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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here




Latest Statements

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD has strongly criticised this morning’s announcement by Minister Pat Rabbitte to issue 13 new oil and gas licenses.

Deputy Ferris said:

“The Minister claimed this morning that the Irish offshore has real potential. It obviously does given the interest expressed by the exploration companies. However, no real benefit will accrue to the people or the exchequer until the licensing and taxation terms are radically revised.

“I also regret that the Minister has proceeded with the granting of the licenses before having the Committee conduct the review of all aspects of oil and gas exploration in this country, as he promised several months ago in response to a Sinn Féin Private Members Motion.”

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Sinn Féin has confirmed that party President Gerry Adams TD is travelling to the Basque country on Monday to take part in a major international initiative aimed at assisting a resolution of the conflict in the Basque country.

The conference is being held in San Sebastian in the Basque country on Monday October 17th.

The conference has been organised by Lokarri, the International Contact Group, the Basque Citizen Network for Agreement and Consultation and four other international foundations, peace/conflict resolution organisations, including the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

Also taking part will be former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair; former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern; Pierre Joxe, former French Defense and Interior Minister;  Gro Harland Bruntland, former Norwegian Prime Minister, and others.

Gerry Adams said:

“Monday’s initiative is a consequence of considerable behind the scenes efforts, involving Sinn Féin and others in recent months and years.  I am very hopeful that the San Sebastian conference will lead to significant progress in the conflict resolution process.”

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Sinn Féin TD’s Seán Crowe and Martin Ferris, both of whom sit on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, have welcomed a presentation by Northern based community activists.

The presentation took place on Thursday and was entitled: “The Peace Process and the next Ten Years.” It included contributions from a panel led by Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast, and including Republican and Loyalist activists Sean Murray, Jackie McDonald and George Newell.

Speaking after the meeting on Thursday, Deputy Crowe said: “Today’s discussion was a further step on the road to building greater understanding between the two communities in the North. It is part of a process of dialogue that Sinn Féin has been engaging in and a number of important issues were discussed including future events that will be organised to mark a number of historic anniversaries over the coming decade.

“One aspect of today’s discussion was how we can build a greater understanding about where our society finds itself after years of relative peace and, even more importantly, what the future holds. It was an opportunity for the Committee to hear diverse views and perspectives from people who have very different political outlooks.”

Deputy Martin Ferris agreed that the meeting had been very productive and he believes it is important that representatives from all political parties work towards identifying opportunities that can help consolidate the peace process. He continued: “We cannot take for granted the progress that has been made to date and we need to build understanding and tolerance as our society moves out of conflict.

“Today’s presentation focused on the present state of the peace process and the key challenges that lie ahead including issues around sectarianism, legacy/truth and the socio/economic situation. It also offered an examination of how we can best approach the oncoming decade of historic anniversaries and can we, for example, turn potential negatives into a way of promoting reconciliation, not only at a 6-county basis but on a truly national level.

“This means developing a shared understanding and each of us playing a role in generating greater understanding.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has described the hundreds of people who applied for nine social houses that had been advertised on the South Dublin County Council Website as evidence of the country’s housing crisis.

Deputy Crowe said: “At 7.45am this morning, over 700 people had applied for nine houses that had been advertised on the South Dublin County Council website’s Choice Based Letting Scheme.

“The demand for these houses starkly illustrates the crisis we face and shows the desperation of people who simply want a home of their own.

“The facts are, nine into 700 doesn’t go yet somewhat perversely, there are thousands of empty apartments and ghost estates across the country that could be used to reduce the housing waiting list.

“This must serve as a wake-up call for the government who keep telling us there is no housing crisis. It is simply wrong that at a time when we have a glut of unwanted vacant properties, families are still unable to enjoy the basic right of having a roof over their head.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has today slammed cuts proposals from the HSE which he described as “appalling”.

Among measures being considered are a freeze on new medical cards and slashing home help hours.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“I am absolutely appalled by the proposals contained in this document.

“Recommendations include a freeze on all new medical cards until 2012, reducing home help hours by 600,000 and removing 400,000 personal assistant hours.

“This would amount to an all out attack on the health services should these proposals be implemented.

“I want a commitment from Fine Gael and Labour that they will not adopt, or even consider, these disgraceful proposals.”

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Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, said there is a simple solution to the staggering £6 million bill for policing of parades in a five month period this summer and that is dialogue.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

“Dialogue is the simple solution to what is basically just a small number of parades out of over 3,000 that take place each year yet the only group who have not stepped up to the mark are the the Orange Order

“With almost 70% of parades being from the loyal orders there is an onus for them to resolve those with which there are difficulties. 

“The agreement over the future of parading reached last year at the Executive produced a legislative way forward however, yet again, the Orange Order blocked its acceptance.

 “Since the start of the peace process the Orange Order has failed to play a positive and constructive role in moving our society forward and showing leadership. This policing bill cannot be distanced from that failure.

“There is a huge number of parades that take place each year and they cause no offence and very little cost. If everyone sits down round the table on an equal basis then these few contentious parades can be resolved if there is a will there to do it.”

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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Fra McCann has said that if mortgage companies abandon homebuyers to market forces there will be a massive crisis in the rise of homelessness.

 

Speaking after figures revealed a 64% increase in the number of people in mortgage crisis Mr McCann stated,

 

“The amount of mortgage debt in the North of Ireland has now exceeded £9m which is an increase of over 1800% since 2008.

 

“The companies that gave out huge mortgages during the so called boom years must not just walk away and tell homeowners that if they cannot keep up payments their property will be repossessed.  Other avenues must be explored.

 

“The companies must work with the buyers in order to allow people to remain in their homes without adding on extra costs or penalties.

 

“It is also vitally important that those people who find themselves in mortgage stress seek help immediately so that all options are  considered and discussed in order to maximise their chances of remaining in their homes.

 

“Unless we maintain people in their homes we are going to face a homeless crisis that will totally overwhelm the system and create a problem that will take society back 40 years.

 

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Sinn Féin MLA/MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the announcement by the Health Minister that there will be a review of the policy and legislation governing access to healthcare for ethnic minorities.

The Sinn Féin Health spokesperson:

“Fermanagh/South Tyrone has a large and vibrant migrant community and it is crucial that they receive the same standard of healthcare that is available to us all.

“If there is problem gaining access to healthcare services because of the language barrier or information available, then this is something that can easily be rectified.

“Equality is the watchword here and with Ireland becoming such a diverse society we need to adapt to ensure that equal treatment in health and access to that treatment is available to everyone as a basic human right.” CRÍOCH/END

 

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Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) has welcomed news that the Green New Deal group is to submit its final proposals to the Executive tomorrow (Friday) for approval. Mr Flanagan was speaking after representatives from the group appeared before the Assembly’s Enterprise Committee this morning.

Mr Flanagan said:

“These proposals from Green New Deal have been in the pipeline for quite some time and £12 million has been allocated by the Executive over this four year budgetary period to bring them forward and the final proposals are to be submitted to the Executive tomorrow (Friday).

“I welcome this progress given the proactive nature of the Green New Deal scheme and the many benefits that will be  felt right across the community.

“It is estimated that the average consumer will save £350 on their annual energy and up to 1100 jobs can be sustained by the scheme; this is in addition to the fact that fuel poverty can be alleviated or prevented in some 25,000 homes.

“With global energy prices continuing to rise, it is important that the  Assembly plays its full part in tackling fuel poverty and the cheapest way to do that is to enable people to use less energy through efficiency measures.

“I would urge those responsible implementing this project to pay particular notice to those living in rural areas, who are often the last to benefit from these these initiatives.

“It is important that local councils use the new powers they have been given to promote energy efficiency in domestic housing and that they work to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from this scheme.”CRÍOCH/ENDS

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