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Putting Ireland First - Éire Chun Cinn

Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2014 - 6pm Friday Feb. 7th and 10am Saturday Feb. 8th - Opera House, Wexford Town



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Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD set out Sinn Féin’s proposals for the introduction of independent multi-agency domestic homicide reviews. 

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“Earlier this month Sinn Féin published proposals for the establishment of an independent multi-agency domestic homicide review (DHRs) system similar to the framework in place in Britain since 2011, and due to be introduced in the north. 

“Our proposals reflect the system of review called for by domestic violence support services such as Women’s Aid and Safe Ireland and victims’ families, and in place in other jurisdictions such as Canada and New Zealand. 

“Reviews are automatically established following a domestic or familial homicide and are undertaken by an independent multi-agency review panel. Family, friends and work colleagues are also encouraged to participate in the process. 

“DHRs in Ireland are currently Garda led and are limited to the examination of the adequacy of Garda policies, their interactions with other external agencies and with the individuals and family concerned. 

“Today the Dáil debated Fianna Fáil legislation that extends the power to initiate a domestic homicide review to the Minister for Justice and enables the appointed reviewer to seek information from relevant state agencies and non-statutory organisations. 

“Sinn Féin will support this legislation however as the Fianna Fáil Justice spokesperson has stated in the Dáil the Bill requires the resources and involvement of the Department of Justice and Equality if it is to progress.

“The intention of the legislation is to replicate the independent multi-agency system of review in England and Wales, but to do so the legislation will require significant amendments which will in effect make it a money bill. In order for a money bill to progress it will require government support.

“I have today called on the Dáil to work together to establish an independent multi-agency domestic homicide review legislative framework. It’s what the families impacted by domestic and familial homicide have asked of us, so we deliver.” 


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Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O'Neill has said the British government and parliament need to realise the Irish backstop cannot be negotiated or voted away.

Michelle O'Neill said: 

"The majority of people of the north did not consent to Brexit and rejected it at the polls. 

"The 'new offer' announced by British prime minister Theresa May contains little new thinking. 

"Westminster is in chaos and what we heard today from Theresa May will do little to convince the business community or anyone else here that is likely to change. 

"The backstop as already agreed represents the only legal guarantee to avoid a hard border. 

"The backstop is not open to renegotiation. It represents the minimum protections the people of Ireland require.

 "It cannot be negotiated, wished or voted away by the British government or British parliament.

"Brexit will be disastrous for the economy. The north cannot withstand exclusion form the customs union and single market. 

"Theresa May has proposed a role for a future Assembly and Executive in deciding on Brexit but she and whoever succeeds her as British prime minister needs to realise that there can be no unionist veto."

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Sinn Féin MLA Sinéad Ennis has welcomed the announcement that the BBC will broadcast three Ulster Championship games live on FM radio this year.

The South Down MLA said:

“It’s welcome that the BBC has increased its coverage of the GAA by broadcasting three Ulster Championships live on FM radio.

"This is a sign that the BBC and others are beginning to listen to the voice of Gaels who feel frustrated at the previous lack of live coverage.

“Sinn Féin has been highlighting this issue for two years and have consistently lobbied the BBC and other broadcasters to ensure there is equal access to GAA coverage. 

“While this is a welcome increase, more can and should be done to ensure parity of esteem for Gaels and licence payers. 

"Sinn Féin will continue to press broadcasters, including the BBC and RTÉ, on the need for fair, equitable and accessible access to Gaelic games for everyone right across Ireland.”

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In advance of the European elections taking place on May 24th Sinn Féin Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on people to stop vulture funds by voting Liadh Ní Riada on the 24th of May.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“The work Liadh has done with fellow Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy who sits on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has been to ensure that vulture funds are held accountable and that banks are not able to operate with impunity."

The Cork TD added that stopping an EU directive on non-performing loans which promotes vulture funds, exacerbating the current housing crisis, will be top of Sinn Féin's agenda in the next European Parliament. The directive is being supported by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s EU political groups.

“Earlier this month, Ulster Bank announced it would be flogging more mortgages belonging to Irish families, ripping their homes from under them and handing them to faceless vulture funds.

“We all know about the vultures – secretive international investors hovering over the Irish economy, seeking out families in mortgage distress, and then doing whatever they see fit to turn a quick profit. If this means turfing a family out on to the street, so be it.

“This is being gleefully championed by the European Commission and the Irish Government, led by Fine Gael and backed by Fianna Fáil, who are rolling out the red carpet for Vultures, allowing them to target Irish families and letting them avoid taxes for the pleasure of more profit margins.

"Across Ireland, communities are demanding a fundamental step-change in the EU’s and the government’s approach to the banks and vultures – and for emergency measures to be implemented that will tackle the housing and homelessness crisis immediately and effectively.

“Sinn Féin is standing with these communities and campaigning for policies that will benefit the people and not the banks and vultures at the local, state and EU level.

“This makes the return of the strongest team of Sinn Féin MEPs to the European Parliament all the more important for the Irish people and so I call on everyone to vote Liadh Ní Riada No.1 for Europe.”

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Reacting to the statement from British Prime Minister May today, the Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:

"Tory party theatrics and Westminster side shows cannot be allowed to distract from the very real threat that Brexit poses to Ireland.

"The British government has a responsibility to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. There can be no diminution of Irish rights and agreements. We will not be held to ransom by the Tory Brexit agenda and party in-fighting.

"Whatever is brought forward by Prime Minister May next week must be consistent with the Withdrawal Agreement which she herself negotiated.

"There is no good Brexit. But the backstop is the bare minimum needed to protect Irish interests and avoid a hard border in Ireland.

"On the question of a second referendum - it should be remembered that people in the north voted to remain in the EU. Any second referendum must include the option to remain. The democratic choice made by the people in the north must be respected and binding."

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Sinn Féin’s deputy spokesperson for Public Expenditure & Reform, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has described Fianna Fáil’s recent criticism of the Government’ spending mismanagement as a 'last ditch attempt to appear different from the party they keep in Government before the upcoming elections'.

Speaking this afternoon, the Cork North-Central TD said:

“Fianna Fáil’s recent suggestion that the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council should carry out an examination of the Government’s budgetary projections seems to be another instance of all bluster and no substance.

“IFAC already publishes biannual fiscal assessment reports that examine Government’s budgetary and spending projections, with the next report expected in June, and another after the Budget in autumn.

“Fianna Fáil is recommending an examination that is already due to take place.

“We already know that the Government has mismanaged taxpayers’ money and public resources.

“It is the job of the opposition to hold Government to account. Fianna Fáil have failed to do so and are now desperate to find anything that allows them to appear different from the party they keep in power.

“We have provided real alternative solutions to the National Broadband Plan through the use of ESB, and have submitted legislation to ensure tenderers are regulated in the procurement process to ensure future capital projects are delivered on time and on budget.”


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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has told the Government it is time to clip the wings of vulture funds once and for all and that the attitude of these funds towards ordinary people is “utterly disgraceful”.

The Donegal TD was speaking as he received further information that vulture funds are demanding full payment of loans from borrowers within seven days of notice, and failing to provide any alternative arrangements.

Speaking at Leaders’ Questions today, Teachta Doherty said;

“The government has designed a tax system that incentivises vulture funds to buy loans, which banks are more than happy to offload; despite the dire consequences for borrowers.

“Ulster Bank has had a particular fondness for selling off these loans to vulture funds. Last year it sold a portfolio of loans known as ‘Project Scariff’ worth €1.6 billion to a vulture fund called Promontoria Scariff.

“That portfolio consisted of approximately 3,600 owner-occupier loans and mortgages secured to 2,900 buy-to-let properties.

“A company called ‘Cabot Financial Ireland’ is administering these loans and its actions to date in dealing with borrowers.

“I have received correspondence from two such borrowers in recent days Taoiseach who are behind by tiny amounts - around €3,000 in each case, which state that they are now demanding full payment - not in respect of the arrears - but full payment - of their loans within seven days. 

“One week Taoiseach; this is utterly disgraceful.

“They are not facilitating any arrangements with the borrowers. The tenants in these properties will be given a notice to quit.

“They will need somewhere to live. It is utter chaos and it runs rough shod over any level of common decency.

“All of this is a direct consequence of government policy and the government rolling out of the red carpet.

“These leeches can do this and get away with it because they know that Fine Gael will do nothing to stop them.

“It is precisely because of the actions of Cabot in this instance that people fear vulture funds and fear for their homes.

“Moving to the final option without any genuine engagement with borrowers is utterly disgraceful.

“Taoiseach, do you stand over this practice? Now time to clip the wings of these vultures once and for all.”

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Matt Carthy MEP: FF & FG approach to EU trade deals mean Mercosur agreement imminent

 

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has warned that the recent news of reopening talks on the proposed EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is very bad news for the Irish agricultural sector, especially beef farmers.  He said that the approach of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to dangerous EU trade deals means that a strong showing for those parties in next week’s election will mean that the likelihood of a Mecosur deal will be increased.

 

The Midlands North West representative said: “Reports of the reopening of talks on the Mercosur deal have intensified in recent days with Brazilian negotiators claiming that France – which had previously taken a position defending the French agricultural sector – has now dropped its opposition in exchange for access to Mercosur countries’ markets for EU industrial goods.  

 

“The perilous position of Irish farmers has been largely ignored by the EU in its drive for new generation trade deals.  This is because Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have offered blanket support for all EU trade deals regardless of the cost to Irish agriculture and indigenous businesses.  Hence they support the CETA deal with Canada despite the facilitation of a 50,000 tariff-free beef quota and the inclusion of an Investment Court system that will allow foreign companies to sue national governments for enacting progressive legislation.

 

“The Mercosur deal promises to flood EU markets with further hundreds of thousands of lower quality beef.  The very fact that Fine Gael agreed a mandate for the EU commission to negotiate this deal, without a whimper from Fianna Fáil, should be a cause of serious concern to Irish farmers.

 

“Some of the key issues that led to the collapse of talks previously were transparency and food standards.  Unbelievably, the European Commission was prepared to offer Mercosur countries a 99,000 tonne quota on beef just weeks after several Brazilian factories were delisted due to sanitary concerns.

 

“The European Commission have never prioritised the interests of farmers or rural communities because the lucrativeness of the South American markets for the German automotive industry meant that agricultural access for South American has become a key bargaining chip.  

 

“Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and the Irish government have continuously failed to stand up to the commission in the interests of Irish agriculture across a range of trade deal talks.  

 

“Brazilian negotiations are indicating that they believe the deal will be sealed in coming months, when Brazil takes over the presidency of Mercosur. 

 

“The election of the extreme right militarist Jair Bolsonaro as Brazilian president in November should have been the final nail in the coffin for the Mercosur deal. Bolsonaro has clearly expressed his intention to attack the rights of women, Indigenous people, minorities, LGBTI people and the poor in Brazil. He has already enacted policies doing so.

 

“Last year I negotiated a report in the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee that warned that there will be a direct downward pressure on prices farmers receive should this deal go ahead.  The cumulative impact of this and other deals are setting the sector up for disaster.

 

“It is absolutely appalling that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been loud cheerleaders of potentially ruinous free trade deals that threaten Ireland’s rural communities, that are conducted entirely behind closed doors with no public scrutiny and that all include secret investment courts where corporations can sue elected governments for enacting policies that they don’t like, just because they may impact on their profits.

 

“A vote for Sinn Féin MEPs this Friday is a vote against any EU free trade deals that undermines our democratic structures or devastates rural communities & vulnerable economic sectors in Ireland.  It will be a vote for progressive free trade and fair trade policies that protect Irish interests while providing access to world markets”. 

ENDS 

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Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said the Justice Minister's decision to abandon plans to establish an Insurance Fraud Unit within An Garda Síochana is ‘a worrying development’.
 
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;
 
“Yesterday’s confirmation by the Minister for Justice that plans for a dedicated insurance fraud unit within An Garda Síochana has been scraped is a worrying development. This is particularly concerning given the time wasted on discussing these proposals in detail.
 
“Plans for such a unit have been in the pipeline for some time, and although I had concerns about how such a unit would be funded, it was certainly a worthwhile proposal.
 
“I note the Department of Finance had recommended the establishment of a unit dealing specifically with insurance fraud, but it seems they will go unheard.

"They are not lone voices in calling for an insurance fraud unit.
 
“I would agree with Peter Boland insofar as he says the Minister's new plans are a bit of a fudge, but I would also state that the Insurance Industry itself has much to answer for given its repeated missing of deadlines when the consultation phase for this unit was open.
 
“I think the Minister should reconsider this announcement, and look at why the Department of Finance recommended such a unit."

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