Speaking from Australia were he is on a week long tour, Sinn Féin president
Gerry Adams has accused the British government of 'hiding behind the Cory
Report for three years and now hiding behind the consequences of it'.
Mr Adams said:
" Today marks the 15th Anniversary of the murder of Pat Finucane in his
North Belfast home. It has now been well established that the unionist death
squad who carried out the attack were being controlled and manipulated at
every level by both British Military Intelligence and the Special Branch.
" Pat Finucane was murdered as a result of Britain's very deliberate policy of state sanctioned murder. His family have refused to accept the lies and the barriers constructed by the British state in the years since his murder.
" The demand for a full public, judicial inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane is undeniable. The British government hid behind the work of Judge Cory for three years in resisting this demand and now they are hiding behind the consequences of it. The British government need to publish the Cory Report and act upon its recommendations.
" Tony Blair cannot continue to stall. He cannot continue to protect those within the British system who developed the policy of collusion and who are still actively engaged in cover-up and concealment." ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Arthur Morgan TD has raised the party's concerns over the introduction of electronic voting for the upcoming EU and local elections calling it "inadequate." He had put forward amendments to the European Elections Bill to disallow electronic voting without a paper trail and for the 26 counties to be administered as one constituency under a closed PR List system for the EU elections.
Deputy Morgan said:
"The system of electronic voting proposed in this state is not the best available. It is not acceptable that we are not using a system that would leave a paper trail even though the cost of such a system is not that much greater. Surely democracy and the confidence of the public is worth this extra cost.
"Sinn Féin is supportive of the idea of electronic voting using a kiosk type syste
Sinn Féin Chairperson and Foyle MLA, Mitchel Mc Laughlin has welcomed the announced closure of the Clooney British Army Base.
Mr Mc Laughlin said:
"I welcome this announcement and hope that the transfer of the site proceeds quickly and smoothly. I would also hope that the British MOD does not hold the present administration to ransom in an attempt to maximise profit out of land commandeered by it at the time of the evacuation of the site by the American Navy. We do not need a re-run of the auctioneering tactics adopted at the time of the Fort George closure. It should be dealt with as a purely paper exercise between the Direct Rule Administration and the British Ministry of Defence.
"The acquisition of this prime site by the Direct Rule Administration should be used as an opportunity to facilitate and expedite the provision of land required to enable the planned transfer of the Foyle and Londonderry College to the East Bank. This would in turn free up a considerable land bank for use in the expansion of both secondary and University educational provision around the Magee Campus and Northland Road sites." ENDS
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has described the Finance Bill in a Dáil debate as "disgraceful" for retaining and extending property-based tax shelters for the wealthy.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
"The retention and extension of these shelters is the most disgraceful aspect of this Bill. Developers of private hospitals, sports injuries clinics, hotels, holiday cottages and multi-storey car parks do not need tax breaks. In this Government dominated by PD ideology, we have no evaluation of the option of direct State investment of these funds in projects that would be of real social and economic benefit. The massive sums lost to the exchequer by these scams could be used to improve the lives of ordinary people the length and breadth of this country. But this government's motto is property before people.
"Minister McCreevy and his colleagues throw spending figures around like confetti but they cannot hide the fact that the rich-poor gap has widened since they took office nearly seven years ago. The Government's own National Anti-Poverty Strategy recognises that nearly 25% of children are living in poverty, representing some 300,000 children.
"This Minister and this Government do not see the taxation system as it should be seen - a key resource of the people to help ensure the just distribution of the nation's wealth. We have the lowest level of taxation as a percentage of GDP of any EU country. Yet, as a result of the Budget, over half of taxpayers in the State now pay at the higher rate of 42%. They range from people on just above the average industrial wage to the highest paid people in the State.
"As a result of a low tax take overall, bad government policy and gross mismanagement we do not have the essential social services that we need and that we could enjoy. The average worker who cannot afford private healthcare and who feels the brunt of stealth taxes suffers while the wealthiest earners who have been allowed to escape their obligation to pay their fair share of tax are the beneficiaries. They enjoy the benefits of private healthcare and they reap the rewards of property-based tax shelters created by this government and retained and extended in this Finance Bill." ENDS
Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, has described the refusal of the British Government to attend the Justice Committee's hearing on the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings as a "gross insult" to those searching for justice.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "I don't think there's a person on the planet who does not believe there was collusion between British state forces and loyalists in the planting and detonating of bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17th 1974 which left 33 civilians dead. The only real question is the extent of that collusion and how high up the chain of command it went. And given the acknowledged and proven history of the involvement of British security agencies in arming and directing loyalist death squads over many decades it is reasonable to suspect that there were agents of the British state involved in those bombings.
