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Adams dismay as Kenny again rejects European Debt Conference

"The financial and economic crisis in this State was caused by a small, unrepresentative, wealthy elite. €62 billion in bank loans were in the hands of just 190 borrowers. 50% of the Irish loan book of Anglo Irish bank was held by just 20 individuals.  Ordinary citizens cannot understand the Taoiseach’s refusal to pursue options that could make our debt sustainable and fair." – Adams

I have been made aware of a warning put through my constituency office that stated that there is a bomb planted outside of my home. The cowards behind the threat and their accompanying actions are beyond contempt.


An increased role for pharmacists is essential for the future of Irish healthcare. The western world needs radical change in the way it deals with health care provision. We currently see up to 1 in 7 attendances at GPs and 1 in 12 at Emergency Departments that could and should be dealt with by pharmacists.



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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín TD today met with representatives of household insulation firms and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Speaking after the meeting Deputy Tóibín said:

“Following Budget 2012 the Minister agreed changes to the grants to households seeking to avail of external insulation. Since these changes a number of insulation contractors have reported a drop in demand and have had to lay workers off.

“I along with the representative of the contractors raised the issue directly with the SEAI which is responsible for the administration of the grants scheme.

“I believe that the cut to the external insulation grant will affect the cost to the consumer and will drive down demand. This as we have already seen inevitably leads to job layoffs and business closures. This will mean that fewer homes will be able to afford insulation and will ensure families continue to be trapped in energy inefficient homes.

“It will also stagnate what is an extremely important environmental initiative. The reality is that this government talks up green sustainable jobs yet cuts necessary funding. At this pivotal point in the Irish economy we need to build on the success of the SEAI to deliver warmer homes to citizens and deliver jobs to our workers.”

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Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson, Phil Flanagan MLA (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) has said that urgent action is needed to tackle the soaring price of petrol and diesel.

Mr Flanagan said:

“The latest report from the Consumer Council identifies the north of Ireland as the most expensive place in Europe to purchase petrol or diesel.

“This is a further indictment of the British government's failure to introduce fuel price stablising measures. Over 70% of the cost of petrol and diesel consists of Excise Duty and VAT, therefore as prices increase so too does the British Exchequer's tax take. The British Government needs to take action to minimise the effects of increasing oil prices by freezing or reducing the level of taxes applied to petrol and diesel.

“Action also needs to be taken to ensure that when the world price of crude oil falls that the reduction is passed on to consumers as rapidly as increases are imposed.

“It must be recognised that increased fuel prices not only affects motorists but has a knock-on affect on transport and business costs which are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of increased price of goods and services.”

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Sinn Féin MP, MLA for West Belfast Paul Maskey has slammed the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, for his response to a question posed to the Minister      asking him to state his position on the transfer of fiscal powers to the Assembly.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

“When asked for his position regarding the transfer of fiscal powers to the Assembly from Westminster the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, flippantly dealt with the issue by stating that he doesn't want to see it happen as he is a unionist. This is completely unacceptable.

“How can anyone have any confidence in Sammy Wilson to deliver a reduction in corporation tax or any other powers when this is his position. On a week when the North of Ireland is identified as having the highest diesel prices in Europe and the Assembly debated the regulation of the home heating oil industry’s spiraling prices this is the Finance Minister's response.

“Fiscal autonomy would place local politicians in a much stronger position to tackle the economic crisis head on. Instead  Mr Wilson would much prefer Westminster, the parliament that cut £4bn from the local budget to remain in charge of our financial future?” 

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA has called on Insurance Companies to explain the criteria used to arrive at the premiums charged for car insurance here and particularly when issuing policies through local Brokerage Agencies.

Conor Murphy said:

“I have been contacted by a number of constituents in recent weeks querying massive increases in premiums and the practice of Insurance Companies operating in the North of Ireland charging even more exorbitantly increased premiums if you deal through a local broker rather than directly with the Insurance Company.

“Not only do we pay excessively more for Insurance here than in Britain and elsewhere- sometimes up to 70% more - but it would now seem that if we decide to shop locally we are again penalised by being charged at times an additional 50% for purchasing Insurance through a local Broker.

“Constituents have told me that in the course of shopping around for the best price they have been quoted as much as £200 more by local brokers compared to what the main Insurance Company quotes direct for the same policy.

“When investigating how this could arise I have discovered that brokers only work on under 10% commission which exposes the fact that even allowing for the small remuneration received by the brokers the Insurance Companies are inflating the cost of insurance purchased locally by hundreds of pounds. How can companies justify identical Policies from the same Insurer costing hundreds of pounds more through a Broker? This additional premium goes directly to the Insuring Company not the Broker.

“Insurance costs are high enough here without this additional rip-off by Insurance Companies. I intend to contact the Office of Fair Trading with the view to having it investigated and recompense considered for those who have been victims of this unacceptable practice.

“Claims of legal costs, personal injury settlements etc, being higher here made by Insurance Companies to justify higher premiums do not explain or justify this type of rip-off pricing practice.

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Community and Local Government Brian Stanley TD has said the public will not be bribed by the government’s reduced septic tank registration charge. Deputy Stanley said Minister for Environment Phil Hogan must ensure that the upgrading of septic tanks will be fully paid for by the state.

Speaking today Deputy Stanley said:

“The government must stop playing mind games with the registration cost. The registration fee, regardless of cost, is not the biggest concern for families. The key issue is the standard against which their tanks will be assessed and the cost of upgrading.

“The minister has moved the goal posts on several occasions. The appeals process was to cost €200 now it is reduced to €20 while the registration is now a once off €5. All these changes, while welcome, were brought about by public pressure. But the core issues for the public are the funding of upgrades and the standards.

“The current situation is farcical. We have legislation that demands the registration of septic tanks and the upgrading of these septic tanks but there are no standards to assess them by and no financial assistance for households to carry out the necessary work.

“The legislation as it stands is extremely punitive. It dictates that householders will be dragged through the courts and may be fined up to €5,000 if they cannot comply with these secret standards. This threatening behaviour by Minster Hogan is unacceptable and will be rejected by the public.

“Sinn Féin fully supports the protection of our water supply and the wider environment. But the government must stop luring the public into a false sense of security with their €5 bribe. Minister Hogan must announce, sooner rather than later, that full funding will be made available to households.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane has said that the issue of human trafficking needs to be addressed as more and more vulnerable people are finding themselves caught in what can only be described as modern day slavery.

Ms Ruane stated:

“Every day now we hear of more cases where vulnerable people are being abused and forced into lifestyles in order to finance criminal enterprises.

“Last week we heard about young males being forced to work in terrible conditions and we hear day and daily about young women forced into prostitution against their will.

“While I recognise the work that the PSNI and especially some of the women support groups have been involved in, it is important that more is done to highlight this abhorrent crime. 

“We also have examples of people being forced into domestic servitude, local enterprises or transported onward to other jurisdictions for similar purposes. 

“It is also important that we operate on an all Ireland basis to the prevention and detection of crime and the promotion of public safety is the right agenda for the Executive to be on.  One immediate action that could be taken immediately is the creation of an all Ireland sex offenders register.”

 “Sinn Féin has tabled a motion in the Assembly to highlight this vile trade in order to maintain a focus on bringing it to an end.”

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Peadar Tóibín, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has called on the government to act to secure the rights of workers at Galway Regional Airport who are engaged in a sit-in to secure their full redundancy packages.

Deputy Tóibín said Transport Minister Leo Varadkar’s decision to reduce support for regional airports undermined the business case for Galway airport and put jobs at risk.

He said:

“Yet again we have a dispute with workers forced into a sit-in in order to secure their rights to redundancy.

“It appears that despite workers having preferential status as creditors, the Bank of Ireland, of which the government is a major share-holder, moved to secure its loans leaving the workers without their full redundancy package.

“It should be remembered that this airport is a vital part of the regional infrastructure.

“The decision by Leo Varadkar to reduce support to regional airports further undermined the business case for the airport ultimately leading to its closure.

“It is imperative that the government acts to secure the rights of workers and to invest to secure and create jobs across the state.” ENDS

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The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the environment, community and local government Brian Stanley TD has called on the government to make funds available to assist families in upgrading their septic tanks.

Speaking ahead of a series of public meetings in Laois and Offaly Deputy Stanley said:

“The government must come out with a clear indication that any upgrading of household septic tanks will be fully funded by the Department of Environment. Anything less is unacceptable.

“By failing to comply with EEC/EU directives dating back to 1975, consecutive governments have failed both the public and the environment. It is only with the threat of EU fines that this government responded with bully boy legislation which is heavy on punishment but light on supports. It is grossly unfair to expect rural households to foot the bill for years of government incompetence.

 
“Sinn Féin fully supports protecting our water supply and the wider environment. But the government must announce, sooner rather than later, that proper funding will be made available to households. This funding must fully cover any upgrading required to comply with new septic tank standards.

“The current situation is farcical. We have legislation that demands the registration of septic tanks and the upgrading of these septic tanks but no standards to assess them by and no financial assistance for households to carry out the necessary work.


“Sinn Féin will not be calling for householders to register their septic tanks until the standards are published by the government and until we are satisfied that this standards are fair and workable.”

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Responding to Health Minister James Reilly’s statement that elective surgeries may have to be delayed while the HSE adapts to the loss of staff in the mass retirements at the end of this month, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“Minister Reilly’s admission is an understatement. The loss of staff at the end of the month, combined with the ongoing recruitment embargo and the closure of hospital beds, mean that elective surgeries will be postponed in hospitals across this State.

“Last week Minister Reilly claimed there was a ‘dynamic contingency plan’ to address the staffing crisis caused by the mass retirements. Such a plan clearly does not exist. The loss of 3,700 staff from the public health services, as well as the other cuts involved in the €750 million slashing of the health budget in 2012, on top of the billion and half taken out of health spending in 2010 and 2011, will further devastate our healthcare system.

“The Government should lift the recruitment embargo and begin a programme to reopen closed hospital beds.” ENDS

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