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Sinn Féin Westminster 2015 Election Broadcast

Sinn Féin stands for equality and protecting the most vulnerable. Our progressive politics and commitment to the rights of citizens is the only alternative to the extreme austerity agenda of the British government. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for real and lasting positive change.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said Sinn Féin's progressive politics is the only alternative to austerity.


Some of the sights and sounds of today's massive Right2Water rally on Dublin's O'Connell Street this afternoon (March 21).  Reports that up to...



Latest Statements

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East Derry Sinn Féin MLA, Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the announcement by Agriculture Minister, Michelle O'Neill MLA that her new Departmental Headquarters will be located in Ballykelly.

Cathal O hOisín said:

 "This is welcome news for Ballykelly and the North West in general. All Parties talk about decentralisation of public service jobs but here we have Minister Michelle O'Neill putting it into effect. This will give a welcome financial injection into the local economy and a boost to community confidence.  

"I would call on other Ministers to take their lead from Michelle O'Neill and follow through on the Programme for Government's commitment to tackling regional disparity through decentralisation. This announcement will not just deliver many public service jobs to the area but will create many more ancillary jobs in the service and supply sectors across the North West. It will also secure jobs in the local retail sector through the additional disposable spending power it will bring to the Region."

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Commenting after last night’s UVF orchestrated rioting in North Belfast, Sinn Féin Assembly member for the area Gerry Kelly called on the leaderships of the Loyal Orders to assert themselves in finding a resolution to the issue of the small number of remaining contentious parades.

Mr Kelly said:

“There was clearly a well-planned and orchestrated attempt yesterday to further heighten tensions in North Belfast around parading and it was in my view planned and orchestrated by the UVF.

“It seems that loyalists have become the spokespersons for the Loyal Orders when it comes to parading issues in North Belfast. If we are to find a sensible resolution to contentious parades this needs to change.

“We need to hear from the leaders of the Loyal Orders, where is the leaders of the Orange Order, the Black Institution and the Apprentice Boys in all of this? They have been totally absent from the debate over parades in north Belfast.

“The Loyal Orders need to assert themselves in finding a resolution to the issue of the small number of remaining contentious parades. Such a sensible approach to dialogue and respect from the Loyal Orders would have a transformative effect on the summer here – it would allow a resolution to the very small number of contentious parades and allow residents to live in peace and the Orders members to enjoy their culture in the absence of controversy and violence.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD has today outlined his party’s opposition to the government cuts in local government funding.

Speaking today at Leinster House, Deputy Stanley said, “Minister Hogan announced that he is withholding millions of euros of funding to local councils on the last day of the Dáil, a cowardly and underhanded move designed to avoid being held accountable.

“The Local Government Fund has already been cut from €999million in 2008 to €651million this year.

“The minister is cutting the funding to each council in line with the level of non-payment of his household charge, yet today this government will pay €600m to Anglo Irish, a defunct, zombie bank.

“The introduction of the household charge was a bad idea. It has proven to be as unworkable as it is unjust. The government could have made other choices. Funding and savings could have been made from one of the following options:

• Introduce a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000. Raises: €410 million
• Abolish ‘Group relief’ availed of by companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts. Raises: €450.3 million
• Cap all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum. Saves: €265m

“Last December the Department of the Environment told councils across the state what their 2012 allocation from the local government fund would be. Councils agreed their annual estimates on this basis. At no stage were councils told that this funding was dependent on the collection of the household charge.

“The coming weeks will give councils the first opportunity to meet and discuss these cuts. Sinn Féin will be tabling motions outlining our opposition to these cuts in all councils where we have representation.

“We are organising pickets and protests highlighting our opposition to the minister’s cuts. The first motion will be tabled at tonight’s meeting of Dublin City Council.”

Emergency Motion to be tabled at tonight’s DCC meeting:

In light of the impending financial crisis facing Dublin City Council and local authorities throughout this State, Dublin City Council calls on the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD to reverse the cuts in the Local Government Fund and restore adequate funding for local democracy and the provision of Council services to our citizens and communities. We deplore the Circular from the Minister's Department to all local authorities announcing further reductions in the Local Government Fund and linking reductions of funding for individual Councils, including Dublin City Council, to the level of collection of the inequitable and uncollectible Household Charge. We call for the replacement of the Household Charge with reformed, equitable taxation based on ability to pay and we warn against the imposition of a further unjust charge based on the market value of homes and without regard to ability to pay.

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Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has announced that the party will table a motion of no confidence in Health Minister James Reilly on the resumption of the Dáil.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Health Minister James Reilly is plunging the health services into deep crisis with the savage cuts now being imposed.

“Minister Reilly has made great play of his changes to the HSE, claiming that they will mean more direct responsibility and management by the Minister. Yet Minister Reilly left it to the HSE to announce the latest harsh cuts and he had to be shamed out of hiding to answer the wave of justified criticism.

“This Minister has since claimed, incredibly, that the health cuts in budget 2012 did not lead to loss of services, despite the fact that hospital and nursing home beds have been closed and services reduced across the hospital system. And now the Minister presides over cuts to home care, home help and personal assistance, targeting the old, the sick and the disabled.

“Rumblings of discontent from the Labour Party or from within Minister Reilly’s own party are of little use if no action is taken to remove the Minister and to change policy. A Dáil motion of no confidence in Minister Reilly gives all Dáil deputies the opportunity to support such an essential change.”

ENDS

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Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced that the former military site at Ballykelly will be the location for the new DARD headquarters.

The Minister said: “The Relocation Programme is an important first step to relocate a significant share of public sector jobs to rural areas as recommended by George Bain in his 2008 report into the location of public sector jobs across the north. To relocate my Department’s HQ to a rural area is a key target in the Executive’s Programme for Government 2011-15 and I am therefore pleased to be able the announce this significant step towards achieving this target.”

The move is expected to involve approximately 800 staff, and work will commence on the site as early as possible in 2013/14 with the new HQ ready for occupation during 2015.

The Minister continued: “The relocation of the DARD HQ will stimulate the local economy through increased local spending, provision of high quality and well paid public sector jobs and potentially jobs associated with the construction and ongoing servicing of the new HQ.

“The relocation will also help to share wealth across the wider economy and contribute to better-balanced economic growth, by starting to address disparities in the distribution of public sector jobs in the north of Ireland.”

The Minister highlighted that this will ensure that this former military site, which is now owned by the Executive, will be put to good use and will bring benefits for the local economy.

Referring to how the move would affect current staff the Minister added: “This announcement provides clarity and the time necessary to ensure that any potential moves can be managed carefully and sensitively taking account of business need and the needs of individuals, although this may not always be possible.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “This is a good news announcement for the rural economy, especially the north west. It is a unique opportunity to relocate high quality public sector jobs outside of Belfast which over the years will bring a range of related economic and social benefits.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called on householders to ensure that their oil tanks are secure as we move into the winter.

Mr. McMullan said, 

“Last year we seen a huge rise in the number of thefts of home heating oil from domestic properties as the increasing price of oil has made it an attractive item for unscrupulous thieves.

 “The victims of this crime suffer a large financial loss, many of whom cannot afford to replace the stolen oil and therefore become vulnerable to the cold weather. 

“As we approach autumn and winter more and more people will be filling their tanks up again so it is important that they are properly secured. 

“The oncoming shortening of daylight hours also provides thieves with extra cover as they go about their criminal activities so I would urge people to secure their tanks with with a strong lock and place them in a spot that will make unauthorised access difficult.

“The PSNI have informed me that they have a leaflet with information on how best to protect your home heating oil so I would encourage people to contact their local crime prevention officer if they need further assistance.”  

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Sinn Féin Councillors are tabling an emergency motion and holding a protest outside the monthly meeting of Dublin City Council on Monday in response to the decision of the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan to slash funding for the Council based on the level of Household Charge collection to date.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha, chairperson of the Council's Finance Committee, said:

“In 2011 Dublin City Council was allocated €60.2 million from the Local Government Fund which is disbursed centrally by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. In Budget 2012 this was reduced to €54.8 million. Now the Council has been told by Minister Hogan’s Department that this is further reduced to €50.1 million. And the minister has directly linked the reduction to the level of collection of the Household Charge in Dublin City.