"Paul Murphy's letter to the Justice Committee is nothing more than a gross insult to those seeking justice for the people killed, injured and bereaved in the bombings. His failure to make himself available to answer questions is of course not unexpected as it has been British Government policy for years to ignore and frustrate investigations into allegations of collusion, even inquiries they themselves set up. Unfortunately the attitude of Paul Murphy like so many more in the British establishment is assisted by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who has been only too willing to accept as fact British claims that they have fully co-operated with the Barron inquiry.
"What we need now from the Taoiseach is a robust defence of the rights of these families and a direct demand from him to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to instruct Paul Murphy and all his state agencies to co-operate." ENDS
Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP has accused the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy of 'continuing the decades long British policy of concealment'. Mr Doherty's comments came after Mr Murphy refused to attend the Oireacthas hearings into the Barran Report, which investigated British State involvement in the Dublin and Monaghan Bombs.
Mr Doherty said:
"Britains dirty war in Ireland has been mirrored by its policy and culture of concealment. This policy has been evident time and again from Widgery, through Samson, Stalker and Stevens and more recently with both the Cory and Barron Reports.
"This British government under Tony Blair is continuing with this decades long policy. They are continuing to protect those within their own system who formulated and carried out a policy of state sanctioned murder.
"The British Establishment believe that they can get away with continuing to cover up this policy. It is no surprise that Paul Murphy has refused to attend the hearing into the Barron report, particularly given the attitude of the Justice Minister Michael McDowell. McDowell's arrogant attitude towards this inquiry and his bland acceptance of British lies as fact only serve to encourage the culture of concealment which dominates Britain's attitude to these matters.
"The full extent of Britains collusion policy will be exposed. It will be exposed because the families of its victims will continue to campaign and lobby until the truth has been established. They will not roll over and accept excuses and lies from the British government and those within its establishment who remain determined to cling to the old practices of cover-up and obstruction." ENDS
February 11th, 2004
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Arthur Morgan TD has reacted with disbelief to the announcement by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern T.D. that electricity interconnectors will be built between Ireland and Wales.
Deputy Morgan said:
"The announcement by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern that the electricity interconnectors will be built between Ireland and Wales is a hugely regrettable move. The Government should be concentrating on the creation of an all-Ireland energy policy and infrastructure, concentrating on increasing the percentage of energy produced from renewable sources. It is scandalous that we will be importing energy generated from nuclear power stations at a time when we are campaigning to have nuclear plants such as Sellafield closed.
"Ireland's geographical position and natural resources mean that the country has the potential to lead the world in the generation of renewable energy. Our goals should be efficient, cost-effective, state-led development of natural and renewable energy resources focused on ending external dependencies.
"This decision comes on the heels of a decision not to increase the level of energy generated from renewable resources such as wind power. The Government needs to nurture the renewable energy industry through public and local enterprise solutions such as target-linked tax incentives and lower VAT on renewable energy products and to ensure that access charges to the national grid are affordable or subsidised. If this were done, there would be no necessity to build the proposed electricity interconnectors." ENDS
February 11th, 2004
Commenting on the visit today by Irish President Mary McAleese to loyalist areas in Belfast Sinn Féin South Belfast Assembly member Alex Maskey said that the visit was 'further evidence that working class loyalist areas were ahead of their political leaders when it came to the issue of dialogue'.
Mr Maskey said:
"In recent times both President McAleese and her husband Martin have done very important work in engaging with working class loyalists in Belfast. Today's visit is another example of this.
"In many ways this work is further evidence of the fact that people living in working class unionist areas are well ahead of the political leadership of unionism when it comes to reaching out and engaging in constructive dialogue.
"Unionist political leaders and particularly those within the DUP should reflect upon today's visit by the Irish President to East Belfast and recognise that dialogue is crucial to building a shared future on this island.
"They need to follow the example set by their own community and sit down and engage constructively with the political representatives of the nationalist and republican community. They need to enter into dialogue with Sinn Féin." ENDS
At the launch of his party's electoral registration campaign today in Belfast, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP was joined by MLAs Conor Murphy and Caitriona Ruane.
