Sinn Féin Infrastructure spokesperson Philip McGuigan has said maintenance of our road network and infrastructure is coming under increased pressure as a result of Tory cuts.
Speaking after a discussion with the Department’s Permanent Secretary Philip McGuigan said:
"I have been assured that the recent damage as a result of the recent flooding to bridges and road network in the North West will be repaired.
“However, I am really frustrated that the level of service to our road network maintenance across the North isn't what it should be and what the public demand.
"I am being told there is no more money to be put into structural maintenance between now and the financial year end.
“Employers and firms that work within the road maintenance industry are already feeling the force of budget cuts and are predicting job losses.
“The Tory government, now supported by the DUP, have taken over a billion pounds out of public services in the North over the last seven years.
“The impact of these Tory cuts to the road network is also clear to see with the standard of road surface decreasing and the number of potholes increasing.
“The weather too is severely testing our drainage infrastructure and this certainly isn't helped by the reduction of gully cleaning. Grass verge cutting is another issue where the Tory cuts have affected the level of service provided.
"The impact on street lighting across the North is also easily recognisable and the length of time for street light repairs looks like it is going to increase. Coming into the longer evenings this is unacceptable.
"None of this bodes well as we enter the winter period when our road network and infrastructure meets its biggest challenge.
“Our frontline public services require investment rather than more cuts.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said Minister Regina Doherty is ‘alarmingly clueless’ on JobPath and clearly has no idea what is going on within the scheme.
Speaking during Priority Questions with Minister Doherty this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:
“Today, I raised a number of issues around JobPath and the fact that they have gone beyond what they were initially set up to do.
“JobPath was set up to engage with the long term unemployed and assist them in returning to work. Instead, JobPath is hounding people who are either recently unemployed or are engaged in part-time work and are not unemployed at all.
“Minister Doherty has refuted these claims and insisted that JobPath is only engaging the long term unemployed and anything beyond that would be in breach of their contract with the Department of Social Protection.
“Over the past three months, I have conducted a JobPath Exposed campaign with a ‘Tell Your Story’ element listening to the actual reality on the ground from those who know it best – the participants.
“Through this process, I have ample evidence of people who are only unemployed for a number of weeks or days in some cases, teachers who are subbing, people who have just left college being 'invited' to engage with JobPath. These people are not long term unemployed.
“In the case of teachers who are subbing, they are not unemployed. Some people are in part-time work and this suits them as they can work around raising children, again they are not unemployed yet JobPath is hounding them.
“It is beyond alarming that Minister Doherty has absolutely no idea what Turas Nua and Seetec, who are delivering JobPath are doing. I will be publishing my report on JobPath next week and I expect urgent action to be taken on these private companies.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has criticised how the controversial trade deal between Europe and Canada will come into force tomorrow, September 21st, despite absolutely no debate or vote being taken on it in the Dáil.
Speaking from Leinster House today, Teachta Quinlivan said;
“This is a worrying departure from democratic norms, for a trade deal of this magnitude to come into force without so much as a debate let alone a vote in the national parliament.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly expressed our concerns surrounding this trade agreement, the negative impact it could have on small businesses and farmers and the unconstitutionality of the investment court system included in it.
“Last year the Seanad passed a motion against the ratification of CETA.
“The solution of the government and the EU to this is to totally sidestep the national parliament by provisionally applying this agreement, without national votes.
“Sinn Féin is not against free trade or free trade agreements, but CETA, and its sister trade deal TTIP, are a new generation of FTAs that move far beyond the lowering or abolition of tariffs, and introduce new measures such as the Investment Court System, that would allow corporations sue governments for enacting progressive legislation, if it impacts on their profits.
“I have repeatedly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation to allow a Dáil debate on CETA, however each request has been denied.
“A previous response from the Minister stated “I believe that it is important to wait to see the benefits of CETA come into being, before CETA is put before the Dáil for ratification’.
“If it were the case that every piece of legislation or agreement was to be implemented first and debated later, then the need for a national parliament would be redundant.”
Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín has called on the DUP and Housing Executive to reject a plea from a residents group to ensure a new social housing development in Dunmurry is ‘filled up with people from the loyalist/unionist community’.
