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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD, responding to the interview of Ashoka Mody, former Chief of Mission for the IMF in Ireland where he said the policies inflicted on Ireland had been wrong, said he welcomed the acknowledgement that Sinn Féin policies had been right. He said it was not too late for the Government to implement them.

Doherty said:

“When Sinn Féin criticised the policy of not burning the bondholders and imposing austerity as a response to the crisis, we were ridiculed and dismissed by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil – three parties who insisted that no bondholder would lose a penny and the Irish people would pay for it in taxes and cuts for years to come.

“Over the course of the last few years we have seen Europe and the IMF start to reconsider that position and last June we had the announcement that sovereign debt should not be carrying banking debt.

“In the last few months we have seen Europe do an about turn on how the collapse of private banks is handled. Now the bondholders are allowed to be burned.

“Today we have the IMF former Mission Chief saying the policies the Troika inflicted in Ireland were wrong. This is a belated but very welcome acknowledgment that the Sinn Féin party has been correct in its assessment of how the crisis should have been handled.

“Bondholders should have been burnt and the deficit should have been reduced through growth, not austerity, along with fair tax measures and eliminating public spending waste.

“The only people who still haven’t come to this conclusion are unfortunately the ones running the country and the party that caused the mess – Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil.

“On the day when it is confirmed these policies are wrong, the government chooses to announce it is cutting the confirmation and communion grant for the lowest earners in society.

“It is not too late to change course, but this government needs to get itself on the right page now, before anymore damage is done. The opportunity arises now as we enter into the planning phase of Budget 2014. The government can make this a less severe budget.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers recent comments on withholding finance to the North is a prime example of why the North needs to have economic autonomy.

The North Antrim MLA and Economic spokesperson said:

“This type of nonsense from Theresa Villiers is a prime example why the North needs economic autonomy.

“The British government has failed to honour the financial package which flowed from the St. Andrews Agreement. The £4bn shortfall in this package has had a direct impact on the construction industry here.

“Theresa Villiers is part of a government that have made a complete shambles of corporation tax and who are now intent on implementing welfare cuts on the most vulnerable in society.

“We have seen decades of under-investment in the North and if the British government believe with-holding funding is going to make people integrate more, they clearly have lost the plot.

“When it comes to a shared future there are complex issues out there including integrated education, interfaces, parades, dealing with the past, identity and symbols to name a few.

“These comments from Theresa Villiers will not quicken the resolution of these issues but only show the arrogance and ignorance of fly-by-night British Ministers who are posted here.”

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Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the government of sneaking in further restrictions on medical card qualification while the Dáil is in recess and through a HSE announcement to Oireachtas members, rather than a public statement from a government minister.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
"Oireachtas members have been informed by the HSE that further restrictions in medical card eligibility are being introduced this month.
"According to the HSE it is amending the eligibility criteria relating to medical cards by removing Home Improvement Loan payments and excluding the first €50 per week from travel-to-work expenses from the standard medical card means test assessment.
The exclusion of travel-to-work costs relates to removing the weekly amount of €50 allowed to cover standing charges (i.e. depreciation and running costs) used when considering travel to work costs as an outgoing where public transport is not available or suitable and a car is required. The HSE say it will continue to consider the standard mileage costs and transport (bus/train) costs when assessing eligibility.
"This further restriction follows the recent legislation which lowered the income threshold for medical card qualification for people over 70 years old.
"What is, in reality, another cut to health services has been sneaked in while the Dáil is in recess and announced through a HSE e-mail to Oireachtas members rather than a public statement from a government minister. Health Minister James Reilly and Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White are emulating their predecessor Mary Harney who regularly hid behind the HSE when such announcements were made."
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Responding to the publication of the Fiscal Advisory Council's latest report, Sinn Fein finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD said the report was another ringing endorsement of austerity by the Council, and takes no account of the impact of austerity on the real economy and people's lives.
Doherty said:
"The Fiscal Advisory Council is pro-austerity and it has argued continuously for additional austerity measures from this government, without any consideration of the impact of those measures on the real economy and people's lives.
"Today's report continues this trend. Despite the fact the Council states that the government's targets could be met with €1.6 billion less of taxes and cuts than planned, it still calls on the government to continue with its €3.1 billion and €2 billion adjustments in 2014 and 2015.
"Sinn Fein's approach to this crisis is fundamentally different. We believe austerity is strangling the economy. It has caused emigration, unemployment and poverty.
"On the back of this report the government must adjust its planned austerity packages next year and the following. It also needs to make sure its next budget contains measures that are fair and growth friendly and do not punish further ordinary households."
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Sinn Féin Phil Flanagan MLA said the latest study published in the Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology, which claims that fracking is ‘not a significant cause of earthquakes that can be felt on the surface’ is irrelevant.

