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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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Sinn Féin spokesperson on European affairs Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has condemned comments attributed to EU Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger as reported in the online edition of the German newspaper, Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel reported comments from Commissioner Oettinger suggesting that "deficit sinners" such as Ireland should have their national flags flown at half mast outside EU buildings "as a detterent".

Deputy Mac Lochlainn has written a letter of protest to the EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, demanding an apology from Commissioner Oettinger.

He said:

“This is an outrageous proposition for anyone to make, but for an EU Commissioner to have made it is truly shocking and an insult to the Irish people. At a time when the EU’s fundamental principle of solidarity is being questioned daily, these sort of comments really are disgraceful.

“I have written to the EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, reminding him that the real deficit crisis in Ireland was caused by private banking debt being passed on to the Irish people and now incorporated into our sovereign debt. This move clearly benefitted the banking sector in the core European countries and in turn the economies of these countries.

“I am demanding that Commissioner Oettinger immediately apologise for his irresponsible and hurtful comments.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing, Dessie Ellis TD, has said that comments by Environment Minister Phil Hogan that he is unhappy with NAMA’s failure to house people as “hypocritical and useless”.

Deputy Ellis called for the government to use its influence and demand a social dividend from the agency.

Deputy Ellis continued:

“People are really struggling and we have huge waiting lists for housing across the country, especially in Dublin. The government is forking out over half a billion euro a year in Rent Supplement and the RAS scheme which is supplementing landlords but not providing long-term sustainable housing solutions.

“Some developers who abandoned lucrative social housing regeneration projects are now being supported by NAMA, but those who have been left in terrible housing conditions unfit for human habitation are only to be comforted with useless words from Phil Hogan.

“NAMA has been allowed a free reign so far by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition with very little asked of them in regard to their social responsibilities.

“Minister Hogan’s comments are entirely useless. If the minister is really serious about tackling the housing crisis he should step up and make sure that NAMA becomes a positive influence. He needs to demand a social dividend from the agency instead of the current setup where it has been only interested in serving developers who were central to the collapse of the economy.”

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The Sinn Féin Leinster House team meets today (Tuesday 13 September 2011) in Dublin, in advance of the new Dáil and Seanad terms, in buoyant mood after the party’s very successful ard fheis in Belfast last weekend.

The party president, Gerry Adams TD, said:

“The Euro is in deep crisis and the people have a right to know what the government is going to do,” he said. “If the government has a plan, it should be brought to the Dáil for discussion.”

“The coalition government is implementing Fianna Fáil’s failed economic policies,” Deputy Adams said. “I believe that the government is sleepwalking into this crisis and is even prepared to hand over fiscal powers to the EU/IMF.

“Despite pre-election promises, its spokespeople have already predicted more austerity, more cuts in the December budget and so, more pain for vulnerable people who should be the last to suffer for the sins of the rich elite who brought this crisis on us.

“As the party reiterated at the ard fheis, we take our role as defenders of working people very seriously. The government’s record of burdening the ordinary citizens of this state with the brunt of the economic crisis and breaking every election promise made to protect the most vulnerable, means that we have to be a strong opposition.

“We have strong, viable alternative policies and we intend to put them forward at every opportunity,” he said.

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Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on policing has reiterated calls for Al Hutchinson to leave his office immediately.

The call follows a meeting with a cross section of bereaved families who are all awaiting the release of investigation reports by the office of the Police Ombudsman.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

“The rights of victims must be paramount. In the meeting with bereaved families today, Sinn Féin reiterated our firm commitment to help support them.

“Many of those who attended today’s meeting stated their substantial concerns with the conduct of the Police Ombudsman. It is abundantly clear that Al Hutchinson does not command the confidence of these families, and many others.

“Last week, before the Assembly Justice Committee, Al Hutchinson admitted that damage had been done to the Office of the Ombudsman. Al Hutchinson carries full responsibility for this unprecedented damage. 

“This society clearly requires an independent and effective Police Ombudsman to safeguard their rights and secure their confidence in the new beginning to policing.

“Sinn Féin discussed with the families ways in which politcal parties and elected representatives could assist. The sooner Al Hutchinson leaves the sooner we can repair the damage done to the reputation of this office.”

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Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún MEP today supported, in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, proposals to improve the situation of women approaching retirement age.

de Brún stated, "Not surprisingly, equal pay for equal work and the situation of pensions for older women plays a big part in the proposals we voted through today.It will be particularly important that disadvantage in the labour market does not lead to marginalisation and poverty in later years. Older women are consistently at a higher risk than their male counterparts of poverty, isolation and social exclusion. Changes must be made now to protect these women.

"Many women have spent their lives experiencing; shorter or interrupted careers due to childbirth or caring for others, an increased occurrence of part-time work compared with men and a persistent and significant gender pay gap. For many years in Ireland women were also forced to leave public service employment when they married. Many women are now facing a retirement which pays no respect to the valuable contributions they have made to society throughout their lives.

"We must ensure that older women aren't penalised in their pension entitlements.

"I am also glad to see that the European Parliament has today recognised that older women provide vital support to the community as advisers in work matters, bearing in mind their professional experience"

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane will meet the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton today, to discuss job losses at Talk Talk in Waterford.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Senator Cullinane said that it is vitally important that we get action.

He said the job losses have dealt a staggering blow to Waterford and that people are demanding the government act to protect and save jobs.

Senator Cullinane said:

“I welcome Minister Bruton to Waterford. I hope that this is not just another visit or another meeting. I hope the minister is here to listen and to act. Waterford is reeling from job losses.

“We need the government to act on their election promises and protect and create jobs.

“We need the enterprise agencies to be given the resources and power to create jobs in the city, county and the region. We need innovators and entrepreneurs to be given the tools to start up new businesses. The small to medium and indigenous business sector will be the bedrock of economic recovery. This will only happen if the supports are in place.

“We need Waterford Institute of Technology to be designated as a university in the Southeast. Only a fully fledged, funded and autonomous university will do. Waterford must not be put into the second tier of university provision.”

“We expect the government to protect and assist those who lost their jobs. Like tens of thousands of others across the state these people have families to provide for and mortgages to pay. Now more then ever they need the state to come to their rescue. It is time for the government to support Irish people and not international bondholders.”

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Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry/Armagh) calling for a new focus on job creation said:

“It is now common currency among commentators, analysts and many leading world economists, that the austerity measures being implemented by governments cannot adequately address the economic crisis in which we find ourselves.

“Even a cursory examination of the economic policies being followed by the British and Irish governments which directly impact on the lives of every citizen on this island will show that the only sector that is expanding rapidly is the unemployed.

“The unemployment register, North and South is increasing on a daily basis as a direct result of government policies. Of course the unemployment register does not reflect the full extent of job losses. It does not include the thousands who choose to emigrate - taking with them their knowledge, skills and experience.

“Whilst it is recognised that governmental waste and duplication must be eliminated, the unmanaged and ill-informed slashing of spending on public services, motivated simply by budgetary requirements makes no contribution to economic recovery.

“While an individual Minister may be able to claim a reduction in departmental spending, it must also be recognised that if the action taken results in further unemployment then in real terms how much was actually saved?Every person signing on the unemployment register is one more who is dependent on Social Benefits and can no longer contribute to the Exchequer by way of income taxes. Unemployment also reduces spending power in the local economy and puts the job security of others at risk because spending on goods and services suffer.

“Unemployment is not working! It is time for a realistic jobs strategy that will focus on securing existing and creating new jobs particularly in the SME sector by offering incentives through tax credits, up skilling and retraining grants to encourage employers to take initiatives to reduce the local unemployment register. Much of the investment in this strategy could be achieved through a rigorous examination of Departmental spending to identify and eliminate waste and duplication. Better collaboration between Departments on an all-Ireland basis and joint delivery of goods and services is another area that should be explored in an effort to identify areas where both administrations would realise financial saving.

“Savings could then be redirected into a jobs strategy that would secure existing jobs, create new opportunities, increase tax revenue and encourage spending in the local economy, further increasing job prospects. We must reverse the present course being adopted by both governments.

“Unemployment is not working – there is a better way!” Críoch

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