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Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people

Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



“HAP is not a solution and if the government succeeds in passing it into law, it will have wide ranging negative effects on the future of housing in Ireland and our ability to tackle housing need in the years to come.”



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Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Health Committee, Sue Ramsey, has joined protesters today on the steps of Stormont’s parliament buildings to highlight the danger of cuts to the special needs schools' music budget.

Speaking today Ms Ramsey said:

“I am happy to stand here today with what are a very talented group of people who just love to play music. They look forward to their lessons, and using the whatever instruments they can get their hands on.

“However the reality is that the benefit of music as a means to help with special needs education cannot be underestimated and there cannot be any cuts to this programme.

“I would urge the Minister to seek the adequate funding for music therapy and education within this sector. While he buries his head in the sand a calls incessantly for more money instead of being creative with his budget it is schemes like this that suffer.” 

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de Brún said, 'It is wonderful to see such a fantastic and innovative approach being pioneered here in Newry. The Low Carbon City Group's work to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy includes important work on an energy audit and carbon mapping carried out with help from DEL under the Innovation Fund.
 
"The many impressive steps taken by the group will place Newry as an exemplar city on the world stage for sustainable practice. They have drawn inspiration from the significant progress made on a cross-border basis between Newry and Mourne Council and Louth Council. They have benefited particularly from being observers in the EU CONCERTO programme with Dundalk, Mödling in Austria and Neuchatel in Switzerland.
 

'It is essential to continue this excellent cross-border and wider international work, sharing best practice and promoting efforts to achieve a sustainable low-carbon future'

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Sinn Féin representative for East Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has slammed those responsible for a second sectarian attack within a week on St Mathews chapel in the Short Strand.

Speaking this morning Mr Ó Donnghaile said:

“This attack is deplorable. It comes only days after an earlier attack on the chapel which caused considerable damage. Parishioners going to mass on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, arrived to see red, white a blue paint daubed on the chapel.

“Those behind the attacks are a minority within their community and representatives from throughout East Belfast have been proactive in making it very clear that nobody, whatever side of the interface the live on, want or support these attacks.

“Again, today, we are echoing that call. Whoever is responsible needs to brought to justice and I would call for anyone with information to bring it to the PSNI.”

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Speaking as the Sinn Féin TDs arrived at Leinster House for the first meeting of the new Dáil today Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the Fine Gael/Labour Party Programme for Government represents more of the same failed policies which were just rejected by the electorate.

Deputy Adams said Sinn Féin will provide strong and effective opposition to the new Government.

He said:

“Sinn Féin is entering this Dáil with an enhanced mandate and in greater numbers. We will provide stoic and determined opposition in the Dáil.

“The policies brought forward by Fine Gael and Labour in their Programme for Government represent more of the same, a continuation of the policies of the previous Fianna Fáil led Government which were roundly rejected in the election.

“Sinn Féin will put forward realistic proposals in this Dáil to deal with the current economic mess, to create jobs and to protect public services.

“We will provide strong and effective opposition to the new Government.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Dublin Mid West Representative Eoin Ó Broin has called on Labour Party TD Joanna Tuffy to commit to opposing public sector job cuts, sale of state assets and increases in university fees when they come in front of the Dáil. The call comes after Deputy Tuffy opposed the proposed Fine Gael-Labour Programme for Government at the Labour Party conference last Sunday over concerns on these three issues.

Ó Broin said:

"I welcome Joanna Tuffy TDs opposition to the Fine Gael-Labour Programme for Government. Like many people I share her concern that the programme will be bad for public sector workers, public services and students.

"The Programme commits the Labour Party to implementing the Fianna Fáil four year austerity plan, including €6 billion of cuts this year and €3 billion of cuts next year. It also commits the Labour Party to the EU/IMF bank bailout which will see billions of tax payer’s money being poured into toxic banks including Anglo Irish.

"There is no relief in the Programme for families crippled by the Universal Social Charge or the 2010 cuts to social welfare cuts. Nor is there any meaningful investment in or targets for job creation. The only jobs target is a commitment to cut up to 25,000 jobs from the public sector.

"All of this means that the policies of the incoming government will be the same as the outgoing government, despite promises of change by Labour during the election campaign.

"However the real test for Deputy Tuffy is not whether she opposed the Programme for Government at an internal Labour Party conference but what she does with her vote on the floor of the Dáil.

"I am challenging her today to state publically if she will match her talk with action and commit to voting against any reduction in public sector numbers, cuts to front line public services, sale of strategically important state assets and any increase in charges or fees to university students if and when these matters come to the floor of the Dáil." ENDS

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Sinn Féin’s team of TDs, led by Gerry Adams TD, will arrive at Leinster House at 11am this morning for the first day of business in the 31st Dáil.

The team will walk up Molesworth Street with family, friends and supporters.

Deputy Adams will address the media at the gates of Leinster House at 11am.

For more information contact Shaun Tracey on 087773521 or Kaniah Cusack on 0879002088

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Sinn Fein Economy spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin, commenting on SDLP statement of intent to vote against the Executive Budget, has said:

“The SDLP have failed once again to produce an alternative costed Budget to replace the fully costed Executive Budget they are set to vote against.

“Sound bite economics will not produce one penny for public services or stimulate the economy

“The SDLP amendment, at this eleventh hour, is cynical soundbite politics designed to put narrow party politics above the needs of all in our community. “

“What was required from the SDLP and the UUP was a credible alternative to the Executive Budget, which they have thus far failed to produce.

“The SDLP or the UUP have not put forward one single proposal to the Executive group dealing with the Budget.”

“Sinn Féin set out our opposition to Tory Cuts and more importantly our alternative to them by identifying ways to promote economic growth and deliver public services in our economic paper released in October 2010.

“That paper identified potential savings and revenue raising mechanism which would release £1.6 billion of additional money to the public sector.

“Despite repeated calls by other parties including the SDLP to set a budget based solely on Tory cuts we consistently advocated the need for additional revenue to be added to the Block Grant.

“We have been successful in that task.

“As a direct result of Sinn Féin’s work and working together with parties willing to engage, the Executive Budget has now an additional £1.5 Billion .

“The SDLP and UUP are set to vote against a budget that includes an additional £1.5 Billion for Health, Education, Housing, and the Economy.”

“Not one penny has been produced by those parties shouting from the sidelines.

Concluding Mr Mc Laughlin said:

“The SDLP and the UUP position does not stand up to scrutiny. The amendment tabled to the Budget is too little to late. The only financial commitment made by the proposer’s is to take £80m off the most disadvantaged in society.

“Attacking the disadvantaged is not opposing Tory cuts, it is implementing Tory policy. ENDS

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Sinn Féin TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Sandra McLellan today announced that women’s rights will be a priority for their party in the new Dáil. Deputies McDonald and McLellan were launching five priorities for Sinn Féin in the new Dáil to mark International Women’s Day.

Speaking at Leinster House Ms McDonald said:

“On the centenary of International Women’s Day, Sinn Féin is entering the 31st Dáil with a strengthened mandate – a mandate for fairness, a mandate for justice and a mandate for equality.

“Today we are outlining Sinn Féin’s priorities for the next Dáil that will aim to redress the inequalities and barriers being faced by women right across this State. It is very clear that inequality is as real and rampant as ever and must be tackled head-on by all in power.

“We must place the issue of gender equality in a wider context not least in terms of pay parity but in terms of protecting and reinstating services availed of by women.

“Despite making progress in terms of equality, women still earn 17% less than men in this State. Sinn Féin will advocate for a new equal pay framework that makes clear the obligations on public and private employers to tackle unequal pay, which allows for women to take representative action and which includes robust equal pay auditing obligations and increases the powers and sanctions available to employment tribunals and regulatory bodies.

“Rising unemployment and social welfare cuts has meant growing poverty for women, especially for single parents. That is why Sinn Féin has called for the cuts in social welfare to be reversed and for child benefit payments to be protected.

“Attacks on childcare, refuges for women and other services have made it more difficult for women to escape domestic violence. We need to ensure that funding is restored and that the judicial system is reformed so that all victims of abuse are protected by the law.

“Publicly provided quality services such as childcare, healthcare and education, would give women a real choice over every aspect of their lives. As it stands, however, public services are being decimated and access to critical services is increasingly dependent on income. Public services should be for the benefit of all the people of the State equally – we need to remove all barriers to these services.

“Sinn Féin has been consistent in calling for universal childcare and for the end to the two-tier health system that have borne so many economic and social inequalities.” ENDS

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Spokesperson for the No Water Charges Campaign Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has condemned the incoming government's plan to introduce water charges. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the fact that water charges feature in the section of the programme for government entitled 'Fiscal Policy' speaks volumes.

He said:

“These charges are not about the environment instead they are about raising revenue in a highly regressive and unfair way.

“Despite Fine Gael’s claims during the election campaign that they were a low tax party, and Labour Party claims to defend the least well off in society, one of their first moves is to indicate their intention to introduce a regressive form of tax that will penalise those on low incomes the most.

“We now have the outrageous prospect of hundreds of millions of euro being spent on installing metres in every household while at the same time we have not fixed the antiquated water system that is loosing massive amounts of water every single day.

“The campaign against water charges – NoWaterCharges.ie – will be stepping up our activity over the coming weeks and months in an effort to halt the introduction of these unfair charges. We will be lobbying government and opposition TDs to put pressure on to have these plans scrapped.

“We understand that good clean water is expensive to produce and that exchequer finances are limited. That is why we support investment of progressively raised central taxation in works to eliminate wastage in the mains system and to encourage conservation at a household level.” ENDS

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Demand for Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled reiterated


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Michael Colreavy TD & Cllr Darren O'Rourke