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Sinn Féin representative for Pottinger Niall Ó Donnghaile has expressed his concern at yet another report of dangerously low-flying planes in east Belfast. Mr Ó Donnghaile comments come after a main claims he was injured by roof tiles dislodging as a result of a low flying plane.

Mr Ó Donnghaile said;

“Obviously there is growing concern about this issue, particularly given the fact that this is the third time low flying planes have affected residents, more worryingly on this occasion someone appears to have been injured as a result.

It would appear that low flying aircraft in this part of east Belfast is becoming more and more common; as someone who lives in this part of the city I share many of the concerns that residents have expressed. This issue is one of many concerns being raised by communities across east and south Belfast as well as north Down in relation to the airport. Concerns are being expressed about the frequency of the flights in and out of the airport, how low aircraft appear to be flying, health and environmental issues and of course the significant opposition to any proposed runway extension.

My thoughts are with the injured man and at the very least I am glad to hear that the airport has had the consideration to repair the damaged roof. However we cannot simply ignore these issues and I will be contacting the Environment Minister urging him to review the current concerns.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has welcomed the support for tax-varying powers expressed by Esmond Birnie Chief Economist with PwC and former UUP Assembly Member.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

“I welcome this expression of support from PwC Chief Economist, Esmond Birnie for tax-varying powers to be transferred to the Assembly. Sinn Féin was the first party to propose this position to the Assembly but unfortunately other parties’ - in particular unionist parties’ – initially opposed the proposition. I am encouraged that parties’ and commentators are now embracing this position

“It is encouraging that as reputable economists, and other business advice organizations, publicly recommend such an approach to fiscal strategy, that there is a growing political consensus on the need to acquire maximum fiscal powers for the Assembly.

“It is generally accepted that the Tory/Lib.Dem coalition will impose severe cuts to the Executive finances and it is imperative that we take measures to mitigate against the worst effects of these cuts. I believe that an effective way of being more in control of our economic destiny is having the ability to raise finance. One of the essential tools to achieve this is tax-varying powers. I call on all parties in the Assembly to now seriously examine the need for fiscal powers that will assist us in mapping the way forward for our economy. ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s Dáil Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today welcomed the publication of the Irish Cancer Society-initiated Sunbeds Regulation Bill. The bill would make it an offence for a business to allow a child use a sunbed.

The Cavan-Monaghan Deputy said:

“The links between ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer are well known and Sinn Féin has long called for legislation to protect children from the dangers of sunbeds. Last year’s report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, published in The Lancet, indicated a 75 per cent increase in risk of melanoma where sunbed use begins at an early age. The report further stated that sunbeds should be moved to the ‘highest cancer risk’ category.

“As Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health and Children, I have tabled repeated questions to Minister Harney on her intentions to bring forward legislation in this area. Although a Government bill has been promised on every Legislative Programme since January 2007 it has been continually postponed, allowing the needless exposure of hundreds or thousands of children to these dangerous carcinogens. The potential consequences of this delay can be seen in the fact that 752 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in 2008 alone.

“While the Sunbeds Regulation Bill is an Opposition bill, it is nonetheless welcome as the first concrete legislative action toward protecting children from sunbeds. I urge the Government to accept the bill and to prioritise its movement through the Oireachtas. Sinn Féin will fully support its passage.

“Any further delay will only add to the Government’s litany of appalling failures to protect the lives and well-being of Irish children.” ENDS

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD has expressed concern over figures which show another sharp fall in farm income. Farm incomes have fallen by 30% since last year and follow another fall last year. Average income is now just €12,000, their lowest level since 1999.

Deputy Ferris said: “Irish farmers are facing a massive crisis that will drive many thousands more out of production. We are seeing a combination of the impact of the recession, cuts in the prices paid by the processors, and the cuts in Government programmes.

“Last week Minister Smith said that he is considering the report which I submitted to the Agriculture Committee two years ago. What he needs to do is to implement its recommendations which come from groups across the sector and who know what needs to be done in order not only to protect what we have at present but to positively utilise what is still our largest indigenous sector in order to stimulate growth.

