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Vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in Carlow Kilkenny by-election

Watch and Share this video calling on people to vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in the May 22nd Carlow Kilkenny by-election to replace Fine Gael's former Minister for Irish Water – Phil Hogan.

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.


Speaking before the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meeting in Kilkenny City, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said,

“I'm concerned that the Taoiseach...



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey said it is important that people make their views heard regarding the Transforming Your Care strategy, which has been put out for consultation today.

The West Belfast MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said:

“It is important that people contribute their views to the consultation on this strategy. I made a point of stressing to the Minister today that people need reassured that this is not privatisation through the back door.

“Whatever changes come through this strategy the fundamental principle of the health service, healthcare free at the point of delivery, can not be altered.

“I would especially encourage patients, healthcare workers and all stake holders to make their views heard on this consultation.”

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Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD says that the increase in the numbers of complaints to the Children’s Ombudsman’s Office is a cause for concern, as a report published today shows nearly half complaints related to education.

Deputy O’Brien said: “In the Ombudsman for Children’s annual report for 2011, it shows there were almost 1,500 complaints lodged last year - an increase of 22% on 2010.

“It is not surprising that nearly half the complaints related to educational issues, including transport and the allocation of special needs resources.

“This shows how the cuts in education are directly impacting on children and as the Ombudsman Emily Logan correctly states, the views of Irish children were often systematically rejected.

“A case in point was the refusal, earlier in the year, of a school to admit a 16-year-old girl because she was pregnant. As a result of this individual’s case being brought to the Children’s Ombudsman Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has made a commitment to amend school enrolment legislation.

“I would therefore encourage anyone who has concerns about the rights and welfare of a child to consider contacting the Children’s Ombudsman’s office as it can make a difference.”
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Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey said that nurses are the backbone of the health system and if they are under pressure from a shortage of staff then the Health Minister needs to take notice and action.

The West Belfast MLA was commenting on the report by UNISON into front-line services.

The Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said:

“Considering the pressure that front line staff at accident & emergency departments and acute services have been under over recent months, this report does not come as a surprise.

“Nurses are the backbone of our health system and are on the front line of delivering services across the community.

“If nurses are over-worked because of staff shortages then a simple solution is to employ more nurses.

“Meanwhile the minister will need to explain in his Transforming Your Care statement how this new strategy will ease pressure on nursing staff.

“I will also be raising the UNISON report at the next meeting of the Health Committee.”

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has welcomed the announcement by Kerry Group that it intends to create 900 new jobs at a facility to be established at a technological innovation centre at Naas.

Deputy Ferris said;

“Not only will this provide much needed jobs, it will also hopefully represent a major boost to the overall agri sector in this country. There is still enormous potential in what remains our largest and most successful indigenous economic sector and that needs to be further developed as a key means of building economic growth in the future.”

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Responding to speculation that Social Protection Minister Joan Burton is considering abolishing disability allowance for under-18s Sinn Féin spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD accused the minister of playing politics with people’s fears.

“Joan Burton is playing politics with the economy and with people’s fears. A cut to the allowance for young disabled people would be an attack on one of the most vulnerable sections of our society and should not even be considered. The fact that this kite has even been flown is a disgrace.

“We are hearing snippets of leaked reports recommending social welfare cuts via the media, but when the minister has been pressed she has been unwilling to share details. Last week it was child benefit cuts, this week it’s disability cuts.

“The government has no problem sending people out to argue against the introduction of a tax on the wealthiest people in this state but when it comes to targeting vulnerable people it seems they are happy to fly kites and gauge the response. This shows where the government’s priorities lie.

“The impact of the reported recommendation to raise the age of disability allowance from 16 to 18 is that the households of a young person with a disability could be down €6,062 a year. This is because the Domicialliary Care Allowance payment is significantly lower than Disability Allowance.

“Just like typical teenagers, taking care of teenagers with disabilities can be expensive and that’s before the additional costs to which their disabilities give rise are even considered.

“The higher payment is vital to promote the social inclusion of young people with disabilities. Oftentimes parents have to fork out for double to ensure their teenager with a disability has some form of social life. Many young people with disabilities have to be accompanied to events, the cinema or to other social gatherings so their parents will pay for two tickets to ensure their teen can attend.

“For those young people with more severe disabilities the costs for the household often rise as the therapy services that were available to them in younger childhood become more sparse as they get older.

