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Sinn Féin MLA Sean Lynch has said that the there needs to be full disclosure over the retention of human tissues by the PSNI and DPP.

Speaking after the issue was raised with the Justice Minister David Ford in the Assembly Mr Lynch stated.

“There has been widespread shock on the revelation that human tissues of victims were retained over many decades without the knowledge of families by a number of agencies.

“I was further shocked today to learn that there has been many more incidents where human tissues belonging to victims has been disposed off without informing the relatives.

“I am now calling on Minister of Justice David Ford to state categorically the exact numbers of how many people have been involved in having their tissues removed and disposed off without the permission of their families and that the Minister moves to inform those families immediately.

“It is important that there is immediate full disclosure to the families involved and that this does not develop into a drip feed of information forcing families to go and seek answers.

“Like previously with a number of hospitals the retention of body parts and human tissue without the knowledge of families is completely unacceptable.

“It is now important that proper support mechanisms are put in place for the families involved and a proper public explanation for this practice is put forward and assurances given that it will not happen again.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has welcomed the support for his motion on the reassessment of people in receipt of Incapacity Benefit.

Mr Brady stated,

“I welcome the support for the motion from all the parties today for the motion that highlights the flawed nature of the process.  Every speaker was able to relate a story of a constituent who faced a panel and was found fit for work although they were clearly unable to hold down employment.  The vast majority had their benefit restored on appeal 

“These appeals are costing the tax payer hundred of thousands of pounds each year and as this money comes directly from the block grant this means services are being cut to subsidise them.

“I am calling on the Minister of Social Development Nelson McCausland to urgently review the reassessment process to avoid both undue stress and the additional burden it is placing on the public purse by triggering so many appeals.”

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Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has challenged the government to move beyond inaccurate soundbites and actually debate the content of this Treaty.  

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said “This Treaty will not bring stability or certainty.  It will give constitutional protection to the type of policies being pursued by Angela Merkel, which are now being rejected by serious politicians across the EU.  It is clear that Fine Gael and Labour are on the wrong side of this debate and are fast being left behind by events across Europe.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“With only ten days to go it is clear that the fate of the Austerity Treaty rests with voters who are, as yet, undecided.

“The question most people are asking themselves is; how will this Treaty affect them and their families, what will it mean for the country in the future?

“I would urge voters to look beyond the Government’s threats and at the actual content of the Treaty.

“This Treaty will not bring stability or certainty.  It will give constitutional protection to the type of policies being pursued by Angela Merkel, which are now being rejected by serious politicians across the EU. Things are changing rapidly but the Irish government seems to be oblivious to what is going on across the rest of Europe. It is clear that Fine Gael and Labour are on the wrong side of this debate and are fast being left behind.

“The government is unable to identify any positive benefits to supporting this Treaty because there are none. The Treaty will mean more austerity in the future. This will lead to more unemployment and emigration. It will cost an extra €6 billion in cutbacks and tax hikes. It will also see more powers being handed over to the European commission and European Court of Justice.

“Every day there is more evidence that austerity is not working. The number of households in mortgage distress has reached a staggering 115,000.  People simply do not have enough money to keep a roof over their heads.

“More austerity means more consequences such as this. This Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland and for Europe. We need a change of direction.  We need solutions that are going to work.  We need investment in jobs. Be positive, vote No on May 31st.” 

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Sinn Féin's Pat Doherty MP, MLA (West Tyrone) will travel to London this evening for a series of meetings with the three main political Parties tomorrow.

Before leaving for London Mr. Doherty said:

"Among those I am scheduled to meet are the British Secretary of State, Owen Paterson and the shadow SOS, Vernon Coaker. I will take the opportunity to explain to both of them the logicality of Sinn Féin's demand for fiscal powers to be transferred to the Executive and the need for the issues of corporation and Air Duty Taxes to be expedited.

"I will also be impressing on the representatives of all three main parties what would be the beneficial affects of abolishing the the position and Office of British  Secretary of State. It is Sinn Féin's contention that the political institututions in the North are well capable of administering the responsibilities of government here without interference from unaccountable British politicians.

