Please watch and share this exclusive interview below which tells a bit of her life story as a mother of two from a small village in County Tyrone, her work in politics and in the Executive, standing up for equality, respect and integrity in government and continuing the work that Martin McGuinness has done stretching himself for peace and reconciliation.
A delegation of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign has secured a meeting with the Minister for Health James Reilly tomorrow, Wednesday. It will come immediately after a meeting between the minister and senior medical staff from Meath.
According to the Chairperson of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign Deputy Peadar Tóibín, the aim of the meeting from the campaign's perspective is to ensure that all existing services are fully maintained, including A&E, and that basic and intermediate level surgery is returned.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“Our hospital has suffered a multitude of cuts over the years and if this trend continues we will have nothing more than a cottage hospital in the county. We were given a solemn promise before the election that elective surgery would be returned and that other services would be defended. We were also promised that a new regional hospital would be built in Meath within five years.
“Throughout the state there is enormous pressure coming from the HSE to close services. We have seen this in Mallow and Roscommon. We are determined that it will not happen in Meath. Its clear from the Denis Naughton affair that assurances given prior to the election are not water tight so we will be going to the Minister looking for proof and cast iron guarantees that our hospital is safe.”
Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Jennifer McCann has slammed those responsible for last nights riot at Broadway and urged young people not to get caught up is such behaviour.
"I am appealing to young people who may be caught up in this behaviour and to stay away from Broadway, Ardoyne or anywhere else there may be a chance of trouble. The local community and residents are working hard to stop such activity and we will continue to do so."
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said the controversy surrounding the closure of Roscommon Hospital Emergency Department has put the Taoiseach’s credibility on the line.
Mr Adams said it is clear that Enda Kenny has broken a personal commitment he gave to retain services at Roscommon Hospital.
Mr Adams said the Labour Party is also guilty of breaking election promises as its candidate in Roscommon gave a commitment on behalf of his party to retain services at Roscommon.
“The controversy surrounding Roscommon Hospital has now turned into an issue of credibility for Enda Kenny. It is clear that he has broken a personal commitment to retain services at Roscommon Hospital.
“The credibility of the Labour Party is now also on the line after its Roscommon based candidate and now Senator John Kelly gave a commitment to the hospital when he said:
‘If services are downgraded at Roscommon between now and the election, and Fianna Fail do not deliver, then Mr. Gilmore will speak to me after the election as the Labour TD for Roscommon, if I am fortunate enough to be given that mandate by the people.
‘I don’t think the position can be put any further – vote for Labour to secure the future of Roscommon hospital.’
“Less than five months after the general election, in which people thought they were voting for change, we are seeing a crisis in our hospital services brought on by a continuation of the policies of the previous Government.
“Citizens deserve better than that. The Taoiseach and Fine Gael should keep their election promises. Full A&E services should be restored to Roscommon Hospital.” ENDS
Speaking at a protest at Tallaght Hospital today Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to honour his pre-election commitment to protect hospital services.
Deputy Crowe said:
“The Taoiseach Enda Kenny needs to honour his pre election pledge to the people and protect hospital services.
“Before the election the Government promised to protect hospital services. As we see from the Roscommon Hospital controversy it is clear that the Taoiseach was either making false promises or is suffering from a severe lapse of memory.
“Health Minister James Reilly also gave a commitment in writing at that time and the two local Fine Gael TDs also gave similar assurances to the electorate.
“The priority now has to be that the needs of the people served by this hospital be met and their Accident and Emergency service kept open.
“The axing of Roscommon and the withdrawal of vital resources and supports in other Accident & Emergency is motivated primarily by budgetary considerations and has nothing to with patient safety.
“Like the rest of the Fine Gael/Labour/IMF/ECB imposed health cuts, they need to be addressed urgently and reversed.”
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Energy, Martin Ferris TD, has called on the Energy Regulator to rescind a 10% increase in electricity prices which An Bord Gáis is to announce this week. He has also called on the regulator to reject a request from the company for an increase to gas prices.