Mr McGuinness accused the British government of 'engaging in blatant electoral fraud through the disenfranchisement of up to 250,000 people in the six counties'. Mr McGuinness also put forward a number of recommendations to restore confidence in the electoral process and encouraged people to claim their vote.
Mr. McGuinness said:
"In May 2002 the British government introduced legislation which has resulted in the disenfranchisement of over 200,000 voters. This legislation was supported by both the SDLP and the UUP.
"The measures contained in the legislation were presented as designed to counter electoral fraud. The reality is that they are nothing more that discriminatory measures aimed at electors in the north with the purpose of manipulating the electoral register.
"The objective of this legislation was to remove nationalists and republicans from the Electoral Register. The effect has been to deprive almost 250,000 people of their right to vote. These people must now make their voices heard. They must now reclaim their democratic rights by getting back onto the register.
"This situation is totally undemocratic. Under this legislation the electoral register will continue to be shredded year upon year. The legislation particularly targets those living in disadvantaged areas, the elderly, the young, those with disabilities and those with learning problems.
"This is a clear case of electoral fraud by the British government. The denial of the basic right to vote is a core issue, particularly when we are attempting to establish the primacy of politics in the north.
"To this end we are proposing a series of measures which if adopted would go some way to restoring confidence in the electoral process." ENDS
Summary of Sinn Féin Proposals
- Household Registration should replace the new Individual Registration scheme. This would require amending legislation.
- Voter Registration should take place every 5 years instead of the new arrangement which requires voters to register every year or lose their right to vote.
- Photographic and non-photographic forms of personal identification should be acceptable. These should include:
- Irish, British and European passports;
- Irish, British and European driving licences including provisional driving licences;
- The range of government agency issued benefit books;
- Translink Senior Travelpasses;
- Student and Trades Union membership cards;
- Official voter identification;
- Marriage license if married within the previous 2 years.
The Electoral Office should continue to provide mobile photographic booths across the north of Ireland to facilitate the provision if official Electoral Photographic Identification.
1. Registration forms should be made widely available to the general public. They should be made available on-line and at Post Offices, Council offices, libraries, advice centres, schools, colleges, universities and through political parties.
2. Electoral courts should be abolished. The personal identifier requirements supplied in the registration form should be sufficient proof of identification and validation of an application.
6. Registration should be allowed up to 7 days before polling day.
Census Figures 2001 and the Register of Electors
Shredding the Vote
16.5% of Electorate not registered to vote
Eligible to Vote 2004 1,280,480
Registered to vote 2004 1,069,160
Shortfall 2004 211,320
Shortfall as a percentage of the eligible vote 16.5%
The Census '01 and the Register of Electors
Census 2001 figures indicated the following:
- Eligible to vote at that time 1,233,753
- The number of young people to reach voting age between '01-'04 104,727
- The sub-total of the above is 1,338,480
- Approximately 58,000 names have been removed from the register due to deaths between '01 and '04 58,000
- New sub-total eligible to vote 2004 - 1,280,480
- Registered to vote 2004 - 1,069,160
- Shortfall as between those eligible to vote and those registered to vote 211,320
Register of Electors '01-'04
- November 2001 - 1,198,504
- September 2003 - 1,097,551
- February 2004 - 1,069,160
Shredding the Vote
The February '04 Register of Electors shows a reduction of:
- 28,391 on the September '03 Register
- 129,344 on the November '01 Register
- 211,000 on the adjusted Census figures of '01
A pattern of annual reductions has been set in place by the new legislation.
- Photographic ID: In addition to the above 30,000 people were denied the right to vote in the 2nd Assembly Elections because of the photographic ID requirements.
- "There are approximately 30,000 people who, if they turn out to vote, would not have the applicable ID.
Séamus Magee, Head of the Electoral Commission 25/11/03
February 10th, 2004
Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP has welcomed the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's commitment in the Dáíl this afternoon to support Six County representation in the Houses of the Oireachtas within the timeframe of this Dáil, but called for an end to the foot-dragging that has characterised progress on the matter in recent years. The Taoiseach was speaking in response to a question from Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
Mr. Doherty said:
"This afternoon's statement from the Taoiseach supporting Six County representation in the Oireachtas in the life of this Dáil is welcome. However, we need to see an end to the foot-dragging that has characterised progress on this issue over recent years. We need to see concrete and early progress and the Taoiseach needs to make it a priority for the Government Chief Whip Mary Hannifan to ensure it happens.
