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Sinn Féin launches campaign to win Carlow/Kilkenny By-Election

Sinn Féin Councillor Kathleen Funchion has been selected as the party's candidate to contest the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election caused by the resignation of Fine Gael's Phil Hogan.

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Speaking at the conclusion of the Labour Party annual conference, Sinn Féin Vice President, Mary Lou McDonald TD said;

“Over the past two days we have witnessed a party in denial of the impact of their policies and dismissive of any criticism.

“The Labour Party came to power on the back of broken promises. In devising the programme for government, Joan Burton was one of the key architects of austerity.

“Over the past four years she has actively advocated austerity which undermined public services, removed medical cards, cut welfare and Child Benefit and watched as trolley waits grew.

“This is a Labour party that imposed water charges and property tax on struggling families, while wages fell, rents increased and evictions were made easier.

“The party of Connolly now routinely dismisses anyone opposed to these policies as workshy trouble makers

“In reverting to type, the conference and address was punctuated with a combination of scare tactics and promises that would even make Pat Rabbitte blush

“The Labour party under Joan Burton have squandered any hope that citizens may have invested in this government and left many in fear of unemployment, eviction, emigration and debt.

“The people face a clear choice between more of the same; more broken promises and growing inequality, or a progressive government led by Sinn Féin with a mandate to deliver real and lasting change.

“If Joan Burton is confident in the achievements of Labour in government, let her go to the people.”

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Seo óráid a thug an tAire Cultúir Carál Ní Chuilín ar maidin agus í ag seoladh Seachtain na Gaeilge ar maidin i mBéal Feirste.  

“Maidin mhaith achan duine, agus go raibh maith agat a Shinéad

I mbliana an chéad bhliain riamh a seoladh Seachtain na Gaeilge sa tuaisceart agus is deas é a fheiceáil, go háirithe anseo sa Chultúrlann, i gcroílár na Ceathrún Gaeltachta.

Bhí mé ag amharc siar ar chlár na n-imeachtaí atá beartaithe agus, mar is gnách, is clár thar a bheith gnoitheach atá ann. Tá, ar ndóigh, obair chrua taobh thiar de gach imeacht agus ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le foireann Sheachtain na Gaeilge, le gach duine a raibh baint acu le heagrú na n-imeachtaí (ar bhonn deonach den chuid is mó) le linn Sheachtain na Gaeilge agus ó cheann ceann na bliana. 

Gach aon imeacht acu sin, pé acu rang Gaeilge áitiúil nó oíche cheiliúrtha, tá sé tábhachtach sa mhéid a chuireann sé le rathúlacht Sheachtain na Gaeilge.

Is cúis áthais domh fosta i mbliana, mar chuid de Sheachtain na Gaeilge, go bhfuil an chéad Chlub Leabhar Gaeilge dá chuid á sheoladh ag Líofa. Thig libh labhairt le hoifigigh Líofa anseo inniu le níos mó eolais a fháil ar an dóigh a n-oibríonn na clubanna Leabhar agus ar na háiteanna ina reáchtálfar iad.

Tá a fhios againn uilig gur ócáid lárnach í Seachtain na Gaeilge i bhféilire na nGael agus gur deis iontach atá ann do Ghaeilgeoirí, ní amháin le húsáid agus tairbhe a bhaint as an Ghaeilge trí réimse leathan d'imeachtaí, ach fosta le níos mó daoine a mhealladh i dtreo na teanga. Is é sin an phríomhaidhm atá ag Líofa – spéis daoine a mhúscailt sa Ghaeilge agus iad a spreagadh le tabhairt faoi fhoghlaim na teanga agus le hiad a mhealladh i dtreo na Gaeilge agus i dtreo phobal na Gaeilge.

Nuair a sheol mise feachtas Líofa ar an chúigiú lá de mhí Mheán Fómhair, dhá mhíle agus a haon déag, is é an sprioc a bhí againn go dtabharfadh míle duine gealltanas go bhfoghlaimeodh siad Gaeilge nó go gcuirfeadh siad lena líofacht sa teanga faoin bhliain 2015. 

Níor shamhlaigh mé riamh go n-éireodh linn an sprioc sin a shárú, ach d'éirigh. Agus ó shin i leith, tá muid i ndiaidh an sprioc sin a athrú go dtí deich míle duine, agus tá lúcháir orm a fhógairt libh inniu go bhfuil an sprioc úr seo sáraithe againn arís agus deich míle seacht gcéad duine cláraithe le Líofa go dtí seo.

Ba mhaith liom a fhógairt inniu chomh maith go bhfuil sé de rún agam leanúint leis an fheachtas Líofa. Ní hé amháin go mbaineann an feachtas le líon na nGaeilgeoirí a mhéadú, ach táthar ag iarraidh, chomh maith, go mbeidh teacht níos fearr ag daoine de gach cúlra agus gach pobal ar an Ghaeilge agus tá sé tábhachtach go leanfaí den obair sin.

Tá méadú ag teacht i rith an ama ar an spéis atá ag daoine sa Ghaeilge agus mar atá a fhios ag cuid agaibh, rinne mise doiciméad comhairliúcháin a sheoladh ar na mallaibh i dtaca le tograí fá choinne Bille Gaeilge. Creidimse go daingean go bhfuil gá le hAcht Gaeilge le cearta Gaeilgeoirí a chosaint agus creidim gur gá na cearta seo a chosaint faoin dlí.

Tá gné eile ag baint leis an chomhairliúchán seo, mar atá, a léiriú don mhuintir sin atá in éadan Acht na Gaeilge gur linne uilig an Ghaeilge agus nach bagairt í do dhuine ar bith.

Tá súil agam go dtabharfaidh gach duine a thacaíonn leis an Ghaeilge faoin chomhairliúchán seo agus go gcuirfidh siad leis le go dtig linn a chur ina luí ar an Fheidhmeannas, ar an Tionól agus ar an phobal ar fad, na buntáistí atá le gnóthú as Acht Gaeilge a bheith againn.

Tá luach le gach dearcadh agus le gach barúil agus mholfainn do dhuine ar bith ar spéis leo an Ghaeilge, a chinntiú go gcluinfear do ghuth.

 Mar fhocal scoir, agus sula gcuirfidh mé ar ais chuig Sinéad sibh, tá súil agam go mbainfidh gach aon duine agaibh spraoi as an lá teaghlaigh seo. Go raibh maith agaibh.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has launched a scathing attack on the record of the Labour Party and of its leader Joan Burton on the weekend of the Labour conference in Killarney.

Mr Adams is today addressing a large Sinn Féin gathering including TDs, Seanadoir, Councillors and party members from across the Ireland South region, in Cahir, County Tipperary.

The Sinn Féin leader has warned against the “next election campaign descending into auction politics with establishment parties seeking to outbid each other in terms of unsustainable and irresponsible tax cuts and election promises they will not keep”.

Gerry Adams said:

"We have come to expect conservative, right-wing policies from the Fine Gael party. That is their raison d'etre.

"But what of the Labour Party? The failure of Labour in Government has been stark.

"Labour continually tell us they are there to put the brakes on Fine Gael; that things would be far worse without them. But the evidence points to the opposite.

"Let’s not forget that Labour Party leader Joan Burton helped negotiate the Programme for Government.

"That programme saw Labour buy into the austerity policies of Fine Gael and deliberately break its election promises.

"Those policies have forced almost half a million of our people to flee abroad in search of work.

"As a senior Cabinet member, Joan Burton has overseen the implementation of Water Charges, the Property Tax, cuts to Child Benefit, removal of medical cards, cuts to health and welfare, and a succession of stealth taxes.

"In fact, Joan Burton is one of the chief architects of the Government’s austerity agenda.

"There is now a deep sense of betrayal among former Labour voters at the actions of that party in Government.

 "If noises emanating from Fine Gael are anything to go by, there is a real danger of the next General election campaign descending into auction politics with various parties seeking to outbid each other in terms of tax cuts.

"This will do nothing to address the serious needs of our society.

"It will not do anything to re-build our battered public services, tackle the scandal of hospital overcrowding, or build affordable childcare provision.

"There is now a need for communities, social movements, trade unions and progressive political parties to begin a real debate about the direction our country should take and the type of society we want to build.

"Such an inclusive discussion could usefully shape, in a constructive way, the nature and tenor of the next election campaign.

"I have suggested a new Citizens’ Charter, encapsulating the fundamental principles that could take us towards a citizen-centred, rights-based society.

"I believe that a Citizens’ Charter could form the basis for a new departure in Irish politics."

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Sinn Féin Councillor Daithi Doolan has condemned tonight's shooting in Ballyfermot.

Speaking tonight, Cllr. Doolan said:

"Tonight's shooting in Ballyfermot is wrong and should be roundly condemned. A father was shot while out walking with his child. This is totally unacceptable. It also put the life of an innocent child at risk. I can only imagine the trauma that this will cause this child.

"I hope all resources are made available to the Gardai and that those responsible are brought to justice. The government must ensure our communities have adequate policing resources.

"I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward."

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Sinn Féin’s sitting TD in Cork North Central Deputy Jonathan O’Brien will contest the next general election in the constituency.

Deputy O’Brien, who topped the poll in 2011, was selected as the party’s candidate at a convention at the Maldron Hotel earlier tonight.

Speaking after the convention, he said;

“I am very proud and honoured to be selected by the members of Sinn Féin on the northside to represent the party at the next general election.

“I am fully aware of the nature of the challenge that lies ahead. It is harder to retain a Dáil seat than to win one initially.

“Since my election in 2011, I have worked every day for the ordinary people of Cork North Central.

“As part of the Sinn Fein team in the Dáil, I have sought to put the principles of equality and social justice at the centre of the national political debate.

“The people of this constituency have been hit hard by the austerity agenda and regressive policies pursued by this government.

“The Labour Party is holding its national conference in Killarney this weekend.

“No doubt we will hear a deluge of deluded self-praise along with the predictable attacks on Sinn Féin.

“This is a party who, on entering government, promised to protect working people from the worst of the conservative, right-wing policies of Fine Gael.

“Instead, the Labour Party and Joan Burton, as Minister for Social Protection, have been responsible for the cruelest of the cuts.

“They abandoned the ordinary people of this country. They sold out every principle they ever claimed to possess.

“In contrast, Sinn Féin has stood shoulder to shoulder with those who have suffered the most as a result of the economic crisis and austerity.

“We are the real opposition to this government. We are the party campaigning and fighting for a fair recovery.

“Emigration, Unemployment, Eviction and poverty have been the bitter fruits of this coalition’s time in office.

“Sinn Féin wants to see a better and brighter future for our people.

“This government’s time is up. Fine Gael and the Labour Party have lost their mandate. There has been no democratic revolution. There has only been litany of broken promises.

“Our communities need republican politics, the politics of equality and fairness, to come to the fore.

“I look forward to bringing the progressive alternative offered by Sinn Féin to the people of Cork North Central at the next general election.”

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The attempt to kill Francis McCabe Jnr outside Crossmaglen on Wednesday represents a new, violent escalation in the activities of crime gangs in the south Armagh and north Louth region.

Some of those involved are also central to an unrepresentative militarist faction opposed to the Peace Process and Sinn Féin’s political strategy. This latest escalation follows death threats against Frank McCabe Snr and Conor Murphy MP in recent weeks.

Other victims of these gangs’ activities include shooting Michael Bellew in Cullyhanna a year ago and killing Garda Adrian Donohoe in Lordship just over two years ago.

Despite PSNI and An Garda Síochána investigations, no one has ever been prosecuted for these crimes. The policing response to this latest incident will be very closely scrutinised both within south Armagh and wider afield.

That reality carries huge implications for policing and community relations in south Armagh. This area is a republican heartland and bedrock of support for Sinn Féin’s peace strategy.

The party’s electoral strength in the area and widespread respect for the local republican leadership was a central element in Sinn Féin’s decision to support policing in 2007. Since then, party activists and representatives have worked tirelessly to build important relationships with the PSNI and also An Garda to make policing accountable, and to establish partnerships between both and the local community.

During this period, there has been a sinister and systematic upswing in criminality across the area. Diesel laundering, cigarette smuggling, cattle rustling, vehicle theft, financial extortion of local businesses and more have all become a blight on the local community. The gangs involved operate across the Border; they co-operate with each other and are inter-generational.

Most importantly, the police know their identities.

They are career criminals and yet both the PSNI and An Garda have failed to act against them, despite the active support of local people.

There is a widespread belief that the key figures among these gangs are acting with impunity.

An obvious corollary is that another agenda is in play.

It is no coincidence that a new propaganda offensive driven by some of the island’s most notorious ‘Crime’ and ‘Security’ journalists has begun to demonise south Armagh in particular by disgracefully attributing the upsurge in criminality to republicans.

The reality is that, as the gangs operating have extended and expanded their range of criminal activities, the most prominent republican families associated with the Sinn Féin leadership – from Ballybinaby, through Dromintee, to Cullyhanna, Crossmaglen, and Camlough – have all been physically attacked, threatened and targeted.

A concerted effort is underway to try and deflect republican activists in south Armagh and north Louth from promoting Sinn Féin’s political strategy. However, whatever agendas or agencies are at work, they will fail. The local republican leadership and support base is just as determined to succeed in this phase of political struggle as well.

It is for that reason these violent, destabilising, criminal actions are escalating.

Those responsible are a cancer within the local community and a threat to the political and Peace Processes. But the progress within our society in terms of democratic change and support for policing cannot be taken for granted.

The PSNI and An Garda have a responsibility to prove they are up to the task and root these criminal elements out once and for all.

The proud people of south Armagh and north Louth must stand united to demand these criminals and militarists get off their backs.

The surrounding Border community should also mobilise in solidarity with their south Armagh neighbours against this criminal scourge.

On Sunday 1 March, a commemoration will remember Óglaigh Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley in Cullyhanna. Republicans from across Ireland should attend and stand in solidarity and support with the McCabe family and all the republican families under threat from these criminals.

A resounding message needs to be sent to them to get off the backs of our people and to get off the back of the Peace Process. 

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Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín in responding to Leo Varadkar on the latest political attack on Sinn Féin has stated ‘as we move closer to the general election we see a direct correlation between the collapse in support of the government parties and the amplified hyperbole of their statements’.

 Deputy Tóibín said:

“The next election is not just a choice between the opposing policy platforms of Sinn Féin and Fine Gael but also the political culture of the two parties. Fine Gael is a lose franchise of personal ambition where TDs regularly shaft and undermine each other for personal advancement. In contrast Sinn Féin is a cohesive movement focused on a shared ideological goal.”

“It’s a bit rich for Leo Varadkar to lecture Sinn Féin with regards the politics of fear. I lost the party whip 20 months ago for voting against party policy but within 6 months I was reinstated to my original position. In sharp contrast a large number of Fine Gael TDs and Senators were booted out of their party for good for voting for Fine Gael party policy. What message does this send?”

“When political expediency and personal ambition are king, political principals are the enemy. This state has been ravaged by golden circles, cliques and vested interests. The corruption of Fianna Fáil and the polarisation of Fine Gael are clear for people to see. This is why at last the political landscape in this state is radically changing.”

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Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has strongly criticised Minister for Health Leo Varadkar for comments made today where he stated that Sinn Féin in government would “rule by fear”.

Senator Cullinane said:

“Sinn Féin will not take lectures from a party that has driven thousands of young people from our shores in search of work or which have led to hundreds of our citizens languishing on hospital trollies, waiting desperately for basic medical care.”

“To say that Sinn Fein would ‘rule by fear’ shows a deep level of disrespect to the huge number of people who have indicated that they would vote for Sinn Fein in the next general election, especially from a party that has fiercely quelled any dissent when it comes to the harsh economic sanctions they have forced onto the country like the water charges.”

“Sinn Féin TDs are elected with a mandate from its voters and it is to this that we are loyal. If Fine Gael considers such a mandate as ‘party chains’, then it is clear what they think of the mandate they received in the last election. The Minister’s comments are typical of the disingenuous comments that we have heard from the Fine Gael/ Labour government in the past number of weeks.”

“This government is no longer fit to rule and is increasingly attacking parties and individuals with silly nonsense like this instead of defending their own record in what are clearly the final days of their term.” 

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Sinn Féin MEP, Lynn Boylan, has spoken out against the overuse of antibiotics in human and animal health, due to the serious consequences of this practice. The Dublin MEP spoke after the European Commission published its progress report on antimicrobial resistance yesterday.

Ms. Boylan said: 

“Resistance to antibiotics is already causing 25,000 deaths in Europe alone and if action is not taken immediately we will be sleep-walking into a scenario where routine infections could be deadly and life-saving therapies such as chemotherapy will become impossible to use. 

“There must be a holistic approach to tackling this issue including addressing overuse of antibiotics in human health and animal health.

“Treating healthy animals with antibiotics should be stopped and it is disappointing that the Commission in either of its texts on veterinary medicine and medicated feed has not proposed that this harmful practice should end.

“Antibiotics for both humans and animals should only be used to treat illness and not preventatively. If we don't address this issue we are facing an apocalyptic vision of the future of medicine.”

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