Deputy Ferris said:
“While An Bord Gáis claims that it needs to increase prices because of the global market, the company has made substantial profits of late. An increase in energy costs now will push people further into fuel poverty and undoubtedly lead to an increase in the numbers of people in arrears and who are therefore in danger of disconnection.
“The energy suppliers themselves have recognised the obvious connection between price increases and failure to pay bills. That obviously impacts on the company’s income and so it makes no sense to impose further increases at a time when many thousands of people are already in difficulties. I am therefore calling on the regulator to rescind this increase and to reject the company’s application for an increase in gas prices.”
The International Meeting in Jerusalem
Jerusalem 9-11 July 2011
A call of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
RECOGNITION OF THE PALESTINIAN STATE
On the borders of June 4, 1967
The International Meeting in Jerusalem that is held on 9-11 July 2011, and organized by MPs in the GUE/NGL in the European parliament, in cooperation with the Palestinian People’s Party condemns the continuous crimes committed against the Palestinian people, demands the immediate end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and calls for the recognition of the Palestinian state on the borders of June 4 1967.
Negotiations between Palestine and Israel have ended into a dead end due to the Israeli intransigent policy aiming to perpetuate the occupation and to destroy the possibility of establishing an independent, sovereign Palestinian state. Israeli aggressive and intransigent policy has been tolerated and supported by the United States.
Forty four years after the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel, still violating international law, pursues expansionist policies, continuing the building of settlements, colonizing East Jerusalem and the West Bank, evicting Palestinians, demolishing Palestinian houses, expropriating land, water and other resources belong to the Palestinian people. A policy reminiscent of ethnic cleansing.
Almost seven years after the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice declared that the construction by Israel of the separation wall to be contrary to International Law, Israel continues to fortify the wall tearing apart the Palestinian land and society, leaving the Palestinian towns and villages without land and water, dividing communities, separating the farmers from their land, the patients from the hospitals, and the schoolchildren from their schools.
The humanitarian tragedy remains in Gaza because of the Israeli aggression in December 2008 that. The residents of Gaza are still deprived of an adequate supply of the most basic goods and services. The Israeli attack on Gaza is in reality an aggression against the entire Palestinian people.
In view of the above, the MPs consider that these policies and facts close all doors and opportunities in front of a just and comprehensive solution of the Palestinian problem and in the Middle East in general.
Based on the above, we declare the following:
1) We express our real concern about the situation in East Jerusalem. The Israeli policies against the Arab population affect negatively their mere existence in the city and push considerable numbers to leave their homes. The Annexation, apartheid wall, house demolitions, family evictions, identity cards revocations, settlement outposts inside the Palestinian quarters, high taxes and Judization of the Arabic character of the City are severe violations of the International. We condemn all these measures and consider East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
2) We reaffirm our support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their legitimate and inalienable national rights, including the right of self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign state on the borders of June 4 , 1967, with Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) as its capital, as well as the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in accordance with U.N. Resolution 194;
3) We call the international community to proceed in recognizing the independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and move forward in implementing UN resolutions.
4) We declare our decisiveness to be a vital part of the international campaign to support the goal of international recognition of the Palestinian state. In the above framework, until September 2011 we shall proceed with the following concrete initiatives:
(a) To carry out an international campaign for raising signatures of support to the aim of international recognition of the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders;
(b) The GUE-NGL group will continue to raise the issue of international recognition of the Palestinian state;
(c) To continue in organizing international visits of solidarity to Palestine, in which the main goal will also be the strengthen the efforts for international recognition of the Palestinian state;
(d) To undertake several other initiatives, on the national or regional levels, within the above political framework.
5) We demand the immediate end of the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian and Arab lands, including Syrian Golan heights and the remaining Lebanon Shebaa Farms, which are illegally under Israeli occupation since 1967.
