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A Fair Recovery Is Possible

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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Some sights and sounds from the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare on June 21, 2015. Main speaker Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD. During the course of her speech she talked about the need for a fair economic recovery north and south; demanded the British to come clean about collusion; and expressed solidarity with the people of Greece.

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Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has slammed Joanna Tuffy’s insensitive remarks on social media surrounding lone parent cuts.

Commenting today Ms Boylan said:

“I think Deputy Tuffy’s comments are emblematic of a Labour party that has completely lost touch with the reality of day to day life for many working parents in Ireland. 

“Joanna Tuffy in true 'Marie Antoinette' style suggested parents bring their children to work with them!

“Given the number of women who are struggling with precarious working conditions, having set hours or an extra four hours a week enabling them to schedule childcare would be a massive achievement, being allowed to bring their children to work or having on-site childcare facilities would be something they could only dream of.

“Deputy Tuffy's Labour party has been behind some of the most vilifying cuts, as it simultaneously bleats about an economic recovery.

“Cuts to child benefit, the taxing of maternity benefit and more recently the cutting of lone parents allowance. 

“It would suit Deputy Tuffy better to stop trying to defend the indefensible and instead focus her energy on raising the minimum wage and providing affordable accessible childcare.


Sinn Féin’s Workers Rights spokesperson David Cullinane has called for the introduction of mandatory trade union recognition. Speaking during debate on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Senator Cullinane said:

“While I welcome aspects of the bill we need to face up to the fact that when it comes to worker’s rights, the balance of power rests firmly with the employer.

“We have seen this repeatedly over the last few years. Take for example Ryanair or workers at Lagan Brick, Clerys, and Dunnes Stores.

“In all of these cases powerful employers refused to engage with trade unions and workers were unable to vindicate their right to be represented by their trade union.  

“The voluntarist system whereby trade unions and employers engage with each other on a voluntary basis has failed to protect workers.

“If we genuinely believe  the  ongoing exploitation of workers at Dunnes Stores is wrong then we must acknowledge the need for constitutional change to provide mandatory trade union recognition.

“Sinn Féin believes this is the only way to deal with the imbalance in Irish industrial relations law.   

“It’s time for Ireland to come into line with collective bargaining legislation in the other EU countries.

“If we want to build a decent society with a sustainable economy then we must have a fair recovery and this requires robust worker’s rights.

“Sinn Fein is committed to trade union recognition and we will make mandatory collective bargaining part of our programme for government.” 


Sinn Féin Senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has said he is totally flabbergasted that ‘SOLAS’ - the new Further Education and Training Authority - that has taken over responsibility from FÁS and the former VEC’s has no plan for broadband provision in its centres.

 Speaking after a presentation by senior SOLAS executives to Oireachtas members in Leinster House today the Galway West-South Mayo Senator says:

 “Paul O’Toole CEO and Fiona Hartley Executive Director of SOLAS outlined to us their strategic plan and re-organisation of the further education sector which has a budget of almost €650m. I outlined issues which were raised with me by Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board recently, who provide courses on behalf of SOLAS, and they had indicated that one of the single biggest barriers to quality education provision is the availability of high quality broadband in two thirds of their education centres, particularly those in rural areas.

 “The senior SOLAS executives were not aware of the issue they said, nor did they have any plan at hand to address the problems being experienced. I found this astonishing. There was a lot of talk about ‘clients’ being ‘employment ready’, about ‘quality provision’, ‘integrated planning and funding’ and other buzz words, but the fundamental tools for delivering the education they are tasked with have not even been considered. Surely any education plan must have broadband connectivity as its backbone?

 He went on to say:

 “Two thirds of GRETB’s education centres have issues with inadequate broadband provision they tell me. This must be a priority for SOLAS and the Department of Education if they are to live up to their high-level objectives.

 “I also raised the issue around the lack of devolution of responsibility for appointments to the ETB’s which means that even though they have funding for staff they cannot appoint them. SOLAS say this is an issue for the Department of Education and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to sort out.

 “I also raised the historic lack of capital investment in further education at the briefing. I cited the example of Galway Technical Institute, which has been overlooked for many years for capital investment. SOLAS said they have asked all ETB’s to put together a list of projects they wish to be considered and that they intend to put the case to government in this regard.

