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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza

Latest Statements


Sinn Féin TD for Sligo/North Leitrim Michael Colreavy has accused the Government parties of performing a u-turn on the issue of cancer services at Sligo General Hospital.

Deputy Colreavy had asked the Minister in a parliamentary question about the promised restoration of services at Sligo General Hospital. He said the response from the Minister was akin to what Fianna Fáil would have said when they were in power and showed that the current Government has reneged on its pre-election promise.

He pointed out that the Labour Party candidates described this issue as a red line issue during that campaign and that they would resign if cancer services were not restored within 100 days.

Speaking in Dublin today Deputy Colreavy stated:

“The reply received from the Minister showed that the current government have reneged on their election promise.

“There is no indication in the reply that there is any intention by the Government to designate Sligo General Hospital as a centre for excellence for breast cancer services nor indeed to restore breast cancer services that were removed from the hospital.

“The reply is exactly the same as what I would have expected from the previous government.

“I am disappointed on behalf of those sick patients who must continue to endure journeys from Sligo/North Leitrim to Galway and back again; providing a luxury bus does not and will not compensate for the removal of quality services from Sligo General.

“I am sure the people of Sligo, Leitrim and South Donegal will be disappointed also that the very clear promises made by FG and Labour will not now be delivered on. Both of the government parties promised that services would be restored within 100days of them taking office. Labour went further describing this as a red line issue and saying that they would resign if the service was not restored within 100 days. Their time is almost up.

“I intend to continue pressing this matter until Sligo General Hospital is restored to its rightful place as a centre of excellence for most regional services including breast cancer services. I will not let up until this happens.” ENDS

Question and Answer:

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health and Children (Dr. James Reilly )
by Deputy Michael Colreavy
for ORAL ANSWER on 31/05/2011

To ask the Minister for Health and Children the reason cancer services at Sligo General Hospital have not yet been restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Michael Colreavy

Sligo General provides a significant range of cancer services. These include surgery for non-melanoma skin cancer and colorectal cancer, and chemotherapy services. Sligo has also been selected as one of the 15 candidate colonoscopy centres for the colorectal cancer screening programme to be launched next year.

Chemotherapy is still provided to all cancer patients in Sligo. I am pleased to confirm that recruitment of a second permanent medical oncologist is in train. For breast cancer patients specifically, there is a specialist breast nurse in place and detailed clinical pathways have been worked out for Sligo patients presenting with post-operative infection or other conditions, so as to minimise the need to travel to Galway.

Breast cancer diagnosis and breast surgery are the only cancer services to have ceased at Sligo General. Since November 2009, women in the Sligo area are provided with breast cancer diagnosis and surgery at Galway. As one of the two designated centres for the HSE West region, Galway has a critical mass of expertise, sufficient throughput of cases and relevant multi-disciplinary specialist skills in cancer services which, as outlined by international evidence, achieve the best outcomes for patients.

It is important to note that some 96% of women who attend the Galway unit do not have cancer, and only one visit is normally necessary. For the small number diagnosed with breast cancer, some 85% will require radiotherapy as well as surgery, which would involve treatment in Galway in any event.

A survey that was undertaken at Galway last year showed that of those resident in Sligo, 95% described the Galway service as either good or excellent.

I am continuing to explore with the National Cancer Control Programme how services can best be organised for the benefit of patients having regard to my commitment to putting quality at the heart of our healthcare system and to ensuring that quality and optimal care are paramount in decisions about the provision of services throughout the health system. I have recently met with Dr Susan O'Reilly, Director of the National Cancer Control Programme, and I will continue our discussions in this regard. My key concern remains the achievement of the best possible outcomes for patients generally and women in particular.


Speaking in response to the release of the CSO Live Register figures for May 2011 Sinn Fein spokesperson on Jobs Peadar Tóibín said that ‘the Government is not doing enough to tackle rising unemployment.’ The CSO figures show that 2,900 people were added to the Live Register in May bringing the total unemployment level to 14.8%, its highest point this year.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Unemployment has risen again. In May 2,900 more people signed on the Live Register. 14.8% of the labour force, a staggering 443,400 people are now out of work. And of course this figure does not include those who were self employed and those who have emigrated.

“The Government’s anaemic jobs initiative launched last month will do little to address the growing problem of unemployment and long-term unemployment. It will only create a small number of short term part time jobs.

“This is simply not good enough when set against the pre-election promises of both Government parties. Fine Gael promised an investment of €7 billion to create 100,000 jobs. Labour promised a jobs fund of €500 million and a Strategic Investment Bank with funds of €2 billion.

