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Sinn Féin housing spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has called on the Minister for Finance and Financial Regulator to work with the financial institutions to develop a code of conduct for receivers of buy-to-let properties. He made his comments during a topical issue debate in the Dáil this evening referring to the negative experiences of some tenants who have not had their rights respected by receivers who have taken up properties which had current tenants.

Deputy Ellis continued:
"There is a crisis in the buy-to-let market. Some 29% of the 150,000 buy-to-let mortgages are in arrears. 17% are in arrears for 90 days or more. This means a staggering 26,770 rental properties are at risk of serious default.

“One of the most immediate consequences of this crisis is that the people who live in these properties are at great risk.

“A receiver is appointed by the bank and writes to the tenant demanding that from that point on the rest must be paid to the receiver directly and not to the landlord. This is fine and some receivers treat tenants with due respect for their rights but this is not always the case.

“As the buy-to-let mortgage crisis gets worse, we are going to have more and more tenants left in this precarious position. There is a need for the Government to get a handle on this problem. They must immediately instruct the Central Bank to bring the receivers and banks to the table and hammer out a clear code of conduct.

At the centre of this code of conduct must be a commitment by the receivers to honour the terms and obligations of the tenancy agreement.

No tenant should be allowed to go homeless as a result of the appointment of a receiver.

No tenant should lose their deposit because of the appointment of a receiver.

No tenant should be left without maintenance services because of the appointment of a receiver."

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Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has been appointed by the GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament to track and amend the Tobacco Products Directive as it passes through the legislative process in the Parliament.

 Speaking following her appointment Martina Anderson said:

 "This is a major piece of legislation which will impact greatly on how we tackle smoking related illnesses throughout Europe. I look forward to taking an active role in shaping this legislation to prioritise public health over an industry which results in a shocking 700,000 deaths in Europeannually. I will do my utmost to make an ambitious proposal even more so.

 “As MEP’s, we have a responsibility to prioritise the health of our citizens over the profits of an industry which manufactures deadly consumer products. 2300 people die in the North of Ireland alone each year from smoking-related diseases. We must do more to eradicate this figure.

"The various controversies surrounding the numerous delays in bringing these proposals forward and the reported potential corruption within the Commission raises very worrying questions surrounding the undue influence that tobacco industry lobbyists have on the policy process.

 "The EU has signed up to a World Health Organisation’s (WHO) convention on tobacco control. This convention explicitly states that public health policy makers have an obligation ‘to ensure that they protect these policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry'.

 “The WHO convention therefore must form the core of this legislation and have its principles incorporated by the Commission in drafting this directive. As part of my brief on behalf of the GUE/NGL group in the EU Parliament I will be tracking the drafting of the legislation and where there isn’t adherence to the principles of the WHO convention I will be raising serious questions." CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson, has given her support to a report in the European Parliament which promotes active and healthy ageing.

 Speaking after voting in favour of the Report, Martina Anderson MEP said:

 "It is essential that with a rapidly ageing population and the effects of savage austerity measures that older people are protected from the very real risk of social exclusion.

 "We must do everything possible to ensure that individuals and organisations representative of older people are involved to the maximum extent in the decision-making process.

 "We must recognise older people for the asset that they are to our society and not treat them as if they are a burden. A great example of how to ensure involvement of older people was the Office of First and deputy First Minister's small grants scheme last year which promoted mutual respect and solidarity between the generations.

"It is also fantastic that in the North we have our own Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keating and an Older People's Parliament. It is something to be proud of that we can hold ourselves up as a case of best practice in recognising older peoples’ place as equal participants in society." CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has been successful in having the European Parliament's report on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) amended to ensure special recognition for Irish fishing communities and their quotas.

 Martina Anderson, in cooperation with fellow MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher, successfully amended the report to include the so called '1976 Hague Preferences'.

 Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Ms Anderson said

 "Formalising this assurance in the CFP safeguards the needs of our fishery-dependent communities and their continued 'progressive development'.

 “In practice, this will mean that Ireland will get a top-up on their quota in return for sharing the Irish fishing grounds (which are too big for the Irish fleet to handle) with other member states.

 "I am delighted to see my amendment pass. This goes some way to protecting Irish Fisheries and rural communities, in what could be a difficult negotiation between the Council and the Parliament.

