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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



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin MLA/MP Pat Doherty said that not only are roaming costs charged by mobile phone companies to customers as they move from one part of Ireland to another unfair, they are also hampering business.

Pat Doherty was speaking ahead of a question to the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster on what her department is doing in relation to the charges.

Mr Doherty said:

“The costs of cross-border banking transactions and roaming charges is a massive issue along the border counties and needs to be addressed

“The added costs faced by families and businesses who straddle the border in terms of electronic services is daylight robbery. There should be an all Ireland tariff and I call on the minister to work for this.

“These charges are a barrier to businesses and so have a negative impact on job creation and investment around the border counties"

“Sinn Féin believes an all-Ireland tariff for telecommunications is what is needed. There should be no more profiteering at the expense of people in the border region at a time when we need to foster greater linkages and trade ties.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on European affairs Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has condemned comments attributed to EU Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger as reported in the online edition of the German newspaper, Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel reported comments from Commissioner Oettinger suggesting that "deficit sinners" such as Ireland should have their national flags flown at half mast outside EU buildings "as a detterent".

Deputy Mac Lochlainn has written a letter of protest to the EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, demanding an apology from Commissioner Oettinger.

He said:

“This is an outrageous proposition for anyone to make, but for an EU Commissioner to have made it is truly shocking and an insult to the Irish people. At a time when the EU’s fundamental principle of solidarity is being questioned daily, these sort of comments really are disgraceful.

“I have written to the EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, reminding him that the real deficit crisis in Ireland was caused by private banking debt being passed on to the Irish people and now incorporated into our sovereign debt. This move clearly benefitted the banking sector in the core European countries and in turn the economies of these countries.

“I am demanding that Commissioner Oettinger immediately apologise for his irresponsible and hurtful comments.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing, Dessie Ellis TD, has said that comments by Environment Minister Phil Hogan that he is unhappy with NAMA’s failure to house people as “hypocritical and useless”.

Deputy Ellis called for the government to use its influence and demand a social dividend from the agency.

Deputy Ellis continued:

“People are really struggling and we have huge waiting lists for housing across the country, especially in Dublin. The government is forking out over half a billion euro a year in Rent Supplement and the RAS scheme which is supplementing landlords but not providing long-term sustainable housing solutions.

“Some developers who abandoned lucrative social housing regeneration projects are now being supported by NAMA, but those who have been left in terrible housing conditions unfit for human habitation are only to be comforted with useless words from Phil Hogan.

“NAMA has been allowed a free reign so far by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition with very little asked of them in regard to their social responsibilities.

“Minister Hogan’s comments are entirely useless. If the minister is really serious about tackling the housing crisis he should step up and make sure that NAMA becomes a positive influence. He needs to demand a social dividend from the agency instead of the current setup where it has been only interested in serving developers who were central to the collapse of the economy.”

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The Sinn Féin Leinster House team meets today (Tuesday 13 September 2011) in Dublin, in advance of the new Dáil and Seanad terms, in buoyant mood after the party’s very successful ard fheis in Belfast last weekend.

The party president, Gerry Adams TD, said:

“The Euro is in deep crisis and the people have a right to know what the government is going to do,” he said. “If the government has a plan, it should be brought to the Dáil for discussion.”

“The coalition government is implementing Fianna Fáil’s failed economic policies,” Deputy Adams said. “I believe that the government is sleepwalking into this crisis and is even prepared to hand over fiscal powers to the EU/IMF.

“Despite pre-election promises, its spokespeople have already predicted more austerity, more cuts in the December budget and so, more pain for vulnerable people who should be the last to suffer for the sins of the rich elite who brought this crisis on us.

“As the party reiterated at the ard fheis, we take our role as defenders of working people very seriously. The government’s record of burdening the ordinary citizens of this state with the brunt of the economic crisis and breaking every election promise made to protect the most vulnerable, means that we have to be a strong opposition.

“We have strong, viable alternative policies and we intend to put them forward at every opportunity,” he said.

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on policing has reiterated calls for Al Hutchinson to leave his office immediately.

The call follows a meeting with a cross section of bereaved families who are all awaiting the release of investigation reports by the office of the Police Ombudsman.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

“The rights of victims must be paramount. In the meeting with bereaved families today, Sinn Féin reiterated our firm commitment to help support them.

“Many of those who attended today’s meeting stated their substantial concerns with the conduct of the Police Ombudsman. It is abundantly clear that Al Hutchinson does not command the confidence of these families, and many others.

“Last week, before the Assembly Justice Committee, Al Hutchinson admitted that damage had been done to the Office of the Ombudsman. Al Hutchinson carries full responsibility for this unprecedented damage. 

“This society clearly requires an independent and effective Police Ombudsman to safeguard their rights and secure their confidence in the new beginning to policing.

“Sinn Féin discussed with the families ways in which politcal parties and elected representatives could assist. The sooner Al Hutchinson leaves the sooner we can repair the damage done to the reputation of this office.”

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Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún MEP today supported, in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, proposals to improve the situation of women approaching retirement age.

de Brún stated, "Not surprisingly, equal pay for equal work and the situation of pensions for older women plays a big part in the proposals we voted through today.It will be particularly important that disadvantage in the labour market does not lead to marginalisation and poverty in later years. Older women are consistently at a higher risk than their male counterparts of poverty, isolation and social exclusion. Changes must be made now to protect these women.

"Many women have spent their lives experiencing; shorter or interrupted careers due to childbirth or caring for others, an increased occurrence of part-time work compared with men and a persistent and significant gender pay gap. For many years in Ireland women were also forced to leave public service employment when they married. Many women are now facing a retirement which pays no respect to the valuable contributions they have made to society throughout their lives.

"We must ensure that older women aren't penalised in their pension entitlements.

"I am also glad to see that the European Parliament has today recognised that older women provide vital support to the community as advisers in work matters, bearing in mind their professional experience"

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane will meet the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton today, to discuss job losses at Talk Talk in Waterford.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Senator Cullinane said that it is vitally important that we get action.

He said the job losses have dealt a staggering blow to Waterford and that people are demanding the government act to protect and save jobs.

Senator Cullinane said:

“I welcome Minister Bruton to Waterford. I hope that this is not just another visit or another meeting. I hope the minister is here to listen and to act. Waterford is reeling from job losses.

“We need the government to act on their election promises and protect and create jobs.

“We need the enterprise agencies to be given the resources and power to create jobs in the city, county and the region. We need innovators and entrepreneurs to be given the tools to start up new businesses. The small to medium and indigenous business sector will be the bedrock of economic recovery. This will only happen if the supports are in place.

“We need Waterford Institute of Technology to be designated as a university in the Southeast. Only a fully fledged, funded and autonomous university will do. Waterford must not be put into the second tier of university provision.”

“We expect the government to protect and assist those who lost their jobs. Like tens of thousands of others across the state these people have families to provide for and mortgages to pay. Now more then ever they need the state to come to their rescue. It is time for the government to support Irish people and not international bondholders.”

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Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry/Armagh) calling for a new focus on job creation said:

“It is now common currency among commentators, analysts and many leading world economists, that the austerity measures being implemented by governments cannot adequately address the economic crisis in which we find ourselves.

“Even a cursory examination of the economic policies being followed by the British and Irish governments which directly impact on the lives of every citizen on this island will show that the only sector that is expanding rapidly is the unemployed.

“The unemployment register, North and South is increasing on a daily basis as a direct result of government policies. Of course the unemployment register does not reflect the full extent of job losses. It does not include the thousands who choose to emigrate - taking with them their knowledge, skills and experience.

“Whilst it is recognised that governmental waste and duplication must be eliminated, the unmanaged and ill-informed slashing of spending on public services, motivated simply by budgetary requirements makes no contribution to economic recovery.

“While an individual Minister may be able to claim a reduction in departmental spending, it must also be recognised that if the action taken results in further unemployment then in real terms how much was actually saved?Every person signing on the unemployment register is one more who is dependent on Social Benefits and can no longer contribute to the Exchequer by way of income taxes. Unemployment also reduces spending power in the local economy and puts the job security of others at risk because spending on goods and services suffer.

