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Tory welfare cuts would devastate thousands - McKay

“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

The Family Home Tax is an inequitable and unfair tax that takes no account of ability to pay. In Dublin City we are proposing that it be reduced in 2015 by the full 15% allowed for in Government legislation.

"The decision by the British army to hold large scale war games in Binevenagh is a backward step. We want to see demilitarisation right across the North, not hundreds of heavily armed British forces marauding across a public forest park which has been classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."

Latest Statements


Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has demanded action on the recommendations contained in the report of the UN Commitee against Torture, which highlighted the need for an enquiry into the Magdalene Laundries, and for an apology from the state.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Cullinane said

“Many of these women were effectively incarcerated, held against their will, and suffered untold abuse and harm over the course of many years.

“The survivors of the Laundries are an ageing group, they should receive justice as a matter of urgency, and we cannot allow any more time to pass.

“But we must also go further than an apology.

“The call for an investigation supports the long-standing calls for such an inquiry from Justice for Magdalenes, from my party and from many others. I ask the leader for a debate on the need for an inquiry in to these abuses, which cause revulsion and disgust in the hearts of the Irish people. We need to ensure that these women see the regret of the Irish state, and get effective redress, and to have the perpetrators prosecuted.”

Senator Cullinane also stated that the state must also face up to the reality that its most vulnerable young people continued to be neglected today.

“I was shocked and disgusted to learn that, according to the 'One Child International' organisation as many as 500 children who were under direct state supervision, the state’s responsibility, were missing. Some of these have been found to have ended up in Brothels and private households.

“Later on this evening we will be discussing the Special Rapporteur on child protection’s report. The special rapporteur states that we have a particular responsibility in ensuring child trafficking doesn’t happen here. Yet what do we have here, is but the modern day equivalent of the Magdalene laundries. The most vulnerable in our society, being ignored, because the establishment thinks it can afford to ignore them; ''out of sight, out of mind''.

“If we are serious about the rights of our citizens, and if we are serious about making good for the neglect of a previous generation, we must take action on this issue.”


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus O Snodaigh said the government's placing of the restoration of the minimum wage in a social welfare bill which includes provision for a 16% cut to pension entitlements is “cynical and inappropriate”.

The bill had been flagged by government to the Oireachtas and to the public as a bill to reduce employers PRSI contributions on low wages and to raise the pension age to 68 .

“At the eleventh hour the government cynically and inappropriately dropped the restoration of the minimum wage into this Bill. The government’s decision to include the restoration of the minimum wage in the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill is a contemptuous effort to cover their attack on older people.

“It is a fig leaf to cover a giant cut of 16% to pension entitlements. The Labour leadership is cynically using the minimum wage to bully its own TDs into supporting the single biggest cut to pensions that has ever been contemplated,” he said.

“The Bill before us is supposed to be about social welfare and pensions not the minimum wage. The minimum wage was cut by a Finance Bill. It should be restored by a Finance Bill,” he said.

“The minimum wage should be immediately restored. It was fundamentally wrong to cut it in the first place and we should not be forced to exchange its restoration for far reaching cuts to state pension entitlements. Future generations of older people are being offered by this government to the EU/IMF as a down payment for their bank bailout,” he concluded.


Speaking today from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, regarding the ongoing debate on the E.coli outbreak in Germany, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said:

"First of all let me extend my deepest sympathies to those affected by the E.coli outbreak, both those who have lost loved ones, and those whose health has been affected by this crisis.

"Clearly, there are lessons to be learnt from this outbreak. In times of crisis affecting food safety there must be early and close co-operation between countries and at EU level. We must act swiftly to avoid confusion and also to uncover the source of the problem.

"We must be careful to pinpoint the exact source and not to endanger the livelihood of those farmers who constantly employ safe farming practices. All decisions and statements must be based on scientific facts. We must continue to work on the enforcement of labeling and traceability legislation.

"Lastly, I welcome today's meeting of EU Agriculture ministers and hope that it brings practical and fast acting solutions to deal with this crisis and to prevent anything like this happening in the future

"The European Commission has proposed a €150m package to aid farmers affected. However Spanish authorities are indicating that their exporters' losses may amount to over €200m a week."


Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, who is also the chair of the Health Committee in the Assembly, has reacted to comments by Dr Brian Dunn of the BMA after he stated that at least six Acute Hospitals should be closed. Calling his approach shortsighted and stating that it did not allow for other factors Ms Gildernew said:

"The attitude of Dr Dunn and the BMA is quite shortsighted and does not account for access to acute hospitals across the north.

"I would like to press Dr Dunn on which hospitals he thinks should close and how he stacks this against the need to provide emergency access within the 'golden hour'.

"The simple fact is there is not the infrastructure to support his proposals.

“The previous minister outlined so called efficiency savings in the Northern Trust area which would clearly lead to a black hole in medial provision for that area. Taken alongside cuts to ambulance provision sections of mid Ulster could revert back towards third world provision for health. 

"If this were repeated with five other hospitals as Dr Dunn would see fit then we really would be in a health provision crisis.

"We need to be more imaginative than closing down services. We need to look at centers such as the Altnagelvin Cancer Unit to see that all Ireland co-operation can support increased provision that delivers for local communities as one such success to be repeated."


Newry and Armagh MLA and member of the Health Committee Mickey Brady speaking during Carers Week has acknowledged the role of Carers in providing 'the hidden health service' and has called for more support to the sector.

Speaking today Mr Brady said:

"Carers are way too often undervalued despite their outstanding, dedicated and time consuming role.

"They face many challenges when discharging a high level of care to family members of friends and are really the hidden health service filling a huge gap in health provision. If the role of the carer were to be done away with the cost to the health service would be phenomenal.

"It should not be forgotten that carers save the £2bn a year to the health service.

"Despite this carers face unprecedented levels of hardship with benefits and support being eroded even more under the so called Welfare reform measures being pursued by the British government.

"Carers week provides us with a unique opportunity to celebrate and recognise the significant role that carers play in our society and raise awareness of their needs and the needs of those they care for. We all need to redouble our efforts to ensure they are adequately  supported for their role to society."


The voluntary sector plays an important role in the provision of pre-school education locally and should be maintained the Education Minister has insisted.

John O’Dowd was speaking after an Assembly debate on nursery school provision. He warned that today’s motion implied an end to pre-school education provided by the voluntary and private sectors.

Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “The voluntary sector plays a valuable and important role in the provision of a high-quality education for pre-school children.

“Around 8,000 children each year benefit from a year’s pre-school education in a voluntary or private setting. Each of these providers is rigorously inspected by the Education and Training Inspectorate, in the same way nursery schools are overseen, to ensure the highest quality of education for young children.

“Today’s motion proposed the ending of funding for all these settings – currently 380 across the north. This would potentially lead to as many as 1,100 job losses across the early years’ workforce.

“Providing sufficient additional statutory nursery places to fill that gap would cost an estimated £40million in upfront capital costs and an ongoing £30million per year to fund the nursery schools. Given the current pressures facing the education budget, I would have to take this money from elsewhere in the system.”


North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the Environment Minister’s commitment to accelerate the implementation of a carrier bag levy. The commitment was given in an answer to a question put to the Minister by Mr McKay.

Mr McKay said

“There is clearly a lot of public support for the introduction of a levy on carrier bags and the commitment by the Minister to follow up on the Single Use Carriers Bag Act which I introduced earlier this year.

“The Minister has committed to bringing the implementation of a levy forward and I welcome his assertion that the introduction of a levy in April 2013 is an unreasonable timeframe.

“I look forward to meeting with the Minister to discuss this further and to progressing the introduction of this environmental initiative.”


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD commenting on this mornings Smithwick Tribunal said:

“The Smithwick Tribunal asked to meet with the Sinn Féin leadership in May 2006.

At that meeting the Tribunal representatives asked if we could facilitate an engagement with the IRA about the killing of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on the 20th March, 1989 and “suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of  the State colluded” in this.

Subsequently, the Sinn Féin leadership established that there could be no engagement with the IRA because, as a consequence of the outworking of the IRA leadership statement of July 2005, the IRA had left the stage.

But we were advised that there was the possibility of former Volunteers engaging on a voluntary basis with the Tribunal.

The Sinn Féin leadership worked to facilitate this.

Having established the process between the Tribunal and these former volunteers Sinn Féin played no further role in the process, though our understanding is that the people involved were in a position to answer all questions about the IRA action in which the two RUC officers were killed.

Sinn Féin facilitated this process because of our commitment to assisting bereaved families if and when we can. This may not be possible in all cases.

Sinn Féin believes that there needs to be an effective process for dealing with all legacy issues. In our view the Irish and British governments should invite a reputable and independent international body to establish the creation of an Independent International Truth Commission as part of an effective truth recovery process.

The closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that those who contributed to the conflict have to pledge ourselves to tell and to listen to the truth about the past. Over time this will contribute to genuine national reconciliation and an inclusive healing process.

 For my part I would actively encourage republicans to co-operate with such a process.

The Irish government should proactively engage with the British government on this issue and seek to ensure that such a process is established." ENDS


Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader, Raymond McCartney MLA (Foyle) has lodged a Petition of Concern with the Speaker’s Office on a DUP Amendment to a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Regional Development Minister (DRD) to give an assurance that there will be no dilution of the project or delay in its completion.

Raymond McCartney said:

“Sinn Féin secured a debate on the Aughnacloy/Derry Dual Carriageway in order that we could impress on the DRD Minister the crucial importance of this project to the economic regeneration of the North West.

“I am disappointed therefore that the DUP seen fit to put forward an Amendment that would dilute the importance of this project going forward as originally envisaged. I would even at this late hour urge the DUP to consider the detrimental affect it will have on the North West, a region that has been starved of infrastructural investment for decades, if this development does not go ahead as planned. Only last week the Irish government once more confirmed its original financial commitment to its construction.” Críoch


Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Mary Lou McDonald and Cathal King