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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



Latest Statements

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Newly co-opted Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha has said that the party team on the Council will oppose the failed austerity programme being imposed at local and national level and will bring forward better, fairer solutions to the economic crisis. Councillor Mac Donncha was co-opted at Monday night’s Council meeting and was elected as Chairperson of the Finance Committee.

He said:

“It’s a great honour to be taking up this Council seat, to represent the people of this city, the people of Donaghmede in particular. I am proud to represent Sinn Féin and to reclaim the Sinn Féin Council seat for which the electorate voted in 2009.

“I am fully aware of the severe limitations on the powers and functions of local democracy. We face further attacks now because of the disastrous recession brought about by the Golden Circle of Establishment politicians, bankers and speculators in this City, in this State and in the EU.

“It is ironic that in the Six Counties our party colleagues are campaigning to have fiscal powers brought back to Belfast from Westminster where the purse-strings are held. But here in this State we have a Government that has ceded our sovereignty to the EU and the IMF.

“They have been guilty of saddling this and future generations with a massive debt to pay for the gambling losses of speculators. That money is being taken out of the pockets of ordinary working people and struggling families – out of wage packets and welfare support, in health and education cuts and in cuts to vital local authority services and jobs.

“As Chairperson of the City Council Finance Committee I see my role as part of the Sinn Féin City Council team, working with the people who elect us to resist these attacks. We will campaign against the failed austerity programme and for a real and viable and fair economic strategy. We will focus on solutions and work constructively with fellow councillors.

“The people have a right to local democracy, to decent housing, a decent environment and the full range of local authority services. It is a scandal that in a City where there is still massive wealth, we have people living in appalling conditions. Our job is to change all that.

“Táim ag súil le bheith ag obair le comhairleoirí ar gach taobh den gcomhairle seo ar son leas an phobail. Mar Comhairloeir Poblachtánach beidh mé ag obair ar son sochaí cothromach, ar son caomhnú ár dteanga náisiúnta agus ar son Éireann Aontaithe.” ENDS

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Speaking in advance of today’s Jobs Initiative Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that ‘the government should invest €2.9billion in a stimulus package to kick start the economy, saving and creating 75,000 jobs in the coming 12 months.’

Deputy Doherty said:

“Sinn Féin believes that they only way to get the economy back on track is to invest in a major stimulus package. Our proposals, the detail of which we will outline during the Dáil debate on the Governments jobs initiative, aim to save and create jobs, assist small and medium sized businesses, help hard pressed families and boost consumer spending.

“A stimulus in the order of €2.9 billion over the next twelve months is not only affordable, but is urgently needed if we are to break the downward spiral created by Fianna Fáil’s policies of austerity now followed by Fine Gael and Labour.

“Such a stimulus would not only get people back to work, it would also assist in reducing the deficit by increasing tax revenue and reducing social welfare expenditure.

“Sinn Féin would use €2 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects. These would include school and hospital building, upgrading water infrastructure, developing public transport networks and rolling out State wide broadband services.

“Sinn Féin would also inject a further €500 million into the economy in the form of a family stimulus package funded through additional tax revenue. The aim of this package of measures is to reverse some of the heavy burden placed on working families and those on social welfare by the last government and in doing so to boost consumer spending.

“In addition to this family stimulus package, we would also immediately abolish the Universal Social Charge releasing a further €400 million of spending power back into the local economy.

“Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the Government can not cut is way out of the recession. The only way to reduce the deficit and return to positive growth is by investing in jobs, boosting consumer spending and strengthening the local economy.

“The policies of austerity implemented by Fianna Fáil and now supported by Fine Gael and Labour are not working. We need a new approach. Sinn Féin believes that investment in jobs to kick start the economy is the only credible alternative.”

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Commenting on the recent news that Spanish authorities have decided to reverse a decision to ban the new Basque political coalition from contesting in upcoming Basque local elections, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Pádraig MacLochlainn said that the Spanish Supreme Court's initial decision was a denial of civil and political rights to thousands of people of the Basque country. 

He said: 

" The initial Spanish Supreme Court's decision to ban Bildu  from running candidates in the upcoming Basque municipal and provincial  elections would have been a complete denial of civil and political rights, not only to those wishing to run, but to the thousands of Basque citizens wishing to vote for Bildu  candidates. 

"Such a draconian decision would have done nothing to promote and support a Basque peace process, rather, it would have proved as antagonistic. 

"It is un- democratic to ban any political party; in this case, candidates which actively promote the need for a resolution to the Basque conflict through peaceful and democratic means.

"I welcome the decision by Spanish Constitutional Court to reverse the decision to ban Bildu and to allow the party to run in upcoming elections. It is essential that the Spanish Government creates a spirit of inclusiveness if they wish to build upon the Basque's most recent political efforts for creating a lasting peace.

"It is the right move towards helping build a permanent solution to the Basque conflict." 

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Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún, became the first elected representative from the North of Ireland to speak in the Dáil chamber today when she addressed assembled TDs and MEPs on the occasion of Europe Day.

Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams TD, said that the occasion was “another indication of the new era that has dawned in Irish politics, when an elected member of Sinn Féin, someone whose political activism began with the H-Block campaigns of three decades ago, spoke in the Dáil chamber of the party’s commitment to working with other MEPs, the Oireachtas and with the Assembly in the North to create a better future for all our people”.

Ms De Brún, who before becoming a public representative, worked as a teacher, spoke in Irish in the chamber.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Padraig MacLochlainn, also spoke and said that “the EU, and in particular the European Commission and European Central Bank must share its portion of blame for the economic crisis in Ireland and across the Eurozone.”

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Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has today welcomed the launch of a Rural Broadband Scheme by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte.

Deputy Doherty said many communities across Donegal who were not included in the previous National Broadband Scheme and are without a basic broadband service will welcome today’s announcement.

Deputy Doherty said:

“I welcome today’s announcement of a new rural broadband scheme by Minister Rabbitte.

“This will be welcomed by many communities across Donegal who were not included in the previous National Broadband Scheme and are without a basic broadband service.

“Many areas, particularly in Donegal are still without any broadband connectivity to this very day.

“Broadband facilities are vital to the creation and retention of jobs and to enhancing the quality of life in rural areas.

“The previous National Broadband Scheme was flawed in that it didn’t include large areas due to the terms of reference of that scheme.

“This new rural broadband scheme will complete the job of providing a basic broadband service to all housed in the state.

“The roll out of the scheme is to be completed by the end of 2012 and while this is to be welcomed it is unacceptable in the 21st Century that communities have had to wait for so long for such a basic service. I would urge the Government to fast-track this scheme as much as possible.” ENDS

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Speaking from Leinster House today Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said:

"Although we are completely against the arrangement made with the European Central Bank, the Commission and the IMF, we want to see Ireland play a central role in Europe.

“Our aim is to have Ireland's voice heard internationally.

“We are committed to working with other MEPs, with the Oireachtas and with the Assembly in the North to create a better future for all our people.

“Together we will protect Irish interests in Europe.

“We will work together to support farmers and rural communities, local businesses and community organisations protecting workers' rights and promoting stronger rights and protections for people with disabilities.

“We need a European Union that helps equality and that works as a priority for the eradication of poverty, job creation, and defence of public services.

“We face many challenges on jobs and the economy, public services, the environment and climate change, and challenges to our local communities, our farming industry and our farm families.

“We have a vision of an Ireland of Equals in Europe of Equals.

“Unfortunately that is not what we see ahead of us currently. Instead people are worried about their jobs, their future and their homes.

“We see an economic logic that is not to the benefit of ordinary people - a logic that will see savage cuts and that will take away from us our ability to promote economic growth.

“Ireland's debt burden is now unsustainable and it is clear that Ireland will default in the time ahead.

“The policies that the EU/IMF have imposed on Ireland mean job losses, fierce cuts, and a substantial reduction in public services.

“That is not the vision Irish people have for Europe or for Ireland's role in Europe."

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Ag labhairt as Teach Laighean inniú dúirt Bairbre de Brún MEP:

“Cé go bhfuilimid go hiomlán in éadan an socrú atá déanta le Bainc Ceannais na hEorpa, leis an Choimisiún agus leis an gCiste Airgeadais Idirnáisiúnta, táimid ag iarraidh go mbeidh ról lárnach ag Éireann i gcroílár na hEorpa. Is í ár aidhm go gcluinfí guth na hÉireann go hidirnáisiúnta.

“Táimid tiomanta de bheith ag obair leis na feisirí Eorpacha, leis an Oireachtas agus leis an gComhthionól ó thuaidh chun todhchaí níos fearr a bhaint amach dár bpobal uile. Le chéile caomhnóimid agus cosnóimid leasanna na hÉireann san Eoraip.

“Oibreoimid le cheile chun tacú le feirmeoirí agus le pobail tuaithe, le gnóthaí áitiúla agus le heagraíochtaí pobail, ag cosaint cearta na n-oibrí agus ag cur chun tosaigh cearta níos daingne do dhaoine faoi mhíchumas.

“Teastaíonn Aontas Eorpach uainn a chuidíonn leis an chomhionannas agus a bhfuil cealú na bochtaineachta, cruthú na fostaíochta agus cosaint na seirbhísí poiblí mar tosaíochta aige

“Is iomaí dúshlán atá romhainn – poist agus an geilleagar, seirbhísí poiblí, an comhshaol agus athrú aeráide agus dúshláin dár bpobal áitiúil, dár dtionscadal talmhaíochta agus dár dteaghlaigh feirme.

“Tá fís againn d'Éirinn chomhionann san Eoraip chomhionann.

“Ar an drochuair ní shin atá i ndán dúinn faoi láthair. In ionad sin tá daoine buartha faoina dtodhchaí, faoina bpoist agus faoina dtithe. Tchímid loighic eacnamaíoch atá le haimhleas na ndaoine – loighic ina bhfuil ciorruithe riachtanach agus a bhaineann an cumas dínn chun fás a chur chun cinn. Níl ualach fhiachas na hÉireann inbhuanaithe, agus is léir go mainneoidh Éire amach anseo.

“Ciallaíonn na beartais atá á bhforchur ar Éirinn ag an AE agus ag an gCiste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta (CAI) ciorruithe fíochmhara, cailliúint post, agus laghdú suntasach ar sheirbhísí poiblí. Ní shin an fís atá ag muinitir na hÉireann don Eoraip ná do ról na hÉireann ins an Eoraip.”

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Speaking before a special Dail debate to mark Europe Day Sinn Fein spokesperson on European Affairs Padraig MacLochlainn said that “the EU, and in particular the European Commission and European Central Bank must share its portion of blame for the economic crisis in Ireland and across the Eurozone.”

Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“There is a certain irony that this debate comes after a weekend of intense speculation on the ongoing crisis of the Eurozone and a discussion – provoked by economist Morgan Kelly – on the origins, impacts and alternatives to the EU/ECB/IMF austerity programme supported by the present government.

“Contrary to the views expressed by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn last week membership of the Euro did not save the country from the worst excesses of recession in 2008 and 2009. Rather Euro membership and the Stability and Growth Pact, along with the failed policies of the Fianna Fail party, the party to which Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn belongs, contributed to the collapse of the Irish and European economies.

“While Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn’s party colleagues were busy driving the Irish economy into a massive debt fuelled property bubble at home, across in Brussels her colleagues at the European Commission were busy implementing a neo-liberal economic policy agenda that facilitated the debt fuelled boom and bust cycle of recent years.

“They were ably assisted by a European Central Bank whose monetary policy further fuelled the casino economics of the boom.

“And yet we are supposed to believe that the very politicians and policies – both domestic and European – that caused our economic collapse are somehow best placed to get us out of the mess they created.

“Worse still we are being asked to cede even more power over economic and monetary policy to the European Commission and Central Bank when what is actually required is returning control over these key areas of policy to this house, which is the true democratic representative of the people.

“Sinn Fein believes that the EU, and in particular the European Commission and European Central Bank must share its portion of blame for the economic crisis in Ireland and across the eurozone and that the failed policies of these EU bodies, like that of the Irish government, need to be abandoned if we are to have any hope of economic recovery.” ENDS

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Commenting on speculation that the European Commission and European Central Bank are considering lowering the interest rate charged to the Irish state on loans provided under the EU/IMF austerity programme, Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that ‘this demonstrates that both the ECB and European Commission believe that the current levels of debt held by the Irish government are simply not sustainable.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Throughout the night there was wild speculation that senior EU and ECB leaders were meeting in secret in Luxembourg to discuss the probability of a Greek default on their EU/IMF debt.

“This morning it has emerged that the secret meeting also discussed the need to lower the interest rate charged to the Irish government for the EU component of the EU/IMF austerity loans.

“While no formal decision has yet been taken it is widely expected that some reduction in the interest rate will be agreed in advance of the upcoming European Council Finance meeting on May 17.

“If this speculation is true then it demonstrates that both the ECB and the European Commission believe that current levels of debt held by the Irish government are simply not sustainable.

“Sinn Féin has been making this point for some time. With the current Debt to GDP ratio at 100% and likely to rise above 120% by 2014 there is simply no way that the Irish government can hope to repay these loans.

“However a 1% reduction in the interest rate will not make the situation any better. It will amount to a reduction in debt servicing of at most €400 million a year which will have little or no impact on the overall debt to GDP ration.

“The politics of denial currently being practiced by the Government are no longer credible. The economic crisis will not be resolved with more bank bailouts and increased austerity.

“We need to abandon this disastrous EU/IMF austerity programme and secure a new deal based on returning private banking debt to private banks and investing in job creation.” ENDS

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh