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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

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

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



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



Latest Statements

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Today, on the European Day of Languages Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún MEP has spoken about the importance of linguistic diversity.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg on a day which celebrates multilingualism, de Brún said, "I am pleased to be a part of the EU celebrating its linguistic diversity. Modern languages provide a great insight into a culture and are a key element of understanding our European Neighbours

It is a joy to be able to speak in Irish in the European Parliament and it is wonderful to hear everything from Polish to Portuguese to on a daily basis.

I am a strong supporter of Irish language rights across Ireland I would like to take this opportunity to mention two cornerstones of the Irish language in Belfast and to congratulate Coláiste Feirste on their 20th anniversary and the Cultúrlannn on their new extension.

"Ireland has a lot to offer with regards to linguistic diversity, not only with our native languages, but with those that have become present and vibrant in our society due to immigration and now form an integral part of modern Ireland. I am delighted to be able to share this culture with my colleagues in Brussels.

I hope the EU continues its good work in the field of linguistic diversity and paves the way for Welsh, Catalan, Basque and other minority languages to also be afforded the privilege of expressing themselves in their mother tongue in the near future."

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Sinn Féin Cork East TD and party spokesperson on sport, Sandra McLellan, has congratulated the successful Cork ladies football team on their senior all-Ireland success at Croke Park on Sunday.

Speaking after watching the match

Deputy McLellan said:

“It was a fantastic game and a fantastic victory for the Cork ladies. It is a great credit to Eamon Ryan and his management team and to all the players that they had the strength and determination to come back after last years disappointment to add this title to the five in a row. Their record surely marks them amongst the best ever teams to play the game. Some of the individual performances were immense.

“It is a tremendous victory and we are all very proud of the team in Cork. We look forward to welcoming them back home this evening.”

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On Sunday Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald TD and West Belfast MP Paul Maskey will travel to Liverpool to address a number of meetings and events at the British Labour Conference. The Sinn Fein delegation will also meet key organisations of the city’s Irish community.

The party will host a fringe meeting, `Ireland and Britain – towards a new relationship’ on Sunday at 6pm, sharing a platform with Labour's Lord's spokesperson on Ireland Angela Smith, also a former Minister, and Labour MP Pamela Nash, who is part of Labour’s team in relation to the north.

Ms McDonald will also address an Agreed Ireland Forum fringe later that evening on the current economic and debt crisis.

Speaking from Dublin before leaving for Liverpool, Mary Lou McDonald said:

“We welcome the opportunity of the conference to engage with people from the British labour movement on a number of key issues of concern.

“The current economic crisis, ever deepening as we speak, highlights the urgent need for an alternative way forward. Clearly policies in Ireland and in Britain of cuts and austerity have only served to exacerbate the crisis, strangling any prospect of growth.

“The human cost is devastating lives, throwing millions into poverty and unemployment. Developing a dialogue on this is vital. The  positive huge response to Sinn Féin's approach of investment to stimulate growth as a way out of the crisis instead of attacking living standards, shows how much people want a progressive alternative way forward. This has been exemplified in the imact Martin McGuinness' candidacy for President has had. We hope to discuss our approach further in the coming days.”

Paul Maskey MP said:

“The future relationship between Britain and Ireland remains firmly on the agenda. The immense progress in recent years has to be both defended and built upon. We are hosting the fringe meeting as an opportunity to discuss some of the key issues, including Ireland’s constitutional future and the social, economic and political dynamics underpinning that.

“We will also be visiting Liverpool’s Irish Centre and other community groups within the city. We are delighted to take the opportunity of being in there to meet people and discuss issues of concern to them.”

The delegation will also attend a series of other event hosted by the Irish Embassy, the CHAMP pro-peace process group and the Labour Irish Society.

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Responding to the comments from Minister Alan Shatter regarding Martin McGuinness’ candidacy in the presidential election Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said it will be the people who will decide who is fit for office and not Alan Shatter or the Fine Gael Party.

Deputy McDonald said:

“I find it completely wrong that a government minister would interfere in the democratic process in such a manner.

“It is the people who will decide who is fit for the office of President and not Alan Shatter or the Fine Gael Party.

“Martin McGuinness is a very strong candidate and this is evidenced by the reactions of people like Alan Shatter.” ENDS

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North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has called on the Tourist Board to ‘take seriously’ the development of Gaelic Games as a tourism product. Mr McKay was addressing NITB officials whilst chairing the Assembly’s Enterprise Committee. Officials agreed to include Gaelic Games in programmes for visiting travel media and travel writers.
 Mr McKay said:
 “Research has already demonstrated that tourists coming to the north, including business tourists, would be interested in watching or taking part in Gaelic Games. It is of course an indigenous sport unique to this country and as such we should be maximising its potential to realise economic benefits. 
“I made it quite clear that the Tourist Board’s performance on this front has fallen far short and the issue has been ignored rather than explored in terms of possible benefits. In response to my criticisms officials have agreed to now make Gaelic Games a part of ‘fam trips’. These trips imvolve bringing in travel media and travel writers from around the world to write about here as a tourist destination.  
“This still falls far short of the work I believe is required to develop this. However I will monitor how the board moves this forward and will continue to work to develop and promote this in the months ahead. 
“If we have something which is unique to this country and which generates interest from tourists then it should of course be marketed abroad. NITB should reflect on the findings of the University of Ulster report into Gaelic Games tourism and act on it.”

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Responding to the news reports today on the eurozone report co-authored by former ECB official Jurgen Stark, which calls for countries to surrender economic powers to the European Union if they do not meet conditions on debt, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said the Irish government had to immediately raise the issue of the ECB attempting to intervene in the political arena with its EU counterparts.
 
Deputy Doherty said:
"When Mr Stark and his co-authors makes this statement are we to take it that it also applies to the larger Eurozone nations like France and Germany? I do not recall talk of surrendering economic power to the European Union when France and Germany were breaking the Stability and Growth Pact during the last decade.
 
"This paper was published by the ECB, though not endorsed by it, but it reflects the thinking at the heart of this institution. The ECB is a bank. It is no more acceptable for it to be dicating political decisions than it is for Irish banks to be telling our government what to do.
 
"The Irish government needs to immediately raise the issue of the ECB attempting to intervene in the political arena with its EU counterparts. This kind of incendiary statement is not helpful for resolving the euro crisis - it is just another attempt to push Europe down a path which is doomed to fail. The monetary union is fragile and must be stabilised but assuming that seizing economic control of sovereign states will be that stabilising factor is ludicrous."ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on tourism and the arts Sandra McLellan has called on the government to prioritise investment in Ireland’s cultural tourism infrastructure in order to maximise the potential of this sector of the economy.

Speaking on the National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill in the Dáil today, Deputy McLellan said:

“The area of cultural tourism continues to hold huge potential. Cultural tourism embraces the full range of experiences visitors can undertake to learn what makes a destination distinctive – its lifestyle, its heritage, its arts, its people – and the business of providing and interpreting that culture to visitors.”

“We have a very rich cultural heritage here, including megalithic tombs, Norman Castles and Viking cities. The period when this country declared its independence at the start of the last century holds a significant place in this country’s history too.”

“This government should prioritise the creation of a cultural and historical ‘Northern Quarter’ for Dublin, including Moore Street, Moore Lane and O’Rahilly Parade, and with the GPO at its heart. This whole area is rich in history and would act as a major National Monument and a fantastic attraction for visitors from home and abroad.”

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Speaking on a debate on the European Financial Stability Facility, the Sinn Féin economic spokesperson in the Seanad, Senator Kathryn Reilly said:

“The government has made much of the returning to us of a small portion of the interest we have to pay on our loans from Europe.

“However since the European Financial Stability Facility was first established our economic sovereignty has been ceded to Europe and the IMF. Fine Gael and Labour continue to implement cuts to essential public services with further austerity measures planned.

“We now have near half a million people unemployed, 20% of whom are young people. We have 40,000 people emigrating. We have tens of thousands of families struggling to pay mortgages, energy and food bills.

“The same failed policies are now being pursued across Europe. The legislation that the government has brought forward is already past its sell by date. The measures agreed in July have failed to address the problems in this state and across Europe.

“Another way is possible. There is a need for a banking solution to the banking problem. This EU wide private sector debt cannot and should not be shifted on the national balance sheet of small peripheral open economies.

“What is required is a clear view of the scale of the problem facing all the European banks, and given the inter-connectedness of the problem; a European wide solution to redress the European banking crisis including significant burden sharing.”

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Speaking at a Joint Meeting of the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane challenged the Minister of State Roisin Shorthall to do more to deal with the growing problem of addiction to prescription drugs.

Senator Cullinane expressed concern at the over-prescription of certain drugs such as benzodiazepines and the unwillingness of some GPs to engage with local and national drug strategies.

Addressing the Minister Senator Cullinane said:

“Benzodiazepines are a sedative drug which is legally available on prescription. They are prescribed to reduce anxiety, stress, encourage sleep or to relax muscles. However they can also cause short term effects such as depressing the nervous system and slowing down the body. They can lead to laziness, drowsiness and forgetfulness. They are also dangerous when taken with other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

“A 2010 report into the use and availability of Benzo’s using data recorded by the National Drug Treatment Reporting System shows that between 2003 and 2008 the use of benzo’s has increased dramatically. In the period between 2003 and 2008 the annual number of treated cases reporting a benzo as a problem substance rose by 63%. The number of cases reporting benzo as an additional problem was much larger and increased by 59%. Between 1998 and 2007 benzos were implicated in 649 deaths by poisoning.

“These figures point to the need to act. The Minister needs to comprehensively deal with this issue by obtaining data from the HSE and examining prescription problems. I welcome the Minister’s comments that there is an issue regarding over-prescription and her commitment to establish an in-house team to engage with GPs.

“It is however important to point out that it is community based drugs programmes operating at the coal-face who are best placed to deal with these issues. It is vital that all drug users have access to services and treatment when required. This means more detox beds across the state. It is vital that funding for drugs projects is ring-fenced as any further cuts will impact on service delivery and preventative programmes.” ENDS

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