"The issue of northern representation has been subject to delay after delay by this and the last coalition government. It is now almost five years since the Government made a commitment to look at this issue and two years since the all-Ireland Committee on the Constitution published its report. This is an important part of the peace process and given the ongoing suspension of political institutions in the Six Counties it is critical that speedy progress is made." ENDS
February 10th, 2004
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has re-iterated Sinn Fein's call for the rollout of Midwife Led Maternity Units. Mr O'Dowd said:
"During a recent meeting with Angela Smith I questioned the Minster on when we would be likely to see a decision on the future introduction of Midwife Led Maternity Units. The decision is now expected in April.
"I also urged the Minister to come out in favour of stand-alone units and to introduce a 3 year pilot scheme followed by evaluation, the preferred option of the Royal College of Midwives.
"Midwives are highly trained medical professionals who can offer expectant mothers an excellent services and support both throughout their term and in after care for mother and baby.
"The stand-alone units have proven to be very successful throughout the 26 counties and also in Britain where units are expending due to demand. Stand-alone Midwife Led Maternity Units are viewed as vitally important throughout Europe in attempts to reduce the level of medical intervention in the natural process of pregnancy and childbirth.
"Stand-alone Units would prove especially beneficial in the Mid Ulster area where Hospital maternity cover has been withdrawn. These units would offer expectant mothers a safe and professional option closer to home." ENDS
February 10th, 2004
Speaking ahead of today's trilateral meeting with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen and British Secretary of State Paul Murphy Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator, Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness has said that the starting point for the review must be based on the full implementation of the Agreement.
Mr McGuinness said:
"Unionism cannot be allowed to paralyse the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. If the DUP are serious about reaching accommodation with nationalists they must recognise that this can only be done by speaking to Sinn Féin, who represent the majority of nationalists. There is no escaping this logic.
"The starting point for the review must be an approach from the two governments that is based on the implementation of their Agreement commitments in order to fill some of the substantial gaps that exist.
"The action required on these gaps is outlined in the two governments Joint Declaration and was discussed in detail in the talks leading up the significant steps taken by both Sinn Féin and the IRA in October last year.
"Both governments are in default, particularly in respect of commitments on Equality, Human Rights, Policing and demilitarisation." ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment, Arthur Morgan T.D. today questioned the An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the findings of a report recently published by the National Disability Authority entitled 'Towards Best Practice in the Provision of Further Education, Employment and Training Services'. Deputy Morgan called on An Tánaiste to implement the recommendations of the Report and to explain the failure to achieve labour force participation targets for disabled people.
Deputy Morgan said
"The findings of this Report are disappointing in terms of the lack of progress which has been made over the decades in enabling people with disabilities to enter the work force. The failure by An Tánaiste to make any significant progress after six years at the helm of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment condemns the majority of disabled workers in this State to a life time of unemployment. What confidence can we have in the measures the Minister is taking when there has been a failure to implement the 3% target for the civil and public service set in 1977?
"The desire of people with disabilities to enter the workforce can be seen from their high percentage participation in CE schemes. However less than 10% of people with disabilities progress from CE to the open labour market indicating that they are not being facilitated in making this transition. The enormous contribution which people with disabilities can make by their participation in the work force is not being recognised or encouraged."
"I reject the statement by the Minister of State, Mr Fahey that "There are a variety of reasons why we have not reached the targets set. These relate to historic and cultural issues in the past relating to people with disabilities". The Government has a responsibility to ensure targets are set and met. Such statements only show that the Governments is evading its responsibility in this matter.
Deputy Morgan further asked An Tánaiste if she accepted that the removal of medical cards and secondary benefits on the uptake of employment acts as a disincentives to the uptake of employment by people with disabilities. He concluded by saying
"I am calling on the Minister the implement the findings of this Report including the recommendation for an increase in the wage threshold for the retention of the medical card for people with disabilities in employment and the retention of secondary benefits for a substantial period of time; that the employment quota for the recruitment of people with disabilities in the public sector should be strengthened with effective enforcement mechanisms and remedies in order to achieve the 3% employment target in both the civil and public services; that the public sector must be entitled to draw down supports in order to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in employment to assist in meeting the 3% targets and the development administrative structures to carry out a comprehensive needs assessment which would address the further education, training and employment needs of people with disabilities to direct them to the appropriate service." ENDS
Responding to today's Irish Times poll which indicates that almost 40% of the population have no confidence in the Garda Síochána Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, said it was a "shocking
indictment of current Garda management" and called for "comprehensive reform" to Garda accountability structures than can restore public confidence, such as those proposed by Sinn Féin.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
"Today's Irish Times poll is a shocking indictment of current Garda management and shows that there is an urgent need for comprehensive reform to restore public confidence. It is absolutely unacceptable that almost 40% of the general population, according to this poll, feel that the Gardaí do not carry out their role in a fair and impartial manner. That this figure increases in urban centres where contact with the Gardai is higher should be ringing alarm bells in the Department of Justice.
