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Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015

Some sights and sounds from the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare on June 21, 2015. Main speaker Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD. During the course of her speech she talked about the need for a fair economic recovery north and south; demanded the British to come clean about collusion; and expressed solidarity with the people of Greece.

Martin McGuinness speaking at Stormont said that Sinn Féin's conditional support for the budget bill will create the space to resolve outstanding issues and ensure the executive has workable and sustainable finances and see the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.


Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan of taking the side of EU elite against people...



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan MLA has welcomed the announcement that the paying out of the Single Farm Payment will commence in December.

 Mr. McMullan stated,

 “I welcome the announcement by the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill that the over 80% of the Single Farm Payment will be paid out  before Christmas.

 “Many farmers depend on the Single Farm Payment to make ends meet so I am pleased that the vast majority of payments will be in the banks this December.

 “I would congratulate the Minister in introducing new measures that has allowed for the payment to begin earlier this year with a finishing target of May 2013.

 “I am sure that the Department is working hard to ensure that those claims which have not been authorised yet are sorted in the quickest time possible.

 “I would appeal to those farmers who are experiencing difficulties to be patient and work with the Department to resolve any outstanding issues, so that they can receive their Single Farm Payment as soon as possible.”

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The Culture and Agriculture Ministers have today announced substantial additional funding to Ulster GAA over the next three years, including a boost to the Tyrone County Centre of Participation at Garvaghey totalling over £1 million. 

The funding comes as part of a wider £4.5 million package from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure targeted at gaelic, soccer and rugby.

Speaking after meeting Ulster GAA officials today, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín confirmed an additional £1.5 million each to gaelic, rugby and soccer over the next three years. 

Minister Ní Chuilín said:

“This is an important announcement of extra funding to support the three codes of gaelic, soccer and rugby.

“I am especially pleased to have secured additional funding for Ulster GAA over the next three years, in the context of my Department’s ongoing efforts to promote sporting participation and excellence while tackling inequalities, ill-health and social exclusion across all sports. 

“I have ensured that this money will provide Ulster GAA with extra capital and revenue opportunities over the next three years, including £500,000 towards the Tyrone County Board’s Centre of Participation at Garvaghey.”   

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, who also attended the meeting, confirmed that almost £600,000 will also be allocated to the Garvaghey Centre of Participation under the Rural Development Programme (RDP).  This follows a previous award of £250,000 to the Centre. Minister O’Neill added:

“It is vital that rural inequalities are addressed through programmes like the RDP.  The award of further funding to Tyrone’s Garvaghey Centre of Participation demonstrates that my Department will ensure rural inequalities and needs are properly addressed.

“This is an important centre for enhancing sports participation and excellence, social inclusion, outreach, education and cultural development.”

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Speaking in the aftermath of the European Council agreement on the Greek debt Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, said that “while there are many problems with the deal agreed for Greece last night it once again highlights the failure of the Irish government to secure any progress on our bank debt.”

Deputy Doherty said:
“Last night the European Council agreed a number of significant changes to the Greek bailout programme. They extended the maturities for up to 15 years, reduced interest rates on loans from member states and added an interest holiday of ten years on loans from the EFSF.

“While this may provide some comfort for the Greek government, it will not make their debt sustainable. That can only happen when the European Union agrees to write down a significant portion of the loans to Greece.

“However last night’s deal once again highlights the on-going failure of the Irish government strategy on banking debt. While the Greek government were able to secure extension of maturities and better interest rates on their debt, the Irish government appears unable even to agree a common position with the EU.

“Like Greece, a deal only involving reductions in interest rates and modest extensions of maturities will not significantly reduce the burden of banking debt currently on the shoulders of the taxpayer. Only a write-down on the capital portion of the debt will achieve this outcome.

“While the Greek government made some, if limited progress at this European Council meeting the on-going failure of the Irish government to make any comparable progress speaks volumes.