6) We condemn the support of imperialist forces to Israel that encourages the escalation of its criminal policies. Threatening to use the veto by the USA against recognizing the Palestinian state in the Security Council is another example of this support.
7) We welcome the Egyptian decision to open the Rafah crossing. At the same time we demand that Israel lift immediately the siege on Gaza. The Goldstone report and recommendations that considers Israel responsible for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity must be implemented and Israel’s impunity should be stopped.
8) We demand the immediate release from custody of all the freedom prisoners in Israeli detention, including women, children, elderly and elected representatives.
9) We extend our solidarity to the forces in Israeli society resisting and denouncing the criminal Israeli policies against the Palestinians and against democracy
10) We welcome the recent announcement of national reconciliation in Palestine and call on all the Palestinian partners to work seriously and in a responsible manner toward ending the internal split and re-establishing Palestinian national unity. This process should be aiming at strengthening the role of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people and also at reforming the role and status of the PLO, on a democratic basis, with an open door to all Palestinian forces or organizations desiring to join it. In this respect, we welcome the announcement of holding Presidential, legislative and local elections in one year according to the reconciliation announcement.
11) We are concerned that European governments have this week allowed the Israeli government to dictate which European citizens have the right even to board a plane in a European airport. We also call on European governments to condemn the arrest of those EU citizens who managed to travel to Palestine and Israel in order to demonstrate peacefully or to monitor the human rights situation.
Sinn Féin Policing Board member Caitriona Ruane has welcomed the decision of the Board to task its Human Rights and Professional Standards Committee to consider the wider issues arising from the Ombudsman report into the UVF murders at Loughinisland.
Ms Ruane said:
“It is obvious to all that the families of those killed at Loughinisland have been let down time and again by the police investigation. It is important that the Policing Board recognise this and more importantly examines this case in detail and ensures that these failures are never repeated again.
“The Policing Board have an important role to play in ensuring community confidence in the current policing structures. The revelations around the police conduct before, during and after the murders at Loughinisland will if not properly addressed erode confidence.“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Loughinisland families in their quest for justice and through the Policing Board we will continue to press for proper investigation into any police misconduct and any necessary action taken.” ENDS
Speaking from Jerusalem during a four day visit in advance of Palestine submitting the question of Palestinian statehood to the United Nations Bairbre de Brun MEP said:
"Our conference and visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank comes at a very opportune time: in advance of today's Quartet meeting; and as the Palestinian Authority prepares to submit the question of Palestinian statehood to the United Nations in the autumn.
"We had the opportunity to discuss these issues with Prime Minister Abbas, with Prime Minister Fayyad, with Hanan Ashrawi and PLC members from all parties and with some Knesset members and NG0s.
"The EU must now promote at the wider international level its already agreed position in favour of a Palestinian State on the 1967 borders unless the parties agree otherwise with East Jerusalem as its capital
The EU should also protest the arrest and deportation this weekend of those EU citizens who came to Israel and Palestine to protest peacefully or to monitor the human rights situation, as well as the block on many others of even boarding a plane at an EU airport" ENDS
MEPs on Palestine visit
Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (Cyprus)
Bairbre de Brún (Ireland)
Patrick Le Hyaric (France)
Giorgios Toussas (Greece)
Joao Ferreira (Portugal)
Søren Søndergaard (Denmark)
Takis Hadgigeorgiou (Cyprus)
Sinn Féin elected representatives and activists from across the state will stage a day of action on the crisis in hospital services today.
Activists will take part in protests and rallies in Loughlinstown, Tallaght, Mallow, Letterkenny and Sligo from 1pm.
Roscommon activists will protest at the hospital from 10am.
Sinn Féin's Sandra McLellan has called on all supporters of Mallow General Hospital to attend a protest against the downgrading of services at Mallow General Hospital organised for today, Monday at 2pm.
