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Sinn Féin in government will axe the water tax – Mary Lou McDonald TD

"Sinn Féin in government will reverse water charges. These charges will only cause further hardship for families already struggling to make ends meet."

Today, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD launched the party's vision for water services accompanied by both Brian Stanley TD and Cllr. Cathal King who is the Sinn Fein candidate for the upcoming by election in Dublin South-West.

Download the document here


“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams this afternoon met workers from the Vodafone call centre in Dundalk who have been told they are to be sacked by the multi-national mobile phone giant.

Last week Vodafone announced that it was to sack over 130 workers and move the jobs to India and Egypt.

Mr. Adams said:

“Vodafone is behaving in an unacceptable and arrogant way toward its Irish workforce.

“Its decision to secure an injunction to prevent the publication of a poster by the Union is a clear attempt to silence Irish workers who are determined to defend their jobs and their rights as workers.

“Vodafone made €120 million profit from its Irish investments last year and so far €2.2 billion here.

“I am awaiting a response from the Minister seeking information on how much public money Vodafone has secured in grants and incentives.

“Sinn Féin supports the workforce and calls on the government to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that the jobs of Vodafone workers are protected.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Padraig Mac Lochlainn has described as “deeply worrying” the comments of Jean Claude Trichet where he alluded to the possibility of the creation of an EU Finance Ministry which would have a veto over domestic economic policy.

Speaking from his constituency in Donegal North East Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“I am deeply worried about the comments made by Jean Claude Trichet where he alluded to the possible creation of an EU Finance Ministry which would have a veto over domestic economic policy.

“If this is the case, then what we are looking at is further erosion of our economic sovereignty by the EU. We already have a situation where the EU has to give the OK to our budget before it is implemented and our purse strings are held tightly by the ECB and IMF.

“I am calling on Mr. Trichet to make his intentions on this issue clear.”

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Sinn Féin’s Education spokesperson in the 26 counties, Seán Crowe TD, met today with the North’s recently appointed Minister for Education John O’Dowd, MLA, where they discussed ways to progress cross border cooperation between both jurisdictions.

Describing the meeting as ‘useful and productive’, Deputy Crowe said:

“At a time of economic crisis and with limited financial resources available it makes even more sense that our education systems on both sides of the border are cooperating and working together on a wide range of issues.

“Since 2001, 537 schools and 53 youth organisations benefitted from North/ South cooperative activity in education with millions in financial supports making a real difference to young people's lives.

“However we both agree that more must be done to tackle social disadvantage and inequality.

“Out of the 537 schools involved in North South cooperation over half were grammar or fee paying schools compared to just over a quarter that were second-level schools.

“One programme 'The Civic-Link' have attempted to bring schools and youth groups together on a cross border basis and it is one of a few Initiatives that has specifically targeted disadvantaged schools.

“Just as importantly, North-South exchange work needs to be firmly rooted in the curriculum and should be at the heart of the citizen curriculum in schools as a way of promoting interculturalism, breaking down distrust, and creating greater conditions for peace building, conflict resolution and the recognition and importance of human rights based approach to entitlements.

“In the past ten years, some good work has also been done, with progressive changes that if implemented could lead to reform of mathematics teaching and maths in the curriculum in both jurisdictions. This we feel is another area for joint working in the immediate future.

“The decision by both governments in 2001 to establish the Middletown Centre of Excellence for Autism, and which opened in 2007, is an example of what can be achieved by good cross border cooperation. The centre has a full training schedule for over 5,000 people, teachers, health professionals, voluntary sector workers and parents. The next logical step would be for this to be accompanied by the provision of accommodation so that the Middletown facilities are accessible to visitors from across the island.

“Greater efforts need to be made to bring more Primary and Special Needs schools into contact with their counterparts across the border. Innovations such as the establishment of the North South Education and Standards Committee (NSETS) must be built on and over the coming years.

"Today was was the first formal meeting between myself and my colleague, the new Northern Education Minister John O' Dowd.
"We are fully committed to prioritising these issues in both the Dáil and Assembly and have agreed to work towards greater coordination and cooperation that will hopefully lead to the enhancement of Education services both North and South.”

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Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD has released details of two major conferences the party is holding in Dublin and Cork to promote the objective of uniting Ireland.

The Dublin conference will be on Saturday 18 June in the Pillar Room at the Rotunda in Parnell Square and the second will be in Cork City Council Concert Hall on Saturday 25 June.

The Sinn Féin leader revealed that among those participating in the conferences will Brian Keenan, former Beirut hostage and Davy Adams, former UDP representative and Irish Times columnist.
They will participate in the ‘Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter’ section of the Dublin conference.

Others taking part in the conferences, all in an independent capacity, include economist, Dr John Bradley, formerly a research professor at the ESRI, Dr Pádraic White, former IDA managing director, who is also chairman of the Employers' Services Board West Belfast and Greater Shankhill. Other participants are: Michael Darcy, economist, GAA broadcasting legend Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Dr Ruan O’Donnell, historian, Ann Piggott, president Cork Council of Trades Unions and Fionnuala MacCurtain, the granddaughter of Tomás MacCurtain.

Deputy Adams said:

“Sinn Féin’s primary political goals are Irish reunification and the construction of a new national democracy on the island of Ireland, including reconciliation between nationalists and unionists.

“Sinn Féin is not alone in believing that uniting Ireland is desirable. The vast majority of citizens on this island, republicans and nationalist, support the goal of a united Ireland, but turning that aspiration into reality requires more than fine words.

“The Good Friday Agreement provides a legislative, peaceful and democratic route to achieve Irish unity.

“Partition is uneconomic. It holds back Ireland’s potential for economic growth. On an island this small it does not make sense to have two competing political systems, two health services, two education structures and two economic systems competing with each other for jobs and investment. Uniting Ireland makes political and economic sense, especially in a time of severe economic recession.

“Already, within the business community, there are many who accept the logic of an all-island economy or joined-up health services or agriculture. Sinn Féin is for shrinking the border and its adverse impact on the lives of citizens through practical co-operation and imaginative policies, including the full utilization of the all-island institutions that were created by the Good Friday Agreement.

“The people of this island, organised and working together, can overcome any obstacle and build a new and better society, based on equality, that works for everyone. And let us do it in our time.

“Advancing this requires republicans reaching out to and building a new relationship with unionists.

“Sinn Féin understands the importance of addressing the genuine fears and concerns of unionists in a meaningful way. We need to look at what they mean by their sense of Britishness and be willing to explore and to be open to new concepts.

“I believe that the unionist people can find their place in a new Ireland, a shared Ireland. For this to happen they must have equal ownership.

“It will be a place in which there is political, social, economic and cultural equality. An Ireland in which there will be respect for cultural diversity.

“Making this happen requires a new dialogue. We want to build a national representative democracy that is owned everyone on this island and to set out how we can reach this historic goal and create the conditions for a united Ireland.

“That’s the rationale behind the two Uniting Ireland conferences this month,” he concluded.

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Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North/Limerick Martin Ferris has called on Minister Richard Bruton not to go beyond the recommendations of the Duffy report on JLCs. He expressed his concern that having commissioned the report that the Government appears to have decided to go beyond its recommendations and seems intent to undermine the statutory protections for several hundred low paid workers.

Deputy Ferris said

“All the indications are that despite the consultations with the unions that Minister Bruton intends to introduce changes to the regulatory wage system that would in effect slash the incomes of tens of thousands of low paid workers. I would call on him not to go beyond the recommendations of the Duffy report. I would also hope that he does not proceed with the intention of the former Fianna Fáil government to introduce legislation that would allow employers to opt out of wage agreements on the basis of an ‘inability to pay’ clause.”

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Speaking regarding today’s announcement by Minister of State Dinny McGinley, Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said:

'This Government is again merely following the policy of the previous Government of allowing Údarás na Gaeltachta a slow, painful death if they do not provide the funding necessary to allow them to get on with their work, according to Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Although he welcomes the announcement today by Minister of State Dinny McGinley that the organisation is to be kept and that they be allowed to recruit a new Chief Executive, he is very critical that the Minister gave no indication that the necessary funding, outlined in a recent Indecon report, will be made available to the development authority to fulfill their obligations. 'There is no sense given them powers without a budget to implement them', he maintains.

The Senator is also worried that the ordinary people of the Gaeltacht will have no input in future into who represents them on the board of the organisation. 'The Board members are now to be nominated by the Local Authorities and the Government. Fine Gael and Labour promised us before the general election that they would not be continuing the type of cronyism that was the practice previously, but this decision shows that there is no difference between themselves and their predecessors in taking the power away from the ordinary people in favour of the bigger political parties and that is a very unwelcome development.

“The election could have been run in conjunction with one of the other elections or referenda and then it wouldn't have to cost that much. This is a feeble excuse from the Minister and the Gaeltacht community should make their dissatisfaction known to him”, says the Senator.

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Ag labhairt i nGaillimh inniú dúirt an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh:

“Níl an Rialtas seo ach ag leanúint leis an bpolasaí a bhí ag an gceann a chuaigh rompu bás, mall pianmhar a thabhairt d'Údarás na Gaeltachta muna gcuireann siad buiséad feiliúnach ar fáil dóibh lena gcuid oibre a dhéanamh”.

Cé go bhfáiltíonn sé roimh an fhógra a rinne an tAire Stáit Dinny McGinley inniu, go gcoinneofar an eagraíocht agus go mbeidh cead acu Príomhfheidhmeannach a cheapadh, tá sé an-cháinteach nach ndearnadh fógra go mbeidh soláthar cuí dhá chur ar fáil dóibh le fostaíocht a chaomhnú gan trácht ar phoist nua a chruthú, mar a moladh i dtuarascáil Indecon.

'Thosaigh meath Údarás na Gaeltachta roinnt blianta siar, i lár an 'boom' nuair a thosaigh an tiar Aire Ó Cuív ag laghdú buiséad an Údaráis go mór, gach bliain. Níor tháinig siad as ariamh agus is léir anois go bhfuil Fine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre ag leanúint den chleachtas sin gan an maoiniú atá molta a thabhairt don eagraíocht lena gcuid dualgais a chomhlíonadh. Níl aon mhaith cumhachtaí gan buiséad”, deir sé.


Tá imní ar an Seanadóir chomh maith nach mbeidh deis feasta ag pobal na Gaeltachta daoine a roghnú le seasamh ar a son ar Bhord an Údaráis.

“Beidh an Bord anois ainmnithe ag na hÚdaráis Áitiúla agus ag an Rialtas gan glór ar bith a thabhairt don chosmhuintir. Gheall Fine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre roimh an olltoghchán nach mbeidís ag dul don 'cronyism' ach is léir leis an gcinneadh seo go bhfuil siad chomh dona leis an Rialtas a chuaigh rompu agus iad ag baint cumhacht as lámha na gnáth dhaoine ar son leas na bpáirtithe móra polaitíochta agus is droch rud é sin. D'fhéadfadh an toghchán a bheith rite an t-am céanna le toghchán nó reifreann éigin eile agus ní bheadh gá dul i gcostas ró-mhór leis. Níl anseo ach leithscéal ag an Aire Stáit agus ba chóir don phobal a míshástacht a léiriú dó”, a deir an Seanadóir.

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SinnFéin Vice-Chair of the Assembly Justice committee Raymond McCartney MLA (Foyle) has called for the agreement reached between prisoners and the Prison administration to be implemented in full as a matter of urgency.

Speaking today Mr McCartney said:

“There are continuing concerns about the treatment of prisoners being held in Maghaberry with allegations of prisoners being mistreated by prison staff.

“It is important that prisoners rights are protected and that human rights are to the fore of the prison regime.

“Carál Ní Chuilín and myself have met with senior Prison management on numerous occasions to outline our ongoing concerns about the situation in Roe House and in relation to the Prison system overall.

“During that process an agreement was reached between the prisoners and the Prison Administration. This agreement needs to be implemented in full as a matter of urgency.

"I will be pressing the Prison administration and the Justice Minister on the mater to ensure that this is done. The situation cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further and a resolution must be forthcoming without further delay.” CRÍOCH

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Education Minister John O’Dowd has held his first meeting with Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills in the south of Ireland.


The meeting in Dublin provided an opportunity for the Ministers to discuss issues of mutual interest including the joint work being carried out to improve literacy and numeracy standards, as well as looking ahead to possible further areas of collaboration.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr O’Dowd said: "Today provided me with a useful early opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest with Minister Quinn.

"Much work has been carried out in recent years on an all-Ireland basis in the education sector and we took the opportunity to discuss some of the constructive work that has already begun. The need to raise literacy and numeracy standards, for example, is a challenge we face across the island. Both departments have engaged constructively on this issue – joint events have been held to share best practice and the two Inspectorates published a joint report last year to highlight and promote successful approaches to dealing with this challenge.

"Raising literacy and numeracy levels is a key priority for North-South co-operation and Minister Quinn and I will continue to focus on work to improve educational outcomes, particularly where there is persistent underachievement within the system, and help young people develop the skills we need for our economy."

As part of the commitment to working on areas of mutual benefit, both departments had already agreed to a comprehensive study on North South co-operation in the education sector. The aim of the study is to appraise the key patterns of historical co-operation in the education sector and to consider areas of future collaboration between both departments, within the current economic climate.

Mr O’Dowd continued: "Both departments have received a draft copy of Part 1 of the report which describes the excellent work that has been done by education bodies, schools and youth organisations north and south. We need to build on that, for the benefit of all our children and young people and for our economies.

"Minister Quinn and I discussed the scope for Part 2 of the study, which will be a joint action plan and agreed that our respective departments will work closely to identify areas with the potential for future practical co-operation."

Videos

Peace and Reconciliation discussed at Féile


Photos

Mary Lou McDonald TD