“While there are many differences between the Greek and Irish situations, the common thread is that our respective debts will only become sustainable when the EU agrees to a debt write down. In Ireland’s case that would take the form of a write down on the promissory note while in Greece it would be a write down on the EU loans.”
ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has said that he is pleased that the ad-hoc committee formed to look at the equality and human rights provision in the Welfare Reform Bill has now met.

 Mr. Maskey said,

“The Department of Social Development Committee in hearing evidence heard from various groups including Equality and Human Rights Commissions and these groups raised serious issues with the Bill in its current form.

“Sinn Féin insisted that these issues be addressed and called for an ad-hoc committee to be set up to examine how we ensure that Human Rights and Equality are at the core of this bill.

“This is the first time that this legislation has been used under the Good Friday Agreement I am glad that the ad-hoc committee has now met for the first time.

“The task of this committee in the next few weeks is to have a detailed and critical examination of the bill so that it complies with both Equality and Human Rights.

“Sinn Féin will continue to scrutinise this Bill line by line to make sure that the most vulnerable people in our community are protected from its worst excesses.”  

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Sinn Féin’s Youth Affairs Spokesperson Senator Kathryn Reilly has today launched Sinn Féin’s proposals for tackling the youth unemployment crisis. Following the launch Senator Reilly briefed the youth sector and people working with young people on Sinn Féin’s proposals.

Speaking outside Leinster House alongside young Sinn Féin reps from across Ireland Reilly said:

“Today Sinn Féin is bringing forward our view of what needs to be done to tackle youth unemployment in Ireland today. Facilitating emigration of 100,000 people per year and a 30% youth unemployment rate for those who stay is not an acceptable response. Young Irish people deserve a chance and deserve an active government that actually does something about youth unemployment and doesn’t just talk about it.

“We are proposing specific pro-youth jobs policies like extending all CE schemes to everybody under 25 and moving to a situation where all young people unemployed for three months are assessed and given the training or employment opportunities they require. This stands in direct opposition to the government’s laissez-faire approach to youth unemployment.

“We would also rework or scrap anti-youth jobs policies like raising the retirement age and JobBridge. Additionally we will explain how a stimulus package and budget as outlined by Sinn Féin would benefit young people and young unemployed people in particular by kick-starting economic growth and shifting the tax burden onto those workers most able to pay.”

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Anderson to host major 'Women Leading Social Change' conference in Derry

Speaking in advance of a major conference 'Women Leading Social Change' in Derry's Waterfoot Hotel, on Wednesday Martina Anderson MEP has stated that it is intended to shine a spotlight on the progress required throughout Europe to advance gender equality and positive social change. Martina Anderson said: 
"The struggle for women's rights in all areas of life is central to political movements seeking to combat social injustices, generate change, and build inclusive societies.


"Today's dominant neo-liberal economic policies in Europe have particularly severe consequences for women. The majority of people living in poverty are women and many are older women. "The gender pay gap is still, on average, 18% in the European Union with working conditions for women becoming increasingly precarious.


"Therefore it is imperative that women play a prominent role in leading social change. It is particularly obvious when confronted with the figures for elected representatives across Ireland - 15% in Leinster House and 19% in the Assembly - that women are not properly represented. Women represent more than 50% of the population, not 40 or 19 or 15%! This situation is unacceptable. "Women who are struggling throughout Euorpe from cuts in services and low paid jobs need policies and support that target their needs. Women from across society who are subjected to domestic violence need the causes addressed.

"Only by women demanding change and being involved in driving change will change happen. "We have to keep the pressure on and through events and conferences such as this I hope to provide a platform where women can freely discuss how best to achieve the equality to which they are entitled. Everyone welcome!" CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Junior Minister Jennifer McCann has said that more needs to be done to provide childcare for working families.

 Speaking after addressing the Employers for Childcare in Stormont Ms. McCann said,

 “It is important to recognise the important work Employers for Childcare carries out, as quality childcare provision is fundamental if we want our society and economy to work successfully. Our Programme for Government commits us to publish and implement a childcare strategy—a strategy that will result in childcare provision that is both integrated and affordable.

 “OFMDFM is coordinating work on the development of a new Childcare Strategy but we cannot develop this childcare strategy in isolation. It is vital that we receive the views of the public. We want to hear what parents think is needed in the way of childcare provision. And we want to hear also the views of stakeholder organisations.

 “The cost of childcare has increased dramatically over the past few years and is seen as a stumbling block for many mothers and fathers returning to the work market as after paying for childcare it may not be economically viable to remain in work.

 “However many families do not realise that there is help with childcare that is not being utilised to the full extent as recent figures show.

 “The number of people claiming the benefit under working tax credits is very low and only 2% of people are claiming Child Care Vouchers across the North. It is therefore obvious that many families are missing out on available money to help with the provision of childcare.

"We must meet the requirements of parents. It is essential that people who want to work, or to train, or go back into education, are not prevented from doing so.

 “Many families with children need to return to work so it is essential if we are to encourage mothers and fathers back into employment that we cater for them by having proper affordable childcare in place.”

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Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has welcomed the Electoral Commission’s report published this morning into the current state of the register here.

Mr Murphy said:

“Many people will be rightly alarmed at the findings of this report. What it clearly shows is rates of inaccuracy or “incompleteness” up to 29% or 400,000 people not registered at the correct address.

“What is required from the Electoral Office is solutions to this serious problem. That means making it easier to get onto the register, involving the councils in the registration process and the political parties who have a vested interest and looking at online registration.

“Automatically placing new voters onto the register would also seem a sensible way to proceed.

“Sinn Féin predicted back in 2002 when the current legislation was passed that this would be the inevitable outcome. At that time our concerns were dismissed both by the electoral authorities and the other political parties.

“Since then we have mounted our own permanent registration campaign with a view to addressing many of the problems.

“We would propose that a wide consultation is carried out by the EONI and the EC similar to the “on-the-road” consultations carried out by Boundary Commissioner to seek the views of the public and the political parties on the entirety of the registration and voting process.

“While the “Research Report” is to be welcomed it is far from complete.

· There is no comment on the use of flawed Election Register Data to create a base source for new electoral boundaries.

· While there is detailed information with regard to the impact of the registration process on some socio-economic classes and rented or home ownership groups, no information is provided with regard to the geographic or electoral area distribution on the level of accuracy or completeness of the register.

· The report does not highlight the inadequate role of some of the Electoral Office staff or the siting of some of their offices in facilitating the registration process.

· No examination and use of the 2011 Census.

 

“Sinn Féin will seek meetings with both the Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer in the coming period to discuss the findings of the report but more importantly will be placing effective new measures in place to rectify the problem and get the register fit for purpose.”

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Sinn Fein spokesperson for Housing Dessie Ellis TD has welcomed news that a further €360,000 has been secured by Longford County Council to carry out work on the unsafe Gleann Riada estate. The money comes a weeks after a tranche of €200,000 euro was secured from the Department of the Environment last week.
Deputy Ellis continued:
"Of course we must welcome this development.
Residents of Gleann Riada have been campaigning hard for their concerns to be treated with the seriousness they deserve. Their homes have been described as dangerous by the HSE and are not suitable current for habitation.
“I visited the site in recent months and was shocked and disturbed by what I saw. These families are living in fear, with two explosions in the last twelve months and many people feeling ill, their children missing school.
“I commend Longford County Council on securing a developers bond of €360,000 to carry out work on Gleann Riada estate.
Recently a survey has been carried out to ascertain the extent of the problems on the estate and I hope that work will start soon to make the estate safe and habitable.
“I would restate my opinion and the opinion of residents though that while this estate, which received planning from the County Council, under the Department of Environment, is unsafe the state has a duty of care to protect these families and they must be evacuated.
“Families cannot be expected to live on a building site with a history of unexpected explosions, where they have been advised to keep windows open and are afraid to light a fire. This would be unreasonable at any time of year but coming into December it is inhumane."
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Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015


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