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Team Sinn Féin - Putting Ireland First

The largest gathering of Sinn Féin candidates in the history of the party took place in Drogheda, 350 local council election candidates contesting seats across all 42 councils in the 32 counties of Ireland joined with Sinn Féin's 4 EU election candidates for a final strategic planning day with the party leadership before the local council and EU elections on the 22nd May in the 6 Counties and the 23rd May in the 26 Counties.

Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and member of the Social Development Committee at Assembly has questioned the policy of issuing sanctions for minor infringements of benefit regulations and urged the committee to put back any statutory rules against those who commit the infringements. 


Speaking today following the Social Development Committee, Fra McCann said:

“There are thousands of people who have been penalised and have lost benefits through these sanctions and left with no money whatsoever to live on.  

“We have been told that there are hardship grants available to help but these are discretionary and difficult to get and also take some time to apply for. In the meantime vulnerable people are often left penniless. 
 
“Sinn Féin have requested information about how many people have been affected and how long have they been sanctioned, that information is currently unavailable. 

Our members on the committee have also raised the term ‘good cause’ which determines if the reason for the infringement by a person is good enough yet have little or no transparency. 

“These measures are yet another part of the welfare reform legislation which Sinn Féin have battled against in the Social Development committee.

“In the long run those who are already facing hard times will be further disadvantaged but the British Tory led government do not have the foresight to see that denying people the basic level of entitlement will cost in the long run in terms of health and social care, community services and housing. 

“It is high time these punitive measures were done away with. It is ludicrous in this day and age that a firm such as Vodaphone has £6bn written off by the British treasury yet those who receive as little as £60 a week face the highest levels of scrutiny.”

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Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on welfare, Mickey Brady, has stated that changes to state pension age will see elderly people, but in particular women, facing further hardship and not qualifying for winter fuel payments placing their health in jeopardy.

Speaking today following the Social Development Committee Mr Brady said: 

“The incoming changes to the state pension age will see many elderly people, but in particular elderly women,  being disadvantaged and facing further hardship. 

“The change in the date for the age of becoming an pensioner has now been brought forward from 2020 to 2018. This has meant that despite state pensions being a contributory benefit, one in which people have paid for all their working lives, the can be denied two years payment. 

“It also leaves many of our elderly facing the possibility of not being able to qualify for vital winter fuel payments. 

“The British government cites the changes being part and parcel of people living longer but they disregard that they are now punishing our elderly giving them a poorer quality of life with reduced income, increased stress and greater chance of related illnesses from having to choose whether to eat or heat.” 

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Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has criticised the proposal by the British government to amend the Industrial Development Act (1982) and withdraw automatic entitlement to Assisted Area Status for the North. The changes would mean that the north would be broken down into sub-regions and only some of them may qualify for regional aid post-2013.

Mr Flanagan said:

“This proposal is unacceptable and flies in the face of existing commitments from the British government on rebalancing our economy by growing the private sector, potential reductions to corporation tax and designating the North as an Enterprise Zone .

“This will be seen by many as another attempt by the British government to further reduce its financial committments to the North. It is obvious that the sooner we take all fiscal powers from the British government into local control and construct an all-Ireland economy which we can design ourselves the better.

“The economic reality is that the British government has no interest in addressing the economic problems particular to this area. We need to take contriol of our own economic destiny.

“People living here are affected by higher costs of living, higher energy costs and higher levels of deprivation and poverty than people in Britain. We also have lower wages and higher rates of long term unemployment.

“The supposed purpose of this proposal is to remove regional anomalies, but taking no account of the devastating impact it will have here.

“Our future lies in economic policies drawn up specifically for the island of Ireland, detached from British Exchequer and which are designed only with the fiscal stability of the island of Britain in mind. CRÍOCH/ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has this evening launched a Suicide Awareness Pamphlet (pdf attached) which aims to provide information to help people identify the danger signs of suicide and what to do if you believe someone you know is thinking about taking their own life.

Speaking at the launch in the Donore Community Hall this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Suicide is not a party political issue. In taking the decision to publish this booklet I was very conscious of the need to be clear that this is not about party politics.

“However, the need for decent health and social services, including for those at risk of suicide or for people affected by suicide, is very much a political issue and Sinn Féin continues to work politically for such decent services.

“No short guide can capture all that needs to be said about the national tragedy that has been unfolding in front of our eyes, but I am convinced of the need to provide more information to help people identify the danger signs of suicide and what to do if you believe someone you know is thinking about taking their own life.

“Ceann de na gnéithe is tragóidí sa tsochaí atá anois againn in Éirinn ná an líon daoine atá tar éis lámh a chuir ina mbás féin, nó a rinne iarracht é sin a dhéanamh. Níl sa leabhrán seo ach iarracht cabhair bheag a thabhairt dóibh san atá i gcruachás leis an galar dubhach nó a bhfuil gaol nó cara aca caillte de thairbhe féin-mharaithe.” Críoch

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh will this evening launch a Suicide Awareness Pamphlet in his constituency of Dublin South Central.

The pamphlet aims to provide information to help people identify the danger signs of suicide and what to do if you believe someone you know is thinking about taking their own life.

The pamphlet has been commissioned and produced by Deputy Ó Snodaigh in consultation with expert groups.

Among those attending the launch this evening are representatives groups such as Teenline, Turn To Me and local community development group Vista.

The launch takes place at 7pm this evening in the Donore Community Hall, Donore Avenue, Dublin 8.

For more information contact Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh on 0879958949.

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Sinn Féin Press Office
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Email: sinnfeinpress@oireachtas.ie
Contact Shaun Tracey on 0877735218

For immediate release 13 October 2011:

JobBridge programme filling vacancies on the cheap – Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD used his priority question time in the Dáil today to ask Minister Joan Burton if she has actually looked at the JobBridge website herself “to see the sort of so-called opportunities being promoted by the Government under the guise of internships”.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that in just five minutes browsing the JobBridge website on Wednesday he found eleven advertisements that he said were “dressed up in fancy language to give the impression that a meaningful internship is involved but are really just ways to fill vacancies on the cheap”.

He accused the Minister of failing to prevent the job displacement and exploitation that were inevitable outcomes of the scheme.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“I spent just five minutes browsing the JobBridge website yesterday and I found eleven new, completely objectionable advertisements.

“These internships, which clearly displace what should be real jobs and wages and exploit people, include posts such as retail assistants, car valets, catering assistants and general maintenance assistants.

“The posts advertised are all dressed up in fancy language to give the impression that a meaningful internship is involved. But even a cursory look quickly dispels any illusions. They are really just ways to fill vacancies on the cheap.

“For example – a retail sales assistant post based in Waterford city claims the intern will ‘be trained in the use of the highly specialised Microsoft RMS software used for point of sale’. Microsoft’s own website says the RMS software package ‘enables your employees to learn point of sale procedures in minutes’.

“In minutes – not 30 hours a week over nine months.

“Some employers are using the JobBridge scheme to avoid paying people to undertake the standard functions on which their business and profits depend. And the design of the scheme facilitates this outrageous exploitation.

“The JobBridge scheme is a giant disincentive to job creation. Why would an employer create a real job when they can exploit cheap labour courtesy of the government.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today slammed the Labour Party’s failure to defend state assets during a debate in the Dáil.

Teachta Adams pointed out that the “advocates of privatisation argue that this will boost the state’s revenues. It is short-termist thinking.

“The same short-termist thinking that the Labour Party rejected in their election manifesto at the time of the General Election when they said:

‘Labour is committed to the concept of public enterprise, and is determined to ensure that semi-state companies play a full role in the recovery of the Irish economy.

‘Labour is opposed to short-termist privatisation of key state assets, such as Coillte or the energy network.’

“That what’s what Labour got a mandate to do and in government they are doing the opposite.

“Someone once said that the Labour Party went into the GPO in 1916 and never came out again.

“Surely if there is any purpose to the Labour Party, the self proclaimed party of James Connolly and the Irish workers, being in Government with Fine Gael it is to stand up for the rights of the ordinary worker. It is to be the voice of the marginalised, the dispossessed.

“Instead the Labour Party seems to have embraced fully the right wing privatisation agenda of its coalition partner.”

And the Sinn Féin leader, who stated Sinn Féin’s opposition to the sale of state assets, warned that even a “partial sale of state assets will be the first step towards full privatization, with inevitable job losses and increased costs for consumers.”

He said: “Public control of strategic assets such as the ESB and Bord Gais is about much more than our economic recovery in the short term. It’s about our very survival as an island nation into the future.

“Bord na Móna, Bord Gáis and the ESB are profitable companies and of undeniable strategic importance.

“A partial sale will be the first step towards full privatization, with inevitable job losses and increased costs for consumers. The privatization of critical infrastructure in Ireland and abroad has been an unmitigated disaster for society.

“Look at the examples of our nearest neighbours. In Britain, for example, the Royal Mail had to be bought back by the state such was the scale of the disaster and the experience of that privatisation. The privatisation of British Rail also came at enormous cost and because it was done so poorly, in some cases, it literally cost lives. There was no proper consequent maintenance of the railway lines.

“Companies came in to asset strip, not to invest. Following privatisation Eircom was quickly asset stripped and in just a few short years Ireland fell down the league table of investment in broadband roll-out with very real, negative and lasting consequences for the Irish economy.

“When Critical infrastructure is in public hands it can be deployed strategically to grow the economy.” ENDS

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