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Team Sinn Féin - Putting Ireland First

The largest gathering of Sinn Féin candidates in the history of the party took place in Drogheda, 350 local council election candidates contesting seats across all 42 councils in the 32 counties of Ireland joined with Sinn Féin's 4 EU election candidates for a final strategic planning day with the party leadership before the local council and EU elections on the 22nd May in the 6 Counties and the 23rd May in the 26 Counties.

Despite Government attempts at revisionism regarding his role in the recent series of controversies involving the Gardai, the Minister is in fact a central actor, and the author of a litany of catastrophes in this whole affair.


Sinn Féin is opposing cuts throughout Ireland because it is the right thing to do. The DUP need to be mature about this, face up to the consequences of the cuts on the people we represent and challenge the British government on their cuts agenda.



Latest Statements

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD has welcomed the commitment by Minister Pat Rabbitte to request that the Environmental Protection Agency carry out a study into the effects of hydraulic fracturing prior to the granting of full exploration licenses for the Lough Allen Basin which contains large deposits of natural gas.

Deputy Ferris also pointed out that the real issue remained the fact that under current licensing and revenue terms any gas brought on stream would not benefit the Irish people as it should.

Deputy Ferris said: “I welcome the Minister’s announcement as considerable unease has been expressed in the counties concerned regarding the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, on the environment and on people’s health. I would go further and propose that that method of extraction be banned given its poor record internationally.

“I would also stress that the real issue remains the fact that as the current licensing and revenue terms apply no real benefit will accrue to the Irish people. That is why Sinn Féin has called for a radical overhaul of the taxation structure which governs oil and gas profits, and for the state to take a substantial stake in all oil and gas finds.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has today accused the Minister for Finance of being in denial over the total cost to the State of the Anglo Irish Bank Promissory Note. 

Deputy Doherty’s comments were made after an exchange today with the Finance Minister during question time in the Oireachtas at which the Minister was asked to confirm that the total cost of the Promissory note would amount to €74.63 billion 

Deputy Doherty said: 

“It is deeply regrettable that the Minister for Finance refuses to come clean on the total cost to the State of the Anglo Irish Promissory Note. On the basis of his response to me today he is in denial. 

“New figures provided to me from the Minister for Finance show that the cost of the Promissory note will ultimately be €74.63 billion by the time it is paid off in 2031. This includes the capital repayments, the interest payments to Anglo and the cost of servicing the state’s debt in borrowing this sum. 
  

“This is a staggering amount of money, equating to almost half the total government debt this year and over a third of government debt when we reach our peak debt to GDP ratio over the next number of years. 
  

“It is beyond comprehension that while talks are afoot in Europe about what a Greek default would look like, how European banks can be protected, and how Greece can be kept in the Euro and helped to recover, that our government would consider paying out on these Anglo Promissory notes. 

“This state cannot afford these sums. It throws into question our ability to manage the rest of our debt. It’s time for the government to get off their hands and announce categorically that it is neither willing nor able to pay out on the Anglo-Promissory note. The government must begin immediate negotiations with the ECB to achieve this end.” 

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Speaking this afternoon after Aviva management met with union representatives, Sinn Féin's jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín said:

“Aviva is the latest in a long list of firms that are shedding jobs throughout the state. The government’s response is muddled and counterproductive. Fine Gael and Labour’s policy of austerity is rapidly shrinking demand in the domestic economy and when firms then inevitably reduce workforces or close the government respond by sitting on their hands.

“We need immediate action from the highest level of this government. The Minister for Enterprise needs to meet the workers of Aviva and to assure them of his total support in defending their jobs. He then needs to sit down with Aviva and go through their business plan line for line in order to identify areas where costs can be reduced without jobs being lost. Upward only rents need to be resolved and the European arm of Aviva need to share the marketing costs of the Aviva Stadium.

“There is a danger that major job losses could occur in Dublin, Cork and Galway with the inevitable human cost. It would also mean the loss of €38 million from the economy not taking into account the €20 million increase that would occur to the social welfare bill.”

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Speaking today during a debate on the crisis in the Eurozone, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that the government’s approach to the Eurozone crisis is clearly failing and that a new approach is needed.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The Minister for Finance today told us that the government’s economic strategy is working

“However on this government’s watch Ireland has been demoted to junk status, unemployment remained over 14% while domestic demand has fallen by 3.6%.

“The government has also continued Fianna Fáil’s policy of using tax payers money to bailout unguaranteed bondholders including the payment of €704m due to be paid on November 2 to an unguaranteed senior bondholder with Anglo Irish Bank. Meanwhile funding for special needs assistants and benefits to pensioners, carers and those with disabilities has been cut.

“These are the indicators against which people are measuring the government’s economic strategy.

