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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Peadar Tóibín TD, met with Unite this afternoon to discuss the threat to 700 jobs in Aviva.

Speaking after the meeting in Leinster House, Deputy Tóibín said, “The redundancies at Aviva are in no way a done deal. A review of the operation here in Ireland commenced in February and is currently being studied by the company. Any cost cutting measures must be done in consultation with the management, the union and must involve Minister Richard Bruton.

“There is most definitely a role for the government in ensuring that the jobs are saved. Minister Bruton can not simply wash his hands and hope all will be ok. The economy simply cannot afford to lose another 700 jobs.

“Immediate government action can be taken to reduce costs. Aviva is locked into an upwardly only rent lease. This is a shackle around the neck of many businesses and needs to be addressed by the government as a matter of urgency."

“If you do the maths, 700 more people in receipt of Social Welfare will cost €14,000,000 to the tax payer a year and €26,600,000 lost in wages plus the 12.5% lost in PRSI. We simply can not afford to lose these jobs.

“I will continue to work with Unite to save these jobs and raise the issue with Minister Bruton and with An Taoiseach at every opportunity.” ENDS

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Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill has promised to be a strong advocate for local farmers in the forthcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Publication of the CAP reform legislative proposals from the EU Commission is expected on 12 October.

Speaking at a joint reception with Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Minister O’Neill said CAP reform will have major implications for the agricultural industry.

She said: “This reform is hugely important and I can understand the concerns of our farmers faced with an uncertain future, but I assure them I will be a strong advocate for them. Many major issues will be up for discussion and the outcome will be crucial for the agri-food industry.

“The EU Budget proposals for the period 2014 - 2020 were published back in June and although a budgetary freeze on CAP expenditure at 2013 levels was perhaps better than could have been expected a year or two ago, it still represents a significant reduction by 2020 in real terms.

“I’ll not be supporting any calls for a reduction in the EU agriculture budget and I will not support any suggestion of a longer term move to a single EU flat rate payment – there is simply no justification for this and it’s certainly not about fairness.”

The Minister explained: “Once the CAP reform legislative proposals are published next month, I will want to engage closely with stakeholders throughout the negotiations. I will be working closely with Simon Coveney on those issues where we have common interests, engaging with our MEPs to factor a ‘Team Ireland’ approach and I also intend to consult personally with the Defra Minister, and with the Ministers of the Devolved Administrations to set down my priorities.”

The joint DARD - DAFF reception at the National Ploughing Championships which this year marks its 80th anniversary, was attended by ploughing association officials from both north and south, representatives from local farming unions and rural bodies, government and agency representatives, members of the ARD committee and exhibitors on the DARD stand.

Completing a two-day visit to Ireland’s largest outdoor trade exhibition which annually attracts more than 150,000 visitors, Minister O’Neill described the event as an impressive showcase for agriculture. She said: “This is the first time I have attended the exhibition and it underlines for me the importance of the agricultural industry to our economy, both now and in the years to come. It also serves as a reminder, if ever we needed one, that we must work hard to ensure that the viability of this industry is never undermined.”

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Peadar Tóibín TD, has today challenged An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to “stand up and defend Irish jobs at Aviva”.

Speaking this morning, Deputy Tóibín said:

“Under the guidance of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny this economy is haemorrhaging jobs on a daily basis. The latest crisis at Aviva comes hot on the heels of the Talk Talk disaster.

“Minister Richard Bruton has once again side stepped the issue claiming it is only a rumour of a problem. This response is wholly irresponsible. We need immediate action from the highest level of this government. I am calling on the Taoiseach to meet the workers of Aviva and to assure them of his total support in defending their jobs.

“Protecting these jobs must be a priority for this government. Anything less is unacceptable.

“These job losses are a direct consequence of the government’s policy of shrinking the economy with cuts. We need to re-inflate the economy with investment.

“Platitudes from the government are simply not good enough. We need them to get directly involved in resolving the issues at Aviva. I have contacted UNITE and I intend to meet with representatives of the employees this afternoon to discuss how best we can work together to save these jobs.” ENDS

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Ní mór don rialtas tréan iarracht a dheánamh an méid is mó postanna gur féidir a choinneáil in oifigí Aviva i nGaillimh agus ar fud na tire.
Agus é ag caint ar ráflaí go gcaillfear tuarim is 500 post mar thoradh ar athbhreithniú ar ghníomhaíochtaí domhanda Aviva, dúirt an Clochartach;
‘‘Is ábhar imní iad na ráflaí go bhfuil postanna d'ardluach in oifigí Aviva i nGaillimh agus ar fud na tire i mbaol. Is tréimhse deacair é seo do na hoibrithe agus a dteaghlaigh agus téann mo chroí amach dóibh.’’
Dúirt sé freisin;
‘‘Ní mór don rialtas, an IDA, agus eagraíochtaí fiontar eile gach ar féídir leo a dhéanamh chun na postanna seo a chaomhnú.’’
‘’D’iarrfainn ar Aviva chomh maith an chaighdeán ard de na hoibrithe atá ag obair san earnáil airgeadais in Éireann, in éineacht le na buntáistí uile a bhaineann le gnó a dhéanamh I nGaillimh agus in Éireann a thógáil san áireamh in aon chinneadh a thógann siad.’’

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Sinn Féin Justice and Equality Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has today introduced a Bill to the Dáil to strengthen the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) following the Government’s proposal of a merger with the Equality Authority.

Deputy O’Brien, speaking in the Dáil today said:

“This Bill would increase the remit of the Irish Human Rights Commission and give it the protections and status it deserves as a crucial element of the human rights provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I think it is somewhat hard necked of Taoiseach, Enda Kenny to speak today at an IHRC event organised to celebrate its 10th anniversary while at the same time he plans to merge it with the Equality Authority and water down both bodies.