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA who is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee and the party’s energy spokesperson said:

“This report is the latest in a long list of narrow pieces of work carried out into fracking which completely fails to do is look at the wider issues raised by those opposed to it.

“It ignores concerns of widespread environmental damage, the impact on public health, the potential for water contamination all through causing earthquakes under the surface.

“Whether fracking causes earthquakes that can be felt on the surface is largely irrelevant. What is much more important is its potential to leak harmful into our water supply.

“Without addressing all of the concerns that those of us opposed to fracking have, this report will play very little part in the debate that needs to happen on whether we allow fracking to take place in Ireland or not.”

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Commenting today on the 15thanniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said:
“The Good Friday Agreement came after many years of hard work and culminated in long night negotiations in Castle Buildings at Stormont.
“Internationally regarded as a successful example of conflict resolution, Agreement represents an historic compromise between conflicting political positions, following decades of conflict.
“With stable power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions enjoying the support of the community, the North, in particular has been transformed in the intervening period.
“A key difference between the Agreement and previous government-sponsored initiatives, all of which failed, is that the principle of equality is at its core.
“The power sharing structures have ensured the checks and balances necessary to prevent the political abuses and discrimination of the past.
“The Agreement has secured remarkable progress in the areas of policing and justice, demilitarisation and arms, discrimination and sectarianism, equality and human rights, and the Irish language.
“It also provides for a Border Poll to address the issue of Partition.
“Of course, any agreement is just a piece of paper. It needs political will to implement it and makes its promise a reality.
“Further negotiations since 1998 have seen unionist political leaders seeking to minimise the implementation of the Agreement. As a result, and because of the failure of both governments to fulfil their obligations, outstanding issues remain.
“These include a Bill of Rights for the North which would offer protections for the most vulnerable and respect the diversity of our community.
“Other outstanding issues include an all-island Charter of Rights, establishment of the North-South Consultative Forum, introduction of an Acht na Gaeilge (Irish Language Act) and resolution of the issue of those people still ‘on the run’ as a result of the conflict.
“The British Government has failed to act on its Weston Park commitment to hold an independent inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane. It has allowed a securocrat agenda to continue to abuse human rights — most clearly in the continued detention of Marian Price and Martin Corey.
“The people of this island need a genuine process of national reconciliation. This includes a victim-centered truth and reconciliation process.
“Sinn Féin believes that the best way of doing this is through the establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission. The two governments, former combatants and those in leadership across Ireland and Britain need to part of this. There can be no hierarchy of victims.
“Fifteen years on there can be no going back. The tiny minorities who want to cling to the past must be rejected. Sectarianism must be tackled and ended.
“The promise of the Good Friday Agreement for a new society in which all citizens are respected, and where fairness and justice and equality are the guiding principles, has to be advanced.”
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Commenting today on the 15thanniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said:

“The Good Friday Agreement came after many years of hard work and culminated in long night negotiations in Castle Buildings at Stormont.

“Internationally regarded as a successful example of conflict resolution, the Agreement represents an historic compromise between conflicting political positions, following decades of conflict.

“With stable power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions enjoying the support of the community, the North in particular has been transformed in the intervening period.

“A key difference between the Agreement and previous government-sponsored initiatives, all of which failed, is that the principle of equality is at its core.

“The power sharing structures have ensured the checks and balances necessary to prevent the political abuses and discrimination of the past.

“The Agreement has secured remarkable progress in the areas of policing and justice, demilitarisation and arms, discrimination and sectarianism, equality and human rights, and the Irish language.

“It also provides for a Border Poll to address the issue of Partition.

“Of course, any agreement is just a piece of paper. It needs political will to implement it and make its promise a reality.

“Further negotiations since 1998 have seen unionist political leaders seeking to minimise the implementation of the Agreement. As a result, and because of the failure of both governments to fulfill their obligations, outstanding issues remain.

“These include a Bill of Rights for the North which would offer protections for the most vulnerable and respect the diversity of our community.

“Other outstanding issues include an all-island Charter of Rights, establishment of the North-South Consultative Forum, introduction of an Acht na Gaeilge (Irish Language Act) and resolution of the issue of those people still ‘On The Run’ as a result of the conflict.

“The British Government has failed to act on its Weston Park commitment to hold an independent inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. It has allowed a securocrat agenda to continue to abuse human rights — most clearly in the continued detention of Marian Price and Martin Corey.

“The people of this island need a genuine process of national reconciliation. This includes a victim-centered truth and reconciliation process.
“Sinn Féin believes that the best way of doing this is through the establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission. The two governments, former combatants and those in leadership across Ireland and Britain need to be part of this. There can be no hierarchy of victims.
“Fifteen years on there can be no going back. The tiny minorities who want to cling to the past must be rejected. Sectarianism must be tackled and ended.

“The promise of the Good Friday Agreement for a new society in which all citizens are respected, and where fairness and justice and equality are the guiding principles, has to be advanced.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressing a gender equality and the environment session of the EU Parliament Environment Committee which she chaired said:

“Climate change and gender equality are key policies for my party, Sinn Féin, and I am honoured to be able to continue the great work done by my predecessor Bairbre de Brún who authored the Environment Committee's opinion for the 'Women and Climate Change Report'.

“It goes without saying that the issue of climate change is one which affects justice, equality and human rights. Those who have contributed the least to the massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions i.e. the global poor of the world, are wrongly feeling its effects the most.

“What is sometimes forgotten however is how this can seriously and disproportionately impact on women.  70% of the world's poorest people are women who carry out two thirds of all work done but yet own just 1% of the world's resources.

“It is also a tragic and striking statistic that 85% of those who die as a result of climate-induced natural disasters are women. Not enough has yet been done to boost the resilience of women and their capacity to either adapt to the already unavoidable climate change realities or adequately react to stop the effects of climate change.


“It is absolutely essential that women are comprehensively included in strategies. The exclusion of women from the decision-making process on climate change would be a massive mistake with troubling consequences for both women and the environment itself.”

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Sinn Fein Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis has today renewed his call for proposed legislation on taxi regulation to be amended in order to prevent discrimination against former political prisoners.

Deputy Ellise made his call on the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement which in part sought to help former prisoners of the conflict to get and hold on to employment opportunities.

Deputy Ellis said;

“Many former republican and loyalist prisoners covered under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement are currently taxi drivers. Most have never had any trouble in this job and are hard workers who provide an important service.

“New legislation proposed by Minister Alan Kelly would mean these drivers would have their livelihood put at risk as they could potentially be barred or suspended from operating their taxi. These drivers are already struggling in the harsh economic climate to put food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads.

“These proposals are totally against the spirit of an international agreement this state signed up to, which was ratified by the people.

“I have raised this with Minister Kelly but he refuses to deal with the issue. He has a responsibility to legislate with the spirit of the agreement in mind. I call on him to reconsider and make the relevant amendments.”

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Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has today submitted to the Central Bank a Sinn Fein submission to the review of the code of conduct for mortgage arrears called “Time for a FAIR Approach”.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Our submission to the Central Bank’s review of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears shows how we need to change tack. This review should be an opportunity to drop the current approach which favours the banks and replace it with a fairer approach which puts the family home first.

“Our four key messages are that the Central Bank and government need to protect the Family Home, Adjudication that is Independent leading to sustainable Restructurings (FAIR).

“Sinn Fein believes that in the vast majority of cases the problem is not that people do not want to pay – it is that they cannot pay. Tinkering with a Code of Conduct will not change that situation.

“We know that this decision to ‘review’ comes from the Troika and has a pre-determined outcome. It will make it easier for banks to move to repossess homes by lifting the 12 month moratorium and make it easier for banks to harass people struggling to pay.

“This review is designed to facilitate repossession as a tactic of the banks. By pushing this so-called review the Central Bank and government are clearly siding with the banks.

“That is why I am proposing this new approach – a FAIR approach that puts the Family Home first with Adjudication that is Independent leading to sustainable Restructuring.

“Sinn Féin would not allow banks to move customers off tracker mortgages, we would continue with the 12 month moratorium on repossessions and would not expand of the three calls per month rule.

“We would seek a definition of ‘non-cooperation’ and ‘reasonable timeframe’ in the code of conduct and we would oppose the lender’s demand that complaints about the compliance with the code or the treatment of a borrower’s case under the MARP process be moved to the bank’s internal complains department and away from the more independent appeals board.”

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A change in the taxation regime for the oil and gas industries could play a significant role in revitalising the economy, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh and there will be a particular emphasis on this issue at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis being held in Castlebar this weekend.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“It is estimated that the oil and gas reserves in Irish waters are worth some €750bn, but the Irish people are profiting very little from this due to the taxation regime brought in by Fianna Fáil which is being continued by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

Despite an All Party Joint Oireachtas Committee recommending more than a year ago that rates of taxation on a scale from 80% to 40% should be brought in for reserves of this kind, Minister Rabbitte is still siding with the wealthy and the large oil corporations by maintaining rates which are far more favourable to them and that must be brought to an end immediately.”

The Ard Fheis will also be discussing a Sinn Féin report on the regeneration of Rural Ireland. “Last year Martin Ferris, myself and other comrades embarked on a information gathering exercise, meeting rural groups throughout the country”, says Ó Clochartaigh.

“The Government is waging a fierce attack on rural areas, but these same communities are committed to ensuring they receive equal treatment. This report outlines Sinn Féin suggestions for regenerating growth in these Rural Communities”.

"This is the first Sinn Féin Ard Fheis to be held in Connacht and with delegates gathering from all over the country it would be remiss of us not to emphasise the Irish language and Gaeltacht Affairs as well as cultural matters.

“There are motions before the Ard Fheis to promote an All Ireland language action plan, in consultation with the Irish speaking and Gaeltacht communities, and also criticising the Government's decision to merge the Language Commissioner's Office with that of the Ombudsman.

“Some 2,000 people are expected at the Ard Fheis this weekend and in addition to the formal debates there will be fringe meetings on topics such as ‘Women Changing the World', ‘Reclaiming our Natural Resources’, ‘The Ballymurphy Massacre, and ‘The Campaign to Save Moore St.'.

“There will also be literary and arts exhibitions as well as stands from up to a hundred organisations and community bodies.

“This is an excellent opportunity to build on the growth of Sinn Féin in the West and to strengthen the party in rural areas”, according to Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

ENDS

Athghábháil Acmhainní Nádúrtha mar Fhócas ag an Ard Fheis – Ó Clochartaigh

D’fhéadfadh ról thábhachtach a bheith ag athrú ins an réimeas cánach a bhaineann le tionscal an gháis agus an ola leis an athbheochan ar gheilleagar na tíre, dar leis an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh agus beidh béim faoi leith ar seo ag Ard Fheis an Pháirtí i gCaislean a’Bharraigh an deireadh seachtaine seo.

‘Meastar go bhfuil luach €750bn de thaiscí ola agus gáis in uiscí na hÉireann, ach is beag brabach atá le fáil ag muintir na hÉireann de bharr an reimeas cánach a thug Fianna Fáil isteach agus atá dhá leanúint ag Fine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre. In ainneoin moltaí a bheith déanta le hós cionn bliana ag Comhchoiste Dála Uile Pháirtí go dtabharfaí isteach ráta cánach scálaithe ó 80% síos go 40% ar thaiscí den chineál seo, tá an tAire Rabbitte fós ag taobhú le lucht an rachmais agus na hollchomhlachtaí ola ag leanúint le rátaí i bhfad níos fábhraí dóibh agus caithfear deireadh a chuir leis láithreach’, a deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar.

Beidh tuairisc le Sinn Féin faoi athbheochan  Tuaithe na hÉireann dhá phlé ag an Ard Fheis chomh maith. ‘An bhliain seo caite thosaigh Martin Ferris, mé féin agus comrádaithe eile ar fheachtas bailithe eolais ag bualadh le grúpaí tuaithe ar fud na tire’, a deir Ó Clochartaigh. ’Tá ionsaí fíochmhar dhá dhéanamh ag an Rialtas ar na ceantair tuaithe, ach tá an-teacht aniar sna pobail céanna ach cothrom na féinne a fháil. Léiríonn an tuairisc atá ullmhaithe na moltaí atá ag Sinn Féin le borradh a chuir faoi na ceantair tuaithe in athuair’, deir sé.

‘Seo an chéad uair a bheidh Ard Fheis Shinn Féin i gConnacht agus ní bheadh sé ceart gan béim a bheith ar chursaí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus Cultúir ann agus muid ag teacht le chéile ó na cheithre háirde’, a deir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. ‘Tá rúin ós comhair na hArd Fheise chun plean gníomhaíochta uile Éireann a chur chun cinn i gcomhairle le pobal na Gaeilge & na Gaeltachta agus ag cáineadh cinneadh an Rialtais chun Oifig an Choimisnéara Teanga a chomhnascadh le hOifig an Ombudsman’.

Tá súil le suas le dhá mhíle duine ag an Ard Fheis an deireadh seachtaine seo agus chomh maith leis na díospóireachtaí foirmeálta beidh cruinnithe breise faoi ‘Mná ag Athrú na Cruinne’, ‘Aisghabháil Ár nAcmhainní Nádúrtha’, ‘An Streachailt le Sráid Úi Mhórdha a Shábháil’ agus ‘Sléacht Bhaile Ui Mhurchú’.

Beidh taispeántais ealaíne agus liteartha ann freisin, chomh maith le seastáin ó suas le céad eagraíocht agus grúpa pobail.

‘Deis iontach a bheidh anseo le borradh a chuir faoi Sinn Féin san Iarthar agus an pháirtí a neartú sna ceantair tuaithe’, a deir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Críoch

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Speaking at the press conference today organised by Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) in Buswell’s Hotel, the Sinn Féin health spokesperson and convenor of the All-Party Oireachtas Support Group for victims of symphysiotiomy, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, appealed to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD, to embrace the bill, that seeks to set aside, for one year only, the bar on taking legal action by those among the some 200 survivors of symphysiotomy who would wish to pursue their case through the courts.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
"The bar created by the Statute of Limitations sets a time limit of two years in initiating actions in personal injury cases. While in other jurisdictions judges retain inherent jurisdiction to allow cases to proceed where justice demands, Irish legislation provides no discretion whatsoever to the courts in determining whether cases may advance.
"The overwhelming majority of those subjected to symphysiotomy or pubiotomy were young women having their first child whose knowledge of childbirth was extremely limited. Many did not realise that the injuries they suffered were other than the normal effects of childbirth. Nor did they understand, for many years, and in most cases decades later, that these deleterious consequences were the result of childbirth operations that had been performed on them without their knowledge or consent, for these were, in effect, clandestine operations, which were concealed from them by sections of the medical profession.
"As a consequence of this lack of knowledge, some survivors have never initiated proceedings, nor even sought professional advice, while others only did so, in very many cases, decades after the wrongful acts to which they were subjected were committed.
"The Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill 2013 will allow those women currently excluded from taking legal action, to do so if that is their choice."
Deputy Ó Caoláin will move the Bill in the course of Private Members Business in the Dáil on next Tuesday, 16th April 2013.
Continuing, Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
"The bill is based on the precedent of the Statute of Limitations Act 2000, which lifted the Statute of Limitations for sexual abuse victims of residential institutions. The wording of the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill 2013 mirrors the wording of the 2000 Act section by section. The bill does not establish any new cause of action - rather, it lifts the limitation period for bringing proceedings in respect of existing wrongs. Over 75% of these wrongs were committed in private hospitals who were insured at that time and who are liable for those injuries.
"I wish to acknowledge the huge and sincere contribution of TDs and Senators of all parties and Independents in support of the campaign of the victims of symphysiotomy for justice over recent years. We have worked hard and well together and it is my earnest hope that we will see this critically important piece of legislation safely across the line in the coming week, to be fine-tuned, as required, by government in the committee, report and final stages of its passage" concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin. ENDS

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Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the announcement by Education Minister John O’Dowd to make £10m available for capital projects for groups in the voluntary sector.

 Mr. Hazzard said,

‘This is again of a demonstration of the Minister’s philosophy of putting money into frontline services and ensuring that equality is enshrined across all aspects of education.

 “Youth services provide an important role in the development of young people into adults so it is crucial that youth services are supported and encouraged.

“This money will allow many organisations to apply to upgrade their premises and allow better access to these facilities for people with disabilities for example.

 “I would urge youth groups to contact the department and see if they are eligible to apply and get an application in that will improve their buildings and their services.”

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Speaking at the launch of the clár for the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis today MP for Newry/Armagh Conor Murphy renewed his party’s call for a border poll on Irish unity.

Murphy said a single island economy would be good for prosperity, good for jobs, good for investment.

He said;

“Sinn Féin believes it is time for a border poll.  Fifteen years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement it is time for the people to have their say.

“Partition is unjust, uneconomic and inefficient.  A single island economy would be good for prosperity, good for jobs, good for investment.

“An economy of 6.4million people is a viable economy which offers a stronger basis for recovery than a partitioned economy.

“The duplication of services, existence of two currencies and tax systems and competing investment agencies is inefficient and an impediment to economic growth.

“Partition has undermined economic development North and South and a 32-County economy would be stronger and would offer new opportunities and potential for growth and prosperity.

“The British Secretary of State should set a date for a referendum in the Six Counties on Irish unity to be held within the lifetime of the next Assembly.

“Furthermore the Irish Government should press the British Government to set a date for a poll as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement and to commit to holding a simultaneous poll in the 26 Counties on Irish unity.”

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today welcomed Cork City Council’s decision to pass a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to provide a full apology to the surviving women and men of Bethany Home and to immediately put in place a mechanism of redress.

Deputy McDonald said:

“A motion calling for an apology and redress for Bethany Home survivors put forward by Sinn Féin Councillors Chris O’Leary and Fiona Kerin’s was successfully passed at last night’s Cork City Council meeting.

“Cork City Council’s support for the survivors of Bethany Home is welcome and hopefully other Councils will follow. State inspections of Bethany under the Registration of Maternity Homes Act record the horrendous neglect of children in the home.

“Some 219 Bethany children died in this small institution between 1922 and 1949 and lay buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

“Neglect in Bethany Home was in some instances barbaric and in others wilfully negligent. Labour and Fine Gael cannot continue to ignore their responsibility on behalf of the state to the surviving women and men.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin today announced details of the party’s Ard Fheis, which will take place in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar on 12/13th April.

The economic crisis, Sinn Féin’s alternative to the FineGael/Labour/Fianna Fáil ‘consensus for cuts’ and working towards Irish unity will top the agenda.

Speaking at the launch of the clár in Dublin today Senator Kathryn Reilly said:

“The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis will take place this year in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar on the 12th and 13th May. This is the first time Sinn Féin has held an event of this scale in Mayo. We expect to see around 2,000 people at the Ard Fheis over the course of weekend.

“Delegates will debate 252 motions on a wide range of topics including the economy, public sector and political reform, the new tax on the family home, and water charges, and the need for alternative, fairer revenue raising measures such as a wealth tax.

“The Ard Fheis will also discuss Sinn Féin’s strategy for Irish unity and the campaign for a Border Poll.

“Gerry Adams will deliver the Party Leader’s address at 8.30pm.

“A number of international guests will address the Ard Fheis including, Dr. Hikmat Ajjuri, Ambassador of Palestine to Ireland, Susan Van Der Merwe, Member of Parliament for the African National Congress, Gorka Elejabarrieta, Head of the International Relations Department of Basque political party, Sortu, Alfred Bosch i Pascual, Leader in the Spanish Parliament of Esquerra, the Republican Left of Catalonia.

“Also in attendance will be Vernon Coaker, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for the North.”

ENDS

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Dessie Ellis Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson has called on local authorities and the Department of Environment to ensure that tenants under the Rental Accommodation Scheme are not allowed to go homeless because of financial difficulties faced by their landlords.
Deputy Ellis continued:
“RAS has provided many people with housing and allowed them to dig their way out of the poverty trap. Housing need is at an all-time high and local authorities and the Department of Environment must ensure that we do not see a row back on the progress made by RAS.
“I have dealt with a number of families who due to their landlord’s decision, often related to financial difficulties, are facing eviction. I spoke to two such families this week in Dublin alone with many more in danger.
“These families cannot afford housing in the normal private rental market which has increased in cost throughout the recession.
Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh said: “These families must be prioritised for rehousing in accommodation they can afford. They cannot be allowed to go homeless as the government has committed to work to end homelessness and the local authorities pledged in RAS agreements to not let this happen. A code of practice must also be drawn up to deal with this increasing problem.”
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Sinn Féin TD and enterprise jobs and innovation spokesperson, Peadar Tóibín has met with contractors previously operating with Avon Ireland after they heard news of the company’s closure. According to An Teachta Tóibín this closures is yet another symptom of a deeply sick domestic economy.
“Hundreds of employees will lose their jobs and thousands of others who operate as part time representatives will also lose pivotal household income.
“Many of these former representatives are women supplementing household income with badly needed revenue. Given that the recession already has pushed so many families to the edge of poverty, this announcement will have a devastating effect on some households.
“The FG/Labour government is nearly half way through its term and its failure to tackle the real economy continues to see domestic demand on the floor. The societal damage being done will have long and far reaching consequences.
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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the introduction of the carrier bag levy of 5 pence today.

The North Antrim MLA successfully passed the Single Use Carriers Bag Act in the Assembly, which led to the scheme being introduced today.

Daithí McKay said:

"Sinn Féin made this a priority a number of years ago and successfully secured the support of the Executive after we brought legislation to the floor of the Assembly.

"It is good to see this being introduced and it is also good to see the widespread public support that there is for this initiative.

"It has been enormously successful in the rest of Ireland and I expect that it will also lead to a significant reduction in the number of carrier bags being used in the north.

"Carrier bags are littered throughout our countryside. They are unsightly and need to be tackled if we want to see cleaner neighbourhoods and build on the clean green tourism product that we want to promote." 

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 Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said that after today’s court decision on the A5, all necessary steps need taken to get the building of this new road up and running.

 Pat Doherty said:

 “After today’s decision by the court it is incumbent on all concerned that the necessary steps are taken to get the building of this new road up and running.

 “The completion of the A5 will help to rebalance the infrastructural deficit west of the Bann and create hundreds of jobs during its construction.

 ”The benefits to the economy and also increased road safety make this road vital to the business community and the people of the west of the Bann.”

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