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Gerry Adams launches Sinn Féin proposals for 1916 Revolutionary Quarter

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that 2016, the 1916 Centenary is marked in the most appropriate way possible, as a fitting popular acknowledgement of the past but also, and just as importantly, as a pointer to a better future.

Sinn Féin is not opposed to sensible welfare reforms. We are opposed to the agenda, which seeks to make the most vulnerable and ordinary working families pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers


 “The PSNI were on the scene but despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the PSNI failed to take any action.”



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Education Minister John O’Dowd returned to his old primary school in Laurencetown today.

During the visit to St Colman’s Bann Primary School, the Minister met with pupils as well as both current and retired members of staff. He also had the opportunity to meet two of his former teachers and an old classmate who is now on the school’s Board of Governors.

He said: “It’s great to be back in St Colman’s Bann Primary School. The school has a proud history of providing quality education for children in Laurencetown and the surrounding areas for many, many years. In fact, the school either as St Colman’s, or, as it was previously known, the Bann Primary School, has had a central role in the local community for over a hundred years.

“I personally am very proud of my connection with the school and my visit has brought back many happy memories.”

The Minister continued: “As well as providing a high level of education at Key Stage 1 and 2, St Colman’s also places emphasis on the important role of sport and music in a child’s development. The school participates in the GAA strand of my Department’s Primary Sports Programme. This is a great way of encouraging children to embrace physical exercise and I hope the pupils here are enjoying being part of this great programme.

“I know that you have particularly strong links with the Tullylish club, with many pupils being members of the club and playing for the underage teams. That would have been my local club growing up and I hope that I will have the opportunity in the future to see some of you in the famous yellow and blue jerseys.

“Musical talent is also strongly encouraged at St Colman’s Bann Primary School. As well as a school choir and tin whistle group there are also key stage 2 children learning to play violin, cello and double bass with support from the Southern Education and Library Board music service tutors. I was lucky enough to experience some of that musical talent for myself today through the performance by the school choir and I commend all those involved in that and the various other musical activities.”

The Minister concluded: “Finally, on a personal note I would like to thank St Colman’s Bann Primary School and all those present today who had a role in my education. I hope that the current pupils enjoy their time here as much as I did.”

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Sinn Féin Belfast City Councillor Conor Maskey has expressed his concerns with regards to the planned British army homecoming parade in the Kings Hall.

 

Speaking today Cllr Maskey said:

 

“Only weeks before the election campaign the DUP in an attempt to draw in votes cynically proposed a British army homecoming parade for Belfast city centre.This was roundly rejected, even by the British MOD, and Sinn Féin were very clear that the Council should not divert any resources towards facilitating this.

 

“The British army are engaged in illegal wars in Afganistan and Iraq, and beyond this the hurt they have caused in Ireland is well documented. There are many victims of the British army, UDR and RIR, victims of collusion, intimidation, shoot to kill, torture and state murder.

 

“We now have a situation that there will be a homecoming parade at the Kings Hall. We are concerned given that the last British army march in Belfast witnessed the UDA and UVF mobilising and supporters of the march attacking peaceful protestors with bricks, bottles, bolts and fireworks.Is this now to be visited upon a mixed area of Balmoral?

 

“Lets be clear, Belfast does not need this event, the division that it will cause nor the cost to host the event foisted upon it.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that the Orange Order has shown its true colours by bringing disciplinary proceedings against Ulster Unionists Tom Elliott and Danny Kennedy for attending the funeral mass of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr.

Mr Kelly said:

“By having these anti-Catholic rules the Orange Order is showing that it is clearly a sectarian organisation. Attempts by the Orange Order to rebrand itself as a cultural organisation are completely discredited while they retain sectarian rules.

“Maybe some people not affected by Orange marches will now get a sense of why Catholic/Nationalist communities object to this organisation coat-trailing its way through their areas.

“On the one hand the Orange Order claims to be for religious freedom yet on the other they continue with sectarian rules in their organisation which prevent its members from mixing with those of a different faith.

“They can’t have it both ways. It’s time for the Orange Order to move into the 21st century and dump its sectarian baggage.”

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Speaking in the Seanad today (Wednesday 14 September 2011) Sinn Féin’s Senator David Cullinane, demanded that the government adopt a new approach to the economy.

Speaking on the Order of Business, Senator Cullinane said:

“The news in recent days has highlighted the lunacy of the government’s approach.

“I'm sure senators are aware of the loss of 575 jobs in Talk Talk in Waterford, as well as the potential loss of 125 jobs in Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta and many more around the country.

“These jobs losses come at a time when some €17 billion has gone in to the banks over the summer.

“It's ironic that at a time when the government is nationalising debt and privatising state assets, it seems to be more interested in bailing out the banks than the people.

“I have received phone calls in recent weeks from many people who are finding it impossible to manage because they haven't received the back to school allowance, or who have had their household benefits cut and are finding it hard to heat their homes.

“Cutting social welfare and punishing the poor will not work. Austerity is not working and the jobs initiative has proven inefective. The government would be better advised to use the money it is putting in to the banks to initiate a stimulus and to create jobs.”

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Commenting on the exchange that is to take place this evening between Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and George Papandreou, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that the continued policy of France and Germany unilaterally deciding the future of the eurozone had to be challenged.

Deputy Doherty criticised the Irish government's acceptance of being made to sit on the sidelines and queried whether Fine Gael and Labour have any view on matters in Europe.

Doherty said:

“There is widespread speculation that officials in Brussels and Greece are preparing for a default on Greece’s debts. Commentators are speculating that the exposure of French banks to Greek debt will drag one of the Eurozone's largest economies into the heart of the crisis.

“This all confirms what Sinn Féin has been saying for some time. The debt burden of countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland is simply unsustainable. Even with all the savage cuts to public spending it is clear that the approach taken by political leaders across the EU is not working. We argue that for debt levels to be sustainable, banks must shoulder their share of the burden. This will require an orderly default on portions of toxic private banking debt.

“It is not acceptable for France and Germany to continue to deal with this situation unilaterally. It is ridiculous for other countries in the eurozone, in surplus or in debt to be sitting on the sidelines waiting for this crisis to be resolved by two political heads of state. The ECB, the Commission and all the political leaders must bring about a united solution to this crisis and Sinn Féin has made it clear what we think that should be - a write down of debt, a restructuring of remaining burden, stimulus packages and fair deficit reduction programmes.

“Rather than make this point, the Irish government is content to sit on the sidelines awaiting instructions from Merkel and Sarkozy. While Fine Gael and Labour strive to maintain their 'best in the class' reputation, the Greek government is pushing European leaders to reconsider its programme. Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have all said in recent times that 'Europe must show leadership'. Surely it is our own leaders who should be showing leadership for Ireland. I query whether these parties have any view on a European solution or are just happy to be told what to do.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor Lynn Fleming has called for the retraction of all death threats issued by pseudo gangs in recent weeks against a number of men in Derry. A further six men from the Top of the Hill area received similar threats last night.

Councillor Fleming said

“Six local men have been informed that their lives are now under threat and that they must now leave the area. This follows similar  threats being issued against a number of people from the Top of the Hill and Curryneirn over the past few weeks.

"There has also been a number of incidents in which guns have been used. On Monday night two armed and masked men entered a house in Tamneymore and threatened the occupants.

"Local people are very frightened and concerned about where all this is going to end up.

"I can’t understate the seriousness of this situation and I condemn whoever is behind these latest death threats. The local community are entitled to an explanation from these people as to who exactly they claim to represent and who gave them the authority to intimidate our community. You represent no one and you should cease your anti-community actions immediately and lift these unjustifiable death threats against Derry citizens.

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on Policing, has said that revelations that important documentation and evidence from files in Gough Barracks, has been destroyed on the pretext of asbestos contamination requires further explanation from the PSNI.

 

Mr Kelly said:

 

"It is now well-documented that the RUC tried to cover-up the role of its agents and their Special Branch handlers and controllers in the killings of many citizens. The fact that the PSNI have now revealed that important files previously held in Gough Barracks in Armagh had been destroyed by the RUC as the result of a policy-decision is deeply alarming.

 

“Indeed Sinn Féin have already been contacted by families this morning angry at this revelation and I will be raising that matter at a Policing Board meeting tomorrow. So far the PSNI stance raises more questions than answers. The Chief Constable needs to tell families who took this decision to destroy important files and how this procedure was conducted.

 

"Most people will find it inexplicable how in 1998 the RUC were unable to retain paperwork, supposedly on grounds of asbestos contamination, whenever 5 years later, in 2003, the PSNI was still able to detain people in the very same barracks with no such concerns.

 

"The onus to disclose information now rests on the PSNI. As a result of an important legal victory by families and their advocates, the conduct of inquests in compliance with Article 2 of the European Court of Human Rights will require full disclosure from the PSNI and others. Sinn Féin has already raised this important obligation at the Policing Board. In light of these latest revelations, we will be liaising with families and their representatives and pursuing this matter further."

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