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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.



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has said that ASTI findings, that 64% of second-level schools are considering dropping subjects from their Leaving Cert programmes, are “extremely worrying”.
Deputy Crowe said: “The worst fears of many educationalists are being realised as second level-schools are forced to drop a least one core subject from their Leaving Cert syllabus.
“The subjects most at risk include accounting, chemistry, physics and economics, which are essential if we are to develop the knowledge-based economy needed to generate employment.
“Schools are faced with having to amalgamate higher, ordinary and foundation level classes in response to budget cuts.
“The retrograde decision by the government to end the ex-quota teacher allocation for guidance counselling means an estimated increase in the pupil-teacher ratio of .8.
“This will mean that from September 2012 onwards, there will be 700 less second-level teachers. The ASTI sponsored research also shows that seven out of ten schools are likely to reduce guidance provision by an average of 7.8 hours per week.
“This will greatly impact on the levels of assistance and advice schools can offer their students, and comes at a time when pastoral care and career guidance are needed more than ever.
“In addition there is a two per cent reduction in the school capitation grant which will result in the loss of school tours and trips and the postponement of essential building maintenance work.

“The ASTI research highlights the massive difficulties being imposed on the Irish education system through the implementation of cuts that will lead to teacher burnout and the denial to many young people of the opportunity to reach their full academic potential.”
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Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe spoke recently during a presentation in the Dáil on the provision enhanced levels of support when a person is reported missing.

During the engagement presentations were made from students of Davis College, Mallow, County Cark and from representatives of the “Forget Me Not” campaign, the Missing in Ireland Support Service, Trace Missing Persons Ireland, Mountain Rescue Ireland, associates of the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service, senior Garda personnel and members’ of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Ireland.

Describing the presentations as both “moving and informative” Deputy Crowe said that it was important that a thorough examination of existing procedures and protocols was implemented in order to improve the chances of finding a person whenever they go missing.

Deputy Crow said: “Over the past five years there have been approximately 40,500 reports of people going missing with the vast majority being found safe and sound.

“In order to tackle this issue more effectively, we need to build up a better profile that explains why people go missing. In some cases mental health problems are a contributory factor as are family and personal difficulties.

“Relatively simple measures can be put in place that can help family members when a loved one goes missing. Showing sensitivity when a spouse or parent has to deal with welfare related matters is one example and providing practical assistance can make a significant difference.

“There also needs to be put in place clear procedures and protocols whenever an emergency occurs.

“The first 48 hours is vital when responding to a missing person case and in other jurisdictions this is considered particularly important when children go missing. In the United States for example, the first 24 hours is often the period of time that dictates if a child will be found and a similar policy is adopted by Irish authorities.

“The objectives of the Forget Me Not campaign are to raise awareness for the issue of missing people in Ireland; to create funds for continued searches; to ensure change in Ireland so that the suffering and plight of these individuals is recognised.

“One of the considerations put forward at this meeting was to have a national missing person’s day to be declared in Ireland and for a place to be found where loved ones are remembered and Sinn Féin will lobby the Government to have this initiative implemented.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the report from the University of Ulster into the HET confirmed what the party had said from the outset about the lack of independence in the HET investigations.

The Sinn Féin Policing Spokesperson and member of the Policing Board said:

“The crucial part in this report by Dr Lundy is that she does not believe the HET is independent, that interviews with British soldiers were not impartial, effective or transparent. That the HET is investigating the deaths of people at the hands of the British Army differently from other killings is unacceptable

“Sinn Féin supports people's right to engage with the HET and accepts that some families have come away from the HET process with a degree of comfort.

“Any deaths during the conflict need to be investigated with the same vigour regardless of who carried out the killing or the standing of the person killed.Sinn Féin is calling for an independent assessment of how HET investigations have been and are being carried out.” 


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Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has approved a development proposal for Cygnet House Preparatory School at Glenlola Collegiate Grammar School, Bangor. 

It has been agreed that Cygnet House will become co-educational with effect from 31 August 2012 or as soon as possible thereafter. The co-educational status would only apply to Cygnet House and not to Glenlola Collegiate Grammar School. 

Commenting on the decision, John O’Dowd said: “This proposal is not to increase the preparatory department’s capacity and hence, due to the numbers likely to be involved, should not have a significant impact on other primary schools in the Bangor area.

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West Belfast Sinn MLA Pat Sheehan said it is a great achievement and honour that Belfast is to be the training base for the Cuban boxing team during the Olympic Games.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on sport said it was an added boost for West Belfast that the boxers would be training in Holy Trinity ABC.

Pat Sheehan said:

“This is indeed a huge coup for boxing here and sport in general. It is a great achievement by all concerned and an honour for Belfast. I congratulate the Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and all those involved in selling the North as the place to stay for the world’s most successful nation in Olympic boxing.

