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No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

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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Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the decision of the Health Minister in the Six Counties, Edwin Poots, to go ahead with the development of the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, a facility that is due to serve the North West.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The decision of Health Minister Edwin Poots to go ahead with the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin is welcome, reversing the decision of his predecessor to postpone the development.

“This is a vital development for cancer care in the entire North-West, including County Donegal. Because of the flawed plan for radiotherapy provision in the 26 Counties there is no unit planned north of a line from Dublin to Galway, so Altnagelvin will have a vital cross-border role. I will be pressing Health Minister Reilly to help ensure that this development does indeed go ahead and without further delay and is fully utilised.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as “shameful” the 12 to 18-month waiting list for endoscopy at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

He said:

“It is shameful that young children are now facing a wait of between 12 and 18 months for endoscopy at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. This is a real crisis in gastroenterology services as children from across this State depend on Crumlin Hospital to carry out these vital tests.

“Children must endure up to a year and a half of illness, and in some cases severe pain and distress, before they even get a diagnosis. As a father of children who are Coeliac I know the pain and distress of infants with this condition and the anguish of parents, especially in the time before a diagnosis is obtained.

“There is no shortage of endoscopy equipment or of expertise to use it in this State. The problem is that much of it is concentrated in the private hospital sector – as witnessed by the fact that since January this year 40 gastroenterology patients were referred to the National Treatment Purchase Fund for treatment in private hospitals. These private treatments are carried out at greater expense than those in the public health system. Once again the criminal folly of the two-tier system is causing real hardship for patients and massive waste of public money that should be spent in the public system.

“Health Minister James Reilly must intervene to ensure that no child should have to wait for more than three months for an endoscopy.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met the US President Barack Obama.


Mr. Adams and Mr. McGuinness spoke to the President about the current situation in the Middle East and Mr. Adams raised the case of the undocumented Irish in the USA.


Speaking after today’s visit and the College Green event Gerry Adams said:


“We had a brief few words with President Obama. Martin and I urged him to stay engaged with the search for peace in the Middle East. And I had the opportunity to urge him to deal with the plight of the undocumented Irish in the USA.’

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Sinn Féin’s Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile has said that there should be no further delays in implementing a full, public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.
Speaking today the Councillor for Pottinger said;
“The whole issue of the runway extension is one that has been allowed to rumble on for an unacceptable period of time. During the election campaign this subject was coming up on countless doorsteps; it is obviously a cause for concern for many citizens in Belfast and beyond.
It is passed time that people on both sides of this debate had the opportunity to have their voices heard. The continued delay of a public inquiry is unhelpful.
It is vital that all the relevant information is submitted ahead of any inquiry, but it should not be allowed to needlessly delay what is a necessary requirement for many people affected by the airport.
I hope that this matter can be resolved as quickly as possible and that the inquiry is allowed to take place to give voice to all of those concerned.” CRÍOCH

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A Champion for Human Rights

In his blog today, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD made it clear that Rosemary Nelson was a victim of the British State policy of collusion.

Mr Adams wrote:

Rosemary Nelson was a human rights lawyer. She stood up for what she believed in and she sought to use the law – even one as corrupted as that of the north during the years of conflict – as a means of defending citizens from abuse and discrimination and as a means of achieving justice.

Rosemary was killed in a car bomb attack by a unionist death squad on March 15th 1999.The family believe and the nationalist people of Lurgan and Portadown believe, that she was the victim of collusion. They are right.

Collusion took many forms in the north. Often it was formal and institutionalised. Sometimes it was informal, sectarian and the response of an individual or group of individuals within one or more of the British state’s security system – the RUC; RUC Special Branch; the Ulster Defence Regiment; British Military Intelligence; the Force Reconnaissance Unit; the Security Services and others. Sometimes it was a British Minister – for example, Tory Minister Douglas Hogg - standing up in the British Parliament and accusing lawyers of working for the IRA and creating a context in which lawyers could be murdered. The first to die Pat Finucane was murdered within weeks of Hogg’s remarks. Sometimes it was the provision by British intelligence agencies, directly through agents, of thousands of intelligence files, including names, addresses, car registrations and movements. Sometimes individual members of the RUC and UDR participated in sectarian attacks. Scores of UDR soldiers were convicted over the years of involvement in sectarian murders; of providing British intelligence information for unionist death squads; and of stealing weapons for use in killing Catholics.

Sometimes those involved where members of the British Forces and killed under orders.

Sometimes it involved British Forces providing the weapons to carry out murder.

Sometimes it was the turning of a blind eye to actions which led to murder.

Sometimes it was creating a belief that all Catholics were the enemy.

Sometimes it was creating a climate in which an individual or a specific group of people were targeted by unionist death squads, as happened with Sinn Féin members, including family members.

Judge Peter Cory was asked by the British and Irish governments to carry out an investigation into six cases where it was alleged collusion might have occurred and to recommend whether inquiries were necessary.

He began by asking: “How should collusion be defined? Synonyms that are frequently given for the verb to collude include: to conspire; to connive; to collaborate; to plot; and to scheme. The verb connive is defined as to deliberately ignore; to overlook; to disregard; to pass over; to take no notice of; to turn a blind eye; to wink; to excuse; to condone; to look the other way; to let something ride; see for example the Oxford Compact Thesaurus Second Edition, 2001.4.29

Similarly the Webster dictionary defines the verb collude in this way: to connive with another: conspire, plot.4.30 It defines the verb connive1. to pretend ignorance or unawareness of something one ought morally, or officially or legally to oppose; to fail to take action against a known wrongdoing or misbehaviour – usually used with connive at the violation of a law.2. (a) to be indulgent, tolerant or secretly in favour or sympathy;”

By this measure and by the report of the Inquiry, Rosemary Nelson was a victim of Collusion.

The Nelson Inquiry itself admits that it could not “exclude the possibility of a rogue member or members of the RUC or army in some way assisting the murders to target Rosemary Nelson". In addition the report admits also that Rosemary Nelson was the victim of serious and repeated threats and that the RUC "negligently failed to intervene to prevent their officers from uttering abuse and threats to defence solicitors, including Rosemary Nelson".

The report states that RUC members "publicly abused and assaulted Rosemary Nelson... having the effect of legitimising her as a target"; it acknowledges that members of the RUC Special Branch resented Mrs Nelson and were prepared to say so; and it added that there was "some leakage of intelligence which we believe found its way outside the RUC". This, the report states, "increased the danger to Rosemary Nelson's life”.

The report accuses the RUC of failing to properly analyse or evaluate intelligence information relating to Mrs Nelson; of not warning her and of not offering her advice on personal protection.

The report also accuses the NIO of not demanding answers from the RUC concerning Mrs Nelson and of ignoring concerns expressed to it about the danger she was in from other human rights agencies.

The Inquiry report says: "The combined effect of these omissions by the RUC and NIO was that the state failed to take reasonable and proportionate steps to safeguard the life of Rosemary Nelson”.

Peter Cory in defining Collusion also said that “members of the public must have confidence in the actions of government agencies whether they be the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), the Secretary of State or the police force. There cannot be public confidence in any government agency that is guilty of collusion or connivance with regard to serious crimes. Because of the necessity for public confidence in government agencies the definition of collusion must be reasonably broad when it is applied to such agencies.”

The reality is that Rosemary Nelson, like so many hundreds of others was a victim of collusion. The RUC not only failed to act to prevent threats to her life but contributed to these and created a context in which she became a target for loyalists.The actions of the RUC, its Special Branch and the NIO directly contributed to the murder of Rosemary Nelson. That is collusion. The inquiry reveals a pattern of behaviour that all of these agencies connived in her death. That is collusion.

Moreover, knowing that she was at serious risk the state and its security agencies, did nothing to prevent attack or help Mrs Nelson protect herself. That is collusion. ENDS

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Commenting on the publication of the Report today into the murder of Rosemary Nelson, Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd said:
“This is a lengthy report and we will take time to study it in detail. However the evidence uncovered by the Inquiry will make uncomfortable reading for the British State. The State failed to protect Rosemary. Intelligence leaked from the RUC. The Special Branch failed to co-operate in the investigation. Members of the RUC assaulted and threatened Rosemary. Nobody has ever been held to account for the murder.
“What is clear on an initial reading is that the evidence uncovered by the Inquiry team does not match its conclusions in terms of collusion.
“Nationalists in Lurgan, Portadown or Craigavon do not buy the ‘bad apple’ argument. The findings of this report point clearly at collusion. No amount of disgraceful spinning by Owen Patterson will alter that reality.
“The publication of the report today into the murder of Rosemary Nelson would never have happened had it not been for the tireless campaigning by Rosemary’s family, and I pay tribute to them today and offer them our continuing support and solidarity.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly Finance Committee, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry & Armagh) has called for political and business support for an all-Ireland approach to sustainable economic recovery.

Conor Murphy said:

“While economic policy affecting the 6-Counties is exercised by the British Exchequer it will not be possible for the North to reach its full economic and developmental potential. The lack of power to influence the formulation of the economic policy that affects us most, severely restricts our ability to plan for the future and to design fiscal policies specific to our needs that will expedite economic recovery.
“The 6 County economy is distorted and abnormally dependent on subsidy and the public sector for employment. It is unsustainable by itself and cannot exist in isolation from the rest of the island, a fact which has been publicly conceded by British politicians as well as leading economists and business organisations.
“What is required is imaginative forward planning and attraction of alternative employment opportunities that would help to offset this dependency. From any perspective duplication and replication of service provision is wasteful and inefficient. For instance a single investment and job creation agency coupled with an equalisation of the tax regime would eliminate the counterproductive anomaly regarding inward investment, open wider opportunities to business throughout the island and generally contribute to growing the economy.” CRÍOCH

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Vice-Chair of the Justice Committee Raymond McCartney MLA (Foyle) has expressed his condolences to the family of the young prisoner who died in Maghaberry today.

Raymond McCartney said:

"I send my sincere condolences to the family of the young man who died in Maghaberry today. Although all the circumstances surrounding the death are not yet available, reports suggest that the young man took his own life.

"I am once more calling on the Justice Minister, David Ford to ensure that all measures available to protect vulnerable prisoners are in place. This is just the latest tragic death to have taken place in recent times in our prisons. It is of no benefit that after each death in a prison we instigate an investigation into the circumstances if we learn nothing from it.

"While an investigation is essential, what is needed is sufficient properly deployed resources to protect vulnerable prisoners. CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Junior Minister Martina Anderson has welcomed the decision by Health Minister Edwin Poots to go ahead with a radiography unit at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Ms Anderson stated,
“I welcome the fact that the Minister has arrived at the correct decision and thank him for doing it so quickly after only taking office last week. I would also like to thank the Pink Ladies and the other pressure groups for their tireless work on this issue as I believe that this decision would never have happened without their campaign.
“When the previous Health Minister Michael McGimpsey announced that this project would not go ahead deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness immediately stood up and guaranteed that he would ensure that it would happen. Other Ministers including the First Minister Peter Robinson also pledged to have the decision overturned at the earliest opportunity and today we have seem those pledges honoured.
“This unit will have huge benefit to people suffering from cancer not only in Derry but right across the North West region. Cancer sufferers deserve the very best of care and this new unit will mean that that care will be available at Altnagelvin but more significantly it will mean that the travel time for patients will be cut significantly. This will have a great benefit to the sufferers and their families as they will not have to travel to Belfast for a few minutes treatment at a time when they are extremely ill. CRÍOCH

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Gerry Adams at Hungerstrike rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh