing, depending on which option was more appropriate at any given time.
This would also address another weakness of the ESM in its current form, namely its limited size.
Giving an emergency funding vehicle the unlimited firepower of the ECB would send a signal to the aggressive speculative forces in the markets that the EU will do whatever it takes to protect its currency.
Sinn Féin also believes that a Eurozone emergency fund should be able to lend directly to banks and that such a facility should be retrospectively available to Ireland.
However such a facility should only be made available following rigorous stress tests of the banks in question and a write down of toxic assets held by the banks.
European political leaders must learn from the mistakes of the mishandling of the Irish banking system. Bondholders and banks must be forced to pay their fair share of the crisis.
This means allowing some banks to fail. It means forcing heavy losses on bondholders.
And only then should recapitalisation occur ensuring that the injected funds benefit the real economy and real people.
Failure to do this will mean that Irish taxpayer’s money will be handed over to European banks that in turn will pay bondholders in full.
We are also very concerned that under the current proposals member states in receipt of funds from the ESM would be contributing to the fund.
This raises the prospect of states contributing significant resources to the ESM and then borrowing them back at a cost. This simply makes no sense.
If the ESM is to be based in whole or part on contributions from member states then, just like the EFSF, programme countries must be exempt from making contributions.
It also has to be said that the scale of the liabilities to the Irish state and taxpayer under the current proposal are a serious concern. The treaty indicates a potential liability of €11 billion the total figure could be much more. Given the scale of the Eurozone banking crisis this is tantamount to writing a blank cheque on a scale never seen before.
There are also problems with the lack of accountability of the fund once established and the immunity given to the fund and its board members.
For an emergency fund of this size to function it must do so in an open, transparent and democratically accountable way.
Amendments to the Treaty must be secured to ensure adequate scrutiny and accountability at the level of both the European and member state parliaments.
The proposed immunity for the ESM and its board members must also be removed. No body, especially political leaders making decisions about a fund worth €700bn should be above the law.
I want to repeat Sinn Féin’s firm view that Ireland and the Eurozone as a whole needs an emergency funding mechanism. Not only because the Irish government will need to access it come 2014, but because such a fund is vital to stabilise the Euro.
But there is no point in agreeing to a fund that is not fit for purpose, that will not achieve its stated objectives and that in all likelihood will make matters worse.
The ESM treaty which the Government is seeking to ratify through the ESM Bill was negotiated and concluded in 2011.
You have to ask yourself what the Government was doing during those negotiations. You have to ask yourself why the Government agreed to such a poorly designed fund. You have to ask yourself why, in the twelve months that followed they did not seek to make any constructive amendments.
Fortunately, for Ireland and for the Eurozone a window of opportunity to amend the ESM Treaty and improve the fund is still available.
Other EU member states are actively seeking changes. These changes could well be made at the forthcoming European Council summit at the end of June.
The Governments of Spain and France are standing up for their citizens and working to get a better deal. They are arguing, as are Sinn Féin, that further changes to the Treaty are required for it to be of any assistance in the current crisis.
Next week at committee stage I will table a number for amendments to the ESM Bill.
These amendments will call on the Government not to lodge the instrument of ratification for either the ESM or the Article 136 Amendment to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union until a number of specific changes to the ESM Treaty are secured.
Sinn Féin believes that five key changes are required for the ESM to do what it is being set up to do:
1. There should be an explicit option of ESM funds being used to invest in jobs and growth as part of a credible deficit reduction strategy rather than the current focus on austerity
2. There should be an option for direct ECB funding of the ESM to provide the necessary firewall to stabilise the Euro while limiting the liability to taxpayers and individual member states
3. There must be a clause ensuring that programme countries are not required to contribute to the fund
4. There needs to be a requirement for strict stress tests and write down of toxic debt as a precondition for any ESM funds being used to recapitalise banks, whether directly or indirectly via loans to governments
5. There is a need for greater accountability at an EU and member state level and the removal of the immunity granted to the fund and its board members.
In the coming weeks the Government has a real opportunity to work with their European partners to design an emergency funding mechanism that will help countries regain access to the sovereign bond markets; a fund that will play a meaningful role in defending vulnerable member states from speculative attack by the markets; a fund that will assist in creating jobs and promoting economic growth and social regeneration.
Such a fund is urgently needed. However Sinn Fein does not believe that the ESM as it currently stands can achieve these objectives. Unless the ESM Treaty is amended we will not be in a position to support this Bill.
More importantly unless the ESM Treaty is amended it will simply not work.
I firmly believe that there is still time to improve the proposed fund. The question is whether Fine Gael and Labour have the political courage and the political will to seek the necessary changes and the political ability and skill to secure these changes.
During the last fifteen months the Government has demonstrated a remarkable inability to stand up for the interests of Irish citizens at the European Council. Their strategy appears to be one of sitting quietly and passively and waiting to reap the benefits of the hard work of other Governments.
It is time for this approach to end. We will never know what could have been achieved unless the Government starts making demands that are in the interests of Irish citizens.
It is time the Government became an active participant in European Council negotiations.
It is time Fine Gael and Labour started to make demands on behalf of the Irish people, to actively participate in the negotiations and to come back with something better for Ireland and for Europe as whole.

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Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD accused Tánaiste and Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore of failing to stand up for the national interest.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Media headlines continue to be dominated with clear demands from the Spanish Government for financial support for their banks.