The North Belfast MLA was speaking after The Seymour Hill and Conway Residents’ Association made the plea on social media, also urging unionists to contact DUP Councillor Jonathan Craig ‘to get themselves on the list’ for the development on the former Dunmurry High School site.
“This is a disgraceful attempt from a publicly-funded organisation to gerrymander a new social housing development along sectarian lines,” Carál Ní Chuilín commented.
“This is the kind of unacceptable, sectarian practice that has been ongoing for years in order to ensure new developments are only populated by people from the unionist/loyalist community. For it to be done in such a blatant way only exposes that fact and the DUP must now reject this clear attempt at sectarian discrimination.
“The Housing Executive must also clarify that the homes in this, or any other development, will only be allocated on the basis of need, not creed. That is the only legal basis on which houses should be allocated and the Housing Executive need to state clearly that this attempt at sectarian gerrymandering will not be allowed to succeed."
Speaking today from the ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Sinn Féin TDs Carol Nolan and Martin Kenny said that Budget 2018 must ensure that rural and farming communities are provided with supports to meet the challenges faced by Brexit.
Party Spokesperson on Rural Affairs Carol Nolan said:
“Rural and Farming Communities face particular challenges as a result of Brexit, and this Government has done precious little to ease that uncertainty
“A report by the joint Oireachtas Committee in March identified serious threats to the agriculture sector and a report published by Bord Bia has stated that Brexit has already cost the Irish Food and Drink Industry almost €570 million in 2016.
“The prospect of a reinforced border on the island of Ireland is devastating for small businesses and farming communities, particularly for those who straddle that border.
“Sinn Féin has consistently called for special designated status for the north within the European Union in order to protect the interests of citizens on this island, north and south.
“This call has been supported by all parties in the Dáil and is echoed in the report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
“The Irish Government must intensify their efforts to advocate and build support for this position within the EU.”
Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Kenny TD said:
“Budget 2018 must ensure that our rural and farming communities are provided with supports to address the challenges faced by Brexit.
“Sinn Féin is arguing for the establishment of a €10 million Brexit Support Fund, designed to assist small businesses and farmers in assessing and preparing themselves for Brexit.
“Such a fund will also provide for the expansion of current enterprise programmes in order to provide all required assistance to our SMEs, including those in the Agri-food industry.
“The Action Plan for Rural Development also commits to carrying out specific research on the impact of Brexit on Rural Ireland, yet to date this has not been carried out.
“Sinn Féin believes that this research must commence without further delay in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced by rural communities with regards to Brexit and to ensure appropriate planning can take place to mitigate negative consequences.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield speaking in reaction to a HSE internal document that shows the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS) is operating out of a “run-down, condemned building”, has said it further highlights to Sexual Health Strategy’s failure to prioritise effective sexual health services.
Senator Warfield said:
“We are halfway through the Sexual Health Strategy‘s timeline and yet, the only tangible and targeted response for MSM (men who have sex with men) sexual heath is the GMHS. While the GMHS is exceptionally run despite limited resources, it is a Dublin centric response and can only do so much. This report highlights that even the narrow responses to the strategy that are being delivered are done so without vigorous support from our institutions.
“All the while, HIV transmission rates have risen and we’re still awaiting a decision if PrEP is to become available through the HSE. The Sexual Health Strategy is an ambitious document which recommends strong responses across the sector to provide robust sexual healthcare but in terms of any meaningful implementation for a vulnerable group such as MSM, it is failing in its duties.
“Furthermore, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD spoke of his ambitions to see the Sexual Health Strategy implemented when speaking at Dublin Pride in June.
“I am calling on Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and this government to truly step to the plate and provide the robust sexual healthcare system that the Sexual Health Strategy called for and to ensure, the response is not done on a piecemeal basis.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said “families are living in perpetual crises, and under continuous stress, with no break, because there are no proper respite services.”
Teachta Adams added that families caring for a loved one with a disability are being failed by the government.
Speaking directly to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Leaders Questions, Teachta Adams said;
“The truth is that there is no real fit-for-purpose way of getting proper services or respite care.
“There is a scandalous lack of services for families with children with disabilities.
“Furthermore, there is a huge absence of scheduled respite care, particularly for adults with intellectual disabilities and complex needs, such those with Autism.
“Their families feel they have been abandoned by the state.
“These awful situations become critical as parents get older, get sick, or their loved one develops more challenging behaviour.
“Last night on RTE’s Prime Time programme, we heard the story of Adrienne Murphy and her son Caoimh.
“Caoimh is a 14 year old with Autism.
“His mother was forced to make a desperate public plea for the HSE to provide residential care as she is simply no longer able to cope.
“In my constituency of Louth and Meath East, I am regularly contacted by families, in similar situations.
“Budget 2018 provides an opportunity for the government to make real difference for these families.
“The government must introduce measures to ensure that these citizens receive the dedicated services they so urgently need?”
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships today, Mary Lou McDonald TD asked farming families and rural communities to lend their support to Sinn Féin saying “Sinn Féin is ambitious for Ireland’s villages and townlands. We have the policies, people and political commitment to deliver a real and lasting difference to the lives of communities left behind by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments”.
The Sinn Féin Deputy Leader said:
“For too long successive government responses to the challenges facing rural Ireland have lacked any real ambition for the untapped potential of our villages and townlands. Piecemeal solutions have been put in place whilst government enterprise and innovation policy has limited its gaze to the cities.
“Rural Ireland continues to haemorrhage young people with a lack of opportunity now a perennial problem. Farming families and rural communities need a political party who is on their side. Sinn Féin will stand up for rural Ireland.
“Farming must provide families with a decent income and diversification in farming and food production should be supported. Rural communities are wonderful places to work and raise a family. Government policy must support the development and growth of these communities not work against them. Investment in public services, job creation, innovation, healthcare and housing must be as much a priority for townlands’ and villages as it is for Ireland’s cities.
“Brexit presents real challenges for the island of Ireland. Farmers and rural SMEs need real time supports to diversify product offerings and develop their exporting potential. Sinn Féin policies will support farmers against Brexit.
“We will work with farmers to protect their income and the family farm. Working with farming families we want to put in place practical supports that will enable farmers plan for the long term and make farming itself a prosperous and desirable future for future generations.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his sadness on the death of Jimmy Magee and extended his condolences to the family and friends of the sports broadcaster.
Teachta Adams said:
“It was with sadness that I heard the news of Jimmy Magee’s passing this morning.
“We associated his voice with so many memorable moments in both Irish and international sports.
“Jimmy Magee was a person of immense talent with a fabled and unmatched knowledge of nearly every sport.
“Many Irish people feel they knew him personally because he illuminated some of the most thrilling moments in our sporting history.
“He will be sadly missed.
“Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has told the EU Parliament’s top Brexit official that it would be disastrous for the island of Ireland if the North is excluded from the single market and customs union.
During talks with the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt in Stormont today, Michelle O’Neill also warned against any return to the borders of the past and the potential of Brexit to undermine the Good Friday Agreement and deny citizens access to the protections of the European Courts.
“I want to thank Guy Verhofstadt for coming here today to listen to our concerns directly and I believe it was a constructive discussion,” she commented.
“Guy Verhofstadt is very aware of Sinn Féin’s concerns about the impact Brexit will have on the island of Ireland.
“We simply cannot withstand any exclusion from the single market and customs union, allow the return of borders of the past or deny citizens access to the European Courts of Justice.
“So there is an urgent need for new thinking and that isn’t likely to come from the Tories who are clearly in disarray and simply see Ireland as collateral damage in their reckless Brexit agenda.
“Thankfully, the European side is listening to our concerns. That is evidenced by the fact they have made Ireland a priority in their negotiations with the British Government. We greatly welcome that and will continue our intensive engagement right across Europe in the weeks and months ahead.
“Today’s meeting was part of that ongoing process to press the case for the North to be granted special status to remain in the EU because that is the only credible way to prevent the catastrophe that Brexit will visit upon Ireland.” ENDS/CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan has welcomed today’s meeting with a wide range of community organisations as a positive engagement on the issues facing the sector.
Following the meeting, the South-Down MLA commented: “I welcome the opportunity to engage with the representatives of 18 community infrastructure networks. Today's meeting was incredibly useful. The networks raised a number of crucial issues to be addressed with respect to funding, rural development and the roll-out of universal credit.
“There are particular concerns regarding the impact of Brexit on funding which is one of the reasons Sinn Féin is seeking designated special status for the north to remain in the EU. This proposal is gaining momentum.
“I alongside the Sinn Féin team will work to achieve solutions across the range of issues raised today.”
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has expressed his concern at the ability of the PULSE system to adequately capture the data required for Child Protection issues related to Garda powers under section 12 of the Childcare Act.
He was speaking following a meeting of the Justice Committee, where Geoffrey Shannon, Government Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, made a presentation outlining the findings of his audit in to the Garda exercise of its s12 powers, which relate to removing a child from a home by the Gardaí due to neglect and abuse.
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“I believe that there is much cause for concern in this audit. Obviously, some of the cases, and it is easy to forget the detail of much of that, were quite horrific; in some circumstances, children repeatedly removed from some homes and children being exposed to the most horrendous abuse and neglect by the people meant to care for them and quite often issues relating to alcohol and abuse being central.
“While it is clear that as individual members of the Gardaí, many discharged their duties with a very high standard of commitment, and compassion, that is not to say that the Gardaí Síochána are beyond reproach here. That is clearly not the case.
“In particular, I am concerned at the comments made by Geoffrey Shannon that the information on the PULSE system is not adequate and has led to discrepancies.
“According to the audit, ‘Particulars with regard to prior or subsequent history on PULSE for children were not included in 31 instances’.
“This is quite shocking and so far as I understand it, when a child is so removed u s12, the only record the Gardaí have of these incidents would be on PULSE; knowing what happened to these children afterwards is difficult.
“In addition, the Gardaí were forced to revise a total of 560 valid incidents for 2014, of a total of 595 recorded incidents, which differed from the official figure furnished by AGS of 577 valid incidents in 2014.
“So clearly, there are issues here in relation to data collection, and it appears from Dr Shannon’s comments today at the Committee that the system is simply not fit for purpose.
“There are also serious issues in relation to the lack of ongoing training in child protection, and in the gathering of ethno-cultural data. This is important to combat against any potential for Racial Profiling, although, Dr Shannon’s report found no evidence of that, which is positive.
“There is a clear lack of inter-agency cooperation, with Gardaí routinely being unaware of what happens to children after the s12 powers have been exercised and the child becomes the responsibility of TÚSLA.
“And it remains clear that there is a need for a fundamental reform of the Child Protection system in the state, including a full audit of other powers such as s13 of the Act.
“The Shannon report shocked the nation, and it is crucial that it does not simply gather dust like so many reports to date. The Government needs to ensure that the Gardaí and Túsla implement the recommendations.
“While I am heartened by the commitment evidenced by individual Gardaí, there are still major questions here for the Gardaí as an institution.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Brexit David Cullinane TD has called on the top EU Brexit official Guy Verhofstadt to outline in practical terms what is meant by ‘unique status’ for Ireland. Deputy Cullinane met Mr Verhofstadt as part of Sinn Féin’s all-Ireland Brexit delegation in Stormont today.
Speaking after the meeting, Teachta Cullinane said:
“I welcome the opportunity to meet Mr Verhofstadt today as part of an all-Island Sinn Fein delegation. I look forward to meeting him again in Dublin tomorrow.
“I made it clear that the entire island of Ireland needs to be protected from Brexit. This means special status for the North within the EU, full legal protection of the Good Friday Agreement, and protecting the economy North and South.
“I welcome Mr Verhofstadt’s commitment to the North staying in the customs union and the single market. This is crucial if we are to avoid a land border on the island. I also welcome his commitment to protect in full the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sinn Féin’s position is clear. There can be no EU frontier on the island of Ireland. The best way to protect Ireland from Brexit is for the entire island to remain within a reformed European Union. Special or unique status for the North within the EU is the only viable and practical way to protect the economy North and South, avoid an EU border on the island of Ireland, protect citizens’ rights and safeguard the Good Friday Agreement.
“The EU need to put more flesh on their proposals. They need to make it clear to the British Government that the GFA must be incorporated as a protocol in the withdrawal agreement and that the North must remain in the customs union and single market.”
Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Brian Stanley TD is to bring a Bill before the Dáil this week to regulate windfarms and to ensure that the industry develops with community engagement and legal protection for rural communities.
Speaking today at the National Ploughing Championships, Brian Stanley said that wind farms had been a source of deep conflict in rural areas and that Sinn Féin was focussed on offering solutions to the issue.
Deputy Stanley said:
“Six Ministers and two Governments have failed to resolve this issue.
“Wind is undoubtedly part of the answer to Ireland’s energy needs but the State needs to avoid putting all its eggs in one basket.
“Vested interests have sought to cover counties such as Laois and Offaly with wind turbines. Myself and my Sinn Féin colleague Carold Nolan TD have resisted this fiercely and will continue to do so.
"Tomorrow evening (Thursday) I will bring before the Dáil a Wind Turbine Regulation Bill. This is an opportunity for TDs from Fianna Fáil and Labour to get off the fence on this issue and to join Sinn Féin in standing up for communities in rural Ireland.
“Sinn Féin is the first political party to put forward legislation giving firm legal protections for rural communities across the State in relation to the siting of wind farms.
“This Bill aims to ensure that development of wind energy is achieved with the direct input of local communities.
“It includes a minimum setback distance of not less than 10 times the height of any wind turbine. Setback distances should be such that noise does not exceed limits specified by the World Health Organisation.
“Turbines should be located in areas designated by democratically elected councillors in county development plans and there should be optional co-ownership for local residents.
“Renewable energy development is urgently needed but it is also vital that we create diverse renewable energy sources. Offshore wind, biomass and biogas are extremely and unacceptably underdeveloped.
“Clean, green forms of indigenous energy must be further harnessed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and this can and must be done with the involvement of local communities.
“I hope TD's from all parties will avail of this opportunity to protect rural communities and move forward with a proper regulatory framework for wind turbines. I would appeal to all TDs to support the Bill.”
Crowe called the raids and arrests as unprecedented in recent history and a threat to democracy.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“A majority of Members of the democratically elected Catalan Parliament have approved legislation to allow an independence referendum to take place on October 1st 2017.
"Instead of entering into respectful dialogue to facilitate this referendum, the Spanish Government has instead targeted pro-independence politicians, Catalan Government institutions, printing companies producing material for the referendum, and even newspapers.
"Spanish prosecutors have also opened a formal investigation into more than 700 Catalan mayors who have backed the referendum.
“Today, in an unprecedented move in recent history, Spanish police raided the offices of the Catalan Government including the Departments of Economy; Welfare and Social Affairs; Interior; Foreign Affairs; Telecommunications; and Tax.
"According to reports Josep Maria Jové, the Secretary General of Economic Affairs and one of the 12 officials detained, was arrested in connection to the launch of web pages related to the referendum.
“These raids and arrests are regressive actions that threaten democracy.
“The people of Catalonia should have the right to democratically decide their own future in a legally binding referendum on October 1st and the Spanish Government should refrain from using these heavy handed tactics in an attempt to stop this democratic vote.”
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the Brexit will have profound implications for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and for Irish farmers.
He reiterated his appeal for Irish MEPs, of all parties and none, to support his call for a working group to examine in detail how Brexit will impact on the farming community to be established by the European Parliament’s Agriculture committee.
Matt Carthy said:
“The fight to maintain Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding is going to be one of the biggest priorities facing the agricultural sector over the next year.
“With Brexit heralding the loss of one of the biggest net contributors to the budget, it is more important than ever to continue to work with other like-minded countries and delegations at EU level to maintain this important lifeline for farmers.
“With that in mind though, I am also committed to restoring credibility to the CAP system by ending the huge inequalities that exist whereby a small number of corporate farmers receive extortionate payments while the ,majority of farmers struggle to make ends meet.
“Bringing equality to the system is crucial in the debate to maintain the overall budget.”
Carthy said Brexit would result in direct payments completely ceasing for farmers in the North of Ireland and that a whole series of programmes and projects in rural areas would see their funding disappear.
“This is a huge threat to rural communities north and south. Changes to the budget, changes to trading patterns, regulatory divergences and the pulling of certain price and other supports will have a massive impact on both the livelihoods of Irish farmers and agricultural markets.
“It is time for Irish MEPs, of all political persuasions, to wake up to the realities of how Brexit will impact on Irish farmers.
“I would appeal again to Irish MEPs, of all parties and none, to support my call for a working group to examine in detail how Brexit will impact on the farming community to be established by the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Catalan people must be allowed to have their say in their independence referendum unhindered.
Martina Anderson, who will travel to Catalonia for the referendum as a European Parliament observer, said:
"The Catalan independence referendum was legislated for by the Catalan Parliament in a democratic vote.
"The Spanish government should respect this democratic referendum as legally binding.
"The raids on the offices of Catalan ministries and arrest of a senior Catalan government official by Spanish police last night was an attempt to subvert the democratic process.
"The people of Catalonia should be allowed to have their say in this referendum unhindered by Spanish police repression.
"Ultimately, it is up to the Catalan people to have their say on their future on October 1st and they should be allowed to do so without interference."
Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has welcomed an admission from the Education Authority that special educational needs transport travel times were unacceptable.
The Foyle MLA said:
"During a meeting with the Education Authority on Friday we raised our concerns surrounding special educational needs transport times and made it clear that current travel arrangements were unacceptable.
"I welcome the fact that the Education Authority listened to our concerns and acted accordingly.
"No child should be subjected to excessive travel times
"The Education Authority now need to clarify that no child's health and safety was put at risk as a result of actions taken by the authority and the very serious incidents which occured as a result.
"I would urge any parent whose remains unsatisfied with their child's transport arrangements to contact the authority immediately."
Speaking today during an Oireachtas Housing Committee hearing on homeless HUBs, Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister Eoghan Murphy ‘to introduce an independent inspection regime for homeless accommodation in Budget 2018’.
The Committee hearing heard from Maynooth academics Mary Murphy and Rory Hearne, who published a report on family HUBs in July, and responses to the report from the Department of Housing and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“There are currently over 8,000 people, including 3,000 children, living in emergency homeless accommodation. This does not include those families in domestic violence refuge accommodation or those with leave to remain trapped in Direct Provision.
“Many of these families are spending up to two years in inappropriate and unsatisfactory accommodation. While the introduction of purpose built family HUBs marks an improvement on the use of commercial hotels and BnBs, it does not represent a solution to the homeless crisis.
“There is clear evidence both from the Murphy-Hearne Report and from complaints received by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive that not all emergency accommodation meets basic standards. One of the Reports key recommendations is for a quality standards framework for emergency accommodation and an independent inspection regime.
“The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and a number of local authorities have been developing a Quality Standards Framework. This work is now complete and has been presented to the Department with a proposal for the establishment of a Quality Standards Office and inspection regime.
“Minister Murphy must include this proposal along with adequate staffing and resources in Budget 2018. The office must be fully independent of both the Department of Housing and the Local Authorities. Its remit must include all emergency accommodation, including commercial hotels and BnBs.
“While the solution to homelessness is the increased provision of social housing, Government must ensure that while in emergency accommodation adults and children must have the highest standards of provision possible.”
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has restated that Sinn Féin will oppose any attempt by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to reintroduce water charges through the back door.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“We have not seen the new water legislation yet and I am very disappointed that Minister Murphy has allowed his department to brief the media before circulating the legislation to Oireachtas members.
“Sinn Féin will judge the legislation when we see it; however we will oppose any attempt to introduce water charges by the back door.
“We do cautiously welcome the promise of a referendum to maintain water services in public ownership. However the government wording of the referendum is important and they must get in right.
“I welcome the fact that the government has recognised that there exists an inequality for those on group water schemes and we would like to see this remedied as soon as possible.
“Despite acknowledging some of the potentially positive aspects of the as of yet to be published legislation Sinn Féin is firmly opposed to any charge for so called excessive use.
“We will be working with our colleagues in the Right to Water movement to ensure that the public is fully aware of the consequences of what Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael signed up to in their dodgy back room deal.”