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Sinn Féin Slieve Gullion Councillor Terry Hearty has said that whilst the adjournment of the current oral hearing into the proposed Incinerator in Nobber, County Meath (15 miles from Culloville) is to be welcomed, there is a need for Newry and Mourne Council to ensure that the health and well being of the local South Armagh community is protected.

Cllr Hearty said:

"The oral hearing which my colleague Cllr Pat McGinn attended last week has now adjourned after it emerged that a five-acre field included in the application was not owned by the company seeking planning permission.

"Presiding inspector Paula Fitzpatrick adjourned the hearing so that she can consider the evidence and make a presentation on the matter to the board.

"This suspension will give time for elected representatives and communities in South Armagh time to ensure that their concerns about the proposed incinerator will be heard.

"The right of our communities to have their input into the consultation process has been denied by An Bord Pleanala. I have asked Newry and Mourne Council to get a legal opinion on this refusal by the Dublin Planning Board. It is also essential that local people are made aware of the potential implications and impact of what the proposed incinerator will have on their lives, health and well being."

Local Sinn Féin Environmental spokesperson Councillor Pat McGinn said that the process now taking place was flawed. He also said that 7000 people had signed a petition against the Incinerator and that local communities in Meath were adamant that they would not have an incinerator forced on them.

Cllr McGinn added:

"It is ironic that the Planning Board Oral Hearing which I attended last week in Navan was further away from Nobber than Culloville.

"The fact that areas within Newry and Mourne including Culloville and Crossmaglen will be directly impacted upon by the proposed Incinerator Plant has been completely disregarded by An Bord Pleanála. Newry and Mourne Council wrote to the Planning Authorities in Dublin on September 3rd outlining our concerns and requesting permission to make a written submission on the application. In a reply received last week our request has been dismissed.

"Environmental problems cannot be partitioned. The community that Newry and Mourne Council represents were not consulted as per the legal requirement. This amounts to a serious breach of the EIA Directive, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the competent authority for its implementation. There is also the Geneva Convention on Long-range Trans-boundary Air Pollution, which the Irish government has signed up to and used successfully in its battle against the Sellafield Nuclear Plant.

"Yet, they have not employed the same legal obligation towards the 90,000 people living in the Newry and Mourne District.

"Pollution and dioxin emissions do not recognise political borders. Newry and Mourne will be directly affected by the proposed Incinerator and it is vital that the views of our communities and the council this side are the border are taken intro consideration."

He explained that the application for a second Incinerator in Meath was brought under the 'fast-track' Strategic Infrastructure Development Scheme (SIDS), which allows the application to bypass normal county council planning channels, and a decision is expected by early November from the planning appeals board. This has caused huge controversy, with the vast majority of Meath County Councillors against the project.

The Councillor concluded:

"At the recent oral hearing in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan an initial application for an extension of time to enable councils in Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Westmeath, Offaly and Kildare to make submissions was turned down. However that decision was reversed and now these Council areas are being allowed to submit. It is only right and proper that Newry and Mourne Council be given the facility also. The people of south Armagh have the support of the County Meath Environmental Organisation, the North East Against Incineration Group." ENDS


Newry and Mourne Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Curran said that news of the death of a young child in the Hill Street locality of Newry city this evening had shocked and numbed the entire community.

"Any sudden death is terrible but that of a young child is particularly tragic" said the DPP Chairperson who also said that at this stage circumstances about the tragic incident which claimed the life of the young child were unclear.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the young child who has lost her life as they try to come to terms with such a devastating loss." ENDS


Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has begun consultation on a Review of Irish-Medium Education.

The Review was carried out by an independent Project Board and aims to set out a strategic direction to build a strong basis for future provision of education through the Irish language.

The Minister said: "Today I am publishing the Review for consultation, which will influence the process of developing policies to encourage and facilitate this growing sector.

"The Review has highlighted the great successes in the Irish-medium sector, but rightly also highlighted that much still needs to be done. There is a legacy of sub-standard accommodation that needs to be addressed along with the important issues of support for educators and availability of resources. Above all we need to put the interests of the children and young people first.