 "On the rest of the report, although I recognise some detail may change in the negotiations, I believe that on the issue of discards, and focusing on yields rather than quotas we have made some progress.

 "I am therefore, happy to see a ban on discards - throwing unwanted fish back into the sea -, either because they are the wrong species or size or dead. This practice is wasteful, unsustainable, and environmentally unfriendly. I also welcome the emphasis on regionalism, as blanket approaches on these policies can be counterproductive.

 "I know the deal is no way done, and the negotiations between the three EU institutions will be tough, but at this stage, I am happy to have done something to ensure the future of the Irish fishing industry."  CRÍOCH

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After signing the anti-violence and domestic abuse Declaration in the EU Parliament, Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson said:

“Violence against females and domestic abuse in any form is a terrible violation of human rights which is unfortunately very widespread, crossing geographical, age and social boundaries.

“In Ireland, the statistics showing the number of vulnerable women supported by charities dealing with domestic abuse, has increased by more than 55% in the past five years, are incredibly worrying. The statistics also show that a staggering number of women had to be turned away from domestic abuse refuges due to lack of accommodation facilities.

“The Irish government and the Assembly Executive evidently need to do a lot more to effectively combat this situation and safeguard the rights of those suffering domestic abuse and violence. “ CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) to intensify its mobilisation for the marches against austerity, planned for Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Limerick, and Waterford on Saturday.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers' Rights was speaking from Leinster House following the rushed passing of the Irish Bank Resolution Bill last night.

“Following last nights disgraceful and farcical scenes, it is likely that the Government will seek to create the impression that they have obtained a substantial banking deal, and that protests and campaigns on our banking debt are unnecessary. This is nonsense.

“The Government has singularly failed to obtain any kind of deal worth talking about. Every last cent of the Anglo-Irish debt will be repaid with no write-down of the debt secured. All they have achieved is to ensure that the odious banking debt, the debts of gamblers and speculators, will weigh as heavily on our children and our grandchildren, as they do on the present generation. And that is nothing to take pride in.

“It is incumbent at this time for the Trade Union movement to show leadership to ordinary working people. It needs to show that the Government have singularly failed to obtain an acceptable deal, and that the Government have tied themselves in for even further austerity.

“In light of last night’s events, it is more important than ever that there is a massive turnout of the Irish Union movement on Saturday to let the Government and the ECB know loud and clear that it is not our debt.”

The Waterford Senator also expressed concern for the future of the former workers of the IBRC

“The first that workers in the IBRC were informed in relation to the liquidation of the institution, and the threat to their jobs, was an email circulated last night. There are more than 800 people employed by the IBRC and they are very concerned for their future.

“The Government has indicated that NAMA is likely to take the majority of these workers on. However, the manner in which they were informed and have been treated is simply not acceptable. I hope that the Government ensures that as many workers as possible can be reemployed on equivalent terms and conditions, and that the Government ensures that any workers who are not taken on receive their entitlements and adequate redundancy packages as a matter of priority.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community & local government, Brian Stanley TD, has today warned that the government’s proposed water charges bill “will force low income families into poverty”.
Deputy Stanley said: “The government’s Water Services Bill will force families further into poverty with its power to charge households for water from 1 January 2014.
“The current proposal to install water meters and charge household for water was dreamt up by Fianna Fáil and brought to life by Fine Gael and supported by the Labour Party.
“This bill is far reaching and draconian. It establishes Irish Water as a subsidiary of An Bord Gáis Eireann, a company which this government intends to sell.
“This new company will be given power to install water meters and then charge families for the water they use. This charge means the public will be paying three times for the water they drink.
“Firstly in their general taxes, secondly through this new charge and finally they will pay through the National Pension Reserve Fund which is being used to fund the installation of water meters. Experts, including the Local Authority Professional Officers have given estimates of €1.2 billion to cover the cost of the installation.
“Sinn Féin supports the introduction of district metering instead of putting water meters in every household.
“Research in Britain shows that ‘large water bills in relation to income have the potential for causing significant deprivation.’ Yet the government bill, despite international evidence, does not even attempt to protect low income families and those who would be seen as vulnerable.
“In Denmark, with a similar population of 5.4million, water metering is in place and in 2007 the average cost was €715 per household.
Sinn Féin agrees that we need a co-ordinated approach on the island towards ensuring that water is brought to where it is needed, when it is needed. And indeed homes and communities are protected against the adverse effects of flooding from too much water.
“Sinn Féin proposes investing money from the National Pension Reserve Fund in creating real jobs that have a positive legacy. The money being wasted on meters should be invested in upgrading an aging, leaking water distribution system.
“The €500m referred to in the bill would fund the water conservation strategy for six years. It would be far more appropriate to invest this €500m in water conservation rather than meter installation.”
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Sinn Féin Employment Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has said that he is deeply disappointed that nine out of the ten HMV stores in the North are to close.

 Mr. Flanagan said:

 “I am deeply disappointed that out of the 66 HMV stores the administrators have decided to close nine of them that are situated across the North.

 “This is a huge blow to the local economy especially coming so quickly on the back of the closure of other high street stores such as Jessops and Hoi Polloi. 

 “It is clear that the retail sector is facing a crisis and I am calling on Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Investment Arlene Foster to protect these high street businesses by looking at incentives that will allow them to ride out the recession.

 “There is still a responsibility on HMV to uphold the rights and entitlements of their workers and they must do all they can over the next two months to help their employees find alternative employment.

 “HMV need to clearly state that if some of their employees find alternative employment during their closing period that they will still have their full entitlements paid to them and will not be penalised for leaving early.”

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Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, has said the government is repeating the mistakes of the past in rushing through unclear, far-reaching banking legislation.
“After nearly two years of negotiations the government has succeeded only in achieving a farcical situation. Every last cent of the Anglo-Irish debt is to be repaid. That much is clear.
“This is a humiliating failure for the government. Having promised change they are now repeating exactly the same mistakes as Fianna Fáil.
“The role of the ECB in aiding the chaos shows that the government has chosen Frankfurt’s Way.
“We need a write-down of this debt so that the billions tied up can be used to create jobs and protect the vulnerable. Sinn Féin was the first to raise the issue of the Promissory Notes and we have consistently called for them to not to be paid.
“The only thing clear tonight is that there is no write-down and that the debts are being formalised as a sovereign debt.
“Tonight, this debt becomes as much as Labour’s and Fine Gael’s legacy as it is Fianna Fáil’s. This government is repeating the mistakes of the past.
“Only last June the government claimed it had achieved a EuroGroup commitment to separate banking and sovereign debt. Now we know we are to adopt the Promissory Notes as formal sovereign debt.
“There is no clarity tonight that the agreement that might be struck will actually improve the debt situation for the state or critically to reduce the crippling austerity working people are labouring under. There is nothing yet to suggest that one Garda station will remain open or one rural school not having to close because of this so-called deal.”

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Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD responding to breaking news on the promissory notes said tonight that the litmus test of this deal will be the ultimate impact it has on debt and the annual budget. He reiterated that the promissory notes should not be repaid.

Doherty said:

“The summit last June committed to separating banking debt from sovereign debt. My party has always insisted that the Anglo Promissory Notes are not the debt of the Irish taxpayer and we have urged this Government to not pay them, because we cannot pay them.

“The details of this deal are sketchy. Sinn Fein has no objection to the liquidation of Anglo Irish bank if it rids us of the current promissory notes. However, that is where the government should stop. It should not be replacing the promissory notes with a sovereign bond.

“Rather than seek a write-down of the promissory notes, this government appears to have focussed all its efforts on changing the terms under which the notes are repaid. If what has been emerging in the news transpires, and the promissory notes become a sovereign bond, this severely limits future restructuring of these notes.

“The litmus test of any deal that happens in the next day or so will be whether it reduces this state’s sovereign debt and whether it has a positive impact on the state’s budgetary position. I am hugely concerned that, regardless of what comes out of this process, the government has not agreed with the Troika that it will change next year’s budget targets. We could still have a €3.1 billion adjustment to make come the end of the year.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has described progress on social housing from NAMA properties as very disappointing. He made his comments in response to a parliamentary question which found that just 179 homes have been delivered for social housing despite NAMA being in existence since late 2009 and its many commitments to providing a social dividend.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“This just isn't good enough. I welcomed the renewed commitment by NAMA last year to provide 3,949 units for use for social housing but so little has been delivered in a time when housing waiting lists are bursting at the seams and people are finding it harder to keep their home or to afford spiralling rents.

“The social lease system pursued by the government is a lucrative one for developers within NAMA who will have their properties’ rents hassle free and will be returned their properties once the lease ends. These are developers who have been bailed out by the people already and are being fed by NAMA but have repaid nothing in the way of social dividend.

“Thousands of NAMA units which could be new homes for people who have been waiting years are lying idle. The Minister for Housing and the department need to get tough with developers and NAMA and to ensure this is delivered on soon. We cannot let another year go by where NAMA houses only a handful of people. We have waited long enough.

“The minister must also pave the way to allow local authorities to take over unfinished estates which have no bond and are in the control of a financial institution or NAMA so that these sites can be completed and people can finally be housed. This is all about the political will to provide much needed housing, either the government has it or it doesn’t.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has again called on the Taoiseach to issue a full apology on behalf of the State to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries.

Deputy McDonald said:

“The Taoiseach has wrongly asserted that the McAleese report is the first occasion on which we have had documented evidence of the abuses in the Magdalene laundries.

“In 2009 the Ryan Report detailed the forced unpaid labour, denial of liberty to women and significant physical and emotional abuse which took place in the laundries.

“The report released yesterday confirms again that the State was complicit in the detention of women, in the roots of entry to these laundries, in the State inspection of these laundries and in direct State funding.

“Despite the reports finding of State involvement in the women’s incarceration the Taoiseach has again refused to apologise on behalf of the State to those women for what they have endured.

“In the Dáil this morning the Taoiseach set out every reason why he should apologise to the women. He believes the women and he recognises the wrong done to them. The report itself confirms, yet again, State complicity in that wrongdoing.

“On publication of the report yesterday the surviving women thought their story would be fully validated and that the Taoiseach would conclusively remove that awful stigma with which they have lived.

“Questions must be asked about the Taoiseach’s motivation for failing to apologise to these women. The role of responsible government is not to circle the wagons to protect the State from any financial liability that might arise from its participation in wrongdoing.

“Citizens right across this country are watching in horror as they hear yet another story of brutalisation within institutions and of the State's relationship with those institutions and the State's stubbornness in refusing to face, head on, its responsibilities to the victims.” ENDS

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West Belfast MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann speaking at a conference on Childhood Development Services in Post Conflict societies said learning from each other helps foster a culture that challenges prejudices.

Jennifer McCann said

“Today's launch is significant in that it will look at the importance of relationships and peace building with young children and communities right across the world.
"The issues discussed here today are important, not only in respect of the North of Ireland but to every post conflict country.

“It is important to revisit the past so that we can learn from our experiences. Young people must be offered the opportunity to learn about the past and reflect on the lessons that it can offer us as we work to build a better future.  

“A future that has equality, tolerance and respect at its core. Sharing our experiences with other post conflict societies and learning from each other helps foster a culture where we can challenge prejudices that can lead to division.”

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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty has said Minister Noonan’s recent comments that the extension on maturities for Ireland’s EFSF and EFSM loans would yield “billions” have been exposed as pure speculation.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said;

“Last month, within minutes of a Eurogroup meeting Minister Noonan told media that what had been agreed would yield ‘billions’ for Ireland. Yet today I received a reply to a parliamentary question inviting Minister Noonan to explain exactly how these billions would be saved.

“His reply failed to explain in anyway how he arrived at his billions. Minister Noonan admits that the detail of any extension was unclear and depended on a number of factors.

“Once again we see a government seemingly more interested in spinning our debt negotiations rather than actually delivering progress. By progress, I mean an actual beneficial outcome for citizens and taxpayers. That means less austerity over the coming years.

“Minister Noonan and his colleagues need to know that the public is not interested in any more spin and that their patience is wearing thin with the unproductive government negotiating strategy.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has urged people to participate in the national parental patronage survey on school preference, currently being taken on a pilot basis in 38 designated towns and areas across the country.
Describing the survey as an “unique opportunity for parents to have their say on the type of school they would like to see in place for their children”, the Cork North Central TD continued: “I believe it is important that when, for the first time, the state is actively seeking the views of parents, that they participate in this survey regarding their preference for the type of school in which they would like to see their children educated.
“The surveys are open to parents who live in the designated areas and have children age 0-12 years old and I hope they will take this opportunity to register their choice, before the survey closes on Friday 8 February 2013.
“Anyone interested in registering their views can log onto the Department of Education's website where they can access information about the areas covered by the survey, the potential patrons and how the survey mechanism works.
“I hope that findings of these surveys will help shape our education system so that it properly meets the needs of our rapidly changing population.”

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Speaking during the Dáil debate tonight on the Technical Group private members’ motion on the promissory note, Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation, Peadar Toibín said:
“The actions of the Fine Gael/Labour government will determine whether or not every man, woman and child in this state is saddled with €10,000 debt each or the burden is electronically extinguished by the Central Bank.

“The signing of the promissory note has been a disaster for our people. The opportunity lost is enormous. This is money that will not be spent on jobs, hospitals, education, housing, transport infrastructure, garda stations. It directly translates into water charges, home taxes, higher PRSI, USC, income tax and VAT on hundreds of thousands of families living on the edge.

“The wealth of the nation is being retrospectively swapped for the debt of a defunct toxic private bank. This year, as this state falls over the 120% Debt to GDP cliff into unsustainability, neither Enda Kenny nor Eamon Gilmore can summon the nerve to follow through on their mandate and demand a write-down.

“The reality of people’s lives jars grossly with the overpaid government negotiators such as the minister for finance telling people not to get too excited that there is two months to get a deal.

“The IMF, George Sorros, your own selves two years ago broadly agreed with Sinn Féin’s write down position. But your inability to negotiate and your singular strategy of ingratiating yourself with the ECB has so far sorely let Ireland down.
“The government needs to clearly outline negotiation objectives, you need to communicate red lines, pivotally that no deal without write down is acceptable.

“We must demonstrate our deeply held intent in coming to a resolution in partnership with the ECB but equally we must show our preparedness to walk away from the promissory note this March unless a fair resolution is forthcoming.”
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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has branded Ireland’s facilitation of secret CIA detention, rendition and interrogation programmes as disturbing.

Crowe made the comments after today’s release of a new report from the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group, which states that Ireland was one of 54 states which helped facilitate the illegal actions of the CIA by permitting the use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations.

Deputy Crowe said:
“This disturbing report, on the use of Irish airports and airspace by US military aircraft since 9/11, needs to be fully investigated. It highlights grave breaches of domestic and international law, and diminishes our standing as a neutral state.
“The report took information from a variety of high-level sources including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the UN, all which point towards co-operation with illegal CIA rendition programmes.

“The report also cites documents from legal cases, brought by victims of rendition against some of the companies that aided the extraordinary rendition flights, which suggests that previous Governments allowed the use of Irish airspace and Shannon airport for these rendition flights.

“Additionally the report references diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks which show that previous Governments knew that rendition flights were using Irish airspace and airports, but despite public criticism, they continued to ensure American military transits continued.

“Rendition flights breach domestic and international law, yet it seems the Government of the time did nothing to stop this state’s facilitation of rendition flights.

“In response to concerns that Ireland was facilitating rendition flights, raised by the Irish Human Rights Commission in 2005, the Government stated that inspections of military planes in Shannon were not necessary because it had received assurances from the American administration that detainees had not been and would not be transported illegally through Irish territory. This latest report would suggest that those assurances were either naïve or a bad lie.

“In recent weeks the current Government has reiterated its support for the continued use of Shannon airport as a transit for foreign military flights. Sinn Féin stands against the use of any Irish airport and Irish airspace being used by foreign militaries engaged in aggressive military action. Ireland must uphold its historical tradition of neutrality.

“I am calling on the Government to make a public statement that it will refuse to participate in the CIA’s detention and rendition programme and disclose all information relating to past human rights violations.

“I am also calling on the current Government to create an independent body to investigate the potential human rights abuses and to put safeguards in place to ensure that Irish airspace is not used for illegal rendition flights.”
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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has today demanded that Minister Hogan misleading the Dáil on climate change.
Deputy Stanley said: “Minister Hogan continues to mislead the Dáil on his commitment to introducing a Climate Change Bill, which both Labour and Fine Gael committed to in the Programme for Government.
“Then, the Minster said in November 2011 that a climate change bill was not a priority. Following questioning from me this afternoon the Minister denied ever promising a Climate Change Bill for 2012.
“This is untrue, in a Dáil debate in November 30th 2011 the Minister said, ‘As indicated in the government legislative programme it will be 2012 at the earliest’ when legislation will be introduced.
“He then went on to confirm that the Heads of Bill would be published in December 2012 and set out a road map to achieve this. To date the government has done nothing but break promises on climate change. His road map has led the government into a cul de sac.
“Sinn Féin introduced a comprehensive climate change bill last week. This bill can easily be adopted by the Dáil. It contains all the key components of an effective bill. The bill will see the introduction of five year carbon reduction targets. These will assist in the management of Ireland's reduction of carbon emissions in a planned and phased way.
“It will see the establishment of the Climate Change Commission. This will be independent of government and will prepare an assessment of the potential impact on the state of climate change and it will review on an annual basis the progress made.
“It will advise An Taoiseach on steps to be taken to meet agreed targets. Current government Ministers Phil Hogan, Dinny McGinly and Simon Coveney supported a similar bill in 2010. It is hypocrisy of the highest order that this government will now no longer support our bill simply because they are now in government.
Climate Change is too serious an issue to turn into a political football. I would urge Minister Hogan to reconsider his position and support our bill.”
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Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has expressed her deep disappointment at the Taoiseach’s failure to apologise to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries for the state’s role in their incarceration in these brutal institutions.

Deputy McDonald TD said:
“The report sets out definitely direct state involvement in the Magdalene Laundries. Governments of the day oversaw the unpaid forced labour endured by the young girls and women who worked in the laundries without pay or proper care. Courts placed women and girls in the laundries. Gardaí returned those who sought to escape.

“The Taoiseach’s response to the Magdalene Laundries report is deeply disappointing. Whilst this is a lengthy report and its details must be studied carefully, state involvement in the operation of the laundries has already been proven. Senator McAleese’s report simply reiterates that fact. So while the manner of compensation for the women requires consideration the absolute need for a full apology does not.

“Time is of the essence for the surviving women. They are elderly and many are unwell. They have lived with the stigma of the Magdalene Laundries and the brutality they experienced during their incarceration for their entire lives.

“The Taoiseach spoke of the courage of the women coming forward to tell their true stories: I only wish that their courage was matched today by some courage on the government’s part.

“The time for an apology is now. These women were not residents voluntarily offering their services and labour but were young, vulnerable women who were held in institutions, imprisoned and exploited.

“I am so disappointed for the surviving women, that the Taoiseach would not say today that the state was culpable and negligent, that the women told the truth and the government believes their stories and for that, it is sorry.

“A Dáil debate on the report is due in two weeks’ time. I am calling on the Taoiseach to come to the debate with a full apology on behalf of the state followed swiftly by details of a transparent redress scheme for the surviving women. Survivors must be compensated for lost wages and pension. Health and housing needs must be provided for.”
ENDS

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Peadar Tóibín TD Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation challenged the government to act on end upward only rent clauses that are causing hundreds of jobs losses every quarter, business closures and a loss of competitiveness. Following the meeting Peadar Tóibín TD said: ‘To date the government has hidden behind the Attorney General’s unseen and unpublished advice that there is a constitutional bar on dealing with the issue.
“The government has been lobbied extensively by the property sector, by landlords’ bodies and developers to maintain upward only rent clauses. Junior Minister John Perry bizarrely replied to my questioning of him last week that Upward Only Rents were not the cause of business closures.
“This at a time when businesses such as B&Q, HMV, La Senza, PC World, Curry's, Black Tie, Pamela Scott, Game, Atlantic Homecare and many others explicitly point to Upward Only Rents as being a major part of the problem.
“Minister Bruton confirmed his complete confidence in Minister Perry despite the fact he contradicted his analyses. FG/Lab either have another agenda or they are out of touch with enterprise. If as the Minister says that the removal of Upward Only Rents are unconstitutional then the Minister needs to bring forward a constitutional amendment to protect jobs. The Minister continues to refuse that proposal. This is proving to be desperately costly to the economy.
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