“Instead this Government is applying the same austerity programme to farming as it is to the overall economy and the pressure on incomes is just one consequence of that negative attitude.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has welcomed the comments yesterday by the newly installed Moderator of the Presbyterian Church Rev. Norman Hamilton identifying sectarianism as “this demon in our midst”. Mr. Adams added:

“I have long argued that sectarianism is the single greatest threat facing society in the north today and it is imperative that political, church and community leaders take a decisive stand against it.”

However, the MP for west Belfast disputed Rev. Hamilton’s claim that the Shankill area “does not have effective political representation at Stormont since it is in west Belfast.”

Mr. Adams said:

“It is not true to say that the people of the greater Shankill area do not have effective political representation.

In the recent election I received votes from the greater Shankill. I am very proud of that fact.

Sinn Féin is for equality and inclusiveness for all citizens. I am the MP and an MLA for west Belfast – all of west Belfast, including the greater Shankill - and I and Sinn Féin take our responsibilities on behalf of all citizens very seriously.

I can understand if the Moderator is not across the detail of our work in that part of the constituency. I would be happy to meet with him to discuss this and the issue of sectarianism.

In the meantime and for the record Sinn Féin is currently engaging with more unionists across west Belfast and Belfast city, particularly in working class areas, on social and economic, and on bread and butter issues, than at any time in my lifetime.
Much of this work is taking place in the greater Shankill area from the lower Shankill, up through Ballygomartin and Woodvale to Glencairn; as well as the Blacks Road estate at Suffolk.

Sinn Féin is determined to provide effective representation for all of the constituents of west Belfast. My office helps hundreds of citizens with individual concerns, including many people from the greater Shankill and Suffolk areas. And through the west Belfast and greater Shankill Task Force and a range of other projects we have been actively involved in work which is delivering for the Shankill.

There is also significant and important work being carried out on a daily basis within the community sector which interconnects all parts of the west Belfast constituency.

Of course, there is much more to be done and this must include even more dialogue and the building of more connections. Sinn Féin is determined to push ahead with this inclusive agenda.”

Note to Editor:

- Since 2008 Gerry Adams has a series of meetings with the principals of nursery and primary schools in the Shankill and have been working to help in respect of a number of important issues, including resources for special needs.

 - Substantial investment has been made in schools in west Belfast. That includes £1.54m invested in Forthriver Primary School. Sinn Féin is also working with the Suffolk community on the local primary school campaign and the future use of the school site and nearby playing fields.

- The west Belfast and greater Shankill Task Force which is a Sinn Féin initiative has secured millions of pounds for projects, including the Shankill peaceline art project; local tourism initiatives; and business units at Lanark Way.

- Sinn Féin is also working to move the Task Force into a new phase of delivery so that concepts like the Shankill Greenway Project can be given government support and investment.

- During recent months, Gerry Adams joined with the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Minister for Education Caitriona Ruane to secure the release of a £5m investment programme, as part of the west Belfast and greater Shankill Task Force.

- Dozens of new jobs have been created through the programme which is part of the new Integrated Services for Children and Young People which is part of the Task Force.

- Sinn Féin has also worked closely with the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Employment Services Board to secure additional funding for a further year for the work of that project.

- This supports local Job Assist Centres work with hundreds of long-term unemployed people in the greater Shankill area.

- Sinn Féin is determined to harness new opportunities for local businesses and draw in new investment. Sinn Féin is campaigning for substantial investment in the Mackies / Forthriver site.

- In conjunction with families bereaved through suicide and local support groups, Sinn Féin campaigned under direct rule for a new Regional Suicide Prevention Strategy with ringfenced resources. Since the advent of local Ministers, Sinn Féin has liaised closely with local groups to protect existing resources and to ensure that suicide prevention is now a priority for the Executive within our own Programme for Government.

- Through the west Belfast Community Safety Forum, we are tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. We are seeking to ensure public safety and the right of people, particularly the elderly, to be safe in their homes and on our streets.

- We are helping to spearhead pioneering work on the ground in every community, which brings statutory agencies together with community representatives and empowers local neighbourhoods. We want every family in west Belfast, including the people of Shankill and Suffolk, to be able to live in peace and safety, free from harm and crime.

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Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has said the news that multinational pharmaceutical company Glaxosmithkline is reviewing its operations in Ireland is a worrying development.

Deputy Ferris said the development shows the need for the Government prioritise the development of indigenous industries over foreign direct investment.

Speaking today Deputy Ferris said:

“The news coming from Glaxosmithkline this morning is a worrying development for its 1,400 employees and for the general state of the Irish economy.

“It is clear that, with Ireland’s changing economic circumstances, many of the multinational corporations based here are considering their options. That is the risk we take when we rely so heavily on foreign direct investment for employment.

“This exodus of employers from Ireland, coupled with Barrack Obama’s stated commitment to reclaim taxes from these companies highlights the need for the Irish Government to prioritise the development of indigenous industries over foreign direct investment.

“Ireland’s agri-food industry is a perfect example of an industry which has great potential to expand and create much needed employment.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA and international spokesperson Raymond McCartney has said that the SDLP need to be honest with the public in regards to their declared opposition of the illegal Israeli blockade on Gaza and the Palestinian people while sponsoring events celebrating Israel and its legacy of oppression against the Palestinian at Stormont and refusing to open a book of condolences to the aid workers killed by Israeli forces. 

Speaking today Mr McCartney said:

“The SDLP have in recent days spoken of their outrage at the storming of aid ships bound for Gaza and the killing of humanitarian aid workers, and rightly so.

“However the SDLP cannot have it both ways, playing to public opinion while actually acting alongside pro-Israeli groups, at this very sensitive time.

“The SDLP are co-sponsors of an event this week, alongside the unionist parties who opposed the aid flotilla, at which a special guest is to be the Israeli Ambassador to London

“The SDLP Mayor of Belfast, Pat Convery, has  to date ignored  requests from Belfast citizens, to open a book of condolences for those aid workers who were killed by the Israeli forces.

“This is a time to listen to the public outcry over the killing of humanitarian aid workers, the seizure of aid for the people of Gaza and the arrest and deportation of Irish citizens trying to break an illegal blockade.

“At a time when governments and countless thousands of people around the world are condemning the Israeli government’s actions, calling for an independent inquiry into these killings, and calling for the expulsion of Israeli ambassadors the SDLP need to come off the fence.

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Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has called on the leader of the Seanad Donie Cassidy to explain why the Seanad is not sitting this week.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said there are serious questions hanging over Fianna Fáil Senators Ivor Callely, Briain Ó Domhnail, Larry Butler and Ann Ormond and questioned whether the decision to close the Seanad this week was to provide political cover for these Senators.

Senator Doherty said:

“It’s all well and good for Senator Cassidy to be away playing golf this week in Turkey. This is not the first time the Seanad has been closed while some Senators head off for short breaks.

“However, we must question the motive behind the decision for the Seanad not to sit this week. There are four Fianna Fáil Senators with serious questions hanging over them since the publication of the travel expenses of Oireachtas members last week and the fact that the Seanad is not sitting this week has conveniently provided political cover for those members.

“I am calling on the leader of the Seanad, Senator Donie Cassidy, to explain the decision for the Seanad not sitting this week. Given that the Dáil is sitting this week surely it would be expected that the Seanad could too.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA for north Belfast Gerry Kelly has said that “sectarianism is alive and well on Newtonabbey Council”. Mr Kelly’s comments come after the DUP gifted twelve of the forteen important committee posts on the Council to all of their councillors.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said;

“The simple reality is this, sectarianism is alive and well on Newtonabbey Council, not only have the DUP awarded twelve of their councillors important committee positions within that council but also made independent loyalist Tommy Kirkham deputy mayor and gave one token position to the Alliance party.

This move comes after all the parties on Newtonabbey Council, including the SDLP and Alliance, willingly rallied under a DUP organised coup to deny Sinn Féin voters their right to elected representation following the resignation of the only Sinn Féin councillor in Newtonabbey. This denied the 1800 Sinn Féin voters the representation they voted for and were entitled to.

It will be of little surprise to the nationalist and republican people in Newtonabbey that the reward gifted to the other parties for their blind willingness to participate in the DUP’s denial of Sinn Féin representation has actually turned out to be nothing but a slap in the face for them and a cosy arrangement for DUP councillors.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin west Belfast MLA Paul Maskey today met with Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, to discuss their decision to close the Andersonstown Library in Slievegallion Drive.

With the closure threatened for the end of this month Paul has urged Libraries NI to reverse their decision and to ensure that suitable library services are provided in the Andersonstown area.

Paul said:

‘’Nobody could deny the bad state of repair that Andersonstown Library has fallen into due to years of under investment, however the many users of this library should not have to pay the price for this.

Last year over 30,000 people visited this branch and to remove this service from the area without having an alternative service in place would be a big mistake. I have called on Libraries NI to ensure that the closure of this building does not mean the withdrawing of a much needed library service in the Andersonstown area.

Unfortunately Ms Knox could not guarantee that the library will not close at the end of this month, but she has assured me she will take the request into consideration.  I have outlined my commitment to help Libraries NI in any way I can in their efforts to provide an appropriate service in this area and have today been in contact with a number of local community organisations with a view to doing this.’’

During the meeting Paul also outlined his disappointment that many of the written and verbal submissions do not appear to have been taken into consideration in the consultation report and it looks to many like the consultation was purely a paper exercise.

Paul added:

‘’I would like to assure all Andersonstown residents that we as a party will continue to oppose the closure of this library and will continue fighting this case until there is adequate library provision secured for the Andersonstown area’’ ENDS

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Speaking today after IBEC revised upwards their economic forecasts for 2010 and 2011, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Economy Arthur Morgan dismissed IBEC’s forecast as irrelevant unless the Government tackles unemployment.

Speaking today Deputy Morgan said:

“The forecasts for economic growth may be more positive in IBEC’s economic outlook, but until the Government get to grips with the unemployment crisis that has ordinary people of this State in a chokehold, these forecasts will remain irrelevant.

“Dealing with unemployment should be the core issue in taking ordinary households out of the downturn but given that a further 6,600 people signed on last month, it is clear that the issue is still not on the Government’s radar.

“IBEC have forecast improvements in consumer spending but the potential for further growth cannot be realised until we give people the potential to earn a living, by giving them jobs. The failure of the Government to realise this will cripple the real economy, especially given that investment activity is expected to drop further in 2011.

“The recession may be over but this means nothing for ordinary people.” ENDS

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Management at the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and in the HSE must be held accountable for the litany of failures that almost led to the loss of a child, stated Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD. He also said that current Government-imposed health cutbacks could only make the situation worse.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Melissa and Michael Redmond are to be commended for going public about the traumatic experience which almost led to the death of their baby. It was Melissa’s instincts and good sense in seeking a second opinion that prevented a tragedy.

“Management at the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and in the HSE must be held accountable for the litany of failures that have come to light as a result of this family speaking out.

“The internal hospital report which has been leaked to the media should now be published in full. That report exposes bad clinical practice, outdated and inadequate equipment, lack of guidelines on scanning, no permanent trained staff attached to the Early Pregnancy Unit and no written guidelines for early pregnancy problems.

“Where was the oversight and responsibility of hospital management and HSE management in allowing such a situation to develop and to be maintained? Both levels of management have clearly failed miserably yet again. At hospital, regional and State level, the HSE has proved to be a disaster. It needs to be replaced with community health partnerships that will be truly accountable, something Sinn Féin sees as essential in a reformed health service.

“I have no doubt that current Government cutbacks will only make the situation worse and create further tragedies or near tragedies. The embargo on recruitment is putting ever greater pressure on staff, thus increasing the danger of misdiagnosis.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hogan has called on Health Minister Mary Harney to intervene after a third resident of Loughloe House has died since the HSE's announcement on 6 May of its plan to close the home. He described the tactics being used by the HSE to relocate residents as despicable and disgusting.

Councillor Hogan said:

“A third resident of Loughloe House has passed away today. She had suffered a stroke in Loughloe House after pressure was put on her to agree to move to another home. She was transferred to Mullingar Hospital where she died in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).

“Two residents of Loughloe House died within a week of the 6 May announcement. Relatives and staff with whom I have spoken are in no doubt that the stress caused by pressure to move out of Loughloe House was the key factor in their untimely deaths.

“Two other residents had heart attacks and another man had a stroke. Six people have now been hospitalised, three fatally, in one month. I want to extend sympathy to the three families concerned.

“We are talking about people’s lives here. Something needs to be done. I am calling for the Minister for Health Mary Harney to directly intervene and stand down the HSE’s disgusting and despicable methods of relocating residents. As Minister for Health she has a duty of care for all residents of Loughloe House.

“I have also called for an independent investigation into the methods being used by the HSE to relocate residents. Some residents have been threatened with the street if they talk to media or public representatives. Some were threatened with the door if they refused to take another bed offered to them by the HSE.

“Today I am meeting Joe Ruane, Health Manager for Longford and Westmeath. This will be my third time to meet him since the announcement was made to close Loughloe House. I am also meeting Minister for Health Mary Harney tomorrow in Leinster House. I will be raising these matters with them in a compassionate plea to stop the HSE from using such tactics, which is obviously causing huge stress and anxiety amongst the residents.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Policing and Justice spokesperson Alex Maskey MLA has welcomed today’s announcement from the Justice Minister David Ford that he is to begin a wide ranging review of substantial elements of the criminal justice system.

Mr Maskey was speaking after he attending the key-note address delivered by Mr Ford at Castle Buildings today.

He said;

“The transfer of powers over policing and justice can only be the beginning of a process of progressive change to the justice system here in the North. The essential element of David Ford’s announcement today is that the general public and all stakeholders will have a real say in what type of system of justice will best serve our interests as a community.

Sinn Fein very much welcomes this commitment from the minister.

His commitment to developing a system of “justice for all” is particularly important, a system which provides for speedy justice, a system which is human rights based and equally upholds the rights of victims of crime.

Sinn Fein looks forward to working with the new minister and the department of justice to achieve a more representative, effective and fair system of justice which will seek to prevent and reduce the level of crime in our community.” CRÍOCH

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Rinne Uachtarán Shinn Féin agus BP Iarthair Bhéal Feirste Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh comhghairdeas mór le foireann peile na Ceathrún Ghaeltachta, Laochra Loch Lao, a ghlac páirt i gComórtas Peile na Gaeltachta tharr an deireadh seachtain.

Ag labhairt inniu, dúirt an tUasal Mac Ádhaimh;

“Seolaim comhghairdeas ón chroí chuig na Laochra agus na sluaite móra ón chathair a thaisteal go Maigh Eo le tacú leo.

Ar an drochuair bualadh Laochra Loch Lao ina gcluiche in éadan Ros Ghoill ach is léir go raibh spioraid Gael Bhéal Feirste i láthair le linn an comórtais.

Tá mé féin cinnte go mbeidh neart sealanna eile ag Laochra Loch Lao san am atá romhainn agus tá súil mór agam go mbeidh an comórtas é féin ag taisteal go Gaeltacht Bhéal Feirste gan mhoill.

Laochra Loch Lao Abú!” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin’s Upper Falls Councillor, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín, is deeply disappointed by the reluctance of Belfast’s new Mayor to respond to a request from a local constituent to provide of a book of condolence in Belfast’s City Hall for the Humanitarian Aid workers, who were illegally massacred on board an aid boat in the early hours of Monday morning.

Cllr Mac Giolla Mhín said: “A local constituent, who is deeply concerned about the human rights of Palestinian people contacted me on Wednesday, following her communications with the Belfast Mayor’s office”.

“As a constituent, she indicated to me that she wasn’t exactly satisfied with the response she received from the Mayor’s office in relation to her request.”

The local Councillor did some research in to the protocol in implementing such books of condolence and discovered that this is generally a call for the current Mayor of the city.

“I advised my constituent that I would explore the protocol and make a direct approach to the newly elected Mayor in relation to her request.

“I did speak with the Mayor’s office and subsequently emailed them, requesting that newly elected Mayor, Pat Convery, call me on behalf my constituent to make arrangements to receive a letter from her as did our party group leader, Michael Browne.

“I appreciate that Pat has a very busy schedule as Mayor, but an issue of such current importance as this deserves some consideration and the local citizen deserves a response.

“In light of the recent massacre five days ago and the fate awaiting the Irish boat, MV Rachel Corrie which has now been boarded by Israeli Forces with some Belfast citizens on board, I feel that this Belfast citizen at least deserves a response from their first citizen.”

“A clear message of support from the Belfast Mayor, on the back of world wide condemnation of this act of piracy, would boost the moral of the aid workers who don’t know what to expect on board the Rachel Corrie,” concluded Cllr Mac Giolla Mhín.

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Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has said that today’s raid by the Israeli military on the Irish ship Rachel Corrie was ‘a completely unjustified and unacceptable use of force’.

Mr McGuinness said:

“The Rachel Corrie contains only humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. It is being crewed by Human Rights activists. The Israeli government know this to be the case. They know the Rachel Corrie and her cargo presents no threat to Israel. The human rights activists onboard the boat had made it clear they had no issue with UN officials checking the cargo before they proceeded to Gaza.

“The Rachel Corrie should have been allowed to proceed to Gaza without Israeli aggression. The decision of the Israeli government to board the Rachel Corrie and divert her away from Gaza is a completely unjustified and unacceptable use of force. This is an attack on an Irish flagged vessel and it demands a strong response by the Irish government.

“Sinn Féin have already made clear that part of this response must be the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador following the boarding of the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie vessel, which is trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

He said: "In defiance of International opinion, Israeli forces have boarded the Irish humanitarian aid ship the Rachel Corrie. No report of injuries have been made of yet but communications with the crew or passengers has not been possible to confirm this.

"I would reiterate the demand that the Rachel Corrie be allowed to proceed to Gaza with its cargo of aid consisting of cement, school supplies, wheelchairs and other much needed items.

“Israel must immediately release all passengers and crew.

“The illegal blockade of Gaza blockade which is causing a humanitarian crisis must be lifted immediately.

"The Irish Government must act now and should expel the Israeli Ambassador which will give effect to the all- party motion which was passed in the Dáil on Tuesday this week. That motion said there would be diplomatic consequences if the passage of the Rachel Corrie was interfered with."

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Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has said that today’s raid by the Israeli military on the Irish ship Rachel Corrie was ‘a completely unjustified and unacceptable use of force’.

Mr McGuinness said:

“The Rachel Corrie contains only humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. It is being crewed by Human Rights activists. The Israeli government know this to be the case. They know the Rachel Corrie and her cargo presents no threat to Israel. The human rights activists onboard the boat had made it clear they had no issue with UN officials checking the cargo before they proceeded to Gaza.

“The Rachel Corrie should have been allowed to proceed to Gaza without Israeli aggression. The decision of the Israeli government to board the Rachel Corrie and divert her away from Gaza is a completely unjustified and unacceptable use of force. This is an attack on an Irish flagged vessel and it demands a strong response by the Irish government.

“Sinn Féin have already made clear that part of this response must be the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland.”

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Commenting on the figures for the deaths of children known to the HSE child protection service in the past decade, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“The latest figures from the HSE bring to 188 the number of children who died in the past decade either in State care or who were known to the social services. This is a truly shocking figure. It makes it all the more urgent that the HSE releases these files to the special investigation team established by the Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews. If legal obstacles really exist they should be removed as a matter of urgency. The Government cannot even tell us when it will publish legislation in this regard. It should publish in full its advice from the Attorney General.

“These figures come at a time when the Government is cutting back social welfare, education and health services in a way that hits marginalised families and vulnerable children worst. These are the essential supports which help address child poverty and neglect. Undermining these services through cuts will condemn more children.” ENDS

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