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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Responding to the latest live register figures published yesterday, Sinn Féin group leader in the Seanad Senator David Cullinane stated that there is an urgent need for a debate on the matter of unemployment and that the growth in the figures represented a ‘national emergency’.

Speaking in the Seanad Senator Cullinane called for a full debate on unemployment and the need for a comprehensive job creation plan.

Senator Cullinane said:

“Specifically, I want to ask the leader for a debate on the massive unemployment in this state which surely is a national emergency.

“We need to focus on proper job creation proposals, dealing with youth unemployment, underemployment, self-employment, and those who do not qualify for social welfare payments who are not accounted in the live register figures.

“We also need to deal with the burning issue of emigration and the 100,000 people who have already left the country.'

“The release of the latest live register figures saw a rise of 2,600 workers bringing the amount of people on the live register up to 443,000, and the rate up to 14.8%.

“The release of the latest live register figures highlight in very stark terms the inadequacy of this government’s response to the unemployment crisis. It’s rather unsatisfactory that the figures corresponding to the month of the much heralded ‘jobs initiative’ shows that the government needs to consider a more thorough and concerted jobs initiative.

“The politics of austerity isn’t working, investment in jobs is the only way we can kick-start the economy.’

“We in Sinn Féin have brought forward a number of proposals to reduce the unemployment crisis, which the government would do well to consider, including using €2 from the National Pension Reserve fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects, such as school and hospital building programmes, and developing transport and broadband infrastructure.

“We would also argue for a €500 million family stimulus package, funded through additional tax revenue, which is aimed at reversing some of the difficulties placed on families by social welfare cuts, and to kick start consumer spending.”.

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Speaking after the vote on the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill Sinn Féin’s Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD said, “It is nearly three months since the new government signalled its intent to set up the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the new Department as outlined in the Bill is inadequate in terms of its commitment to real public sector reform. Sinn Féin has also questioned the autonomy in real terms of Minister Howlin’s position as the department, its staff and much of his decision making powers remain under the thumb of the Department of Finance.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister can now be held accountable to the Dáil on the crucial matters of public expenditure and reform.

“A focus on public service reform is necessary and welcome however the issue of resourcing is a critical component of any serious reform agenda.

“The ultimate measure of any reform within the public sector will be the experience of citizens seeking and accessing services and it is Sinn Féin’s intention to hold the Minister and his Department to account on this matter.

“The reform agenda must not be used as a cover for the running down or privatising public services.” ENDS

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has urged people to be vigilant after what appears to be a sexually motivated attack on a woman in the Tallaght area.

Deputy Crowe said “A woman has been attacked in the Tallaght area in what appears to have been a particularly brutal and sexually motivated assault.

“I would appeal to members of the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the Gardaí.

“Anyone who has information about these incidents should obviously bring it to the Gardaí immediately.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien was today shocked at the 400% increase in queries to the Free Legal Advice Centres surrounding personal debt issues over the last three years.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“This highlights the worry, distress and personal economic nightmare that exists for too many people in our society at the minute.

“The Government must move swiftly to update the legislation that relates to personal debt resolution and provide the necessary resources.

“I have to commend the trojan work being carried out by the Free Legal Advice Centres. This experience at the frontline of dealing with people’s personal debt nightmares adds serious credibility to their calls for a comprehensive ‘dynamic debt settlement system’ and a standardised ‘Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process’.

“Sinn Féin calls on the Minister for Justice to swiftly introduce the promised Personal insolvency Bill. We require a personal insolvency system akin to the Individual Voluntary Arrangements made available in recent years in England or to the type of repayment schemes that exist elsewhere in Europe.

“It is vital that we introduce a non-judicial debt resolution system to save the cost and the personal stigma of the process being carried out publicly in the courts, and most importantly to deal with this problem in a humane way which offers people a future at the other end of it.

“In addition Sinn Féin reiterates our call for greater resources to be made available to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service which are working to facilitate people in these situations. We should explore making financial and credit institutions foot some of the funding that is required by MABS.

“Sinn Féin would also draw attention to the large percentage of calls being made to FLAC around employment law, particularly in relation to redundancies and dismissals. We need to ensure vigilance in protecting the rights of workers during these troubled economic times.” ENDS

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Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun was in Cookstown today (Wednesday) for a series of meetings with local rural and agricultural organisations.The MEP's schedule include meetings with the NI Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA), the Rural Community Network and the NI Rural Womens' Network.Following the meetings, de Brun said,

"Today's engagements were the latest in a series of meetings I have been holding with stakeholders in the agricultural and wider rural sectors, and they were all extremely useful and informative.

"There is considerable interest here in developments in the European Parliament, with a particular focus on the ongoing reform of the CAP, which took another step forward last week with the progression of the Dess Report through the Agriculture Committee, and towards a full discussion and vote in plenary.

