The legislation relating to the transfer of powers on policing and justice will begin its passage through Westminster tomorrow. Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Alex Maskey will today travel to London to monitor the passage of the Bill.
Speaking from Westminster, Mr Maskey said:
"The agreement reached on these matters between Sinn Féin and DUP was important. The outworking of this agreement is the transfer of powers.
"Tomorrow the legislation will begin its passage through Westminster. This is the next stage in the process of powers on policing and justice being transferred to the Assembly.
"It is vital that this process is completed speedily along with the other elements set out by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in November which lead to the next stage of the transfer process."
JUNIOR MINISTER KELLY CELEBRATES FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT
Junior Minister Gerry Kelly raised a celebratory cuppa as he poured praise on the Fairtrade Award winners announced during a special reception in Stormont today.
The event was one of several being hosted across the city during Fairtrade Fortnight which runs until 9 March, to promote Fairtrade and maintain Belfast's accreditation as a Fairtrade City.
The Minister said: "In organising and promoting Fairtrade Fortnight 2009, you are setting an example to others and offering insight and education in equal measure.
"Clearly, there are inextricable links between Fairtrade and inter-culturalism and citizenship. These links resonate with the high-level ambitions of our Programme for Government, in which we seek to grow a dynamic and innovative economy, which in turn, helps create a fair and prosperous society, built upon the principles of equality and sustainability.
"Fairtrade, from producers to policy-makers; from growers to government, is a positive agent for change, and is a collective responsibility.
"It is fitting that today's event is being hosted in Parliament Buildings as only Fairtrade tea and coffee are served here to the MLAs, Ministers and staff. That amounts to some 45,000 cups of tea and coffee each year so we too are taking a leaf out of your book to contribute, even in a small way, to help benefit developing countries."
Fairtrade is a mechanism that guarantees a minimum price, to small farmers and cooperatives in the developing world.
The awards are issued in recognition of the work of local shops, restaurants and cafes which actively promote and sell Fairtrade products.
The Junior Minister was joined at the event with Costa Rican Wilbert Valverde, a member of the Fairtrade team at COOPEAGRI, a coffee and sugar cooperative, who spoke about his experiences as a registered producer.
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner decision to accept Sinn Féin's proposal that the name of the new North-eastern council, encapsulating Ballymoney, Moyle, Coleraine and Limavady District Councils be changed from "Causeway Coast District Council" to "Causeway Coast and Glens District Council".
Mr McKay said:
"During the consultation period for the new local government districts Sinn Féin were the only party to call for the name of the council to be changed to take account of the fact that the Glens wards form part of the council area and the name of the Council should reflect that.
"The Glens is a key part of our tourism product here in North Antrim and the inclusion of the Glens in the new council name is something that would be extremely beneficial to the area.
"We also called for the proposed 'Stranocum' ward to be changed to 'Loughgiel and Stranocum' ward and I am glad to see that the Commissioner has accepted this proposal.
"It is regrettable however that the Commissioner chose not to revise the wards of Cloughmills and Rasharkin. Putting part of Rasharkin village in the Cloughmills ward is a ridiculous decision and we will be again asking the Commissioner to reconsider this move. There is also a need to look at the Ballycastle boundary to ensure that the urbanised area of the ward better reflects the urban area of the town.
"The refusal of the Commissioner to look at the inclusion of the Irish language in ward names in any way failed to take into account the views of many local communities who want to see Irish recognised and promoted. It is also regrettable that local opinion was ignored in this instance.
"Sinn Féin will continue to pursue these matters and will continue to oversee the introduction of a new council in this area which has equality safeguards and is inclusive. We have a veto in the Executive which we have used and will continue to use to uphold the rights and entitlements of all local ratepayers."
Sinn Féin Representative on the Assembly Commission and Lagan Valley MLA Paul Butler has said that community engagement must be of vital importance to the Assembly.
Mr Butler was speaking in advance of a motion before the Assembly today stating,
"That this Assembly notes the Engagement Strategy developed by the Assembly Commission, which is aimed at improving public engagement with the Assembly, its committees and MLAs."
