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A Fair Recovery Is Possible

Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

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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.



Latest Statements

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis has called on Fianna Fáil Senator Pascal Mooney to withdraw comments he made in the Seanad today which condoned discriminating against taxi drivers on the basis of their perceived nationality. He also called on party leader Micheál Martin to distance himself from such comments.

Deputy Ellis said:

“Today in the debate on the new Taxi Regulation Bill Senator Mooney said that he would go to a local taxi driver in preference to an ‘obvious non-national’. He also went on to say that he thought there was a very high number of ‘non-Irish’ operating taxis in Ireland. These are discriminatory statements and the Senator should withdraw them.

“There are people of many different nationalities and cultures working in Ireland in all different sectors. They are part of our communities and economies and Pascal Mooney would do well to remember that before he so callously judges them. He said his discriminatory practice was not based on colour but I am intrigued as to how Senator Mooney has the ability to discern someone's nationality through a car window. Regardless it is wrong to do this and wrong for a public representative to openly condone it.

“Foreign nationals in Ireland have been found to suffer regular racial abuse of varying degrees on the street and in their workplace. This is a serious issue and we must address it, not give comfort to those who engage in racism.

“Fianna Fáil should distance themselves from these remarks and Pascal Mooney should apologise.”

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Speaking in the Dáil this morning the Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD criticised the Taoiseach for driving down nurse’s and midwives’ basic pay while protecting excessive pay and pension arrangements for current and former Government Ministers, senior civil servants and office holders.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Over the weekend the Taoiseach took to the airwaves to threaten public sector workers with pay cuts. From the outset of negotiations on a successor to the Croke Park agreement, the Government warned of compulsory redundancies in the public sector. This is not the way to negotiate in good faith. Public posturing does citizens no favours.

“The case for public sector reform is accepted by those inside and outside the public and civil service. Equally, the case for finally tackling the excessive pay and pensions of a tiny minority at the top is now unanswerable. Government ministers, special advisers and senior civil servants all need to have their pay cut.

“The protection afforded to high rollers in the public sector contrasts starkly with the plans of the Minister for Health to slash the pay and conditions of graduate nurses and midwives. The Government is expecting these graduates to accept yellow pack jobs and greatly reduced pay rates within the health service. What happened to equal pay for equal work?

“Public sector reform will not be achieved by driving down wages for those at the bottom of public sector pay grades. In the course of the negotiations for an extension of the Croke Park agreement, will the Government defend pay equity? Will it defend equal pay for work of equal value? Will it finally deal with the glaring issue of the tiny minority within the public and Civil Service who are overpaid and over-pensioned?

“The position of equal pay for work of equal value is fundamental in any profession or job and must be defended. We had hoped the Labour Party might take a different position. The Government can slash the terms and conditions of a graduate nurse but protect its own pay and perks at every turn.

“The government is prepared to legislate for pay cuts for low paid public sector workers but it consistently refuses to legislate on the issue of the runaway gilt edged pensions of former Taoisigh and some of the Taoiseach's former colleagues. Why that contradiction? Surely, if the Government is to be fair there must be fair play all around. By any standard, young nurses, midwives and the health service are getting a raw deal.”

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Family and friends of Gerald Donaghy murdered by British Paratroopers in Derry on Bloody Sunday 1972 have taken their campaign to clear his name to the European Parliament.

The delegation of Bloody Sunday families hosted by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson travelled to the EU Parliament to highlight the continued injustice perpetrated against the good name of Gerald Donaghy by the findings of Saville.

Among those who met with the campaigners was the Irish Government’s permanent representative in Brussels, Fergal Mythen, Fianna Fail MEP Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, Irish Culture Minister, Jimmy Deenihan, Mikael Gustafsson of the Swedish Left Party and former Eastenders actor and senior British Labour Party figure Michael Cashman MEP, who specialises in Civil Liberties and Human Rights issues. Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney also accompanied the delegation which along with Gerald Donaghy’s niece Geraldine Doherty and prominent Bloody Sunday campaigner, John Kelly – brother of victim Michael Kelly - included Leo Young whose 17 year-old brother John was also murdered on Bloody Sunday and Raymond Rogan, who attempted to ferry the wounded teenager to Altnagelvin Hospital before they were stopped and detained by British soldiers. Both men have always maintained that at no time while they accompanied Gerald was there any nail bombs on his person.

Martina Anderson said:

“The visit by the representatives of the Bloody Sunday Families who travelled as a delegation to raise awareness of the unjustifiable stain left on the reputation of Gerald Donaghy by the Saville findings, will I am sure gain support among my fellow MEP’s that they met.

“On reading the copy of the report ‘Gerald Dongahey: The Truth About the Planting of Nail Bombs on Bloody Sunday’ given to each MEP and the Irish government representative I have no doubt they will identify with the feelings of the families.

“I congratulate Geraldine and the group on their determination and the powerful presentation they made to the MEP’s. I will now host a further meeting with MEPs in Strasbourg next week to discuss a strategy to build support for the campaign in Europe.”

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney added:

“While the Saville Report was an important building block in Irish/British relations, the Inquiry’s findings left a ‘shadow’ over the Donaghy and Doherty families. We will continue our support for the families in whatevercourse of action they believe is necessary” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin health and children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has commented on the new all-Ireland report showing that Ireland has one of the highest rates of suicide among young people in Europe.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The figures for the level of suicide among young people in Ireland as highlighted in this new study are truly shocking. Over 230 suicides per year among teenagers and young men in Ireland give us one of the highest rates of suicide in Europe. And these are only the recorded figures; the true rate is likely to be higher.

“Suicide is taking a terrible toll on families and communities across Ireland and the report published today confirms that the increase in the suicide rate among young men coincides with the recession.

“This calls for a determined and co-ordinated response from Governments on both sides of the border. The long promised and long overdue development of mental health services in the 26 Counties must be delivered this year, money ring-fenced for that purpose last year having been re-allocated to fill gaps elsewhere in the HSE.

“Measures to tackle youth unemployment must be real and tangible and that means investment in genuine job creation rather than schemes designed to manipulate the dole figures.

“The Government’s austerity approach is fuelling educational disadvantage, poorer health outcomes, unemployment and emigration. Tragically it is also contributing to the increased levels of suicide among young people in Ireland.”

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has today called on the Government to put in place plans to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 lockout.

Speaking during the course of the Order of Business today, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, stated that it is essential that the Government mark the centenary of the industrial dispute, and to afford due recognition of the struggles of those involved in the lockout.

“The 1913 Lockout is likely the most significant dispute in Irish industrial history. The conflict between, Jim Larkin and the industrialist and newspaper owner William Martin Murphy, has become an iconic story, and it affected countless ordinary Irish workers, particularly in Dublin, but also throughout Ireland.

“While it was a time of tremendous hardship and sacrifice for ordinary people, we should recognise and celebrate such a significant event, particularly as it became such a platform for later struggles, and the advancement of the interests of workers since then. It is also an inspiration to us to continue to battle the injustices that still face many workers.

“Therefore, it is incumbent on the Government to commemorate such a historic event in this centenary year. I am calling on the Government to recognise the event both inside and outside these houses.

“In particular, I believe that the Government should invite union leaders and other workers representatives to address the Seanad, and indeed the Dáil, over the course of the next 12 month.

“However the Government should go further than that, and organise public events, such as is being organised by the ICTU, Siptu, and indeed Sinn Féin, so as to bring the story of this struggle to a new generation, and to highlight its legacy.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has today called on the government to explain why they have abandoned their commitment to introduce a climate change bill in the agreed time-frame.

Stanley said:

“Responding to questioning by me yesterday, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has revealed that there is no climate change bill and there will not be any climate change bill until the government introduces a so-called ‘low carbon bill’.

“An Taoiseach must know that there is no need for a low carbon bill and this is yet another excuse. The climate change bill will tackle carbon emissions. This government continues to run away from their responsibilities on the environment. Last year we were promised a climate change bill, then Minister Hogan relegated the bill to a road map, then in December as he headed for the climate change conference in Doha he promised that the heads of a climate change bill would be published. Still nothing has happened.

“Minister Hogan is now president of the EU Environmental Council and he still refuses to produce a climate change bill. This is both embarrassing and destructive. Climate change poses huge challenges for us. It is only by introducing a robust climate change bill that we will be able to tackle the negative effects of global warming.

“Sinn Féin will not let this government hide from their responsibilities on climate change. A climate change bill must be introduced during this Dáil term.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed that the new Police Ombudsman is to resume investigations into 150 historical cases involving criminal activity by the RUC, many including collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

The Sinn Féin Policing spokesperson and North Belfast MLA said:

“This is welcome news for the families of the victims and it is crucial that they have confidence in the office to carry out these investigations.

“Under these processes installed by the new Ombudsman Michael Maguire, which have been approved by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate, the investigations should proceed free from interference.

“The Police Ombudsman’s office is the proper investigative body to carry out these type of investigations and they should have enough resources to carry them out efficiently and speedily.

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Speaking regarding new legislation on the future regulation of the taxi industry, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has said that the taxi industry is in crisis and that the Government response is “insufficient”.

Senator Reilly said:

“The taxi industry is in crisis. Across the state taxi drivers and their families are facing an increasingly bleak future. Oversupply of licences, poor regulation, poor application of existing regulations and a dramatic loss of trade have pushed hundreds of taxi drivers out of business and thousands more into real financial hardship.

“While many of the problems in the industry were created by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have been slow to act. They have been slow to improve the application of the existing regulatory framework. They have been slow to bring forward this legislation.

“While some elements of the Bill tabled in the Oireachtas this week are positive, the Government clearly does not fully understand the extent of the crisis in the industry or the weaknesses in the existing regulatory regime.

“This is hardly surprising given that the current administration has yet to really engage with the industry as a whole. Just like their predecessors, there has not been sufficient dialogue with the various representative bodies or with individual drivers.

“Since deregulation the number of licenses has increased seven-fold. There are simply too many taxis on our roads, too many multi-license holders and too many part-time drivers. This situation has been compounded by an inadequate vetting system.

“Sinn Féin has argued that the Taxi Regulations Directorate must be held to account through a Dáil Committee and bi-annual reviews.

“There is also a need for improved vetting; a minimum hours requirement for drivers; and greater regulation of the rental market to ensure the best service and safety for taxi users, as well as allowing full-time drivers to make a decent living.

“Sinn Féin wants to see the taxi industry recover, to provide the best quality of service to customers and to provide stable and well paid employment to drivers. The Taxi Regulation Bill goes some way towards that, but a lot more work needs to be done by government if it is to achieve these aims.”

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Council tenants can't bear cost of Home Tax - Ellis

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to support his party's amendment to exclude local authority housing from property liable to pay the Home Tax. He made his comments following reports that tenants could see a rise in council rents as a result.

Deputy Ellis said:

"Sinn Féin are opposed to this unfair tax on family homes but we are particularly concerned by the foolish move to levy the tax on social housing.

"Council tenants are not in any position to pay higher rents. The vast majority are scraping to survive these very hard times. Many have already been cut numerous times.

"This tax is supposed to be about funding local services but in fact it will cost Local Authorities large sums and take up resources determining the value of around 125,000 properties across the state.

"The government must accept this point and amend their bill accordingly. Otherwise the family home tax will be an even greater mess than envisaged."

ENDS

Videos

Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015


Photos

Matt Carthy