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O’Donovan Rossa 100th Anniversary Commemoration

Sinn Féin will be launching our 1916 commemoration programme on 1st August with a historical re-enactment of a seminal moment in Irish History; the funeral of the "unrepentant Fenian" Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

Over a hundred thousand people turned out to watch the spectacle of the funeral in 1915, thronging Dame Street and O'Connell Street to see the cortege. At the graveside, a relatively unknown Patrick Pearse stepped forward to give a graveside oration that would go down in history, with the last section of that speech now widely seen as the call to arms for the 1916 Rising.

Assemble Dublin City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2 at 1pm sharp on 1st of August.

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Sinn Féin has launched a state wide campaign for a Fair Recovery. The campaign will involve a series of public meetings and the distribution of close to one million leaflets door to door.

This campaign is about setting out some of Sinn Féin’s priorities and to start a debate about the future, about what type of country and society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

Visit our special web section A Fair Recovery Is Possible here

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Latest News

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Sinn Féin Leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams has dismissed the latest comments on Irish Water by former Fine Gael junior minister Fergus O'Dowd as "political posturing" saying that there "is nothing like an impending General Election to concentrate the mind of Government TDs."

Gerry Adams said:

"Fergus O'Dowd was junior minister in the Department of the Environment when Irish Water was established and he repeatedly defended that policy in the Dáil and in the media.

“When it was crystal clear to everyone that the Government had made a huge mistake in setting up Irish Water and that the company was a shambolic mess,  Fergus O’Dowd not only dismissed the concerns of Sinn Féin and others as nonsense, but forcefully defended the Government and Irish Water.

"Of course there is nothing like a General Election to concentrate the mind of Government TDs, and that is obviously what lies behind Fergus O'Dowd's political conversion on this issue.

"Unfortunately for Fergus O'Dowd, while he may take voters for fools, they can see right through his latest electoral posturing.

"Irish Water and domestic Water Charges are doomed and those TDs associated with supporting them will be seeking to distance themselves from that policy in increasing numbers the closer we get to an election.

"Sinn Féin has been consistent on this issue. If we get a mandate for government we will abolish water charges and Irish Water."

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Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has described as ‘devasting’ the news that the trial of Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa, who has been jailed for two years in Egypt, has been postponed until October 4th. 

Speaking from outside the trial in Egypt, Ms Boylan, who accompanied members of Ibrahim's family and legal team, said:

“This is devastating news for Ibrahim’s family who are in Egypt today for his trial. The judge has said that nobody will be released before the 4th of October, with no chance of bail for Ibrahim before that date.  

“Ibrahim’s family were not allowed to attend the trial or meet Ibrahim. They were left to wait outside in 36 degree heat without shelter. 

“Ibrahim, who suffers from a medical condition, has been denied medical treatment despite repeat requests by his lawyer.

“It’s undeniable now that Ibrahim will never receive a fair trial.”

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Sinn Féin Leader, Gerry Adams TD paid tribute to the life and legacy of Jeremiah O’ Donovan Rossa in a speech delivered by his graveside today, one hundred years to the day and to the very hour that he was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Mr Adams said:

“Who was Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa? He was from a family of tenant farmers from Roscarberry, County Cork. In 1856, not long after the Great Hunger, he established the Phoenix National Literary Society whose aim was the "the liberation of Ireland by force of arms”. In 1858, he was jailed without trial for 6 months.

“In 1865, he was charged with plotting a Fenian rising, and sentenced to penal servitude for life. He served his time in Pentonville, Portland and Chatham prisons in England. His prison conditions were horrendous. Infamously he was manacled and had to eat his food like a dog from a dish on the prison floor.

"In an 1869 by-election he was elected for the constituency of Tipperary, but the election was declared invalid because Rossa was a prisoner. In 1870 he was exiled to America with other Fenians. There he established The United Irishman newspaper and organised a bombing campaign in England known as “the dynamite campaign”.

“He also organised a fund to support the fight against British rule. Isn’t it great that this morning the Irish government celebrated this old Fenian and his activities? He was in many ways a very active republican.

“At the time of O’ Donovan Rossa’s death, aged 83, a new generation of revolutionary republicans were organising and preparing for a Rising.They were determined to have Rossa brought home and buried in Ireland.

“Rossa’s funeral mobilised and galvanised all sides of progressive opinion. The funeral committee included 11 of the leaders of the Rising who were executed 10 months later. They stood where we are standing today.

“At that time Ireland had been dragged by England into an imperialist war. Even the most limited form of autonomy had been denied to us. Partition was being plotted and planned.

“But those who gathered at Rossa’s graveside resolved not to accept this, to protest, to resist and, ultimately to take on the might of the British Empire. The funeral of O’Donovan Rossa was a prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916.

“Today almost a century later we have many, like O’Donovan Rossa, who spent years as political prisoners, or were on the run or were forced into exile. We remember also all those who suffered and died in the most recent conflict, including our patriot dead, some of whom are laid to rest in this cemetery. 

“We have with us also many younger people who, thankfully, have not known directly the terrible reality of armed conflict in our country.

“Let us be very clear that the Peace Process and the political progress we have achieved were made possible because of the sacrifices of countless republicans over the generations. It is hugely positive and progressive that we today can pursue the complete unity and freedom of the Irish people, by peaceful means. And we are pursuing that cause.

“Today is a reminder, as the events of the Centenary of the Easter Rising in the coming months will be reminders, that the business of Pádraig Mac Piarais and James Connolly and Constance Markievicz and Bobby Sands and Máiréad Farrell is unfinished business. 

“Some people in high places do not like to be reminded of that unfinished business. Mar a dúirt an Phiarsaigh: The fools. The fools. The fools.

“The way citizens are being treated today demands another Rising - a popular re-conquest of Ireland by the people of Ireland. Our country is still partitioned. And Ireland divided never can be free. We do not yet have a national Republic. But republicanism is growing, as never before.

“The Proclamation has yet to be implemented. Equality has yet to be achieved. But we are living in a time of great change and great hope, and great potential.

“Never was there a greater need for a genuine, rights-based society, for republicanism and a real democratic revolution. Because we are as determined to move forward and as determined to achieve complete freedom as the men and women who gathered here 100 years ago today.”

Full Speech

Ar dtús ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le gach  duine a ghlac páirt san ócáid speisialta seo inniú -daoine a tháinig ó gach cuid den tír agus daoine a  tháinig anseo ó thar lear.

I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this very special event.  I want to thank our organisers and reenactors.

Who was Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa?

He was from a family of tenant farmers from Roscarberry, County Cork.

In 1856, not long after the Great Hunger, he established the Phoenix National Literary Society whose aim was the "the liberation of Ireland by force of arms”.

In 1858, he was jailed without trial for 6 months.

In 1865, he was charged with plotting a Fenian rising, and sentenced to penal servitude for life.

He served his time in Pentonville, Portland and Chatham prisons in England.

His prison conditions were horrendous.

Infamously he was manacled and had to eat his food like a dog from a dish on the prison floor.

In an 1869 by-election he was elected for the constituency of Tipperary, but the election was declared invalid because Rossa was a prisoner. 

In 1870 he was exiled to America with other Fenians.

There he established The United Irishman newspaper and organised a bombing campaign in England known as “the dynamite campaign”.

He also organised a fund to support the fight against British rule.

Isn’t it great that this morning the Irish government celebrated this old Fenian and his activities?

He was married 3 times and had 18 children.

He was in many ways a very active republican.

At the time of his death, aged 83, a new generation of revolutionary republicans were organising and preparing for a Rising.

They were determined to have Rossa brought home and buried in Ireland.

Rossa’s funeral mobilised and galvanised all sides of progressive opinion.

The funeral committee included 11 of the leaders of the Rising who were executed 10 months later.

They stood where we are standing today.

This afternoon we have with us people whose parents or grandparents or other relatives stood here exactly 100 years ago.  

Fáilte speisialta do na daoine sin.

Like us, they were men and women who believed in Irish freedom.

They were in the IRB, the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan, Na FiannaÉireann, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Conradh na Gaeilge and many other organisations, as well as tens of thousands of citizens. 

There were trade unionists, feminists, writers and artists.

Their common cause was the unity and independence of Ireland.

At that time Ireland had been dragged by England into an imperialist war.

Even the most limited form of autonomy had been denied to us.

Partition was being plotted and planned.

But those who gathered at Rossa’s graveside resolved not to accept this, to protest, to resist and, ultimately to take on the might of the British Empire.

The funeral of O’Donovan Rossa was a prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916.

Today almost a century later we have many, like O’Donovan Rossa, who spent years as political prisoners, or were on the run or were forced into exile.

Fáilte mór romhaibh.

We remember also all those who suffered and died in the most recent conflict, including our patriot dead, some of whom are laid to rest in this cemetery.

We have with us also many younger people who, thankfully, have not known directly the terrible reality of armed conflict in our country.

Let us be very clear that the Peace Process and the political progress we have achieved were made possible because of the sacrifices of countless republicans over the generations.

Mar thoradh ar an bPróiséas Síochána tá bealach síochánta agus daonlathach chuig Éire Aontaithe ann.

Agus tá sé mar dualgas orainn dul ar aghaidh le chéile ar an mbealach sin.

It is hugely positive and progressive that we today can pursue the complete unity and freedom of the Irish people, by peaceful means.

And we are pursuing that cause.

Today is a reminder, as the events of the Centenary of the Easter Rising in the coming months will be reminders, that the business of Pádraig Mac Piarais and James Connolly and Constance Markievicz and Bobby Sands and Máiréad Farrell is unfinished business.

Some people in high places do not like to be reminded of that unfinished business. 

 Mar a dúirt an Phiarsaigh: The fools. The fools. The fools.

The way citizens are being treated today demands another Rising - a popular re-conquest of Ireland by the people of Ireland. 

Our country is still partitioned. And Ireland divided never can be free.

We do not yet have a national Republic.

But republicanism is growing, as never before.

The Proclamation has yet to be implemented.

Equality has yet to be achieved.

But we are living in a time of great change and great hope, and great potential.

Never was there a greater need for a genuine, rights-based society, for republicanism and a real democratic revolution.

Níl Éire saor agus Gaelach againn, i bhfocail an Phiarsaigh ag an uaigh seo. 

Bí cinnte go mbeidh.

Because we are as determined to move forward and as determined to achieve complete freedom as the men and women who gathered here 100 years ago today.

Bobby Sands put it well,

“There’s an inner thing in everyone,

Do you know this thing my friend?

It has withstood the blows of a million years,

And will do so to the end.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,

It screams in tyrants’ eyes,

It has reached the peak of mountains high,

It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,

It thunders forth its might

It is ‘the undauntable thought’ my friend,

That thought that says ‘I’m right!’

Thank you Bobby. Thank you Máire Drumm. Thank you Padraig MacPiarais, and James Connolly. Thank you O’Donovan Rossa.

Thank You For Being Right

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Peadar Tóibín TD, has outlined the potential benefits of converging public services such as health, education and enterprise development on all All-Ireland basis.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Ireland, north and south has limited financial resources and if we are to properly benefit from these resources we need to make the best use of them. If we are to raise living standards and increase the delivery of key public services, if we are to make the best use of the 6.5 million people strong market on the island so that we can create jobs and prosperity, then we need to make best use of the assets that we have.

“That’s not where we are today unfortunately. Key public services such as health and education and enterprise development are planned separately, funded separately and delivered separately at the cost of the citizen north and south. Lack of convergence in education means that northern participation in the south’s universities is as its lowest ebb ever. If a southerner wanted to take an available space at a northern enterprise course a few miles away they couldn’t. People along the border have to ignore the A&E next to them and travel two and three times the journey to the next one in their own jurisdiction.

"The border is a key success factor for crime. In a crazy situation reminiscent of the Dukes of Hazard the police have to stop at the county line. In most economies the periphery suffers economically. But in Ireland, the border artificially manufactures an extra periphery, extending it to 11 counties. This financially illogical situation is artificially manufacturing poverty, emigration and disadvantage at a shocking scale.

“It does not have to be this way. Next year in Altnagelvin Hospital a new Cancer Care unit will open planed, funded and delivered on an All-Ireland basis. It will significantly improve cancer care in the northwest and negating the need of patients on both side of the border to travel to Dublin and Belfast. Paediatric Cardiac Care will now be delivered from Dublin on and All-Ireland basis negating the need for many children to have to travel abroad for treatment. A new emergency Cardiac Emergency unit will open in Derry and serve a catchment area on both side of the border that has 350,000 people.

“These examples scratch the surfaces. In fact, potential progress in many sectors is grinding to a halt due to costly government disinterest. We need to examine how we can make best use of our assets on both sides of the border to benefit all the people of this land.”         

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed a commitment from Féile an Phobail to continue to promote diversity and inclusivity. 

Mr Adams said; 

"For many years Féile an Phobail has had a very good record on inclusivity and promoting disability awareness.

"I wasn't aware until recently days of the offensive remarks which comedian Frankie Boyle had made about people with Down's Syndrome. 

"Those remarks were reprehensible. I understand and share the deep sense of hurt and outrage caused to people with Down's Syndrome and to their families. 

"Féile has acknowledged that hurt and has stated publicly that mocking people disabilities is totally unacceptable. 

"I welcome the dialogue between Féile An Phobail and the Féile For All group and that both have committed to working together to avoid a similar situation arising in the future. I commend them for their efforts"

ENDS

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Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for the immediate release of Walli Ullah Safi from from Cloverhill prison. The 21-year-old Afghani, who fled his country fearing his life, was found at a roadside in Ireland 2 weeks ago whereupon he was charged with being a ‘non-national’ without identification and was sent to Cloverhill. He has been subject to tremendous mental and physical violence in his two weeks in Cloverhill.

Speaking at a protest staged today calling for the release of Walli, Ms Boylan said:

“I am demanding that Walli Ullah Safi be released at once. Not only is he suffering hugely in the prison having been taken hostage by other prisoners and physically abused, he should not be in Cloverhill at all. He is a refugee, yet he is being treated like a criminal.

“It is a damning indictment that the government treats migrants in this manner. Fine Gael MEPS talk about a more humane approach to migrants yet their actions are the very opposite on their own soil.

“We are a country that has history of migration yet we show no humanity to vulnerable individuals when they arrive here. Walli needs to be moved immediately and the government needs to address it's policy to migration.

“Frances Fitzgerald must intervene immediately to have this young man removed from what is clearly a very dangerous and absolutely unacceptable situation.”

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty, has slammed the government for continuing to hide Irish Water’s income and expenditure figures and has reinforced Irish people’s right to clarity and transparency on the finances of Irish Water.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It’s scandalous that Irish Water have colluded with the government to hide the complete disaster that has been Irish Water. The extent of the mess that is Irish Water’s finances has been exposed by the Eurostat findings this week.

“Irish Water is now classified as government expenditure, therefore the public have the right to know what income is generated and what is the extent of expenditure, like any other body which is on the balance sheet of the government.

“As a result of this classification, the Minister now has to answer questions regarding public income and expenditure on Irish Water, including levels of non-payment. He can no longer hide Irish Water as an off-balance-sheet vehicle.

“The reason the Minister and the government are doing this is because they know they have been beaten. They are trying to hide from the public the fact that Irish Water and it’s funding model are in tatters.

“I’m demanding that the Minister come clean on what’s going on within Irish Water. He should give to members of the Oireachtas, all of the information on funding and rates of non-payment that he’s been refusing to date

“Last year Michael Noonan dismissed the November water protest as the “last rally around the water issue”. I think he’ll find now that dissent against Irish Water will only continue to rise. Irish people are fed up with the secrecy, the mismanagement and the absolute farce that is Irish Water and will rightfully demand that it be scrapped once and for all.” 

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of two separate challenges to the result of the referendum on Same Sex Marriage but says legislation is needed to ensure future referendum results are not subjected to unnecessary delays before being implemented.

Gerry Adams said:

“I welcome the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of two separate challenges to the result of the referendum on Same Sex Marriage.

“Thursday's court ruling clears the way for the introduction of same-sex marriage in the 26 Counties.

“However what is now clear is the need for legislation to provide the Courts with a reasonable timeframe to ensure the will of the people is not in future subject to bureaucratic delays that undermine democracy.

“While it is the right of any citizen to initiate petitions to the courts, this is not the first time a petition against a referendum resulted in delays to the protection of newly recognised rights.

“The Children’s Referendum was passed on the 10th November 2012 and the High Court only reached a decision on the petition on the 24th of April this year. That’s a two-and-a-half year delay.

“Sinn Féin has published a Bill that seeks to end court delays in deciding on referendum petitions.

“This would amend the Referendum Act 1994 to ensure the High Court will make a finding on such a petition within 90 days of it being heard.

“It further provides that where such a finding is challenged by way of appeal, the Supreme Court shall endeavour to make a finding on a petition no later than 90 days from the date upon which an appeal is lodged.

“The Referendum (Amendment) Bill 2015 would give further protection to citizens’ democratic rights and would tackle what is a clearly an issue within the democratic process.

“I would urge the Government and all parties in the Dáil to support this proposal.”

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Sinn Féin MEP  Lynn Boylan has expressed outrage at the news that the European Commission will be granting funds to fracking companies to research environmental impacts of the process.

"Following an information request I made to the European Commission regarding grants given to companies in relation to research on the impacts of fracking, it has now been revealed that one of the industry partners to receive EU funds for research is Halliburton.

"Perhaps better known for its involvement in obtaining oil contracts from the US government during the Iraq war or its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, it is also one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

"Indeed, Halliburton’s lobbying influence on fracking regulation in the US was so great that the exemption in legislation which allowed fracking companies to not disclose the chemicals they use to frack is known as the ‘Halliburton loophole’. And this is a company the Commission chooses as a partner.

"That the Commission is willing to give Halliburton research grants, paid for by the EU taxpayer, shows a wilful disregard for independent research into the very real environmental impacts which fracking can cause. I will be writing to the Commission with my colleague Martina Anderson to ask why this company was chosen in spite of the clear conflict of interest." 

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