“I was glad to be able to update people on progress to date, and in particular on the position regarding direct payments, LFA areas, the EU CAP budget, the functioning of the food chain, support for small farmers and for young farmers and rural development funding.

 

"We also discussed specific issues concerning the representation of women and young people in rural areas, and funding for regional and rural organisations", Bairbre said.

"Rural dwellers have a range of issues which need focused attention, including those of community transport and childcare provision, and the groups I met today are hopeful that new DARD Minister Michelle O'Neill will carry forward the good work done on these issues by her predecessor Michelle Gildernew."

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, Sandra McLellan, has lambasted Minister Leo Varadkar and his Junior Minister Michael Ring for carrying on the Fianna Fáil tradition of avoiding their responsibilities by hiding behind a litany of quangos.

Deputy McLellan was speaking after both Ministers refused to answer questions in the Dáil today on issues relating to their portfolios.

Speaking today Deputy McLellan said:

"It appears that some members of this Government have picked up the habits of the previous one by deferring direct questions stating that they only have responsibility for policy and overall funding.

“This situation is outrageous. It makes a mockery of the supposed powers of scrutiny of the Dáil. To have a Minister whose sole responsibility is to sign cheques would appear to me to be a complete waste of money.

“It is unacceptable to claim that this is a system they have inherited, or that Dáil Committees can hold the quangos to account. Ministers Varadkar and Ring should take a leaf out of their Minister for Health's book and start to take responsibility for all aspects of their portfolio. They should stop passing the buck and start delivering value for the taxpayer."

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams this evening secured an adjournment debate in the Dáil on Vodafone’s decision to sack over 130 workers and move the jobs to India and Egypt.

Mr. Adams called on the government to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are protected and to ensure than any workers who do lose their jobs receive their redundancy entitlements.

Mr. Adams said:

“Minister, Vodafone says it intends sacking over 130 workers and moving those jobs to Egypt and India.

“This behaviour comes at a time when 443,400 citizens are unemployed. The highest level this year.

“Vodafone clearly have no loyalty to Irish people.

“No doubt, and the Minister might want to clarify this, they have received public funds and tax exemptions.

“Vodafone’s profits since it came here have been €2.2 billion. €120m last year.

“So, it takes public monies, makes huge profits and then moves on.

“This is the unacceptable face of globalisation.

“And the government must review this type of operation.

“I met with representatives of the Communication Workers Union.

“Their briefing included a minute of a meeting with Vodafone.

“The Union asked regarding the jobs in Rigney Dolphin which supplies employees to Vodafone:

Q What will happen to Rigney Dolphin employees who are losing jobs - will they be redeployed in Vodafone?
A No
Q What will be the terms of redundancy for Rigney Dolphin employees?
A This is nothing to do with Vodafone, it is a matter for Rigney Dolphin
Q Does Vodafone accept that they have a responsibility to Rigney Dolphin employees working in Vodafone?
A Vodafone only has a responsibility to the business contract between Rigney Dolphin and Vodafone
Q The Union requests that Vodafone postpone this decision to enable all parties to engage in discussions with a view to finding alternatives that will save jobs
A No
Q Can Vodafone guarantee the Union that further work/jobs will not be outsourced?
A No
Q What are the cost savings involved in off shoring these jobs?
A Don’t know

“This needs a decisive Government response and it needs it now.

“Minister what is your Government going to do to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are protected and to ensure than any workers who do lose their jobs receive their redundancy entitlements?”

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane today welcomed the launch of the annual report of the children’s ombudsman Emily Logan.

Speaking in the Seanad he said that the report made some profound and thought-provoking recommendations.

‘This report highlights the need for policy makers and law makers to really listen to children in a meaningful way. I think perhaps if we had listened with greater care in the past, such tragedies as were highlighted in the Murphy report might have been avoided’.

Senator Cullinane said that the Seanad should invite Emily Logan, on foot of this report to come and address the house stating “particularly in the context of the forthcoming children’s referendum, it would be timely to invite the ombudsman here to listen to what she has to say, which I think would undoubtedly be of value”.

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Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Tourism, Sandra McLellan, has called on the Government to prioritise preparations for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden and ultimately final voyage.

Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy McLellan said:

"Next year's 100th anniversary presents a unique opportunity not only for tourism but also for appropriate reflection and commemoration. The story of the most iconic ship in history is inextricably linked with this country, from its construction in Belfast and stop-off at Cobh, to the many passengers who were on board for that faithful journey. It’s a story not just of maritime history, but of cultural and human history, a window into which was famously captured in the multi-Oscar Winning motion picture."

"Preparations for 2012 must be prioritised. It provides us with a fantastic opportunity to promote the island of Ireland and to commemorate those who lost their lives. It is essential that the overall Titanic 2012 anniversary is presented as a complete package that ties in all the various aspects of the voyage, and its relationship with different parts of this island. There needs to be adequate investment, planning and co-ordination in this regard."

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh