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Speaking today after the release of the Live Register Figures for November which showed a reduction in 4,200 people, Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan said the Government’s emigration strategy is masking unemployment figures and the reality is that long term unemployment is on the rise.

Deputy Morgan called on both workers and the unemployed to support Sinn Féin’s rally against the budget this Saturday.

He said:

“This Government based their four year strategy on the fact that 100,000 people would emigrate. This is just another sorry chronicle of that strategy.

“The only target the Government are likely to meet in their projected ‘growth’ plan is the growth in emigration.

“Half of those who have left the live register are under 25. These are the same group of people who are leaving the country in their droves. There is no excuse for this. There is no justification.

“While emigration has offered some easing in the figures signing on, the disturbing fact is that long-term unemployment is on the rise. With the lack of job creation, people are stagnating in unemployment for longer, with little hope of reprieve.

“Unemployment is fast becoming the rule, rather than the exception in this State and the Government have nothing to offer the Irish people other than a second airport terminal so that they may leave the country.

“And now, having failed to stop the haemorrhaging of jobs from Ireland or to create new jobs, the Government is now set to cut the social welfare rate for the unemployed in the upcoming budget.

“This is completely unacceptable and must be resisted. Sinn Féin is calling on people, workers and unemployed, to come out in support of our rally in Dublin this Saturday against the cutbacks which will be included in the Government’s budget next week and against the deal done with the ECB and the IMF.” ENDS


11.30am, Friday December 3, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this week be traveling to Cancún as part of the European Parliament's official delegation to the United Nations Climate Summit, which takes place from November 29 to December 10.
Sinn Féin and its partners in the  European United Left/Nordic Green Left have campaigned strongly within the EU for a strong, legally binding global climate treaty that is based on science; that recognises the differing obligations between developing and industrialised countries; and that provides adequate levels of assistance to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation.
The MEP will be speaking at a seminar on the climate summit in Belfast, hosted by South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey, before departing for the conference.
James Orr from Friends of the Earth and Gary McFarlane from Stop Climate Chaos will also speak at the seminar.
Speaking in advance of Friday's seminar, Ms de Brún said: "I will work with environmental NGOs and local communities to keep up the pressure for an ambitious climate deal that really counts for the world's poor."
"I look forward to discussing the steps that we need to take now in the Assembly, in the EU and in the wider international community.....
"The global economic crisis cannot and must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice. On the contrary, developing a low-carbon economy is our most promising path out of the present crisis."


Sinn Féin MLA and vice chair of the Assembly’s Justice Committee, Raymond McCartney has stated that the third prisoner release in two months points towards a culture of complacency that must be addressed in order to restore public confidence.

Speaking earlier Mr McCartney said:

“There is a degree of disbelief that we have had two high profile cases recently surrounding the release of prisoners and now we are dealing with a third, all within two months.

“The Criminal Justice Inspectorate were asked to carry out an investigation as to how these two previous cases occurred. We were led to believe that this would bring an end to these type of incidents.

“However this has obviously been repeated and we will be seeking assurances from the Minister that some action will now be taken to ensure this cannot be allowed to happened again.

“Alongside this there is also the concern that this incident took place last Wednesday yet we have only heard about it six days later. There is an apparent culture of complacency which has arisen that must be addressed in the strongest possible sense in order to restore public confidence.” 


"The Criminal Justice Inspectorate that shows an incident of Domestic Violence reported  every 21 minutes in the North demands urgen action" said Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer Mc Cann.Ms. McCann said:"These statistics once again exposes the hidden level of Domestic Violence but they only take account of the incidents that are reported. The question this raises is, how many people are suffering this violence in silence. Urgent action is required to impress on everyone that this violence is not a family dispute that should be kept private - it is a crime and must be treated with the seriousness it deserves."Up to 1 in 4 women and 11,000 children in the North of Ireland experience Domestic Violence.  Over half of the incidents reported to Police result in no prosecution so it is clear that more needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward and take prosecutions. We need to assure women that protection and support needed is available to them if they come forward to seek help.  "There are deep societal problems that need to be challenged and tackled in order to ensure that violence in the home is seen for the crime that it is and that it is unacceptable."Violence in the home has a serious impact not just on the physical well being of it's victims and survivors but on their long-term mental health also. Organisations like Women's Aid provide a crucial lifeline to those families under threat."Now that we have local control over Policing & Justice we have an opportunity to re-shape the justice system to make it less difficult for women to come forward and report these crimes and to receive the support and reassurance about their safety that they require from the justice system."I would urge the Minister for Justice to take the details of this report on board and to continue to work with organisations like Women's Aid to remove any barriers that prevent women reporting the crime of domestic violence and getting the justice they deserve." ENDS


