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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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Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Insurance (Amendment) Bill Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has described the €720 million fund as “yet another bailout by the public to a toxic bank, its bondholders and a major US insurance company”.

The Insurance Bill, which is due to pass all stages in the Dáil this week proposes the imposition of a 2% levy on all non-life insurance policies in the state to pay off bond holders and other liabilities at Quinn Insurance as part of the sale of the company to Liberty Mutual and Anglo Irish Bank.

Deputy Doherty said:

“We are being told that the proposed changes to the Insurance Compensation Fund are required in order to provide €720 million to cover payments on policies to customers of Quinn Insurance in the North of Ireland and Britain.

“However, like so many aspects of this story things are not that clear. It appears that assets from Quinn Insurance of more than €400 million were used as security against loans for the same value from Anglo Irish Bank for other commercial activities pursued by the company. As a result, bondholders with Anglo Irish Bank effectively have a hold on this portion of Quinn Insurance’s insurance book. Liberty Mutual, seeing this as a liability is insisting that the Government and the Insurance Compensation Funds fill the gap.

“In order for the Anglo Irish bond holders to relinquish their claim on the €400 million of assets at Quinn Insurance they have been offered a payoff of €200 million.

“Put another way €200 million of the €720 million requested by the administrator will effectively be used to pay off senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank, after the Compensation Fund monies are lodged and become part of the general assets of the company.

“No matter what sophisticated financial semantics that are used to describe this sorry affair it is hard to see it as anything other that yet another bailout by the public to a toxic bank, its bondholders and a major US insurance company.” 

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Speaking during a Seanad debate on the Road Traffic Bill, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly welcomed the legislation but said that the good work to date with regards to road safety must not be undone by government cuts.

Senator Reilly said:

“I welcome this legislation as it will promote road safety however, I am concerned that there is a possible disjoint between this legislation to enhance road safety and government policies and actions due to budget cuts.

“We in Sinn Féin are concerned that the recent and planned cuts in public services will impact directly on front line services. In particular the proposed cuts to the Gardaí are of some concern as regards road safety.

“It would be wrong for budget cuts to impact on the ability of the Gardaí to enforce the very legislation we are debating.

“It would be wrong for budget cuts to impact on the ability of the Gardaí to reduce the number of intoxicated and dangerous drivers on our roads or to remove unsafe vehicles.

“It would be wrong for budget cuts to impact on the ability of the emergency services to respond to accidents.

“It would be wrong for the proposed budget cuts to impact on the ability of casualty units to deal with major road traffic trauma.

“The government must not allow the good work of this bill to be undone by implanting further draconian spending cuts.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff is accusing the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment of not doing enough to make sure that rural communities have broadband access.

In an adjournment debate in the Assembly on Tuesday dealing specifically with the deficit of broadband access for the Greencastle community and other parts of West Tyrone, the Sinn Féin MLA said it affected a wide swathe of people within rural communities.

Barry McElduff said:

“Quite simply broadband is not reaching all the land. Everyone from students, businesses and farmers suffer from poor or no access to broadband in this part of Omagh District and that immediately puts them at a disadvantage when carrying out their daily activities. Increasing aspects of school curriculum need to be done on line, farmers are expected to process grant applications on line and businesses conduct banking, marketing and outreach all on line.

“There needs to be continued engagement with rural communities to identify black spot areas specifically affected and investment should follow to remedy the problem. I acknowledge that DETI has done some work in this area but even should one rural community be denied broadband access then that is not good enough especially when DETI often cite 100% coverage throughout the North.

“Bringing everyone up to the same quality of service will not only benefit people on the ground in their daily lives but also send out a clear message to rural communities that the Executive is prepared to stand up for them.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has called on those responsible for the bomb intercepted on the Buncrana Road, Derry yesterday to reflect on their actions and disband immediately.

Mr McCartney stated,

“I know it has been articulated many times before that there is no justification in the new political climate that has been created for any form of armed action. But if those behind this and other incidents have a logical analysis of what they hope to achieve then they have a responsibility to explain it to the people of Ireland. The vast majority of people not only in this city but across Ireland accept that the present institutions allow for all political philosophies to be pursued on an equal basis. 

“If these groups indeed have a political strategy then they should enter the political process, articulate their goals and aspirations and accept the verdict of the Irish people. Whatever political opinions these groups espouse they can be accommodated through the peaceful and democratic process that has been established. No campaign, political or otherwise can succeed by alienating the very people you claim to represent. CRÍOCH/ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has supported greater EU co-ordination in responding to disasters around the world, and has insisted the EU ensure that "disaster relief is never subordinate to trading or political and strategic concerns"

Speaking in the European Parliament today Ms de Brún said:

"Last year 90,000 people died and 29 million people were affected as a result of disasters. This number could have been drastically reduced through a greater focus on prevention and preparedness. We can also improve our response to the increasing number of disaster events if we work together and pool our resources.

"If we plan our development in a way that makes us less vulnerable to disaster, it can save countless human lives.  It can also reduce social, economic and environmental devastation due to natural hazards and, increasingly, the devastation related to technological and environmental disasters.

"Disaster response begins with prevention and preparedness. I urge the European Commission and the Member States to invest more in disaster reduction and to improve the effectiveness of disaster response in a spirit of solidarity. Clarity, consistence and coherence are the main pillars on which to build a strong and operative European disaster response system.

"We must ensure that disaster relief is never subordinate to trading or political and strategic concerns. EU humanitarian aid should be provided irrespective of all political considerations, while adhering to internationally agreed humanitarian principles"

"I am delighted that Commissioner Georgieva agreed wholeheartedly with me in the European Parliament today that we must respect the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence when we provide humanitarian assistance." ENDS

Below is the full text of the speech given by Ms de Brún during the European Parliament debate on the report on "European disaster response: role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance" by Elisabetta Gardini MEP.

"Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh thuarascáil Elisabetta Gardini agus gabhaim buíochas le Bean Gardini as ucht an dea-oibre.  Gabhaim buíochas léi ach go háirithe as an chomhoibriú a rinne sí linn agus í ag glacadh moltaí agus leasuithe s'againne san áireamh.

"Is páirt thábhachtach de fhorbairt inbhuanaithe é laghdú tubaiste. Má phleanálaimid ár bhforbairt ar bhealach a gcuidíonn le riosca tubaiste a laghdú is féidir líon mór beathaí a shábháil. Is féidir léirscrios sóisialta, eacnamaíochta agus comhshaoil, de dheasca guaiseanna nádúrtha, a laghdú agus de réir a chéile, an léirscrios a bhaineann le tubaiste teicneolaíoch agus comhshaoil a laghdú lena chois.

"Tosaíonn freagairt tubaiste le cosc agus le hullmhacht. Gríosaím an Coimisiún Eorpach agus na Ballstáit chun níos mó infheistíochta a dhéanamh i laghdú tubaiste agus chun éifeachtúlacht freagairt tubaiste a fheabhsú de mheon dlúthpháirtíochta.

"Is iad soiléireacht, comhsheasmhacht agus comhleanúnachas na príomhcholúin ar a dtógtar córas freagartha tubaiste Eorpach atá oibritheach láidir.

"Tá sé tábhachtach go mbeadh comhordú cuí ann le go dtig linn cúnamh éifeachtúil daonnúil a sholáthar.  Ach caithfear cloí le prionsabail daonnúla tábhachtacha chomh maith - neamhchlaontacht, neodracht agus neamhspleáchas san áireamh.  Caithfimid a chinntiú go gcuirtear i bhfeidhm an dlí daonnúil

idirnáisiúnta. 

"Is gá dúinn a chinntiú nach dtéann cúrsaí polaitiúla agus straitéiseacha i bhfeidhm ar chinntí maidir le dáileadh cúnaimh.  Ba chóir cúnamh daonnúil AE a sholáthar beag beann ar gach machnamh polaitiúil agus ag an am céanna, ag cloí le prionsabail dhaonnúla aontaithe idirnáisiúnta."

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe met this morning with distraught parents who have loved ones buried in Bohernabreena Cemetery near Tallaght. The parents are angry and upset at South Dublin County Council (SDCC) for what they say is “the complete lack of sensitivity they have shown” after works carried out recently by contractors in the cemetery.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The people whom I met with today are upset and angry at the way the Council has pushed ahead with work on a section of the ‘Angels Plot’ in the cemetery. The installation of a footpath which encroaches on sections off the graves was carried out without any consultation with grieving parents, some of whom have had loved ones interred in that section of the cemetery just months ago. The burial plots are for babies and infants.

“One parent I spoke to showed me the damage that had been done to the surround of her child’s grave. She was understandably distraught and extremely upset at what has occurred. She claimed they got no notification and learned of contract works on facebook.

“One worrying part of this incident is that the Council would seem to have learned nothing from a previous upset where bereaved families were told by letter to remove personal items from graves in a section of the graveyard or they would be removed by Council Staff. This caused a good deal of hurt and upset and families are still ringing to seek assurances that personal items like grave marble dedication books will not be removed and dumped somewhere.

“Bohernabreena graveyard should be somewhere that parents should be able to come, free from pressure and worries about the graves of their loved ones being partly dug or interfered with.

“The installation of a footpath that cuts into or alongside graves merits at least a call or letter to parents that have loved ones interred.

“The approach taken by the council and the lack of feeling and insensitivity shown in dealing with grieving families in this incident has really shocked me.

“I am hoping arrange a meeting today with senior management and will be registering my formal protest to the County manager on this issue.

“The families affected by these decisions are understandably aggrieved and there is major opposition to the council’s attitude.” ENDS

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North Antrim MLA, and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson, Daithí McKay has welcomed the Education Minister’s statement on the future of the education system in the north. Mr McKay said that the way forward outlined by John O’Dowd is about effective modernisation and meeting the needs of the child, not the institution.  Mr McKay said “The Minister has today outlined a vision for education that is based on the needs of the child, not the needs of the institution. That is what needs to be at the heart of a 21st Century education system, a system that primarily focuses on the personal development of children but also ensures that the economy is provided with a diverse educated workforce with an array of skills.  “The current education estate is unsustainable and the Minister has outlined that the taxpayer is paying for the equivalent of 150 empty schools (85,000 spare places). That is unacceptable and the money wasted on these places must be freed up to go to front-line education services. “The Minister has tasked the Education and Library Boards, working in conjunction with CCMS to co-ordinate a strategic exercise based on each board area to shape the future pattern of education delivery. The Catholic Sector’s Post Primary Review will dovetail into this work, the first phase of which is to be completed within six months of the Department’s formal commission. “The Minister is being far from rigid; indeed this statement is about accommodation and flexibility. Popular post-primary schools which are over-subscribed, for example, will be able to grow and accommodate extra pupils providing they can meet the educational needs of all pupils that they accept. “The financial pressures that now exist within the education system have been recognised and the requirement for schools to increase the choice of subjects at Key Stages 4 and 5 will therefore be brought in on a phased basis with a slightly lower minimum to start with.  “This process of change will not be without difficult and unpopular decisions but that is what is required to deliver a truly modern education service. New criteria is to be set out for capital investment which will ensure that such proposals are brought forward on the needs of education throughout an entire area rather than just the needs of the individual school.  “A clear course of action has been set out by the Education Minister, he has provided clarity on the way forward to a more sustainable and strategically planned schools estate, he has provided certainty on the Entitlement Framework. This next year will be a year of great change and it will provide certainty for all education stakeholders, especially the young people who it serves.”

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