On this issue Mr Butler said,
"People are curious about the workings of the Assembly, which is evidently clear from the amount of citizens, tourists, school children and students who visit this place every single day.
The Engagement Strategy references the need to engage with communities from social disadvantaged groups, those who are at a disadvantage because of geographical reasons and other minority groups such as the Gay and Lesbian community, young people, disabled people, older people and ethnic minorities. That is a good thing and it must be welcomed.
The Commission's engagement strategy will see the Assembly go on the road. It will include MLA's and other staff giving talks on the work of the Assembly and how we can improve people's access to it.
This will include making more information available to the public; recently my party comrade Daithí McKay called for broadcasting from the Chamber and Committee's to be made available on You Tube.
This is but one example; others may be how we look at engaging with the Irish speaking community, for example, providing literature and educational material in Irish as well as in other languages. It must also reflect on the total lack of symbols relating to the Nationalist and Republican community.
I look forward to the rolling out of the Engagement Strategy and have no doubt that people will let us know how they feel the Assembly can positively interact with them." CRÍOCH
A Sinn Féin event to celebrate International Women's Day will feature respected historian and author Margaret Ward.
Bairbre de Brún MEP will introduce the conference, which will begin at 1.00pm on Saturday, March 7, at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast.
Speaking ahead of the event Bairbre de Brún said: "Margaret Ward is the chair of the Women's Centre Regional Partnership and an acclaimed author. Her work has made
an invaluable contribution to documenting the rich history of the role of Irish women in the national and republican movement, and in the movement for gender equality."
Margaret Ward will be delivering two presentations, themed 'Unmanageable Revolutionaries' and 'The Life of Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington', which will be followed by a discussion.
Ms de Brún continued: "We will not only be discussing the historical role of women in Irish politics but the contribution of women today, all over the world, to the ongoing struggle for equality and social progress.
"While we will be celebrating how far this struggle for equality has come, we will also be discussing the key challenges faced by women today, in Ireland and nternationally."
Music and entertainment celebrating International Women's Day will close the conference. Information stalls from various different community and voluntary sector organisations will be provided and alternative therapy sessions will also be organised for participants.
This conference is being organised by Sinn Féin's Gender Equality department.
SINN Féin President Gerry Adams today said it is the policies pursued by the Fianna Fáil Green Party government that has left the state more vulnerable than its European neighbours to the effects of the global economic downturn.
The Sinn Féin President was speaking today during a visit to County Laois where he had a number of engagements in Mountmellick and Portarlington. In June’s Local Government elections Sinn Féin is running six candidates in Laois.
Gerry Adams said:
“Sinn Féin has a strong record of positive work in Laois through the efforts of County Councillor Brian Stanley who has provided very effective local representation to constituents and who has always been at hand to assist local communities. Brian made a significant impact during his term as Mayor of Portlaoise.
“In June Sinn Féin is putting forward a line up of candidates, all of whom work in their local communities. Sinn Féin provides first class representation throughout this island. Our candidates in Laois know the local issues and are already actively seeking to have them addressed.
“A major issue throughout County Laois is that of rising unemployment. Figures recently released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that there are now more than 12,400 people signing on in Laois and Offaly.
“Jobless figures across County Laois have doubled since January 2008.
"Since the beginning of January the number of people signing on the dole in Portlaoise surged to nearly 3,000 according to the latest CSO figures.
"In the space of a year the live register figure in Portlaoise has risen by a phenomenal 120 per cent.
“Despite what government spokespersons would have us believe, these drastic figures are not solely the result of international economic factors. The policies pursued by the government have left this state more vulnerable than most of our European neighbours to the effects of the global economic downturn.
“Policies such as ‘light touch’ regulation of banking and financial institutions, the over-reliance on revenue generated by an over-heated construction industry, the failure to properly assist indigenous industry, to develop an effective export strategy and to plan strategically for the future.
“The government shamefully squandered what was a unique opportunity to develop a modern, progressive economy that could have been the envy of other countries. Now businesses here are closing at an alarming rate and the spectre of emigration has returned.
"But let me clear. Hope is not lost. There is a way forward. The number one priority is to get this country back to work.
“We need the speedy and deliberate targeting of those sectors of the economy where growth is possible. This includes sectors such agri-food, research and development and green technology.
“There is a need for retraining much of the workforce to build the skills base to create and fill new jobs.
“There is plenty of work to do in this country for those construction workers currently facing unemployment. We badly need to build critical infrastructure. We need to build schools to replace prefabs. We need to build decent public transport infrastructure.
“The government must also act to provide immediate assistance for new business start-ups. Funding and expertise for small and medium enterprise must be made available. Government must intervene to ensure that banks provide badly needed credit to ensure viable companies survive.
“An aggressive export strategy is urgently required. This is an area of huge potential. Currently 90 per cent of exports from this state are from foreign-owned multinationals. Irish enterprises must develop their export capacity. It is Government policy that must drive this.
“It is time to provide hope and opportunity at this time of deep uncertainty for Irish businesses and workers.
“It is time for this government to stop talking and start acting.” ENDS
Note to Editors:
The Sinn Féin candidates for Laois/Offaly are:
Offaly County Council Local Election and Tullamore Town Council - Brendan Killeavy
Laois County Council - Cllr. Brian Stanley
Portlaoise Town Council - Cllr Brian Stanley and Alan Hand
Laois County Council Local Election (Emo Electoral Area) - Aidan Mullins
Laois County Council Local Election, (Mountmellick Electoral Area) - Adam Haughton
Mountmellick Town Council Election - Stephen Lynch
Laois CountyCouncil Local Election, (Luggecurren Electoral Area) - Marie Johnston
EU candidate Ireland East - Cllr. Tómas Sharkey
Speaking this morning from Portlaoise Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described the governments spend of €113 million on prefabricated school over the last three years as a damning indictment of a government who claim that education is a priority but who in reality have failed to deliver for tens of thousands of children across the state.
Mr. Adams said:
“Thousands of children across the country have spent their entire primary education in substandard prefab buildings. Clearly this is not likely to change under the current government, nor would it with a Fine Gael led government as Enda Kenny continues to scapegoat the public sector whilst advocating spending cuts and layoffs.
“In response to a Parliamentary Question raised by my colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe admitted that there are approximately 25 schools in Co. Laois alone left to educate their children in prefabs.
“How does Fianna Fáil intend to build a knowledge economy if it sees no benefit in investing in the most fundamental tools of education such as school buildings and teacher pupil ratios?
“Sinn Fein believes education is a priority. In government we would frontload infrastructure projects such as a school building programme using money from the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF).
“In the Oireachtas today legislation is being passed to pump €7 billion of the Pension Reserve Fund monies into flailing banks. In government Sinn Féin would use this money to invest in Ireland’s future.” ENDS
Sinn Fein Vice President and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this morning welcomed Green Party Leader John Gormley’s admission that the Lisbon Treaty will lead to Ireland increasing its military spend in Europe. Ms McDonald has also called on the government to put into the public domain any and all texts relating to the Lisbon re-run guarantees adding ‘if the government has secured guarantees, well, let’s see them! It’s time to end the charade. Ireland and Europe need a new treaty for a new time.”
Speaking today from Dublin Ms McDonald said:
“Throughout the Lisbon campaign Sinn Féin argued that the Treaty would lead to Ireland being forced to increase its military spend in Europe. This argument was roundly rejected by the government and political proponents of the Treaty.
“Now the Green Party leader is seeking commitments from Ireland’s European partners that the state will not have to increase it’s spend if the people ratify the Treaty. Naturally Mr. Gormley’s demand is a welcome one however it does now rubbish the government’s claim that the Lisbon Treaty would not further commit Ireland to EU militarism. That leaves us with no other option but to ask the question, what else is the government misleading us on when it comes to the Lisbon Treaty?
“Mr. Gormley also says that he will be also calling for Ireland’s withdrawal from the European Defence Agency at tomorrow’s cabinet debate on the Lisbon re-run texts. I believe the Green Party leader may have somewhat of a battle on his hands as just a couple of weeks ago Fianna Fáil MEPs voted in favour of a report presented to the EU parliament that includes a reference to the Lisbon Treaty which notes….‘commits member states to the progressive improvement of military capabilities, expands the role of the European Defence Agency’.
