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Next election a choice between Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government - Gerry Adams TD

"The next election will be a choice between a Fine Gael-led or Sinn Féin-led Government. It is a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society." - Adams

There is a need for new political and human relationships based on trust and respect. We may never agree on the past but that must not be allowed to hold back the future.


Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD this morning launched his party’s alternative internship scheme which he says will replace the current government’s JobBridge Scheme if his party is in power after the next election.



Latest Statements

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Speaking on the release of this month’s live register figures Peadar Tóibín TD Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs. Enterprise and Innovation said;

“Despite the claims of the government the live register shows that austerity is failing. We are promised stability and all that has been achieved is continued high levels of unemployment with 14.3% unemployed, with an increase of 2,906 on this live register this month.

“Since coming to power Labour and Fine Gael policy has increased long term unemployment by 7%, increased costs to our people and increased rates of emigration.

“There is a need for this government to listen to the people, to end austerity, end the bailout and to invest in growth and jobs.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has described this morning’s judgment from the High Court as “very significant” and said it vindicates his decision to take the matter to court in advance of the referendum.  He said it is now clear that the view of the Referendum Commission on the exercise of the veto is not fact but opinion.  It remains Sinn Féin’s strong view that the government retains a veto over this matter.

Deputy Doherty said

“For several weeks now the yes campaign have been using commentary from the Referendum Commission as definitive statements of fact.  It is now clear that this view is not shared by the High Court. The view of the Referendum Commission is not fact but opinion.  

“Justice Hogan stated clearly that there is room for legitimate legal and political debate on the question and the position would be ultimately be decided by the European Court of Justice in reference with the Supreme Court.  He acknowledged that powerful and legitimate arguments had been made by my legal team.

“We believe that for the ESM to be underpinned in EU law it has to be ratified by all member states and that the Irish government retains a veto.

“Sinn Féin took this matter to Court because this is an issue of central importance to the referendum.  I believe that the significant questions raised, vindicates our decision to pursue this course of action in the interests of the voters.”

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has welcomed the decision of the High Court to hold a special sitting at 8pm this evening to hear his application for a Judicial Review in relation to the Referendum Commissions comments on May 3rd that the government no longer had a veto in relation to the ESM.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It is our belief that the Referendum Commission erred in fact and law when they made a statement on May 3rd that the government no longer had a veto in relation the ESM. 

“This statement has been used repeatedly, by advocates of the Treaty as one of their key reasons for a yes vote. This is despite the fact that the Referendum Commission qualified their position on May 18.

“However the failure of the Referendum Commission to retract the original statement and to adequately publicise their subsequent clarification has meant that the incorrect account of the matter has continued to be quoted widely. 

“I welcome the fact that Judge Hogan has mentioned the possibility of a telescopic hearing which could lead to lead to the substantive issues being dealt with tonight. Sinn Féin is absolutely certain of our view that Ireland will continue to have access to emergency funding regardless of the outcome of the referendum.” 

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Gerry Kelly MLA along with councillors Tierna Cunningham and Conor Maskey met today with representatives from Lansdowne Court Hotel Administrator, Deloitte.
Additional assurances were given to the party representatives in relation to staff rights in the context of redundancy and Deloitte representatives reported on ‘real interest’ from prospective buyers for the Hotel.

Sinn Féin emphasised that the 35 staff members get all of the payments they are entitled to. Hotel administrators confirmed that staff will be paid any wages not yet paid, redundancy and holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice. The Deliotte representatives also confirmed with the party delegation that there is on-going, 24-hour security at the site.

Speaking after the meeting Gerry Kelly MLA said:
“We met with the Hotel Administrators, Deloitte and are satisfied that the necessary arrangements are in place to pay staff members the wages they are entitled to. Deloitte are processing this through the required channel of Department of Employment & Learning.

“In relation to payments for functions, Deloitte have also been given the commitment from former Hotel owner Mr Wong that he will pay them back in full.
“We were also heartened to hear of what the Deloitte representatives referred to as ‘real interest’ by buyers in the purchase of the Hotel. Like everybody else in North Belfast, we hope that the Lansdowne is back as an operating Hotel as soon as possible.”

Councillor Tierna Cunningham said:
“Our priority in all of this has been to protect the workers and people affected by function payments and we will continue to get back to the many people who have brought their concerns to us.” CRÍOCH/ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe, TD, has supported the findings of a report compiled by the Department of Education that suggests school book rental schemes could reduce family bills for school books by as much as 80%.

Deputy Crowe said;

“Three quarters of primary schools already have a book rental scheme in place but to date there has been a slow uptake from secondary schools to get involved in the scheme.

“This is disappointing, particularly considering the very real savings that parents can make when a book rental scheme is available.

“For the past year I have been urging Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to introduce measures that would encourage schools to have in place a more affordable method of paying for school books. He should do all within his power to force the publishers of school textbooks to reduce their prices and stop printing unnecessary revised editions.

“Last year a Barnardo's study found that the average cost of equipping a child to attend junior infants was €350 and €805 for second level. Despite the hefty costs imposed on parents, the minister’s efforts to pressurise publishing companies into adopting more ethical polices have met with little success. The fact that they would only agree to implement a voluntary code of practice means it is unlikely that a fairer system will be put in place and families will still be forced to meet the unacceptably high costs of paying for school text books.

“We know that the economic crisis is having a serious impact on more and more families and the cost of sending a child to school can be reduced through a wide range of measures. The figures in this report highlight some of the savings that could be made by having a book lending scheme available in all schools and this would also go some of the way in alleviating the financial burden on parents when sending their children to school.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams this morning confirmed that Pearse Doherty’s legal team wrote to the Referendum Commission on Friday challenging the Commission’s assertion that the opportunity for a veto on the ESM was now gone. Sinn Féin firmly believes that this is not correct. A Judicial Review was lodged in the courts this morning.

Deputy Adams said:

“Sinn Féin has consistently challenged the Government’s claim that emergency funding will not be available if people vote no on Thursday. It is our firm view that this is not the case. Sinn Fein has also taken issue with the Referendum Commission’s interpretation of this matter.

“Pearse Doherty’s legal team wrote to the referendum commission on Friday. The letter challenged the Commission’s assertion that the opportunity for a veto on the ESM was now gone. Sinn Féin firmly believes that this is not correct. 

“This is a matter of central importance to the referendum. We are looking for the Referendum Commission to acknowledge that the Government is legally at liberty to withhold ratification of the Article 136 amendment to the EU treaties.

“Pearse Doherty’s legal team lodged a Judicial Review this morning and the matter will be heard shortly.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has welcomed the expansion of the Boiler Replacement Scheme due to commence in September 2012.

Mr. McMullan said,

“The Pilot Boiler Replacement Scheme was completed in March 2012 and following the success of the initiative the scheme is being extended right across the North.

“The scheme will involve the allocation of grants up to £1000 to help families either to upgrade their boiler to a more efficient design or to change the boiler in order to work with another type of fuel.

“While the inspection fee of £60 is compulsory, if successful the grant will go a long way in giving households the ability to change to a more efficient heating system.

“I would also appeal for those people who have previously applied and were not successful to reapply again as they may now be eligible for the grant.

“People looking to apply can use the helpline on 0300 200 7874 or e-mail address www.nidirect.gov.uk"

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Sinn Féin Culture Spokesperson, Barry McElduff has welcomed confirmation by Communications Minister Pat Rabitte and his British counterpart, Ed Vaizey that TV viewers in the North will be able to receive TG4 and RTÉ One and Two on Freeview following digital TV switchover on October 24th.

Barry McElduff said:

“I welcome the announcement that RTÉ One and Two as well as Irish language station TG4 will be accessible to viewers in the North after Digital switchover on October 24th. I am sure that Gaelic sports and Irish language enthusiasts in particular will be heartened by this confirmation.

"The fact that providers north and south have joined forces to form a not-for-profit venture which will be responsible for the installation of the new infrastructure is the latest example that all-island cooperation and coordination works. It is also a demonstration that delivery of the terms of the Good Friday Agreement is mutually beneficial."

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Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey has called on the Health Minister to take urgent action to stop GP surgeries using 0844 numbers.

The West Belfast MLA was speaking when as chair of the Health Committee at the Assembly she brought forward a motion asking the Minister what he is doing to rectify the situation.

The Sinn Féin MLA:

“We all support the principle of the health service being free at the point of use. This has to become a reality and we can’t have people in effect being charged £8 to make an appointment with their GP.

“This is what can happen when people phone GP surgeries that use 0844 numbers from a mobile phone as the charges are much higher than from a landline.

“Many families, particularly low-income households, may only have a pay-as-you-go mobile and callers looking to make appointments are often put on hold for long periods.

“We already know that social deprivation leads to health inequalities, and yet here we have a situation where the least able to pay in our society end up paying the most to access a basic health service.

“Ofcom – the communications regulator – contacted me to say they had seen the motion for today and are of the same view that the current system regarding 0844 numbers is unacceptable.

“The Minister needs to take urgent action to stop GP surgeries using 0844 numbers.”

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Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek and Brian Stanley TD