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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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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has co-authored a resolution voted in the European Parliament today addressing the legitimate demand of Palestine to be represented as a state at the United Nations.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg de Brún said,

"Through this resolution which was voted by MEPs from across the political divide, the European Parliament reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital of both states. The EU and its Member States must now strongly demonstrate their support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to statehood existing peacefully alongside an Israeli state."

'Today's resolution is important, but I also continue to urge EU leaders to explicitly support Palestine to become a full member of the UN as a sovereign State. More than 130 countries already officially recognise the Palestinian state and the UN conditions for a viable state have been met.

'Since the Palestine's application for statehood the Israeli government have approved the building of over 1000 homes on illegal settlements in the Palestinian territory. Now is not the time to be shy with our demands for the future of Palestine.

 

'I hope today's resolution will be the first of many steps to enshrine EU support an independent Palestinian state.

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Speaking during a private members debate in the Seanad on job losses in the Southeast Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said empathy and smooth words will not solve the problems faced by Waterford.

He said immediate, realistic and deliverable proposals must be brought forward by the government to deal with the jobs crisis in Waterford and the Southeast.

Senator Cullinane tentatively welcomed a commitment from the Minister to consider reviewing legislation to extend the 30 day termination notice employers are currently obliged to give to workers.

Speaking during the debate Senator Cullinane said:

“My home city of Waterford is hurting. We have recently lost 575 jobs in Talk Talk. Since 2009 we have lost jobs in Waterford Crystal and the Foundry, ABB Transformers; Teva Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline in Dungarvan. Many other manufacturing jobs were lost, as well as jobs in the construction and retail sectors.

“Waterford is not alone. There are just under half a million people on the live register. Of these are 88,800 young people. We are told that 40,000 people are expected to emigrate this year. These are staggering statistics. Behind them are communities with their hearts wrenched out. Families and their children cast into poverty. I know this as I see it every day.

“I welcome this debate to highlight the very real problems facing our workers. The shabby way the Talk Talk employees were treated is disgraceful and reprehensible. However we must not cry crocodile tears. If the government agrees with this then they should change the legislation to compel companies to give 90 days notice. I welcome a commitment from the Minister to consider my amendment calling for this.

“We can all empathise with the employees of the Talk Talk. However empathy and smooth words will not put food on the table. It is a case of tea, biscuits and sympathy for Waterford while the bankers get away with the money. We need to get people into employment, to create jobs and opportunities. Inaction is not good enough.

“This government is giving €700 million to pay an un-guaranteed bond in Anglo, and yet only invests €29m of the Jobs Initiative is allocated to labour activation measures. That single bond payment would go to addressing many of the needs articulated in this chamber. It would go some way to stimulate the Waterford economy and create employment in the Southeast. We need to get our priorities right.”

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Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said today that the Irish government must seek a meeting with its EU counterparts to discuss a write down of Irish debt.

Doherty said the looming spectacle of an Irish finance minister signing off on a Greek debt default at an ECOFIN meeting, then returning to Ireland to implement austerity budgets in order to service a massive debt bill, is unacceptable.

Deputy Doherty said:

“We have a debt crisis in Europe which can only be solved by writing down the debt. This is becoming apparent in Greece, but because of the Irish government's eagerness to please other EU leaders, Fine Gael and Labour are not willing to negotiate a write-down of Irish debt. Demanding a debt write-down would be the patriotic thing for this government to do. Fianna Fáil may have given away our economic sovereignty but this should not prevent any Irish government from acting in a patriotic fashion.

“We now face the looming spectacle of an Irish Finance Minister signing off on a Greek debt write-down at an ECOFIN meeting then returning to Ireland to implement an austerity budget in order to service a mounting debt bill. This is unacceptable. The Greek debt is as unsustainable as the Irish debt and seeing as most of our debt was accumulated as a result of the state taking on private banking debt, I would argue we have an even more convincing case for debt reduction.

“The Irish government must immediately place on the negotiating table a write-down of the Anglo Irish promissory note and burden sharing with the ECB. It should look further at how much debt is sustainable for Ireland. The Irish people recognised the need for such a solution when they manifestly rejected Fianna Fail policies in the last election. The Irish people believed that there would be a policy change, only to have Fine Gael and Labour implement the same sell-out of the Irish taxpayer.

“We need a government that will argue for a new direction in Europe - one of debt write-down, an ECB-led recapitalisation of the banking system and investment in growth and recovery.”

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Health Minister James Reilly has contradicted himself in the Dáil when questioned this afternoon (Wednesday) by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD.

Deputy Ó Caoláin asked Minister Reilly:

“Does the Minister agree that more beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations?”

Minister Reilly answered “No.”

But these were James Reilly’s own words as Fine Gael Health spokesperson when he said in May 2010:

“It also flies in the face of avowed Government policy that 33 of the beds to be closed are in a five-day ward. These are the kind of beds for day case and short stay procedures that the Health Minister claims we’re moving towards but Beaumont is closing them down.

“More beds closed means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more patients waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations.”

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Speaking in the Seanad today Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane called for the full establishment of an All-Ireland Bill of Rights as envisaged under the Good Friday Agreement.

Senator Cullinane said that the state has a responsibility to ensure that the right of citizens to health care, housing, employment and access to services are vindicated.

He said hollow words and false promises were not enough and what was required was a Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The Seanad was addressed by Dr. Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission.

Senator Cullinane said:

“I welcome Dr Manning and commend him for his work with the IHRC over many years. There is no question that the IHRC play a very important role in ensuring that the government lives up to its obligations under human rights instruments. The impression has been created by successive governments as well as by a largely compliant media that Irish people do not have to worry about human rights issues that we are guaranteed not to face breaches of our rights.

“Clearly this is not the case. It is very much the case that we have a long way to travel to be where we want to be as regards human rights. Human and Civil rights include the right to healthcare, education, access to services and unemployment. In this state we have a two-tier health service which is denying citizens their right to proper health care. We have an education system failing many children. Parents in the past have been forced to take the state to court to get their children the education they deserve as of right. People with disabilities are denied access to services. Carers are not valued and workers are denied the right to collective bargaining.

“We have international obligations under documents such as the European Social Charter which guarantee the right to healthcare, the right to shelter, the right to education. Can we say that we measure well against such rights, is the right to shelter, the right to healthcare and the right to education truly satisfied?

“I must point out concerns I have in relation to the proposed merger of the IHRC and the Equality Authority. The Government proposal can only lead to a loss of focus and expertise in two distinct fields. It will confuse and diminish the potential to promote equality and defend human rights. It is nothing more then a cost saving exercise and must be opposed.

“A failure to promote, protect and vindicate human rights is a failure of politics. I commend the countless civic society organisations that advocate on behalf of peoples rights. Legislators must do more then empathise and listen. We must act and deliver. Human and Civil rights are not something to be bartered for or at the whim of a Government to confer. They are universal and the birthright of all citizens. As we seek to build a new Republic, it must be one underpinned by a genuine commitment to uphold and vindicate the rights of our citizens.”

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Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Michelle Gildernew said women need to be supported when it comes to child birth and made aware of the choices they have.

The Sinn Féin MLA was responding to Health Minister Edwin Poots launch of a review of maternity services when he said that women who opt for a caesarean for non-medical reasons may have to pay for the surgery.

“We need to be very careful that we don’t demonise women who for medical reasons have a caesarean. They certainly don’t take the decision lightly.

“We do have women who out of convenience opt for a caesarean and that is something that needs to be looked at. What we are talking about here is major abdominal surgery.

“After undergoing a caesarean the first time, women should receive proper support so that they are able to have normal deliveries in the future. That is why it is crucial that greater support is offered to midwives and obstetricians.

“The bottom line is that pregnant women need to have all the information available and be aware of their choices. However, before any decisions are made there needs to be a mature and sensible discussion around all these matters.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning accused the government of failing to act to tackle the crisis in the health services.

The Sinn Féin leader also criticised the ‘heckling’ of Fine Gael and Labour TDs who constantly interrupted as he questioned the Taoiseach on the numbers of patients on trolleys and hospital floors in emergency departments.

Speaking after Leaders Questions in the Dáil today Mr Adams said:

“In its five point plan for the election Fine Gael pledged to reform the health service and cut waiting lists.

“But yesterday the Taoiseach admitted that the Cabinet Health Committee hasn’t met once since it was established in June.

“Yesterday also saw almost 400 people on hospital trolleys, with the worst hospital being Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda.

“And today there is more evidence of the crisis in the health system with nurses in Limerick on strike since 8.30am this morning because of gross over-crowding and the affect it is having on patient safety.

“These are deadly serious issues and it beggars belief that the trauma of almost 400 citizens and their families is being ignored and reduced by some TDs to mere heckling.

“The fact is that government economic policy is to strip resources away from health and other essential services and to use it to pay off the debts of a dead bank like Anglo-Irish.

“One consequence of this is that on November 2nd the government is going to pay 700 million euros to bondholders in Anglo-Irish. That money would build hundreds of new schools, new hospitals and create thousands of jobs.

“These are short sighted policies and uneconomic policies which will make it more difficult to repair the damage done by the economic crisis.” ENDS

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