"The Irish-medium sector has grown from a class of nine children in Belfast over 30 years ago, to more than 3,000 children right across the North today. That growth has been helped and supported by parents working with Irish language activists and educators who recognise the benefits that bi-lingual education brings to our children. I applaud the efforts of these dedicated people.

"I recognise that there are particular issues to be addressed in the post-primary sector where I need to be sure that solutions offered are the right ones. This Review will help the development of a strategic approach which should in turn support educational solutions that work for everyone.

"Our goal is to ensure the highest standard of education for our children through the medium of Irish at each stage of their development."


Speaking during his attendance at the Public Health Service Campaign March and Rally in Dublin, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said any cuts in public health services in next week's Budget should be "opposed and resisted in every way possible". He said Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for universal public healthcare, free at the point of delivery and funded from fair and progressive taxation.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Today's march demonstrates the demand for decent public health services at a time when Government and HSE cuts are already causing hardship to patients across the State. These cuts are being carried out in the name of 'cost saving' but they represent a totally false economy. Services in hospitals are being shut down for weeks on end but staff continue to be paid and facilities to be maintained. As a result, waiting lists will lengthen, the health outcomes of patients will deteriorate and the medium to long-term costs to the health services will escalate.

"The Fianna Fáil-Green government is preparing to impose cuts in next week's Budget. Unless there is an increase in the Health budget at the very least in line with inflation then severe cuts in services to patients will result. The Government must draw back from the brink. It must not repeat the disastrous mistakes of the 1980s when our public health services were decimated by cuts, the legacy of which still haunts the system today.

"Any cuts in public health services in next week's Budget should be opposed and resisted in every way possible.

"Fundamental reform, including the end of the two-tier public-private system, is the only guarantee of equality and efficiency in healthcare in Ireland. Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for universal public healthcare, free at the point of delivery and funded from fair and progressive taxation.

"Contrary to the incorrect report in yesterday's Irish Times, Sinn Féin remains fully committed to free universal public healthcare." ENDS


ilt atá romhainn chun Mary Lou a thabhairt arais chun na hEorpa.


“The European elections present a major challenge to Sinn Fein but it is a challenge that I believe this party is more than up to.” ENDS



Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald’s selection convention for the forthcoming European elections took place today. Giving the keynote address Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams noted “next years European elections are about securing a strong European voice for Ireland at the European parliamentary table. It is about delivering for ordinary people on issues that affect their lives. It is about building republican politics. It is about policy and politics that deliver.”


Mr. Adams said:


“Mary Lou’s election in 2004 for Dublin took the political establishment by surprise and was a major upset for the other political parties. Up to that point there was a sameness about EU politics, as represented by those who were elected to the European Parliament. Mary Lou’s election broke the mould of EU elections in Dublin.


“Her determination to champion the needs and goals of Dublin citizens saw the election of an MEP who is an able and efficient and very vocal advocate for her constituency. Mary Lou has done an outstanding job.  Mary Lou has been a tireless campaigner on behalf of her constituents on justice and community and social issues, on jobs and the economy, and on investment.


“Europe impacts on so many areas of ordinary peoples lives and often the impact is not a good one. The Union is also moving in an overly centralised, privatised and militarised direction.


“Sinn Féin’s approach to all of this is rooted in our republicanism. We want to see a social Europe and a democratic citizen based EU. And it is this that marks us out from all of the other Irish political parties. But my friends be very conscious that throughout the Union there are citizens who share our view.


“The current banking crisis and economic challenges is affecting all the people of this island. Successive Fianna Fáil led government blew the surpluses of the boom years, leaving Ireland facing a 15 billion euro exchequer deficit by the end of 2009. But Sinn Féin believes that the economy can be turned around. The next twelve months are crucial. We support measures that can and must deliver a sound economy based on the principles of equality and fairness.


“Yesterday we launched the party’s pre budget submission that contains solid costed proposals on how the government needs to approach economic recovery. Do I have any confidence that the government will do this? NO. This government has never been about the redistribution of wealth or utilizing the economy in the common good. It has always been about looking after its cronies. People are increasingly seeing through this. But unless relevant alternative is built the establishment will survive yet again and the ordinary citizen will pay the price. This election gives us the opportunity to win more people to our cause.


“This week also saw the first meeting of the Oireachtas joint committee tasked with addressing the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. Senator Pearse Doherty reaffirmed that we would play a constructive and positive role in the committee.


“Senator Doherty also made it clear that Sinn Féin will not be part of a cynical exercise to clear the way for a re-run of the Lisbon Treaty. The government, and all the parties who supported Lisbon should note that the people will not accept empty opt outs and meaningless declarations. The debate must centre on how a better deal for Ireland in the EU can be secured.


“Sinn Féin believes that Ireland's place is firmly in Europe. We want to see Ireland continue to play a central role in shaping the future of the EU in the interests of all citizens.


“We are ambitious for what we as a small member state can achieve in the interest of all the people in the EU.


“Léiríodh le linn feachtais na Liospáin go raibh Sinn Féin réidh agus ábalta glacadh páirt i phoilitíocht tábhachtach an Eoraip, phoilitíocht a bhfuil tionachar aige orainn anseo in Eirinn.


“Léirigh muintir na hEirinn go bhfuil said réidh éist le guth s'againne nuair a dúirt said 'NÍL' leis an chonradh Líospáin.


“And this is the context within which Sinn Féin fought the Lisbon Treaty campaign. We were the only main political party to campaign on the doors and in the Oireachtas for a No vote. We were the only political party to put the interests and rights of the people first.


“Next years European elections are about securing a strong European voice for this great city at the European parliamentary table. It is about delivering for ordinary people on issues that affect their lives. It is about building republican politics. It is about policy and politics that deliver.


“Tá a lán obair romhainn agus tá mise breá cinnte go bhfuil daoine anseo réidh den streachailt atá romhainn chun Mary Lou a thabhairt arais chun na hEorpa.


“The European elections present a major challenge to Sinn Fein but it is a challenge that I believe this party is more than up to.” ENDS




Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MP and MLA, Conor Murphy has announced that Sinn Féin is to hold a public meeting in Newry Town Hall on 22nd October at 7pm. The meeting's theme is 'Educational Excellence For All' and will feature Minister for Education, Caitríona Ruane on the panel.

Commenting on the event Mr. Murphy said,

"Sinn Féin is a party that believes in openness and transparency. We believe that participatory democracy is the best way to represent the people that we are elected to serve."

"Sinn Féin is the only party to hold public meetings on a six county wide basis. Previous meetings proved hugely successful and on the back of that we have decided to hold meetings focusing on education and the need for equality in schools for our children."

"I would encourage all parents, teachers or anyone else who might have an interest to come along and participate in the event." ENDS


Tomorrow (Saturday) a march and rally will take place in Belfast City Centre in support of Acht na Gaeilge.

Expressing his support and solidarity with the March Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said;

"Níor chóir go mbeadh iontas ar bith faoin seasamh seo atá ag an Aire Gregory Campbell agus cuid eile den DUP ach ag an am céanna, cuireann sé isteach go mór ar phobal na Gaeilge, cé chomh gráiniúil a bhíonn siad sa tionól. Cad chuige go bhfuil eagla ar na daoine seo roimh an Ghaeilge? Is le gach duine ar an oileán seo an teanga, ní bagairt í do dhuine ar bith agus ba choir go mbeadh lucht an Bhéarla, nach bhfuil suim acú sa Ghaeilge, bheith ar nós cuma liom. Bealach amhain nó bealach eile beidh Acht na Gaeilge againn."

"Gregory Campbell as Culture Minister should be long-sighted on this matter. He is in a position to show leadership to his party. The Irish language threatens no one. It is not compulsory. Irish language rights threaten no one.

"The revival of the Irish language has been a cultural success story. More and more people are using Irish. Young children in particular are being educated in increasing numbers through the medium of Irish and it is their future and their rights that must be secured through legislation.

"It is unfortunate that the Minister's stance has been so negative and this is certainly not in the spirit of a partnership in the Executive or the Assembly.

"It is with regret that unionists have used this question as a political football rather than an administrative issue.

"Nevertheless I am confident that if we continue to campaign and argue for Acht na Gaeilge that it will be achieved."




Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Carál Ní Chuilín has stated that immediate action is needed from the Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, in order to save the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.

Speaking today Ms ní Chuilin said:

"At yesterdays emergency meeting in NICVA the message for over 100 representatives of local communities was clear. Margaret Ritchie needs to act, and act now to save vital services and jobs in the Neighbourhood renewal programmes.

"Margaret Ritchie's decision to review the Neighbourhood Renewal programme at this stage is placing more strain on socially deprived communities, communities that are already under immense pressure. The projects in these areas are facing meltdown if the Minister does not act. The reality is people have not been paid since the end of August.

"It is essential that funding is delivered from Margaret Ritchie otherwise there is a very real danger that within the next week key services and jobs will be lost. Currently the review is strangling Neighbourhood Renewal. The Minister must realise that those delivering this programme are at crisis point.

"We would all need to be given an assurance that the Department for Social Development will move on this issue. On top of this there needs to be commitment fro Margaret Ritchie on long term support for the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.


Naimhdeas an SDLP i dtaca leis an Ghaeilge léirithe arís - Mhic Giolla Mhín
Cháin Comhleoir Shinn Féin Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhín an SDLP i ndiaidh a chaith 3 ionadaí dá gcuid vóta, ar Choiste Sláinte agus Timpeallachta Comhairle Cathrach Bhéal Feirste, i néadán leanúint le chóras, a ligeann do iarratais fa choinne sráidainmneacha dhá-theangach, dul go díreach go céim suirbhé.
Chaith ceithre Chomhleoir de chuid Shinn Féin vóta ar son leanúint leis an chórais seo agus chaith lucht na naontachtóirí agus an 'Alliance' vóta ina éadán. Ciallaíonn é seo go raibh 6 ina éadán agus ceithre ag tacú leis. Dá mba rud é gur thug comhleoirí an SDLP, Peter Reilly, Cathal Mulligan agus Niall Kelly tácaíocht don rún seo bheadh an bua aici.
Dúirt Bean Uasail Mhic Giolla Mhín,
"Níl ciall ar bith le cad chuige ar chaith an SDLP vóta in éadán an rún seo; is rud dearfach é sráidainmneacha dhá theangach a cuir ar fail ar fud Béal Feirste.
"Arís eile tchíonn muid fimíneachas milteanach ón SDLP i dtaca leis an Ghaeilge. Ar an drochuair tugann seasamh an SDLP leithseáil d'iad siúd a bhfuil ag cuir I neadán ár dteanga dúchais.
"Beidh Sinn Féin ag tacú leis cuir chun chin na Gaeilge ar fud Bhéal Feirste."


Sinn Fein councillor Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin has reacted angrily after the 3 SDLP councillors on Belfast City Council's Health and Environment Committee voted, at their meeting on Wednesday 8th October, against the continuation of a pilot scheme on bilingual street signage whereby any application submitted through local elected representatives progressed directly to survey stage.
The 4 Sinn Fein councillors present, Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin, Maire Cush, Gerard O'Neill and Tiarna Cunningham all voted in favour of the scheme continuing while the 5 unionists and 1 Alliance member voted against.
This left the vote at 6-4 against and if the 3 SDLP councillors, Cathal Mulligan, Peter O'Reilly and Niall Kelly had voted in favour of the extension of the pilot scheme it would have been carried by 7 votes to 6.
Councillor Mhic Giolla Mhin said:
'This pilot scheme allowed councillors to trigger the survey stage of the bilingual signage process which meant that the council would then automatically send out letters to homes in a particular street asking residents if they would like bilingual signage erected.
'There was no logical reason for the SDLP to vote against the continuation of the pilot scheme for a further 12 months.
'The erection of dual language street signs across Belfast is something that should be welcomed and supported by all those who value and seek to promote the Irish language.
'Yet again we have seen the SDLP acting in a totally contradictory fashion and their actions give succour to those who would seek to oppose equality for the Irish language and who would oppose an Acht na Gaeilge.'
'Sinn Fein will continue to campaign and battle for equality for our native language.'


Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD today launched his party's budget priorities 2009 entitled 'Realising Ireland's Potential'. Speaking today as he launched the document Deputy Morgan said Sinn Féin's priority is on delivering a sound economy based on job creation, social inclusion and fair taxation.

He said, "Despite the current economic difficulties, Sinn Féin believes that the economy can be turned around. We believe that it is absolutely essential that the Government uses the next twelve months to tackle the ongoing financial crisis and the construction sector collapse. It must restore confidence and develop sound industries, particularly the indigenous export sector, build a more responsive and equitable social welfare process, and create a fair and progressive taxation system. These policies will get the economy back on track.

"Sinn Féin will support measures that can deliver a sound economy based on job creation, social inclusion and fair taxation. The Government cannot revert to type and fall back on short-sighted cuts in public services that will do lasting damage. Budget 2009 offers the Government the opportunity to take the first steps on the road to economic recovery.

"Our proposals aim to stabilise and re-invigorate the economy, prioritise job creation, address the massive shortfall in public finances, deal with the needs of low and middle income earners facing cost-of-living pressures and provide solutions for those who have become unemployed or who face unemployment." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA has congratulated Martti Ahtisaari

on the awarding to him of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking today Mr Adams said:

"I would like to express my warm congratulations for the well deserved awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Martti Ahtisaari.

"He played a positive and constructive role in the Irish peace process along with Cyril Ramaphosa

"Not only is he known for his contribution here but also for his hard work, that is acknowledged today, in building peace around the world."


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún at the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change has welcomed the vote by the Parliament's Environment Committee to enhance the financial aid to developing countries in order to help them adapt to the impact of climate change.

Speaking at the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change Ms de Brún said:

"It is undeniable that the consequences of climate change are most often felt hardest in the developing world, and that these are the places that contribute least to the problem.

"For that reason I am particularly pleased that the European Parliament Environment Committee voted that all auctioning revenues should go to climate measures, with 50% going to the EU and 50% to developing countries.

"This should help provide certainty regarding aid to assist developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change. Sinn Féin will continue to argue that this assistance should be consistent, long term and additional to other aid already pledged. There needs to be a concerted, comprehensive and dedicated approach to dealing with climate change and aiding developing nations to deal with this pressing issue and this decision will go some way to addressing that."

Speaking after the meeting, where she stressed the importance of aid to developing countries to deal with the impact of climate change, Ms de Brún said:

"After I raised the need for the Copenhagen deal to include adequate financial aid to developing countries with Minister for Climate and Energy in Denmark, Ms Connie Hedegaard, she replied: "Only a handful of countries have lived up to the pledge to give 0.7 per cent of GDP to overseas aid. Developing countries need to know we are now coming with something additional." CRÍOCH


"Loss of 700 nursing jobs will devastate frontline health care" - O Neill

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA and Deputy Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Michele O'Neill has warned the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey that the loss of 700 nursing staff will devastate frontline health care.

Speaking today Ms O Neill said:

"It clear that the loss of 700 nurses will devastate frontline services and Sinn Féin will fight any attempt to cut these vital jobs.

"Sinn Féin recognise that there are financial pressures on all Departments including Health but the way forward is not to cut frontline services such as nursing jobs, home help services and the ambulance service.

"These are jobs that are essential to the function of a full and effective health service without which patient care will inevitably suffer. I think if you talk to any nurse they will very clearly tell you that both themselves and their colleagues are stretched. To loose 700 nurses is wholly unacceptable.

"Michael McGimpsey as Minister for Health must be more creative and innovative in making efficiency savings. A clear example of this would be to re-engage with pharmacists on the Minor Ailments scheme which could save £8 million. This is one way to save money and jobs." CRÍOCH


Gerry Adams will this evening addressed Sinn Féin activists gathered in the Europa Hotel for a selection convention to decide who will represent Sinn Fein in next years European elections.

The Sinn Fein President praised Bairbre de Brún for her hard work in the European Parliament in the last 5 years.

Mr. Adams said:

"It is a great honour to be elected by your peers and a special and particular privilege to represent Sinn Féin.

Bairbre de Brún has done a tremendous job as the MEP for this party and for this part of the island.

She has been a tireless advocate on behalf of her constituents on justice and community issues, on the economy and agriculture and fishing matters, as well as taking a lead role in environmental issues - in particular renewable energy.

She has served the people of the north and this party well, along with Mary Lou as the first Sinn Féin members elected to the European Parliament. And she has set a standard of work and a record of representation that none of the other MEPs or potential candidates come close to matching.

Of course, European elections are always difficult. Not least because the work of MEPs is largely ignored by the media in the intervening five years.

However, as well as voting for an MEP, the European election next year will provide an opportunity for Sinn Féin to continue with our strategy of building the party and building political strength.

The election north and south will be a major challenge for Sinn Féin and we will have to maximize our efforts to ensure a good result.

I believe that with Bairbre's record of exemplary work and a good organizational campaign by Sinn Fein that we can look forward to a successful election campaign.

Let me now say a few words about the current crisis in the political process.

40 years ago this week a Civil Rights march in Derry was batoned off the streets by a Unionist government incapable of coming to terms with the rights and entitlements of nationalists and republicans.

The Duke Street march was a pivotal turning point in our recent history.

Four decades later, and while much progress has been made, there are still some unionist politicians who want to turn the clock back; who want to rule the roost and who refuse to accept that nationalists and republicans have the right to human and civil rights, and to equality.

This is not acceptable and Sinn Fein will not allow the hard work of recent years to be squandered.

Some have tried to portray this crisis as the result of Sinn Féin blocking measures within the Executive and refusing to allow that body to meet.

This is neither true nor accurate.

This political crisis is more fundamental that that.

It is about the heart and soul of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements - the partnership and power arrangements of these agreements.

It lies in the DUP's refusal to work the Executive as a partnership and power sharing government.

And it lies in the desire of some DUP representatives who want to run the institutions in the same way unionism used to run the north - in their interests solely, even though the leadership knows this is not sustainable.

It is obvious that there are elements with the DUP who do not agree with power sharing and partnership as a political model or a practical politics.

In addition, there are clearly elements of the DUP who really don't want to have a Catholic about the place.

They are opposed to power sharing in any form.

And some of them clearly believe that by stalling and delaying they can hollow out the Food Friday and St. Andrews Agreement.

As a result of this opposition the DUP has been retreating from its obligations under the St. Andrews Agreement.

They have failed to embrace partnership government; they have run away from policing and justice obligations; they seek the retention of an outdated class based education system, and have sought to undermine the rights and entitlements of Irish speakers.

And all of this is wrapped in the most abusive and offensive language.

In effect the position adopted by the DUP since June is a challenge to all of the parties and in particular to the two governments.

Since early June Sinn Fein has been attempting to get the DUP to engage in a real and meaningful negotiation.

The DUP have avoided any real engagement.

By their actions the DUP risks squandering much of the good work done in the first year of the operation of the new institutions.

Sinn Féin makes no apology for standing firmly in defence of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements are fully implemented.

And we are determined that the rights and entitlements of every citizen are upheld.

We will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the political institutions work on the basis that they were agreed - in partnership and equality.

But Sinn Fein across this island is also focused on bringing out the biggest republican vote possible in the European elections.

We will be the only party standing in all 5 constituencies on this island and we are appealing for support in every county on this island.

So, the hard work starts again tonight.

This is an important election for our party and for our struggle.

I am confident that we have the right candidates, the right message and the best election team in the field." ENDS


Is cúis bhróid dom bheith roghnaithe arís mar iarrthóir don toghcháin do Pharlaimint na hEorpa. Is comhartha í seo don dea-obair chrua a rinne foireann Shinn Féin i bParlaimint na hEorpa le blianta beaga anuas.

It is a great honour to be re-selected to represent the party in the European elections in June of next year.

I believe it is a testament to the hard work of the Sinn Féin team in Europe.

Sinn Féin is contesting this election to win, to return a Sinn Féin MEP for the Six Counties and to be a part of Sinn Féin's all-Ireland team in the European Parliament.

And it is with hard work that we will ensure that yet again we elect a Sinn Féin representative from the Six Counties to what will hopefully be an even bigger team for Europe in 2009.

In the coming weeks and months I will be campaigning right across the North. I will be building on the work of the past four years.

Our engagement with Europe and its institutions has deepened since the election of our first ever MEPs - Mary Lou McDonald and myself. One of the proudest moments of my political life was when Mar Lou and I walked through the doors of the European Parliament together to represent Ireland, North and South.

Increasingly we are shaping and impacting on key decisions that effect people right across this Island.

Since being elected to Europe I have worked hard to bring hundreds of people across, to engage directly with the Parliament - from bringing relatives of those murdered by the British State to Brussels so that their voice can be heard by political leaders from across Europe; to engaging with farmers and fishermen, the Trade Union sector, women's organisations, disability rights advocates, families of those with autism and those bereaved through suicide.

It is vital that we have a Republican voice in Europe; vital that we can be a voice for Irish people in Europe because if we are not there then here at home our communities will lose out.

I have worked tirelessly on issues such as climate change, the Irish language and economic development for all areas right across the constituency.

In my report on the PEACE funding I showed how European money has made a huge contribution to improving the lives of people right across Ireland, in some of our most deprived and marginalised communities and in communities blighted by the scourge of an illogical and unworkable border.

I also paid tribute to those tireless workers for peace in the projects that have received PEACE funding and argued that this work should not come to an end when the EU funding ends. The Executive and Assembly need to recognise this valuable work and ensure that it continues - particularly the work with victims and survivors of the conflict.

We have led the way on international solidarity with other communities in the midst of conflict - with support for Palestine and support for tentative moves towards peace and reconciliation in Cyprus and in the Basque Country.

Bhí mé lánpháirteach san fheachtais ar son STÁDAS cuí a fháil don Ghaeilge mar teanga oifigiúl agus oibre sen Aontás Eorpach.

As everyone who knows me will acknowledge, I am a proud Gael and I have fought the battle at an EU level to ensure that Irish takes its rightful place among the working languages of the EU.

Indeed my recent report on evaluating the EU PEACE programme was the first ever European Parliament report produced in the Irish language.

The Sinn Féin team in Europe has been able to work over recent years on key issues for our farming communities, including the lifting of the beef ban, moving the EU Commission in the right direction in relation to our exports following outbreaks of animal disease in Britain. Both issues which threatened the future and livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the North - and co-incidentally both issues which highlighted the damage of being tied into British farming and DEFRA policy at a European level.

These are other issues where I have worked closely with colleagues here on the ground - issues such as the proposed super dump in East Derry and the campaign for economic development in the North West which included the launch of the North West charter and bringing the European Parliaments Regional Development Committee to the North West.

Cuid tábhachtach den obair atá idir lámha agam faoi láthair na ar athrú aeráide agus an tionchar a mbíonn aici ar an cine daonna agus todhchaí an domhain.

Crucially for me I have been focused on the issue of climate change and the impact of human activity on the future of our planet.

I have been to China and to the US with the European Parliaments committee on climate change to look in detail at what is happening and I am clear in my mind that as a nation we need to do much more to face the challenges of global warming head on.

It is no good doing a Sammy Wilson and burying our heads in the sand. The worlds climate is changing, changing more rapidly now than at any other time in our recent history and the effects are devastating. We have seen changing weather patterns that are affecting our infrastructure, impacting on our farmers and rural communities and leaving a trail of destruction across Ireland, Europe and the world. The poorest countries are suffering most and we have a duty to help them meet these challenges.

Europe has a crucial role to play in standing tall and bringing about lasting change in how we see our environment.

Tá sé doiligh labhairt faoi athrú aeráide gan tracht a dhénamh ar Sammy Wilson.

It is impossible to speak about climate change without giving Sammy Wilson a mention - although given his 'do nothing' agenda, in the writing of history his will only be a very, very minor footnote.

Politicians across the globe are working to reach a climate change deal by 2009 while at the end of 2008 Sammy Wilson still wonders if anything at all needs to be done. If we delay today - then it will be future generations that will carry the cost.

Our engagement with the EU is about the future. It is about ensuring action to meet the pressing demands of our environment, our rural, farming and fishing communities' workers rights and social protection. It is about getting balanced regional economic development that transcends and makes irrelevant the border.

Our engagement must be about social justice and rights for workers, older people, people with disabilities and it is about promoting the rights of indigenous people, their culture and their language.

This campaign is about asserting peoples rights both at home here in Ireland and the heart of Europe; because lets be honest if we don't do it, who will?

Baineann an feachtais seo le cearta na daoine. Mura dhéanann muidine é, cé a dhéanfaidh é?



Sinn Féin MLA and the party's Assembly group leader John O'Dowd has welcomed the fact that Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has got on with his job and announced he will be allocating almost £50 million in government funds.

Mr O'Dowd said,

"It's nice to see that Nigel Dodds has moved from deliberately misleading people that he could not allocate these funds and cynically blaming Sinn Fein on this; to now using urgent procedures in order to utilise these much needed finances, something joint First Minister Martin McGuinness proposed a number of weeks back.

The DUP position that Sinn Féin are in some way holding the Executive hostage has now clearly been exposed as a myth. It indicates very clearly that as opposed to getting on with the job of allocating this money for the betterment of citizens, Nigel Dodds was prepared to go before the media and claim he couldn't because Sinn Féin were holding the Executive up.

It is a cause of deep concern that the DUP seem prepared to be so flippant with economic issues of deep concern to people in their everyday lives."



Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson for older people, Micky Brady, today sponsored the launch of the A2B Benefit Calculator. The Calculator is a mechanism to aid older people find out what benefits they are entitled to and what is available to them.

Sinn Féin Party Spokesperson on welfare issues and launch sponsor Mickey Brady MLA stated the pressing need for older people to claim all the benefits available:

'The whole administration of provision of benefit and uptake needs to be urgently addressed, especially given the current credit crunch when now more than ever people are becoming increasingly reliant on benefits just to meet their basic everyday needs.

'Part of the problem is that many people just don't know what is out there: take Pension Credit, for example, which is particularly relevant given the fact that it can lead to passport benefits like the Social Fund and Housing Benefit. People and in particular older people need to be given the proper information in order to access and maximise their benefit uptake.'


Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has strongly criticized a decision by the committee of the Office of the First and Deputy First and Deputy First Minister to endorse the abolition of the Agricultural Wages board.

"As a member of the OFMDFM committee, I made the objections of Sinn Féin known in the strongest possible terms," said the party's Equality and Human Rights spokesperson.

"Although the committee decided not to heed those objections, this is not the end of the matter and Sinn Féin will continue to resist this move at every step as it moves through the Assembly.

"Many of our farm workers are among the lowest paid workers in the north and it is essential that they have the strongest of legal protections.

"In many cases those who are on the lowest wages are migrant workers and the Agricultural Wages Board provides a vital service in terms of protecting their rights and entitlements.

"It is our view that abolition of the board would place these workers at a disadvantage when compared with workers elsewhere on these islands.

"I do not believe that it is in the interests of the agricultural industry to allow the North to become, as suggested by the ATGWU, the 'sweatshop' for agricultural workers on these islands.

"Therefore, we are not prepared to sacrifice the rights of low paid workers or the protection of migrants because of the lobbying of employers or because of the partisan position of some assembly members.

"While everyone involved in farming wants to see red tape cut this should not be at the expense of the low paid." CRÍOCH


Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun has said that is would be very good if Environment Minister Sammy Wilson could meet with and talk to the Danish Climate and Energy Minister, Ms Connie Hedegaard.

"I welcomed the statement in the European Parliament today by the Minister for Climate and Energy in Denmark before world leaders meet for crucial climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. Minister Hedegaard has stated that the predominant scientific case is clear and the world cannot afford to fail in addressing the very real danger of climate change.

"While addressing climate change sceptics who are using the argument that science actually disproves climate change, the Minister stated quite clearly: "The question is whether as a politician of the 21st century you want to run the risk that [your -sic] science is right and we run the risk of reaching a tipping point of climate change with very serious consequences… I am a European Conservative and I do not want to run that risk".

"Maybe it would be good for Sammy Wilson to have a chat with a fellow conservative minister who deals with the environment in Denmark given his recent comments that humans have no part to play in current climate change levels" CRÍOCH

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