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Vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in Carlow Kilkenny by-election

Watch and Share this video calling on people to vote Kathleen Funchion No.1 in the May 22nd Carlow Kilkenny by-election to replace Fine Gael's former Minister for Irish Water – Phil Hogan.

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.


Speaking before the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meeting in Kilkenny City, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said,

“I'm concerned that the Taoiseach...



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Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien, TD, speaking after today’s budget briefing by education minister, Ruairí Quinn has said there is a collective responsibility on the government to ensure the retention of key frontline services that have been badly affected by a succession of cuts.

The Cork North Central TD was speaking after Wednesday’s Oireachtas Education Committee meeting, where he acknowledged the difficulties and challenges faced by Minister Quinn but questioned the logic of taking a further €77 million out of education in the 2013 budget.

“A priority for Sinn Féin,” he said, “is the protection of the most vulnerable children within the Irish education sector and there is an onus on Minister Quinn and his Government colleagues to do likewise. If our education system is underfunded then it fails to meet the needs of children, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds. This has wider implications for Irish society leading to a greater dependency on social welfare benefits and higher rates of recidivism.

“I welcome the Minister’s commitment to re-exam the impact of cuts to the school transport scheme and his acknowledgement that a reduction in the school capitation grant had placed an additional financial burden on many parents. There is an opportunity that with the implementation of the Training Boards Bill, a more flexible system can be introduced so that Boards of Management can have a greater say in the way money is used to fund the running and maintenance of schools.

“I also hope that when the review of private fee paying schools is finished, that the Department looks at the estimated€100 million that is presently being spent on State subsidises to these schools. This is a complex issue and Sinn Féin supports the rights’ of parents to pay for their child to attend a private school but the burden being placed on taxpayers, at a time when a range of other essential services are being cut, is no longer viable nor acceptable.

“The Minister needs to reassess the important role played by Special Needs Assistants within the classroom so that all of their time is spent supporting children. He has also given assurances that there will be further changes to the pupil teacher ratios of 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools on the back of what was announced last year so hopefully their long-term viability is not further eroded.

“This was a constructive meeting and I hope Minister Quinn will take the views of the committee back to his cabinet colleagues and ensure his budget is protected.”

Buiséad Oideachas le cosaint – Teachta Jonathan O’ Brien

Deir urlabhraí Oideachais Shinn Féin Jonathan O’ Brien, Teachta Dála, agus é ag caint inniu tar eis cruinniú faoi an mbuiséad oideachas a thug an tAire Oideachais Ruairí Quinn go bhfuil comhfhreagracht ar an rialtas chun a chinntiú go gcoimeádfaí na seirbhísí tosaigh is tábhachtaí ach go háirithe na cinn a déanadh scrios ortha leis na giorraithe ar fad.

Bhí an Teachta Dála as Corcaigh Thuaidh –Lár ag caint tar eis an cruinniú a bhí ag an Coiste Oideachas ar an gCéadaoin, thug sé le fios gur thuig sé na deacrachtaí agus dúshláin a bhí os coir an tAire Quinn ach cheistigh sé an loic maidir le €77 milliún eile a bhaint amach as an mbuiséad oideachas do 2013.

‘Prióireacht do Shinn Fein’, a deir sé, ‘is ea an cosaint ar na páistí is leochaileach laistigh don gcóras Oideachas Éireannach agus tá an tAire Quinn agus a chomhghleacaí rialtais freagrach dóibh siúd chomh maith. Múna bhfuil airgeadú mar is coir ar fáil dár gcóras oideachas, tá teip ar soláthar ar riachtanais leanaí, go hairithe iad siúd atá imeallaithe. Tá impleachtaí níos leithne ann do sochaí na hÉireann, ag cruthú agus ag cuir leis an gcultúr do dhaoine a bhíonn ag brath ar sochair leasa shóisialta.

‘Cuirim fáilte roimhe gealltanas an tAire chun áth- scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an éifeacht a bheidh ag na giorraithe ar an scéim córas iompar taisteal agus go bhfuil sé ag tabhairt aitheantas don breis buairt faoi an t-ualach airgeadas a bheidh ar mórán tuismitheoirí de bharr ísliú ar an deontas caipitíochta. Tá an deis ann leis an feidhmiú don bille Bord Traenála, córas a chuir I bhfeidhm a thabharfaidh níos mó cumhacht do na Boird Bainistíochta ins an bealach a n-úsáidtí airgead chun scoileanna a rith mar is cuí.

Tá súil agam chomh maith, nuair a bheidh athbhreithniú déanta ar scoileanna le táille príobháideach, go bhféachfaidh an Roinn ar an meastacháin do €100 milliún a tá á chaitheamh faoi láthair tré fóirdheonú Stáit ar na scoileanna seo. Is ceist casta é seo agus tá Sinn Féin ag tacú le cearta tuismitheoirí a gcuid leanaí a chuir go dtí scoil príobháideach ach tá an t-ualach a chuireann sé ar cáiníocóirí ag am go bhfuil giorraithe ar seirbhísí riachtanach do-ghlactha.