Sinn Féin MLA John O’ Dowd has called on the British Government to release from Prison , Lurgan man, Martin Corey. Mr Corey was arrested at his Lurgan home on, Friday April 16th  2010, and brought to Maghaberry prison on the instruction of the British Secretary of State, without any charges being brought against him. Mr Corey has now remained in custody for 7 months without charge.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“The detention of any citizen without charge is totally unacceptable. If evidence exists of wrong doing against anyone then the proper course of action is to present that evidence in a court of law.

“A Court hearing allows a defendant to challenge the evidence in an open court and for due process to decide the fete of the defendant, not the British Secretary of State.

“No charges have been brought against Mr Corey and he has now spent 7 months in detention on the word of the British Sectary of sate. His continued detention is totally unacceptable and I am calling for his immediate release.ENDS


Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has this evening delivered his first speech to the Dáil having been elected in last week’s by-election in Donegal South West.

During the course of his speech Deputy Doherty said he has been given a clear mandate to oppose the Government’s ‘anti-people’ budget and called on them to resign from office and call a general election.

Deputy Doherty said:
(Full text of speech follows)

“Scrap the budget – scrap the government”

“Ní bheidh Sinn Féin ag tabhairt tacaíocht don rún seo atá os comhair an Tigh anocht, in áit sin beidh muid ag cur leasú chun tosaigh go scorfar an Dáil agus go gcuirfear an Buiséad ar athló. Is mian liom an leasadh seo a chuir chun tosaigh anois.

“Tá mé iontach bróduil go bhfuil mé anseo mar Teachta Dála i gcuideachta mo chomhleacaithe, na TDanna amháin atá ina bhfíor bhfreasúra pholaitiúla i dTeach Laighean.

“Ba mhaith liom mo mhíle buiochas ó mo chroí amach a chuir in iuil do mhuintir Dhun na nGall Thiar theas as a muinín ionam ionadaíocht a dhéanamh orthu sa Dáil. Is mór an onóir í.

“Tá sáinordú iontach soléir tugtha domhsa, sé sin, cuir in eadan an bhuisead fianta seo atá pleánailte ag an rialtas, buisead atá frith dhaoine agus atá ag dul a ghearradh seirbhíisí poiblí, iocaíochtaí leasa shoisialaí. Tugadh sainordu dom fosta cur in eadan an IMF agus iarraidh orthu a soc a choinneail amach as gnaithí na hÉireann.

“Tá mise anseo mar go bhfuil clár oibre agam agus ag Sinn Féin chun Éire níos fearr agus níos córa a thabhairt chun cinn.

“Tá sé soilear ón rúin atá curtha chun tosaigh ag Fine Gael san Dáil anocht go bhfuil siad díreach cosúil leis an rialtas, na bíodh dabht ar bith agaibh faoi sin.

“Dá mar fíor pháirtí freasúrach iad bheadh siad ag iarraidh go gcaithfidh an buiséad seo sa bhruscar, agus bheadh siad ag brú clár oibre radacach chun tosaigh nach mbeadh dírithe orthu siúd atá ar an ghanchuid cheanna féin, agus ag tabhairt ar na sabhair sciar chothrom a íoc. In áit sin tá Fine Gael ina sui anseo anocht ag caibideal, ní hé an buiséad a chuir ar athló agus toghcháin a scairteadh , in áit sin ta siad ag iarraidh an buiséad a thabhairt isteach go gasta sa dóigh is go bhfuil siad réidh leis roimh Nollag! Masla do na ghnáth dhaoine a chaithfeas úalach an bhuiséid uafasach seo a iompar.