“Yet only weeks after taking office they announced a jobs initiative that promised a meagre €29 million of expenditure on capital projects and €11 million on additional training places.

“There is an urgent need for serious investment in job creation. The government has access to monies in the National Pension Reserve Fund. The only way to get the economy back on track is to invest in a major job creation stimulus package using a portion of this fund.

“Sinn Fein believes that the government must invest €2 billion from the National Pension Reserve fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects and to assist small and medium sized businesses to save and create jobs.” ENDS


Sinn Féin TD for Cork East, Sandra McLellan, has called for immediate action in relation to the former ISPAT site on Haulbowline Island, including the publication of the Working Group Report and a baseline health survey for the Cork Harbour region.

Responding to parliamentary questions from Deputy McLellan, the Minister has indicated that the Working Group looking at the future use of Haulbowline has concluded its deliberations, and that the final report has been forwarded for submission to Government.

Deputy McLellan said:

“I am calling on the Government to publish the Working Group's Report immediately and to implement an action plan to address the ongoing issues at the site. Part of this must include a baseline health survey in the area.

“Today the Minister confirmed that he has asked the Chief Medical Officer to advise him if such an investigation should be carried out, with the CMO due to complete his considerations in four to six weeks time.

“In my opinion, there is a fundamental need for this baseline health survey to be carried out to address the genuine fear and anxiety of the local community, and it should be done as a matter of some urgency.” ENDS


Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath, Gerry Adams this morning challenged the Taoiseach on the introduction of two new stealth taxes by the government.

The Sinn Féin leader pointed out that in February the Central Bank said there was €6 billion of senior bond debt held by Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide. A very modest 50% reduction would save the state €3 billion.

Deputy Adams asked: “Would the government not be better doing that, and facing up to these bad banking debts and holding senior bondholders to account? Some of the banks have now held junior bondholders to account. Is that not a more decent, fairer and proper way to go forward?"

Speaking during Leaders Questions Deputy Adams said:

“This morning hundreds of thousands of people are coming to terms with the prospect of two new stealth taxes announced by Minister Hogan yesterday.

“Despite pre-election promises from your Labour Party colleagues, we now know that water charges will be introduced along with a new household charge.

“Taoiseach, can you tell hard pressed families, hundreds of thousands of them, listening to you today, exactly how much these two new taxes will cost them?

“Minister Hogan said that the purpose of the water tax was to reduce water usage. Yet more than 40% of water is lost because of the bad system we have.

“I understand that the cost of installing water meters will be €500 million.

“Would you not agree Taoiseach, that the best way to conserve water would be to use this €500 million to improve our water system, create jobs in the process, reduce this massive waste of water, without imposing these additional taxes on hard pressed families?”

The Sinn Féin leader concluded:

“There is a pattern, Taoiseach, in answer to questions which I put. You are always about what it will cost in terms of the big persons in our society, but totally unclear, and there are people watching this, who want to know as they wake up this morning how much this is going to cost them?

“Let me give you some figures.

“The Central Bank in February said there was €6 billion of senior bond debt held by Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide. A very modest 50% reduction would save the state €3 billion.

“Would the government not be better off doing that and facing up to these bad banking debts and holding senior bondholders to account? Some of the banks have now held junior bondholders to account. Is that not a more decent, fairer and proper way to go forward?”


Speaking today in favour of a Dáil amendment to a motion amending the terms of reference of the Smithwick Tribunal of inquiry, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O'Brien TD said the party fully supports all families seeking answers about the deaths of their loved ones in the conflict in Ireland.

He said Sinn Féin opposes the government motion which seeks to force the Smithwick Tribunal to submit a final report by 30 June.

O’Brien referred to Sinn Féin's support for inquiries into allegations of collusion, including the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, the Ballymurphy and Springhill massacres, the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry and for the campaign by the family of murdered solicitor, Pat Finucane.

He also highlighted Sinn Féin’s Dáil Private Members Motion last month calling for the release by the British government of files, related to the Dublin Monaghan bombings, for scrutiny by the enquiry.

O’Brien said no one doubted the existence of a policy of collusion between British state forces and unionist paramilitaries adding that in the recent conflict the British Army in the North of Ireland had been guided by training manuals which provided the basis for collusion with loyalists.

The Cork North Central TD said the government's decision to seek an interim report from the Smithwick Tribunal by 30 June and a final report by 30 November of this year is “a mistake which will feed the conspiracy theorists that the government and the gardaí have something to hide”.

O’Brien said:

“Arguments over costs sound petty and irresponsible when set against the desire of two families to know how their loved ones died.