‘Caithfidh an tAire athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an ról tábhachtach atá ag Cúntóirí Riachtanais Speisialta laistigh don seomra ranga ionas gur féidir leo a gcuid ama ar fad a chaitheamh ag tacú leis an leanaí. Tá sé tar éis dearbhú chomh maith go mbeidh tuilleadh athruithe maidir leis an cóimheas idir scoláirí agus múinteoir 1,2 3 agus scoileanna le 4 mhúinteoir tar éis an méid a dúradh anuraidh, mar sin táimid ag súil nach mbeidh aon bac sa todhchaí ar na scoileanna seo.

‘Is cruinniú dearfach a bhí anseo agus tá súil agam go dtógfaidh an tAire Quinn an tuairimíocht seo ar ais chuig a chomhghleacaithe san comh-aireacht agus go gcinnteofar go mbeidh a bhuiséad slán agus cosanta.’

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that there is no reason why the Orange Order can’t sit down with the Carrickhill residents group.

The North Belfast MLA said:

“The Orange Order’s Mervyn Gibson said this morning that he set no pre-conditions on talks he had with St Patrick’s Parish Priest Michael Sheehan and that members of the Carrickhill residents group could have been present.

“If the Order has no objections to sitting down with members of the group then why won’t they have those face-to-face talks with them now.

“There is still time for these discussions to take place and a resolution suitable to all can be found.

 “The way to resolve this issue is for those who applied for the parade and those who file for a protest to sit down in face-to-face discussions. There is nothing stopping the Orange Order from doing that and they need to explain their rationale for refusing to do so.”

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In the past 12 months the number of people at work in the state has decreased. This June saw a 33,400 fall on the previous June. Since Fianna Fáil collapsed the economy in 2008, Ireland has shed more jobs per capita than any other western country since the Great Depression.
A look at the unemployment and emigration figures shows the severe human cost of this government’s policies. The key performance indicators of government are shocking and damning.
While the global economic climate has cooled, the government’s own policies are central to this country’s comparatively disastrous results. Despite government spin every indicator is demonstrating that the economic policies of Labour and Fine Gael are failing. At the beginning of the year the Taoiseach unveiled the action plan for jobs, and promised an additional 100,000 jobs by 2016. The figures today show that over 33,000 less jobs in the economy over the past year and that almost 60% of those unemployed have been out of work for over a year.
It is clear that the policies of this government are costing jobs, yet the government continues with the same failing polices and more budget cuts. This government which is behaving like an economic lemming needs to volte face and take on the international best practice of counter-cyclical stimulus. Sinn Féin has offered detailed proposals which would see a €13 billion stimulus jump start the economy and create 130,000 jobs.

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This evening at 5pm Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams will host a briefing for TDs and Seanadóirí by the Diageo workers from the Diageo brewery in Dundalk. There will be a doorstep afterward at which the media can speak to the workers and to those who attended the briefing.
The Louth TD invited the workers to visit the Dáil during the first week of its resumption to meet and lobby Oireachtas members for support in their ongoing negotiations with Diageo over job losses and a redundancy settlement.
The Louth TD met the Diageo workers in July and was briefed by them.
Teachta Adams said:
“Last January, as part of a restructuring strategy Diageo announced the closure of the country’s oldest operating brewery in Kilkenny and its Dundalk plant, which first started as the Great Northern Railway Brewery in 1897.
The impact of Diageo’s decision is evident in the jobs lost:
- 63 permanent diageo job losses in Dundalk
- 45 contract worker job losses in Dundalk
- 45 permanent job losses in Kilkenny
- 100 contract worker job losses in Kilkenny
- 253 job losses in total
Since then the workers and the Diageo management have been in negotiation over a redundancy package for the workers, some of whom have worked in the plant for 30 years.
Eight months on and no redundancy arrangements have been agreed with the workers.
I have invited the workers to come to the Dáil today to explain the current situation to TDs and Seanadóirí.”
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Mid Ulster Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy has welcomed the decision of the Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA to begin the process of transferring the whole site of the O’Neill Inauguration seat at Tullaghogue from DARD to NIEA.

The decision follows a series of discussions concluding in a meeting on Wednesday 19th September.

Francie Molloy was central to bringing together the O’Neill Society, NIEA, DARD and Cookstown District Council who are all crucial stakeholders in the future of the site.

In welcoming the outcome of the latest meeting Mr Molloy said:

“The lands located at Tullaghogue are of great historical importance to the local area, to Cookstown District and the wider county of Tyrone.

“I greatly appreciate the work of the O’Neill Society and the support they have shown to this initiative in securing the lands for future generations.

“The decision by Minister Michelle O’Neill to transfer the land to NIEA will ensure the preservation of the site and will also enable Cookstown District Council to work in partnership with NIEA to develop and promote the site as a vital piece of our shared history. Indeed this site is recognised as one, which predates modern religious and political identities, being a prominent location down through the centuries.

“The future of this site is all the more important when considered in the context of the new Mid Ulster Council bringing in the seat of the O’Neills in Dungannon.

“That project is due to be launched in the coming weeks and will be a great asset to the area.

“Finally I would like to thank the efforts of Minister O’Neill in making this decision and Cookstown District Council for their determination in ensuring that the story of the O’Neills at Tullaghogue is not just part of our history but part of our future.”

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Figures obtained by Sinn Féin demonstrate that Invalidity Pension applications are now being refused at a rate of 87%. Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh said this is the highest refusal rate he has ever seen on any social welfare scheme.

"According to figures provided by the Department to Sinn Féin the average refusal rate on applications for Invalidity Pension was 87% between January and July of 2012. These are the latest figures available and they represent a rise of 17% from the refusal rate reported by the Minister on the 1st of March.

"In all my years as a TD, I don't think I've ever seen a refusal rate as high as this. This trend is very worrying and follows concerns expressed by the Ombudsman earlier in the summer that the Department is increasingly using its discretion to refuse access to welfare supports that were awarded to individuals in the past. I also put these concerns to the Minister last July but she dismissed them out of hand and refused to take any action whatsoever.

"The number of applications for Invalidity Pension has almost doubled between 2009 and 2011 and I think this is a further worrying indication of the additional difficulties experienced by those with disabilities who are attempting to access work in the current climate. Employers who may have made some investment in accommodation of disabilities in the past are increasingly reluctant to do so which leaves those with disabilities at a double disadvantage during this recession. Urgent action from government is needed to address this."
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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Children, Caoimhghín Ó Caolain TD, has welcomed the publication of the proposed wording of the constitutional amendment on Children, saying that it is a significant step towards enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:
“We welcome the publication of the proposed wording today and we commend Minister Frances Fitzgerald for bringing it forward. It is an important step towards enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution. While it does not exactly mirror the wording agreed by the cross-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, it is a substantial step towards that Committee's shared objective.
“We are currently engaging with our legal advisors regarding the text of the draft wording and will propose amendments if we feel they are required. Sinn Féin looks forward to the publication and processing of the relevant accompanying legislation and engaging Government on these important issues.
“Our hope remains that the final wording of this amendment will be sufficiently strong to make a real difference to the lives of all children in Ireland, and will represent progress towards cherishing all the children of the nation equally.”
ENDS

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Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD this morning secured a Dáil debate on the disproportionate impact of cuts to public sector allowances for new entrant teachers. The issue will be debated in the Dáil this afternoon during Topical Issues.

The Dublin Central TD said:
“Details released yesterday by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform show that the start off pay of new entrant teachers has been reduced by 15%, which is significantly higher than the 10% cut to pay across the public service.

“New entrant teachers into the service this year will be paid €11,000 a year less than their colleagues hired in 2010 with similar qualifications.

“The withdrawal of qualification-related allowances for new entrant teachers is a regressive move by the Government and will only serve to decrease the standard of education pursued by young people training to be teachers.

“Creating a two-tiered workforce within the public sector is not only deeply inequitable; it is a recipe for unrest across the teaching sector.

“Brendan Howlin can reduce the public sector pay bill by €265 million annually if he and his cabinet colleagues are prepared to make tough choices. Despite the crisis senior civil and public servants continue to enjoy excessive salaries in comparison to their European counterparts, to the detriment of low and middle income workers.”
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Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has this evening called on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to once and for all tackle excessive pay across the upper echelons of the public sector.

Responding to the Ministers failure to meet his projected savings for public sector allowances and premium payments Deputy McDonald said:

“There has been no public scrutiny ofthese allowances. Minister Howlin has conducted his review in private with no Oireachtas oversight.

“Of course the reality is if the Government is serious about achieving saving from the public sector pay bill it needs to step up and tackle excessive pay across the top of the public sector once and for all. Secretaries’ General, hospital consultants, special advisors and indeed Government Ministers are all in receipt of annual salaries way above and beyond what their European counterparts earn. Capping excessive pay at the top could yield the public sector pay bill an annual saving of €265 million.

“Middle and low income workers across the civil and public sector cannot continue to be the target of Government cuts to pay. Brendan Howlin regularly defends the pay of high rollers yet refuses to even acknowledge the inequities in pay between those at the top and bottom of the sector. It simply does not make sense that hospital consultants, senior civil servants and the Taoiseach get paid more than the French President or Spanish Prime Minister.” ENDS

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Martin McGuinness answering questions from pupils of St Patrick's Primary School.