Speaking in advance of the protest Deputy McLellan said:
"I am calling on the whole community to come out to support this protest against the scandalous attack on emergency services at Mallow General Hospital. The cut-backs on the A&E department will have a detrimental effect on the 100,000 people that live in its catchment area. I have no doubt that lives will be lost as a result of this decision, if implemented. I am calling on everybody to come out at 2pm on today to support the retention of these vital services at the hospital. We need everyone, young and old, parents and children, sports clubs, community groups, businesses, hospital staff, supporters of all political parties and none, to make their opposition to this decision heard."
"This issue is bigger than politics, yet it is in the hands of politicians to get it reversed. Local Government TDs need to exercise their influence to ensure that this is what happens. They have acknowledged in the past that to downgrade A&E services will only force people to an already overcrowded CUH, but now they say this move is being in the interest of safety. This is absolute nonsense. They need to stand up for their constituents and stand up for their hospital."
Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has described the Taoiseach’s explanation over his failure to keep his commitment on Roscommon A&E as ‘not good enough.’
Mr. Adams said:
“The Taoiseach’s explanation for breaking his commitment to keep A&E services at Roscommon Hospital is not good enough.
“The Taoiseach should do the decent thing – that means keeping his promise.
“Full accident and emergency services should be restored to Roscommon.” ENDS
Commenting on the publication of the recording of Enda Kenny making a clear commitment to retain the Emergency Department at Roscommon County Hospital, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
"The Taoiseach Enda Kenny should honour his pledge to the people and he should prevent the closure of the Emergency Department at Roscommon County Hospital.
"Enda Kenny's denial that he made any such commitment has now been exposed as false. He must bear the political consequences of that but far more important are the healthcare needs of the people served by the hospital and the Taoiseach and the Health Minister must reverse the closure decision.
"The axing of Roscommon A&E is motivated primarily by budgetary considerations. It is against the interests of patient safety, like the rest of the Fine Gael/Labour/IMF/ECB imposed health cuts."
Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has announced a series of protests that will take place at hospitals across the state, including at Tallaght Hospital in his own constituency, on Monday. The protests are to be held in solidarity with Hospital Staff and Patients and will coincide and mark the day when the expected crisis due to a lack of junior doctors is due to begin.
A series of coordinated protests will take place at Loughlinstown, Tallaght, Mallow, Letterken and Sligo on Monday at 1pm.
Speaking as he announced details of the protests today Deputy Crowe said:
"Monday is a critical day when a new expected crisis is due to rock the Health Service and when the shortage of Doctors in our hospitals is expected take affect. The expected shortage of Doctors will potentially put many lives at risk in Accident and Emergency Departments and our protests are being organised in solidarity with the staff and patients at risk.
“This latest crisis is another scandal to hit the Health Service and is being used as a smokescreen to close down Accident & Emergency Departments right across the state.
"It is a far cry from the pre-election promises delivered by both Fine Gael and Labour just a short few months ago.
“The shortage of Doctors boils down to political choices and this Government, despite its pre-election promises, has chosen to continue pumping money into banks, paying off bondholders, guaranteed and unguaranteed, rather than investing taxpayers’ money in areas likeour health system.
"People voted for change but like Groundhog Day, its more of the same
“Health Minister James Reilly seems completely out of his depth in handling this mess. He was forced to admit on Primetime on Thursday night that he has not secured the GPs to replace Roscommon Hospital Emergency Department from tomorrow.
“The Minister's plans simply don't add up. He should not proceed with this ill-conceived plan but should provide the leadership and the resources to keep vital Emergency Departments open.
"A series of coordinated protests will take place at Loughlinstown, Tallaght, Mallow, Letterkenny and Sligo on Monday at 1pm.
"We want to highlight the Acccident & Emergency problems and express our solidarity with hard pressed staff and patients caught up in the crisis."
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has extended sympathy to the family of Cashel Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Browne who died last night.
Mr Adams said:
"I want to extend to Michael’s family my deepest sympathy and condolences at this sad time.
“Michael Browne was first elected as a Sinn Féin Town Councillor in 1985. He served three terms as Mayor of Cashel and represented the people of the area with great commitment.
“An Irish republican and member of Sinn Féin for many decades, Michael believed passionately in an independent and united Ireland — a goal for which he worked with dedication.
“Michael had battled a serious illness for several months with great dignity.
“His death is a loss for his family, for the people of Cashel and for Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today spoke at the Sinn Féin summer school ‘Scoil Shamhraidh na Saoirse’ which is taking place in Baile Bhuirne in West Cork. The summer school has a wide range of speakers on politics, the economy, sports, language and arts. The party’s website www.sinnfein.ie will carry regular updates throughout the weekend.
Among the key speakers are Frankie Gallagher (loyalist politician and chief spokesman for the UDA linked Ulster Political Research Group), Huginn Freyr Þorsteinsson (a Political Advisor to the Icelandic Minister of Finance), Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, Jack O’Connor (General President of SIPTU), Danny Morrison and Pearse Doherty TD.
The Sinn Féin President called for a new Republic for the 21st century which is relevant for today and which reflects the views and opinions citizens across this island.
Mr. Adams said: “Sinn Fein is seeking a new republic for the 21st century that encompasses all the people of this island. Already there are many, including business leaders and some unionists in the north, who understand the economic value of building the all-Ireland economy.
“Ireland can be changed. But citizens need to be clear about the kind of new Ireland we want to create. That needs a national debate. If we are to renew and revitalise and construct a new Ireland – a new Republic – it has to be relevant for citizens today.
It must reflect the views and opinions of all our citizens; whether they are urban or rural; nationalist or unionist or republican or none; of all or no religion; young or old; disabled or from our new immigrants, and it needs to reach out to the diaspora.”
The Sinn Féin leader also spoke about the importance of engaging with unionists and of creating a new republic, a new Ireland in which they are comfortable.
“The construction of a new national democracy on the island of Ireland must involve reconciliation between orange and green.
“Nationalists and republicans must reach out to unionists and engage with them on the type of Ireland we want to create. Our responsibility is to ensure that unionists are comfortable and feel secure in a new Ireland. It has to be their Ireland also.
“So it must be a shared Ireland, an integrated Ireland, an Ireland in which unionists have equal ownership. That means republicans seeking to understand what unionists mean by Britishness.
“It means being prepared to seriously examine forms of institutional and constitutional arrangements and structures which may be different from those normally advanced by republicans.
“It means seeking to convince unionists that in a new Republic they would be citizens, not mere subjects, and entitled to rights not concessions.”
The Sinn Féin President said that key to this is building an equal society, one in which equality is at its core. He said: “Equality makes sense. Inequality costs society more.
“The elimination of inequality is not only possible, it is critically important, not least because it allows for the full mobilisation of the available creative human resources.
“For example, a person who cannot walk is not unequal because he or she uses a wheelchair, but because most buildings (including workplaces and schools) and transportation are designed in a way that excludes people who use wheelchairs.
“It takes only a few adjustments to allow for universal access.
“This principle applies more broadly. We are not inherently unequal. It is exclusive social and other structures that make us unequal. We can choose, either to perpetuate and reinforce these structures, or to change them to make them more inclusive. Just as inequality is socially constructed, it can also be dismantled.
“As a consequence, building an equal society is possible because it is a matter of public choice.”
Finally the Sinn Féin leader concluded:
“Sinn Féin wants to change the status quo, not to join it.
“Ireland today is a country in transition. There have been many positive developments in both states on the island. A lot of the old certainties have gone. A lot of the old conservative influences have been weakened. A lot of unfinished business still has to be completed, but progress has been made.
“Ireland is still partitioned and there is poverty and unemployment, and there are profound issues which need to be resolved between unionism and the rest of us.
But no one should minimise how much our society has changed, particularly in this last forty years or so.
