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A Fair Recovery Is Possible

Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

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Some sights and sounds from the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare on June 21, 2015. Main speaker Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD. During the course of her speech she talked about the need for a fair economic recovery north and south; demanded the British to come clean about collusion; and expressed solidarity with the people of Greece.


Martin McGuinness speaking at Stormont said that Sinn Féin's conditional support for the budget bill will create the space to resolve outstanding issues and ensure the executive has workable and sustainable finances and see the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA has wished the new coadjutor bishop in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Monsignor Eamon Martin he very best wishes in his new appointment.

Mr McGuinness said:

“I have known Monsignor Eamon Martin for many years. He is a progressive thinker and a man who has demonstrated an ability to connect with ordinary Catholics.

“This move provides an opportunity for renewal with the Irish Catholic Church so badly damaged by the handling of the criminal abuse of children. There will be an expectation that in the time ahead Monsignor Martin will take over from Cardinal Brady as Archbishop of Armagh.

“The next few years will be a crucial time for the Catholic Church in Ireland and I wish Monsignor Martin well in his new appointment and in meeting the many challenges that he will face in the years ahead.”

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Sinn Féin MLA and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, writing in today's Belfast Telegraph regrading the ongoing situation surrounding the democratic decision taken by Belfast City Council on the 3rd of December said:

"The last few weeks have been bad weeks for the political process, bad weeks for the peace process and bad weeks for the vast majority of people who are absolutely wedded to building a new society on this island.

I have listened very carefully to the various reasons being put forward by those involved in the protests and in the violence. None of them can excuse what has been happening on our streets. We also must be careful not to overstate the numbers involved. Those who have been involved in attacks on the police, attacks on people’s homes and businesses and attacks on political parties have been a small number.

I have long argued that there is space in the political process for all voices – be they anti peace process Republicans or those unionists who claim to be disaffected at this time. What I ask, and I think it is reasonable, is that we all commit to moving forward peacefully and with respect for the political process and its institutions. We do not have to agree on anything else. The unique political structures we operate within lend themselves to political opponents being able to exercise power jointly and in a spirit of respect and equality for the benefit of all citizens.

I know from experience what it is like to feel discriminated against, to feel powerless and to feel under threat. I have no desire to see any citizen in that position and the political reality is that none should be in that position in 2013.

Democratic compromise is not about discrimination, it is about how we can explore common ground and upon that build trust between our communities.

In the implementation of the Good Friday, St. Andrews and Hilsbourgh Agreements, to which we are absolutely committed, we need to be careful that we avoid any re-distribution of resentment or disaffection. There is neither joy for Republicans in that nor indeed any future either for wider society.

There is clearly a very powerful emotional connection between identity and symbols. This goes for all of our community. That is why compromise and dialogue on these issues is so important. As Republicans we have made many compromises in the pursuit of peace. Likewise unionists also. That is the nature of peace building – no section gets everything it wants but all sections can be winners.

I will absolutely guarantee the right of any citizen here to their British identity. All I ask in return is for the same respect and recognition to be given to my Irishness. For too long we have approached issues of identity as wins or losses for one community or another. That is not sustainable going forward. Our community is multi-cultural and diverse. That is a good thing and should be celebrated not ignored or seen as a threat.

I think we can have a sensible debate on identity going forward. I am interested to hear from unionists how they see protecting and respecting the Irish identity of their neighbours as we build a shared society and likewise I am sure unionists are interested in how their British identity is given equal respect and protection by political leaders like me.

We already have a position that for example respects absolutely people’s right to hold whatever passport they wish, or indeed both. The north is not simply as British as Finchley. Both the past and indeed the future remain contested. That does not mean that we can’t as political leaders deliver in the here and now. I am the deputy First Minister for all people here. I respect absolutely the First Minister Peter Robinson’s Britishness and his unionism. However I feel that there are those within the DUP who from recent remarks in the Assembly clearly do not afford the Irish identity and the Republican position the same respect.

How can we expect young loyalists to afford their Catholic and Irish neighbours respect if some MLAs don’t do likewise. I want to hear from unionism what they mean by mutual respect. I am very clear what I mean.Successive Sinn Féin Lord Mayors of Belfast, have decided to keep the Union Flag in the Mayoral chamber and added the Irish Tricolour – thereby respecting both main traditions in the city.I am greatly dismayed that dozens of young working class loyalists will end up going through the courts and being convicted as a result of the foolhardy decision by sinister people like those running the UVF in east Belfast or others with the politics of the BNP to bring them onto the streets to attack the police and indeed neighbouring catholic homes.

One thing is certain overcoming educational under achievement or a lack of job opportunities will not be helped by criminal convictions as a result of pointless riots.The time has long passed for these protests to end. The decision at Belfast City Hall, which was a compromise decision, has been taken.

I say to those involved and indeed the vast majority of unionists, who may be uncomfortable with the decision, but abhor the violence, to engage in a real debate about identity and culture and how we best respect each other’s.

Is it really by flying the Union Jack 365 days a year?Is it really by having a flags dispute in Stormont?

Is it really by seeking to march along contentious routes?

Is it really by gerrymandering Belfast’s electoral boundaries as suggested by Mike Nesbitt?

Is it really by pretending that nationalists are unionists, or that those who are Irish are really British?

Or is it better that we as a society sit down and work out how we move forward in the sensible way with respect and equality for all identities and all cultures.I am up for such a debate. I am up for demonstrating in practical ways respect for identities other than my own. But all political leaders will need to step up to the mark in the time ahead. No more excuses and no more prevaricating.

We need joint action and joint initiatives. This week I have been involved in meetings with all the party leaders. I have also met with loyalist representatives and visited the Short Strand. Now I want to see action.

I will continue to work both up front and behind the scenes until the violence ends and the political process is defended.

But I am also conscious that we need to go beyond that and get down to the business of not just dealing with the past but constructing a new future based upon mutual respect and equality.

I am conscious that change can be difficult. And to some change can feel like a loss. But change based upon equality, mutual respect and parity of esteem is a win for us all."

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Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said today that Minister Michael Noonan has questions to answer surrounding the sale of €1 billion worth of the Contingent Capital Notes (CCNs) in the Bank of Ireland last week. Doherty said the government was spinning this sale in a positive light but that a number of issues concerning the management of the sale and the movement of personnel in the Department of Finance have arisen.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The sale of €1 billion worth of CCNs in the Bank of Ireland has been spun by the government as a success story because it is being heralded as a sign of the state’s exit from the banking sector and back to a process of normalised banking activity. Normal in Irish banking terms however, is not always a positive term.

“A number of questions have arisen about the management of the sale of these CCNs. While their sale means the capital sum of €1 billion can be written off the state’s overall debt, the net effect of this sale is a loss of €18 million to the exchequer this year and €64 million next year.

“When questioned about this in the Dáil today, Minister Noonan dismissed the €18 million loss this year, suggesting it would be found somewhere else. This highlights the completely contrary view taken by this government to losses incurred by the banks verses the amounts it cuts from ordinary people at budget time. The campaign around the restoration of the respite grant in 2013, which was a cut of €26 million, was steadfastly opposed by this government which claimed that the €26 million could not be found anywhere else.

“Secondly, the sale of these notes was driven by the Shareholder Management Unit in the Department of Finance, the head of which, moved to work as Chief Executive in Bank of Ireland’s Corporate and Treasury Division yesterday. Minister Noonan stated today that the senior civil servant in question has been on holidays since Christmas and would not take up his post in the bank for two months.

“In welcoming the move, Minister Noonan said that it was government policy to encourage greater mobility between the public and private sector. However the Programme for government committed to introducing a cooling off period of two years for senior civil and public servants before they could move into any private area of employment that had the potential for conflict of interest.

“The secrecy with which the sale of these notes was conducted makes it very difficult to establish if it was the right move for the taxpayer at the right time. What is clear is that the lack of transparency around the planning of the sale and the movement of senior personnel in the Department of Finance throws open questions.

“It was failure to ask these kinds of questions in the past that contributed to the crisis we are now in and there has to be a safe space to raise the issues and get answers on them now.

“However, even today in the Dail, these questions were responded to defensively and met with strong opposition by government. This harks back to the practices of Fianna Fáil and I’m sure will instil great cause for concern in the Irish people.”

Editor's note:

The Programme for Government commits the following:

“We will amend the rules to ensure that no senior public servant (including political appointees) or Minister can work in the private sector in any area involving potential conflict of interest with their former area of public employment, until at least two years have elapsed after they have left the public service.”

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Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights spokesperson David Cullinane has expressed his support for HMV workers who are staging a sit-in at two separate stores in Limerick.

Speaking today Senator Cullinane said;

“Once again we have seen a major retailer go into administration and it is the workers who are left high and dry with no indication if they will be paid for work already done or redundancy.

“I offer my party’s support to the workers engaged in the sit-in and our local councillor Maurice Quinlivan has been to see them today to offer any assistance he can.

“The government must engage directly with the administrators in Britain, and with the receivers when they are appointed in this state, to ensure that these workers are paid what they are owed and receive their due entitlements.

“It is not good enough for the government to simply sit back and allow Irish workers to be treated in this manner.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on Unionist leaders to help remove the Parachute Regiment flags that have been erected in parts of Derry in the past 24 hours. 

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

"Given the history of the Parachute Regiment in this city and the upcoming anniversary of Bloody Sunday the erection of Parachute Regiment flags is being seen as provocation in an effort to raise tensions in the Derry area.

 “We now need to see leadership from within Unionism to ensure that these flags are taken down as those who have erected them obviously did so to create a reaction from within the Nationalist community.

 “The people who erected these flags are only serving the interests of those opposed to the peace process and heightening community tensions in the city. This is now the time for clear leadership within the Unionist community in order to reduce tensions."

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Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has today branded the comments by a Donegal Fianna Fáil Councillor in which he called for Travellers to be housed “in isolation” away from settled communities as utterly disgraceful and called for the councillor to apologise.

He further called on Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin to distance himself from the comments and outline clearly what disciplinary action Fianna Fáil will take against the councillor.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said;

“Councillor Sean McEniff made a number of remarks about traveller families ranging from saying that they would ‘wreck’ houses to branding them as ‘bad eggs’ and also saying ‘You wouldn’t want them beside you and I don’t want them beside me.’ These comments are tantamount to hate speech and they have no place in Irish society.

“There is a gap in trust between the traveller and settled community and it is the responsibility of all public representatives to act responsibly and build trust. Anti-traveller racism in all forms is unacceptable in Ireland, and it is mind boggling to think that Councillor McEniff would think ethnic slurs are tolerable.

“We must challenge racism at every opportunity and I am calling on Mícheal Martin to distance himself from the comments and outline what disciplinary action he will take against this Councillor. It is an example of the systemic racism that Travellers face in Irish society and for this reason Councillor McEniff should apologise unreservedly immediately.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey said he was delighted to hear that west Belfast native Stephen McFaul has been freed after being held hostage in Algeria.

The West Belfast MP said:

“I have been in touch with Stephen’s family since news came through of his release and they are absolutely delighted.

“There is huge relief that he is safe and well. He has been very much in the thoughts and prayers of the West Belfast community who will also be delighted with this good news.

“Our thoughts are with the other hostages families and especially those that have lost loved ones throughout the whole episode.

“The McFaul family are now looking forward to having him home and want to thank everyone for their support, best wishes and prayers.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to respond to a statement in the House of Commons today by British Food Minister David Heath.

Heath said that he believed that while the horsemeat may have originated in a third country, and that the contamination was “probably an example of criminality”, that it would possibly lead to criminal prosecutions in either Britain or Ireland.

Deputy Ferris said;

“Heath’s statement adds a new dimension to this whole business. Is the implication of what he says that the horsemeat was both criminally and knowingly imported with the knowledge of Irish or British based processors?

“It is important that the Minister comment on this given the cloud that currently hangs over the Irish beef processing industry. All information pertaining to the case must be made public.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Martin Ferris has submitted a detailed submission as part of the government’s consultation process in preparation for a new Rural Development Programme for Ireland beginning in 2014.

The new programme, which will be jointly funded by the EU and the Irish state, will be an integral part of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy which is due to be signed off on later this year.

Deputy Ferris said;

“Sinn Féin is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to what we hope will be a genuine and wide-ranging consultation. We are also pleased to be able to echo many of the views of the large number of groups and individuals with whom we have met over the last year as part of a wide ranging engagement by our party with rural communities.

“Central to a new Rural Development Plan will be the reformed CAP which we hope, both through a fairer system of direct payments and through the Pillar II schemes tied to guardianship of the environment, will sustain family farming.

“As we point out in our submission, agriculture remains the largest indigenous economic sector and is central to the overall rural economy. As such it can play a key role in reinvigorating the overall economy and stimulating growth.

“In order to assist that it is vital that the Rural Development Programme focusses on local enterprise and innovation and we believe that the most effective way to do that will be through a renewed and expanded LEADER programme. LEADER has made a valuable contribution to rural community enterprise in the past and can continue to do so with expanded involvement and greater democratic control at local level.”

ENDS

Videos

Sights and sounds from Bodenstown 2015


Photos

Gerry Adams