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Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people

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



“HAP is not a solution and if the government succeeds in passing it into law, it will have wide ranging negative effects on the future of housing in Ireland and our ability to tackle housing need in the years to come.”



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Speaking at Sinn Féin’s main Easter Commemoration in Dublin this afternoon the Party’s Vice President Mary Lou McDonald TD accused the political establishment in this State of trampling on the 1916 Proclamation.

Ms McDonald said:

“That Proclamation asserted the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland.

“Never was it more necessary to assert that right than it is today because the political Establishment in this State have trampled on the 1916 Proclamation.

“They have wrecked the Irish economy and sold what remains of our economic sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

“They have bowed the knee to international bankers and capitalists, to the IMF, the ECB and the EU Commission.

“The Golden Circle of politicians, bankers and developers have virtually destroyed the Irish economy – and they were bank-rolled by the same international bankers and capitalists and approved by the IMF, the ECB and the EU Commission.

“They committed these crimes against our economy but they want us, the Irish people, to pay the price.

“Well, our answer to them is ‘No!’  ‘No’ to the surrender of our sovereignty. ‘No’ to the IMF/EU deal. ‘No’ to the attacks on the pay of low to middle income workers. ‘No’ to savage cuts to health and education and social welfare.

“The political Establishment wants to tear apart the very fabric of our society and our economy in order to pay back the international speculators and money-lenders who gambled on the property bubble in this State.

“Sinn Féin stands with communities across this city and this country who are experiencing these attacks. We are campaigning for a reversal of the disastrous economic strategy begun by Fianna Fáil and the Greens and now continued by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.” ENDS

Full text of Deputy McDonald's speech follows:

Comóradh na Cásca 2011 Baile Átha Cliath

Mary Lou McDonald TD

·      Tagaimíd go dtí an áit stairiúil seo, Ard Oifig an Phoist, chun cuimhniú ar Éirí Amach na Cásca 1916 agus chun omós a thabhairt dóibh siúd a fuair bás ar son na Poblachta.  

·      Táimíd bródúil as na daoine sin uile, ach go háirithe iad siúd as Baile Átha Cliath.

·      Irish Republicans gather here today, Easter 2011, at the historic GPO to remember with great pride all those who died in the cause of the Irish Republic.

·      We take special pride in the memory of the Republicans of Dublin who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom.

·      We make no distinction between the Republicans who died in 1916 and those who died in the struggle of our own time.

·      This year marks the 95th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 1916 Easter Rising.

·      We honour the brave men and women, boys and girls who challenged the British Empire and asserted the right of the people of Ireland to national self-determination.

·      Dublin is a great city and it’s great to be a Dub – in football, in hurling and in Irish Republicanism!

·       This is the city that fought an Empire. This is the city where the Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann and the Irish Citizen Army lit a beacon in 1916, a beacon that inspired freedom-loving people across the globe.

·      Without question, our forebears, the soldiers of the Irish Republic, hastened the end of Empire.

·      The Proclamation read by Pádraig Mac Piarais on this very spot 95 years ago set the agenda for the Irish people.

·      That Proclamation asserted the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland.

·      Never was it more necessary to assert that right than it is today because the political Establishment in this State have trampled on the 1916 Proclamation.

·      They have wrecked the Irish economy and sold what remains of our economic sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

·      They have bowed the knee to international bankers and capitalists, to the IMF, the ECB and the EU Commission.

·      The Golden Circle of politicians, bankers and developers have virtually destroyed the Irish economy – and they were bank-rolled by the same international bankers and capitalists and approved by the IMF, the ECB and the EU Commission.

·      They committed these crimes against our economy but they want us, the Irish people, to pay the price.

·      Well, our answer to them is ‘No!’  ‘No’ to the surrender of our sovereignty. ‘No’ to the IMF/EU deal. ‘No’ to the attacks on the pay of low to middle income workers. ‘No’ to savage cuts to health and education and social welfare.

·      The political Establishment wants to tear apart the very fabric of our society and our economy in order to pay back the international speculators and money-lenders who gambled on the property bubble in this State.

·      Sinn Féin stands with communities across this city and this country who are experiencing these attacks. We are campaigning for a reversal of the disastrous economic strategy begun by Fianna Fáil and the Greens and now continued by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

·      We are campaigning for a real way forward out of this economic crisis, a republican way forward, based on the rights of our people.

·      It is entirely fitting that the political Establishment that has bowed the knee to the IMF/ECB is the same Establishment that is now preparing to bow the knee to the English queen when she comes here next month. Sinn Féin is opposed to that visit and we will demonstrate our opposition with organized events here in our capital city.

·      Our events will be peaceful and democratic. They will make clear our opposition to a visit that is inappropriate, ill-timed and premature. There can never be normal relations between the Irish people and the British head of state while our country remains partitioned.

·      I also want to support the call of Justice for the Forgotten for the British government to release for international, independent scrutiny all the relevant files in their possession on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974. If that is not done before the arrival of the English queen on that very anniversary then insult will be added to injury.

·      I said at the start that it’s great to be a Dub. Let me add that it’s great to be one of four Sinn Féin TDs for Dublin and one of 14 in this State.

·      I want to thank the great people of this city for electing Seán Crowe TD, Dessie Ellis TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and myself on 25th February.

·      It was a magnificent result for Sinn Féin in Dublin. It’s still hard to believe the score for this city: Sinn Féin 4 – Fianna Fáil 1.

·      I commend all those who have worked so hard for Sinn Féin in this city not only in the past year, but over many years, to achieve renewed and increased political strength.

·      We are determined now to use our political strength to provide radical and principled leadership for the people of Dublin and for the Irish people as a whole and to advance, with them, towards a New Republic on this island.

·      We have made tremendous progress. The North of Ireland has been transformed almost beyond recognition. What has brought this about?

·      The Republican peace strategy, the Peace Process, the agreements negotiated by Sinn Féin, the partnership administration in which we share power with Unionists, the all-Ireland structures on which we insisted – all these have transformed the Six Counties for the better.

·      The days of one-party rule, British direct rule and second-class citizenship for nationalists are over. Policing has had a new beginning. There has been demilitarization. The status of the Irish language has been enhanced.

·      But much, much more remains to be done; above all we have to re-unite our country and our people, to end partition and to start building a New Republic for the 21st century.

·      That’s the spirit in which Sinn Féin is fighting the Assembly and local elections in the Six Counties. The election campaign needs to be an all-Ireland effort and I would encourage people to play their part in those elections.

·      Polling day in the Six Counties is a day of historic resonance for Irish Republicans – 5 May. On that day Bobby Sands died on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

·      We remember Bobby, Frank, Ray, Patsy, Joe, Martin, Kieran, Kevin, Tom and Mickey. Ba laochra iad uile agus ní dheánfaimíd dearmad orthu go deo.

·      The best way to honour their memory is to continue our work to achieve the New Ireland, the All-Ireland Republic for which they and so many others gave their lives.

·      I urge people to become involved. Join Sinn Féin. Become active in your community, in your trade union, in your workplace, in your college. Join us on this historic journey and bring others with you. In the words of James Connolly in 1916: “Never had man or woman a grander cause; never was a cause more grandly served.”

·      And in the words of the song: “This land is our land”. Let’s take it back!


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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams today spoke at republican commemorations in Drogheda and Dundalk.

The Sinn Féin leader said that the leaders of 1916 would be appalled by the policies of this and previous Dublin governments:

“Never was there greater need for republican politics on this island than today. The republic which was proclaimed in 1916 has been set aside by those in the political establishment, and the limited freedom won after the Rising has been squandered.

Imagine what James Connolly would say were he to visit the Louth County Hospital or the A&E at Drogheda?

What would he say about elderly hospital patients stuck on trolleys for days?

What would his response be to the half a million people unemployed across this state? Or to the Universal Social Charge?

What would he say about the way working people are being treated while big bankers are paid millions?

We can imagine Pearse’s response to the sell-off of our natural resources.

We can say with certainty that the men and women of 1916 would not be part of the golden circle of greedy financiers and developers and corrupt politicians who have practically bankrupted the state.

In the north, Sinn Fein is fighting hard to secure fiscal powers from London, while in this state this government and its predecessor have given away our economic sovereignty.”

Gerry Adams said “In their time the leaders of the Rising warned against partition and its divisive and debilitating potential.

Connolly predicted it would cause a carnival of reaction. He was right. Partition is uneconomic and inhibits Ireland’s potential for economic growth. People here in County Louth and in other border counties know this.

The commemoration of the Rising and the run into the centenary anniversary needs to become a rallying point for Irish citizens to stand up for our rights.

The usurpation of citizen’s rights and the continued power of social and economic elites could not happen in a real republic.

Apart from the indomitable spirit of the people, and the resilience of communities,  there is nothing in this state today which bears any resemblance to the republic proclaimed in 1916.

The establishment parties – Fine Gael, Fine Fáil, the Labour leadership pay lip service to the republic.

The new government is only in power for 7 weeks but yet already the Labour party leadership that is part of that Fine Gael government has shed what remained of its radical politics.

And for its part Fine Gael has u-turned on its pledges and is now implementing a Fianna Fáil manifesto.

They will continue to do this until and unless a real alternative is created.”

Gerry Adams said Irish unity “makes political and economic sense” and he said that “an important element of the struggle has to be about persuading unionists that their future and that of their children, lies with the rest of us on this island.

This won’t be easy, but already there is a recognition by the business community of the economic sense of an all-island economy, or joined up health services or agriculture.

There is a logic to greater and closer co-operation between north and south. So, let us use our collective imagination and our political strength in the first instance to eraze the border. Let us make it irrelevant.

Let us demonstrate in practical ways, no matter how small, that Irish people organised and working together, can overcome any obstacle, and build a new and better society, based on equality, that works for everyone. And let us do it in our time.

Our aim is to build Sinn Féin in every community on this island and to make republicanism relevant to people in their daily lives.” ENDS

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Sinn Fein Assembly Candidate for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann, has hit out at the latest price hike of 40 per cent by Phoenix Gas stating:

"Once again we are seeing a huge rise in gas prices locally.  Only last Friday  I attended an event organised by the Fuel Poverty Coalition which highlighted that stark fact that almost half the households in the north of Ireland are already living in fuel poverty. 

“This included 76 per cent of people over the age of 75 years and 90 per cent of cancer patients who cannot afford to heat their homes.  The harsh reality is that there is in excess of 1,000 deaths per year in the north of Ireland alone due to fuel poverty.

“While many people still rely on oil for heat there are an increasing number of people, particularly in social housing, that now use gas.  This 40 per cent hike by Phoenix Gas will have a major impact on the weekly household budget and will effect those who are already struggling due to low incomes and cuts in welfare benefits.

“I would strongly urge the Utility Regulator and Phoenix Gas to review this decision. I will also be pressing for, in the new mandate, that the Executive set up a Cross Departmental Ministerial Taskforce to prioritise and tackle the issue of fuel poverty as it is disgraceful that anyone should be dying because the cannot afford to heat their homes." 

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Speaking this evening while questioning the Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore on the issue of Palestine, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Pádraig MacLochlainn said that in light of the Israeli attacks on Gaza last week, “Ireland must unequivocally condemn Israel’s outrageous and illegal activity which the world continues to ignore” , and asked the Minister to visit the region immediately to observe the effects of the attack and of the on- going siege on the lives of civilians there.

Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“I was scheduled to visit Gaza as part of an International Parliamentarian mission this month; however, it was cancelled as a result of safety conditions deteriorating and an escalation in attacks and bombings. This speaks for itself in how the situation in the region has deteriorated even further, a region which is being described as an ‘open- air prison’

“I have appealed to the Tánaiste to give a commitment to visit Gaza as the new Minister for Foreign Affairs to witness the effects of Israel’s outrageous on-going illegal activity which the world continues to ignore. Activity including the on-going blockade, Israeli attacks and bombings on Gaza and the continuation of building of illegal Israeli settlements.

“Over fifty Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza this year; over 170 since Operation Cast Lead which ended in January 2008. Not to mention hundreds of Palestinians killed during that operation. These actions must be called what they are, reprehensible and illegal. This Government should take a stand and clearly condemn Israel for them immediately.“ ENDS

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has called on Health Minister James Reilly to immediately publish the Meridian Productivity Report on three children’s hospitals in Dublin.

The report, which has yet to be published, apparently shows that the three Dublin Children’s Hospital have been under using their operating theatres.

Speaking this afternoon Deputy Crowe said:

“We have a hospital system where healthcare quality, patient safety and access is measured according to the latest scandal and not by pro-active, independent monitoring and a quality control system and it is patients, children in this instance, coming off the worst.

“To an outsider looking in the under use of operation theatres in the three Dublin Children’s Hospitals would appear to be another systems failure. No doubt we will be told that there are legitimate reasons behind these operations not going ahead.

“The system seems to on an over reliance on a paper trail rather than a modern computerised system. This needs to change and we should be moving towards a system that includes round the clock, twenty-four hour operating theatres in all three Dublin Children’s Hospitals particularly to work through the backlog.

“The Minister needs to publish the report immediately. It’s no use him pro-actively seeking media opportunities on a report that only he has seen.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte that he will formally launch a Rural Broadband Scheme in the next number of weeks.

Deputy Doherty said this will be welcomed by many communities across Donegal who were not included in the previous National Broadband Scheme and are without a basic broadband service.

Deputy Doherty said:

“I welcome the response by the Minister that he is to formally launch a new rural broadband scheme in the next couple of weeks.

“This will be welcomed by many communities across Donegal who were not included in the previous National Broadband Scheme and are without a basic broadband service.

“Many areas in the state, particularly in my own home county Donegal are still to this day without any broadband connectivity. Such facilities are vital to the creation and retention of jobs and to enhancing the quality of life in rural areas. The previous National Broadband Scheme was flawed in that it didn’t include large areas due to the terms of reference of that scheme.

“This new rural broadband scheme will complete the job of providing a basic broadband service to all housed in the state.

“The roll out of the scheme is to be completed by the end of 2012 and while this is to be welcomed it is unacceptable in the 21st Century that communities have had to wait for so long for such a basic service. I would urge the Government to fast-track this scheme as much as possible.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for the immediate publication of the Meridian Productivity report on the three children's hospitals in Dublin.

He said:

“We are relying on media reports of the Meridian Productivity report on the three children's hospitals in Dublin. If media reports are correct then there are very serious issues being raised about the management of operating theatres in the children's hospitals. If children are being forced to wait longer than necessary for operations then that is totally unacceptable and must be addressed urgently.

“Health Minister James Reilly has seen and commented on the report but the rest of us are being left in the dark. He should publish the report right away. As soon as the new Oireachtas Health Committee is established this report should be referred to it.” ENDS

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Dublin City Council will be writing to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence opposing plans to reduce Garda numbers by 1,500. It follows a meeting of the Council’s Joint Policing Committee where members backed a Sinn Féin motion condemning the proposed cuts.

Cllr Críona Ní Dhálaigh, who successfully proposed the motion, said: “We absolutely agree with the head of the Garda Representative Association that this cut will recklessly endanger people’s lives.

“We should scrap the Garda reserve entirely and use the money to employ trained, full-time Gardaí. Instead of cutting Garda numbers we need to be increasing the number of Gardaí on the street by ending current recruitment, promotion and overtime embargoes.

“Many of those in power have no understanding of the real hardship faced by working class communities living with criminal behaviour, anti-social behaviour and drugs problems on a daily basis. They feel abandoned, left to face thugs and gangsters on their own.

“Tackling crime and making communities safe is a priority for Sinn Féin. It’s time it was a priority for Minister Shatter.” ENDS

Contact Cllr Ní Dhálaigh on 087 995 8949

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the government to publish the revised EU/IMF Programme Memorandum of Understanding and to clarify if the Government intends to use any of the proceeds from the sale of State pay off bank and bondholder debt.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Members of the Dáil have been promised a debate after the Easter recess on the revised IMF/EU Programme Memorandum of Understanding. Of course, the revised Memorandum has not been published. In fact, although it is being discussed in Washington, Frankfurt and God knows where else, Members of this House have not had sight of it. Instead we have been drip-fed elements of the discussions the Government has had with the troika.

“From comments made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin this morning, it is clear one of those conversations has been about the disposal of State assets. Judging by the Minister Howlin’s comments, it is clear the Government is now prepared to go down the cul-de-sac of selling off State assets in a bid to pay bank and bondholder debts. Is the Government in the course of yet another U-turn, whereby the proceeds of the privatisation programme will not find their way into stimulus and investment in jobs but will, in accordance with the views of the IMF and EU, be used for debt write down?

“When will the revised memorandum of understanding be published? Will Members of this House see it in advance of the debate next week? Can the Tánaiste give any assurance, as Labour Party Leader, that his party has not bought wholesale into the Fine Gael-led agenda of flogging the family silver to bail out the very wealthy?” ENDS

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Demand for Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled reiterated


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Michael Colreavy TD & Cllr Darren O'Rourke