“Unemployment is not working! It is time for a realistic jobs strategy that will focus on securing existing and creating new jobs particularly in the SME sector by offering incentives through tax credits, up skilling and retraining grants to encourage employers to take initiatives to reduce the local unemployment register. Much of the investment in this strategy could be achieved through a rigorous examination of Departmental spending to identify and eliminate waste and duplication. Better collaboration between Departments on an all-Ireland basis and joint delivery of goods and services is another area that should be explored in an effort to identify areas where both administrations would realise financial saving.

“Savings could then be redirected into a jobs strategy that would secure existing jobs, create new opportunities, increase tax revenue and encourage spending in the local economy, further increasing job prospects. We must reverse the present course being adopted by both governments.

“Unemployment is not working – there is a better way!” Críoch

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Ba mhaith liom labhairt ar son run 182 agus 183

Our strategy for transforming justice and policing in the six counties
is working

Just look at the carnival of reaction around us.

Without transfer of powers on policing and justice, there would be no
Justice Committee in the local Assembly.

We wouldn’t have the chance this week, to question the Police
Ombudsman about his role in this scandal.

We wouldn’t have a Minister for Justice to answer for the complicity
of officials in his new Department in a sabotage campaign against the
Office of the Police Ombudsman.

David Ford’s department is like Jurassic Park. It is full of the
dinosaurs and relics of an old order. The Minister needs to be more
than a spokesman for the department

Let me reiterate what Sinn Fein told the Minister and the present
Police Ombudsman in the Assembly this week.

The hallmark of Al Hutchinson’s term in office has been an
unprecedented disaster. He has been part of the problem – he can’t be
part of the solution.

Dare I say it again, long goodbyes don’t work. Now is the time for Al
Hutchinson the time to go.

Sinn Féin wants to transform the Justice system across this island.
We will also expose those who resist change.

The prison service in the six counties is another example.

Those imprisoned, must be treated with dignity. Sinn Féin has visited
the jails many times, seen the conditions, and met with those
imprisoned. We are insisting on the implementation of the reforms
already agreed.

There will be no Patten-style pay-off for the prison service old guard
without sustainable, acceptable reforms. At Hillsborough 2010, we
secured a review of the prisons.

The interim report from the review team points the way for sustainable
reform, where prisoners are treated with dignity and respect.

Political ex-prisoners are not second-class citizens. They do not need
licences.

Sinn Féin has challenged the decision to revoke licences of people who
were once political prisoners.

We continue to do so and will seek to repeal such devices.

In the case of Brendan Lillis, it was Sinn Féin which spearheaded the
campaign for his release on humanitarian grounds. Together, with his
partner and those responding to the humanitarian issues at heart, we
effected his release

Overhaul of the court service in the six counties must be centred on
the rights of citizens. Changes in legal aid cannot be permitted to
impinge on access to justice.

We extend solidarity to those victimised by the state and by
criminality. Many have fought long legal battles for justice.

In relation to collusion and state murder, a huge battle has been won.
Inquests must now comply with Article 2 of the European Convention of
Human Rights. Some families - like the Ballymurphy massacre families -
have waited 40 years for their basic entitlement to a proper inquest.

With transfer of powers to the local Assembly, the decision to reopen
inquests rests in the hands of a local Attorney General appointed by
the First and deputy First Minister.

That is an important component of the agenda for change.

The inquest system needs to be equalised north and south. At present,
Irish citizens in the 26 counties are not entitled to Article 2
inquests. Sinn Féin wants to change that and to harmonise the justice
and policing system across the 32 counties.

The rights of the victims of violent crime must also be paramount. But
the use of supergrass evidence is tainted.

Sinn Féin opposed the supergrass trials in the 1980s. We opposed their
use today. But the question is : where are the Special Branch
handlers and controllers ? when can we expect them to see them in
court and held to account ?

This summer has been a season of bad policing.

Whether this is seasonal – or cultural and structural – only we can
decide. Since spring this year, certain PSNI activities have been
described as 'intelligence-led'

There was nothing intelligent about the high-profile armed PSNI raids.
There was nothing proportionate about the use of 350 plastic bullets.

For the PSNI to use plastic bullets at all - never mind on this scale
- is something Sinn Féin opposes. These weapons kill. They weren’t
used in Matt Baggot's country.

So don’t use them in our country.

Sinn Fein’s team on the newly reconstituted Policing Board and our
members Justice Committee are locked onto the agenda for change. Ar
aghaidh linn leis !!

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