 “I am concerned that this new organisation has spent a lot of time reorganising at the top level of the structure, but has not spent adequate time addressing the issues really affecting the provision of front line services in the further education sector’.


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West and member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Matt Carthy, has highlighted the importance of establishing a new legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring not just for developing countries but also the impact that it would have for countries such as Ireland and Greece. He called for appropriate legal measures to be put in place in order to prevent “vulture funds” posing a risk to all future debt restructuring processes.


Carthy stated:

"These so called “vulture funds” and their actions are often of a highly speculative nature. In short, Vulture funds are predatory hedge funds that buy bonds of debt crises countries at rock-bottom prices on the secondary market. They refuse to participate in debt restructurings. They then sue the indebted nation for full payment, aiming to get a much better deal than the ‘collaborative’ creditors who agree to write off a share of their claims in order to get a debtor back on its feet.


"They pose a number of risks to all future debt restructuring processes, for both developing and developed countries.


"It is therefore absolutely imperative that safeguards are tabled in order to effectively deal with these concerns.


"This is of crucial importance now more than ever as Greece struggle to maintain financial stability and some rapacious creditors seek to take advantage of this with speculative trading.


"It is beyond shameful that Ireland voted against the UNs resolution which could prevent vulture funds holding indebted countries to ransom.


"At two different votes proposing the mechanism on debt restructuring processes, Ireland voted ‘No’. In the first vote, it was the only heavily-indebted country to vote against the initiative. Other heavily - indebted European countries – Spain, Greece, Italy – abstained.


"Despite our own harrowing and ongoing debt crisis, Ireland aligned itself with the finance capital centres of the US, Britain, Germany and Japan in voting against the initiative, on the basis that ‘market-oriented approaches’ are preferable.


“I call on the Irish Government to follow the lead of Belgium who has passed a law to cap how much these vulture funds can recoup from government debt.


"Such a law would send a strong signal to unscrupulous investment funds which speculate in a shameful manner on the back of people in difficulty and would be in both the interests of the Irish and Greek people. 


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has spoken out against the government plans to use the courts as a tool to prop up their own creditor, Irish Water. Speaking on the Civil Debt Bill, Deputy Mac Lochlainn also criticised the comments made by Deputy Catherine Byrne, as “utterly insulting”.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“Through their contributions last Friday and again today, Government TD’s tried their hardest to steer the debate away from the real reason for this Bill.

“This a desperate attempt to follow on from the undemocratic process with which the Government rammed through the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill last week, all in the hope that outstanding issues  relating to the water charge disaster will be tied up before the summer recess and will not need to be debated in the autumn before a possible election.

“People can see right through this. The fight against water charges is far from over. The Government will not sweep this under the carpet because the people, and those of us in here who stand up for them, will not let you.”

In reaction to Deputy Byrne’s comments, Deputy Mac Lochlainn had the following to say:

“I want to address some of the bizarre comments made by Deputy Catherine Byrne on Friday. I’m sure that the Deputy must have seen some of the media coverage over the weekend and realised the stupidity of her comments and just how far removed she actually is from the vast majority of citizens in this State.

“It really must be difficult for her stretching her budget in such a way. After all, you could hardly fill a shopping basket on a basic salary of €87,000 a year. Deputy Byrne stated that people have a civic responsibility to pay debts, including debts relating to water charges.

“Can I ask her and her colleagues how an increase for former Taoisigh and Ministers in their pensions contributes to their civic responsibility? Or, how a ministerial pay increase contributes?

“But I’m sure Deputy Byrne will be delighted that she too, can now afford a little luxury by way of a bottle of wine at the weekend with a salary increase on the cards for TD’s as well. It is utterly insulting to suggest that the low paid and those on welfare, whom this Bill targets, haven’t paid their way.”


Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín today slammed a report prepared for government by Labour’s Junior Minister Ged Nash on the sale and liquidation of Clerys. Deputy Tóibín described the Junior Ministers statement that he finds no deficiencies in the legislative framework following the stores closure as astounding, and runs contradictory to the sequence of events detailed in the report.

The Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson said:

“Ged Nash may be publically wringing his hands at the refusal of Clerys new owners to meet with him but judging by what’s in his report he would have little to discuss with them anyway. 

“If the Junior Minister really wanted to meet with Natrium he knows where their office is. The truth of the matter is it suits both the government and the new owners, as they see it, to carefully avoid each other.

“Ged Nash in his opening pitch to government states that he does not express the view that there are deficiencies in the legislative framework. 

“Yet the sequence of events as set out by the Minister in his report illustrate clearly that the closure of Clerys was a tactical insolvency, and that the former owners Gordon Brothers had indeed engaged in a property play.”

He went on to say:

 “The Minister makes specific reference to Section 224 of the Companies Act 2014 boasting that it imposes a duty on directors in relation to company employees.

“You don’t have to be legal expert to note how woefully inadequate this provision is. It merely states that directors of a company are to have regard in the performance of their functions to include the interests of the employees in general.

“This watery provision offers no real protection to employees in cases of tactical insolvencies, and that is why I introduced legislation earlier this year to amend Section 224 of the 2014 Companies Act that would in effect pierce the corporate veil and ensure Directors would have a meaningful duty of care to their employees.

“Ged Nash goes on to list out a plethora of employment and company legislation that supposedly provides for a wealth of protections for Clerys former employees yet none actually apply to their case. 
“What has happened with Clerys was always going to happen once Gordon Brothers bought the company in 2012 and separated the assets of the trading company and the property. Their own auditors gave a qualified opinion to the company’s accounts prior to the sale, and Natrium never had any interest in purchase of Clerys as a going concern.


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed “the conclusion of the Police Ombudsman’s investigation.”

Gerry Adams said:

“I welcome the publication today of the Police Ombudsman’s report. Along with the Attorney General report it reaffirms that I committed no offence. 

"Now that these matters have been investigated my family should be afforded the same privacy as any other family.

"There has been a distinct lack of sensitivity and compassion by some within sections of the media and of politics in how they have dealt with this case.

"It is frequently exploited in a nasty self-serving and vindictive way for narrow political ends. The same approach and criteria would not apply in other similar cases. 

"It is also clear from these two reports that when allegations of abuse arise that every possible help and support is provided for victims and families.

"It is also important that the authorities create an atmosphere in which witnesses will come forward. “


Sinn Féin group leader in Mid and East Antrim council, Cllr Patrice Hardy, has called on the TUV to withdraw scurrilous remarks about the GAA.

Speaking today Cllr Hardy said:

"The Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Timothy Gaston last night proposed at full council that the GAA as an organisation should not be able to avail of a small grants scheme and he made a number of appalling and offensive comments about the Association.

“The GAA as an organisation embraces every section of the community, champions equality, is non-party political, non-sectarian and anti-racist. 

“Given the fact that previously members of the GAA have been targeted and murdered by loyalist paramilitaries Mr Gaston’s comments were inflammatory and dangerous and should be withdrawn immediately.

“Further to this over the past number of years many local GAA flags and emblems were stolen and used and burnt on the 11th night bonfires. 

“As we approach the 12th weekend all political representatives should be demonstrating leadership, not raising tensions by making outlandish and unsubstantiated claims.

“As Deputy Mayor Timothy Gaston is supposed to represent everyone in the borough. It is very clear that once again Mr Gaston has failed in this regard.” 


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has announced that the party will publish legislation to amend Section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to exclude local community festivals and events from being subject to charges for policing services. Sinn Féin will introduce this Bill to the Dáil as soon as possible.

Speaking after challenging Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on the issue in the Dáil today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“I am not satisfied with the Minister Fitzgerald’s response to the issue. The Minister contends that a policy review and possible non-binding policy changes are required to address these charges. Sinn Féin does not agree with this contention. What is needed is a clear legislative provision that is binding on An Garda Síochána, so that local festivals, charity fundraisers, and voluntary events can organise their activities with the assurance that they will not, under any circumstances, be charged for policing services. Only a change to the legislation can offer this assurance and that is why we will be publishing the bill.

“The Sinn Féin Bill is clear in its objectives. An Garda Síochána will not be permitted to charge for the policing of local cultural or heritage festivals, charity fundraisers, local events that are organised on a voluntary basis and events where profit generated is invested in full for the benefit of the local community.

“The work that such committees and voluntary groups do is commendable. We must support all their efforts to fundraise, organise and sustain such events. These festivals and events provide vital tourism and recreation for many rural towns and villages across the State. Sinn Féin supports the work of these groups and will seek to protect them from exorbitant charges that undo any fundraising or grants that the festival or event may have had. ” 

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