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Next election a choice between Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government - Gerry Adams TD

"The next election will be a choice between a Fine Gael-led or Sinn Féin-led Government. It is a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society." - Adams

There is a need for new political and human relationships based on trust and respect. We may never agree on the past but that must not be allowed to hold back the future.


Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD this morning launched his party’s alternative internship scheme which he says will replace the current government’s JobBridge Scheme if his party is in power after the next election.



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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín TD has identified a major fall-off in applications to the Better Energy Homes Scheme, which is designed to improve the energy performance of the housing stock in Ireland.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“At the time of the budget Minister Pat Rabbitte announced reductions to the grant funding of the Better Energy Homes Scheme. I raised strong concerns at the time that these changes would lead to lower levels of take-up and would impact directly on jobs in the construction industry. This assessment was also shared by a number of independent insulation contractors and industry representatives.

“Four months after the budget and the levels of application to this scheme have, as predicted, reduced to their lowest ever levels. This decision is costing jobs at a time when the construction industry is seriously struggling. It is ensuring that people will continue to live in inefficient and cold homes. It is also a false economy as energy savings will not be realised and EU CO2 reduction commitments will not be met.

“I’m calling on the Minister to reverse this decision and for the government to get real with regards job creation in one of the few high potential sectors in the state.”

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East Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Oliver Mc Mullan has called on Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy to make it a legal requirement that all domestic properties display their allocated number.

Mr McMullan said 

“I held a meeting with representatives of the Emergency Services and one of the points that was raised was the lack of clarity in addresses especially in rural areas.

“In rural areas it is not unusual for either the Fire Brigade, PSNI or the Ambulance Service to spend valuable time looking for an address as many homes do not display their number.  It is also important that laneways on which homes are situated are clearly named and identifiable.

“The few minutes looking for a correct address could be the difference between life and death in certain circumstances so it is in the interests of the homeowner to have their house clearly numbered.

“I am calling on the Department of Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy to ensure that it is legal requirement to have a home number clearly on show at every address in order to assist the Emergency Services.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said that mobile phone companies must honour their contracts or release customers from theirs without occurring a penalty.

Mr. McMullan speaking after a phone mast operated by T Mobile, Orange and Virgin stopped transmitting leaving customers in the Glenariffe area without a signal said.

“Many people rely on their mobile phone and this mast was closed down without any prior notice leaving many people especially the elderly in distress.  A service that allows elderly people to push an emergency button that would transmit to a family member or neighbour has been disabled due to the closure.

“The mobile phone networks impose severe penalties on customers who do not adhere to their contracts yet these same companies have broken theirs without even given prior notice.

“I am calling on this mast to be reinstated immediately so that customers can be reconnected or allow their customers to transfer to another provider without any penalty.

“I will be putting a priority question to the Minister in the Assembly asking for help as its not good enough that a large multi national providers can just switch of a mobile network and leave an isolated rural area here in the Glens in a very dangerous situation.”  

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 Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay who is also the vice chair of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment committee at Stormont will today raise a motion at the Assembly calling for the transfer of powers to set a local fuel duty levels.

This follows a week where petrol prices at the pumps reached an all time high. Motorists in the north of Ireland pay the highest price in Europe for their fuel.

Mr McKay said

“One of the reasons that Sinn Féin are putting forward this motion is because it is quite clear that the British Government do not set their policy in the best interests of people living in the north. They are overseeing a fuel duty policy that has resulted in local people paying some of the highest prices for petrol and diesel in Europe and their policy affects us much worse than consumers in Britain.

“The Executive needs to take action to secure the transfer of these powers to ensure that a policy which is set that is tailored locally and have politicians oversee it that are responsive and acutely aware of the needs of local people.

“Sinn Féin supports the transfer of all fiscal powers from the British Tory government to locally accountable politicians and I think there is an onus on us to act as swiftly as possible as this is having a detrimental impact on business overheads, the price of goods and jobs.

“The British Government is planning to put another 3pence onto the price of fuel later this year. Members of the public expect us to act in their best interests and it is not in their best interests to allow the significant level of excise duty that is applied here to continue. The south which is going through greater economic difficulty at the moment can have an excise duty that is some 16 pence less than ours so there is no reason why we couldn’t negotiate the transfer of these powers and seek a reduction in duty.”