"To restore public confidence from an all time low the Minister must now accept that his plans for Garda reform do not go far enough and that he will have to implement changes that will make An Garda Síochána a truly democratically, accountable and transparent policing service for all the people." ENDS
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has reacted angrily to comments made by British Treasury Minister Paul Boateng.
Mr Molloy said:
"We are now seeing the real cost of direct rule.
"It is a total disgrace that Paul Boateng should refuse to take on board the legitimate concerns across the political spectrum about the way the budget allocations are worked out for the Six Counties.
"Joel Barnett, himself, has dismissed the formula as lacking in substance. For Paul Boateng to suggest he believes the Barnett formula and the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative have served us well would create the suspicion that he does not have a clue what he is talking about.
"Sinn Fein will be seeking an urgent meeting with Ian Pearson to discuss clear commitments made in the Programme for government about the Barnett formula." ENDS
Note to Editors
Paul Boateng has caused a storm of controversy during his visit to Belfast when he insisted the British government Reform and Reinvestment Initiative brokered with the Stormont Executive during devolution was good for Northern Ireland. Mr Boateng also gave his backing to the Barnett Formula, which determined the amount of Treasury funds, which go to Northern Ireland. Mr Boateng insisted that 'It has worked well over the years and continues to deliver.'
West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson has said that people in the area have been angered at the news that leading PSNI member Maggie Hunter will benefit financially from the murder by her colleagues of Pearse Jordan on the Falls Road in 1992.
Mr Ferguson said:
"Pearse Jordan was unarmed when he was gunned down by Maggie Hunter's RUC colleagues on the Falls Road in 1992. Since then the Jordan family have fought a long and hard campaign for the truth surrounding Pearse's murder.
"At every turn they have been thwarted by the RUC and latterly by the PSNI who continue to withhold vital evidence.
"Now we learn that Maggie Hunter has claimed damages from the BBC because of their reporting of the inquest proceedings. People in West Belfast are angry that Hunter is profiting from the murder of Pearse Jordan.
"Hunter's actions show just how far she is removed from communities like West Belfast and how far we have yet to travel before achieving acceptable policing. She seems oblivious to the decades of torture, murder and abuse caused by the RUC in areas like West Belfast and the legacy which this continues to leave." ENDS
February 10th, 2004
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Racism, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey MLA has welcomed the introduction of new laws on racism, sectarianism and homophobia but questioned whether the new laws on sentencing are enough.
Mr Maskey said:
"New laws on sentencing must be welcomed. However, it is becoming increasing clear that the bias in of Justice System must be addressed, particularly in relation to sectarian crimes.
"These laws do not go far enough. We also need to tackle the issue of incitement to hatred.
"Legislation on its own will also not help us tackle the evils of racism, sectarianism and homophobia. We need a radical overhaul of the Criminal Justice System with particular attention on the sentencing patterns of local judiciary because the reality is unionist paramilitaries continue to be handed down lenient sentences.
"Delivering the new beginning to policing that was promised in the Good Friday Agreement and a policing service without the malign influence of Special Branch at its core would go a long way to delivering a police service that is capable of tackling racism, sectarianism and homophobia.
"We also need resources put into initiatives that challenge racist, sectarian or homophobic attitudes and that support these communities that are under threat from such attitudes." ENDS
Mid-Ulster MP and Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator, Martin Mc Guinness intends to raise the eight-day military disruption of the community of Brocagh with the British government when he meets them today.
Mr Mc Guinness said:
"I intend to raise the plight of a section of my constituents in the Loughshore area of East Tyrone with the British and Irish governments when I meet them on Tuesday morning.
"Since Sunday 1st February the community of Brocagh, Co Tyrone has been subjected to unacceptable disruption by the British Army and PSNI. The area has been saturated by British troops and people were prevented by the PSNI from entering the area on business unless they were residents.