“If the minister’s bona fide reason for proposing this cut is because she is concerned about making such a large social welfare payment directly to young people than the solution is to make the disability allowance payment to the parent or guardian until they reach 18 or to introduce a new higher rate of Domicialliary Care Allowance equivalent to the value of Disability Allowance for 16 and 17 year olds.”

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Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has highlighted that investment in research was a key component to enable the local agri food sector to continue to grow.

The Minister was speaking as she reopened the DARD Research Challenge Fund, which provides funding for Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the primary production sector to support research and development.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development manages the Fund and will award grants of up to 50% for assistance with research, with a total amount of £1million available in the Fund for those businesses that want to get involved in research in 2013.

Minister O’Neill said: “I want to see a vibrant, sustainable agri-food industry and rural economy and I am convinced we can do this together if we have the right environment for innovation and research. This Fund offers up to £1,000,000 for research starting in 2013 and this presents a real opportunity for small and medium local businesses to use research to maximise their growth.

“Investing in research is central to innovation but many, especially smaller businesses, find this very daunting. The Research Challenge Fund helps to assist these businesses as they attempt to improve their competitiveness and sustainability by embracing research and innovation.”

She added: “I am very pleased that to date the Fund has already awarded approximately £1.37million to 11 projects drawn from across agri-food and rural sectors. We all know that businesses in the agri-food sector have been remarkably resilient during the current downturn and I hope that once again the sector will rise to the challenge and grasp with both hands the opportunities this Fund offers.”

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that today’s comments by ESM chief Klaus Regling on the issue of legacy debt “cast doubt on the Governments claim to have secured a deal on this issue at the June 29th European Council meeting”.

When asked by RTE if the June 29th statement could apply to legacy bank debt Mr Regling said, “This part has not been discussed by any European bodies.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“Last Thursday I challenged the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on his claim that the June 29th European Council statement included a commitment to allow ESM funds to be used to retrospectively recapitalise Irish banks.  

“Today’s statement on the matter by the new chief of the ESM cast doubt on the governments claim to have secured a deal on this issue at the June 29th European Council meeting.

“When asked today by RTE if the June 29th statement on ESM funds could apply to legacy bank debt Mr Regling said, ‘This part has not been discussed by any European bodies.’

“Clearly Mr Regling’s interpretation of the issue is very different to that of the Irish Government.

“At the time Sinn Féin accused the government of overselling the June 29th deal. It is becoming increasingly clear that we were right. Indeed today it appears that the government’s entire approach to the issue of banking debt is in tatters.

“There is still no sign of a deal on the Anglo Irish promissory note debt with government now claiming that it will be March 2013 at the earliest before the matter is concluded. Meanwhile the government’s claim of a ‘seismic shift’ at the June 29th summit appears increasingly groundless.

“We need a new approach from the government on the €64million banking debt burden because clearly the current approach is not working.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan has welcomed the decision today by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to divert more money into the Single Farm Payment scheme.

 Mr. McMullan said,

“This is a good news story for farmers in a what has been a difficult year for them.  The decision to put an additional £15m into the Single Farm Payment scheme will no doubt be welcomed by both farmers and the general rural community.

“The Minister has shown she is aware of the financial difficulties facing the farmers and has acted decisively to inject more cash into the hands of farmers through the scheme.

 “These extra monies will help offset the growing price of feed for farmers with livestock and help those farmers whose crops are down due to the wet summer we have had.

 “The rural economy is greatly based upon the welfare of the farmers so this injection of more cash to the farmers will undoubtedly filter it way through the local communities and create a stimulus in this economy.” 

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Peadar Tóibín TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation speaking on the release of the report by the Credit Review Office, said:
“The report of Credit Review Office demonstrates once again that the banks are not working on behalf of our businesses. It confirms what we are being told by businesses; banks are refusing good loans and rolling over debt under the guise of new lending.
“While we have supported the government’s proposals on Credit Guarantees and Microenterprises these are inadequate and tinkering around the fundamental market failure of banks to support local enterprise and give value for public investment.
“It is clear that banking policy is being directed by the ECB forcing massive deleveraging and reducing investment, despite the fact that the government is now the major shareholder in the banking system.
“It is time for the government to stand up for the national interest and direct banking policy to deliver for our businesses and our people.”
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Sinn Féin the only party in the North firmly opposed to austerity - McGuinness


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Martin McGuinness answering questions from pupils of St Patrick's Primary School.