“The proposed merger is simply a cover for cuts and both of these organisations are already chronically under resourced.

“The Government proposal can only lead to a loss of focus and expertise in two distinct fields.

“I don’t know where the Labour party are in relation to these changes. They were very vociferous in opposition to a similar merger proposal when it was made by the previous Fianna Fáil led Government

“The Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore at the time accused that particular government of ‘trying to turn back the clock on the equality agenda’. He deemed such a merger an ‘ominous’ proposal.

“Obviously things are different now for both the Tánaiste and the Labour party.

“The IHRC was a very important component of the Good Friday Agreement, an international agreement between the Dublin and London Governments.

“The Government’s proposal would undermine the Good Friday Agreement as a whole by sending a message to any party to the agreement that the possibility exists to hollow it out one component at a time; and have no doubt there are those who would wish to do so.

“I call on all members of the Oireachtas to read the Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Bill 2011, to support it and to oppose the retrograde merger proposals of the Government.” ENDS

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 Sinn Féin Spokesperson, Pat Doherty MP, MLA, Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Agriculture Minister has accused the Ulster Unionist Party of continuing its subservient alignment to the English Tory Policy on CAP reform rather than act in the best interests of farmers here. Pat Doherty said: "Once more the Ulster Unionists subservient adherence to Tory Party policy takes precedence over the best interests of our Agriculture industry. The UUP is suggesting that we align ourselves with the Tory Government's policy on CAP reform, which wants to see the phasing out of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) altogether. This would spell disaster for the farmers of the north, many of whom, without the financial support coming from the SFP simply would not survive. The British government's approach to negotiations on CAP Reform is as with all of its other economic policies, designed to benefit those on the island of Britain. The interests of the people in the North of Ireland whether it be farmers or any other sector are peripheral and do not factor into its planning.  "Fortunately the British overnment's approach to CAP reform is finding little favour with most other European member states and could find itself  isolated in these negotiations. "Michelle O Neill is taking the right approach in building allies with the South and elsewhere who have the same policy approach to us on CAP reform. The fact that the Irish government, may have the Presidency of the EU at a key point in the negotiations process means that it could be in a very strong position to influence the negotiations outcomes. "Minister O Neill should continue working with her Southern counterpart, Simon Coveney TD and all 15 of our MEPs to achieve the best possible outcome for our agricultural sector. To follow the path suggested by the Ulster Unionists and align herself with Tory anti EU policiies would see the ruination of Irish farming - North and South. 

"To compound the approach of the UUP and the Tories, the British Government's intention is to drastically cut the Agriculture budget which would further erode the already dwindling funds reaching our farmers and rural areas.

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Speaking from the National Ploughing Championship in Co Kildare today, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has stressed the important role the agri-food sector can play as a key driver for economic growth across the island.
 
The MEP said, "In the current difficult economic climate that we all face, the Agri-Food industry remains one of the success stories and continues to make a major contribution to our economy, not only by its resilience but also by its increasing productivity. We must all work closely together to harness the growth in the supply chain and help the agri-food sector deliver its full economic potential.”
 
She also commented, “In recent years, working with an all-Ireland approach, we have been able to greatly improve animal health, and my colleague Michelle O'Neill is working hard  to keep bluetongue out of the local industry and reduce Brucellosis (BR) and TB in our herds".
 
She concluded "I also want to stress my commitment to getting the best possible outcome from the discussions about the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.  That will include making sure Ireland North and South gets our fair share of EU funding from Single Farm Payments and the Rural Development Programme.."  

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Michael Colreavy will today launch a consultation programme entitled “Listening to Rural Ireland” at 12 noon at the Sinn Féin tent at the Ploughing Championships .

Deputy Colreavy said the aim of the consultation was to engage with a broad spectrum of people in the farming community and inform the party on issues that matter to rural Ireland.

Speaking from the Ploughing Championships Deputy Colreavy said:

“This initiative aims to inform party spokespeople as to the real day to day issues facing the farming and rural communities. The results of the consultation will go towards the formulation of a Sinn Féin policy which will draw on the very real day to day issues that people across rural Ireland are facing.

“We want to hear from as broad a spectrum as possible. We want to provide real and effective representation for rural Ireland.

“We are asking the following five questions:
- What type of farming are you engaged in?
- What do you believe are the three major issues facing Irish farmers at the present time?
- What do you believe are the three major issues facing rural Ireland at the present time?
- Do you feel that your situation has improved or worsened since the introduction of the Single Farm Payment?
- Do you believe that you or a family member will still be engaged in farming in ten years time?

“I am asking people to call down to the Sinn Féin tent at the Ploughing Championships today and take part in our consultation. We want to hear from you.”

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Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education this morning Sinn Féin Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh welcomed research from the Department of Social Protection dispelling the myth that social welfare acts as a disincentive to work once and for all.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“This research demonstrates that for the overwhelming majority of people on the live register social welfare payments are significantly lower than their income would be from even minimum wage employment.

“Certain politicians, employers and commentators have been spreading the myth that people are happy to stay on the dole because social welfare payments are too high. It’s time for those who have been banging this drum to admit that the real barrier to employment is the absence of job opportunities.

“I heard the employer who claimed he could not fill a 28,000 per annum post because welfare rates are too high. But the figures contained in this research demonstrate that the employer’s original tale was absolutely baseless.

“In fact in the case mentioned the income from employment would be four to five thousand euros greater than income on the dole. These myths are being promoted by unscrupulous profiteers who wish to drive down social welfare payments in order to facilitate wage cuts.” ENDS

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