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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 Economy Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry/Armagh) while welcoming the movement on retention of some of the money in End Year Flexibility (EYF) said it does not go far enough.

Conor Murphy said:

“Sammy Wilson’s announcement that the British Treasury has decided to ‘allow’ him to retain some unspent monies in the EYF calculations, although welcome does not go far enough.

“The fact is that the British Treasury unilaterally cut over £4billion from our entitlement in the Block Grant which decimated our ability to deliver the programme of public expenditure required if we are to combat the worst effects of the recession. Not satisfied with slashing our budget without any consultation the British Chancellor then further raided our finances by changing the rules on EYF.

“Sammy Wilson’s comments that this is a ‘vast improvement’ and ‘would ensure ‘that we retain our resources where they can be of most benefit’ is yet another example of his subservient attitude to the British Exchequer. The British Treasury has also said that the amount ‘allowed’ to be retained would be capped at £59million for day-to-day running costs or £15million for capital projects. Sammy Wilson should be fighting to have all funding that while not yet spent has been earmarked for particular projects retained here.

“The clawing back by the British Treasury of any monies that has been allocated to Departments is unacceptable and should be resisted as a further attack on our ability to deliver our Programme for Government.

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Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA today attended the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels when the European Commission presented its proposals to Ministers for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Speaking after Council the Minister said: “This has been the first opportunity for Member States to give their reaction to the reform proposals which were published by the Commission on 13 July. It is clear that there a lot of work to do to improve on the package of proposed measures. Like many others I had hoped that the proposals would mean greater regionalisation of decision making and a move away from the overly bureaucratic, centralised approach to fisheries management. We need to exploit the knowledge of local fisheries managers and the fishing industry more in the design of future fisheries management measures.

“I have concerns about the Commission’s proposals which would require Member States to introduce mandatory “transferable fishing concessions”. Ultimately this could lead to a consolidation of fishing rights in the hands of some of the more wealthy fishing fleets to the detriment of coastal communities which depend on fishing.”

The Minister also met with Lowri Evans, Director General of DG MARE. The Minister said: “I was glad to get this opportunity to discuss the Commission’s CFP reform package, the impact of the Cod Recovery Plan on our fleet and prospects for the vital negotiations on fish quotas which will happen in November and December. I also wanted to reinforce my commitment to take measures in Irish Sea fisheries to reduce discarding of unwanted fish and to explain how important local experience was in the development of anti-discard measures.

“My Department, in partnership with its scientific advisors and the local fleet, have successfully tested new fishing gears which have been found to be more effective than those currently specified in EU regulations. This new design would more than half the discards of small haddock and whiting caught by the Nephrops trawlers. We want to do further work on gear technology later this year. Where there are successful solutions I want to see that can be introduced with the minimum of fuss and bureaucracy.”

During her visit to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council the Minister also met with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead and the South’s Fisheries Minister, Simon Coveney TD, to discuss the Commission’s CFP reform package and the approach to the annual quota negotiations.

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Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Fra McCann, has called for the immediate release of Brendan Lillis, currently being held in Maghaberry Prison.

 

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

 

“Brendan Lillis health condition is deteriorating on a weekly basis and he is now critically ill. Despite this and the fact that there are no charges being brought against Brendan Lillis he continues to be held in Maghaberry.

 

“This is totally unacceptable and he needs to be released to his family immediately.A Sinn Féin delegation met with Brendan in the prison hospital last week.

 

“Sinn Féin has repeatedly raised this issue with the British government directly and with the Justice Minister David Ford.

 

“There needs to be movement on this case as a matter of urgency. Brendan Lillis needs to be released.” 

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 Sinn Féin Junior Minister Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) is encouraging companies and Cultural Groups to take advantage of the Creative Industries Innovation Fund.
 
Martina Anderson said:
 
"A £4million Creative Industries Innovation Fund has just been announced by Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín. It is designed to assist businesses involved in digital content projects such as animation, web and mobile content, e-learning, film, television and music.

" I don't believe their is anywhwere else on this island better equipped to take advantage of such a programme as Derry. Derry is reknowned for its creativity and the abundance of talent in production of stage, literature, song,music and dance. There is no part of Culture and Arts in which Derry cannot shine.
 
"I would encourage all of those in the Culture and Arts sector in the City to take advantage of this opportunity to access funding, particularly for development of projects aimed at the City of Culture 2013.
 
"Applications for funding can be accessed at http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/award/innovation.html . Grants of up to £10,000 are available and the deadline is 29th August 2011 therefore there is no time to waste." Críoch

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Peadar Tóibín, will today present his party’s Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2011 to the Dáil.

Speaking this afternoon, Deputy Tóibín said:

“This Bill serves to give legal standing to JLCs and Employment Regulation Orders.

“In presenting this Bill today Sinn Féin will give the Government an opportunity to finally redeem themselves, to stop hiding behind the apron strings of legal argument and to come out and support the most vulnerable employees in the workforce.

“We are faced with a labour crisis, where on one hand we have a government who are not prepared to stand up and take action to protect 180,000 workers. The government have claimed that it is too complicated to legislate to protect those workers affected by the recent High Court judgement to strike down the JLCs. On the other hand we have Fianna Fáil tabling a bill this evening knowing full well the crisis was of their making. The 180,000 families who face an uncertain future do so because Fianna Fáil, just like this government sat on their hands when they could have done the right thing when they were in government.

“Our Bill, supported by UNITE , MANDATE and campaign groups, is the most mature and reasonable response to the crisis. I would hope that the Government see the error of their ways and throw their weight behind the bill. It is totally unacceptable that while Government Ministers are preparing for holidays, workers are preparing for months of uncertainty and further attacks on their wages.”

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Speaking in response to news that new tolls are to be introduced to motorways across the 26 counties, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis described the move as “an unfair revenue-raising measure to pay for the wrong headed approach to infrastructure pursued by the previous governments and supported by Fine Gael.”

Deputy Ellis said;

“Motorists paid for the M50 Motorway many times over through tolls paid to the private company National Toll Roads (NTR) over a period of eighteen years. The ownership of the road is now in the hands of the state but they continue to enforce tolls on taxpayers to subsidise the private company hired to manage the motorway. People are being asked to pay again and again.

“This can do nothing but damage to business and job creation as it makes it more expensive for people to get to work and business to deliver goods.

“It is also a fact that this money raised will not go to funding better roads, or maintaining them but will go into the pocket of the private companies operating these roads who are being subsidised by the state to the tune of hundreds of thousands of euro a month in the case of the M3 and N18 alone. This is due to falling traffic numbers which this measure will only worsen.

“The government must learn the lessons that the failure of PPP should have taught their predecessors. It is vital Minister Varadkar recognises this when he sits down in September to decide on the capital projects currently being considered.”

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Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, Cathal Boylan MLA (Newry/Armagh) has called for action on development of an all-Ireland Renewable Energy Strategy.

Cathal Boylan said:

“It is time that the Dublin government and the Executive take seriously the need for renewable energy development. Delivery of renewable energy sources needs to be substantially increased if we are to free ourselves from the burden of greed being displayed by multi-national oil conglomerates and the damage to the environment caused by fossil fuels. Realistic targets need to be set by both administrations for the progressive provision of energy from renewable sources to replace fossil fuels. The targets should send a clear signal about the scale of our renewable energy ambitions and commitment.

“But in setting targets we need to clearly define environmental and planning guidance in advance. And if we are serious about fully exploiting the potential of renewables we need to look at it in an all-Ireland context. I believe that Ireland as an island with access to an abundance of renewable energy sources from wind, wave and tidal power – none of which respects borders - could become a net exporter of energy.

“Previous Irish governments have squandered the economic potential of the gas and oil reserves, handing huge profits to multi-national giants at the expense of the Irish taxpayers. In fact, Stat Oil delivered more benefit to the Norwegian people from Irish gas reserves than successive Irish governments did to the Irish people.

“As part of the planning for environmentally friendly delivery of renewable energy sources, I would urge the establishment of an all-Ireland Energy Commission to bring forward clearly defined development plans to both the Irish government and the Executive for an all-Ireland Sustainable Renewable Energy Strategy. This would ensure that partisan political considerations would play no part in sustainable development of natural sources of energy.

“Government incentives should be made available for the development of prototype designs to harness the power of the Atlantic to supply electricity to Irish homes and business. It is estimated that marine energy could eventually supply up to 10% of the world's electricity needs. Ireland with its wave and wind power resources has massive potential to be a major generator and exporter of renewable energy.

“In order to maintain long-term sustainability of energy supply and a prosperous, healthy and safe environment we must embrace the need to move away from the use of fossil fuels. Always mindful that we have a responsibility to protect our environment for future generations, we must ensure that all of our actions take account of the economic, social and environmental consequences.”

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Speaking this evening Deputy Toibin said: "This Bill is a response to the recent High Court ruling that has left nearly 200,000 workers open to exploitation. The bill will give JLCs and the Employment Regulation Orders statutory footing. Sinn Féin's initiative is supported by both MANDATE and Unite trade unions as well as campaigning groups.

"And I would call on all trade unions to use their influence to ensure government parties engage fully with this process. Government parties will not be forgiven for using legal argument as an excuse for doing nothing to protect the most vulnerable of our workforce. Sinn Féin have responded immediately to the crisis caused by the High Court ruling. We engaged with unions in drafting this bill. The government can not simply hide behind a smoke screen while they fold up camp in Leinster House and head off on summer vacations."

Deputy Toibin explained: "The Sinn Féin Bill is a basis on which all parties can work together and build robust legislation which ensures all employees can enjoy the protection of the law without the threat of further court action or government inactivity."

Please note the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2011 will be introduced after Order of Business on Tuesday 19 July 2011.

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Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD, today branded as “disgraceful” the remarks of Labour minister, Joan Burton about social welfare recipients.

“To suggest that working people choose to be unemployed when with half a million unemployed, there is no choice shows that the minister has lost touch with the reality of people’s lives,” he said.

Deputy Adams was speaking at his party’s review and planning meeting for its Leinster House team, which took place in Howth, Co Dublin today (Monday 18 July 2011)

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