“Sinn Féin will not be supporting the motion before the house tonight and will instead be moving an amendment calling for the immediate dissolution of the Dáil and for the budget to be postponed. I wish to move this amendment now.

“I am very proud to be joining my fellow Sinn Féin TDs today in what is the only real political opposition in Leinster House. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Donegal South West for putting their faith in me to represent them in the Dáil. It is a huge honour.

“I have been given a very clear mandate to oppose the savage anti-people budget that this Government is planning, to oppose cuts to public services and social welfare and to oppose IMF interference in Ireland.

“The platform on which I stood was one which advocated a better, fairer way for Ireland and I believe that Sinn Féin is the only party putting forward a constructive alternative in the Dáil.

“Fine Gael, as part of the consensus for cuts have nailed their colours to the mast in terms of where they stand with this budget. Any real opposition party would be pushing for this budget to be scrapped. They would be pushing a radical agenda which does not target the least well off and that makes the wealthy pay their fair share.

“Instead Fine Gael sit here tonight discussing a motion which calls for the government, not to scrap their budget and call an election but rather to bring it forward so we can be done and dusted before Christmas. How insulting to ordinary working people, those without work and those reliant on public services who will inevitably bear the brunt of this unfair and unjust budget.

“This is the type of stale elitist politics that the people are sick to the back teeth of and it is exactly the type of politics that has got us where we are today.

“The measures to be contained in this budget amount to little more than a full-on attack on the least well off and on working people. If anybody thinks that implementing such deflationary and draconian measures will fix the economy they are delusional. If cuts worked we would not be in a position where the IMF and ECB arrive on the scene to run our fiscal affairs.

“The four-year plan which acts as a template for the budget is in the main a list of deflationary actions that will deepen and lengthen the recession. The impact of these measures will contract the economy and the reality is that not one red cent will be used to reduce the deficit; it will all end up being pumped back into the banks. We are about to embark on an insane course of borrowing to fund a failed banking policy. We cannot afford this plan and we cannot afford this government. We need real negotiators in there now to deal with the banks and burn the bondholders. If Fine Gael were serious about changing direction and getting rid of this redundant government they would not be sitting here tonight calling for a rush to be put on this lunacy.

“Slashing the minimum wage and social welfare; reducing the tax band, sacking 25,000 public sector workers; implementing property taxes and water charges; increasing student charges – this is not a recipe for recovery, it is a recipe for destruction. We need to take this government down and scrap these draconian cuts.

“There is a better and a fairer way which does not target the vulnerable and which ensures that those who have the most, pay the most. We in Sinn Féin have shown this way in our pre-budget submission and we are the only party to have done so, so far.

“During the course of the Donegal South West bye-election I met many people who were struggling to make ends meet and to cope with rising costs and government cuts. People like the mother of an autistic child whose special needs pre-school is in danger of being shut down. Like the father of four who was living on a shoe-string and close to losing his job. Like the elderly man who lived on his own and who lost his home-help service, the elderly woman caring for her husband with a heart condition who couldn’t afford medical costs, the young family desperately hoping to be allocated local authority housing in time for Christmas, the first year student having to drop out of college because she couldn’t get a grant. These are the people who the political classes want to make pay for their sins and that of corrupt bankers. These are the people who time and time again are being ignored by those in power.

“These people and hundreds of thousands more like them deserve better than to be treated like mere statistics. They don’t deserve the lies and the greed and the cronyism which has got us into this mess. They need and deserve real leadership and real change.

“Across the country young people from my generation and younger are packing their bags and leaving. They have given up on Ireland because those in political power have long since given up on them. I come from a family who was forced to emigrate in the 60s in search of work. I look around and the same thing is happening all over again. We are losing a generation of talent, energy and enthusiasm. Many of those leaving will never return. This government has not only broken our economy but it has broken up families.

“Emigration is a part of our past – we cannot let it become our future and we can stop it now by looking at alternatives which work, which are credible and which are fair.

“The Sinn Féin pre-budget submission is credible and it is fair. It includes measures such as a wealth tax which would raise €1 billion by introducing a 1% income-linked tax on all assets in excess of €1 million excluding working farmland.

