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No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


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



Latest Statements

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Donegal South West Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has welcomed a commitment from the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to meet with Árainn Mhór fishermen who lost their livelihood in Monday night’s storm.

Deputy Doherty raised this issue directly with the Minister in the Dáil today.

Speaking afterwards he said:

“Monday night’s storm caused €150,000 worth of damage to fishermen’s equipment on Árainn Mhór Island, County Donegal. They have lost all their lobster pots.

“These same fishermen have already been banned from salmon fishing as a result of a disastrous decision by the previous Fianna Fáil led Government.

“And they are banned from fishing other stock as a result of a decision by the European Union and the State to close area 6A.

“These people need to be compensated in some way as they have lost their livelihood.

“There needs to be a specific approach within the department for dealing with smaller fishermen and the Minister agreed with me that this should be developed.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister will meet with the fishermen when he visits Killybegs next week.” ENDS

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Speaking on the first day of the 24th Seanad Sinn Féin’s new leader in the Seanad, Senator David Cullinane, has said he is proud to be part of an enlarged Sinn Féin Oireachtas team providing real and effective opposition and leadership.

Senator Cullinane said there is a need for real and genuine political reform and that the promises of the recent general election must be lived up to.

He said:

“I am very proud to stand here today as the leader of an enlarged Sinn Féin team in the Seanad and as part of enlarged Oireachtas team providing real and effective opposition and leadership.

“In the space of a few short weeks Sinn Féin has fought a number of elections North and South. The party now has one MEP, 5 MPs, 14 TDs 29 MLAs, 3 Senators, an Udarás member and hundreds of city, county and town councillors across the Island. We are truly an all-Ireland party.

“We will use our increased mandate wisely. We are here to do business and to be part of the solution to the real social, economic and political challenges facing this Island.

“The current economic oppression visited upon so many people by a corrupt and greedy political and economic system is unacceptable and needs to be robustly challenged.

“In the election for the 31st Dáil people voted for change. They voted against corruption, economic incompetence and the sell-out of their country. They were horrified as they watched the erosion of our sovereignty because of the greed of a certain political and social class.

“They voted in droves against the Government parties and for real change. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny described it as a ‘political revolution’.

“A revolution means profound and real change. The reality however is that there has been precious little change and only more of the same.

“I am conscious that this house will be subject to intense scrutiny by the public. There is a need for real and genuine political reform.

“Many promises were made during the recent election campaign – they must be delivered.

“However reform of the Seanad is not a panacea for real political reform. We need to reform the Dáil, the Seanad and Local Government as well as our electoral system.”

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry&Armagh) has called on the Irish government to take the lead in building the all-Ireland economy.

Conor Murphy said:

"The Irish government should take the lead in building an all-Ireland economy by drawing up proposals for cross border integration of commercial and social development. It should direct its energies and influences towards convincing the British government and unionist politicians that the future lies in economic policies specifically for the island of Ireland, detached from British Exchequer policies which are designed specifically for the fiscal stability of the island of Britain. If Irish economic development is to reach its full potential in a programmed and managed manner then what is required is co-operation and integrated planning between the Finance Ministers North and South.
"Members of both Irish and British governments at the highest level have in the past voiced the opinion that an island economy is in the long-term interests of all the people of Ireland.
"Sinn Féin believes that if we are to achieve genuine and sustainable economic recovery we cannot afford to delay in building solid foundations on which to progress. It would therefore be sensible and to the benefit of all the people on this island if public expenditure was planned and managed on an all-Ireland basis. Senior spokespersons from all the Irish political parties with the exception of unionists have publicly endorsed an island economy – in fact some senior unionists accept the concept also but qualify it by saying it must be on the basis of mutual benefit.
"I don’t believe that there could be a credible argument constructed in opposition to the mutual benefits and practicalities of development of infrastructural, economic, energy, educational, agricultural and social structures on an all-Ireland basis. It is not just nationalist political parties and representatives of British and Irish governments that have recognised the potential of a unitary approach. It has also been embraced by business organisations, trade unionists, economic commentators and educationalists throughout the island.
"Sinn Féin has long called for this approach and believes that there is a growing public concensus on the issue. If we are serious about sustainable economic recovery I would urge the Executive and the Irish government to collaborate in drawing up plans to put it into effect.
"Now that we have stable working political institutions in the North with locally elected politicians taking decisions there is no reason why they cannot do so in collaboration with their southern counterparts for the mutual benefit of all the people of this island. Integrated planning and spending can only be of benefit to all of the people of Ireland regardless of political affiliation. CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd is to meet with the Justice Minister David Ford to discuss the findings of the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry. In particular Mr O’Dowd wishes to raise the current status of civil servants and police officers directly criticised by the report.
Mr O’Dowd said:
“The Inquiry into the murder of Rosemary Nelson identified a number of senior NIO Civil Servants and senior RUC officers who clearly contributed either through omission or action to Rosemary’s brutal murder.
“The public need to hear answers from the Justice Minister about where these individuals are now.
“I will be seeking reassurance from the Minister David Ford firstly that the very significant failings indentified by the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry will never be repeated and secondly that those responsible are no longer in a position to repeat the disgraceful conduct outlined in the report.”

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Commenting on media reports criticising the appointment of former political prisoners as Special Political Advisers in Stormont, Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said:
“Almost half our Assembly team are former political prisoners. Many more ex-prisoners have played critical and positive roles in bringing the political process to where it is now and will continue to do so.
“It appears that Alban Maginess and Jim Allister have found common cause in proposing that former political prisoners should not have employment rights and do not have a valuable contribution to make.
“I would expect this from Jim Allister, but the SDLP are well aware of the contribution played for former political prisoners in the wider peace process and in communities over many years. It is obvious that former political prisoners have played a key role to date and will do in the future. No political opportunism will alter that reality.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has extended his sympathies to the family of murdered Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton from Buncrana whose 20th anniversary is today.

Mr. Adams said:

“In recent weeks there has been considerable focus on the issue of the Dublin and Monaghan bombs and the role of British security agencies in those attacks.

“Collusion between British state forces and unionist paramilitary organisations took many forms. Sometimes it was structured, institutionalised and a matter of British government policy and administrative practice and other times it was informal, opportunistic and sectarian.

“One of its victims was Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton who was shot and killed in his home 20 years ago today.

“I knew Eddie well. He was a very popular figure and elected representative in Buncrana. He was a dedicated republican activist who worked tirelessly as a councillor.

“The investigation carried out by the Gardai at the time was inadequate and Sinn Féin supports the family’s demand an independent public inquiry into Eddie’s murder.” ENDS

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Speaking following the formal announcement by Christine Legarde of her candidacy for the job of IMF Managing Director Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said “the interests of the Irish people would be best served by the government opposing Ms Legarde’s nomination.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“French Finance Minister Christine Legarde has today formally declared her candidacy for the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

“In recent months her approach, like that of the French government, has been particularly belligerent on the issue of Ireland’s corporation tax.

“She has also been particularly unhelpful in efforts by the Government to secure a reduction in the interest rate payments on the EU portion of the EU/IMF austerity loans.

“Most significantly she has been one of the key drivers of the EU’s austerity driven response to the growing Euro debt crisis, a response that has imposed enormous hardship on ordinary people in Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

“Irish and international economists, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, are increasingly of the view that these austerity policies are not only failing to resolve the Euro debt crisis, but are imposing enormous social and economic costs on ordinary people and damaging the prospects for economic recovery.

“In light of all of this it is not in Ireland’s interests or indeed the interests of the European Union for Christine Legarde to become the IMF chief.

“The Irish Government needs to stand up for the interests of ordinary people in Ireland, and indeed across the Eurozone, and oppose Ms Legarde’s nomination.

“There are also growing calls for a Developing World candidate to be considered for the top job at the IMF. In light of the fact that many developing world economies have significant experience of dealing with debt crises, the Government should consider the merit of considering such a candidate.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has called for “clarity from government and an end to the confusion surrounding the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme”.

For the second day in a row the Sinn Féin President raised the crisis in the Fair Deal scheme and the distressing impact it is having on elderly citizens and their families during Leaders Questions.

Mr. Adams focussed on the fact that contrary to the governments assertions, the HSE has informed Sinn Féin that the central computer system used to process applications has been shut down by it since May 16th and that consequently no decisions are being taken in respect of approvals for places under the scheme.

The Sinn Féin leader said: “Instructions should be given today to the HSE to switch its computer system back on and to immediately begin processing the applications and approvals.”

Mr. Adams said:

“Yesterday when I asked the Taoiseach about the Fair Deal scheme he told me applications for approval under the Fair Deal scheme will continue to be processed and accepted. And I welcomed that.

“Last night the Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD, in answer to a question from my colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said that decisions to grant approval are subject to the availability of funding.

“However, the HSE is saying the opposite. The HSE has told Sinn Féin that approvals are not being given. Indeed the HSE told us that the computer system used to process Fair Deal applications has been shut down by them since May 16th.

“This flies in the face of what the Dáil was told yesterday and again this morning.

“Instead of clearing up the confusion that exists around the Fair Deal system the Taoiseach’s remarks yesterday and today, and his assertion that applications are being processed, when this is clearly not the case, have added significantly to that confusion.

“The contradictory positions from the HSE, and from the government exposes a degree of government mismanagement that is unacceptable and is causing great distress to many families.

“The reality is that today there are elderly people, many of them being cared for in difficult circumstances by their families, who are being prevented from taking up vacant nursing home places. There are people who at the moment cannot get final approval.

“The failure of the state to process and approve their applications means that anyone promised a bed could well lose that place if someone who can afford the bed takes up the vacancy.

“It is also a fact that a block in processing Fair Deal applications and approvals will force more and more elderly people into our Accident and Emergency Units and into hospital beds significantly increasing the strain on our already hard pressed hospital system.

“Fair Deal is now the only means available for elderly people on benefits or with limited means to access nursing home care. The confusion within the Health system and in government on the Fair Deal system has to be resolved quickly.

“Instructions should be given today to the HSE to switch its computer system back on and to immediately begin processing the applications and approvals.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers Rights Martin Ferris TD has said that the report on wage rates published yesterday should not be used as the basis for allowing employers to opt out of existing agreements.

The Kerry North/Limerick West TD was responding to the recommendations of the report and to comments made by Minister Richard Bruton who said that any changes made would be in line with the IMF/EU Memorandum of Understanding which clearly envisages lowering wage levels.

Deputy Ferris said “While the report itself recommends that the ‘basic framework’ of the JLC/REA system ought to be retained, I would have concerns regarding some aspects of the report, but more so in relation to the Minister’s own response.

“Recommendation 17, for example, supports the framing of legislation that would allow for ‘derogation from the terms of an ERO or an REA on economic grounds.’ In effect what that would mean, as I pointed out when former Minister Dara Calleary proposed such a clause, is that existing agreements could simply be overridden by employers pleading an ‘inability to pay.’

“Given that there are several cases before the Labour Court already challenging the provisions of existing orders, such a provision would in effect undermine the entire structure of agreed rates and would facilitate a potential lowering of wages for several hundred thousand workers.

“The response by the Minister, and his reference to the terms of the bailout which quite plainly envisage a lowering of wages, would indicate that he is thinking in terms of facilitating such a development. That would represent a massive blow for already low paid workers and would further depress the overall economy by further reducing spending power.” ENDS

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