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Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2018 Clár

  • A new and agreed Ireland
    • 1

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the increased levels of discussion and debate around a united Ireland across society;
      • welcomes such a discussion and recognises the diverse range of views of what a united Ireland could look like;
      • encourages the development of a dialogue upon an all-Ireland constitutional, pluralist and rights based democracy;
      • welcomes the range of conferences organised by Sinn Féin across Ireland and in London;
      • recognises that the route to achieve Irish unity is clearly laid out in the Good Friday Agreement as being a referendum on both sides of the border.
      Therefore this Ard Fheis:
      • calls on all those political parties with a stated position of supporting a united Ireland, to bring forward their own ideas and proposals on how best to move this objective forward;
      • calls on the Irish government to:
      - introduce automatic Dáil membership for MPs from the north of Ireland and, pending this, to introduce speaking and consultative rights for Northern MPs and Assembly members in the Dáil and Seanad;
      - establish an Oireachtas Committee to plan for Irish unity;
      - establish a national forum to bring together all parties and key sectors representative of civic society on the island to consult together on the constitutional and political future of the island, including the issue of Irish unity and national reconciliation;
      • calls on the Irish government to:
      - encourage and lead an informed, reasoned and respectful public dialogue on the issue of Irish unity;
      - prepare a realistic plan for Irish reunification, including the establishment of an Oireachtas all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Irish reunification;
      - initiate a referendum on Presidential voting rights for citizens in the north of Ireland and the Irish diaspora to be held within the next 12 months;
      - develop an all-island National Health Service and all-island public services through a ‘United Ireland Investment and Prosperity Plan’.
      Ard Chomhairle
      Burns/McKerr/Toman Cumann (Lurgan)

    • 2

      This Ard Fheis:
      • calls on all those political parties and representatives who claim to support a united Ireland to support us in our call for a referendum on Irish unity;
      Joe McManus Cumann (Garrison)

    • 3

      This Ard Fheis calls for the immediate re-establishment of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference as provided for under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement
      Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair

    • 4

      This Ard Fheis has a vision of a new and united Ireland which is firmly rooted in the republican values of equality, fraternity and liberty. We want an inclusive Ireland in which the diversity of identifies on our island is embraced, protected and celebrated. This must include those who cherish and celebrate their British identity. A new and united Ireland must be a place for all, a united Ireland that is home if you are Irish, British, both or neither.
      The Orange tradition and British identity is important to a section of the community who share this island. It is therefore important to us all.
      The Good Friday Agreement not only provides a peaceful and democratic pathway to Irish unity, it also provides a model regarding rights and parity of esteem for identity regardless of national allegiance for all those living in a new and united Ireland.
      This Ard Fheis recognises the need for all those who wish to see a united Ireland to engage with our unionist neighbours and to listen and engage with their hopes and fears regarding Irish unity. We recognise that actions may be required to ensure those who value their British identity that this shall not be diminished in a united Ireland, including issues such as:
      • an all-Ireland Bill of Rights;
      • arrangements around flags, symbols and emblems;
      • the safeguarding of British citizenship and associated rights;
      • the continuation of safeguards contained in the Good Friday Agreement post unity;
      • measures to tackle sectarianism across society;
      • maintaining and developing bodies designed to strengthen the relationships between the islands such as the British-Irish Council, the British-Irish Parliamentary Association and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.
      West Wicklow Cumann

    • 5

      This Ard Fheis:
      • calls on the Irish and British governments to deliver on their commitments set out in the Good Friday and subsequent agreements, in the Good Friday and subsequent Agreements, and to uphold the highest standards of civil, economic and social rights in the north of Ireland;
      • recognises that the human rights and equality provisions of the Good Friday Agreement provide confidence for all communities in the political institutions of the Agreement and other public authorities;
      • recognises that EU law provides a supporting framework of rights that underpin the equality provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and in that a key concern is a future divergence of rights, north and south, as a consequence of Brexit, which could create barriers on the island and impede the requirement under the Good Friday Agreement for equivalent standards of protection of rights in both jurisdictions;
      • reaffirms that Irish citizens in the north of Ireland can currently exercise and enjoy rights associated with EU membership and recognises that the exercise of these rights are a critical component of the citizenship provision of the Good Friday Agreement.
      In particular, we call on them to introduce:
      • a Bill of Rights;
      • an all-Ireland Charter of Rights, and establish a Joint Committee for Human Rights,
      • north and south;
      • an all-Ireland Civic Forum;
      • a review of funding for all-Ireland bodies;
      • Acht na Gaeilge;
      • funding of legacy inquests;
      • following Britain’s departure from the EU, a guarantee that those born in the north who exercise their entitlement to citizenship rights under the Good Friday Agreement will continue to enjoy rights associated with EU membership.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 6

      This Ard Fheis commends and supports Irish Language activists throughout Ireland and beyond for their work to promote An Ghaeilge.
      In particular we commend all those campaigning for fair and equitable treatment for Gaeltacht communities, and for the implementation and defence of language rights for all citizens.
      The Ard Fheis further commends the vibrant campaign for Acht Gaeilge and re- iterates our commitment to the implementation of an Irish Language Act in the Six Counties.
      Sinn Féin is committed to the promotion of the Irish Language, to its reestablishment as a major spoken language in Ireland and to the delivery of rights for Irish speakers.
      This Ard Fheis draws attention to Sinn Féin’s Irish Language policy ‘Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam’, and to our recently published discussion documents ‘Irish Language in the pre-school sector’ and ‘Irish Language in the Educational System’ and commends those proposals as a significant and positive contribution to the current discourse on the future of the Irish Language.
      Sinn Féin further recognise that the Irish Language belongs to all the people of Ireland in the context of mutual respect and our multi-cultural society.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 7

      This Ard Fheis:
      • notes that there are 55 million Europeans who speak a lessor used language and face daily discrimination by doing so;
      • notes that endangered languages are amongst those most at risk;
      • notes that these languages form a key part in the cultural heritage of their regions, however speakers of these languages are denied basic rights such as education, health and other public services which the dominant languages enjoy without question;
      • recognises that as a result of this inequality, different cultures are losing a vast amount of knowledge regarding their cultural identity;
      • calls for the establishment of an office of a European Language Ombudsman, who will act to ensure that citizens language rights are upheld and that linguistic diversity is protected.
      Tom Barry/Leo Murphy Cumann (Ballincollig/Mid-Cork)

    • 8

      This Ard Fheis recognises the trojan work being done by Sinn Féin councillors, along with others, in the promotion of the Irish language in local councils across the Six Counties, often against the backdrop of open hostility from those who seek to deny people their language rights.
      In particular, this Ard Fheis commends the securing for the very first time the appointment of an Irish Language Officer in Belfast City Council and recognises this as a progressive and symbolic step forward for the Irish language for the citizens of Belfast.
      However, this Ard Fheis regrets the attitude of some Councils towards the Irish language and Irish culture, and the ongoing discrimination against Irish language speakers. This includes decisions by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to apply an English only policy for street signs, and policies in Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council such as the inappropriate flying of the Union Flag on council buildings and facilities such as the recycling centre in Carryduff, and its buildings at Forestside and the lack of funding for GAA clubs and facilities within its boundaries.
      Cumann Mháirtírigh Lóiste Na Móna (Turf Lodge)
      Martin Meehan/MacArts Fort Cumann (Glengormley)
      Samuel Neilson/Bridget Hanna Cumann (Castelereagh South)

    • 9

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises the rights of citizens to a creative life;
      • agrees that the arts, and the opportunity to participate in creative activities, can play an important part in the lives of children and adults alike and can be used to in helping refugees to heal and integrate into Irish society;
      • further agrees that a vibrant part of expressing culture identity can be achieved through creativity;
      • Calls on the government to make available additional funding and supports to ensure artistic and creative activities are encouraged within local communities.
      Wolfe Tone Cumann (Naas/Sallins)

    • 10

      This Ard Fheis notes:
      • it has been three years since the 26 Counties passed by referendum the right of LGBTQI people to civil marriage equality and passed legislation to enable gender recognition rights for the transgender community;
      • despite substantial strides made in 2015, inequalities remain and some political parties have allowed the momentum for change to slow in delivering full LGBTQI equality;
      • the current Fine Gael government, supported by Fianna Fáil, have allowed this. They have allowed for HIV transmission rates to increase - bucking international trends, for the State to become the only western European jurisdiction without hate crime legislation and LGBTQI families continue to be denied equal rights three years after the referendum for civil marriage equality;
      • the struggle for civil marriage equality in the Six Counties continues and we commend the Sinn Féin team in Stormont and the Love Equality campaigners who work tirelessly to that end;
      • the publication of Sinn Féin’s latest LGBTQI position paper ‘On Your Side’. This is the third party publication setting out the next steps in achieving full LGBTQI equality.
      This Ard Fheis calls for:
      • the full implementation of the proposal raised in the ‘On Your Side’ document including (but not limited to):
      - all-Ireland civil marriage equality;
      - all-Ireland gender recognition for transgender young people, non-binary people. All of which based on a self-declaration model;
      - accessible LGBTQI healthcare, particularly the access of the transgender community to hormone replacement therapy;
      - renewed efforts into removing the discrimination of men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood;
      - fair and objective sex education curriculums that are inclusive of LGBTQI young people;
      - an immediate implementation of robust hate-crime legislation;
      - accessible HIV contraception and testing, in light of rising transmission rates;
      - the prohibition of LGBTQI ‘conversion’ therapies.
      Jim Lochrie Cumann (Drumintee)

    • 11

      This Ard Fheis stands in solidarity with the Islamic Community in Belfast following a number of racist and xenophobic incidents in South Belfast.
      Nolan/Downey Cumann (Laganbank)

    • 12

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises the important role the Human Rights Commission has to play in promoting and protecting human rights in the north of Ireland;
      • expresses concern at the cut in grant aid by the NIO and the negative impact this will have on the Commissions ability to deliver its statutory functions;
      • calls on the NIO to halt any further cuts to the Human Rights Commission budget.
      South Armagh Comhairle Ceantair

    • 13

      This Ard Fheis:
      • welcomes the Equality Commission’s Consultation on Section 75 Statutory Equality and Good Relations Duties;
      • notes with concern the Commission’s recognition that Section 75 Duties are not being effectively implemented by public authorities.
      Calls upon:
      • public authorities to take every measure to ensure full compliance with Section 75;
      • the Equality Commission to adopt a stronger approach to equality enforcement and to provide training in the correct application of the principle of the ‘due regard’ duty.
      Recommends that the following statutory obligations are effectively mainstreamed within the planning and delivery of public policy and the public services:
      • Section 28E of the1998 Act;
      • The Child Poverty Act 2010; and
      • The Rural Needs Act (2016).
      Burns/McKerr/Toman Cumann (Lurgan)

    • 14

      This Ard Fheis supports the Time for Truth Campaign and fully endorses their three demands:
      • immediate release of funding for Lord Chief Justice Legacy Inquest Plan;
      • full Implementation and adequate resourcing of the Stormont House mechanisms;
      • adequate resourcing of the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
      Cúige na Sé Chontae

    • 15

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Irish government to release the Crowley Report into the death of Aidan McAnespie.
      Dan McAnallen/Tom Clarke Cumann (Brantry/Eglish)

    • 16

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Irish government to release all relevant files and documents it has on the Dublin/Monaghan Bombings in which 33 innocent civilians and a full-term baby were killed and almost 300 injured by the UVF with suspicion of involvement of British state forces and to put pressure on the British government to do the same.
      Smith/Savage Cumann (Castleknock)

    • Emergency Motion 1

      This Ard Fheis:

