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Gerry Adams launches Sinn Féin proposals for 1916 Revolutionary Quarter

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that 2016, the 1916 Centenary is marked in the most appropriate way possible, as a fitting popular acknowledgement of the past but also, and just as importantly, as a pointer to a better future.

Sinn Féin is not opposed to sensible welfare reforms. We are opposed to the agenda, which seeks to make the most vulnerable and ordinary working families pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers

 “The PSNI were on the scene but despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the PSNI failed to take any action.”

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Junior Minister Martina Anderson today launched a bold new initiative aimed at reducing the numbers of illegal drugs circulating in Belfast.

The “Bin it Now” campaign has been developed by a working party of representatives from Belfast City Council, Community Restorative Justice, Falls Community Council, the Forum for Action on Substance Abuse and the PSNI.

The scheme aims to educate young people about the dangers of taking drugs and create a safe way for them to dispose of drugs through the introduction of the Drug Drop Safe.

Speaking at the Launch, the Minister said: “More and more young people are being drawn towards experimenting with illegal drugs these days, often without realising the possible consequences that can have a devastating effect on the rest of their lives. Education is key to eradicating drug misuse. By showing people the damage that taking or dealing drugs can cause we can help them to make informed choices.

“We need campaigns like “Bin it Now” that educate young people, parents and carers about the dangers of drugs. The introduction of a drugs bin is an excellent idea. Anything that helps get drugs off the streets is well worth the effort.”

During the event the Minister awarded prizes to the winners of a competition to design a logo for the scheme.


Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has visited Castle Tower Special School in Ballymena.

During his visit the Minister had the opportunity to meet pupils, teachers and school staff as well as a number of parents. He was also treated to a special performance from the school choir.

He said: "I am well aware that our special schools are doing an outstanding job working with and nurturing children and young people in our society who have complex additional needs. It has been a pleasure to visit Castle Tower Special School today and see for myself the excellent work being carried out here. It is clear that the pupils are very happy at the school."

The Minister continued: "As well as the high quality of education provided, the children and young people at the school are involved in a number of other activities. These include a range of services offered through the Extended Schools Programme, which is funded by my Department.

"These schemes include a breakfast club which has been put in place as part of the school’s wider effort to promote health awareness as well as a lunchtime fitness club which encourages pupils to participate in physical activities. Other services include an aromatherapy club which provides therapeutic benefits such as relaxation and stress reduction, and a family support service which aims to help families engage fully in the education of their children. I would like to congratulate all those involved in these very worthwhile schemes."

In conclusion the Minister said: "There is no doubt that the school makes a real difference to the lives of so many children and young people and also their families and I would like to commend the Board of Governors, Principal, teachers and all the staff for their continuing hard work."


Irish Presidential Candidate Martin McGuinness has welcome today's announcement that the new Police Training College in Cookstown has been approved.

Speaking today Mr McGuinness said:

“This decision will bring huge economic benefits for the Cookstown area. A lot of hard work from myself along with other Executive colleagues and local representatives, has taken place to get us to this point.

“The expression of interest in utilising the college by the Garda clearly provides new opportunities for all-Ireland training and further training for other emergency services on an all-Ireland basis.

“Beyond this further interest by other agencies from around the globe highlights the fact that Ireland is an attractive place and that the issue of policing has moved on significantly, especially following the transfer of Policing and Justice powers, for this interest to occur.

“It is also important that, given where the site is located, that this is an opportunity to further develop the new relationship between the PSNI and the local community. It is crucial that from the very first day recruits are surrounded by the new policing ethos, with community policing and a strong human rights approach being central to this, as demanded by the Good Friday Agreement.”


Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry/Armagh)  has refuted allegations by the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley that Sinn Féin  has agreed to demands that all Public Sector workers contribute an extra 3.2% to their pension fund.

Conor Murphy said:

“I welcome the SDLP’s conversion to the Sinn Féin position of not acting subserviently to the demands of the Tory austerity agenda. When the £4billion of cuts was imposed on the Executive Budget by the British Chancellor, Sinn Féin was alone in advocating resistance.  On the other hand, SDLP Leader, Margaret Ritchie accepted them commenting, ‘while it is challenging it is not insurmountable’.

“I obviously cannot comment on the content of Executive papers but the Sinn Féin Party position is that lower paid workers should be protected from this £140million levy imposed on the Executive by the Tories through a graduated approach and that this should be worked out in consultation with the Trades Union. Such an approach is predicated on the principle that those who earn more pay more and those who earn less pay less or nothing at all.

“I am certain that this is the approach that our Executive Ministers will adopt. Rather than seek headline grabbing publicity based on half-truths and speculation, Sinn Féin will get on with properly protecting low paid workers where it counts – in the Executive and the Assembly – not through the media. Where are the SDLP’s proposals for finding the £140million which the British Chancellor said will be deducted from the Block grant if we don’t increase contributions?


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has condemned as ‘heartless’ the decision by the Justice and Equality Minister Alan Shatter not to extend the brief of the inter-Departmental Committee on the Magdalene Laundries to include Bethany Home.

Senator Martin McAleese is currently chairing the Inter-departmental Committee on the Magdalene Laundries to establish the facts of the state’s involvement with the laundries. However Bethany Home has been excluded from this review.

Earlier this week I raised this matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and I wrote to the Minister four weeks ago asking for the victims of Bethany Home to be included in the remit of Senator McAleese’s committee.

However in a PQ response to a question from my colleague Mary Lou McDonald asking for the Committee’s remit to be extended, the Minister said that there are ‘no plans to extend its brief beyond those institutions’.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“This decision disregards the mountain of evidence built up over many years which exposes the significant levels of abuse and violence and deprivation that went on for decades in Bethany Home and which the state authorities at that time ignored.

“Regrettably it is another u-turn from the government parties who in opposition had supported the victims demand to be included in the redress scheme. Now when they have the opportunity to right a huge wrong they choose to perpetuate that wrong by refusing justice to victims.

“The survivors of Bethany Home have the right to be treated in the same way as all other survivors of institutional abuse and Sinn Féin will continue to support their case.”


Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to explain why 22 senior Anglo executives who presided over the bank’s collapse remain employed by the bank.

Deputy McDonald said:

“I want to know why 22 of the 50 senior people who were employed in Anglo at a time when it was at the height of its dangerous casino capitalism can remain employed by the bank, and why 19 of those still employed receive salaries in excess of €175,000.

“Anglo is now a nationalised bank, although toxic and the root of many of our evils. How can these executives receive such high salaries and what will the Government do to end the practice?

“In the same vein, developers in NAMA are pocketing €200,000. As the Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party, how can Deputy Gilmore preside over a scenario where people who made a material contribution to the damage done to this State and the wrecking of our economy can walk away with such big salaries while people on low wages are suffering?

“The Tánaiste and his colleagues are quick to attack people on welfare payments, accusing those out of work of making a lifestyle choice. The Tánaiste is offering some lifestyle opportunity to officials and senior employees in a toxic bank that has brought us to the brink of ruin.

“The rhetoric of the Government’s commitment to wind down Anglo Irish Bank and the Tánaiste's words of anger in respect of that bank hold no water. What will he do about the senior employees in the bank and their runaway wages?

“How can he explain to the public a Government strategy that targets people on welfare and low pay and takes a hands-off attitude to fat cats and those who have brought such tremendous hardship to the country?” ENDS


Sinn Féin transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis has called on the Minister for Transport to commit to the development of the Metro North light rail project. His comments come following an Bord Pleanala giving the project the final go-ahead for the construction of the systems depot, the final planning application required.

Deputy Ellis said:

“All the permission is now in place. The project has the green light from an Bord Pleanala and is just waiting on the go-ahead from the Minister who has said he will make a decision soon.

“There is huge potential for job creation from the construction of this project both in terms of jobs directly involved in the project and local areas around the project which will see a growth in trade from those workers. Businesses will also benefit into the future from a high speed link up with neighbouring areas as well as the city centre and Dublin Airport.

“This opportunity cannot be passed up and I call on Minister Varadkar to support Metro North and begin the process of ensuring the best value for money from the construction of this project for the public purse. Well over €100 million has been spent already and that cannot be allowed to have been all in vain.”


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