“It is time for a new approach to resolving the crisis of the Eurozone and to address the crisis in the domestic economy..

“At a European level we need rigorous and compulsory stress tests to establish the true extent of the toxic debt at the heart of the European banking system. Once we know the full extent of the problem, the banks must be forced to write down the cost of their bad debts as a prerequisite to any recapitalisation.

“We also need the European wide stimulus programme to compliment stimulus programmes in individual member states. Such a programme must mobilise the considerable funds available to the European Investment Bank, a body with twice the lending capacity of the World Bank, to help generate employment and stimulate domestic demand.

“These three steps; cleansing the banks of their toxic debts; using the ECB to stabilise the cleansed banks; and increasing investment in job creation at a domestic and European level provide a coherent alternative to the failed policies of bank bailout and crippling austerity being pursued by this Fine Gael and Labour government and their colleagues in the European Council and Commission.

“It is time to abandon the policies of bank bailouts and austerity. It is time to adopt new policies to cleanse our banking system and stimulate our economies.”

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Speaking on a Sinn Féin Private Members Motion, on extending voting rights to Irish Citizens in the North and abroad, Senator David Cullinane stated that he was disappointed at the fact that the government didn’t support the motion.

Speaking in the Seanad Senator Cullinane said:

“Given the various parties’ previous commitments to extending voting rights, I am disappointed that the government failed to support our motion. Indeed we would have expected all party support for it.

“Fine Gael are on record as stating that Irish citizens living outside the 26 counties should be allowed to vote in presidential elections, subject to certain conditions, and likewise the Labour party are on record as advocating the extension of voting rights.

“We have the bizarre situation where both government parties talk about supporting the extension of voting rights but when it comes to a vote, they stand in opposition to the idea.

“The comments from government senators speaking against the motion stand in stark contrast with yesterday’s statement by the Taoiseach whereby he agreed that the Constitutional Convention should indeed consider the point of extending voting rights as suggested by the Sinn Féin motion.

“This is about enhancing the process made since the Good Friday Agreement, in developing a lasting peace and a political dispensation where all traditions can coexist respectfully. What’s more it is about vindicating the rights of citizens at home and abroad.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people who identify as Irish in the north and abroad, and furthermore they are citizens, who expect and indeed are entitled to expect legal protection and support from the state.

“The government cannot continue to pay lip service to Irish citizens in the north and abroad. If we were to take the approach that the Government has, we may as well blow out the candle that Mary Robinson lit to ‘light the way home’ for the hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens abroad.”

The Waterford Senator added that Sinn Féin will continue to campaign on this issue.

“Sinn Féin will work with all political parties and organisations including the One Voice, One Vote campaign to ensure that the rights of the people in Fermanagh, Belfast and Tyrone are same as those in Waterford, Cork and Clare.”

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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe, TD, met this week in Leinster House with a delegation from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) that included Noreen Flynn, President, General Secretary Sheila Nunan and Media Officer Peter Mullen.

During the meeting, which Deputy Crowe described as “very positive and informative” a number of critical issues were discussed including proposals to reform public sector pensions, rising class sizes and the overall impact of cuts on the school curriculum.

Deputy Crowe said: “It is clear that teachers are facing major challenges in the time ahead and there is growing concern that our education system will not be fit for purpose should current government policies continue to be implemented. The priority must be the ring fencing of funding for all of our children yet the reality is we face the possibility of seeing the current education budget being reduced by 3.6 billion Euros between now and 2014.

“Should this happen, it will have profound and far reaching implications for our education system. Already children with special needs and learning difficulties have been badly hit by cuts that are denying their right to receive a proper education.

“A significant reduction in the teaching staff payroll will increase the teacher/pupil ratio to a level where many children will find it increasingly difficult to cope in the classroom.

“We cannot hope to improve literacy and numeracy levels if the government continues to target vital frontline services.” ENDS

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Welcoming the news that the cabinet has approved a €40 million package to begin the clean up of the former ISPAT site at Haulbowline, Sinn Féin’s Cork East TD Sandra McLellan has urged the government to ensure that works proceed as swiftly and cost effectively as possible.

Speaking in Cobh last night Deputy McLellan said:

“The news that funding has been committed to the clean up of the site at Haulbowline is to be welcomed. Local residents have had to endure the effects of the hazardous toxic dump for far too long and need to see a resolution.

“In the past we have seen positive news followed by inaction and delay. This must not be the case here. Everyone in the area is looking forward to the day when works begin, but even more so to the day when they are finally completed.”

“Sinn Féin has and will continue to press the Minister for Health for a baseline health study in the area affected by the hazardous waste. This should be part of the process of moving on from this sorry saga.”
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