“We propose a third rate of income tax of 48% on individual income in excess of €100,000 and we would end the culture of extravagant salaries for those at the high end of the public sector by placing a cap of €100,000 on wages in that sector. The days of CEOs of public bodies earning in excess of €400,000 must end.

“Our proposals would also see ministers taking a 40% paycut, TDs 20% and reduction in salaries for senators and an end to exorbitant expenses. Savings in public expenditure can be made by dismantling the two-tier public health system and eliminating wasteful public expenditure such as the rental of prefabs in our schools.

“The measures in our Pre Budget submission would reduce the deficit this year by €4.6 billion, but crucially alongside of this we would also implement a job creation and retention strategy by transferring €7 billion from our National Pension Reserve Fund, generating much-needed employment and building our necessary infrastructure. It is through these measures that that the government could introduce a budget which truly protects the most vulnerable and weakest in society, which doesn’t take from low and middle income earners and which ensures that our public services are fit for purpose for those that are dependent on them.

“It is through these measures that we can get our country back to work, harnessing the skills, the talents and the drive of the Irish people to rebuild our economy.

“This government needs to go and go now. They have no mandate for what they are doing and for the budget they about to implement. They have betrayed the Irish people. I am proud to walk into this chamber today and take my seat. I hold core republican values deep in my heart and it is these values that will direct me in the times ahead. I know that no government-supporting politician entered this chamber on their first day with the intention of inflicting pain and suffering on our communities. I know it wasn’t your intention on your first day to be part of selling this country out to the IMF but that is what you have done.

“It is time for us, the people to take back what is ours. It is time for us to show this government the door and start afresh with new ideas, new politics and new leadership.

“The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic declares ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.’ This government has sold our future off to the highest bidder. It’s time for us to take it back.” ENDS


Speaking in the Dáil against the IMF/EU deal, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Fianna Fáil/Green Government “couldn’t negotiate snow off a rope”.

He said:

“Thanks to the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and – above all – a craven Fianna Fáil/Green Government – the people are being sold into economic bondage.

“We will be burdened with an average interest rate on this loan of at least 5.8% with the Government admitting that this can vary according to market conditions. These conditions will almost certainly see this interest rate rise. What are the interest rates for the different elements within the plan? We do not know what the real cost of this loan will be.

“The IMF representative has also made clear that funds can be shifted between elements of this deal. In other words funds supposedly allocated for the public finances can be added to the billions to be thrown into the black hole of the banks.

“The extension by a year to 2015 of the time set for the reduction of the deficit vindicates what Sinn Féin had said, uniquely among the Dáil political parties, that the four year timeframe was totally unrealistic. Yet we were dismissed by the Government for taking that position.

“This deal protects bond-holders while being linked to a four-year plan that punishes low to middle income earners in Ireland and which will devastate public services.

“It is appalling that this deal is to take money from the National Pensions Reserve Fund to shovel yet more resources into the black hole of the banks.

“In Sinn Féin’s economic recovery plan 2011 ‘There is a Better Way’ we called for the transfer of €7 billion from the National Pensions Reserve Fund for a State-wide investment programme. This would be a three-and-half-year employment and infrastructure development package to provide stimulus and to protect existing jobs and create new employment.

“Instead we have an EU/IMF deal to raid the Fund to bail out the banks and we have a so-called ‘Recovery Plan’ for four years with no stimulus for growth and no strategy for jobs.

“I note that the Taoiseach again today at Order of Business referred to our proposals as ‘rubbish’. If this Taoiseach and Government had shown less arrogance and more willingness to listen to alternative viewpoints and alternative proposals then it would not have led this State into the current perilous position.

“My party has some experience of negotiations. I’ll tell you this. Looking at this rotten deal I can only conclude that this Government couldn’t negotiate snow off a rope.

“The consequences of this deal are so huge that I can only compare it to the Act of Union. In that case there was a vote in the Irish Parliament and the British Government had to bribe the members to vote for the Union. This Government saves itself the trouble of bribing the members by denying a vote.” ENDS


Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said the Dáil needs to more to tackle the issue of domestic violence.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the TDs should do more to support the campaigns of groups such as Women’s Aid particularly at Christmas when instances of domestic violence are at their height.

He said:

“In view of the fact that nearly one quarter of all Irish women have been abused by a current or former partner, there is a need for this House to take seriously the unacceptable prevalence of domestic violence against women in our society.

“This is especially the case at a time of economic hardship when many families find themselves in a difficult situation.

“As we approach the Christmas period which many studies have shown that instances of domestic violence are at their height, it is incumbent on deputies on all sides of this House support the campaigns of groups such as Women’s Aid and work together and muster the political will necessary to change this situation.” ENDS


Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún will this week put a focus on gender equality issues and the role played by women in rural development when she hosts a 25 strong joint delegation from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the north's Rural Women's Network to the European Parliament in Brussels. 

The women activists will tomorrow (Wednesday) meet with officials from the European Commission and the European Congress of Trade Unions on a range of issues including funding opportunities for transnational programmes as well as the dire consequences for public services across Ireland if budgets are cut.  Speaking in advance of tomorrow's (Wednesday) meetings, Ms de Brún said:

" I am delighted to have been able to make this visit possible.
"The 25 strong women's delegation from Ireland will focus on the need to advance the gender equality agenda across the European Union in tackling the deep economic crisis that we now face.  
"Women are playing a leading role, especially in rural communities, in attempting to build vibrant local communities and economies where people are not forced to emigrate in search of work, where transport links are improved and where there is access to proper public services such as health. 

"The message being delivered in Brussels this week by women activists from across Ireland is that now more than ever we must move toward a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable economic system.  " ENDS


Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on planning, Cathal Boylan, has stated that the new planning proposals from the Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, is a piece meal approach and no substitute for  implementing RPA in full.

Speaking today Mr Boylan said:

“Edwin Poots, as Environment Minister, first and foremost must implement the RPA. While he has proposed that he will transfer the powers on planning to local councils this is in no means a substitute for him not realising RPA, indeed it is a piecemeal approach that presents uncertainties for local councils.

“It is abundantly clear that the full benefit of any new planning arrangements in local government will not be achieved unless the RPA is taken forward in full.

“This will allow for the radical change that is needed for efficiencies and protections at local government level that would be needed for planning powers to be transferred.

“Action to give effect to RPA would bring significant benefits including the economic savings and this must be the Ministers priority.”


Over the past two weeks Sinn Féin members have been conducting a survey at Dublin dole queues and post offices. With well approximately 200 respondents the survey reveals the extent to which families are struggling and the extent to which people are being pushed into the hands of money lenders.

The research findings will be presented by Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD this Thursday at 11.45am at the gates of Leinster House.

Speaking in advance of the launch he said:

“I expect that this survey will demonstrate in very real terms just how unaffordable the bank-bail out and IMF/EU loan is for ordinary Irish people.

“The government keeps insisting that the burden of the banking fall-out must be shared by everyone. I am saying that it simply cannot and should not be shared by those on social welfare and low incomes. The burden should be shouldered by those who own it i.e. the bank bondholders.” ENDS


Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, today launched NI Water’s new leaflet highlighting the services provided through its Customer Care Register.

The Register is designed to meet the needs of those requiring extra help or support from the organisation. It will capture vital details of people with medical conditions, disabilities or older people. The services provided to customers on the Register are outlined in the leaflet and are free of charge; customers simply need to let NI Water know their particular needs.

Speaking about the new information leaflet and the Customer Care Register, Minister Murphy said:

“NI Water delivers a 24 hour a day seven days a week water and wastewater service throughout the north. The company wants to continue to improve its standard of service to all of its customers and I support them in this initiative to seek to understand the needs of their customers better, including those who may have particular needs such as older people, or people with medical conditions. I encourage people to request a copy of the information leaflet from NI Water, and to find out more about all of the services available to those who join the Customer Care Register.”


Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has held several meetings and briefings on the margins of the Agriculture Council in Brussels.

Following meetings with her devolved administration counterparts, the Minister said: “Yesterdays meetings in Brussels provided an ideal opportunity to meet up with my colleagues from Wales and Scotland to discuss matters of common interest.

“Following the formal presentation of the Commission’s Communication on the future direction of the CAP to the Agriculture Council this morning, I took the opportunity to brief Elin Jones and Richard Lockhead on my preliminary views on CAP reform. We had a very useful discussion on the issues raised and we will return to this important topic in the weeks and months ahead."

She added: “I also brought the Welsh and Scottish Ministers up to date regarding our challenge in the European Court of Justice on the SFP disallowance issue. There is concern well beyond the north of Ireland about the Commission’s approach to disallowance and having the support of others for our case is important.”

Later in the day, the Minister met with local MEP Bairbre de Brún to brief her on a wide variety of issues. Speaking afterwards, the Minister said: “I aim to meet up with our three MEPs on a regular basis. Such meetings offer an important forum to both the MEPs and me to update each other on progress in key policy areas with an EU dimension and to exchange information and views.

“I believe that this is essential if we are to maximise our influence in Brussels. Today’s meeting was very constructive and hopefully proved just as informative and helpful to Bairbre.”


Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has met with a delegation from the Institute of Directors to discuss a range of education issues.

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said: "I had a very useful meeting with the Institute of Directors (IoD) today. The topics of discussion included the delay in the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority, raising standards, tackling underachievement in literacy and numeracy and my participation in the Executive Sub-Committee on the Economy and Budget 2010.

"There are many areas of mutual agreement and interest and I share many of the concerns raised by the IoD. We must do more to ensure our education system produces better results for our young people, make it more efficient and ensure that every child has a chance to achieve their potential.

"Encouraging and promoting closer links between business and education is an important strategic objective of my Department and is reflected in a number of DEs key policies such as the revised curriculum and Entitlement Framework. I would like to encourage more people from a broad range of backgrounds, including the business community to become school governors, which plays a pivotal and vital role in shaping our education system and ensuring young people get the best education they can."


Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today as Pearse Doherty arrived at Leinster House to take the Dáil seat he won in the Donegal South West by-election Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:

“The people of Donegal South West have clearly endorsed Sinn Féin’s proposals for a better, fairer way forward. They have signalled that the Government must go.

“This Government has no mandate to impose the terrible deal it has negotiated with the IMF and EU.

“The interest payments alone will cripple our public finances for years.

“Any new government should refuse to honour the terms of the IMF/EU deal and Sinn Féin will seek a mandate in the General Election to renegotiate it.

“I want to congratulate Pearse Doherty and the electorate of Donegal South West. There would not have been a by election if Pearse had not gone to the High Court.

“Sinn Féin has positive and practical proposals to reduce the deficit and to develop the economy in a fair and sustainable way.

“We will continue to promote these policies but our intention in the short term will be to try and bring about a General Election as soon as possible. This Government must go.”



Sinn Féin offers new ideas, new politics and real leadership – Doherty

Speaking as he arrived at Leinster House today to take his seat in the Dáil after winning the Donegal South West by-election Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said:

“Firstly I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Donegal South West for putting their faith in me to represent them in the Dáil. It is a huge honour.

“I want to reiterate to those voters that I fully intend to honour the manifesto on which I fought the by-election campaign.

“I am very proud to be joining my fellow Sinn Féin TDs today in what is the only real political opposition in Leinster House.

“I have been given a very clear mandate to oppose the savage anti-people budget that this Government is planning, to oppose cuts to public services and social welfare and to oppose IMF interference in Ireland.

“The platform on which I stood was one which advocated a better, fairer way for Ireland.

“Sinn Féin is the only party putting forward a constructive alternative in the Dáil.

“We have advocated a recovery programme that involves stimulating the economy, creating jobs, protecting the most vulnerable in society and ensuring that those who can afford to pay their fair share do so.

“It is time to change the direction of Irish politics. It is time to end cronyism and corruption and to reform our political institutions.

“Sinn Féin has proposed that cuts can indeed be made but that they should be made at the top and not at the bottom.

“Let us begin by cutting the salaries of Government Misters by 40% and the salaries of TDs by 20%.

“What we need is new ideas, new politics and real leadership. That is what Sinn Féin offers. That is what I am in politics for.

“I met an incredible number of people during the by-election campaign. Many were in real hardship, struggling to make ends meet. They are living in real fear of this government’s cuts agenda, an agenda it must be said that is broadly shared by Fine Gael and Labour.

“The problems faced by these people are still there today. Dealing with those problems and those fears, defending the livelihoods of ordinary working families and creating a viable future for our young people to live and work in their own country – that is the challenge which faces us now and that will be my focus in the Dáil.” ENDS


Speaking at the Sinn Féin press conference this morning the party's Dail leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said the Fianna Fáil/Green Government is acting unconstitutionally in not putting the IMF/EU international loan agreement to a vote of the Dáil. He said that the comments of Justice Minister Dermot Ahern that the Government was ‘bounced’ into the application to the IMF reveal a Cabinet in disarray. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Under Article 29 of the Constitution there is an obligation on the Government to place before the Dáil all international agreements. The Constitution specifically refers to treaties that involve a charge on the public. If the Fianna Fail/Green Government persists in refusing to put the IMF/EU international loan agreement before a vote of the Dáil they will be acting unconstitutionally. The Constitution is very clear. It says:

Every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dáil Éireann.

The State shall not be bound by any international agreement involving a charge upon public funds unless the terms of the agreement shall have been approved by Dáil Éireann.

“The claim by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern this morning that the Government was ‘bounced’ by the European Central Bank into the application to the IMF is extraordinary and reveals a Cabinet in disarray.

“This disastrous agreement has profound consequences for Irish society for many years to come. We call on members of the Dáil of all parties and all Independents to stand up now and oppose this deal and remove this Government.” ENDS


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Michelle O’Neil MLA has called on people to wear a red ribbon to mark World AIDS Day tomorrow 1st December

The deputy chair of the Assembly Health Committee said:

"Wednesday December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day in which the world comes out in solidarity and support for those who are living with HIV and AIDS. There are an estimated 40 million people living with HIV globally, up from an estimated 36.6 million in 2002."

"We would be foolish to believe this epidemic does not touch the lives of people in Ireland."

"The Red Ribbon is the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness and is used to promote awareness and support of a worthy cause and to remind others of the need for their continued support and commitment.

"We must constantly be proactive in supporting prevention awareness programmes for HIV in Ireland, these programmes must be sustained and given the proper funding to help reduce the levels of new infections and put in place the support services that are needed for caring for those suffering with HIV.” CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast and member of the Assembly’s Committee for Employment Sue Ramsey has today lent her support to a motion from the committee calling for an end to the abuse of shop workers and pledged her support to the ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign.

Speaking from the Assembly this morning Ms Ramsey said;

“Obviously the Christmas period can be a very stressful period for many people but today’s motion reminds us that shop workers are becoming subject to abuse, particularly at such an intense period of retail activity.

The business community must also take seriously their responsibilities to protect their workers; the recent spate of so-called ‘Tiger Kidnappings’ highlights that many staff feel vulnerable and are indeed subject to a huge amount of trauma and stress.

The campaign, ‘Freedom from Fear’, which is supported by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers is a real issue of concern which has been brought to the floor of the Assembly today.

We often hear about abuse and attacks against our healthcare staff and other public service professionals; retail workers are not different and are entitled to the necessary respect and protection. I will be urging the Minister during the course of today’s debate to endorse the Union’s 10 point plan for a safer workplace and begin a campaign to end the abuse of retail staff.” CRÍOCH


A Sinn Féin motion calling on the Social Development Minister to “bring forward proposals to secure Neighbourhood Renewal funding beyond March 2011” will be debating in the Assembly Chamber this afternoon.

The motion comes after a protest by Neighbourhood Renewal groups at Stormont last week.

Speaking ahead of the debate DSD spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín MLA said;

“The Neighbourhood Renewal programme has become a key element on service provision in many of our most deprived communities. The delivery of childcare, health and education schemes, and countless other frontline services however is under threat due to funding realities.

"These are funding realities that can be addressed. As this cycle of funding comes to a close in March there is an onus on the main funding body, the department of Social Development and the Minister, Alex Attwood, to step up to the mark and save these essential frontline services.

"These are services that operate within these communities, on their doorstep and are some of the most accessible for those who are in need of them.

"What Alex Atwood as Minister must do now is to ensure that Neighbourhood Renewal will be included in his budget beyond March 2011. To do any less will be depriving communities of much needed and utilised services.

I have no doubt that the many groups and people involved will be watching today’s debate with keen interest.” CRÍOCH

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