“The Taoiseach in contrast stunned all in the Dáil yesterday by refusing to tell anyone what exactly he was seeking from his European counterparts.

“Following the Austerity Treaty referendum you joined the Taoiseach to tell us all that you had engaged in a telethon of sorts with European leaders and there had been a change in the mood in Europe following Ireland’s yes Vote.

“The question is was it a change for the worse?

“The German Finance Minister has been pretty clear that he interpreted the Irish Yes as an endorsement of European policy. Clearly Labour and Fine Gael have sold the people a pig in a poke.

“The only certainty now is that the treaty will deliver more austerity. The only stability this treaty will deliver is more of the same failed policies.

“Unlike the Spanish Government, Labour and Fine Gael have both failed to stand up for our national interest and have in turn failed our people.” ENDS

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Commenting on the latest waiting list figures published by the HSE, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said they show that further cuts to health services must be stopped or else patient care faces an even deeper crisis.

He said;

“The most damning figure in the latest HSE statistics is the total of 158,000 patients waiting since January 2011 for an appointment to be seen by a consultant at an outpatient department.

“While there are some improvements in other figures such as waits for inpatient day care, these improvements are under threat because of the ongoing cutbacks, with the HSE now significantly over budget for 2012.

“The Department of Health in its recently published strategy signals the government’s intention to take over €2 billion more out of the health budget up to 2014. This will have hugely damaging consequences for our already struggling public health services.

“In practice these cuts mean less care for patients such as the disgraceful proposed cuts at Cavan General Hospital revealed this week. Management at Cavan General Hospital is planning a dramatic cut in elective theatre activity in the hospital for the rest of 2012, with serious implications for patient care and for the future of surgery at the hospital. It is planned that every second week only emergency surgery will be carried out in the hospital. Management claim that they have to save €500,000 due to budget cuts and that is the purpose of this plan.

“The austerity agenda is not working and it is damaging our health services. A new direction is needed.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has welcomed the announcement by Agriculture   Minister Michelle O’Neill to make money available to allow people not connected to mains water to drill bore wells.

Mr. McMullan stated,

“Most people take mains water for granted yet in rural areas over 350 families are not connected to the main water supply.  Despite an attempt to connect many of these homes to the main supply the cost has proved prohibitive and many still rely on old wells, drawing water by hand or living off bottled water.

“This new initiative will allow homes to apply for money to drill bore holes to a source of water that will then act as a reservoir giving homes running water for the first time.

“The Rural Bore Well Scheme while not covering the entire cost will meet the cost of boring the well up to £10,000 making it more affordable for those rural dwellers.

“I would encourage all those families whose homes are without running water to contact the Department of Agriculture or Department of Regional Development and apply for the scheme that will allow them access to a clean, hygienic supply of water.

“The scheme is also open to those people who already have bore wells that have fallen into disrepair so that they can be brought back up to the correct standard.”

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Responding to the loss of 177 jobs at Pfizer in Cork today Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Enterprise Jobs and Innovation Peadar Tóibín TD said this is a significant blow to the employees and to the whole Cork region.

Deputy Tóibín said this news should act as a wake-up call for the government.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“A large portion of this state’s GDP consists of products which are on patents. Many of these patents will soon run out. This threatens GDP, jobs, tax revenue, growth and of course our debt/GDP ratio.

“Five of the twelve top-selling medicines in the world are produced in Ireland. According to industry estimates, drugs with sales of upwards of €187 billion will come off patent between now and 2015. Chemicals and related products account for 60% of our merchandise exports, most of which are produced by foreign direct investors in Ireland.

“While this sector is pivotal, overdependence on the sector could be catastrophic. This state needs to promote a continuous product development pipeline giving special priority to indigenous Irish firms. FDI that operates as an enclave in Ireland without a well-developed indigenous supply side is extremely risky. Diversification needs to be taken seriously by this government as we have seen before the damage that placing all our eggs in one basket can have on our economy.

“These job losses along, with the losses in Atlantic Homecare, bring the reality of business in to sharp focus after a month of hollow rhetoric from the Yes side of the treaty debate.”

ENDS

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Speaking during a Dáil debate on the article 136 amendment to the European treaties Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said, “The Eurozone urgently needs a permanent emergency funding vehicle”.

The Donegal Deputy said “such a fund must be based on assisting investment in jobs and growth rather than unlimited bank bailouts and crippling austerity.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“Sinn Féin supports the creation of a Eurozone emergency fund to assist member states frozen out of the bond markets. However such a fund much be based on assisting investment in jobs and growth rather than unlimited bank bailouts and crippling austerity.

“While our preference is for the ECB to fulfil the role of a lender of last resort both to banks and states, we realise that at present this option is not an option.

“Given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Spain and Greece we believe that an alternative vehicle for providing such emergency funding is required

“On that basis we will support the proposed amendment to article 136 of the TFEU as it provides the EU with a legal basis for creating the needed emergency funding vehicle.

“However we strongly believe that the government and the European Council has used the wrong procedure to bring forward this amendment.

“This is the first time the simplified revision procedure has been used to amend the TFEU – this is very significant and requires a full and frank debate to ensure adequate public scrutiny. Unfortunately the government guillotined this debate limiting the amount of time available for discussion.” ENDS

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Liadh Ní Riada highlights Irish Language Derogation in Brussels


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Mary Lou McDonald TD, Cllr Catherine Seeley & Francie Molloy MP