“Sinn Féin’s goal is an Ireland built on positive change, on equality, on partnership. An Ireland where the wealth is invested creatively and more fairly and where our children wake up in homes that are warm.
“An Ireland in which our schools are properly resourced and where no one waits for a hospital bed, a home or a job.
“The resources exist to build this republic – the new Ireland. What is needed is political will and vision. We are inviting others to join us in this historic endeavour.” ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD last night launched the Féile na Laoch, a festival of pop and Irish traditional music, opera, poetry, drama and dance to mark 40 years since the death of Seán Ó Riada. The festival takes place in Baile Bhuirne, County Cork over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The following are the remarks made by Mr Adams at the launch of the festival:
Seán Ó Riada died 40 years ago this year.
He would be 80 years of age next August the 1st of he had lived.
This is the 4th time Seán’s life and work will be celebrated in Muscaí in the last 40 years.
Seán Ó Riada is famous for his music and the music of films like Mise Éire and Saoirse.
He founded that first traditional music group Ceoltoirí Chualann which has spawned so much music around the world today.
His liturgical music is known around the world since the second Vatican Council in the early sixties.
He wrote plays and articles that drew many smiles and made people think.
It is fitting that his work and life is being celebrated this year.
But the committee of Féile na Laoch have decided to share his spotlight and stage with other heroes of culture, so that we pause and appreciate the wealth in our lives because of these people’s actions.
Money is scarce these days and people have to gather their courage and energy from the good example of these people to fortify themselves.
This will help us to face the hardship that arises from today’s financial crises.
This good example is to be seen also from all the artists taking part in this festival. They have all forgone their fees and are here for free to celebrate this man Seán Ó Riada.
I remember other hard times, in particular the in Belfast when we were behind the barricades behind the barricades in 1969 to 1970. One of my friends had the LP ‘Ó Riada sa Gaeity’. I remember us listening to that wonderful music and being lifted by it.
The people of Muscraí have gathered together in the form of a big meitheal to welcome the extended family of the nation and are bringing us to the cultural well where we will drink from the fresh clear water of creativity that will energise the spirit of us all.
I praise their commitment and I recommend this festival to everyone.
Tá mise an sásta agus brodúil Feile na Laoch a sheoladh.
Féile na Laoch – An Féile chun saol Seán Ó Riada a ceiliriu. Bhí mé an-thógtha le Seán agus tá grá mhór agam dá chuid ceoil.
Mo comhgháirdeachas leis na daoine a chuir an féile speisilta seo le cheile agus ár buíochas leo.
Bheadh Seán Ó Riada 80 bliain d’aois Lá Lughnasa seo chugainn da mbeadh sé beo.
Scríobh sé ceol, tá fhois agaibh, don scannán Mise Éire agus Saoirse. B’é a bhunaigh an céad grúpa traidisiúnta Ceoltóirí Cualann as ar tháinigh an sruth iontach grúpaí sios, go dti an la seo inniu. Tá a chuid ceoil Eaglasta ar fuaid an domhain agus scriobh sé drámái agus altanna suimíula a chur meanga gaíri ar aghaigh daoine, no a chuir ag macnaimh iad.
Is tráthuil an bliain é, ceilíuradh a dheineamh ar shaothar. Ach tá coiste seo Feile na Laoch ag roinnt a sholas chun árd, a tharrac ar laochra eile leis ionas go stopaigh daoine agus macnaimh, a dheineamh ar saibhreas atá ina saol de bharr gníotharthái daoine eile.
Níl airegead fluírseach na laethanta seo agus tá a lan daoine faoi brú. Cabhroígh a saothar san linn, chun deileáil leis an gcruatan a bhainneann le saol an lae inniu. Beidh na ealaíóntóirí uilig taréis a shaothar a thabairt soar in aisce – Christy Moore, Glenn Hansard, Louis Stewart agus daoine eile.
Is cuimhin liom uair crua eile 1969-1970. Bhí muid i ndiaidh na barricades i MBeal Feirste agus fuair chara liom ceirnin ‘Ó Riada Sa Gaeity’. Cuimhin liom muidne ag eisteacht leis an ceol iontach seo. Bhí muid nios croaga i ndiadh sin inar n’anam s inar gcroí. Tá ár gceol go h’an tabhactach i saol an phobal. Agus bhí Seán Ó Riada mar laoch inar saol fosta.
Go mbeadh an Feile seo go h’iontach – meitheal mór – agus bheadh uair iontach anseo. Molaim a nduthracht agus molaim an féile seo do gach éinne sa bhaile nó I gcéin.
Speaking after today’s launch of the Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life, the National Strategy to improve literacy and numeracy among children and young people, Sinn Féin’s Education spokesperson Seán Crowe said:
“Any initiative that is designed to improve the standard of numeracy and literacy in our schools is to be welcomed but there is no quick fix solution to this problem.
“We need to have a broad and balanced curriculum that addresses the needs of children and recognises the diversity of learning abilities.
“If we look at current school curriculum, the starting point must be the right of children to obtain their full educational potential. The loss of key services such as Special Needs Assistants and specialised language support teachers is having a damaging impact on the standards of literacy and numeracy across this state.
“There is something fundamentally wrong when children can spend years at school yet still reach adulthood not being able to read or write.
“Ambitious targets on literacy and numeracy can only be achieved with meaningful reforms to the curriculum and a teacher’s professional development must be carried out in a structured way.
“This requires a new approach that must include extra resources funding and targeted interventions at the cohert of students that the system has traditionally and currently is failing.” ENDS
Speaking on route to the Sinn Féin Summer School being held this
weekend in west Cork Deputy McDonald said:
"Minister Noonan told us that the Council would provide an independent
assessment of the Government’s budgetary plans and projections to
inform the public discussion surrounding economic and fiscal matters.
"Yet Minister Noonan has failed to appoint a single expert to the
Fiscal Advisory Council from outside the economic establishment. All
of the appointees have a long list of achievements and qualifications
but all have also held senior roles in so called 'expert'
organisations that failed to put their heads above the parapet as the
economy over heated, or indeed when it started to slow from 2006
onwards. The appointees individually have worked for the OECD, IMF,
NESC, Central Bank or the ERSI, none of which have proven to be
bastions of alternative thinking or critical engagement.
“The Fiscal Advisory Council was a real opportunity to bring in a
progressive economist from outside the circle who would challenge the
status quo in fiscal planning and budgetary oversight. Minister
Noonan's failure to do so is a missed opportunity.” ENDS
Speaking on the Medical Practitioners Bill in the Seanad Today Sinn Féin Seanad Spokesperson on Health Senator David Cullinane described the Minister’s proposals as a sticking plaster solution. He said the unsatisfactory system of medical staffing and training and deployment of hospital services needs to be addressed as a priority.
Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane said
“My party has consistently raised the crisis of a shortage of Junior Doctors in our hospitals and the potential of a collapse of services in many hospitals if action was not taken. I welcome this Bill in so far as it seeks to prevent a collapse of services but it is a stop-gap measure. We have known for many years that our hospitals are totally over-reliant on Non Consultant Hospital Doctors.
“The previous Government institutionalised the two-tier health service in this state. The current Government are making no real attempt to dismantle this system and replace it with a fair, accountable and single-tier service. They seek to continue to protect the privileged position of hospital consultants. The public-private consultant’s contract was renegotiated but consultants are still availing of excessively generous salaries from the public purse while continuing with their private practice. This is unacceptable and reinforces the two-tier system.
“My party colleague in Leinster House Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin pointed out in the Dáil recently that many of those contracts are not being honoured and no proper monitoring is in place. This is appalling. The Minister needs to deal deliver real change in health care that priorities primary care, dismantles the two-tier system in our acute hospital services and replaces the HSE with Community Health Partnerships to allow for proper scrutiny, oversight and accountability.” ENDS