“Critics of the Lisbon Treaty have warned time and time again against the increased miltarisation in Europewhich is undermining Ireland’s neutrality. A number of reports were adopted last month by the EU Parliament on military related issues which were supported by Fianna Fáil MEPs. It is time for the government to stop talking out of both sides of its mouth on this issue.
“Sinn Féin has already raised a number of issues concerning the Lisbonre-run guarantees that the government, and that includes Minister Gormley, have yet to answer. Will the so called legally binding guarantees be published in advance of a second referendum? Will the guarantees alter the text, the legal interpretation of the text, or the implementation of the text of the Lisbon Treaty should it be ratified? Would be retain a commissioner indefinitely? What about the other major issues of concern such as workers rights, public services, international trade, the developing world, how does the government intend to deal with these major issues of concern?
“It is time now for the government to publish the texts of the sought after Lisbon re-run guarantees.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA commenting by the British Treasury Select Committee said that listening to its members served only to highlight the severe lack of fiscal powers in the Assembly.
Speaking today Mr McLaughlin said:
"The key point highlighted today is the fact that the Assembly lacks fiscal ability to explore the full range of initiatives and responses required to address the present economic climate. Because of this lack of fiscal autonomy the Assembly and Executive are restricted in what they can do to help industry, compel banks to act or to alter the way public finances are administered.
"The Minister for Finance needs to meet with his Scottish and Welsh counterparts to prepare a united approach to the British treasury to relax the rules to permit front loading and acceleration of public expenditure programmes.
"This would provide many advantages. It would assist the retention of skills capacity keeping the local work force in employment. It would also enable the early delivery of vital capital projects, helping to kick-start the economy.
"This would not affect the budget. In fact it would allow payments to be drawn down in the budget years in which the programmes are allocated.
"Taking these measures together, locally elected representatives would be much better placed to tackle the economic crisis by allowing the Assembly more flexibility." CRÍOCH
European Candidate Cllr Toireasa Ferris has warned that the cutbacks in the campaign against drugs, which may appear a soft option for Ministers in the short term, could have long term devastating consequences for a whole generation of young people across Munster. Toireasa Ferris said: "Cutting programmes aimed at preventing drug abuse may appear as a soft option for Ministers, but these cuts could have dire long term consequences for a whole generation across Munster. The last heroin epidemic coincided with the economic recession of the 1980's." "While that epidemic was largely confined to inner city Dublin, drugs are now widely available in all large towns and many smaller ones across Munster. In particular heroin use has moved outside the Dublin area and new destructive drugs such as crystal meth are being manufactured in Ireland. The cuts are being made against a background where 2,500 people died from drug use in the eight years prior to 2005 - that is almost one person a day." "Of particular concern is the decision to abandon the "Dial to Stop Drug Dealing" service despite the success of the initiative in generating useful information and leads for Garda investigations. The service, piloted in Dublin, was supposed to be rolled out across Munster about now but has been abandoned. The Minister has revealed that there is a fixed price per call made to the line and when the small amount of dormant accounts funds remaining are expended the service will cease to exist. We are in the paradoxical situation whereby the more successful this initiative is the quicker it will be pulled by government." "This cost effective service allows the public to report drug dealing confidentially and safely. The Gardaí cannot be expected to deal with the drug situation alone. It is particularly worrying that the government has withdrawn this virtually cost free service as it would indicate they are abandoning the fight against drugs. Proper vestment now will bring about long term human and financial benefits. Generations of young people will avoid the horrors of addiction, associated drug crime rates will fall and the number of addicts seeking treatment will also decline. I call on the government to think again and find the means to keep this valuable programme going."
Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and member of the Social Development Committee, Fra McCann, has called on Margaret Ritchie to actually answer a question at Ministerial Question Time without referring to her budget.
Speaking today Mr McCann said:
"Listening to Ministerial Question Time for the Minister for Social Development today sounded like a broken record.
"Serious questions were raised today, by most political parties, with regards to issues affecting their constituents everyday. These range from people in North Down having no repairs to their homes, warm homes scheme problems, to the failed materialisation of the mortgage rescue fund.
"Margaret Ritchie clearly spelt out that this vital rescue scheme will have no timeframe as she has no funding for it. Many, many people would have been waiting anxiously on this scheme to save their family homes.
"Following each question the response remained the same. Margaret Ritchie blames the Executive for not providing her a large enough budget. This is despite her department handing back to the central pot in excess of £90m over the last six months.
"Every other department has a budget, it performs to the best of its ability and spends money to help people through this economic downturn and improve their lives.
"Margaret Ritchie needs to realise that you can't promise what you can't deliver and give people, including you own constituents, false hope." ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson for older people Micky Brady MLA has called for a renewed approach to practically assist older people within our society.
Mr Brady's comments come following the passing of a motion at the Sinn Féin Ard Fhéis stating,
This Ard Fheis recognises: • Older people are an invaluable part of our society. • The rights of older people to full and active participation in the life of the nation. • Older people face discrimination in access to a range of services. • Older people are facing serious financial hardship. The Ard Fheis congratulates Sinn Féin Ministers in the Executive for establishing a Champion for Older People and progress towards a Commissioner for Older People, and further mandates the incoming Ard Chomhairle to: • Ensure our elected representatives propose the initiation of a review by the relevant public authorities, north and south, into the standard of living of older people, including pension provision, cost of living, fuel poverty, disposable income and access to public services, resulting in a comprehensive Strategy for Equality for Older People. • Actively promote the participation of older people in the work of the party and their participation in the life of the nation.
Mr Brady's comments come ahead of his own mother's 100th Birthday tomorrow.
Speaking this evening Mr Brady said,
"This is an issue that must be taken seriously and Sinn Féin has been and will continue to champion the rights of our older people.
Tomorrow my mother will join with me and other family members to celebrate her 100th Birthday here in Stormont. We must work to ensure that her rights and the rights of all of our older people are protected, promoted and advanced within our work here in the Assembly." CRÍOCH
Sinn Fein Dublin Councillor Larry O’Toole has submitted an emergency motion to tonight’s Dublin City Council meeting calling for the disposal of council property on Moore Street to developers Chartered Land to be put on hold pending a garda investigation into Anglo Irish Bank and its golden circle clients.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Council meeting Cllr. O’Toole said:
“Sinn Fein is putting an emergency motion to tonight’s monthly council meeting calling for the sale of council property on Moore Street to Chartered Land to be put on hold until the gardaí have concluded their investigations into Anglo Irish Bank and its golden circle loans. I will be urging all political parties on the Council to support my motion. It is critical that the integrity of Dublin City Council not be tarnished by the shady 1980s-esque dealings of Anglo Irish Bank and its dodgy clients.
“Irish politics has for many years been drubbed by institutionalised corruption. Fianna Fáil cultivated the golden circle culture in Irish politics. The relationship between Fianna Fáil, some financial institutions and developers has fundamentally undermined international confidence in Ireland’s banking systems and Irish society is now paying a heavy price for this skulduggery. Despite the unveiling of over ten years of planning corruption scandals by the Mahon Tribunal is absolutely astonishing that the Anglo golden circle-gate saga happened just last summer.
“Dublin is a proud city and its reputation cannot continue to be dogged by dodgy developers and their ropey dealings with politicians and bankers. The disposal of the city’s land to Chartered Land must not proceed until the gardaí have concluded their investigation into Anglo.” ENDS
That the proposed disposal of council property at 24-25 Moore Street to Chartered Land will not be finalised until An Garda Siochana have completed their enquiries into the affairs of Anglo Irish Bank and its secret loans to customers.
Sinn Féin MLA and Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee, Sue Ramsey, will tomorrow call on employers to strive to ensure that marginalised groups are provided with employment opportunities. Ms Ramsey will make the call at an event organised by the Equality Commission entitled 'Bridge the gap - improving Access to Employment' at Belfast Castle tomorrow, Tuesday the 3rd March at 10am
Speaking ahead of the event Ms Ramsey said:
"The issue at the heart of this event is the improvement of access to employment by marginalised groups. The Employment and Learning Committee seeks to raise the profile of this issue and I thank the Equality Commission for giving me the opportunity to speak on this issue today.