“The tragic loss of all those who died in the political conflict on this island should be acknowledged and remembered. The grief of their relatives and friends must be acknowledged also. They were men, women, children, civilians and members of all the armed groups involved in the conflict.

“Sinn Fein opposes the government motion. We support the proposed amendment tabled.” ENDS


Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader, Raymond McCartney has pledged his Party support for the proposed CRASH card scheme aimed at assisting Emergency Services attending the scene of motorcycle accidents. The project is in use in other countries including Britain and the US. Raymond McCartney said:"We have been approached by the proposers of this project and I have no hesitation on behalf of Sinn Féin Assembly Members in supporting this simple but very worthwhile idea.

"The CRASH Card is a project which encourages motorcyclists to place a card containing important information inside their crash helmet as an alert to assist medical professionals at the scene of accidents. The details provided on the card would provide vital information for attending ambulance crews and paramedics if the motorcyclist is injured in a road traffic collision.

"The availability of this information as soon as the medical personnel arrive at the accident could be crucial in assisting the medics to establish any underlying conditions that could influence the course of treatment administered at the scene, saving valuable time and helping treatment especially if the rider is unconscious and unable to communicate.

"The project is the brainchild of the Ambulance Motorcycle Club, a group of experienced Paramedics and ambulance staff who are passionate about motorcycling and has been established for nearly two years in parts of Britain."

More information can be found at:


Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson, Daithí McKay has welcomed the fact that the Department has succeeded in its goal of achieving substantial reduction in spending on outside consultants.

Commenting following a meeting with his party colleague and new Education Minister John O’Dowd, Mr. McKay praised the efforts to reduce unnecessary spending within the department.

Daithí McKay said:

“When Sinn Féin went into government at the beginning of the last term, one of our pledges was to reverse the culture of contracting Consultancy work to outside sources and reduce the pressure on the public purse.

“One of the major difficulties that existed in the past was the unnecessary use of outside consultants by various Departments to carry out tasks which – quite frankly – were the responsibility of the Civil Service.

“We believed this was an unjustifiable waste of public funds and set about dismantling this culture within our departments. You can clearly see the effectiveness of our approach within the Education Department where there has been a massive reduction in the use of outside consultants.

“For example, in 2007, the Education Department spent over £1m on consultants. That figure was steadily reduced over the intervening period and by last year it stood at less than £63,000.

“That is the kind of leadership which Sinn Féin continues to show in government and it is even more important in the current economic climate where all Departments must ensure the very best value for money where public funds are concerned. I call on all departments to follow the Sinn Féin Ministers example and work to eliminate the use of outside consultants unless there is absolutely no alternative”


Sinn Féin Kerry North/West Limerick Martin Ferris TD has today called for the government to introduce legislation on corporate manslaughter following one of the state’s largest waste management companies admitting a breach of health and safety regulations which lead to an employee’s death.

Deputy Ferris said;

“Sinn Féin is calling for the government to introduce corporate manslaughter legislation immediately. One of the State’s largest waste management companies Mr. Binman, has admitted breaching health and safety regulations which lead to the death of their employee John Wright (Limerick).

“For many employers, health and safety in the workplace is an afterthought and the priority is profit making. This needs to change, and it is well past time that rogue employers are put under pressure to live up to their health and safety obligations. For too long employers have been let off the hook with fines for breaches of safety regulations even when a workers life has been lost as a result of negligence. The case reported today highlights the need for the introduction of corporate manslaughter legislation. This would put a significant incentive on employers to take heed of safety regulations by applying criminal charges against those who do not.

”Sinn Féin published a Corporate Manslaughter Bill in 2007 and called on the then Government to endorse it. I am repeating that call again today in light of this workplace fatality. This type of legislation, which is already in place in many countries, is a key tool in the battle to reduce workplace accidents and fatalities.” ENDS


The Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North/Limerick East Martin Ferris raised the issue of the Fair Deal scheme in the Dáil this afternoon. Deputy Ferris was responding to the withdrawal of €100 million from the nursing scheme home scheme and the recent turning down of over 4,000 applicants.

Deputy Ferris said “Recent statements by Minister O'Reilly that he is reviewing the scheme and that now applicants will have to go on a waiting list is causing great concern to old people in need of care and to their families.

“This uncertainty is also putting potential jobs in jeopardy as nursing homes approved cannot proceed unless they receive bank loans and the applicants have been told that loans will not be approved without the issue being sorted out.

“The hold up on the scheme is also having implications for access to acute hospital beds as a result of people’s discharges being delayed.”



Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh