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Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy said that it was clear from the inquest into the deaths of IRA Volunteers Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey that they were summarily executed.

Francie Molly said:

“The provision of an inquest system which complies with international human rights standards is a key part of transforming the justice system. Like other parts of the justice system, a coroner’s court must engender confidence in the administration of justice.

“This inquest verdict diminishes both the justice system and public confidence in the defence of human rights. The families of those killed have the same rights as every other bereaved family. The outcome of this inquest will only serve to reinforce the view that Irish republicans and their families are not treated equally to others.

“One irrefutable fact was established. The British State used lethal force to execute two Irish citizens in their own country. To describe this as reasonable is an outrage

“Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey were courageous IRA Volunteers. It is clear from the evidence produced at the inquest that they were executed in a shoot-to-kill operation by the British State.

“Sinn Féin respect the memory of Dessie and Martin and hundreds of other volunteers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Our thoughts at this time are with their families and friends."

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Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann said that another shooting and maiming of a young person in Twinbrook will solve nothing and is unacceptable.

The 18-year-old was shot in the legs in the Thornhill area of Twinbrook last night. Jennifer McCann, a West Belfast MLA and member of the Assembly’s Justice Committee said:

“This type of action does nothing but maim another young person. It is one of a number of shootings in the area in recent times and is totally unacceptable.

“As has been proven in the past these type of shootings will do nothing to solve anti-social and criminal activity. I call on the groups involved in these shootings to end this futility and leave the people of the area, along with the statutory agencies and the PSNI, to build on making the area a safer place for residents and bring about long-term, sustainable solutions to any problems."

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Speaking today at the launch of the Sinn Féin Austerity Treaty referendum poster campaign Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD said, “The choice before the people on May 31st is clear, people must decide if they are for more austerity or for investment in jobs and growth.”

Deputy Adams said:

“I want to welcome the recent interest in jobs and growth from the Yes side in the referendum campaign. But talking about jobs doesn’t get people off the dole. To create jobs you have to invest.

“You cannot create jobs by cutting €8.6 billion from the domestic economy. Yet this is what Fine Gael and Labour have signed up to. And if we vote yes to the Austerity Treaty on May 31st we will be signing up to a further €6 billion in cuts and tax hikes post 2015.

“The impact of all of these cuts and tax increases will be to further damage the domestic economy resulting in further jobs losses.

“The Government is talking jobs while implementing austerity. It simply makes no sense.

“On May 31st people have a clear choice between more austerity or investment in jobs and growth.” 

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This morning Sinn Fein's spokespersons on Rural Affairs, Deputy Martin Ferris and Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh began their consultation and engagement with Rural Ireland.

After a very successful campaign launch by party president, Gerry Adams TD in Castlebar, Co Mayo, the two spokespeople will embark on a tour of the country where they will meet various groups who are being affected by the savage cuts being imposed on rural Ireland.

The first stop is West Cork where they are meeting with individuals and groups during the day, followed by a public meeting tonight in Sherene Hall, Ovens at 8pm.

Next week both Rural Ireland spokespeople along with Gerry Adams TD and Michelle O Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development will be in Leitrim and Roscommon as part of the consultation process too. This trip will include a public meeting in The Landmark Hotel, Carrick-On-Shannon at 8pm

These are the first in a series of meetings Sinn Féin will be holding across the state as part of a consultation process with rural Ireland.

Our goal is to produce a plan for the regeneration and growth of rural communities.

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on environment, community & local government, Brian Stanley TD and Assembly economic spokesperson, Conor Murphy MLA, today launched Sinn Féin’s policy paper reform of water services.

Speaking at the launch Stanley said: “Today Sinn Féin has clearly outlined our alternative to water meters and water charges.
The government’s arguments in favour of water rates simply do not stand up. The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates is more about privatisation than about conservation. Water meters and water charges does not encourage conservation. What does guarantee conservation is investing in the water sector, reducing the unacceptably high percentage of leaks and introducing water harvesting and dual flush systems as part of building regulations.”

Sinn Féin’s policy paper is calling for:

The establishment of a National Water Sector Framework Team.
This team would oversee governance of the water sector and capital investment for the sector. It would be made up of assistant city & county managers with responsibility for engineering and it would be convened and chaired by Secretary General of the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government. Sinn Féin Recommendations on Reform of the Water Sector
The introduction of block metering as opposed to installing domestic water meters in every household.
Sinn Féin does not support the installation of domestic metering. We support the introduction of district metering. This allows for local authorities to monitor water usage and leakage at neighbourhood level. We are opposed to household charging and therefore metering as a means to measure usage on this basis.
According to the Irish Academy of Engineers the cost of meter installation will be at least €500 million. This €500 million would fund the water conservation strategy for six years. It would be far more appropriate to invest the €500 in water conservation rather than meter installation.
Water metering does not reduce water consumption. The British-based, Environmental Agency outlined that in England, where water metering has been in place for many years, consumption is at 158 litters per head per day. While in Dublin the Dublin Water Supply Report of 2008 showed consumption is at 148 litres per head per day.
Return to at least 2011 level of capital spending on the water system. Capital investment in water is being cut from almost €435 million in 2011 to €331 million in 2012.
That’s a cut of €100 million or almost 25%. It’s a cut of nearly €200 million on the 2010 allocation, with more cuts planned until the budget is just €266 million. Clearly it is not the householder, but the water distribution network, that is the biggest culprit when it comes to water waste. The state’s water distribution network is antiquated. A decade of under-investment means that in some local authority areas more than half the water is leaking away. Sinn Féin calls for increased capital spending on the water system. We would strongly argue that there be a return to at least the 2011 level of capital funding. This investment will save money in the short, medium and long term. The average loss through leakage is 36%. It will guarantee the delivery of clean water, act as a significant economic stimulus and will prevent further water loss through leaks.
The government to take action on the outstanding water rates owed to the state by the commercial sector. While the Minister’s proposals are focused on the domestic householder there is not mention of the debt owed by the commercial sector. Only 52% of commercial water rates are collected. So it appears that household are being penalised for lack of building planning, leaking pipes and general poor governance. The Government must take action on the outstanding water rates owed to the state by the commercial sector.
Development an All-Ireland strategy on water provision.
There are 34 local authorities supplying water to nearly two million households while a whole other structure, NI Water, delivers a similar service across the border. With eight river basin districts covering both sides of the border, Sinn Féin wants to see a real coordination of resources on an All-Ireland basis. There is a requirement on both the Assembly/Executive and Irish Government to collaborate on the delivery of services going into the future where shared resources, joint capital investment in infrastructure and procurement amongst other matters would clearly prove beneficial not only in border regions, but also more widely on an all-Ireland basis.

Conor Murphy MLA explained, “As Assembly minister with responsibility for water services I blocked any attempt to introduce water rates. Westminster tried to bully us into imposing water charges, we successfully resisted this. We invested £1 billion over four years, £1 million every day, without ever introducing water rates.
“This money was raised through inter departmental savings. Up to 6% was saved through efficiencies. This money was used to upgrade the water system. The Irish government are wrong to say that all citizens in the EU pay water rates. I can safely say water rates is off the agenda in the northern Assembly.”

During today’s Dáil Question Time, Stanley asked the Minister for environment: “To reconsider the proposal to introduce water meters and water charges as metering is not an option for one third of households in Dublin. The government would be better off diverting money away from water meters and investing it in upgrading our water service. Water leakage is at 41%, no amount of water meters or water rates will reduce that. Capital investment must be increased to improve our aging, collapsing water sector.”

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Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD and his Assembly colleague Conor Murphy MP MLA today briefed the Diplomatic Corp in Leinster House. Speaking after the briefing Deputy Mac Lochlainn said the Austerity Treaty is bad for both Ireland and Europe.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“The austerity treaty will not solve Ireland’s economic problems or the European economic crisis. In fact by enshrining austerity the treaty can only prolong the crisis and the hardships ordinary people are suffering as a result.

“Today Sinn Féin briefed the Diplomatic Corp in Leinster House setting out our clear view that this treaty will be a disaster for Ireland and for Europe and that it must be opposed.

“The government and Fianna Fáil are once again attempting to bully the Irish people into accepting a proposal that is not in Irish interests.

“Sinn Féin has answered the question of emergency funding in the case of a no vote but we have yet to see anyone on the yes side answer the question of where cuts will be made to facilitate the extra €6billion of austerity if the treaty is ratified.

“This question must be put to those on the yes side. Sinn Féin is up for this debate and we will campaign vigorously in opposition to this treaty.” ENDS

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Responding to Tuesday night’s BBC programme on the response of Cardinal Sean Brady in a church investigation into child abuse carried out by Fr. Brendan Smith, Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness said:

“Two years ago when this issue first emerged, I described the situation as grave and said that Cardinal Brady should consider his position.

“I think that many Catholics, of which I am one, Catholic priests amongst whom I have many good friends and the public in general will be dismayed at these new allegations.

“Ultimately Cardinal Brady’s response is a matter for himself and the Church, but it is a very grave situation for survivors of abuse, for the Catholic Church and for Catholics across Ireland.

“Cardinal Brady has responded to calls for his resignation by saying he will continue on as leader of Ireland’s Catholics.

“Speaking personally I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said that community groups and voluntary organisations should apply for the Rural Transport Voucher when organising trips over the months of July August and September.

Mr Hazzard stated:

“The scheme that is operated throughout the three summer months allows groups to apply for a £100 voucher which can be used towards the cost of transport when going on excursions and trips.

“Many rural community groups would like to take their patrons away for a day but find the cost of hiring transport excessive and this scheme can help those groups by making the cost more affordable.

“Groups need to apply before the 31st May 2012 to be eligible for the voucher and should apply through the Rural Community Transport Partnership or the Department of Regional Development.

“I would encourage all community and voluntary groups that usually partake in excursions through the months of July August and September to get their applications in as soon as possible so that they meet the deadline.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today announced that the party’s MEP representing the north, Bairbre de Brún, has submitted her resignation to the European Parliament.

 Mr Adams said:

“Bairbre de Brún has submitted her resignation as MEP to the European Parliament. Bairbre has taken this decision for personal reasons and I would ask that the media and others respect her privacy in this matter.

 “I have worked closely with Bairbre for over 30 years in the leadership of Sinn Féin. She has served diligently and effectively in a variety of roles including head of our International Department, a Good Friday Agreement negotiator, an MLA for west Belfast, a Minister in the Executive and latterly as MEP for the six counties. She topped the poll in the 2009 European elections.

 “While Bairbre has resigned from her current position in the European Parliament, she remains a senior figure within Sinn Féin.

 “The party will now begin the task of selecting a new MEP. A convention will be held.

“I thank Bairbre for her work over many years and for her friendship and look forward to working with her in the future. Republicans everywhere I am sure will join me in extending best wishes."

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Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Sue Ramsey has welcomed the Facebook link to allow more people to sign up for organ donation.

Ms Ramsey said:

“Social media outlets such as Facebook are very popular ways of communicating especially amongst young people.I welcome the fact that Facebook have introduced a link for people to sign up as organ donors.

“At present many people are dying due to a lack of available organs for transplant and any initiative that increases the number of organs available is to be welcomed.

“While polls shows that over 80% of people are in favour of organ donation only 25% have actually signed up.This initiative by Facebook will allow people to sign up to be an organ donor and will also allow people to invite their Facebook friends and contacts to sign up as well.

“I believe that this initiative has the capacity to increase the number of donors significantly and Facebook should be praised for raising the issue.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called for root and branch reform of the Fire Service management following news that the recruitment of retained firefighters has been suspended.

Mr McMullan said:

“The news that recruitment of retained firefighters has been suspended is the latest in a line of decisions by senior management that questions their ability to take the Fire Service forward.

“The suspension will lead to stations being understaffed and therefore lead to a downgrading of the service available.  The suspension is due to an investigation into previous recruitment processes and is undetermined how long it will last.

“We have also seen the return of over £2.3 million to the Department of Health and Public Service while at the same time the need to replace several stations and upgrade the Red Fleet in the months ahead.

“I also asked about the cost of the various feasibility studies being carried out within the service and senior management were unable to tell me how much these studies are costing.

“It is obvious that the present senior management structures are incapable of taking the fire service into the future and I am calling on a root and branch reform of the senior management structure.”

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Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan he said that the role of the Utility Regulator is crucial to protecting consumers.

The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA was speaking after the Utility Regulator Shane Lynch appeared before the Enterprise Committee to discuss the referral of the latest Phoenix Gas price control to the Competition Commission and to provide an update on NIE's latest Price Control.

Phil Flanagan MLA said:

"There is a difference of some £240 million in the amount Phoenix Gas feel they should receive and the amount that the Utility Regulator deems they deserve between now and 2046.

"Coupled with this, the difference between NIE's planned investment and what the Utility Regulator sees as necessary to maintain the grid sits at around £500 million over the next five years.

"Within a competitive market such sums could not be passed on to consumers by a company facing stiff competition, whereas in a simple monopoly consumers would be expected to pay the full amount.

"In the absence of competition within the gas and electricity transmission and distribution market, an independent regulator plays a crucial role in protecting consumers' interests."

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Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill today issued a timely reminder to farmers of the closing date for the return of completed Single Applications.

For 2012, all completed Single Applications must be received by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on or before 15 May 2012.

The Minister reported that with just over two weeks until the closing date, around 8,500 applications had been received. She added:

“ I am only too well aware of the challenges farmers are experiencing in the current economic climate, and I understand the importance of Single Farm Payment and other area aid schemes to them. For that reason, I would urge those farmers who have not already submitted their 2012 Single Applications to do so as soon as possible and no later than 15 May. As applications received by my Department after the closing are subject to a financial penalty, it is important that farmers do not lose out simply because they are late in applying.”

The Minister also encouraged more farmers to use her Department’s Single Application online service.

She said: “The online system is safe, secure and easy to use. It automatically checks applications for errors and omissions as the application is being completed, reducing the time my Department spends processing and checking after they have been submitted. The more accurate claims are, the fewer queries and problems that will arise later, which should in turn help speed up payment processing.”

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Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has today challenged the Government to “spell out where it will get the €6 billion that will be required to meet the 0.5% structural deficit target if the Austerity Treaty is passed”. Under the terms of the Austerity Treaty Ireland will have to meet a structural deficit rule of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika funding programme in 2015.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The first week of this campaign has been dominated by negative campaigning by the Yes side. The Government are hoping that bully boy threats and scare tactics will frighten people into supporting a bad Treaty.

“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are arguing that a no vote will result in the state being denied access to emergency funding in the future. Sinn Féin has shown that this argument is false. Nobody should be in any doubt; if Ireland needs further emergency funding the European Union will provide that finance.

“The Government has claimed that a no vote will make this year’s budget ‘dramatically more difficult’. This is untrue. The targets for the next three budgets have already been agreed by the Government and the troika. The Government is committed to €8.6 billion in adjustments between 2012 and 2015. The outcome of the referendum will not affect any of this.

“The Government needs to stop the scaremongering. The electorate deserve a sensible debate on the economics and the politics of this Treaty.

“The most important question that the Government must answer is how they will pay for the cost of a Yes vote.

“At the centre of this Treaty is the so called ‘balanced budget rule’. If passed we will have to reach a structural deficit of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika austerity programme in 2015.

“According to the Department of Finance’s own Spring Forecast published last week the structural deficit in 2015 will be 3.5%. The gap between this figure and the new 0.5% rule is equivalent to approximately €6 billion.

“The Government has a responsibility to explain to the voters where they will get this money from. Is it their intention to further increase the tax burden on low and middle income families? Is it their intention to cut even more funding from front line education, health and community services?

“Sinn Féin agrees with deficit reduction. We have repeatedly set out proposals that would reduce the deficit in a fair way without further damaging the domestic economy. The Government’s policies of austerity are not working. The Austerity Treaty will further hamper economic and financial recovery. The sensible thing to do on May 31st is to vote no.”

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Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has said that she welcomes the new Animal Welfare Bill which was discussed in the Seanad today.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Reilly said:

“Sinn Fein welcomes this Bill. It is of great importance to our economy and in particular to our rural way of life which has taken some severe hits in these times of austerity. Improvements in technology, communications and animal welfare science mean this overhaul is more than due.

“However, it is important that there is not too great a level of bureaucracy placed on farmers. It is in the interests of both the farmer and the state that health and welfare of animals are catered for. A genuine, mutually respectful relationship must be established and maintained between the state, its agents and farmers on the ground.

“There are also concerns over the powers that are to be granted to authorised officers to search premises and gather information without a warrant. The constitutional rights of farmers and animal owners should not be breached. In addressing this Bill I feel I must point out that there is widespread concern at the manner in which the Department’s Special Investigations Unit has carried out some of its work, indicating that in a range of cases it has abused the very extensive powers given to it under legislation

“I believe we need stronger safeguards for the rights of citizens, including an avenue of appeal other than the courts.”

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Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary McDonald TD this morning welcomed the introduction of the Construction Contracts Bill legislation to the Dáil noting it is time now to take this long awaited and desperately needed legislation home.

Deputy McDonald said:

“This legislation is long awaited and desperately needed. It has cross party support and indeed the support of the entire sector from general contractors, architects and civil engineers. However it’s time now to take this legislation home. Political parties need to now work together in amending the legislation to ensure the finished product is a robust mechanism that confronts the accepted practice of non-payment by big contractors in all its guises.

“The thresholds contained within the legislation are too high and are counterproductive. These thresholds do not reflect the type of monies involved for small sub-contractors when it comes to issues of non-payment.

“The legislation's failure to make adjudications binding in the event of arbitration is a real cause for concern. Adjudication is a low cost dispute resolution mechanism and is intended to deliver a result in a short time frame. The legislation as it stands undermines this objective. Arbitration and litigation are time consuming and when it comes to the courts years can go by with little result for sub-contractors.

“The legislation does not include a provision that deals with an instance where a payer fails to respond to a payment claim. When this occurs the amount to be paid should be the amount claimed. This will address the fundamental problem and also give the main contractor an incentive to respond to a payment claim.

“Issues are still outstanding with regards to suspension limits as currently set out in the legislation. The right to suspend work for non-payment cannot be time restricted and a limit of two weeks will not act as a sufficient deterrent for rogue employers. The legislation as it is written defeats the purpose of this provision. It is a completely unreasonable ask of sub-contractors to go back to work after two weeks still unpaid and left to incur further costs.

“The Mechanical and Electrical Contractors Association have estimated that in the case of the six largest construction companies that have gone out of business over the last number of years at least half a billion euro was left owing to sub-contractors.

“In response the association has called for the inclusion of a Trust Clause in the legislation to ring fence monies paid to a main contractor for monies owed to subcontractors. Trust provisions already exist in some of the standard forms of contract operating here in Ireland but are frequently struck out so on this basis a statutory trust provision would be required as applies under Canadian law.

“The scope of the Bill must also be broadened to include goods and products specially manufactured for a project. Products which are integrated into the fabric of buildings such as concrete block walls are irretrievable. Bituminous road materials are a perishable product which must be incorporated into works within hours of delivery. Suppliers of these goods and services need robust legislative protections against those who can’t or won’t pay.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin economy spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA has accused the SDLP of rank hypocrisy in expressing support for Francois Hollande in the French Presidential election while at the same time calling for a ‘Yes’ vote in the Austerity Referendum in the 26 Counties.

Conor Murphy said:

“SDLP International Secretary Claire Hanna has called on the 350 registered French voters in the North to back Francois Hollande, the French Socialist Party Candidate in the run-off election for the Presidency of France while her former Party Leader, Margaret Ritchie calls for a ‘Yes’ vote in the South’s referendum on the Austerity Treaty.

“When appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on the Austerity Treaty and asked to explain why her party is supporting the treaty which will impose an extra €6billion in austerity on the people in the 26 counties, Ms Ritchie could not give an explanation and completely failed to answer. When asked why her party is taking a different line to the mainstream social democrat movement across Europe with whom the SDLP are aligned as is Francois Hollande and who are opposing this Treaty she again had no answer.

“Perhaps her party’s International Secretary, Clare Hanna could explain this rank hypocrisy to the Irish people.

“Clare Hanna said, “We hope to see Francois Hollande defeat outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy because the policies for economic growth which Hollande is advocating will benefit the Irish and UK economies.Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are centre-right ideological bedfellows and, while the SDLP is in favour of financial discipline, there must also be measures which promote economic growth. There is a better chance of growth policies from Hollande

“Will the SDLP now join with Sinn Féin and publicly call for a ‘No’ vote in the South’s referendum? Or will they persist in claiming to be Socialists in Europe while being cheerleaders for Sarkozy/Merkel right wing bedfellows Kenny/ Gilmore in the 26 counties?”

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Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has today challenged the Government to “spell out where it will get the €6 billion that will be required to meet the 0.5% structural deficit target if the Austerity Treaty is passed”. Under the terms of the Austerity Treaty Ireland will have to meet a structural deficit rule of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika funding programme in 2015.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The first week of this campaign has been dominated by negative campaigning by the Yes side. The Government are hoping that bully boy threats and scare tactics will frighten people into supporting a bad Treaty.

“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are arguing that a no vote will result in the state being denied access to emergency funding in the future. Sinn Féin has shown that this argument is false. Nobody should be in any doubt; if Ireland needs further emergency funding the European Union will provide that finance.

“The Government has claimed that a no vote will make this year’s budget ‘dramatically more difficult’. This is untrue. The targets for the next three budgets have already been agreed by the Government and the troika. The Government is committed to €8.6 billion in adjustments between 2012 and 2015. The outcome of the referendum will not affect any of this.

“The Government needs to stop the scaremongering. The electorate deserve a sensible debate on the economics and the politics of this Treaty.

“The most important question that the Government must answer is how they will pay for the cost of a Yes vote.

“At the centre of this Treaty is the so called ‘balanced budget rule’. If passed we will have to reach a structural deficit of 0.5% after we exit the current Troika austerity programme in 2015.

“According to the Department of Finance’s own Spring Forecast published last week the structural deficit in 2015 will be 3.5%. The gap between this figure and the new 0.5% rule is equivalent to approximately €6 billion.

“The Government has a responsibility to explain to the voters where they will get this money from. Is it their intention to further increase the tax burden on low and middle income families? Is it their intention to cut even more funding from front line education, health and community services?

“Sinn Féin agrees with deficit reduction. We have repeatedly set out proposals that would reduce the deficit in a fair way without further damaging the domestic economy. The Government’s policies of austerity are not working. The Austerity Treaty will further hamper economic and financial recovery. The sensible thing to do on May 31st is to vote no.”

ENDS

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Today the Minister for Social Protection claimed that the policies of the government were working, as unemployment was stabilising.

This is in stark contrast to all recent economic data the including the downturn in visitor numbers, the fact that we are in a second recession and that the same is happening across Europe.

The minister does not even seem to be aware of the forecast by the Department of Finance that the unemployment will rise by 0.4 % this year.

It is nonsense for any minister to claim success because the live register has stayed at 14-15%. The high levels of emigration are the biggest factor in suppressing unemployment.

This is the four highest rate of unemployment in the EU and is completely unacceptable.

With 430,000 people continuing to sign on and an increase of 8.6% in long term unemployment under this government is not a success. It is the outworking of a fundamental failure of government policy.

It should be remembered that this minister believed that people signed on as a lifestyle choice.

It is time that the Minister and this government, listened to the people, ended the disastrous austerity policy and invested to create employment.
ends

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Responding to the BBC programme on the response of Cardinal Sean Brady in a Church investigation into child abuse carried out by Fr. Brendan Smith, Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness said:

“Two years ago when this issue first emerged, I described the situation as grave and said that Cardinal Brady should consider his position.

“I think that many Catholics, of which I am one, Catholic priests amongst whom I have many good friends and the public in general will be dismayed at these new allegations.

“Ultimately Cardinal Brady’s response is a matter for himself and the Church, but it is a very grave situation for survivors of abuse, for the Catholic Church and for Catholics across Ireland.

“Cardinal Brady has responded to calls for his resignation by saying he will continue on as leader of Ireland’s Catholics.

“Speaking personally I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.”

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