"The Committee has worked closely with the Minister for Employment and Learning, Sir Reg Empey, and his department in improving access to employment and I would urge all potential employers who have not done so already to engage with the department and explore the options offered for bringing marginalised groups into employment.
"Those with disabilities, either physical or learning and groups like Travellers often find themselves overlooked by employers; and disengaged youth need an innovative approach to help them access work.
"In today's economic climate employers may find it difficult keeping their workforce intact without seeking to bring in additional workers from marginalised groups. There are however programmes and groups who can aid employers to do so.
"The department, along with groups working in the community and voluntary sectors, can provide a great deal of advice and support to enable employers to look at how to bring employment to those who have been marginalised and integrate them into the workforce.
"In essence we are all part of the same community and reaching out to marginalised groups benefits us all. To deny these groups employment opportunities is an opportunity missed."
Responding to today’s Transparency International Report Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald MEP has reiterated the party’s demand for political parties to publish annual financial statements. The Dublin MEP noted as deeply worrying that international observers see Ireland as suffering high levels of ‘legal corruption’ adding the Taoiseach cannot continue to wring his hands on this issue yet refuse to actually do anything about it.”
The Sinn Fein Vice President said:
“The Transparency International Report is correct in its assertion that patronage and personal relationships have influenced political decisions and policy in Ireland. This has been to the detriment not only to Ireland’s international reputation but also at a cost to Irish society. What underpins this scourge on Irish politics and society as a whole is Fianna Fail’s 1980s golden circle culture. Fianna Fáil have undermined our economy, fattened the bank accounts of big bankers and greedy developers and left critical public services such as education, transport and health under-funded and in disarray. Enough is enough. The tide is turning as shown by the further collapse in support for the government in last weekends Sunday Business Post polls shows.
“On the issue of political party fiscal transparency this is an exceptionally easy one to tackle. Each year Sinn Féin has published its financial statements for both the north and south. In the north political parties are required under law to provide a full income and expenditure annual financial statement to the electoral commission. We commend this requirement and believe a similar practice should be in place in the south.
“Like all organisations a political party needs an income in order to cover its expenditures. The general public understand that fundraising and donations are part and parcel of generating that income. Where cynicism starts to creep in is when political parties are not open and transparent about their financial affairs.
“It is Sinn Féin’s firm belief that all political parties in the state should be required to submit an annual set of accounts to the Standards in Public Office Commission. Sinn Féin is one of the only political parties in this state to produce an annual set of financial statements available to the general public. In the absence of legislation I believe all political parties should follow our lead.”
Lainseáil lámhleabhair 'Gaeilge Riachtannach do ghníomhaithe Shinn Féin' ar máidín in oifigí Shinn Féin i Stormont.
Ag labhairt i ndiadh an ócáid dúirt Uachtarán an Pháirtí Gearóid Mac Adhaimh BP, CTR,
"Ba mhaith liom moladh agus comhghairdeas a thabhairt do gach duine anseo, ar fud na hÉireann agus thar lear atá ag ceiliúradh 'Seachtain na Gaeilge'.
Sé an cúis de Seachtain na Gaeilge ná cur chun cinn agus úsáid na Gaeilge le ceol, le sport agus dóigh ar bith eile. Beidh baint ag scoileanna, gnónna agus an phobal féin.
Tugann Sinn Féin taca do Seachtain na Gaeilge agus le mílte eile idir ghrúpaí agus daoine aonair, tá roinnt imeachtaí socruithe againn thar an choicís -
Glacadh le roinnt moltaí ag an Ard Fheis an tseachtain seo caite agus is am maith dúinn ansin an leabhrán seo a sheoladh.
Tá daoine ag obair ar an dara leabhar cheana agus beidh sé again roimh deireadh an tSamhraidh.
Chreideann SF sa teanga.