"No explanation was given by either the PSNI or the British Army as to the reason behind this operation involving hundreds of troops and PSNI with digging equipment. I intend to seek an explanation from the British government when I meet them along with the Irish government tomorrow morning. Ten years into cessations and five years after the Agreement it is totally unacceptable that communities continue to be subjected to this type of heavy handed militarisation."ENDS
Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate, Mary Lou McDonald today urged the Irish Government not to impose social welfare restrictions upon people coming to Ireland from the 10 accession states, which will join the EU on May 1st 2004.
Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:
"Sinn Féin welcomes the enlargement of the EU to include the peoples of the 10 accession states and their access to the EU labour market. Sinn Féin also cautiously welcomes the decision by the Irish Government to extend social welfare benefits to citizens of the 10 states which will join the EU on May 1st.However, we call upon the Government not to curb or restrict access to peoples from the accession states, as we believe that this would be an infringement of their human rights and civil liberties, as expressed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 45).
"Sinn Féin also note with concern, attempts by certain sections of the media and political establishment, to create a scare amongst the general public, that from May 1st 2004, Ireland will be flooded with 'fraudulent migrants'. Sinn Féin believes that such stories serve only to create stereotypes and a false impression of those seeking to come to Ireland.
"Enlargement of the EU is viewed by Sinn Féin as a positive development and migrants coming to Ireland from the accession states should be able to avail of the same entitlements as Irish migrants would claim, settling throughout the EU. During the Irish Presidency of the EU, the Irish Government must send out a clear message that xenophobia will not be tolerated, and migrants will be welcomed to Ireland, thus enriching cultural diversity within our society." ENDS
February 10th, 2004
Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East Daithí Doolan, speaking at a public meeting in Ringsend tonight, has demanded that the Health and Safety Authority close down Danniger Developers Barrow Street site pending the publication of the report on the site.
They have the power to do this under Section 39 of the 1989 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act. I am appealing to them to use this Act to guarantee the safety of those both on and off their site.
Tonight's public meeting was to discuss action to be taken with Danniger Developers on their site on which last week a 200-foot crane collapsed.
Mr. Doolan went on to say, "as well as closure of the site, I am demanding that Danniger's Liam Carroll meets with residents of the neighbouring community and reassures them that all cranes on the site will be examined by the Health and Safety Authority. Danniger should also give assurances that to avoid similar incidences in the future they will consult with local residents.
To put this into context; no other community in Dublin should be held to ransom by Danniger or any private developer.
To ensure that developments adhere to the by-laws of this city I am proposing that a bond be paid to the City Council for the duration of future building development.
This bond could then be used to pay any fines incurred or to fund independent investigations into incidents."
Speaking in advance of the publication today (Tuesday 10th) by EU Budget Commissioner Ms Michaele Schreyer of the long awaited EU spending plan for 2007 -2013, Sinn Féín Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún said:
"It is a matter of deep concern that British Chancellor Gordon Brown has made it clear that Westminster will decide how much of this money will be allocated to England, Scotland, Wales and here.
"This could mean further severe cutbacks in EU funding in the north of Ireland, which is already facing the consequences of the loss of objective 1 status and of enlargement.
"Sinn Féín will campaign to ensure that we retain as much money as is humanly possible here locally." ENDS
February 9th, 2004
Sinn Fein MLA for north Belfast, Gerry Kelly, has called today for movement on the Crumlin Road courthouse. This follows last nights fire at the court, which caused some damage to the grade one listed building.
Speaking today Mr Kelly said:
"Last nights fire at Crumlin Road courthouse highlights the pressing need for movement on the development of this historical site. Recently the Crumlin Road gaol has seen the appointment of a project manager who will oversee and sustain momentum for the development of the gaol and surrounding buildings.
"Such as move is to be welcomed, but in order to ensure comprehensive development of the entire area similar moves need to be made in relation to the courthouse, with any development programmes being undertaken in tandem, connecting the two sites.
"In the meantime we need to see security enhanced at both the courthouse and the gaol in order to preserve one of Belfast's most important historical and architectural sites. The overall site should developed as a resource for all the community, and as such should be preserved in this respect." ENDS
February 9th, 2004
Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness speaking after meeting British Secretary of State Paul Murphy and Irish Government officials in Stormont today has said that the British and Irish Governments must defend the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking after Sinn Féin met with Paul Murphy and Irish government officials separately in Stormont today, Mr McGuinness said:
"The two governments have said that the Agreement is not up for renegotiation. They need to demonstrate this commitment by lifting suspension.
