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Sinn Féin budget supports fair and sustainable recovery - Pearse Doherty

Sinn Fein’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget would repair communities, rebuild the economy and renew society. The budget lays out how Sinn Fein would abolish the local property tax and water charges and our programme for investing in disability services, health and education.

Download Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015 here



“The DUP are vocal about the consequences of not implementing these Tory cuts but remain silent on the impact of these cuts which would take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least able to pay.  These cuts would plunge more children into poverty and take money from hard-pressed working families, people on benefits and from people with disabilities." - Daithí McKay



Latest Statements

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Sinn Féin’s Dáil Education Spokesperson Deputy Seán Crowe, has met with officials’ from the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland, (ASTI) including The Union’s Assistant General Secretary, Moira Leydon, and Diarmaid de Paor, the organisation’s Deputy General Secretary.

Describing the meeting as ‘useful and informative,’ the Tallaght based TD said he was determined to meet with as many Organisations and individuals working in the Education Sector as possible in order to ensure the rights and entitlements of teachers and students within the Irish school system are maintained and improved.

Deputy Crowe said “The meeting with senior personnel from the ASTI was an opportunity for me to hear at first-hand some of the many challenges and issues facing teachers working in schools across the Irish State.

“The loss of our economic sovereignty means we face increasingly challenging times.

“There is widespread agreement across civic society that if we are to generate future growth then we have to ensure a high standard of education that will produce a highly motivated, skilled and capable workforce.

“The resources available in schools and the support given to teachers are central to teaching our children effectively, and greater emphasis has to involve ensuring everyone, regardless of their economic, social or ethnic background has the opportunity to fulfil their academic potential.

“During the meeting with the ASTI a number of issues were discussed, including the Croke Park Deal; further possible cuts in teaching staff and the implications this would have for class sizes; the delivery of key subjects within the school curriculum and the challenges faced by teachers who will be central to implementing any future reforms to the Junior Cert examination.

“Sinn Féin shares a lot of commonality with ASTI on many of these issues.

“We support the rights’ of children and young people to avail of an inclusive well-resourced education system where classroom integration and access to a range of support services are available to assist teachers and their pupils.

“This Government needs to invest in the State’s education system and prepare today’s young students so they are well equipped to enter opportunities in the workforce while developing their full potential.

“It is essential even at this difficult economic time that we see the roll out of a progressive education system through the implementation of forward thinking polices.

“Investing in education, school infrastructure, teacher training and the resourcing of early intervention when a child is identified as having behavioural or learning difficulties makes short, medium and long term sense and will repay the investment many times over.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has extended his deepest sympathy and condolences to family of David Dunseith.

 
Mr Adams said:

"David Dunseith was the consummate broadcaster and interviewer.
 
“He was thoughtful and insightful in all that he did.
 
“David interviewed me many times and I always found him to be professional and very fair. His death is a significant loss to journalism.
 
“I want to extend to his family and many friends my sincerest condolences. Go ndeanfaid trocaire a anam.”
 

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Strabane Sinn Féin Councillor Jay Mc Cauley says has described the failed pipe bomb attack on Strabane PSNI station last night as a futile act.

He said,

“Throwing a pipe bomb at a fortified PSNI station is a totally futile act.  The only affect of this act was to cause endangerment and disruption to the local community especially given the fact that it ended up so close to the local play park.

“Rather than putting their energies into causing disruption for the local community those involved should recognise the absolute futility of their actions and join with the overwhelming majority of people in this area who are trying to forge a better future for this community and in turn to adopt a constructive strategy towards achieving the objectives Irish republicanism.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has welcomed home two members of the crew of the MV Saoirse, who were participating in the Gaza aid flotilla. The MV Saoirse was interfered with and the propeller damaged in what appears to be sabotage forcing its crew to abandon the ship and redistribute medical aid and building materials amongst the rest of the flotilla.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

“The MV Saoirse was forced to abandon its voyage as part of the Gaza Aid Flotilla due to what appears to be an act of sabotage on the propeller of the ship.

“This was a very serious incident given that if the ship had taken to the water it may have sank with the possible loss of life.

“I will be pressing the Irish Government, as this was an Irish registered vessel, to investigate this incident and seek the relevant answers for the Israeli government.

“I wish those who are still bound for Gaza all the best. They are committed to bring much needed aid to the people of Gaza. Fortunately the much needed medical aid and building materials needed in Gaza that the ship was carrying was redistributed amongst the flotilla and several crew members also joined other crews ensuring Irish participation in the flotilla.

“It is an extremely brave thing to do given the murderous actions of Israeli forces when they boarded the Mavi Marmara last year when the first flotilla attempted to enter Gaza and despite the circumstances we are happy to see the two crew members from West Belfast home again.

“The international community must bring whatever pressure to bear on Israel to lift their illegal blockade on Gaza. This aid flotilla must be allowed through." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board member, Gerry Kelly, has stated that the independence of the Police Ombudsman's office has been seriously compromised and that confidence can only be restored if Al Hutchinson resigns from his position.

 

Speaking today Mr kelly said:

 

“The Police Ombudsman’s Office is a crucial element of the new policing structures. It came about after much hard negotiation. Its independence and its ability to hold policing to account free from outside interference is key to securing and sustaining community confidence in policing.

 

“The report released yesterday by John McCusker shows clearly that this independence has been seriously compromised. This is a fundamental issue and cannot be ignored. This happened on Al Hutchinson’s watch and the responsibility rests with him.

 

“There is an urgent need to restore confidence in the Police Ombudsman’s Office. It is my firm view that this can only happen if Mr Hutchinson resigns from his position and allows new leadership to take over and repair the damage done in recent times.”

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Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe, has called for a review of the excessive salaries earned by of those working in Irish third level institutions.

He continued: “The figures recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Ireland’s seven universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology have more than 1,000 lecturers who earn six-figure sums.

“Some of these excessive salaries are being paid to a small minority of senior academics and are accompanied by lucrative perks and additional expenses. This results in significant costs to the taxpayer and must be reviewed by the Government who have been very quick to cap key services such as Special Needs Assistants (SNA’s) and cut traveller support teachers.

“The rate of actual pay, expenses and bonuses being paid to some senior personnel of third level institutions cannot be maintained in the current economic climate.

“I also understand that a number of people who are earning huge salaries are involved in management positions rather than lecturing and there must be a rigorous examination of these positions and a value for money audit has to be part of any review.

“The Minister has clear choices to make – he can cut services to vulnerable children or he can cut some of the more well-endowed salaries of people who are managing pretty well financially, despite the economic downturn.

“At the very least,” Deputy Crowe concluded, “anyone earning high salaries and benefiting from expenses should be independently assessed and evaluated and some of the excessive wages currently being paid must be brought into line with other countries.” ENDS

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Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said he shares many of the concerns expressed by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) who have highlighted the fact that Tallaght Hospital is not effectively managing the risks to patients requiring acute admission.

Deputy Seán Crowe who lives in Tallaght and is long time supporter of the hospital and member of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group said:

“Coming within a week of a damning assessment by Dublin City Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty, who in the inquest into the death of Kilnamanagh man Thomas Walsh described Tallaght Hospital as being a ‘very dangerous place’ the similar concerns expressed by HIQA must serve as a wakeup call for the Hospital Administration and the new Health Minister James O' Reilly.

“It is clear that the continual gutting of funding has severely impacted on services at Tallaght Hospital. The A&E Department is the busiest in the country yet it is understaffed and under resourced. It is unacceptable, that a hospital designed to originally cater for 350,000 people annually is now expected to cope with a catchment area of over 530,000 people.

“I welcome the fact that HIQA has published the terms of reference for its statutory inquiry into the safety and governance of care at the hospital’s Emergency Department. I understand that the terms of reference, the inquiry will assess the quality, safety and governance, and accountability for services provided to patients who attend the Accident & Emergency Department.

“This inquiry will also look at specific patient cases where appropriate and an examine if the hospital has been effective in managing risks to patients.

“The death of Thomas Walsh who attended the hospital with severe ankle pains, tragically exposed the extent of the problems at the hospital.

“The coroner’s report highlighted how he had been moved away from the emergency department to a so-called ‘virtual ward’, a corridor area with no real facilities like oxygen, monitors or life saving specialised equipment.

“This latest finding is a massive indictment on how this State’s Health apparatus treats its citizens whenever they become ill and need treatment.

“It also emerged that last year in the Emergency Department a patient suffered a cardiac arrest on a chair while awaiting admission.

“Despite the dedication of its overstretched staff, Tallaght Hospital is failing the people who depend on its services when presenting – the lack of resources means it is not currently able for the demands being place on the system.

“This Government needs to urgently address the problems of resources and key personnel in Tallaght as a matter of the utmost priority.

“If they don’t, then more and more families will face further heartbreak in what is supposed to be a modern flagship healthcare facility.” ENDS

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The committee met and elected Dominic Hannigan TD for East Meath as chair and Joe O’Reilly TD for Cavan as chair and vice-chair repectively.

Deputy Ferris said:
“I welcome the fact that the committee’s work has begun. The committee has resolved to be a vehicle for reconciliation and to help those disconnected from the peace process to become connected.”

“It is hoped that the committee will visit the North and the Legislative Assembly in the course of its important work,” he added.

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There will be a rally in support of Portlaoise Hospital this Sunday at 3pm at the County Hall in Portlaoise. Those in attendance will then march to the hospital.

Speaking in advance of the rally which is organised by the Local Hospital Action Group, Sinn Féin TD for Laois-Offaly Brian Stanley said:

“People are angry at the potential downgrading of services. There are on-going discussions within the HSE regarding acute surgery and A&E provision at Portlaoise Hospital which deals with 41,000 emergency cases a year. These discussions have reached a critical stage. The people of Laois and surrounding areas cannot afford to have these services downgraded.

“During the general election campaign, Fine Gael and Labour told us they would protect public health services. Far from protecting services they have simply picked up where Fianna Fáil left off.

“Last year when he was in opposition, local Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan called upon the then Minister Mary Harney to accept that she was “accountable” to the Dáil, and went on to ask her to call a public meeting to clarify to the people of Laois and the neighbouring counties what her Department’s intentions were regarding Portlaoise Hospital. Deputy Flanagan also went on to say that he was “not prepared to stand by while hospital services in Portlaoise are removed by stealth”. I would ask Deputy Flanagan now that Fine Gael are in Government to demand that his party colleague Minister James O’Reilly clarify his intentions at a similar meeting in Portlaoise and not allow the hospital services in Portlaoise to be “removed by stealth”.

“A downgrading of services is completely against the wishes of the people of Laois and there is massive support for the continuation of services in the hospital. We are calling on people from all parts of Laois to take a stand and support the hospital by attending the rally.”

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