S'é an fís atá againn ná páirtí dátheangach a chruthú, chomh maith le sochaí dátheangach. Tá a lán obair maith déanta le blianta anuas go háirithe sa tuaisceart. Tá sé ar intinn ag SF tógáil ar an obair agus leanúint ar aghaidh.
Creideann SF go gcaithfidh muid an teanga a fhorbairt agus a chosaint, tá muid daingean air seo.
Tá obair den scoth déanta ag na hAirí Sinn Féin, go háirithe Caitríona Ruane, Aire Oideachais a bhfuil a lán déanta aicí don Ghaelscolaíocht.
Teanga dúchais atá labhartha sa tír seo le níos mó na dhá mhíle bliain! Tá sé lárnach agus fite fuaite inár gcultúir, sna hainmneacha, sna sleibhte, sna sruthanna. Tá sé neadaithe sa litríocht agus sa mheon…
Tá ceist cearta anseo chomh maith. Ba cheart go mbeidh na cearta céanna ag lucht na Gaeilge agus atá ag gach duine eile. Ba cheart go mbeidh lucht na Gaeilge ábalta a saol a chaitheamh fríd ár dteanga dúchais - ar obair, ar scoil nó sa bhaile.
Ba cheart go mbeidh fáil acú ar seirbhísí an rialtais.
Sin an fath go bhfuil Sinn Féin ag troid ar son Acht na Gaeilge.
Caithfidh go mbeidh na cearta seo slán faoin dlí. Teanga ar bith eile atá i mbaol 'sé sin an dóigh á chosaint, le hacht teanga.
Creidim fosta go mbeidh fás ar an Ghaeilge agus ní bheidh sé mar gheall ar dlíthe, nó Acht na Gaeilge, nó taca ó Sinn Féin. Beidh fás ar an Ghaeilge mar gheall ar an neart agus an brí agus an fócas de phobal na Gaeilge agus de ghrúpaí na Gaeilge.
Amharc ar an mhéid atá déanta ag an phobal seo go dtí inniu. Ní raibh Acht na Gaeilge de dhíth le haghaidh na tograí tithe, na Gaelscoileanna, na ranganna do dhaoine fásta agus an bunadh Gaelach.
Tharla sé mar gheall ar na múinteoirí is teaghlaigh, mar gheall ar na gníomhaithe teanga agus na daoine feachtais.
Tá muid uilig go mór i bhfiachas dóibh." CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill visits Great Ormond's Street hospital.
Sinn Féin MLA and deputy chair of the Health Committee, Michelle O'Neill will be visiting Great Ormond's Street hospital tomorrow, the 3rd of March, 2009. The purpose of the visit is to examine care and services that are not available locally for our children.
Speaking today Ms O'Neill said:
"I welcome the chance to visit Great Ormond Street hospital. It has a name internationally as providing quality specialist care and services for children suffering from a wide range of illness.
"We hope to learn from experts and professionals in the field of child health provision at key major centres of specialist care examining treatments, methodology, specialised equipment and the overall costs of providing these services.
"This is part of a wider examination by members of the Health Committee into services that are not provided locally. We will also travel to the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago in March to examine other forms of specialist care."
Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment committee, Paul Butler, has stated today that the main point that should be taken from the visit to the Assembly by the British Treasury Select Committee is that it highlights the severe lack of fiscal powers for local representatives to react to economic downturn.
Speaking today Mr Butler said:
"The key point highlighted today is the fact that the Assembly lacks fiscal abilities to explore the full range of initiatives and responses to the severe economic downturn. The Assembly and Executive are more restricted than they should be to help industry, compel banks to act and to alter the way public finances are administered.
"We need to see the Minister for Finance meet his counterparts in other regional assemblies to argue the case for a united approach towards the British treasury to relax the accounting rules permitting front loading and acceleration of public expenditure programmes.
"One of the positives coming from this meeting is that the committee chairman John McFall has stated that he will now examine the accounting rules.
"This would have major advantages. It would strengthen the retention of skills capacity, keeping the local work force in employment. It would also enable the early delivery of vital capital projects, in some instances an entire year before planned helping to kick-start the economy.
"This would be of no cost to the budget. In fact it would allow payments to be drawn down in the budget years in which the programmes were designated.
"Taking these things together, locally elected representatives would be much better placed to weather the economic crisis and we would not have to wait on Westminster to raise our financial concerns."
Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Daithi Doolan has welcomed the news that Dublin City Council has initiated Planning Enforcement Action against 100 property developers for non-payment of Development Contributions. Councillor Doolan said the move was "long overdue considering the City is now owed over €24m in Development Contributions."
Speaking form City Hall tonight, Councillor Doolan said, "I have been asking the City Manager for this information since January. The non-payment of levies by major developers is nothing short of a disgraceful. These developers are holding the City to ransom and must be faced down. A number of the cases are now listed in the District Court. These developers must be named and shamed and the Council must ensure these developers are refused planning permission in the near future.
"Property developers and land speculators have been making millions of euros from developing land while the tax payer has funded infrastructural services. Now that we are facing cuts to local government spending right across the board we need to ensure that public services don't suffer while any levies remain uncollected." ENDS
SINN FÉIN President Gerry Adams has accused the government of having facilitated bankers and developers to distort the housing market during the 'Celtic Tiger' era and helping to destroy the Irish economy. He said that those whose greed put housing beyond the reach of ordinary people and undermined the state's competitiveness must be made be made to shoulder the burden of any tax increases Taoiseach Brian Cowen intends to implement over the coming months.
The Sinn Féin President made the remarks while in Tullamore, County Offalyat the launch of the election campaign of local Sinn Féin candidate Brendan Killeavy.
Gerry Adams said:
"I'm very pleased to officially launch the campaign to have Brendan Killeavy elected to Tullamore Town Council and Offaly County Council next June. Brendan is a first time candidate who has been active in Sinn Féin for 10 years now. He is committed to improving the living and working conditions of the people of Tullamore, of Offaly and of Ireland. I believe that if elected he will make a very effective public representative.
"A key issue in this area is the lack of social and affordable housing. There are 750 families on the housing waiting list in Tullamore with 15 new families coming onto that list every week now.
"This is not just a problem affecting Tullamore or the other major towns in Offaly. There is a severe lack of social housing across this state with over 59,000 on the social housing waiting list and 5,000 people homeless.
"These individuals and families were forgotten by the so-called 'Celtic Tiger' economy. There are many, many families with one or both parents in full-time employment, who in recent years simply could not afford to buy their own home in a scandalously over-priced housing market. The Government, including Brian Cowen during his term as Minister for Finance, refused to intervene to curb the escalation in house prices. Had this been done things would not be as bad as they now are. The failure to curb rising house prices pushed up the cost of living and the cost of doing business.
"At the same time that so many of our people are in dire need of housing we have the absolute scandal of 270,000 properties lying vacant across the 26 Counties.
"Sinn Féin believes that social and affordable housing needs to be at the centre of a new approach to meeting housing need. We are calling for a doubling of the output of social housing across the state to meet need that exists. There must also be Government assistance to those families currently at risk of losing their homes due to the reckless banking practices that have recently been exposed. County Councils must be supported There needs urgently to be a halt to the despicable practice of illegal evictions.
"Finally, those with political responsibility in this state must ensure that the developers and the bankers who destroyed our economy and used the housing market to do so, are made to pay the price. If, as the government has said, increased taxes are to be introduced, then those who have the most must pay the most." ENDS
Note to Editors:
The Sinn Féin candidates for Laois/Offaly are:
Offaly County Council Local Election and Tullamore Town Council - Brendan Killeavy
Laois County Council - Cllr. Brian Stanley
Portlaoise Town Council - Cllr Brian Stanley and Alan Hand
Laois CountyCouncil Local Election (Emo Electoral Area) - Aidan Mullins
Laois CountyCouncil Local Election, (Mountmellick Electoral Area) - Adam Haughton
Mountmellick TownCouncil Election - Stephen Lynch
Laois CountyCouncil Local Election, (Luggecurren Electoral Area) - Marie Johnston
EU candidate Ireland East - Cllr. Tómas Sharkey