Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has commended Pearse Doherty TD on his election. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“I commend newly elected Teachta Dála Pearse Doherty, Donegal South West Sinn Féin and the Party nationally on a massive election effort and an historic victory.
“The people of Donegal South West have endorsed the Sinn Féin message that there is a real alternative and a better way.
“They have given a damning verdict on the Fianna Fáil/Green Government. That Government should not proceed with the Budget.
“A strengthened Sinn Féin Dáil team will now do all in our power to stop this Budget and turf out this Government.
“Other parties should do the same.” ENDS
Speaking after being elected TD for Donegal South West this evening Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said:
“Today’s result is a vote for change. It is an endorsement of Sinn Féin’s argument that there is a better way.
“It’s a vote for a fair economic policy based on tax reform, ending waste and stimulating the economy to create jobs.
“It’s a rejection of the government’s four year plan, of cuts to public services, social welfare and the minimum wage
“It is a rejection of the ‘consensus for cuts’ amongst all the establishment parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.
“It is also a rejection of the interference of the IMF in Irish affairs.
“I will, as I have been mandated, vote against the Government’s damaging Budget on December 7th.
“The people of Donegal South West have spoken loud and clear. They have voted in favour of policies that will create jobs and support our fishing and farming communities.
“They have demanded an end to the policies that have led to the neglect of this county over the years.
“I will work to see that jobs are delivered and that we have investment in public services including health and education.
“As a Sinn Féin TD I will also work to end partition which has been detrimental to Donegal and to our country North and South.
“I will work towards the democratic goal of Irish unity which more and more people are coming to realise will benefit this country politically, economically and socially.
“My victory today, while a joyous occasion, takes place against the sobering backdrop in Donegal of unemployment, emigration and people struggling to get by. Changing all of that is the challenge which faces us all.
“It is time to change the direction of Irish politics. It is time to end cronyism and corruption and to reform our political institutions.
“New politics, real leadership and a better way forward are what is needed. That is what Sinn Féin offers.
“The people of Donegal South West have made a clear choice for a better way.
“We now need people throughout the state to make a similar stand for change. We need a general election.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe has called for the immediate release of the National Audit on Radiology after it was revealed 7 million x-rays are being reviewed nationally.
Councillor Crowe also revealed that more than 6,000 patients are awaiting scans or ultrasounds at Tallaght Hospital.
Speaking today Councillor Crowe said:
“At the publication of the Hayes report at Tallaght Hospital Dr Barry White mentioned that 7 million x-rays were being reviewed nationally. This was widely uncommented on at the time but it seriously concerned me and I would call for the immediate publication of the national audit on radiology in order to bring some clarity and attention to the matter.
“In response to a question from me at the Regional Health Forum, the Assistant National Director, Mr Gerry O’Neill confirmed that there are more than 6,000 patients still awaiting scans or ultrasounds at Tallaght Hospital.
“It is more than two years now since I raised the shortage of radiologists at Tallaght Hospital live on TV at my party’s Ard Fheis. This shortage ultimately led to files not being read and the launch of the Hayes inquiry.
“The recruitment embargo led to a shortage of radiologists which in turn led to longer lists. The longer lists were punished by the HSE with a cut in funding. This is the bizarre system which is in place under this Minister and this Government and it is this system which is ultimately responsible for the debacle with the unchecked scans.
“Also, the Hayes report points to a shortage in typists being available to process x-rays already reported upon. The voluntary redundancy scheme of 3,600 support staff and the recruitment embargo ensuring no replacement clerical staff can be employed can only compound this problem.
“I insisted that the Hayes findings be discussed at the next Regional Forum meeting and I intend to highlight my many concerns at that meeting.” ENDS
Responding to the launch today of three major reports by the Minister for Social Protection, Sinn Féin Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he fears the government will use the reforms as cover for cuts and called for a Dáil debate next week on their contents.
He said, “Sinn Féin supports the simplification of the welfare system in the interests of better public understanding of entitlements and reduced administration costs. However the government’s motivation is to make all social welfare payments, including disability and lone parent payments, conditional on labour market activation. And now, at the height of an unemployment crisis, is the worst possible time to do that.
“Ireland was recently criticised by the OECD for the grossly inadequate nature of our labour market activation supports. At a time when the department's resources are incapable of meeting the activation needs of the 450,000 people who are already on the live register why would you force two more sizeable groups into the queue?
