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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




Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today challenged the Taoiseach on the failure of the government to compel some of the Banks to pass on the ECB interest rate reduction to customers.

Speaking during Leaders Questions the Sinn Féin leader pointed out that on 4 November the Taoiseach had said he would consider introducing legislation to compel the banks to pass on the ECB interest rate reduction to customers.

Mr. Adams said: “However when I challenged the Taoiseach on this today he failed to provide any information or any leadership on this vital issue of public concern that is adversely affecting tens of thousands of families in mortgage distress”.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“The avalanche of press releases from Fine Gael backbenchers following the Taoiseach’s commitment to bring forward legislation is evidence that they too are well aware of the distress of mortgage holders

“While the government has called on the banks to do the right thing Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank continue to defy the Government. National Irish Bank has actually increased their rates.

“Thus far, despite billions of taxpayers’ money having been ploughed into the banks and bankers and bondholders having been bailed out, the government has failed to produce the promised legislation.

“The banks defy the government, and the people pay the price.” ENDS

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Speaking in the Seanad on the closure of army barracks, Sinn Féin senator Kathryn Reilly has called on the minister for justice to come to the Seanad to justify the closure and provide the economic rationale for the closures.

Senator Reilly said:

“I’m calling for the minister to come into this house to discuss the reasons for the army barracks closures.

“When a cabinet minister resigns because he does not believe the decision is backed up by facts and figures then we cannot have faith in the decision.

“The minister needs to show us his part of the comprehensive spending review; the cost-benefit analysis and the impact assessment. As far as I can see this decision makes no economic sense and is a bad decision.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin West Belfast MP, Paul Maskey MLA has welcomed the decision by Attorney General, John Larkin to order new inquests into the deaths of 11 people in Ballymurphy in August 1971.

Paul Maskey said:

“This is a welcome announcement by the Attorney General and moves the campaign for Justice for the Ballymurphy Victims a step closer.But while this is an advance in the campaign it should not be seen as fulfilling the demands of the families to a full Independent International Inquiry.

“The call for such an Inquiry has received support from a wide spectrum of human rights organisations and from Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Conor

“The original Inquests were a cynical exercise in cover-up and smear against the victims who included a Catholic priest and a mother of eight children. Eye witnesses evidence was not taken and British Army members statements were prepared in advance and presented to the Judge without any opportunity for cross examination.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the families in their campaign for justice and for an Independent International Inquiry into the deaths of their loved ones.

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Sinn Féin Assembly Parliamentary Secretary to the Education Minister, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said it’s important that various initiatives taking placeto coincide with anti-Bullying awareness week receive maximum support.

Mitchel McLaughlin said

“Education Minister John O'Dowd launched anti-bullying week campaign at Stormont today (Monday 15th) highlighting several initiatives that will be taking place in our schools and youth clubs to raise awareness of this issue by providing support services and additional information for anyone suffering at the hands of the bully.

"An emphasis is being put on cyber bullying as the advances in technological facilities on mobile phones and the internet have provided a new vehicle for bullying to take place. It is therefore very important that awareness programmes are put in place and guidance given so that children, parents and teachers are fully informed as to the dangers of unsupervised use of internet chat rooms and various web sites and mobile phones.

"Cyber bullying and malicious use of the internet can have devastating effects on vulnerable individuals particularly if the incidents remain hidden with the victims not seeking support and help. It is imperative that victims of bullying can feel confident that by exposing the issue they will receive every support and assistance that is available.

"While technology is advancing rapidly it is essential that we keep pace with the dangers it can create for those young people who frequent Internet chat rooms, social networking sites, emails etc. The advances in mobile phone capabilities add a further element to the increasingly sophisticated techniques that bullies and predators employ to torment or groom their victims, therefore we must always be on our guard in the protection of our children and other vulnerable people.

 "Of course it's not just children who are victims of bullying- an increasing number of teachers in our schools are being subjected to abuse by a minority of students and this also must be stamped out. The welfare of both teaching staff and pupils is paramount. The environment of teaching and learning must be done in a safe and secure setting."

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party is committed to properly funded frontline services while eliminating wasteful public spending. Deputy McDonald was speaking today at the launch of her party’s pre-budget submission entitled The Route to Recovery.

She said:

“Sinn Féin is clear in its commitment to properly funded public services. Now more than ever services such as health and education need investment yet the government continues to target the most vulnerable and critical services. Sinn Féin has today outlined a number of measures to eliminate waste whilst protecting frontline services.

“A culture of high pay and pensions continues to prevail amongst the upper echelons of the civil and public sector. Fine Gael and Labour had a real opportunity to tackle this problem head on but instead they have merely tinkered at the edges. Over 14% of our people are out of work, we are in an IMF programme, public and private low and middle income earners have seen their income slashed over the last four years yet the president, government ministers, and secretaries general still earn extraordinary salaries. Capping public sector pay at three times the average wage, particularly in a recessionary period, is a fair measure.

“Successive governments have been mired in cronyism and self-interest since the inception of the state. Nowhere is this more evident than in the appointment of board members to state agencies. Whilst Fianna Fáil well and truly kicked cronyism into the field, Labour and Fine Gael have now enthusiastically run with it. Reform is needed. Immediate reforms should include a reduction in board membership to no more than seven with board membership remuneration cut by 25%. Transparency must also be introduced to the system of state board appointments.

“Control of strategic state assets is central to the future security and prosperity of the economy and society, as well as the environmental protection of the island. Sinn Féin in its pre-budget submission briefly sets out the party’s vision of the role commercial semi-states can play in the state’s economic recovery.” ENDS

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Speaking at the launch of the Sinn Féin, pre-budget submission in Dublin this morning, the party’s enterprise spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD said:  “At what stage will the government accept that there policies are not working? We have 430,000 people signing on the register and 76,000 emigrated in the last year. We have 78,000 young people on the register.

“Europe is on the brink of a further recession which will disproportionately impact on our economy.

“And yet this government continues to pursue the failed policies of austerity for some while handing out millions to the bondholders. This government was elected on the basis of delivering change. They have failed and our people are paying the price.

“What is required is a new approach with a focus on investment, jobs and economic growth, an approach that will benefit all in society.

“Sinn Féin proposes to create a fund that will stimulate the economy and create jobs through the use of savings in the public sector, the implementation of a fair tax system and use of the national pension fund and European Investment Bank.

“Today we have set out proposals to develop and implement a €7 billion stimulus package.

“We would reinstate the capital projects blocked by the government last week and in addition bring forward an investment programme targeted at schools, health, energy and broadband to enhance our national competitiveness and create immediate employment.

“We will develop a job retention programme to safe guard existing employment and a targeted approach to matching the needs of employers to the skills of the unemployed.

“In addition we would seek to incentivise the pension industry to invest in this state and develop a €5 billion investment in retro fitting of insulation in housing to deliver jobs and reduce costs to families.

“This government has choices to make. It can continue to follow the lead of Fainna Fáil or it set a new way forward.

“We have showed that a different approach is possible that can deliver growth and employment. We hope that the government will look at our proposals and work with us to deliver the best for all our people.” ENDS

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Responding to comments from Peter Robinson threatening resignation over necessary Prison reforms, Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader Raymond McCartney said:

“Peter Robinson needs to calm down.

“Prison reform needs to be allowed to take its course without this sort of intervention.

“At this time of great economic challenges for the Executive the people expect their political leaders to be getting on with the job not engaging in this type of behaviour. We did not hear threats of resignation when the British government removed £4bn from the block grant.

“There are big challenges out there and threatening resignations and elections is not what people voted for last May and it is not helpful.”


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Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has called on farmers to take action now to protect the welfare of their animals this winter.

The Minister said: “Severe weather conditions and low temperatures can cause problems for livestock and it is important that farmers, like all businesses, should be as prepared as they can be.

“Extreme weather conditions are an added pressure which makes planning ahead very important. To help minimise the impact and meet their animals’ needs, I urge all farmers to ensure that they have adequate feed supplies, sufficient stocks of bedding and contingency arrangements in place to ensure water supplies to livestock.”

Highlighting the assistance available to help farmers with winter preparations, she continued: “Training and short courses to help farmers assess fodder requirement are provided at the College of Agriculture and Rural Enterprise(CAFRE) and DARD Development Advisors are also available to provide assistance with drawing up feeding plans for livestock.

“Private Veterinary Practitioners(PVPs) also have a vital role to play in animal welfare through the provision of professional advice to stock-keepers with potential or actual welfare problems on their farms. PVPs should be approached as soon as a welfare problem is noticed so that immediate action can be taken.”

The Minister also appealed to all rural dwellers to be vigilant to the needs of their neighbours in the Winter months: “At this time of year, the elderly and vulnerable in our society may find it a struggle to keep themselves safe and can become isolated if they live alone and are unable to get out of their home. Neighbourly help and assistance can make a big difference and I call on all rural dwellers to think about what they could do to help others this winter.”

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Speaking at the launch of his party’s pre-budget submission, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD said: “Sinn Féin recognises that the deficit caused by the disastrous policies of the last Government and this one has to be reduced and the state can’t continue borrowing large sums indefinitely.

“But the plan to reduce it by 2015 by imposing savage cuts to frontline services and levying flat taxes on struggling households will be hugely damaging socially.

“Fine Gael and Labour, just like Fianna Fail and the Greens, are attempting to impose this failed economic approach while simultaneously recapitalising banks and paying private bank bondholders.

“In other words, despite all their promises this government is upholding the status quo.

“A different strategy and a longer timeframe is needed. Sinn Féin wants realistic deficit reduction strategy based on:

  • A fairer tax system that targets wealth and lifts the burden of the least well o0ff, for example by abolishing the Universal Social Charge
  • Investing in jobs (which will increase state revenue and reduce the social welfare bill)
  • Elimination of wasteful public spending
  • Not paying the Anglo Promissory notes and restructuring the remaining unguaranteed, unsecured bonds.

“The government has a choice.

“It can choose to carry on with the failed austerity policies of Fianna Fáil or it can choose to implement a budget which is fair and which cherishes children instead of bondholders.

“In Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission we have made the choice to protect public services and those on low and middle incomes.

“We have shown that this can be done through taxing wealth, eliminating wasteful public spending, stimulating the economy, and tackling exorbitant salaries in the public sector.

“We have put forward proposals that would create new jobs and retain existing ones.

“Recovery without jobs is not possible.

“The budget is about choices and I hope that the government takes our comprehensive proposals on board, forgets failed austerity policies and puts people first.” ENDS

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Adams proposes all-island process to deal with issue of abuse


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