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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams this evening secured an adjournment debate in the Dáil on Vodafone’s decision to sack over 130 workers and move the jobs to India and Egypt.

Mr. Adams called on the government to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are protected and to ensure than any workers who do lose their jobs receive their redundancy entitlements.

Mr. Adams said:

“Minister, Vodafone says it intends sacking over 130 workers and moving those jobs to Egypt and India.

“This behaviour comes at a time when 443,400 citizens are unemployed. The highest level this year.

“Vodafone clearly have no loyalty to Irish people.

“No doubt, and the Minister might want to clarify this, they have received public funds and tax exemptions.

“Vodafone’s profits since it came here have been €2.2 billion. €120m last year.

“So, it takes public monies, makes huge profits and then moves on.

“This is the unacceptable face of globalisation.

“And the government must review this type of operation.

“I met with representatives of the Communication Workers Union.

“Their briefing included a minute of a meeting with Vodafone.

“The Union asked regarding the jobs in Rigney Dolphin which supplies employees to Vodafone:

Q What will happen to Rigney Dolphin employees who are losing jobs - will they be redeployed in Vodafone?
A No
Q What will be the terms of redundancy for Rigney Dolphin employees?
A This is nothing to do with Vodafone, it is a matter for Rigney Dolphin
Q Does Vodafone accept that they have a responsibility to Rigney Dolphin employees working in Vodafone?
A Vodafone only has a responsibility to the business contract between Rigney Dolphin and Vodafone
Q The Union requests that Vodafone postpone this decision to enable all parties to engage in discussions with a view to finding alternatives that will save jobs
A No
Q Can Vodafone guarantee the Union that further work/jobs will not be outsourced?
A No
Q What are the cost savings involved in off shoring these jobs?
A Don’t know

“This needs a decisive Government response and it needs it now.

“Minister what is your Government going to do to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are protected and to ensure than any workers who do lose their jobs receive their redundancy entitlements?”

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane today welcomed the launch of the annual report of the children’s ombudsman Emily Logan.

Speaking in the Seanad he said that the report made some profound and thought-provoking recommendations.

‘This report highlights the need for policy makers and law makers to really listen to children in a meaningful way. I think perhaps if we had listened with greater care in the past, such tragedies as were highlighted in the Murphy report might have been avoided’.

Senator Cullinane said that the Seanad should invite Emily Logan, on foot of this report to come and address the house stating “particularly in the context of the forthcoming children’s referendum, it would be timely to invite the ombudsman here to listen to what she has to say, which I think would undoubtedly be of value”.

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Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Tourism, Sandra McLellan, has called on the Government to prioritise preparations for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden and ultimately final voyage.

Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy McLellan said:

"Next year's 100th anniversary presents a unique opportunity not only for tourism but also for appropriate reflection and commemoration. The story of the most iconic ship in history is inextricably linked with this country, from its construction in Belfast and stop-off at Cobh, to the many passengers who were on board for that faithful journey. It’s a story not just of maritime history, but of cultural and human history, a window into which was famously captured in the multi-Oscar Winning motion picture."

"Preparations for 2012 must be prioritised. It provides us with a fantastic opportunity to promote the island of Ireland and to commemorate those who lost their lives. It is essential that the overall Titanic 2012 anniversary is presented as a complete package that ties in all the various aspects of the voyage, and its relationship with different parts of this island. There needs to be adequate investment, planning and co-ordination in this regard."

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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe has raised concerns about the length of time it is taking to Garda-vet adults working with children.

Deputy Crowe continued: "In September, 2004, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Children, Brian Lenihan, announced that the Garda’s vetting services would be extended to cover volunteers who work with children.

“It is of course vitally important that anyone working with children or young people is properly vetted but currently it is taking 3 months to process applicants and this is having a significant impact on a range of schemes.

“For example, volunteers working in After Hours School Schemes are being prevented from working with school children because of the backlog in the vetting process. It is also impacting on people working with vulnerable adults who are taking up to 6 months to be cleared which is affecting their livelihoods and their potential to get a job. I also know of crèches which are closed at present because of the wait for this Bill.

“When I questioned the Taoiseach on this matter he accepted there were problems with the vetting process and said the National Vetting Bureau Bill would be published by October.

“The unacceptable delay in publishing this Bill is continuing to cause chaos in the system and whilst I welcome the commitment to employ additional staff to clear the backlog it is only a drop in the ocean. As a consequence, people are going to lose their jobs. For example, I am aware of one person who worked with young people for years yet when he applied for a job outside of Dublin it took him 4 months to get vetted and the position went to someone else.

“In April, Justice Minister Alan Shatter vowed to tackle the logjam in applications for Garda vetting and his Department need to search for ways to speed up the process which is close to crisis point with around 60,000 people waiting approval.

“I understand that the Department of Finance recently sanctioned 10 temporary staff for the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) who are currently being recruited. This needs to happen without delay otherwise a range of groups who work with children will be badly impeded in delivering many essential services.”

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams speaking this morning during Taoiseach’s Questions, asked the Taoiseach to join with him in thanking George Mitchell, who recently resigned as Special US Envoy to the Middle East, for his contribution to peace in Ireland and for his efforts in the Middle East.

The Sinn Féin leader had raised the plight of the undocumented Irish and the search of peace in the Middle East with President Obama during his recent visit.

This morning Mr. Adams also referred to the recent progress resulting from the coming together of all of the Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Fatah, and their agreement to sign a Reconciliation Pact bringing an end to years of internal Palestinian divisions and conflict.

Addressing the Taoiseach Mr. Adams said:

“You will also know that George Mitchell has stood down from his post there and would you join with me in thanking him for all the work he did in our peace process.

“He also put in a huge amount of work in the Middle East peace process. I met him on this several times.

“We should thank him and wish him and his wife and family well for the future.”

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin’s Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD said that the ultimate measure of any reform agenda within the public sector will be the experience of citizens seeking and accessing services.

Deputy McDonald questioned the autonomy of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform noting, “Minister Howlin is responsible for managing public expenditure within the overall envelope set by government but he is not responsible for the budgetary parameters – the Minister for Finance has retained these responsibilities.

“The new Department of Public Expenditure & Reform is housed in the Department of Finance. Two thirds of the new Departments staff comes from the Department of Finance, in fact they may not even have to move desks as the Department of Finance divisions they worked in are to remain intact within Public Expenditure and Reform. The recently appointed Secretary General of Public Expenditure & Reform first began working for the Department of Finance in 1993.

“In fact the Minister for Finance will continue to advise Public Expenditure & Reform on apportionment of current and capital expenditure and some functions transferred to the new Minister may be performed only with the consent of the Minister for Finance. So the question has to be asked? How new is this new Department?

“Minister Howlin has quite rightly made reference to productivity and value for money. However resourcing frontline services must be the foundation stone of any programme of public sector reform.

“The Minister is in a state of denial and delusion when he claims that public services have been largely unaffected by the cutbacks – or ‘budgetary consolidation’ – pursued by the last government and continued by the current administration. His assertion that we cannot afford current levels of services will send a shiver down the back of every person who has been short-changed by overstretched and under-resourced public services.

“The ultimate measure of any reform agenda within the public sector will be the experience of citizens seeking and accessing services.”

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Speaking in support of the statement issued by Inclusion Ireland regarding the State’s removal of children from parents who have mild intellectual disabilities and for whom little support has been made available, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on the HSE to change this practice immediately.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:

“We have noted Inclusion Ireland’s statement regarding the number of parents who face having their children removed on the basis that they, the parent or parents, have an intellectual disability. Sinn Féin have continually said that all decisions regarding children, including the care of a child, must be made according to the child’s best interest. Decisions to make a care order solely on the basis of a parent’s mild intellectual disability, and without providing family supports to allow them to care for their own children, are nothing but instruments of convenience for the HSE. It is handier for the HSE to pay another family to foster these children rather than put in place proper structured systems of support for families that need help.

“The HSE has every right and indeed an obligation to remove a child that is at risk. However, there have been many cases of children known by the HSE to be at risk not being removed and remaining in abusive situations. Now we have a situation where loving and caring parents, who may need that little bit of extra support, are having their children removed. We are calling on the HSE to immediately provide supports for these families.

“This is yet another example of why we need complete reform of the social care system and the enshrining of the rights of all children in the Constitution of this state. The state is obliged under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the government has indicated an intention to ratify, to provide assistance to families where needed. Removing children from their parents on the grounds of a parent’s disability is a breach of both the child’s and the parent’s rights. It is absolutely imperative that the government publish a constitutional amendment bill and hold a referendum to enshrine children’s rights in the Constitution. This needs to be done without further delay”

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis said that it is nothing short of a scandal that nearly €200 million had been spent on the development of the Metro North, Luas Link and DART Underground projects while the government has as of yet failed to commit to building a single one.

Deputy Ellis said;

“Any decision needs to be about the best delivery for the people of Dublin and Ireland. It needs to be about creating jobs and investment and providing a world class urban transport system which will encourage tourism and business.”

“Around €150 million has been spent on Metro North, €45 million on the Luas Link up and €8.97 million on the DART underground project. If we do not progress with one of these projects we will have wasted a huge amount of time and money. It would throwing nearly €200 million down the drain along with thousands of jobs and the long term benefit of a world class public transport service”

“Investment is essential for our recovery. We need to get people back working and we need to encourage people to come here and spend their money. The way to do that is real and meaningful investment. We have already spent more on Metro North than has been committed to capital projects in the so called Jobs Initiative.”

“Sinn Féin has put forward proposals to raise considerable funds to invest in capital projects and get people working again. I would urge the Minister and his department to take these proposals seriously.”

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Speaking after the first meeting of the new Policing Board today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the issue Gerry Kelly said:

“The current policing structures where brought about after lengthy negotiations over many years with the British government. Central to these negotiations was the establishment of an effective Policing Board with all of the necessary powers to meet the challenge of holding the PSNI to account.

“The Policing Board has real statutory power and responsibility and is a key element is ensuring community confidence in the current policing arrangements.

“It is important that the new Policing Board now gets quickly down to business. There are significant policing challenges out there from the issue of response time to the wider issues of human rights compliance and policing in partnership with the community.

“The new Sinn Féin team on the Policing Board will be working closely with our colleagues on the Justice Committee and on the local DPPs as we seek to build upon the strong foundations laid by our previous board members.” ENDS

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Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


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Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh