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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 for Upper Bann John O’Dowd has raised concerns that the findings from the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry could be delayed until after the May 5th elections. The British Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, had initially stated that the report would be released by the end of April 2011.

Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said:

“There are concerns being raised that the inquiry into the murder of prominent human rights solicitor Rosemary Nelson could be delayed until after the May the 5th elections.

“My understanding is that Owen Patterson has requested that the Inquiry team retain the report until after the Assembly election. Given that the Assembly has no bearing on this report this appears to be yet another undue delay which is wholly unacceptable.

“Election or no election this report should be published at the end of April as was originally outlined and should not be delayed. The family of Ms Nelson should be allowed to see this report at the earliest date and it should then be released to the public"

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Sinn Féin MLA and housing spokesperson Fra McCann has welcomed the final stages of the Housing Bill coming to the Assembly.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

“I welcome the passage of this bill through this house today. As Sinn Féin members on the social development committee we argued that the bill did not go as far as it should have gone on a number of issues.

“In terms of providing protections within the private rented sector and tackling anti social behaviour we welcome the advances but more needs to be done some thing Sinn Fein members will pick up in the next mandate.

“For instance mandatory registration of the private rented sector is crucial for the protection of the many thousands of people who live in this sector which now provides more houses to the housing market than both the Housing Executive and Housing Associations combined.Up until now this sector has been totally unregulated.

“Sinn Féin brought two separate motions to the Assembly to deal with this and I am glad to see these issue dealt with.

"Also part of the bill is protection for tenants who pay deposits to a landlord. We in Sinn Féin have argued this point and hope this will assist people who have had their deposits with held.

“In terms of dealing with anti-social behaviour, damage to properties and the affect anti-social tenants have on local communities has been an ongoing issue and Sinn Féin also argued strongly for some time that we needed to review the anti social powers and how we could strengthen the hands of housing providers and the courts when dealing with anti social cases.

“We constantly need to look at how we deal with this issue; it has become the single biggest issue raised by our constituents.

“In all there are ongoing challenges to housing within the north that have long been outstanding problems that surfaced under direct rule. These will take continual monitoring and vigilance in order to provide first class housing provision.”

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North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA has this evening said;

I welcome today’s announcement that 200 social and affordable homes are to be built on the former Girdwood military site.

However, this is a repeat of an announcement made by Margaret Ritchie a considerable time ago, when she was DSD Minister. What people languishing on the housing waiting list in north Belfast really want to know, after eight years, is when exactly will construction on this site begin and finish.

The steering group for the regeneration of this site, which included the DUP, published a mission statement which put housing as a core requirement, alongside leisure, education and health facilities.

It is unfortunate that the DUP later reneged on this mission statement.

If Alex Attwood is not simply electioneering then we need to know when exactly the housing development at Girdwood will begin and be completed.” CRÍOCH

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Commenting as the last IMC Report is set to be published, Sinn Féin Assembly member and vice chair of the Justice Committee, Raymond McCartney said the excessive amounts of  public money wasted on the IMC should now be redirected to front line service and has further called for no golden handshake for members of the IMC.


Speaking today Mr McCartney said:


 “The IMC was established for no other reason to give political cover for anti-republican unionism and has proven to be a money spinner for those involved with vast amounts of public money, to the tune of millions, being wasted on this organisation.


“It has no basis to exist under the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement, had no role to play in the political process. and will not be missed.

“The amount of money invested in the quango should now be redirected into frontline services given the reality of current economic difficulties.


“Further to this there should be no further financial kick back for those involved in the body. Such a golden handshake cannot be justified given the amount of money the members of the IMC have already received.”  

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Foyle Sinn Féin Equality Spokesperson, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has welcomed a £12million Childcare funding package included in the Assembly Budget aimed at supporting existing provision of affordable childminding including start-up packages for new childminder projects.


Martina Anderson said:


“I co-sponsored a Sinn Féin motion in the Assembly in April 2010 which was accepted, expressing concern ‘at the lack of availability of affordable, quality childcare; and called on the Executive to implement a coherent and properly resourced childcare strategy’.
“I am pleased to see that this motion is finally being acted on. This announcement is therefore very welcome.


“I am acutely aware of the impact the lack of affordable childcare has on our communities. Report after report has identified it as the main barrier preventing parents – mostly mothers – from obtaining or returning to work or training.


“It has also been identified as a major cause of child poverty in the North of Ireland. Parents who can’t access childcare, can’t access employment and find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty from which there seems no escape.


“This £12million funding package will do much to alleviate many of the problems around affordable childminding provision.” ENDS

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Beidh Comhaltaí agus foireann Shinn Féin ag teacht le chéile Dé Chéadaoin 16ú Márta sa Tionól chun Seachtain na Gaeilge 2011 a cheiliúradh.

Tá an imeacht mar chuid de sraith a bhfuil eagraithe ag an pháirtí chun an ócáid speisialta seo a mharcáil.

Ag labhairt inniu dúirt Pat Sheehan CTR:

“Beidh Sinn Féin ag teacht le chéile, le pobal na Gaeilge, sa Tionól le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar Seachtain na Gaeilge 2011.

Tagann seo i ndiaidh imeacht den scoth i Halla na Cathrach Béal Feirste ar an Aoine, ina raibh daltaí scoile ó Bhunscoil Phobail Feirste agus Coláiste Feirste ag ceol, ag damhsa, ag díospóireacht agus ag foghlaim.

Beidh an ócáid Dé Céadaoin mar chuid de na himeachtaí seo agus tá muid ag dúil go mór le Gaeilgeoirí agus gníomhaithe teanga a fháiltiú anseo le Teanga agus Cultúr na nGael a cheiliúradh i dTionól s’acu.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin members and support staff with come together on Wednesday 16th March at an event in the Assembly to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge 2011.

The event is one in a series organised by the party to mark this important event.

Speaking in advance of the celebration Pat Sheehan MLA said;

“Sinn Féin will be joining the Irish speaking community at an event to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge this Wednesday at the Assembly.

It comes after a wonderful event held by the party at Belfast City Hall on Friday which saw pupils from Bunscoil Phobail Feirste and Coláiste Feirste come together in song, dance, debate and to learn all as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.

Our own event at the Assembly on Wednesday is another in these series of events and I look forward to welcoming Irish speakers and activists to their Assembly to mark this significant date for us.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his “deep sadness” at the news of the death of RTE journalist Gerald Barry.

Mr Adams said:

“Gerald Barry’s distinctive voice and incisive and probing interview style were sadly missing during the recent election campaign.

“Gerald was a thoughtful and fair journalist and broadcaster.

“His death is a deep loss to the world of journalism.

“I want to extend my sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”

ENDS

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Commenting on the Debt Relief Bill which is before the Assembly today west Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann said;


“Debt has become a major issue of concern for many people particularly given the current economic; In these times of increased financial difficulty, many low income households which are already living in poverty will feel the effect of debt most.


The recent Comprehensive Spending Review statement by the British Chancellor and the projected cuts in Welfare benefits and in public sector spending and resulting job losses will no doubt spiral even more of those who are most disadvantaged in society into even deeper debt.


Therefore this Bill has to be welcomed, however I am disappointed that we didn’t see an exceptional circumstances clause added at Clause 2 of the Bill, however I do welcome the ministers commitment to undertake a thorough review of the scheme.


The worry of Debt can have detrimental effects to peoples physical and emotional well being and I would appeal to anyone who is experiencing problems or needs advice on debt or other financial difficulties to contact organisations that can help.


Sinn Féin will continue to monitor the impact of this Bill in the certainty that those most vulnerable and in need of support are the ones who are being protected.” CRÍOCH

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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