Speaking in the Dáil this evening on a Sinn Féin motion regarding the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974 Dublin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and British State forces was an official political policy of the British Government.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh called on the Government not to proceed with the Tribunal of Inquiries Bill as it will have grave consequences for truth recovery.
The following is the full text of Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s contribution to the debate:
“This motion is ultimately about truth recovery and I welcome the fact that all parties came on board to support it. The motion demonstrates the value that we all place on truth and justice. The victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings are not alone in their quest for the truth. There have been other travesties, where justice has been denied.
For instance, I would ask the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste to make themselves aware of the facts surrounding the execution by British Paratroopers of 11 civilians in a two day period in August 1971 prior to them moving on to Derry where they gunned down 14 others in January 1972.
“The apology from British premier David Cameron last year for the slaughter of civilians in Derry was extracted from the British government after 30 years, but as yet no apology has been forthcoming, no truth has been forthcoming, for the many other killings of civilians and non combatants by British soldiers, RUC officers or by their pseudo gangs – their proxy killers.
“It was an official political policy by the British government for generations to establish, equip, and direct pseudo gangs to do their bidding. An integral part of that strategy was to target opponents, insurgents, their supporters and to strike terror in the supposed host community. It was aimed at discrediting opponents, causing chaos, diverting blame, confusing the issues/ muddying the waters.
“This pseudo gang strategy was implemented in Ireland, North and South by the British army in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. General Frank Kitson who refined a centuries old colonial and imperialist strategy was in Ireland in the early 1970s and went on to become Aide-de-Camp General to the Queen in the early 1980s. He was granted a CBE for his role in Ireland.
“The actions of the UDA, UVF, the Littlejohns and many others on the orders of their shadowy military directors, whether the were SAS, MI5, MI6, MRF, Tara, Ulster Resistance, LVF etc have never been fully probed, except for a few brave souls. Some who lost their lives for daring to expose britain’s Dirty war in Ireland, solictors Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finucane among them.
“There have been those with this state who have colluded or facilitated the British war machine in Ireland in particular since 1969, some may have been agents of the Crown, some may have been dupes, others were cheerleaders for the British war in Ireland, most were ignorant or didn’t want to know the truth or didn’t care to find out the truth, even it they could in the era of censorship.
“I want to, in that context, place on record our utter rejection of the remarks of Deputy Robert Dowds in the debate last night. Deputy Dowds stated: "In many respects, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were a response to the deadly activities of Sinn Féin and the IRA in the 1970s."
“This parrots the argument of the perpetrators of the bombings and Deputy Dowds should withdraw it. At the time of the bombings Sinn Féin was actually still banned in the Six Counties. Internment without trial was ongoing. If he cares to examine the history of the conflict he will see clearly the central role of unionist paramilitaries in it. The bombings took place in the context of the unionist campaign against the Sunningdale Executive. Deputy Dowds is harking back to the Fine Gael/Labour government of the day which tried to blame republicans for the bombings. Deputy Dowds obviously hankers back to the regime of Conor Cruise O’Brien, Paddy Donegan and Liam Cosgrave, ably assisted by civil servants such as Peter Berry. Whose agenda they were following then, who was pulling their strings.
“I am reminded of the statement from a former Minister for Justice, a Fine Gael one at that, Nora Owen when she said in May 1995:
‘The Commissioner is satisfied that the matter has been taken as far as it could go and that no useful purpose could be served by any further enquiries.’ No useful purpose!!
“I salute all those who stood up to the anti-republican agenda of the establishment in this state at that time, who braved the wrath of the ministers and their servants. My own father was threatened to be sacked from his job in the museum for having spoken at a commemorative lecture on 1916 – his job. McCarthyism was alive and well in the 1970s and 1980s in this state, and the witch-hunt against republicans in that era contributed nothing to a solution to the confict, in fact probably prolonged them.
“I hope we have now reached an era of respect, which deals with the legacy of the past in an open and frank manner, but I would urge, with that in mind, that this government should not proceed with the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005. This Bill was published by the then Justice Minister Michael McDowell in 2005 and has grave consequences for truth recovery, particularly in cases of suspected state collusion.
“No one can deny we are in need of new legislation to govern the work of tribunals, to reduce costs especially, but it could be used by future governments to stop public inquiries from delivering the truth to the public and to the families of victims of collusion in particular. It is along the lines of the British Inquiries Act, which was introduced to prevent a full public inquiry taking place into the murder of Pat Finucane.
“This government cannot sign this all-party motion aimed at forcing Britain to reveal the truth yet proceed with legislation that would undermine our demand by giving themselves a significant power to cover things up.
“The relatives and those representing victims of collusion have long sought full, independent and public inquiries. I believe we must work together to ensure that no legislation is introduced that would jeopardise and compromise the independence of future inquiries.
“I salute the Justice for the Forgotten and Pat Finucane Centre and Relatives for Justice for their Trojan work over the years in exposing the truth and wish them well. I wish the families luck in the future in the hope that they will receive the files from Britain and learn the full truth. I urge this government to restore the funding for the Justice for the Forgotten at the level it was before the Fianna Fáil government slashed it until their work is complete.” ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking this evening in the Dáil during the debate on a Sinn Fein Private Members Business motion on the Dublin Monaghan bombs.
Mr. Adams said:
“Much is being made at this time of the visit by the English Queen. Sinn Féin has set out our position on these matters. I have also made it clear that we hope some good comes from this.
“If this visit is to have a real and lasting significance beyond its important symbolic gestures then the government here must realise that this is but part of a journey.
“It is a page in a book – not the end of that book.
“Our country is still partitioned and our people are divided. We need to end these divisions and to build unity and freedom. We need to continue that journey – to write the next chapter of our book.
“And we need to deal with the past.
“Genuine national reconciliation, an inclusive healing process and the closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that all of us have to pledge ourselves to tell and to hear the truth about the past.
“For my part I would actively encourage republicans to co-operate with such a process.
“In the meantime the victims of the Dublin Monaghan bombs must be supported.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed on behalf of Sinn Féin his “deepest sympathies and condolences” to the family of playwright, actor and director Tomás Mac Anna.
Mr. Adams described Mac Anna as ‘a committed republican’ who will be sorely missed by his friends and family.
The Sinn Fein leader said:
“I have known Tomás for many years. He was a committed republican with a passion for the theatre, the Irish language and the arts.
“Tomás played a pivotal part in modernising Irish Theatre.
“He will also be very fondly remembered by republicans for the advice and help he provided in the production of a number of national pagents.
“Tomás will be sorely missed by many and I want to extend my sincerest sympathies to his family.”
Sinn Féin MLA for East Antrim Oliver McMullan is to hold an urgent meeting with the Post Office after a number of bullets were posted to people in the north and east Antrim areas.
Speaking today Mr McMullan said;
“As well as a bullet being posted to me, similar threats were sent to figures in the GAA in Larne and Ballymena – obviously this is a major cause for concern.
My meeting with the Post Office will focus on why none of these packages were franked, despite being posted to the various addresses. Were they appropriately inspected before being forwarded? If they were then why wasn’t anything suspicious noticed?
Or were they inspected but allowed to go on anyway.
I am also meeting with the PSNI this afternoon to discuss the implications of these threats.” CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy MLA (Mid-Ulster) has welcomed the ruling by the Brirtish Supreme Court today in favour of the families of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew.
Francie Molloy said:
"My thoughts are with the families of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew on their tremendous victory with this landmark ruling by the British Supreme Court today.
"The 6:1 majority ruling has fully vindicated the families long campaign to see justice for their loved ones. I would urge the North's Coroner to set a date without delay so that a thorough and fully informed Inquest can be conducted into the circumstances leading to the killing of Martin and Dessie.
"This ruling means that the Inquest not only has the authority to investigate the circumstances leading to the killings but that it must 'fully and thoroughly investigate allegations of a shoot to kill operation by the SAS.
"This ruling has huge implications for many other killings involving British State Forces and for the many families who are still awaiting Inquests into the deaths of loved ones - most for decades.
"The ruling today in London should mean the end of the waiting for all of these families and I can assure them that Sinn Féin will be fully supportive of them in the time ahead." CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin Chairperson of Cookstown Borough Council has criticised the refusal of the 3 DUP Councillors to participate in the minutes silence observation in respect of the Mother of the outgoing Chairperson and the sister of a Council Official.
Councillor Sean Clarke said:
"I regret the disrespect shown by three DUP Councillors in refusing to stand in respect for the mother of our outgoing Chairperson and the sister of a Council Officer during the Council AGM. Although this is not the first time DUP councillors behaved in this disrespectful manner I had thought that given the example shown by the Party's Leadership and its attendance at the recent funeral of PSNI Officer Ronan Kerr that this unacceptable behaviour would be a thing of the past.
"I would appeal to these Councillors to join us in building better community relations by showing mutual respect for each other." CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed disappointment at the Taoiseach’s refusal during Leaders Question’s today to rule out the possibility that banks might be permitted to recruit senior CEOs at a salary which breeches the €500,000 limit currently imposed on them.
Mr. Adams said:
“I challenged the Taoiseach to make it clear that he would not allow AIB to breach the €500,000 limit on Chief Executives salaries.
“I am disappointed that the Taoiseach today, despite being pressed by me, refused to rule out paying bank executives over half a million euro.
“At a time when the state’s debt is spiralling out of control, when many families are facing severe hardship, and the Cabinet is considering cutting the take home pay of 300,000 of the states lowest earners, it is unacceptable that any consideration should be given to increasing the limit on senior banking executives’ salaries. This would be both ethically and economically wrong.
“It is inconceivable, in light of the scandalous role played by the banks in the economic crisis and the justifiable public outrage at big bankers walking off with pensions worth millions, that this government could give any consideration to such a move.”
Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has described the decision to carry out a review of legislation governing the Taxi industry as long overdue but very welcome.
Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Ellis said:
“The problems which exist in how Taxis are registered, how licences are controlled and the prevalence of rogue elements taking advantage of these problems is plain to be seen. The RTÉ Primetime has simply highlighted this fact.
“I and my party colleagues have done extensive work with Taxi drivers and their representatives to develop policy which would deal with the gaps in legislation that exist, many of which are a hangover from deregulation.
“This is not just about public safety, which of course is paramount, but also allowing honest hard working Taxi drivers to operate in a system which treats them with respect and which ensures that they are not tarred by the actions of some unscrupulous elements who slip through the many cracks in current regulation.
“We would like to work with Alan Kelly who has been appointed to this review to offer our experience in this matter and to help ensure the best, most fair and efficient system possible for Taxi drivers and their customers. To that effect we will be sending a formal request for a meeting with Minister Kelly at his convenience”.
Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín has expressed concern for Diageo’s operation in Ireland.
Diageo, the owner of one of Ireland’s most important and iconic brands ‘Guinness’ has gone through a number of years of restructuring, i.e. shedding jobs. Many of these job losses have happened abroad. However in June 2009, 107 jobs were cut in Ireland by the 2,000-strong employer.
There is a strong view within the market that the business may turn again to its operations in Ireland in its search for the next round of job losses.
Spokesperson for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Deputy Tóibín has called on the government to investigate the validity of this belief as soon as possible.
“Guinness is one of Ireland’s most iconic brands. It has been operating in Ireland for over 250 years and much of its marketing is based upon its Irish heritage. Its production in Ireland is extremely important in manufacturing and jobs terms.
“If what I am hearing from the industry is true and the company is about to haemorrhage Irish manufacturing jobs then the government needs to step in and negotiate on behalf of the employees. For every job that is lost at Diageo there will be a cost to the exchequer of €20,000, not to mention the major financial cost and disruption that will affect each employee.
“The government have talked up their plans to defend and promote Irish brands. Now is the time to act and ensure that these jobs are sustainable, vis a vis those at other international locations”.
Speaking during a Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion on the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley called on the British Government to answer questions regarding their involvement in collusion.
The Sinn Féin TD said;
“The British Government still has many questions to answer regarding their involvement in collusion. From the very creation of the Six Counties statelet, there was a campaign of state-sponsored murder and collusion with Unionist paramilitaries. It existed at the very highest levels of the British military and political establishment. The British government's refusal to co-operate with a range of inquiries into state and state-sponsored violence, even inquiries they themselves set up, is symptomatic of a culture of concealment that infects the entire British system.
“During 30 years of conflict Unionist paramilitaries were supplied with information and their actions directed and controlled by Special Branch and British Intelligence Services. From the mid-eighties onwards British Intelligence Agencies effectively controlled all Loyalist paramilitary activity through the use of agents and informers. This included the murders of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and many other Nationalists and Republicans. The Report of Justice Henry Barron made a significant statement on the bombing of Belturbet, Co. Cavan on 28 December 1972 in which 15-year-old Geraldine O’Reilly of Belturbet and 17-year-old Patrick Stanley of Clara. Co. Offaly were killed. The report names a Fermanagh loyalist, Robert Bridges, as the prime suspect.
“The British government has again refused to co-operate with an inquiry established by the Oireachtas. It abuses its special relationship with the Irish Government in order to avoid international accountability for the actions of its armed forces in Ireland. The Irish Government should not stand for this and should bring the issue of collusion before the court of world opinion.
“As far as Sinn Féin are concerned, there is a responsibility upon Fine Gael and Labour to act on the motion that they endorsed in 2008 to now call upon the British Government to make all files available regarding the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. The British politicians who sanctioned the policy of collusion have never been held accountable. And just as culpulable are those in this state who have consistently put their own narrow self-interest above the national interest, the rights of Irish citizens living in the north and the peace process.”
Speaking in the Dáil this evening on a Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion on the Dublin Monaghan Bombings Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the scheduling of the first day of the visit of the British Queen on the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings showed gross insensitivity.
Deputy Ó Caoláin criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s record on the issue describing it as less than satisfactory and said British Prime Minister David Cameron should take the opportunity while in Ireland tomorrow to give a commitment to release all files in Britain’s possession relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
“The purpose of this motion is firstly to reaffirm and reiterate the call made unanimously by the Dáil on 10 July 2008. That resolution, as set out again in our motion, urged the British government to open all relevant files on the atrocities inquired into by Judge Henry Barron.
“The responses of the current Taoiseach Enda Kenny have been less than satisfactory. I accept that he has not been long in office. Nonetheless this should be a priority item in any meeting on Irish-British relations between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister until the request of the Dáil motion is complied with.
“It is especially frustrating that successive Taoisigh have failed in this regard in the context of the current visit of the Queen of England. Scheduling the first day of that visit on the very anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings showed gross insensitivity. Clearly, this major outstanding issue, this legacy of the conflict, was far from the minds of those who initiated, planned and organized this visit.
“Does the British government really recognize the suffering of the victims of collusion? Does it acknowledge the legitimate attempts of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and other fatal, cross-border acts of collusion, to seek redress?
“If it does, then let David Cameron act accordingly.
“He should do it tomorrow when he is here in Ireland by making a commitment to release the files. If he fails to do so then he must be continually pressed on this matter by the Taoiseach, as mandated in this further all-party motion.
“The unanswered questions remain. Now is the time for answers.” ENDS
Full text of Deputy Ó Caoláin’s contribution follows:
Sinn Féin Private Members Motion 17.5.11
Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD (Cavan-Monaghan)
I wish to formally move the motion on behalf of the Sinn Féin Teachtaí Dála and I welcome the co-signing of this motion by An Taoiseach and the other party leaders.
The purpose of this motion is firstly to reaffirm and reiterate the call made unanimously by the Dáil on 10 July 2008. That resolution, as set out again in our motion, urged the British government to open all relevant files on the atrocities inquired into by Judge Henry Barron.
It should not have been necessary to put this motion before the Dáil. The motion and the debate reflect the frustration of the survivors and the bereaved of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 and of the other atrocities inquired into. They have waited for almost three years now for the British government to act on the motion. They have also waited for the former Taoiseach to press his British counterpart to act. On both counts they have been deeply disappointed.
The motion also reflects the patience and endurance of the survivors and the bereaved. The unanimous call of the Dáil on 10 July 2008 was not a one-off event.
It was the latest step in a long process in which the Oireachtas engaged with the families, initiated investigations, established committees, held public hearings and published reports.
Through all of this the Oireachtas received no real co-operation from the British authorities. The reports themselves expressed frustration at this lack of co-operation.
It was a logical step then for the Dáil to adopt the motion of 10 July 2008 calling on the British government – and I stress the British government – to act. I regret that successive Taoisigh in answer to questions from myself and others have attempted to present this as somehow a matter for the Clerk of the House of Commons or even for the Whips in this House. The July 2008 motion stated clearly, as quoted in the motion before the Dail now, that it called on the British government to release all the relevant files to an independent, international figure.
It would be difficult to count the number of times I questioned former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on this matter. Again and again I urged him to press the case for openness, truth and justice with the British government. While not often enough, nor vigorous enough, I can and will say that in fairness to Bertie Ahern he did raise the matter with Tony Blair. The motion of 10 July 2008 gave a strengthened mandate to the Irish Government to pursue this matter. I regret to have to say that they failed to take up that mandate. Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen showed no embarrassment whatsoever when he admitted that he had not raised the issue with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a failure he repeatedly confirmed.
The responses of the current Taoiseach Enda Kenny have been less than satisfactory. I accept that he has not been long in office. Nonetheless this should be a priority item in any meeting on Irish-British relations between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister until the request of the Dail motion is complied with.
It is especially frustrating that successive Taoisigh have failed in this regard in the context of the current visit of the Queen of England. Scheduling the first day of that visit on the very anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings showed gross insensitivity. Clearly, this major outstanding issue, this legacy of the conflict, was far from the minds of those who initiated, planned and organized this visit.
I salute the fore-bearance of the relatives who turned the insult into an opportunity. They have asked that the British Prime Minister David Cameron take this opportunity to agree to release the files. He should do so without further delay.
There are some who argue that all this should be forgotten or set aside. It was forgotten by most except those immediately affected by it. It was set aside. That was why the group representing the survivors and the bereaved was called Justice for the Forgotten.
This was for years the tragedy that was deliberately forgotten by official Ireland.
The Garda investigation was closed down within a matter of months. In the aftermath of the tragedy the then Fine Gael/Labour Government attempted to place responsibility for the bombings on the shoulders of Irish republicans. In fact they effectively parroted the argument of the unionist paramilitaries that it was provocation from republicans that led to the bombings.
The rationale for the massacre was obvious. It was designed to ensure that the Irish Government was put in its place and that the public in this State were terrified.
The spectre of the backlash was created in order to suppress any expression of solidarity with the plight of nationalists in the North, any expression of the legitimate republican demand for an end to partition and British military withdrawal. Within the British state system there were clearly forces, closely allied with unionism and with loyalist paramilitaries, who had a common interest in toppling the Stormont Executive. If this also destabilized the Labour government of Harold Wilson, then well and good as far as many of them were concerned.
There are those who will accuse us of raking over old issues and opening old wounds. But these are unresolved issues of truth and justice. Wounds are still open.
It is quite galling that many of those who make such statements did little themselves to aid the search for justice or, worse, actually impeded that search.
Similarly, we are being implored, in the context of the current State visit, to set these matters aside, to ‘move on’ even to ‘grow up’ as a nation. These are patronizing and insulting attitudes. They might have some shred of credibility if those who uttered them had any kind of track record in challenging the British state on its role in Ireland. But their record is mostly blank. In fact, many of them would have welcomed the current State visit even at the height of the conflict.
We make no apology for returning to this issue of justice. We do so conscious of the fact that there are victims on all sides of the conflict and many unresolved issues. We have called for an international truth process and we have said that Irish republicans would be prepared to play their part in such a process. But there is no such process in place and it is only right that those who seek the full facts on events such as the Dublin and Monaghan bombings should be accorded their right to truth by the British government.
I recall the 17th May 1974 when tragedy visited my home town of Monaghan and seven of our citizens lost their lives. That left a deep scar in our town and a memory that is still vivid. More than three times that number were killed in Dublin where 26 people lost their lives on that day – 10 in Parnell Street, 14 in Talbot Street and two in South Leinster Street.
And our focus is not only on 17 May 1974. The investigative process initiated by the Oireachtas and which led to the publication of the Barron reports had a wider remit in terms of other incidents.
As well as his inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, cases Barron examined, to a greater or lesser degree, the bombing of Belturbet, County Cavan in December 1972 in which two teenage civilians were killed, the Dublin bombings of December 1972 and January 1973 in which three bus workers were killed, the killing of IRA Volunteer John Francis Green in County Monaghan in January 1975, the Kay’s Tavern, Dundalk bombing of December 1975 in which two civilians were killed, the Castleblayney bombing of March 1976 in which Patrick Moen was killed and the killing of civilian Séamus Ludlow in County Louth in May 1976.
In a process arising out of the Barron reports, Senior Counsel Patrick McEntee carried out a probe of the Garda investigation of the 1974 bombings.
While the process, from the beginning, fell far short of the public inquiry demanded by justice campaigners, it did throw a spotlight on these events. It is clear from all the reports that there was collusion between agents of the British state and those who carried out those bombings. All the evidence and experience of that time and of later years points to extensive use of unionist paramilitaries as a key component of British counter-insurgency strategy in Ireland.
Hard evidence for that lies somewhere in the archives of the British state. It must be brought to light.
In other circumstances the British government itself has been quick to point out the need for truth and justice and support for the victims of violence and conflict.
It was reported last week that a group was proposing to travel from the North of Ireland to Libya, reportedly to represent relatives of people killed by the IRA. They were advised by the British Foreign Office to speak to the Libyan Transitional Council in London. The Belfast Newsletter on 13 May reported the following comment from the British Foreign Office:
“It is clear that if the Libyan people choose a new future for themselves and their country there might be huge opportunities to find out about the support for terrorism that did so much damage to the UK.
“The government attaches huge importance to acknowledging the suffering of victims and to their legitimate attempts to seek redress.”
Does the British government really recognize the suffering of the victims of collusion? Does it acknowledge the legitimate attempts of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and other fatal, cross-border acts of collusion, to seek redress?
If it does, then let David Cameron act accordingly.
He should do it tomorrow when he is here in Ireland by making a commitment to release the files. If he fails to do so then he must be continually pressed on this matter by the Taoiseach, as mandated in this further all-party motion.
The unanswered questions remain. Now is the time for answers.
During Leaders Questions today the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD urged the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to accept that “the full normalisation of the relationships within Ireland and between Ireland and Britain can only be fully achieved by ending partition and reuniting our people and the country”.
Today is the 37th anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan bombs. To date the British government has refused to release documents on the role of its security agencies who in collusion with the loyalist UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) carried out a series of bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974 which left 34 people dead.
Speaking after Leaders Questions the Sinn Fein leader Mr. Adams said:
“I regret that the Taoiseach did not grasp the opportunity of today’s debate to support my proposal that the Irish and British governments should invite a reputable and independent international body to establish the creation of an Independent International Truth Commission as part of a viable truth recovery process.
“Genuine national reconciliation, an inclusive healing process and the closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that all of us have to pledge ourselves to tell and to hear the truth about the past.
“For my part I would actively encourage republicans to co-operate with such a process."
Speaking today following the recent RTÉ report on the failure of Taxi regulation to safe-guard customers Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis said
“Most Taxi drivers are hard working honest people who deserve our support and good legislation which ensures they are not tarred by criminals and rogue elements”.
He went on;
“Last night’s Primetime was a damning example of the failures to properly legislate for driver vetting, deal with double jobbing issues and guarantee that all taxi drivers are safe and legitimate.
“We saw that convicted rapists had been awarded licences, people who had been involved in hit and runs were still on the road and some drivers were on the road up to 90 hours a week. This is not just unacceptable in the interests of public safety but as well for the hard working, law abiding majority of taxi drivers who are trying very hard in this economic climate to make ends meet.
“This will unfortunately damage greatly the reputation of Taxi drivers but what we really need is solutions to these serious problems. We need these solutions urgently to restore public confidence.
“The Regulator needs to meet with Taxi drivers and their representatives and end the elitist approach which has been taken in the past where policy was foisted on Taxi drivers without proper consideration for their need and the realities of the industry following deregulation.
“We need a new vetting system along the lines of the Private Security Industry.
“We also need a new licensing system. Making licences non-transferable and supplying a register of licence holders and information on them to Gardaí, revenue commissioners and the Dept of Social Welfare.”
To coincide with the English Queen’s visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Sinn Féin today released black balloons in the sky over Dublin City to remember those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.
Speaking from Parnell Square, Sinn Féin Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:
“Sinn Féin believes the English Queen’s visit is premature and will cause offence to many Irish citizens, particularly victims of British rule.
“During Elizabeth Windsor’s 60 year reign almost 400 people have been killed in Ireland by the forces of which she is Commander and Chief – this figure does not include the many Irish people killed as a result of collusion between her forces and loyalist death squads.
“Today marks the 37th anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people died. It is widely believed that this attack was carried out with the involvement of British military intelligence. The British government are still refusing to hand over their secret files in relation to these deaths. It's time for the truth.
“We are living in changed and changing times but the fact that €30 million is being spent on security surrounding this visit and Dublin City is on lockdown for the week makes it clear that the relationship between the two islands is still not ‘normal’.
“Sinn Féin wants to have good relations with all our neighbours but that can only happen in an atmosphere of equality and mutual respect and with the reunification of our country. Republicans have been to the forefront in working to bring this about and we will continue to do so.”
Newly elected Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said he ‘will not be intimidated by sectarian thugs’ after he received a bullet in the post this morning.
Speaking from his constituency office, where the bullet was sent, Mr McMullan said;
“This is another in a series of death threats sent to democratically elected Sinn Féin representatives.
A bullet was posted to our office with a card reading “Loyalist Action Force”.
I am honoured and privileged to be elected by the people of East Antrim to serve them in the Assembly and no amount of threats from sectarian thugs will intimidate me from carrying out my work on their behalf.” CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin will use its Private Members’ Time this evening to debate the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings and anticipates the support of the house on the issue.
The debate will be concluded tomorrow.
Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
“This motion reiterates the all-party resolution of 10th July 2008 which called on the British Government to release all files relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
“To date no action has been taken despite the motion receiving unanimous backing from all parties and it is for this reason that we are taking the opportunity to restate that call and are urging An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to press this matter directly with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Today is the anniversary of those bombings which many believe were carried out with the involvement of British intelligence. Today is also the first day of the queen of England’s state visit, a visit which we in Sinn Féin oppose.
Sinn Féin deputy Chair of the Justice Committee Raymond McCartney MLA has condemned the move by the British Secretary of State Owen Patterson to revoke the licence of Marian Price.
Speaking this evening Mr McCartney said;
“Marian Price is entitled to due process and the revoking of her licence is completely unacceptable.
The move by Owen Patterson amounts to detention without trial; this runs contrary to natural justice. The justice system needs to be based on human rights protection; the revoking of Marian Price’s licence runs contrary to that.
We have already raised our concerns on this issue with the British Secretary of State and will do the same with the Justice Minister as a matter of urgency.” CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today announced the party’s Ministerial appointments to the Northern Executive. The party leader thanked all the outgoing Sinn Féin Ministers and wished the new team well.
The appointments are as follows:
Sinn Féin Ministers
Deputy First Minister – Martin McGuinness
Department of Education (DE) – John O’Dowd Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) – Michelle O’Neill Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) – Carál Ní Chuilín
Junior Minister OFMDFM – Martina Anderson
Parliamentary Under Secretaries
DCAL – Barry McElduff
Education – Mitchel McLaughlin
DARD – Pat Doherty
SF Committee Chairs
Finance and Personnel – Conor Murphy
Health – Michelle Gildernew
Social Development – Alex Maskey
Public Accounts Committee – Paul Maskey
Committee on Procedures – Sue Ramsey
SF Vice Chairs
Justice – Raymond McCartney
Regional Development – Pat Doherty
Social Development – Micky Brady
Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Daithí McKay
Assembly Executive Review Committee – Alex Maskey
Policing Board representatives
Sinn Féin Assembly group appointments
Assembly Group leader – Raymond McCartney
Whip – Jennifer McCann
Deputy Whip – Paul Maskey
Sinn Féin Spokesperson
on Foreign Affairs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, TD, has condemned today’s attacks by
the Israeli Army on peaceful Palestinian protesters marking the 63rd
anniversary of Al-Nakba Day (when Palestinians mourn the foundation of the
state of Israel and the displacement of the Palestinian people throughout the
Dozens of Palestinians were injured with bullet
and shrapnel wounds in an attack on Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border
with Egypt and latest reports suggest some protesters may have been killed. In
separate attacks, it is reported that at least eight more protesters have been
killed on the Israeli borders with Syria and the Lebanon.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“I condemn today’s murderous attacks by the Israeli army on Palestinian protesters. For too long, the Palestinian people have had to endure the occupation of their territories and oppression of their people while the world looks on and fails to intervene”.
“The recent resignation of George Mitchell as the US Middle East Peace Envoy was deeply worrying and his departure must not mark a further period of inaction by the US and the European Union. Today’s attacks demonstrate once again the urgent need for a real resolution to the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict with dignity and equality for all the people of the region”.
“The recent Palestinian unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas can make a positive contribution to a lasting peace. Today’s attacks must not be the start of attempts by Israel to provoke a Palestinian response and disrupt that agreement. The US, EU, and international community need to immediately intervene after today’s actions”.
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Séan Crowe has commended the organisers of the An Gorta Mór Commemorative Famine Walk that was held in Dublin today saying “it is important that this tragic event is remembered.”
Deputy Crowe, who took part in the march that started from the bottom of O'Connell Street to the Famine Memorial on the Quays said:
“An Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger) as it is more commonly referred to today, ranks among the worst tragedies in all of our collective human history.
“Between 1845 and 1850, approximately 1.5 million Irish men, women and children died of starvation or related diseases. By 1855, more than two million more fled Ireland to avoid a similar fate. This decimation of our population makes Ireland’s Great Hunger the worst chapter in the country’s history.
“We are still living with the legacy of this terrible tragedy and today’s event is a fitting tribute to those who died or were forced to emigrate. It is also a reminder that in many parts of the developing world millions of people are still dying from famine and drought.
“This event takes place two days before the English queen’s visit to Ireland and because of the paranoia and hype surrounding this visit the original starting point for the march, the Garden of Remembrance had to be changed.
Deputy Crowe concluded
"It is right and fitting that we recall that An Gorta Mór happened as a direct result of British misrule in Ireland and it is shameful that this commemorative march was forced to change its route because the head of the English royal family is visiting our Capital City.
"Today’s event is also happening at a time when increasingly more and more Irish people are being forced to emigrate and start a new life far from their families, their loved ones and their homeland."