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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here

“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay

Latest Statements


Speaking during today's (15 September 2011) Dáil debate the proposed Oireachtas Inquiries referendum, Sinn Fein's Peadar Tóibín TD said that it was vital, “that the proposed amendment to the constitution strengthened democracy and was not a sop to populism”.

Tóibín, who chairs the Dáil's Committee on Investigation, Oversight and Petitions, said: “This proposal that the Oireachtas should have constitutional power to undertake inquiries is the most significant Oireachtas reform in modern times.

“As cathaoirleach of the Investigations, Oversight and Petitions Committee I believe that reform can radically improve the democratic function of the Oireachtas.

“There will be significant benefits to public policy from the operation of a system of parliamentary inquiry. This proposal could empower the Oireachtas to hold individuals to account. There can be strategic and systemic problems investigated leading to improved legislation.

“Much of the frustration in Irish society is because Irish people have been cheated of justice. Elite individuals and organisations that have done wrong have not been held to account, in stark contrast to the fate of the average citizen.

“In the course of the banking crisis, justice has been denied and the guilty have not been held to account. In the Moriarty, Morris and the Mahon Tribunals justice has been costly (€1/2 a billion in total at my last count), toothless or dropping slowly.

“In other cases such as Abbeylara, once the gardaí refused to cooperate, the Oireachtas has been ineffectual. Elected representatives were hamstrung by the Supreme Court findings that the Oireachtas does not have an inherent power to conduct inquiries.”

Tóibín went on, “We will give careful consideration to what Oireachtas inquiries are meant for? Which type of matters should be inquired into? How will the public interest test be applied? How will the constitutional rights of witnesses and others affected by parliamentary inquiries be safeguarded in the exercise of the new powers?

“Risks inherent in the proposed process include the potential loss of a person’s right to cross-examine someone who has made allegations concerning them, risk of prejudicing criminal proceedings and the risk of this quasi -judicial process being contaminated by political bias.”

However, in conclusion, Tóibín said:

“I have misgivings that the rights which will be afforded to citizens will not be determined by the text of the constitutional amendment, but by legislation which could change over time. There is not enough of a brake on the potential erosion of rights contained within the text of the amendment.

“I understand that there is a view that Article 43 of the Constitution will safeguard these rights, however I believe that we need further clarification on this.

“I second the proposal being made by my colleague Deputy Mary Lou McDonald that the constitutional amendment should be strengthened in the matter of the rights of the individual.”


Education Minister John O’Dowd was guest of honour at the annual ‘Hopes and Dreams’ Assembly at Derrylatinee St Francis’ Primary School, Dungannon.

The Assembly provided both pupils and school staff the opportunity to set out their hopes for the school year ahead. The Minister said: “It is a privilege to be invited to the annual ‘Hopes and Dreams’ Assembly at Derrylatinee St Francis’ Primary School. Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step to success, so taking time out at the start of the school year to set specific targets is a great idea. I am sure that your teachers, parents and guardians will work with you throughout the year to help make your hopes and dreams a reality.”

The Minister also commended the school on their most recent inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate in which the quality of education provided was found to be outstanding. He said: “The school was awarded an ‘outstanding’ report in the last inspection and that is something you can all be very proud of.

“A top priority for me as Education Minister is raising standards. My Department’s school improvement policy, 'Every School a Good School', aims to promote equality and the raising of standards for all our young people. Schools like Derrylatinee which have been evaluated by the Education and Training Inspectorate as outstanding have clearly demonstrated that they put the needs of the young person first. They demonstrate effective leadership and support every child to fulfil their potential.

“Shortly after becoming Education Minister I was honoured to host a reception in Stormont for schools awarded an outstanding or very good inspection report in the past year. I previously met school principal, Mary McNiece at that reception and I welcome this opportunity to visit the school and see for myself the excellent quality of education being provided.”

The Minister concluded: “The success of Derrylatinee St Francis’ Primary School owes much to the hard work and commitment of everyone connected to the school – parents, governors and all the staff, both teaching and non-teaching. I encourage everyone involved with the school to keep up the good work.”


Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has slammed the decision of the government to push through an amendment to one of the two EU Treaties which establishes the European Stability Mechanism.

Deputy Adams asked the government to publish the advice given to them on the matter by the Attorney General. The government refused this request.

Speaking in the Dáil Deputy Adams said:

“Sinn Féin believes that legislation to enable the State to licence the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) should be put before the people in a Constitutional referendum. I would urge the government to let the people decide on this matter which is of crucial importance to Ireland.”

Deputy Adams criticised the government’s refusal to hold such a referendum or to publish the legal advice they have received from the Attorney General.

“The Tánaiste today blamed the previous government for handing over our economic sovereignty to the EU. Pushing through an amendment which will hand over a measure of fiscal authority to Eurozone Finance Ministers is not a decision this government can blame on Fianna Fáil.

“Fine Gael and Labour have the power to allow the Irish people to have their say on this issue through a referendum.

“I call again on the Government to hold a referendum on this issue and to publish the legal advice

“The Treaty which has already been signed but not yet ratified commits the Irish State to contribute €11 Billion in various forms of capital to the ESM when it is established in 2013. Further amounts of money can be demanded by Eurozone Finance Ministers as the ESM is regularly reviewed.”


The Greater Belfast area will play a major part in the Paralympic Torch Relay in the run up to the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Building on the traditional Torch Relay format, the Paralympic Torch Relay will begin on Friday 24 August 2012 with the first flame-lighting event in London. Greater Belfast will host a flame-lighting event on 25 August 2012, followed by Edinburgh and Cardiff on 26 and 27 August.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Minister for sport, Carál Ní Chuilín, said: “This is another wonderful opportunity for the north of Ireland to showcase its culture, heritage and sporting talent to the world and to be part of the festival of celebrations leading up to the 2012 Games. Individuals and communities will have a unique chance to become involved in the festivities and be part of this globally-significant event. I would encourage everyone to take part.”

The Paralympic Torch Relay will showcase the very best of teamwork, shining a light on those who are working together to reach a collective goal and the amazing feats that have been achieved through individuals combining their skills and abilities.

The Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, said: “I am very proud to be able to say that we will be playing a key part in heralding the beginning of the 2012 Paralympic Games, and would encourage everyone to get involved in the Flame Festival and the activities leading up to it, so that our moment will be truly memorable.”


Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has said that he is extremely worried about the long-term impact that the decision not to award a contract to Enterprise NI to deliver the ‘Go for It’ programme will have.


Speaking after Enterprise NI appeared at this morning’s ETI Committee meeting, Mr Flanagan said:


“As someone who has taken part in the Go for It programme in recent years, I can testify first-hand how beneficial the programme is for those trying to start their own business.


“Not only is the initial training and advice exceptional, but there is also the reassurance for entrepreneurs that ongoing support and guidance will be provided for free by the Local Enterprise Agency.


“Whilst only getting around 3% of the total budget of Invest NI, Enterprise NI have delivered fantastic results with regards to job creation.


“There is currently an element of complacency with regards to job creation emanating from the Enterprise Minister and this is something that needs to be challenged.


“Enterprise NI play a key role in our local social economy, particularly with regards to the promotion of an entrepreneurial spirit amongst people from rural and disadvantaged areas, young people and females, as well as the good work they do in developing cross-border trade and exports out of Ireland.


“I am very concerned at the long term impact that this decision will have, as any new training provider will find it very difficult to get into these hard to reach areas.”


Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has said that a proposal by NIE to add a further £1.4 billion to electricity prices must be rejected.

Speaking after a meeting of the Assembly's Enterprise Committee where the issue was discussed, Mr Flanagan said:

“This proposal is sheer madness and the prospect of a further 12.5% rise in prices will terrify many hard pressed consumers and businesses.

“We have already seen massive price hikes in electricity prices recently, and these are being blamed on rising wholesale prices.

“NIE now deem it acceptable to add a further £1.4 billion to electricity prices as part of their investment programme.

“I would urge the Utility Regulator to reject these proposals in the interest of protecting consumers.”


Education Minister John O’Dowd returned to his old primary school in Laurencetown today.

During the visit to St Colman’s Bann Primary School, the Minister met with pupils as well as both current and retired members of staff. He also had the opportunity to meet two of his former teachers and an old classmate who is now on the school’s Board of Governors.

He said: “It’s great to be back in St Colman’s Bann Primary School. The school has a proud history of providing quality education for children in Laurencetown and the surrounding areas for many, many years. In fact, the school either as St Colman’s, or, as it was previously known, the Bann Primary School, has had a central role in the local community for over a hundred years.

“I personally am very proud of my connection with the school and my visit has brought back many happy memories.”

The Minister continued: “As well as providing a high level of education at Key Stage 1 and 2, St Colman’s also places emphasis on the important role of sport and music in a child’s development. The school participates in the GAA strand of my Department’s Primary Sports Programme. This is a great way of encouraging children to embrace physical exercise and I hope the pupils here are enjoying being part of this great programme.

“I know that you have particularly strong links with the Tullylish club, with many pupils being members of the club and playing for the underage teams. That would have been my local club growing up and I hope that I will have the opportunity in the future to see some of you in the famous yellow and blue jerseys.

“Musical talent is also strongly encouraged at St Colman’s Bann Primary School. As well as a school choir and tin whistle group there are also key stage 2 children learning to play violin, cello and double bass with support from the Southern Education and Library Board music service tutors. I was lucky enough to experience some of that musical talent for myself today through the performance by the school choir and I commend all those involved in that and the various other musical activities.”

The Minister concluded: “Finally, on a personal note I would like to thank St Colman’s Bann Primary School and all those present today who had a role in my education. I hope that the current pupils enjoy their time here as much as I did.”


Sinn Féin Belfast City Councillor Conor Maskey has expressed his concerns with regards to the planned British army homecoming parade in the Kings Hall.


Speaking today Cllr Maskey said:


“Only weeks before the election campaign the DUP in an attempt to draw in votes cynically proposed a British army homecoming parade for Belfast city centre.This was roundly rejected, even by the British MOD, and Sinn Féin were very clear that the Council should not divert any resources towards facilitating this.


“The British army are engaged in illegal wars in Afganistan and Iraq, and beyond this the hurt they have caused in Ireland is well documented. There are many victims of the British army, UDR and RIR, victims of collusion, intimidation, shoot to kill, torture and state murder.


“We now have a situation that there will be a homecoming parade at the Kings Hall. We are concerned given that the last British army march in Belfast witnessed the UDA and UVF mobilising and supporters of the march attacking peaceful protestors with bricks, bottles, bolts and fireworks.Is this now to be visited upon a mixed area of Balmoral?


“Lets be clear, Belfast does not need this event, the division that it will cause nor the cost to host the event foisted upon it.”


Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that the Orange Order has shown its true colours by bringing disciplinary proceedings against Ulster Unionists Tom Elliott and Danny Kennedy for attending the funeral mass of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr.

Mr Kelly said:

“By having these anti-Catholic rules the Orange Order is showing that it is clearly a sectarian organisation. Attempts by the Orange Order to rebrand itself as a cultural organisation are completely discredited while they retain sectarian rules.

“Maybe some people not affected by Orange marches will now get a sense of why Catholic/Nationalist communities object to this organisation coat-trailing its way through their areas.

“On the one hand the Orange Order claims to be for religious freedom yet on the other they continue with sectarian rules in their organisation which prevent its members from mixing with those of a different faith.

“They can’t have it both ways. It’s time for the Orange Order to move into the 21st century and dump its sectarian baggage.”


Sinn Féin launch alternative Budget for 2015