"Owen Paterson's claim that he represents the best interests of the people of the North of Ireland at the Cabinet table does not stand up to scrutiny."

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Speaking today Sinn Féin jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD said “Pat Rabbitte has admitted what everyone already knew, that this government is out of their depth and has no plan to deal with the economic or Eurozone currency crisis.” He said: “The Government is failing at home and in Europe and its policies of austerity are making things worse. People want solutions not threats.”

Deputy Tóibín said:

“The Government has finally admitted what everyone already knew, that it has no plan to deal with the economic or Eurozone currency crisis.  Figures released this weekend once again demonstrate that the Government is out of its depth.

“The mortgage crisis is getting worse with more than 115,000 households in mortgage distress at the end of April. The crisis in our health system is getting worse with a 24% increase in people waiting more than 6 months for surgery.

“Despite its talk about investment in jobs 1,500 people are emigrating every week, unemployment remains stagnant at 14% and with two quarters of negative growth the economy is officially back in recession.

“Not only has the Government no plan, but its policies of austerity are making things worse.

“The Government is failing at home and in Europe. There is now an urgent need to send the Government a clear signal that austerity is not working. A strong no vote on May 31st will send such a signal. It will be a vote for a change of direction. It will be a vote for investment in jobs and growth. It will be a vote for a new approach to the Eurozone crisis.” 

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald, canvassing in East Wall in her Dublin Central constituency this morning said “There has been a lot of distraction and confusion since the start of this campaign.  With less than two weeks to go it is about time that government ministers stepped up to the plate and start doing their job and discuss the substance of what people are being asked to vote on, on May 31st.”  Sinn Féin is holding information stalls in towns and villages across the country today and more than 100 public meetings will take place before people go to the polls.

Ms. McDonald said:

“Yesterday the government said their position was crystal clear.  It is anything but.  For the last three weeks they have talked about everything but the content of the Treaty which we are being asked to vote on, on May 31st. 

“They don’t want to talk about the articles of the Treaty, the potential cost to Irish taxpayers or the long term implications of being forced to hand away economic sovereignty.  And they are ignoring the elephant in the room, that this Treaty is still being negotiated.

“The contribution of senior government representatives to the debate this week was deeply insulting to the electorate. They need to step up to the plate and start doing their job.

 “Sinn Féin is holding information stalls in towns and villages across the country today and more than 100 public meetings will take place before people go to the polls. We are setting out the details of the Treaty and the reasons why we believe it is a bad deal for Ireland.”

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Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams TD, today announced a Dáil motion to be proposed next week, with the support of over 50 opposition TDs, to save and restore the 1916 battlefield site at Moore Street, Dublin.

At the announcement of the wording, Deputy Adams was accompanied to the site by acclaimed star of film and theatre, Fionnuala Flanagan, a recent recipient of an IFTA lifetime achievement award, who added her voice to the chorus of opposition to the demolition of the site. Also present were James Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly, Patrick Cooney,PRO for the families of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation and Helen Litton, a great grandniece of Kathleen Clarke.

The motion was drafted by descendants of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, who have been campaigning to save the site for over ten years. It will be taken during Sinn Féin private members’ time, in the Dáil on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Gerry Adams TD said: “The plan to build, yet another, shopping centre on this site, stands in stark contrast to the manner in which other states acclaim those who fought for freedom and independence.”

The motion asks for government to support the proposition, put forward by the families of the 1916 leaders, to ensure that the 1916 National Monument at 14-17 Moore St is fully protected and preserved in its entirety and that the surrounding buildings, streets and laneways are retained so as the potential of this area can be fully developed into a 1916 historic or cultural quarter.

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Speaking today Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said that “the government’s yes campaign has moved from threats to insults”. The Louth TD told the media that “having spent the first two weeks of the campaign threatening people Fine Gael has spent the last week insulting them”. Three weeks into the campaign they are still refusing to debate the substance of the Treaty and have yet to provide one positive reason to support its ratification.

Deputy Adams said:

“It is clear from the arrogance of Fine Gael spokespersons that they are completely out of touch with reality. This week we have seen the Taoiseach insulting people in Athlone, the Minister of Finance making jokes on the back of the hardship suffered by people in Greece and the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise telling people that the Government wouldn’t respect the outcome of the referendum.