Rún/Motion: Devolution of Fuel Duty Powers

Molta/Proposed: That this Assembly condemns the forthcoming three pence rise in the cost of fuel; notes that our people pay some of the highest fuel costs in Europe; and calls on the Executive to start negotiations with the British Government regarding the devolution of powers on fuel duty.

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Sinn Féin senator, Kathryn Reilly, today raised the issue of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" with the European Environment Commissioner, Mr Janez Potočnik. Senator Reilly was speaking at the Conference of the European Affairs Committee’s of the member states of the European Union and the European Parliament (COSAC) plenary conference.
Senator Reilly said:
"We are faced with the dual challenge of stimulating the growth needed to provide jobs and of ensuring that the quality of this growth leads to a sustainable future.
"An action point of the commission is to establish a common methodological approach to enable member states and the private sector to assess, display and benchmark the environmental performance of products based on a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts over the life cycle.
"In terms of our natural resources will there be a similar assessment of accessing these resources, of the exploration and extraction processes?
"Currently there are disputes and debates on hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' right across Europe and worldwide. Opponents rightly point to the contamination of water supplies, air pollution and increased risk of earthquakes but energy groups just say it provides access to considerable gas reserves and would drive down fuel prices.
"How is the commission ensuring that in the process of taking advantage of our natural resources, which could be worth a great deal in terms of monetary value, that full environmental impact assessments are being carried out? Or that environmental standards are put in place?"
Speaking after the debate, Senator Reilly said:
"The commissioner stressed the importance of proper assessment of environmental impacts of any economic activity and it is clear that this is critical in the case of the use of 'fracking' in Ireland. We need to use our natural resources in a sustainable way and these processes cannot be allowed to proceed in the absence of accurate information based on their life-cycle impact, that is, the long term environmental effects on our water, air and land." ENDS

Editors’ Note: COSAC is a Conference of the Committees of the national Parliaments of the European Union Member States dealing with the European Union affairs as well as representatives of the European Parliament. Senator Reilly is a member of the Irish representation.
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Newry Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan will today bring the subject of Armagh road projects to the floor of the Assembly.

Speaking about the adjournment debate Cathal Boylan said:

“I welcome the opportunity to bring the important issues of the North & West Link and the Portadown - Newry Link Road to the chamber today.

“Those who are familiar with travelling through Armagh City, especially at peak times between 8-10am and 4-6pm, will know that the build up of traffic in the city can be atrocious.

"Whether driving to or from Portadown, Newry, Keady, Monaghan or Dungannon, movement between two points, which would be expected to take five minutes actually takes 15-20 minutes, a situation not helped by traffic lights that allow only two or three vehicles through at major junctions.

"I intend to use this debate to highlight the city's strategic location as an administrative hub for bodies such as the North/South Ministerial Council, the Centre for Cross Border Studies and the Ulster GAA.

 “I will also be raising Armagh's tourism potential and its historical and cultural heritage that show a need for movement on both of these road projects which have already been identified as necessary by Armagh City & District Council, Roads Service and the Department of Regional Development."

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When Niall Ó Donnghaile became the youngest Mayor in the history of the city of Belfast last year, he set out to be Mayor for all the citizens of our city, particularly those among us who felt marginalized or neglected.

On Wednesday of this week the Mayor will host a conference entitled ‘Celebrating Life’, this event will highlight the devastating effect of suicide upon our families and communities and aims to raise awareness around positive mental health and suicide prevention.

He has made a particular effort to reach out to Unionists and working class Loyalist communities in particular, across this city.Within weeks of taking office he visited the Artability Centre on the Shankill Road to show his solidarity for the work they do with severely disabled adults and to assist them in their battle to secure necessary funding to continue their work.Funding that had ironically cut by a Unionist Minister!

Later he visited Hope Nursery School on the Shankill Road again, to support their bid for an award that would allow them to develop their play facilities.He has visited the Suffolk estate on a number of occasions, he joined former President Mary McAleese on a visit to the East Belfast Mission and I could list many more such engagements in which the Mayor has taken a leadership role. This outreach and engagement is something that is very personal for Niall and something that he believes very passionately in.

Earlier this year Niall, along with the rest of the Sinn Féin team, supported a proposal before council to fund Jubilee celebrations to the amount of fifty six thousand pounds.We recognise that these important anniversaries, such as the signing of the Covenent and the Somme and including the Jubilee, are hugely symbolic for the Unionist and Loyalist community.

Sinn Féin respects these traditions and in our new United Ireland there will be a respectful place for British culture and traditions.As we approach an important decade of centenaries, from the Jubilee in June through to the one hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Rising, to the founding of the Northern State in 1922, we recognise that it is important for us all to do so in a spirit of mutual respect and generosity.

It was with this in mind that last year, following the elections in May, we came to an agreement with the DUP that the current Mayor would step aside a few days early to allow a DUP Mayor to take up office in time for the Jubilee. By this stage Niall have already spent over a year in office given that he was elected on the 26th May last year.

Contrary to this being a snub to anyone, rather we were trying to accommodate Unionists.We were conscious that the Jubilee celebrations were a big deal for Unionists and therefore we offered to accommodate them.

Ironically at the time of those discussions, Niall might not have been aware that Sinn Féin had chosen him to take up the role.

For the Telegraph to suggest that he had chosen to ‘snub’ the British Queen was ridiculous and offensive.It was above all else unfair to a young man who has done his absolute best to be a good Mayor and a Mayor to all the citizens of this great city.

As we debate this matter there is no indication whatsoever that any member of the British Royalty, never mind the Queen herself, will be visiting Belfast that week.To be accused by the Telegraph of refusing to do something that he hadn’t been asked to do in the first place was wrong and unfair to the Mayor.

The lead headline was a badly chosen one.

Niall Ó Donnghaile has been a breath of fresh air for this city.He has given great leadership at a time of great economic distress.Almost single handedly he has helped change the perception of this is city abroad, from a depressed city emerging from conflict, to a vibrant dynamic modern city well worth investing in and well worth a visit.Credit where credit is due and Niall Ó Donnghaile deserves a great deal of credit for his year in office.

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Speaking in Drogheda this evening the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD challenged the Taoiseach’s claim that a yes vote for the Austerity Treaty was like an “insurance policy.”

Mr Adams said:

“This is not true. Ireland’s position as a member of the Eurozone is secure no matter what position we take on the Austerity Treaty. If Irish citizens reject the treaty the state will not be excluded from future help from the European Stability Mechanism.

“This is an empty threat which has been referred to as a blackmail clause. This clause is not an article of the ESM treaty. It is part of the preamble and therefore does not have any legal standing, particularly if it is in conflict with the primary mandate of the ESM as outlined in article 136 of the EU treaty.

“This clearly states that no member state can be denied funding if this would threaten the stability of the Eurozone as a whole. The Taoiseach knows this.”

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Priory Hall evacuees need continued public support – Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha

Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha has welcomed the proposed resolution process for Priory Hall, has urged the lending instititions to "engage fully and generously" and has called for continued public support for the evacuated residents.
He said:
"The proposed resolution process chaired by Justice Joseph Finnegan gives hope of a way forward for the Priory Hall evacuees and I welcome it. Having worked closely with the residents’ committee and having attended the meeting of residents at the weekend which endorsed the talks process unanimously, I want to pay tribute to their commitment and persistence. This process should have commenced six months ago at the time of the evacuation of Priory Hall or even before that, as the residents had demanded. If City Council management had focused on that rather than on trying to over-turn the High Court ruling requiring them to support the accommodation needs of the evacuees then we would be much further along the road to a resolution today.
"It is absolutely vital that all the lending institutions now engage fully and generously in this resolution process. They are key players.
"It is also essential that the Priory Hall residents receive continued public support. They were plunged into this crisis as a result of the actions of an unscrupulous developer who was facilitated by lax planning laws and so-called self-regulation. We must ensure that the Priory Hall evacuees do not face financial ruin as a result and that anything like this is never allowed to happen again." ENDS

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Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek and Brian Stanley TD