“I fear that the government plan to use reforms such as a single working age payment and new child income support model as cover for cuts to existing payments. The upcoming budget will selectively implement the reports’ recommendations and it will not result in larger numbers moving into employment it will simply add to the fears and difficulties of lone parents and people with disabilities.
I welcome the spirit of the recommendation from the Review of Disability Allowance that the department should focus on and support the capacity of people with disabilities rather than their incapacity but I fear this may be aspirational only and is unlikely to be given effect by this government. In addition I reject the proposal to raise the age for Disability Allowance from 16 to 18 years because even allowing for an extension of Domiciliary Care Allowance this would result in these households taking a cut of approximately €500 per month.
“I am calling on the government to make time for a debate on the three reports next week because although this government will not have a chance to act on most of what’s contained in them key aspects risk being implemented in the Budget or signed up to in an IMF deal.” ENDS
Speaking after meeting with members of the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission today Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said he told the IMF that they were neither wanted nor needed in Ireland and that they should go home. Finance spokesperson Deputy Arthur Morgan and Parliamentary Assistant Kathryn Reilly joined Deputy Ó Caoláin on the delegation.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Today Sinn Féin told the IMF in no uncertain terms that they are neither wanted nor needed in Ireland and that they should go home.
“The IMF is not here to help the Irish economy. We have a structural deficit that can be addressed through a range of measures, including those put forward by our party. The crisis in Ireland is a banking crisis and the Government is pursuing the most costly avenue to address that banking crisis. And now the IMF and the EU are fronting the cash for that policy.
“In this State, the IMF encouraged Government measures of low public spending as a percentage of GDP and low taxes. They added their voice to the series of inaccurate forecasts about growth in this State. We told the IMF that we are aware of their record across the globe where they have insisted on reactionary, anti-people measures.
“We want no interference from the IMF in our economy and no burdening of future generations with massive debt and regressive economic policies.” ENDS
The European Parliament has today called on Heads of State and Government worldwide to demonstrate real political leadership during the UN climate change negotiations which start next week and deplores the fact that there has not been more progress to date in preparing for the Cancun climate summit
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms de Brún, co-author of the resolution, said:
"Real leadership and political will are needed in Cancún and we must not use the global economic crisis as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice.
"The European Parliament climate change resolution calls for substantive steps to be agreed in Cancun, and stresses the historical responsibility borne by developed countries for irreversible climate change as well as their obligation to assist the developing countries and the least-developed countries in adapting to this change.
"The European Parliament calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that climate financing is in addition to fulfilling their targets in providing 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) as Official Development Assistance (ODA).
"As for actions that must be taken within the EU, the European Parliament has clearly called today for the EU to adopt a domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 30% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and for the 20% energy efficiency target to become binding." ENDS
West Belfast MP Gerry Adams this morning attended the formal launch of the planned extension work at An Culturlann.
Gerry Adams congratulated Gearoid Ó Caireallain, Project Manager Eimear Ní Mhathúna and the Managemnent and Staff.
This new phase of development is now going ahead because of the final allocation of half a million pounds which was made available several months ago through OFMDFM.
An Chultúrlann was selected by the west Belfast Task Force as one of 18 projects, which were committed a total of £21m from the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, through the IDF (Integrated Development Fund.)
A total of £1.7m was raised for the investment package of which £500k was committed from the IDF funding through OFMDFM.
Welcoming the decision Mr. Adams said:
“For six years, An Chultúrlann has been battling to get the money to push forward this exciting project. Alongside community leaders who have been spearheading the West Belfast and Shankill Task Force agenda, An Chultúrlann has kept campaigning for the investment promised to be delivered.
This is an important development in the advancement of the An Ceathrú Gaeltachta project.
It is also an important plus for west Belfast on a day that will see the refurbished Conway Mill open.”
Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has met fishing industry representatives from the Kilkeel based Anglo North-Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO).
A wide range of issues, including priorities for the forthcoming European Council of Ministers meetings were discussed at the meeting.
Speaking afterwards, Minister Gildernew said: "We had a full and wide ranging discussion about fishing opportunities for 2011. This included the vital prawn total allowable catch.
“The fishing industry is very concerned about the Commission’s radical proposals to change the way that prawn stocks are managed. We discussed in detail the “pros and cons” of the proposals. The Commission’s proposed new system would mean a cut of 6% in the quota available, but if that is not adopted we could be faced with a larger cut of up to 17%.”
The Minister added: “The impact of cod recovery measures was also discussed and it was recognised that more work needs to be done to prove to Europe that cod mortality is being reduced. The industry made some positive suggestions as to how this could be done. We will be happy to work with them and support the development of further cod conservation measures.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned that fish is caught from sustainable fisheries. We were able to agree a timetable that should lead to an Irish Sea herring Long Term Management Plan. If adopted by the Commission in 2011, this will be a major step towards sustainable accreditation for this fishery.”
In conclusion she said: “This meeting was very useful in clarifying industry concerns about fishing opportunities and in highlighting areas for future collaboration.”
Education Minster, Caitríona Ruane, has encouraged people to get involved and provide their views on the updated proposals for the Lisanelly Shared Education Campus.
The Minister attended the unveiling of updated plans for the site which show how the Omagh campus might be laid out. The project is now open for a second phase of public consultation which will focus on the developed project design.
Speaking at the event in Omagh, the Minister said: “Today marks another significant step forward in the development of the Lisanelly Shared Education Campus. The plans drawn up by the appointed designer, Bovis Lend Lease, show this innovative project starting to take shape. I urge people to view the plans and get involved in helping further shape the vision for this forward-thinking educational community.
“The campus at Lisanelly offers a unique opportunity to bring together on one site a number of educational establishments, whilst retaining their individual status and identity. Built on a foundation of equality, the campus will provide exceptional facilities for generations of children and young people and deliver real long-term success.”
The Minister added: “I commend the hard work of everyone involved in bringing the project to this advanced stage. I hope that local people embrace the opportunity to have their say on the plans and feed into what is a major project for the Omagh area.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA has described the £5million Conway Mill project as a shining example of how our economy can work in a sustainable way.
Speaking at the opening of the project today Mr McGuinness went on to describe the project as an inspiration and a tribute the vision of the local community.
The Minister said: “While others saw an old mill that could be knocked down, the committee saw an opportunity. The project is based the notion of self help and about empowering people to define their own future, to take charge of their economy, their education and their identity. All people, given the opportunity and support will prosper.
“For too long the issue of economic stewardship has been portrayed as the central and only concern of government. Tackling disadvantage and inequality has been seen as being some kind of charitable act.
“This is fundamental misrepresentation. The economy is here to serve the people. It is not for the people to serve the economy. It is not for the people to pay for the excessive profits of bankers or speculators. It is for people to create and share the wealth.
“The Mill and projects like it are the embodiment of how the economy can work in a sustainable way. It is about creating opportunities and building networks. It is about economic and social development moving forward hand in hand.
"I particularly welcome that OFMDFM was able to contribute £730,000 to assist in the refurbishment of the Mill."
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that the logic underpinning the Government and IMF proposed welfare cuts is insurmountably and indefensibly flawed.
He said, “The justification for sweeping welfare cuts put forward by the government in their four year plan and by the IMF is that welfare payments act as a disincentive to work. There is one insurmountable and indefensible flaw in this logic – there are no jobs.
“The government plan, including its growth and deficit reduction predictions, is entirely dependent on the incredible expectation that if you penalize the jobless enough they will miraculously find gainful employment.
“This type of argument ignores the reality that the number of jobs available in our severely deflated domestic economy is grossly insufficient for the half a million people that are on the live register and emigrating as we speak. Social welfare cuts cannot magically create jobs.
“By slashing child benefit and job seeker payments while at the same time imposing water charges and a property tax, increasing VAT, increasing the carbon tax, cutting the minimum wage and bringing those on poverty wages into the tax net the government are proposing to cripple low income families and by extension they will cripple local economies resulting in further job losses.
“Speaking in a Primetime interview last night Finance Minister Brian Lenihan claimed ‘we all partied’ during the boom years. But that assertion is simply not true. Many, many people in my constituency were barely scraping by at the height of the so-called Celtic Tiger never mind partying. It is grossly unjust to make them pay now for the excesses of Minister Lenihan and his cronies in the banking sector.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the Government’s four year plan as an ideologically driven attack on the unemployed, the sick, the low paid and students for the sins of the wealthy.
Speaking today after the Government published its plan Deputy Ó Snodaigh said low and middle income earners will be hit hardest by this Government egged on by the EU and the IMF.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“This Government, egged on by the EU and the IMF, are preparing to hit low and middle income earners hardest once again.
“Not only is this plan morally wrong, it is economic lunacy – nearly €14.5 billion was taken out of the economy in the past two years and the recession is worse – now they want to take out another €15 billion.
“Increasing VAT will not grow the economy, it will see people flooding across the border and kill business in this state.
“Reducing the minimum wage and social welfare will reduce disposable income and lead to decreased consumer confidence and further job losses. The Government should be concentrating on getting people into jobs in order to lessen the social welfare bill.
“Reducing the tax band to €15,000 will bring thousand of low earners into the tax net but they are not increasing the top tax rate or targeting high earners.
“Increasing student charges from €1,500 to €2,000 will exclude thousands of students from colleges – parents will be faced with choices of ‘do we pay our mortgage or do we send our children to college?’
“This is not a plan for recovery, it is an ideologically driven attack on the unemployed, the sick, the low paid and students to pay for the sins of the wealthy.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Justice Committee members Raymond McCartney MLA and John O’Dowd MLA, today visited prisoners in Roe House, Magahberry.
Speaking this evening deputy Chair of the Justice Committee Raymond McCartney said;
“Today we met with Prisoners in Roe House and representatives of the prison administration in Maghaberry.
Sinn Fein will continue to monitor closely the implementation of the agreement reached in the jail in August of this year.” CRÍOCH
South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Members' Caitríona Ruane and Willie Clarke have jointly condemned the decision by the South Eastern Health Trust (SEHT) to accept changes to health services and A&E cover at Downe Hospital.
Speaking after both Assembly Members and Down Councillors Mickey Coogan and Liam Johnston made presentations to the Board at a public meeting held today in Downpatrick, Ms Ruane said the SEHT has shown contempt for the thousands of people who depend on the Downe Hospital for essential care.
Ms Ruane continued: "The consultation process initiated by the SEHT was a sham from start to finish and I am not surprised they have agreed to implement these changes.
"When the new £64 million hospital opened in Downpatrick it should have heralded the start of a new era in healthcare provision in south Down. Now we learn local GPs will be expected to staff the A&E unit at Downe between 10pm and 8am as well as at weekends and acute mental in-patient services are to be moved from the Downpatrick to the Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.
"Today's meeting was attended by over 200 people all of whom were unequivocal in their opposition to what was being proposed yet their concerns have been ignored. Sinn Féin will continue to fight for the retention of these essential services - we will not allow the people of south Down to be treated as second class citizens."
Cllr Clarke also made clear his opposition to the proposals and said there was justifiable anger at the cuts in services to the Downe.
He continued: "When the then Health Minister Barbra de Brún paved the way for the new replacement Downe hospital, which only opened in last year, all of us expected to have a consultant-led A&E unit.
"Now, in no small part due to the trust's failure to recruit middle-grade doctors, these hopes have been dashed.
"The lives of people in south Down are being placed at considerable risk as a result of these cuts and we will fight tooth and nail to have this decision reversed." CRÍOCH
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers Rights Martin Ferris has slammed the proposal to cut the minimum wage by €1. He also claimed that the Government’s projections for job creation and reducing unemployment were fantasy.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Cutting the minimum wage and taxing people on anything above it will push more working people into poverty. It will also have a negative impact on the overall economy by reducing spending. Once again in the midst of economic calamity Fianna Fáil manage to do one last favour for their friends in ISME and IBEC.
“Far from these proposals helping to reduce unemployment they will further depress the economy and actually have the opposite effect. As others have said you cannot cut your way out of a depression.
“We need to get rid of this Government and its IMF and bondholder puppet masters before they have the chance to implement these anti social measures.” ENDS
Senator Pearse Doherty today issued a final rallying cry to the people of Donegal South West, urging them to turn their anger into action by voting for Sinn Féin today.
“Now more than ever people need to get out and vote,” he declared. “People need to turn their anger into action by sending this government a strong message. The IMF should not be here – the government should not have capitulated to pressure to bring them in. Brian Cowen should have resigned and called an immediate general election – he refused to do so.
“While some people will think that anyone is better than this incompetent government, the decision to bring in the IMF and EU will cause huge hardship for ordinary people.
“This government, with the EU and IMF, will seek to impose far reaching cuts on public services, pensions and social welfare. Thousands of teachers, nurses and doctors positions will be cut. Our public services, already in a mess, will be destroyed. Counties like Donegal will suffer most.
“Sinn Féin had set out a better way – we opposed the bail out of the banks that was directly responsible for this crisis. But this government has already made it clear that they intend to pursue the budget which will give effect to these drastic cuts.
“That is why every single vote is so important today. This is the only opportunity that the Irish people have to cast their verdict on this government and to oppose the budget on December 7th.
“A vote for Sinn Féin will do that because Fine Gael and Labour have shown that they are part of the consensus for cuts. It was my initiative in taking this government to court that proved the catalyst for these events. We have shown the impact we can have and I urge the people of Donegal South West to help us beat the budget and to hold this government to account by giving me your support today.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has said the Government’s four year plan is not a recovery plan but a destruction plan.
Speaking after the publication of the Government’s plan today Deputy Morgan said the impact of these measures will contract the economy – and not one extra tax cent or one public spending cut will be used to reduce the deficit as it will all end up servicing the debt being incurred for the banks.
Deputy Morgan said:
“The Government is deluding itself if it believes that these measures can bring about economic growth.
“Even solely dealing with our structural deficit, this plan is in the main a list of deflationary actions that will deepen and lengthen the recession.
“The impact of these measures will contract the economy – and not one extra tax cent or one public spending cut will be used to reduce the deficit as it will all end up servicing the debt being incurred for the banks.
“The markets do not give one jot about the Irish budget – they are concerned with the banking crisis – but they will see this ‘plan’ for what it is. This is not a recovery plan – it is a destruction plan.
“The real issue is that we are about to embark on an insane course of borrowing to fund a failed banking policy. We cannot afford this banking policy, we cannot afford this loan. Most importantly we cannot afford this government.
“We need real negotiators in there now to deal with the banks and burn the bondholders. Not a red cent more should go into Irish banks until their debts are restructured.
“If we proceed with this banking plan this four year plan will be bin lining in a matter of weeks.” ENDS
Speaking ahead of a vote on a European Parliament climate change resolution which she co-authored, Bairbre de Brún MEP said that we must avoid the failures of the Copenhagen conference last year.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms de Brún said:
"For the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun (29th November - 10th December) to be successful it is vital to restore trust in the negotiations. How many such negotiations will there have to be for people to start to act decisively?
We must not repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen last year. We will not be able to meet the challenge posed by climate change unless ALL Governments act now.
The global economic crisis must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice.
Real leadership and political will are needed for a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase limit." ENDS
See below for full text of speech
Ní féidir linn na meancóga a rinneadh i gCóbanhávan anuraidh a dhéanamh arís.
Tá gá le fíor-cheannaireacht agus le toil polaitiúil d'fhonn teorainn teochta a choinneáil ar 1.5 céim Celsius.
Ba chóir don AE gníomhú go haontaobhach chun a sprioc laghdaithe astaíochta do 2020 a ardú agus áitiú ar thíortha forbartha eile chun sprioc fhoriomlán laghdaithe astaíochta de 80% - 95% faoi 2050 a chomhaontú.Ní hamháin go gcuideoidh seo le hidirbheartaíocht i gCancún ach caithfimid seo a dhéanamh ar mhaithe linn féin.
Caithfidh tíortha forbartha maoiniú sásúil aeráide a chur ar fáil, sin agus trédhearcacht iomlán i dtaca le maoiniú mearthosaithe a chur i bhfeidhm le gealltanas láidir polaitiúil. Tá gá le foinsí nua maoinithe fadtéarmacha chomh maith. Ar na roghanna ba chóir go mbeadh bearta cánacha airgeadais idirnáisiúnta ann agus maoiniú ó eitlíocht agus loingeas idirnáisiúnta ina measc.
Iarraim oraibh vótáil in aghaidh na leasuithe a iarrann teachtaireacht níos laige a thabahirt amach ón Parlaimint seo.
Ní féidir an ghéarchéim eacnamaíoch dhomhanda a úsáid mar leithscéal le gan a dhath a dhéanamh nó chun ceartas aeráide a shéanadh.
Is fadhb an t-athrú aeráide ar gá troid ina éadan ar bhonn domhanda agus chun seo a dhéanamh tá gá le muinín eadrainn a thógáil.
We must not repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen last year
Real leadership and political will are needed for a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase limit
The EU should unilaterally increase its emission reduction target for 2020 and persuade other developed countries to sign up toan overall emission reduction target of 80%-95% by 2050 not only because this will help the negotiations in Cancun but also because we need to do this for our own sake.
Developed countries must provide adequate climate financing, including full transparency on and strong political commitment to the implementation of the fast-start financing.There must also be new and additional sources of long-term finance. Options should include international financial transaction taxes and finance from international aviation and shipping.
I ask you to vote against amendments that seek to weaken the message coming from this parliament.
The global economic crisis must not be used as an excuse for inaction or for denying climate justice.