“This is an attack by the Fine Gael/Labour Government on local services for the citizens and communities of Dublin City and of local authorities across the State. Minister Hogan has doggedly persisted with the inequitable and uncollectable Household Charge, despite the huge level of non-payment. Now Council services are being punished by the Government for its own inequity and ineptitude in trying to impose this unjust tax.

“It is outrageous for a minister to slash the funding for local government in mid-year, significantly reducing the allocation signalled at the start of the year. It typifies the slash and burn approach of this Government.

“Sinn Féin is tabling an emergency motion at the monthly meeting of Dublin City Council on Monday 3 September. It reads:

‘In light of the impending financial crisis facing Dublin City Council and local authorities throughout this State, Dublin City Council calls on the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD to reverse the cuts in the Local Government Fund and restore adequate funding for local democracy and the provision of Council services to our citizens and communities. We deplore the Circular from the Minister’s Department to all local authorities announcing further reductions in the Local Government Fund and linking reductions of funding for individual Councils, including Dublin City Council, to the level of collection of the inequitable and uncollectible Household Charge. We call for the replacement of the Household Charge with reformed, equitable taxation based on ability to pay and we warn against the imposition of a further unjust charge based on the market value of homes and without regard to ability to pay. - Cllrs Larry O'Toole, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Anthony Connaghan, Séamus McGrattan, Mícheál Mac Donncha.'”

  • Dublin Sinn Féin will be holding a protest outside City Hall at 6pm on Monday 3rd September.

ENDS

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Dublin City’s five Sinn Féin Councillors have urged the full support of Dublin City Council for marriage equality. Sinn Féin has tabled a motion for Monday’s City Council meeting calling for “the same rights and entitlements to civil marriages for all citizens of Dublin regardless of race, religion or sexuality”. 

Urging unanimous Council support in advance of Monday’s meeting, the leader of the Sinn Féin group on the Council, Cllr. Larry O'Toole, said:

“Marriage equality for all should have the full support of Dublin City Council in recognition of the equal rights of all citizens. Same-sex couples in particular are discriminated against under the present legislation – the time for change is now.

“Across Ireland, on both sides of the Border, Sinn Féin councillors have secured the support of councils for this principle. I am confident that Dublin City Council will also endorse the principle of marriage equality.

“Labour councillors have tabled a similar motion to ours and I hope we hear the united voice of the Council at its monthly meeting on Monday, thus giving a further boost to the drive for legal reform and full equality.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD said today, “Minister Hogan's plans to put a water meter into every home in Ireland is an expensive and useless exercise.”

Deputy Stanley was responding to reports that the pilot surveys are proving that Hogan’s plan is unworkable.

He said:

“Since the announcement in January that water meters were to be introduced Sinn Féin said the plan was fraught with problems. It is clear that Hogan's water metering project is going down the drain.

“The meters were to be installed this year with the promise of thousands of jobs. Now it has come to light that there will be no meters installed until 2016. Sinn Féin continues to propose credible, achievable alternatives including the expansion of district water metering which is far more efficient and cost effective than installing domestic water meters in every household. 

“This allows for local authorities to monitor water usage and leakage at neighbourhood level. It has been very successful in my own constituency of Laois Offaly.”

Sinn Fein proposes:
1. Tackle leakage at source. The States water distribution system is antiquated. 41% of water is lost through leakage. Return to 2011 level of capital spending on the water system. Irish Academy of Engineers estimates the cost of installing domestic meters to be €500m. This money should be diverted into capital investment.
2. Action on commercial water rates. Only 52% of commercial rates are collected. This deficit is causing financial difficulties for councils. The government must take action to recoup the outstanding money owed to local authorities.  
3. Establish a National Water Sector Framework Team. This team, at no extra cost to the public, would oversee governance and capital investment for the sector. 

In conclusion Deputy Stanley said, “Minister Hogan needs to scrap his plans to introduce domestic water meters and introduce district metering. It is the only sensible option.” 

ENDS


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