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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 Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Padraig Mac Lochlainn has extended his sympathies on behalf of the party to the people of Norway.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies on behalf of Sinn Féin to the people of Norway.

“Our thoughts are with the families of those who tragically lost their lives in this horrific attack and also with those who are injured.

“The people of Norway and indeed the world are in shock at the events that unfolded yesterday. On behalf of my party I want to extend my condolences to the Norwegian people and assure them that they are in our thoughts.”

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After visiting seriously ill prisoner Brendan Lillis in Maghaberry Prison today Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has again called on for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

The West Belfast representative, accompanied by fellow MLA Fra McCann, was on her second visit to the prison this month and said that both MLAs were shocked by the deteriorating condition of Brendan Lillis.

“I had just received a reply from Justice Minister David Ford before going into the prison that he does not consider this a case for release on compassionate grounds which goes against what is in the public interest.

“Brendan Lillis’s licence was revoked on the grounds that he was a danger to the public yet the courts have deemed him too sick to stand trial. How can someone be a danger to the public when they are unfit to attend a court?

“David Ford, the Parole Commissioners and the British Secretary of State Owen Paterson need to use a bit of common sense here. The continued imprisonment of Brendan Lillis does not serve the public interest and he should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds.”

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With industrial action threatened at Cavan General Hospital and at St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s health cuts, as well as HSE mismanagement, are provoking strikes in the health services.

He said:

“Nurses at Cavan General Hospital are at the end of their tether with the hospital totally over-stretched. The failure to increase capacity at the hospital following the downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital, together with the recruitment embargo, have resulted in enormous pressure on staff and patients at Cavan's Emergency Department. Patients are spending up to four days on trolleys and chairs, and this at the height of summer when demand is usually lighter than in winter.

“It is no surprise that the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Executive has authorised the serving of notice of industrial action in Cavan General Hospital. I raised this directly with Health Minister James Reilly and HSE Chief Cathal Magee at the Oireachtas Health & Children Committee on Thursday.

“At St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, the Psychiatric Nurses Association has served notice of industrial action on the HSE which is closing the male and female admissions unit at the hospital from 31 August.

“The closure of the 48-bed admissions department at St. Ita’s was confirmed by the Minister for Health James Reilly in a reply to my Dáil Question. The HSE has promised to ensure that alternatives will be available after 31 August but has not set out what these will be.

“This is gross mismanagement by the HSE. Promised upgrading work at St. Ita’s has not been completed, resulting in the Mental Health Commission closure order. This upgrading work was supposed to be a temporary measure, pending the development of the long promised psychiatric unit at Beaumont Hospital. But work on that unit is not due to begin until the end of this year.

“Minister James Reilly must intervene, ensure that the necessary works at St. Ita’s are completed and that the Beaumont development is speeded up. After all, one of the reasons for the long delay of that project was when the site intended for it was earmarked for one of Mary Harney’s ‘co-location’ private hospitals. It was Minister Reilly who quite rightly ended that ill-conceived scheme.

“Fine Gael/Labour Government cuts and HSE mismanagement are provoking strikes in our health services and further industrial action is inevitable if this Government proceeds with its plans for even more severe cuts.” ENDS

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Speaking after meeting recently with firefighters stationed in Tallaght, Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has written to the Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government Michael Hogan requesting information on when work will start on extending and upgrading the station.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The inadequate state of Tallaght fire station, which was built in the early 1980s, needs to be upgraded and extended. Last year an accident occurred in which a firefighter was electrocuted and left badly injured in an incident that illustrated the extent of the problems there.

“In March, 2010, under the National Development Plan, 2010 – 2013, the then Minister for Housing and Local Services, Michael Finneran, TD, announced a capital funding package of €18 million to support fire and rescue services across the State.

“Its aim was to maintain and enhance the capacity of fire crews throughout the country so they would be better able to protect local communities by making them more efficient.

“As part of this announcement, the Minister approved the commencement of design work on an extension to Tallaght fire station yet over a year later no work has started on this important project.

“Tallaght has one of the busiest fire stations in Europe and its crews cover 250,000 people across 220 square kilometres of heavily built-up residential and industrial land. This is reflected in the thousands of callouts they respond to annually and the crews stationed in Tallaght save countless lives.

“The Government needs to upgrade and extend Tallaght fire station and also implement plans that would site emergency response crews in the station whose role would be to respond to incidents across three counties.

“The fire fighters who operate out of Tallaght and who risk their lives saving people deserve nothing less.”

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Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described plans to increase tolls in motorways across the state as “a licence to print money.”

Deputy Crowe said:

“If recent reports are correct, within the next three years motorists could be forced to pay additional tolls on many of our major roads. I understand that the National Roads Authority (NRA) is to hire consultants to examine the potential for "new tolling arrangements" which really means giving the government a licence to print money.

“It is estimated that the nine existing tolls have raised almost €2.2 billion since 2006, a huge sum of money that must be met by hard pressed motorists. Now the NRA are recommending eight new toll locations as well as an extension of tolling points on the M50 in Dublin in a scheme that would raise an extra €62 million annually.

“The Traffic Management Study is proposing tolls that would include two toll plazas on the N20 Cork-Limerick road at Croom and Mallow as well as the Jack Lynch Tunnel in Cork. Other locations being considered are the Dundalk bypass on the M1, the Ennis bypass on the N18 and the Tuam bypass on the N17/N18; the Arklow bypass on the N11 and the Carlow bypass on the N9.

“Minister Varadkar is looking at proposals for the M50 toll station, which currently generates a yearly average revenue of €100m, to see if it would be suitable for multi-point tolling whereby motorists would pay a toll on the distance they travel on the motorway.

“The facts are that over an 18 year period motorists paid for the construction of the M50 motorway many times over with money that went to National Toll Roads (NTR), a private company that taxpayers continue to subsidise.

“The benefits of having an improved road network will be negated if motorists can’t afford the expense of driving on our country’s primary routes. This short-sighted policy is not only unfair, it will damage our competitiveness and impact the Government’s ability to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It will dramatically increase the cost of road haulage, which is essential to our export trade and force large lorries to travel on secondary roads and through small towns and villages.

“To compound matters even further, the money raised from hard pressed taxpayers will not go to funding better roads, or maintaining them, but instead will line the pocket of the private companies operating these roads.

“These punitive and excessive hikes in tolls will have serious implications for people using our road network and the Government must relook at its plans.”

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty described this evening’s agreement at the European Council as a missed opportunity and said that it will do little to reduce the state’s growing debt burden.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The deal agreed at tonight’s European Council meeting is a missed opportunity for Ireland and for the Eurozone. Despite all the hype it fails to deal with the real problems underlying the Euro debt crisis.

“Enda Kenny is claiming that a 2% interest rate reduction on future EU loans could save the taxpayer between €600 million and €800 million. The details of the deal on offer are not yet clear. However today’s statement only refers to the EFSF loans which would only amount to a €350 million per year saving if a 2% reduction in the interest rate was applied to future and past borrowings from this month.

“While any reduction in the interest rate is welcome this does not represent a significant gain for Ireland. With our national debt set to exceed €200 billion by 2014 this interest rate reduction will do nothing to address our national debt. The only way to reduce this debt is by burden sharing with senior bondholders and loss sharing with the ECB.

“Unfortunately these issues are explicitly ruled out for Ireland in this evening’s agreement and it seems that Enda Kenny, by signing up to this agreement which rules our any type of private sector involvement in Ireland’s debt crisis, has ditched any attempts to impose losses on senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank as announced by the Finance Minister on his recent trip to Washington..

“The Government is set to inject €19 billion into the four covered banks in the coming days that will be spent paying off senior bondholders. In the coming two months more than €4 billion will be spent on bondholders in the banks.

“The government and our European partners need to stop burying their heads in the sand. Continued austerity coupled with unsustainable debt will lead to default. The European Council acknowledges as mush today in their 2nd bailout for Greece.

“While the Government will attempt to present as positive a spin on tonight’s deal as possible unfortunately it changes very little and does not address the core problems underlying the Eurozone debt crisis.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Louth and East Meath TD Gerry Adams has given a cautious to the commitment by the Minister of Health James Reilly to hold an Oireachtas inquiry into the Michael Shine Affair if Oireachtas Committees are given such powers.

Mr. Adams said:

“I cautiously welcome the commitment by the Minister to hold an inquiry into the Michael Shine Affair if Oireachtas Committees are given enquiry powers. We need to see the detail of the Minister’s proposal.

“The victims and their families have campaigned for many years for truth and justice over allegations of sexual abuse by consultant surgeon Michael Shine.

“An inquiry should proceed speedily.

“Shine, a Consultant Surgeon in our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, was struck off the medical register after being found guilty of professional misconduct.

“This decision was taken after the Medical Council found that Michael Shine had abused his position by sexual abusing a number of patients.

“Having taken this decision the Minister should move now to hold a further inquiry into the scandalous use of symphysiotomy in Irish hospitals.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, Sandra McLellan, has criticised the Government's decision to stall plans to restore the Ulster Canal between Clones and Lough Erne.

Deputy McLellan was speaking in relation to a question she tabled to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, calling on him to confirm his commitment to ensure the restoration of the canal in line with commitments at a North South Ministerial Council meeting in 2007 and in light of the project's important economic potential for the region.

She said:

“I am very disappointed with the government’s failure to prioritise this project and ring-fence funding. The Minister’s response that ‘all options will be explored within current constraints’ is a far cry from the commitments given in 2007. While I appreciate that 2007 was a very different time than today in economic terms, the outstanding merits of the Ulster Canal restoration project still stand.

“It is a singularly important project for the region and holds enormous potential to open up the area. It would return a major social, economic and peace dividend and would have a huge impact on the towns and villages in the canal corridor, leading to significant regeneration and benefits due to increased tourism, business development and prosperity in general, not to mention the many construction and ancillary jobs which would be created.

“Similar projects elsewhere have shown a significant return, not only for the economy, but for people in the entire catchment area, with increased numbers of visitors, including recreational visitors, walkers, cyclists, canoeists, etc. In failing to commit funds to this important project the government has failed communities all along the route. They have missed a fantastic opportunity to prioritise investment in regional and rural development and to improve our tourist product.” ENDS

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Mortar bomb endangered local community - McCabe

Sinn Féin Councillor for Ardoyne, Gerard McCabe, has stated that those who left a viable mortar bomb in a garden in Etna Drive have recklessly endangered local residents.


Speaking today Cllr McCabe said:

“Whoever is responsible for leaving a viable mortar bomb in a garden in Etna Drive have recklessly endangered this community. Had this device exploded those living in the street could have been seriously injured or worse. 

“Those who carry out these activities need to realise that this community does not want this disruption with over 70 families having to be moved from their homes nor does it want these groups operating in this area or carrying out such actions in their name.

"There is clear and realistic way to achieve a united Ireland. This is not the way. These groups are without mandate or strategy and represent no one. They have yet to produce a viable explanation of why activities such as this continue and what they can achieve.”

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