"Sinn Féin impressed on the British and Irish governments the need for this review to be carried out in the proper context. Lifting suspension will concentrate minds on how the review can lead to the effective implementation of the Agreement.
"It is our view that the approach of the British government to the Agreement has undermined both political stability and confidence. Republicans and nationalists are still not convinced that the British government will defend the Agreement.
"I also want to make it clear to both the British and Irish government and to the unionist parties that the All-Ireland parts of the Agreement and the Assembly and Executive are interlocking and interdependent. There won't be an Assembly unless the All Ireland agenda is fully functioning."
Commenting on the DUP proposals Mr McGuinness added:
"The DUP in their document explicitly demand a new Agreement. There will be no renegotiation of the Agreement. These proposals are clearly about a return to unionist majority rule. This is not acceptable. Sinn Fein will not allow a return to the misrule and abuse of power that was the hallmark of unionist rule in the past." ENDS
Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane and Spokesperson on Racism, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey will meet the Governor of Maghaberry Prison tomorrow, Tuesday 10th February 2004, at 10am to discuss concerns about the conditions faced by Asylum Seekers held in detention.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Ms Ruane said:
"Asylum Seekers should not be detained in Maghaberry Prison. The detention of people without charge, trial or conviction is a clear breach of international human rights standards.
"Sinn Féin is concerned at the specific conditions faced within Maghaberry by Asylum Seekers and believes that steps should be taken with regard to their treatment and welfare.
"Asylum Seekers are often fleeing serious human rights abuses within their own country and it is vital that their rights are protected and vindicated here." ENDS
Note to Editors
Caitriona Ruane and Alex Maskey will meet the Governor of Maghaberry Prison at 10 am. Following the meeting both will participate in a major Conference on Asylum Seekers organised by Democratic Dialogue in Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast
February 9th, 2004
Sinn Féin's spokespersons Bairbre de Brún MLA and Cllr Gerry McHugh, today attended a meeting of the Rural Stakeholder Forum at the Stormont Hotel to hear from Minister Ian Pearson the model chosen for de-coupling. DARD held a consultation on the mechanisms for implementation with a deadline of Friday January 16th.
Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:
"We welcome the fact that the Minister has made a quick decision. This will now end the uncertainty and allow farmers and their families to plan for the future.
"We further welcome the decision the Minister has taken. Having held a number of meetings with farmers and their representatives and having consulted within the party we backed a vertical hybrid model of de-coupling in our response toDARD. This model will deliver the fairest and most equitable model to the farming industry. Our response asked for the following:
- The full de-coupling of all farm payments within all of the sectors
- That the timing of de-coupling in the dairy sector should be 2005
- That a vertical hybrid model of de-coupling be introduced
- That there should not be an introduction of a National Envelope within any sector
The issue of CAP reform is of vital importance to farmers, rural communities and society as a whole. This outcome of the consultation will have a major impact on the future of our farming industry and the communities who rely on farming for their livelihood. It will in effect determine whether many farms continue to exist. As Ireland has a large number of small and family based farms this question is particularly important. It is undoubtedly one of the most important issues facing Irish society today.
At the centre of the consultation was the issue of de-coupling subsidies from production levels. Sinn Féin held a series of meetings with farmers to get a view of the model of de-coupling which in their view would best suit the industry here. It is our view that full de-coupling is the best option for Irish agriculture and in the best interest of the industry.
We also welcome the Minister‚s decision to set up a helpline, as there is still much uncertainty in the industry about the time ahead. We would urge the Minister to proceed now to an early consultation on cross compliance and modulation. We welcome the Minister's assurance in answer to our question at this morning's meeting that he wants cross-compliance to be sensible and to have as little bureaucracy attached to it as possible.
In conclusion Ms de Brún said
Irish farming has a strong and responsive lobby arguing for its interests within the European Union. Sinn Féin is committed to listening to the farming community and placing their concerns at the heart of our efforts to ensure a fair and equitable implementation of the CAP reform. Today's meeting has been both informative and constructive and will play a role in ensuring that our party fully understands the right way forward for Irish farmers. Sinn Féin will continue to be at the heart of any debate around this issue."ENDS