“Ireland also has a tradition of producing world class boxers and with the Cubans coming here it can only have a positive impact for all the local boxing clubs that do so much for young people in our community.”


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Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community & local government, Brian Stanley TD, has demanded that the government “keep to the spirit of the motion unanimously passed by the Dáil last month on the national plan for Ireland’s raised bog Special Areas of Conservation.”
He was speaking in reaction to a statement from environment minister, Phil Hogan TD and arts and heritage minister, Jimmy Deenihan TD after their meeting in Brussels with the European Commission yesterday.
Brian Stanley said: “Their statement suggests that the government has reneged on the agreement which was presented to the turfcutters as a basis for progress.”
“Since then turfcutters have kept their side of the bargain and have stopped cutting turf, but disappointingly the Ministers Hogan and Deenihan have yet to engage meaningfully with their representative organisation.
“The Dáil motion and the TCCA response were solution-based, comprehensive and workable and proposed co-location and compensatory bogs resulting in greater conservation.
“Sinn Féin remains committed to protecting our natural habitats and working on a solution which will suit all stakeholders.
“We want to engage with Minister Hogan and Minister Deenihan, but it must in good faith. We cannot engage with the government if its representatives are saying one thing here in the Dáil and directly contradicting themselves in when they go to Brussels.”
In conclusion, Deputy Stanley urged the government to re-engage the process with the same determination that they showed during the recent Dáil debate. Otherwise we will be facing crisis in rural communities, and that is something we all want to avoid.”
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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe has welcomed a consultation that is taking place with families living in the North and South of Ireland that seeks to establish the levels of interest in sending children to schools across the border.

Deputy Crowe said: “I understand that the education departments in both jurisdictions have agreed to carry out a survey in schools and community groups in border areas and that arrangements could be in place as early as September 2013.

“I would urge families to respond to the survey and if appropriate, consider sending their children to a school on the opposite side of the border to where they live.

“As the North’s Education Minister John O’Dowd rightly pointed out, cross-border co-operation has been an accepted and growing practice in higher level education and health.

“With rural communities facing the threat of cuts that may force the closure or amalgamation of many small schools, this is an option that needs to be considered. It may also help secure the future of minority faith based communities throughout the border region who should have the option of sending their children to a school of their religious domination.

“This important consultation is about developing a cross-border partnership that could secure the future of a number of rural schools and it is an example of how the development of an all-Ireland education strategy can help secure the long-term viability of rural Ireland.”

ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín has said that it is clear that emigration continues unabated in Ireland with thousands of people voting with their feet and leaving in search of work.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Last year 76,000 people left the state. This equates to 210 persons a day or nearly nine people an hour for every hour of this government, upping sticks and leaving.

“In today’s Live Register figures we see that the most vulnerable sectors, those under 25 years of age and those termed ‘Craft and Related Workers’ show the greatest fall in numbers. In the year till the end of March 2012 the number of persons aged under 25 or under signing on fell by 8,403 (-10.3%) and the number of ‘Craft and related’ sector, the largest occupational group signing on, fell over the year by 9,481 (-8.3%) to 104,946.

“Given that on average 4,428 male and 3,018 female new registrants joined the Live Register each week of the month of March it is clear that a significant portion of those under 25 years of age and those from the Craft and Related sectors saw no future for themselves in this country and left seeking work abroad.

“This is a terrible indictment of this government’s policy of austerity. For four years the same policy has produced the same results with shocking social consequences. Reminiscent of the 50s and the 80s whole swathes of our country are being deleted of their young people. The government must change economic direction and prioritise people over private debt.

“The rise of 10.7% in the number of long term unemployed shows that the government’s strategy is failing and the jobs bridge programme is completely inadequate to deal with the scale of the unemployment problem.”

ENDS

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Commenting on some of the high salaries received by top earners in the public
sector, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on
Taoiseach Enda Kenny to make on public statement on the exorbitant salaries paid
to those working in the Director of Public Prosecutions Office

The Cork North Central TD said;

“According to the information I requested from the Taoiseach, two employees in the
Office of the DPP earn in excess of €150,000 and twenty one employees earning
over €100,000. The Chief State Solicitor still earns €197,361 whilst eighteen people
in that office earn over €100,000 with two receiving over €150,000. How does the
Taoiseach explain this to the nurses and teachers whose wages have been slashed
in previous budgets?

“The Property Registration Authority has seven employees in receipt of salaries
between €100,000 and €150,000. This is a slap in the face to the lowest earners
in the public sector. The Government applies completely different standards to the
frontline worker and those earning €150,000-plus who remain insulated from the
harsh reality of the Government’s austerity policies resulting in cuts to frontline pay,
resources and services."

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Sinn Féin launches campaign to win Carlow/Kilkenny By-Election


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Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek and Brian Stanley TD