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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 Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has said the Government must invest in a jobs creation package to stimulate the economy and to give our young people a future in their own country.

Deputy Crowe was speaking at a protest held today by leaving cert students who were highlighting the lack of employment options for them as they leave school and the problem of emigration.

Deputy Crowe said:

“Thousands of leaving certificate students will get their results tomorrow but the unfortunate reality for many of them is that if they cannot afford or do not want to go to college the only option open to them is emigration. That is the sad reality we live in today in Ireland.

“The failure of this and the previous government to invest in a proper economic stimulus and job creation package has extended the unemployment crisis.

“Despite the promises of both Fine Gael and Labour in the run up to the general election they have delivered a miserable jobs initiative with only €29 million of expenditure on capital projects and €11 million on additional training places.

“Fine Gael promised an investment of €7 billion to create 100,000 jobs. Labour promised a jobs fund of €500 million and a Strategic Investment Bank with funds of €2 billion.

“Sinn Fein believes that the government must invest €2 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects and to assist small and medium sized businesses to save and create jobs.

“The government should stop using taxpayers’ money to bailout unguaranteed bondholders. Rather they should be using this money to stimulate Ireland’s domestic economy.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Sligo/North Leitrim TD Michael Colreavy has expressed concern for the jobs at MBNA in Carrick on Shannon. Deputy Colreavy said it would be unthinkable that this business would be closed or transferred to another centre either inside or outside Ireland.

Speaking today Deputy Colreavy said:

“MBNA was a very welcome and badly needed industry when it was set up in Carrick on Shannon in 1997, it transformed not just Carrick on Shannon but all of Leitrim, North Roscommon, Longford and Sligo.

“A thousand jobs in a previously neglected area such as this had a visible social impact. For possibly the first time in this region people had an alternative to emigration.

“The operation in Carrick was regarded by MBNA as on a par or better than any of its operations worldwide.

“It would be unthinkable that this business would be closed or transferred to another centre either inside or outside Ireland.

“Hundreds of young couples with families have mortgages on the basis of their income from the Bank of America whilst the rental market, particularly in Carrick-On-Shannon would collapse entirely if this business were to be closed or relocated.

“It is now incumbent on government and governmental agencies to closely watch developments around the sale of the Carrick-On-Shannon business.

“Government must insist that the interests of the workers, their families and the wider population of this area are protected in all the choices and decisions that will be made.

“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring job security and will be keeping a close eye on all developments in this case.” ENDS

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The chairperson of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the Clinical Director for the Health Service Executive in Louth/Meath and the Regional Director of Operations to resign.

According to Deputy Tóibín, “In September last year the HSE stated that due to an alleged cluster of below par surgical outcomes they had no choice but to close down general and keyhole surgery and carry out an external review. In the last few weeks the Peyton report vindicated the surgical team at Our Lady’s Hospital Navan by stating that there was no evidence of any wrong doing in the first place and that an internal review and not a fully blown external review of the outcomes would have been sufficient.

“The fallout from the HSE mismanagement of the situation is that a number of surgeons have had their professional reputations unfairly tarnished. They have placed a cloud over the perceived quality of Our Lady’s Hospital and the people of Meath have been robbed of their surgery services for nearly a year for no good reason.

“Unbelievably, despite the report having being published and the fact that we are fast approaching the anniversary of the disastrous decision we still have not had these services returned. In the interim hundreds of patients have been scattered to other hospitals to wait on trollies.

“Given the damage that has been done to our hospital I am calling of the Minister to resist any further cuts to our hospital, reinstate surgery services immediately and hold to account the individuals who badly mismanaged the provision of surgical services in the region last September. The people of Meath no longer have confidence in their ability to deliver safe and efficient health care.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has expressed concern at Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton’s proposals to amalgamate a number of workers’ rights and equality agencies and bodies.

Deputy was responding to the publication of the minister’s consultation paper on the reform of the State’s employment rights and industrial relations structures and procedures.

He said:

“The Minister’s proposals have the appearance of amalgamating some quite discrete agencies, in a way which may very well be in fact detrimental to the interests of workers. Those concerned by the continuing attacks on ordinary workers by this government, including the recent ‘reform proposals’ as regards the JLCs will be particularly disquieted by any proposals which reduce the amount of scrutiny and oversight placed upon employers.

“If we are serious about protecting workers and about equality, we should ensure that the structures and agencies put in place to protect them are appropriate, robust and properly resourced

“These agencies have very different roles, which might suffer from a lack of independence from one another.

“I would particularly raise concern as regards any possible amalgamation of courts or tribunals, and I would stress that there is a clear need for workers to have the optimum opportunity to have full recourse to the courts, including at appellate level as well as at first instance.

“The minister should note the specific purposes of the courts and tribunals concerned, and it would be foolish and reckless to assume that the areas of equality and of employment are one and the same. I hope that the Minister recognises this, and the need for a specific approach to equality issues.

“The Minister’s proposals come hot on the heels of his anti-worker approach to reforming the JLCs. My concern is that the minister is using a smoke screen of rationalisation and reform to remove the protections workers rely upon.

“The huge number of applications to the Labour Court and the huge demand for the services provided by the other authorities demonstrate that it is simply not good enough to assume that workers are generally well treated, there is a need for protection and indeed for robust protection. We would be very concerned if these proposals had the effect of further reducing the already small numbers of Labour inspectors

“Sinn Féin will be examining these proposals in depth, and will oppose any efforts to hollow out hard won protections for the rights of workers.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West has called on South Dublin County Council to withdraw a letter sent to relatives of people buried in a section of Bohernabreena Cemetery which threatens to remove personal items from their loved ones graves.

Deputy Crowe said there is huge opposition to the Council’s plans and that the threatening letters are causing further heartbreak and distress to hundreds of families.

Speaking today Deputy Crowe said:

“This issue has arisen because South Dublin County Council wants to transform a section of the graveyard into a Lawn cemetery with easy access for Council workers to cut the grass at the graves. Many of families are adamant that they have always maintained their loved ones graves and cannot understand that now many years later the Council are trying impose these changes and threatening to remove personal items.

“The families affected claim that they were never informed before now that their loved ones’ graves were to be part of a lawn cemetery and that personal items should not be placed on them.

“I have been dealing with a number of the families involved in this and there is major opposition to the council’s plans. This has caused a huge amount of hurt and distress to families who are already suffering.

“Leaving personal items on the graves of loved ones helps to bring comfort to the many of the families. It is a deeply personal act.

“In this section of the graveyard there are many people who passed away at an early age in tragic circumstances and the families are still trying to come to terms with their loss.

“I met with council officials last week with a delegation of some of the family members involved. We put the case to South Dublin County Council and called on them to think again in relation to their proposals.

“It is my view that the council cannot win this case. The graves have been maintained by family members for years and many of them do not want council officials or strangers walking on or interfering with the graves. Personal items and family maintenance of the graves are not causing any harm to anyone.

“The council needs to withdraw the threatening letters immediately and come up with creative solutions that would include allowing families to maintain their loved ones’ graves.

“The council has agreed to reassess the situation and to inform myself and other members of the delegation of any further actions.” ENDS

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Dessie Ellis Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing has today supported the call by the Union of Students of Ireland for measures to be introduced to ensure the protection of tenant deposits.

Deputy Ellis said;

“The USI figures show that students are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords at a very high rate. This is also the experience of many private tenants who have been short-changed or refused the return of their deposit unfairly.

“At a time when people are really struggling, the return of deposits on the ending of a lease is very important. Students facing higher fees cannot afford to be mistreated in this manner and it is putting a lot of pressure on people in 3rd level education which undoubtedly is harming their studies.

“We in Sinn Féin reiterate our call for measures to allow for the Private Residential Tenancies Boards to hold and refund deposits paid. This would go a long way to rectifying this issue and ensuring those who seek to take advantage of tenants are not given the opportunity.” ENDS

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Speaking this morning, ahead of the publication of the Leaving Certificate results later this week, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe urged all students to remain calm and to put the exam into context.

The Dublin South West TD stated that “the hype around exam results time has been intensified in the last decade. What we are now witnessing is an educational rat-race for points to determine if a student’s application to a 3rd level course of their choice is accepted. This is an educational pressure-cooker which must be turned down.

“The Leaving Cert examination and the Points system must be changed. For instance continual assessment should be introduced in order to significantly reduce pressure on students. Examining a student over a period of a couple of stressful weeks to see if they can progress to their third level preferred course is unfair and unjustifiable. Young people have enough pressures to cope with without the added stress of intense examinations over a short period of time.

“The current Leaving Certificate is obsolete. The education system should be about assisting students in developing their full potential according to their capabilities. It should not be a competition, where students are pitted against one another for limited college places.

“Disappointed students must realise that there are several other options open to students besides the University route. The results process and their outcome can be a difficult and highly pressurised period for many students. I would urge students, their schoolmates, their friends and family to engage in a supportive role during the next couple of weeks. These exam results must be put into context, and while I wish each and every student well, these results are by no stretch of the imagination the be all and end all.” Críoch

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Commenting after leaks of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate Report into the operation of the Police Ombudsman’s Office appeared in the Sunday Times, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly repeated the demand for Al Hutchinson to go and called for the immediate publication of the report.

Mr Kelly said:

“A Sunday newspaper carried a series of extracts from the Criminal Justice Inspectorate report into the operation of the Police Ombudsman Office. It is clear that Dr. Michael Maguire’s report is complete and it now needs to be published without further delay.

Public confidence in the Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson is already at rock bottom and it is important that swift action is taken to restore the credibility of this crucially important policing structure.

If the leaked detail contained in this report is true it is clear that the removal of Mr Hutchinson, necessary as that is, will in itself not suffice. It seems that his report has uncovered a series of deep failures including a lowering of operational independence; key staff disassociating themselves from wrongful findings; the dominance of ex-police officers in decision making ; an arrangement to avoid criticism of Special Branch in inquiries into historic cases and the rewriting of reports at their final stage in contradiction to the findings.

There are other deep-seated problems identified including the use of former members of the RUC in carrying out investigations. The conflict of interest this causes in the office's work on historic collusion cases is very obvious.

It has been already well documented that there are very serious issues of independence and effectiveness in the Police Ombudsman’s Office. The report vindicates the deep criticism of the Office by the families in the cases of the Mc Gurks Bar bombing and the Loughinisland Massacre.

We have already called for Al Hutchinson to resign. If the leaks in the CJI Report are true then it seems what has been going on within the Police Ombudsman’s Office is actually even worse than people had feared.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD gave the main speech at yesterday’s (Sunday) march and commemoration in Camlough, in South Armagh, to mark the 30 anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike.

The Sinn Féin leader described the prison struggle, like the struggle outside the prisons, as a battle of wills. It was about the right of the Irish people to self-determination and independence and freedom.

Mr. Adams said the struggle “was about uniting Ireland and that struggle continues today.
And core republican objectives are at the heart of everything we do today.

“The Sinn Féin political strategy is about achieving these objectives.

“And let there be no doubt about it. We have a viable project and we have made, are making, and we will continue to make significant progress.

“Thirty years ago the north was embroiled in war. British troops were dug in on these hilltops; people were dying in their scores; nationalist areas were under military occupation and unionists were entrenched behind their laager mentality.

“The Sinn Féin strategy brought the British and the unionists and the Irish government to the negotiating table.

“Thirty years ago there was an Orange State. The Orange State is gone. The Government of Ireland Act is gone. The right of citizens to opt for a United Ireland is equal to that of those who wish to retain the union.

“Sinn Féin is from that democratic tradition which believes that the British government never had any right to be in Ireland; does not have any right to be in Ireland and never will have any right to be in Ireland.

“There is now an entirely peaceful way to bring an end to British rule. Our duty is to develop democratic ways and means to achieve and to unite behind the leadership and the campaigns which will bring this about.

“Yes it will be challenging! Yes it will be frustrating! The enemies of change are strong. But that never stopped us in the past. Remember once upon a time Margaret Thatcher – remember Margaret Thatcher? Remember she claimed that the north was as British as Finchley! It never was. Britain’s claim to the north is now reduced to a simple majority vote.

“Of course we have a huge job of work to do to persuade unionists of the merits of the republican and democratic position. But we are also in a very good place to do this.

“Sinn Féin is the largest nationalist party in the Assembly and on local Councils. There are five Sinn Féin Ministers, including our leader Martin McGuinness, who as Deputy First Minister shares the Office of First and Deputy First Minister with Peter Robinson as an equal in all matters.

“The DUP and UUP, who opposed power sharing, are sharing power in government. There are all-Ireland political functioning institutions.

“And in all of these political institutions Sinn Féin is defending the rights and entitlements of all citizens and promoting our republican agenda for unity and equality.

“This year Sinn Féin increased our political representation in local councils and in the Assembly in the north. In the Oireachtas today, we have a Sinn Féin team of fourteen TDs and three seanadoirí. And in constituencies across the south, especially those where we came close to winning Dáil seats, Sinn Féin is growing organisationally and electorally.

“In Leinster House our new Dáil team is proving itself to be effective and efficient. For many we are now the real opposition party, challenging the Fine Gael and Labour government as it imposes a disastrous austerity programme and introduces new stealth taxes on working families.

“The fact is that Irish republicanism is stronger today than at any time since partition.
But to make further advances and to be able to exercise even greater political influence and power, we need to build our struggle.

“There is no more important time than this for the republican principles of equality, fraternity, and freedom.”

The Sinn Féin President concluded:

“Achieving our republican goals will not be easy.

“While Unionist leaders now see the benefits of working on an all Ireland basis, they remain opposed to a united Ireland. So there is work to be done peacefully and democratically with them. Sinn Féin is up for that work.

“The British government, despite its protestations to the contrary, and its systems, has yet to face up to its responsibilities to the people of this island. It can best do this by leaving us to manage our own affairs.

“The Irish government, and in particular the Irish political establishment, is partitionist.

“That is evident in so many ways, for example, in the resistance thus far, to extending voting rights in Presidential elections to Irish citizens living in the north.

“But there are many people in Ireland who want rid of outsiders ruling us whether from London or the IMF and EU. They want a free and united and independent Ireland.

“I believe there are many people in Ireland who share our goals of a free and united and independent Ireland.

“By building political strength and developing alliances we can achieve our goals.

“Sinn Féin is clear about our strategy, clear about our goals and clear about the road map to the future. We will not be distracted or put off course. We have a vision of a new future, a better future, and we have the spirit and the confidence to work with others to achieve this.” ENDS

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