“Having spent the first two weeks of the campaign threatening people Fine Gael has spent the last week insulting people. And still the Government has not provided even one positive reason to support the Treaty.

 “The Governments campaign is based on fear and evasion. They are asking us to sign up to new rules and regulations that will cost every single voter but refuse to tell us how much. They are asking us to write a blank cheque knowing that the cost will be at least €6 billion. 

“They are also asking us to hand over powers to the European Commission and European Court of Justice without any explanation of what that will mean not just in the here-and-now but for generations to come.

“The Austerity Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland and for Europe. Three weeks in to the campaign and the Government still refuses to deal with the substance of the Treaty. This is why the Taoiseach has refused to participate in a head to head debate.  People are beginning to see through their scaremongering and evasion.” 

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Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has described as outrageous comments from Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton that he would ask Europe if Ireland could vote again if the austerity treaty is defeated on May 31st.

Minister Bruton made his comments and then retracted them during a debate on Today FM this evening.  Deputy Doherty said the mask has slipped and that the government is intent on bullying the people into accepting a treaty that is detrimental to their interests.

He said:

“The comments from Minister Bruton, that he would seek permission for a second referendum in the case of a no vote, are an outrage and an affront to democracy.  And even though he retracted his comments the mask has slipped and it is clear that the government is intent on bullying the people into accepting a treaty that is detrimental to their interests.

“This government had to be threatened with legal action in order for it to announce a referendum.  We now face the prospect of it not respecting the outcome of that referendum.  This is the level of respect the government has for the people.” ENDS

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Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Defence Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien questioned the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter on the practice of prescribing anti-malarial drug lariam to members of the Defence Forces in the context of pending legal actions against the Defence Forces as a result of this.

 The Cork North Central TD said;

 “Lariam is well known for the adverse psychological effects it can have on those taking it. I previously asked about the procedures for prescribing it and the minister told me that all members in the Defence Forces were “screened” before being prescribed lariam before being deployed to areas where Malaria is a threat.

 “I asked the minister how many personnel were screened, how many were deemed unsuitable for Lariam prescriptions and how many personnel were ruled out of being deployed overseas as a result. The minister did not have this information to hand. I will submit further questions to ascertain this information.

 “I understand that there are a number of legal proceedings pending against the department as a result of Lariam prescriptions. There are a number of questions to be asked about its use. The US Army no longer prescribes this potentially dangerous drug to its personnel and although it is not currently being prescribed to any personnel in Irish Defence Forces, I am calling upon the minister to ensure that no member of the Irish Defence Forces is put at risk as a result of being given lariam during future deployments.”

 ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Dessie Ellis TD has called for increased measures to equality proof housing policy in order to insure and end to mistreatment of LGBT people when seeking their rights and entitlements. He made his comments as part of discussions taking place for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“Everyone has a right to be treated fairly and to feel safe. This is especially so when dealing with institutions of state and seeking to avail of our rights. This is not the case though often for a great many people in this state, particularly members of the LGBT community.

“Homophobic and Transphobic abuse is still a serious problem in our society and social housing must be equipped to deal with this by supporting LGBT people to find safe accommodation while respecting their life, sexuality and gender. The provision of social housing needs to be developed to address issues like targeting of LGBT people by anti-social elements and make equality proofing a core element to policy making.

“LGBT groups must be included in consultation with Local Authorities and the Department of Environment. Their interests and their protection must not be overlooked.

“It was not long ago that in this state to be gay, lesbian or transgender was incredibly difficult and legislatively discriminated against very harshly. That situation is now thankfully looking more and more a part of history but we must continue to strive to make being LGBT as easy as being any other part of our diverse and rich community.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today raised in the Dáil the need for an independent international inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974.

Speaking today on the 38th anniversary of the bombings Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Today is the 38th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I want to extend my continuing sympathy and solidarity with all the survivors and the bereaved of that terrible day. Thirty-three people were killed in those bombings which were carried out by agents acting in collusion with British crown forces. Of that there is now no doubt but what we do not have is accountability and truth and justice from the British Government.

“During his presentation to the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee on 2nd February 2012 members pressed British Secretary of State Owen Paterson on the failure of the British government to disclose relevant documentation. Owen Patterson told the Committee that the Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary William Hague ‘had assured his counterpart here that we have made available the synopsis that is relevant to this case’.

“This apparently refers to a 10-page letter to Judge Barron from former Secretary of State John Reid, dated 26th February 2002. Judge Barron expressed his frustration with the lack of information contained in this letter. He repeatedly requested the British Government for access to the documents themselves but on every occasion he was refused.

“With a straight face Owen Patterson told the Committee that the British Gernment ‘has been completely straight and up-front – at every opportunity we have made information available’. The Irish Government cannot let that go unchallenged.

“On 9 February the Seanad agreed unanimously a motion which notes that the question of obtaining access to information held by the British Government has been pursued for many years and requests the Irish Government to continue to raise the matter with the British Government and to press it to comply with this request and reaffirms the support of Members on all sides of this House. This mirrors a similar resolution adopted by the Dáil on our proposal at this time last year.

“Clearly the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs have a strong mandate from the Oireachtas, repeatedly stated, to pursue this issue with real determination with the British government.

“On 18 April last the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported that an official review has concluded that thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British Empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Those papers that survived were flown to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain. These files related to crimes by British forces in Kenya and other countries. The government here should certainly ask the British Government if files relating to the conflict in Ireland, the Dublin & Monaghan bombings and other acts of collusion in particular, were similarly treated. Were some destroyed and some retained secretly and perhaps illegally? We need answers.

“Finally, I want to raise the issue of funding for Justice for the Forgotten. The last government ended funding for the group which has done huge work both to support the survivors and the bereaved and to advance the search for truth and justice. In December 2010 the group, while retaining its separate name and identity, merged with the Pat Finucane Centre and secured a limited stream of funding. However, that did not cover the Dublin office which has now regrettably closed. I urge the government to restore funding for Justice for the Forgotten.”

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Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn has said today that “No is the European answer to the Austerity Treaty.”

MacLochlainn was speaking at a press organised by the Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty alongside MEPs from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Portugal.

Speaking after the press conference Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“Today, we heard about how austerity is failing people across Europe and how Ireland will not be isolated if we reject the Austerity Treaty. I am convinced more than ever that No is the European answer to the Austerity Treaty. We know that anytime in the recent past when people across Europe have had a chance to vote they have rejected the pro-austerity parties.

“By voting No Ireland would be allying herself to the growing movement across Europe 20which wants Europe to focus on job creation and not on cutting domestic demand across our continent.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty today announced details of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, which will take place in the INEC in Killarney on 25/26 May. Topping the agenda at the Ard Fheis will be jobs and growth, Irish unity and the Austerity Treaty. The theme of the Ard Fheis is ‘A New Republic – A New Future’

Pearse Doherty said:

“The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis will take place this year in the INEC in Killarney on the 25 and 26 May. This is the first time Sinn Féin has held an event of this scale in Co. Kerry or indeed Munster and follows the historic Ard Fheis in Belfast last year.

“Over the weekend 1,500 delegates will debate almost 200 motions on a wide range of topics including jobs and growth as an alternative to austerity, Irish unity, protecting public services, the difficulties facing communities across rural Ireland and the Austerity Treaty. Gerry Adams will make his Presidential Address at 5.30pm.

“A number of guests will address the Ard Fheis including the head of UNITE Jimmy Kelly, a former worker from Vita Cortex, representatives from ANC, Palestine and the Basque Country and Terry O’Sullivan, President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

“More people than ever are responding positively to Sinn Féin's message of the need to reject austerity and to stimulate the economy and create jobs and growth. We are bringing forward new and credible alternatives to both Irish government and Tory cuts and we are leading the campaign against the Austerity Treaty

“This Ard Fheis provides Sinn Féin with an opportunity to promote our message that there is hope, there is a political alternative and there is a way out of the economic crisis. What you can expect to see at this Ard Fheis are party members preparing themselves for the political challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

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Commenting on the HIQA Report on Tallaght Hospital, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said the report is an indictment of the management and resourcing of hospital services because of the failures of successive governments.

He said:

“This HIQA investigation arose from the death of an elderly patient on a trolley in a corridor in Tallaght Hospital. Our continuing sympathy goes to his family.

“Like other hospitals, Tallaght Hospital provides excellent care to its patients. However, like other hospitals also, the failures of management and resourcing of our health system mean unacceptably long waits and difficulty in access to care for patients. Successive governments have failed to reform our health services to provide equity and efficiency.

“It is shocking that in the period of the HIQA investigation (January to August 2011) they found that some patients were waiting in the emergency department for up to 61 hours before being discharged. It is equally shocking that over 80% of the admitted patients were accommodated on the corridor adjacent to the emergency department and waited, on average, a further 13 hours for an in-patient bed, the longest waiting for 140 hours.

“This is a comprehensive HIQA report and its recommendations will need to be addressed and implemented in detail by Health Minister James Reilly. What is equally certain is that the deficiencies highlighted in the report will not be solved by reorganisation alone. The projected Health budget cuts of €2 billion up to 2014, resulting, for example, in the continuing closure of over 2,400 public hospital beds, can only spell more patient misery of the kind highlighted in this HIQA Report.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Justice and Equality Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien today commended the LGBT groups that appeared before the Oireachtas Justice, Equality and Defence Committee and called for solidarity with the LGBT community on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“I commend those LGBT groups that presented to the Oireachtas Justice, Equality and Defence Committee on the issue of bullying, and I would strongly urge all of the government departments to take heed of what they said. While there may have been progress made in combatting homophobic bullying in schools, there is still a huge amount of work that has be done to combat transphobic bullying.

“There is no gender recognition legislation in this State that will allow trans people to be recognised in their preferred gender and I would urge the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to refer to the developments in Argentina, who have passed what may well be a model of international best practice legislation, and introduce much needed gender recognition legislation as a matter of urgency.

“The government must recognise that allowing discrimination to continue on, embedded in Irish society, such as allowing for employers to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or transgender status because of a school’s ethos, is in no way conducive to ensuring equality.

“I am calling on all Departments and Ministers to work together to eradicate whatever vestiges of discrimination against LGBT people that still exist, and I would call on all members of the public to show solidarity and combat and speak out against homophobia and transphobia wherever they see it.”

ENDS

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Peadar Tóibin, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation today said the government’s Credit Guarantee Bill is long overdue but a welcome initiative.

Peadar Tóibín said;

“We welcome this legislation today as much needed step to support our small and medium sized enterprises.

“We all share a common concern for our people and our economy. Small and medium sized enterprises are essential to delivering growth and creating employment. This legislation is one of a number of initiatives that business requires to return to growth.

“However this scheme has been under consideration since 2009 by the department despite the fact that similar schemes exist in over 100 countries and there has been one in operation in the North since the 1980’s.

“During the delay in bringing this legislation forward our economy has returned to recession and last year 1600 companies went into insolvency, due in part to lack of available credit.

“Yet to date successive Fainna Fail, Labour and Fine Gael governments have poured €64 billion into the banks. Money that has not made its way into the real economy or into SME’s and so we need a scheme to deal with banking failure.

“The government needs to exercise the full power of its investment in banking to ensure that that the needs of SMEs are fully met.

“We look forward to the implementation of a comprehensive set of supports that will fully address the credit needs of SME’s and deliver growth in our domestic economy.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning attended the state commemoration of the 1916 rising at Arbour Hill cemetery.

This afternoon in the Dáil during Leaders' Questions the Sinn Féin leader raised the deplorable state of the National Monument at 14-17 Moore Street which he described as a ‘slum’. Teachta Adams urged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to support the call from the relatives of the 1916 leaders for “the 1916 National Monument at 14-17 Moore St is fully protected and preserved in its entirety as designated and that the surrounding buildings, streets and laneways are retained so as the potential of this area can be fully developed into a 1916 historic or cultural quarter.”

The Sinn Féin President described this mornings Arbour Hill ceremony as a “very moving ceremony and a reminder of how much we owe those men and women who proclaimed the Irish Republic in defiance of an Empire almost 100 years ago.

"In this context I want to raise with you the deplorable state of the National Monument of 14-17 Moore Street and the surrounding laneways which you have visited and which you have described as the “lanes of history”.

"This iconic area marks one of the most important sites in modern Irish history. It must be protected Taoiseach but it must also be developed as an historic quarter and battlefield site in time for the centenary of the Rising. The condition of 14-17 Moore St is a disgrace. Its an insult to the memory of those men and women who it should honour.

"A developer, Mr Joe O Reilly, one of the Maple 10 Golden Circle, is planning to demolish the surrounding area for the building of a shopping complex. The developer is in NAMA who are now considering funding this development. In other words Irish taxpayers, Irish citizens may be asked to pay for the vandalising of a national monument. Taoiseach this is wrong.

"It stands in stark contrast to the way other states acclaim those who fought for freedom and independence and it totally contradicts the tone of our commemoration this morning. So, Taoiseach will you support the proposition put forward by the families to ensure that the 1916 National Monument at 14-17 Moore St is fully protected and preserved in its entirety as designated and that the surrounding buildings, streets and laneways – the lanes of history as you rightly call them - are retained so as the potential of this area can be fully developed into a 1916 historic or cultural quarter.

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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe welcomes this week’s announcement from the North’s education minister, John O’Dowd that a further £72million will be spent over the next three years following an education budget review.
Deputy Crowe said: “The £72 million extra in funding is good news for anyone interested in education on the island of Ireland.
“The additional allocation will be spent on early years, extended schools, the youth service and the maintenance of the school estate. The money was secured after an internal review led to further reductions in bureaucracy and savings from other educational services.
“I commend Minister O’Dowd for his efforts and the initiative he has shown. In the face of tough financial challenges, he has secured additional funding that will be reinvested into frontline education services. As a result of this review, low income families will now enjoy additional funding for free school meals and uniform grants and £27 million is being ring-fenced in 2012-13 to help address the maintenance backlog, a measure that is added good news for the beleaguered construction industry.
“As ever increasing numbers of families struggle to cope in these difficult financial times, a further €3.9 million is being provided to supplement provision for the 75,000 pupils in the North who currently are entitled to free school meals. This money, which will be directed towards lower income families, will be used to pay for uniform grants and free school meals and the Minister’s pro-activeness is in sharp contrast to the lack of urgency that characterises the approach of the FG/Labour government to this issue.
“Minister O’Dowd has paid more than lip-service in his attempts to find savings through addressing inefficiencies within his department’s overall budget. I look forward to similar promised savings announcements and pro-active commitments from Minister Quinn in the near future.”

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The government’s insistence on austerity is at odds with demands across Europe for growth and investment strategies, according to Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane.
Speaking on the Order of Business today, the Waterford senator added that the government’s refusal to invest in job creation measures was holding the country back and deepening the current recession.
“The people of Europe have made clear their opposition to austerity and demanded investment measures. We have seen the same message in elections in France, in Greece, in Rheinland-Westphalia in Germany, and elsewhere.”
“It is high time that Ireland joined that number and I believe we need a debate on job creation, which would include the views of a wide cross-section or Irish society, and indeed, European politicians, economists, trade unionists and investors.”
“Sinn Féin yesterday published its proposals for job creation. We are calling for a three-year investment package in the region of €13 billion focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises.
“This money would be sourced from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund, matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from the private pension sector. This could create some 40,000 jobs per year.”
“However, we are not alone in calling for a jobs investment plan. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has proposed a €15 billion investment package and SIPTU have also proposed a major investment programme of €10 billion.”
“The unemployment situation has long since reached crisis point, with some 440,000 on the live register and with thousands more emigrating every week. “Yet the government seems content to re-heat old promises and commitments, as we saw with the action plan on jobs, which involved no new investment, and no meaningful targets.”
“Unless the government turns its back on austerity, on hitting the least well off, and taking money out of the real economy, the jobs crisis will not be solved. It needs to take heed of what is happening across Europe and produce a real jobs plan which will involve tangible investment.”
ENDS

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