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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD, commenting on the release of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission’s interim report into Corrib rape remarks recording, said:

“We all heard the recording of gardaí making disturbing comments in relation to rape, at a Corrib protest in Mayo, following the arrest of two women protestors and the failure of gardaí to switch off a confiscated video camera.

“The interim report confirmed that the rape comments were made. That’s the crux of the matter. There is damage done to the public perception of how gardaí would deal with the issue of rape. These comments would certainly not encourage victims of sexual offences to report to the gardaí, and this simply isn’t good enough. Garda authorities need to implement disciplinary procedures and demonstrate that such behaviour isn’t tolerable.

“Deletions were made from the camcorder but the file in question is completely intact. Some of the commentary by Minister Shatter, the media and by a GRA spokesperson in relation to these deletions and an inference of ‘tampering’ have led the conversation into an unhelpful cul-de-sac. Shell to Sea has explained that these file deletions related to interviews given associated with academic work that were made on the basis of non-disclosure.

“Sinn Féin would also call for investigation into the policing practices surrounding these protests in Mayo. These rape comments paint a picture of an ethos of garda animosity towards these protestors.

“There are also concerns about the actions being carried out by IRMS, Shell's private security company. On Friday 22 July protestors claim that IRMS blocked around 300 metres of public road as deliveries were brought into Shell’s Aughoose compound.

“A number of protestors from the Rossport Solidarity Camp claimed that they were assaulted by IRMS on the public road, leading to some receiving medical attention.

“These allegations need to be investigated for it is not tolerable for multinationals and their hired goons to engage in bullyboy tactics against ordinary people engaged in legitimate protest.

“This is without mentioning the profoundly negligent actions of this and previous Dublin governments surrounding the giveaway licensing of our natural resources.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has described the proposed 22% increase in gas prices as a retrograde step that will have a disproportional affect those on low and middle incomes.

Deputy McDonald said the least well off are being hit from every angle with increased prices, new charges and cuts in wages.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

“The news of the proposed gas price increase today came just as the government was announcing changes to the JLCs that will be disastrous for the lowest earners in our society.

“It also comes in a week when the government announced its Household Charge.

“Since this government took power the least well off have been hit from every angle with increased prices, new charges, cuts in wages and cuts in public services.

“This government needs to realise the many people in today’s Ireland are at breaking point and need to be protected from such things as gas price increases.

“Figures released just yesterday showed that 1,300 gas and electricity a month are being cut off so how can people be expected to absorb this extra cost? The answer is that many of them simple won’t be able to.

“The government cannot stand by and let this happen. The regulator is to make a final decision at the end of August after a consultation process. The government should oppose the increase.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has stated that further planned cuts to hospital services in the North East region must not go ahead. As the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation at Cavan General Hospital today (Thursday) serves strike notice, news comes of HSE plans to significantly curtail services at Monaghan General Hospital and across the North East region.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Cuts to our public hospital services have resulted in severe over-crowding in Cavan General Hospital with patients spending days on trolleys and chairs in the Emergency Department, in corridors and in other units not suited for this purpose. The Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation is justified in serving strike notice today as the only option left to them to try to force the HSE and the Government to address this dangerous situation.

“On the very day this strike notice is served we learn that the HSE is proposing to significantly curtail services at Monaghan General Hospital. I understand that it is proposed to close the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Monaghan at weekends and after 5pm Monday to Friday. The Monaghan MIU will thus go from a seven-day 9am - 9pm service to a Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm service. There is also a question mark over hours for the Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Monaghan.

“The HSE Dublin/North East is also planning to put a cap on overtime and agency work, leading to further curtailments in services across the region.

“These further cuts in already over-stretched and under-resourced hospital services in the North-East must not go ahead. I am today writing to the Minister for Health & Children James Reilly to demand his direct intervention.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said listening to Joan Burton on the Pat Kenny Show this morning was like listening to the PDs when they were in power with Fianna Fáíl.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said instead of attacking and stigmatising social welfare recipients the Minister and her colleagues in government should concentrate on creating jobs to get people back to work.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Joan Burton is clearly on a crusade to lower the public’s opinion on social welfare recipients before she attacks them with cuts in the winter budget. In doing so she has clearly abandoned her and her party’s roots in the Irish working class.

“Listening to the Minister on the radio this morning was like listening to the PDs when they were in power with Fianna Fáil. Talking of people leaving school early and drifting into unemployment is a cynical tactic designed to take the focus off the key point that there are no jobs out there for the nearly half a million people on the dole.

“The Minister needs to remember that the vast majority of those on social welfare were, up until recently, happily working away and paying their taxes.

“Instead of attacking and stigmatising social welfare recipients the Minister and her colleagues in government should concentrate on creating jobs and getting people back to work. This is the best way to reduce the welfare bill.

“By focussing on social welfare fraud, which of course is a problem, the Minister is attempting to gain support for harsh cuts which are coming down the line while ignoring the real and serious problem of the lack of jobs.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Sean Crowe has called on the government parties to rethink their decision to hold the presidential election on a Thursday.

Deputy Crowe said that this decision would exclude many students who are studying away from home.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The decision to hold the presidential election on a Thursday will exclude thousands of students, particularly those studying away from home.

“We have this argument every time an election rolls around. The previous Fianna Fáil Government continuously held elections on weekdays and now, despite all the bluster about change and new politics, Fine Gael and Labour are doing the exact same thing.

“Is it really that much of an issue to hold an election at the weekend? Or is it the case that the Government don’t want students voting in large numbers?

“There really is no excuse for this decision and the Government should immediately change the date to a weekend to allow the greatest possible participation in the election.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers' rights, Senator David Cullinane has branded as "gross hypocrisy” the new 'inability to pay clause' for employers.

Senator Cullinane said:

“This government has no shame. In the same week the cabinet introduces the new household charge, Minister Bruton gives employers the green light not to pay wages that were agreed. Yet again we see evidence of this government, in a very calculated way, using the vacuum created by the recent High Court ruling on Joint Labour Committees to undermine employees’ pay and conditions.

“It will come as a great surprise to many voters that we now have Labour in government assisting in the erosion of hard won gains for the lowest paid workers in Ireland's economy.

“Cutting wages will do nothing to stimulate the economy or create jobs. It will, in fact, have the opposite effect. It will reduce consumer spending and further shrink the economy. This government would rather attack the most vulnerable in our workforce than put in place stimulus packages that would grow the economy and create jobs.

“Sinn Féin will be contacting the both the Minister and the unions today to see how this draconian decision can be overturned.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis TD has today launched the party’s submission to the Review Group charged with proposing reforms to the Taxi Industry. The document outlines a number of proposals on issues such as vetting, licensing and wheel chair accessibility.

Deputy Ellis said, “At the core of the submission is the reality that since deregulation  the number of licenses has increased seven fold. There are too many  taxi’s on our roads, too many multi license holders and too many part  time drivers. 

“This situation has compounded the problems of inadequate vetting and  support for wheelchair accessibility and allowed an unscrupulous  minority to benefit from loopholes and lack of proper enforcement which  has damaged the industry’s reputation considerably. 

“Our proposals such as holding a Taxi Regulations Directorate to account  through a Dáil Committee, bi-annual reviews, improved vetting, minimum  hours and greater regulation of the rental market are designed to ensure  the best service and safety for taxi users as well as allowing full time  drivers to make a decent living. 

“We were very disappointed by the lack of representation for ordinary  single license holders on the Review Group, their voice should be heard  and we call once again on Minister of State Kelly to allow for this. 

“Sinn Féin is hopeful the Review Group will take this submission on  board but if we do not feel that the recommendations of the group will  bring satisfactory reform to the industry we are prepared to publish our  own bill on this matter in the Autumn.” ENDS

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The Government took a cynical decision in setting the date for the presidential election for a Thursday rather than at a weekend, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh
The Galway West Senator was referring in the Seanad today specifically to the difficulties which students face in casting their votes on a Thursday.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“This is a very cynical decision that the government has taken regarding the date of the election. It is common knowledge that mid-week elections do not suit students, in particular those who live away from home. The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has regularly stated that elections need to be held at weekends, so that as many students as possible have the opportunity to cast their vote.

“It’s clear that the Government do not want students voting in large numbers, as they are worried that they will not vote for the favoured establishment candidates. This is a very cynical attitude and the Government should be ashamed of themselves.
“It is vitally important that as many citizens as possible are given the opportunity to cast a vote and the Government should do all within their power to assist citizens in that regard.

“Sinn Féin have made numerous proposals to increase voter participation, including the establishment of an independent commission which would be responsible for voter education and registration, automatic registration once a voter becomes eligible using PPS numbers to avoid fraud - and the holding of elections at weekends.

“I call on the Government to consider our proposals, in particular those in relation to weekend elections. These are measures the Government can easily implement to improve voter participation without much effort, at no extra cost, but it appears they don’t wish to do so for party political reasons. This is paying a great disservice to the students of this country.”

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Tá an rialtas tar éis cinneadh soiniciúil a ghlacadh agus iad tar éis beartú an toghcháin don uachtaránacht a rith ar Dhéardaoin in ionad ag an deireadh seachtaine. Sin de réir an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, a bhí ag tagairt sa Seanad inniu do na deacrachtaí a bheidh ag mic léinn vóta a chaitheamh ar Dhéardaoin.

“Is cinneadh soiniciúil é seo atá glactha ag an rialtas ó thaobh an dáta don toghchán. Tá fhios ag an saol is a mháthair nach n-oireann toghcháin i rith na seachtaine do mhic léinn. Tá sé ráite ag Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn (USI) go rialta go bhfuil gá go mbeadh toghcháin ar siúl ag an deireadh seachtaine, le go mbeadh formhór na mac léinn in ann vóta a chaitheamh.

“Is léir go bhfuil fonn ar an rialtas seo freisin, nach mbeadh mic léinn ábalta vóta a chaitheamh, mar go bhfuil eagla orthu nach gcaithfidh siad a vótaí le iarrthóirí na bunaíochta ab fhearr leis an rialtas. Is dearcadh soiniciúil atá ansin, agus ba chóir go mbeadh náire orthu”, dar le Seanadóir Shinn Féin.

“Tá sé fíor thábhachtach go mbeadh an méid is mó saoránaigh gur féidir in ann a vótaí a chaitheamh, dar leis agus go ndeánfadh an rialtas pé rud gur féidir leo a dheánamh chun cuidiú le saoránaigh na tíre seo chun vóta a chaitheamh.

“Tá Sinn Féin tar éis go leor moltaí a dhéanamh chun líon na ndaoine a chaitheann vóta a mhéadú”, a deir Ó Clochartaigh. 'Ina measc, táimid ag moladh go gcuirfí Coimisiún Neamhspleách ar bun a bheadh freagrach as oideachas a chur ar thoghthóirí, clárúchán uathoibríoch a chur i bhfeidhm a bhainfeadh úsáid as uimhreacha PPS chun mí-úsáid a sheachaint, agus go rithfear toghcháin le linn an deireadh seachtaine.

“Níl aon chúis don rialtas gan ár gcuid moltaí a thógáil san áireamh, go mór, mhór ó thaobh toghcháin ag an deireadh seachtaine; is rud é a bheadh an rialtas in ann deánamh gan stró, gan costas breise, ach níl fonn orthu ar chuinsí polaitiúla agus is mór an buille é sin do mhic léinn na tíre se”, dar leis an Seanadóir as Gaillimh Thiar.

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