      • affirms that for over a year Sinn Féin were engaged in political Talks with the DUP, other
        parties, and both the British and Irish governments to seek agreement in an effort to re-
        establish the Executive on the basis of equality, rights and respect;
      • recognises that the leaderships of both parties reached a fair and balanced accommodation
        – a draft agreement - which we felt could address our concerns, and provide a legislative
        basis to restore the Executive without further delay in February 2018;
      • acknowledges therefore that it was with disappointment that the DUP leadership were
        unwilling to honour or deliver on this and chose to withdraw from the Talks and collapsed
        the process, resulting in a political vacuum for now 5 months;
      • reaffirms that the issues which require remedy are not going away and therefore the
        collapse of the Talks without Agreement cannot be considered a justifiable excuse for
        refusing to afford citizens civil, social and cultural rights or the implementation of
        outstanding commitments in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements in
        their totality;
      • believes that there is a clear requirement under the Good Friday Agreement on the part of
        both Governments equally, to ensure in its jurisdiction in the island of Ireland, the
        equivalent standards of protection of rights, which includes equal marriage; language;
        coroner’s inquests; women’s access to healthcare;
      • calls on both Governments to take decisive and urgent action by convening the British-Irish
        Intergovernmental Conference, and determine how the duty of both Governments to fulfil
        the equivalent standards of protection of rights and civil liberties will be achieved, and the
        obstacles to power-sharing will be explicitly removed under their joint stewardship in the
        absence of an Executive authority comprising locally elected politicians.
      • reaffirms that Sinn Féin is fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement and its institutional
        framework arrangements, power-sharing and are determined to find a sustainable way
        forward which restores the political institutions and equal partnership government.

      Ard Chomhairle

  • Securing Your Future – Secure work and decent wages
    • 17

      This Ard Fheis believes that a century of greed, elitism, and gross economic mismanagement have squandered the untold economic potential of successive generations of Irish citizens. Partition has deepened and perpetuated this system. Countless young people have been forced from their homes to pursue their ambitions. Whole families and communities have been left behind, to the personal enrichment of a few. In 2018 little has changed. Despite encouraging post-crash economic prospects, partition, a cost of living crisis, rampant homelessness, crumbling public services, and stark social inequalities continue to stifle the future of our nation.
      This Ard Fheis asserts that Sinn Féin must continue to confront this legacy of failure and of wasted opportunity, talent and ambition. We must offer a positive, achievable, and transformative alternative to the status-quo.
      This Ard Fheis believes that to guarantee a life of security, dignity and flourishing as a birth right, we must ensure every citizen, north and south, enjoys a share of our island’s wealth to which they are entitled.
      To achieve this, this Ard Fheis believes in forging a social economy which invests in every citizen and community to unleash their potential, which rejects inequality and the primacy of vested interests, and which will ensure economic stability to bring security to people’s lives and ambitions.
      This Ard Fheis asserts that an economy infused with republican values will serve society first. It will guarantee a minimum standard of living, provide for world- class public services, cherish the sanctity of our natural environment and end the destructive economic legacy of partition.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 18

      This Ard Fheis recognises the benefits a united Ireland would have for businesses and enterprise, building on the respective strengths of both regional economies, and countering some of their respective weaknesses. We believe a united Ireland would be better for business, as it would be:
      • a more balanced economy with key strengths in both indigenous business and FDI;
      • more stable and diversified to withstand external shocks and which is adaptable to an ever-changing global economy;
      • successful as a global leader in sectors of high potential future growth such as pharmaceuticals and IT;
      • internationally recognised for quality and high standards;
      • sustainable and providing good quality, well paid jobs and which can provide world class public services and a fair society;
      • prosperous through increased investment, increased exports and economic growth.
      Maria Curran Cumann (Arklow)

    • 19

      This Ard Fheis:
      • notes that after 10 years of DUP Economy Ministers the north has the lowest rate of economic growth on these islands;
      • recognises that the draft Industrial Strategy published in 2017 by the DUP Economy Minister neglects the potential of the all-Ireland economy, ignores the economic threat posed by Brexit and lacks the rigor and attention to detail required to address the north’s economic underperformance;
      • calls for the Industrial Strategy to be revised when the Executive is restored, to include an honest appraisal of past economic policy and performance, an analysis of the constraints on growth in each economic sector and a programme of support tailored to addressing these constraints with a focus on improving productivity, creating jobs, and promoting regional balance;
      • acknowledges that this level of analysis requires an improvement in economic data;
      • recommends the establishment of an Advisory Group with representation from trade unions and Employers to oversee the Industrial Strategy.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 20

      This Ard Fheis recognises that there are many families and individuals across the country who work hard, and struggle to make ends meet.
      They include childcare workers, retail workers, hospitality workers, young nurses and teachers, and workers across the economy.
      They enrich our communities and country through their hard work and dedication, yet they find themselves living week-to-week, always one emergency away from a full blown crisis.
      This Ard Fheis recognises those people. This Ard Fheis is those people. This Ard Fheis says “no more”.
      This Ard Fheis pledges to lift the burden of worry and insecurity from hard working families and individuals and demands:
      • a fair day’s pay for fair day’s work;
      • an end to exploitative work practices such as zero hour and ‘if-and-when’ contracts;
      • that the cost of living is kept under control;
      • the provision of world class public services.
      Ard Chomhairle
      Mairead Farrell Cumann (Moynehall)

    • 21

      This Ard Fheis recognises:
      • the hard work and dedication of childcare workers across the country;
      • that childcare workers’ wages quite simply do not reflect the valuable and skilled work they do;
      • that many highly-skilled workers do not see any long-term career prospects in the sector;
      • that successive Irish governments have completely failed to make any meaningful investment in the childcare sector;
      • that this has resulted in low pay for workers and high fees for parents while most providers are operating on a break even basis and simply cannot afford to increase staff wages;
      • that this cannot be allowed to continue and that workers in such an important role are only on an average of €10.27 per-hour - well short of the Living Wage of €11.70 - is totally unacceptable.
      • valuing staff must sit squarely alongside the further priorities of quality for children and affordability for parents.
      This Ard Fheis therefore calls for a serious focus on pay and conditions in the sector, that this be core in all future plans to expand childcare and early years provision and that it cannot be an afterthought.
      Cole/Colley Cumann (Coolock)

    • 22

      This Ard Fheis recognises:
      • the important role that the hospitality sector plays in the Irish economy and the invaluable work carried out by those employed in the sector;
      • that young people are integral to the survival of the hospitality industry across the island and that every day young people are overtly exploited in the hospitality industry in terms of, low wages, long hours and lack of appropriate rest breaks during and between shifts;
      • that the reality of the hospitality industry is that it is dominated by low pay, precarious employment and poor working conditions;
      • acknowledges that in 2016, the average weekly wage of a worker in the hospitality sector was €324, which is less than half of the national weekly average of €697;
      • that workers in this sector are very much dependent upon the tips which they earn at work in order to supplement their low pay;
      • acknowledges a survey carried out by Sinn Féin in the Galway hospitality sector in 2016 which found that 1 in 3 workers regularly have their tips withheld by their boss;
      • condemns this behaviour by employers as morally deplorable;
      • commends the work being carried out by Senator Paul Gavan and Cllr Johnny Mythen in this sector and fully supports the legislation proposed by Sinn Féin to give workers a statutory legal right to their tips.
      This Ard Fheis also reiterates its calls for the immediate abolition of zero-hours contracts and for employers across the economy, including in the hospitality industry, to pay their staff a living wage, regardless of age.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae
      Ógra Shinn Féin

    • 23

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that the merged scales agreed and implemented under the Haddington Road Agreement amounts to unequal pay for post- January 2011 entrants to the public sector, with over 60,000 public sectors workers drawing less pay than their colleagues for equal work. This comprises over 20 percent of workers in our education sector, and a quarter of the workforce in our health services, including 10,000 nurses;
      • resolves to achieve pay equalisation in its entirety within the period of the current Public Service Stability Agreement, with post-January 2011 entrants attaining equal pay with their colleagues, for equal work, by the close of 2020.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 24

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts from 2009 to 2015 hurt those on lower and medium incomes more;
      • recognises that a full restoration in pay would result in a lesser increase proportionate to pay for those on lower to middle incomes than those on higher income brackets;
      • consequently resolves to prioritise restoring pay for lower and middle income public sector workers and pursue real wage increases for those on lower and modest income levels within the public sector, engendering a more equitable pay structure within the public service for all workers;
      • resolves to pursue a living wage within the public sector for those of lower income, ensuring economic security for all public sector workers;
      • resolves to pursue real income increases for those areas within the public service, such as nursing and social work that experience recruitment and retention crises to the detriment of our public services.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae

    • 25

      This Ard Fheis notes that:
      • nursing and midwifery make up approximately 33% of the total public health service workforce;
      • nurses and midwives are in the frontline and they carry the burden of trying to maintain a safe level of care within a reality of decreased services, decreasing staff, and increased demand;
      • nurses and midwives educated in this state are among the highest educated and best trained healthcare/medical professionals in the world with an esteemed national and international reputation;
      • nursing and midwifery are high risk occupations in terms of aggression and physical assault
      • the 2016 turnover rate recorded in the Health Sector Staff Turnover Estimate for Staff Nurses and Midwives was 7.9%;
      • a 2017 survey released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation showed that a staggering 78.1% of student nurses considered emigrating when they qualified with 81.49% of the total respondents placing pay, staffing levels, and working conditions as the major reason for considering leaving the health service;
      • the female dominated professions of nursing and midwifery are low paid in comparison to other professions with the same educational entry requirements;
      • in recent years due to a deterioration in working conditions and pay issues, amongst others, the situation for nurses and midwives has dramatically changed and has become characterised by a high stress working environment, poor staffing levels associated with unsatisfactory working conditions, and a poorly controlled working environment;
      • the recruitment moratorium and associated issues have created a recruitment and retention crisis within the nursing and midwifery professions;
      Calls on the Irish government to:
      • introduce recruitment and retention measures based on realistic proposals which must include pay;
      • agree a roadmap with unions on how full pay equality will be achieved for nurses and midwives with an implementation plan to deliver pay equality within a short timeframe;
      • establish an independent commission on nursing to look at all aspects of nursing including future pay, working conditions, upskilling, and career progression, amongst other areas;
      • work with unions to identify innovative and progressive mechanisms/ initiatives to secure and retain staff;
      • target new graduates and other nursing staff by offering permanent contracts, attractive career structures and opportunities for other learning, education, and skills development.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae

    • 26

      This Ard Fheis commits to ensuring government establishes an all-party Dáil committee on returning immigrants and emigration with responsibility for establishing a protocol to relieve the current pressures on returning immigrants and establish a policy to reduce emigration from Ireland.
      Mayo Comhairle Ceantair

    • 27

      This Ard Fheis:
      • acknowledges that if we are to achieve a more equal society, citizens in employment are entitled to a liveable wage and decent working conditions;
      • recognises that many men and women are employed in positions without the prospect of up-skilling because they are denied suitable training and development opportunities;
      • calls on the government to stop including people on CE schemes when compiling employment statistics as it is presenting inaccurate and false data that is deliberately designed to be misleading.
      Liam Ryan Cumann (Athlone)

    • 28

      This Ard Fheis sends solidarity to workers in Irish Life who are the latest cohort of workers to face pension losses as their Defined Benefit scheme is to be wound down by their employer.
      This, as is the case with a number of Defined Benefit schemes, is being wound down for no reason other than the employer’s desire to remove the associated pension risk off their books and onto the shoulders of workers. This Ard Fheis calls on Sinn Féin to bring forward legislation to make it illegal for solvent employers to wind down Defined Benefit schemes where the scheme is healthy and not allow employers to renege on pension obligations to workers.
      Delaney/O’Rahilly Cumann (Bray)

    • 29

      This Ard Fheis recognises that poverty is a scourge on our society and commits to a rights based approach, premised on Article 11 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as to how we will seek to address it. Tackling poverty is not just a moral obligation, it also makes economic sense.
      Those who suffer poverty will have more life limiting health problems, suffer greater mental health problems and thus will require greater investment to address these problems later in life than if we had invested earlier in tackling the issues that flow from poverty. Early intervention and investment saves money.
      This Ard Fheis acknowledges that tackling poverty requires interventions that take account of the individual, the family, and area-based deprivation. That such interventions should occur across the life cycle of the person and be designed to ultimately break the cycle of deprivation where a child born into poverty suffers from educational underachievement and skills leading them into unemployment or low paid employment which perpetuates the cycle of poverty right through to when they start their own families and the cycle begins all over again.
      This Ard Fheis calls on the Dáil and a future Assembly to work together to bring forward anti-poverty legislation and strategies, setting out clear targets, a timetable and financial commitments, based on objective need, that will ensure that everyone in our society has an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of their living conditions.
      The Ard Fheis:
      • voices its continued opposition to British Tory austerity and attacks on the welfare systems;
      • reaffirms our call to, scrap the two child limit on Tax Credits, Universal Credit and income support with its disgraceful and repugnant rape clause exception;
      • would bring to an end the outsourcing of benefit assessment to private companies and revise the restrictive criteria associated with entitlement to PIP when claiming under Special Rules/Terminal Illness.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 30

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Ard Chomhairle to establish a working group to examine the feasibility of adopting a universal basic income in the 26 Counties in which all citizens, or permanent residents, of the State would receive a regular, and unconditional sum of money, from the government in part or total substitution of existing social welfare payments and individual tax credits.
      Mick Murray Cumann (Clontarf)

    • 31

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges that:
      • children were recognised to have an impact on a person’s ability to pay tax from as far back as 1799 and that tax payers with children paid less than those without until 1986;
      • those in receipt of Social Welfare receive an increase for qualified (IQC) child/ children and those in receipt of FIS also have dependents taken in to account;
      • working people on a modest income get no recognition of the cost of rearing children beyond Child Benefit.
      This Ard Fheis calls for improvements to supports available for dependent children to help working families ease the cost of childcare.
      Wilson/Coleman Cumann (Swords)

    • 32

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises the narrow base of the current system of taxation and the need to widen this to deliver public services fit for purpose for a modern Republic;
      • acknowledges the importance of Sinn Féin in government introducing an effective wealth tax;
      • also acknowledges the need for a greater contribution in taxation from multinational corporations and the need for a progressive all-Ireland rate of corporate taxation;
      • commits Sinn Féin to a thorough review of taxation policy to be completed by the next Ard Fheis, in order to ensure a fairer contribution from those corporations and individuals who can afford to pay more.
      Clancy/O’Callaghan Cumann (Limerick City North)
      Bun Na bhFál Cumann (Falls)

    • 33

      This Ard Fheis recognises that:
      • there is widespread non-compliance with Irish tax law amongst artists from overseas who perform in the 26 Counties, who do not file self-assessment returns;
      • while the legal framework for the tax is enacted, it is not enforced by Revenue, meaning that the 26 Counties is one of the few EU jurisdictions that do not tax visiting entertainers;
      • the music sector in the 26 Counties, according the IMRO, supports 11,510 jobs. This sector still remains unduly affected by austerity and artists still struggle to make a living from their work.
      This Ard Fheis calls for the examination of the criteria and design of a ‘Foreign Artists’ Withholding Tax’ to ensure that these artists make a contribution
      Emmett/Mallin Cumann (Inchicore)

    • 34

      This Ard Fheis notes that child benefit used to be paid to the parents of a child that was in full time education up until the age of 23. This is no longer available to families. Now, a lot of families apply for grants from SUSI. However many only qualify for partial grants for e.g. the distance you have to travel to your place of study is taken in to consideration and the grant received per month may only cover travel costs for one week of that month.
      This Ard Fheis therefore believes an Education Maintenance Allowance payment for families with a child/adult dependent in full time education would alleviate the pressure on families and students who struggle to balance work and study while trying to make ends meet.
      Wilson/Coleman Cumann (Swords)

    • 35

      This Ard Fheis recognises that:
      • workers across the island have to contend with the unnecessary complication of having two sets of industrial relations law on the one island, separate standards with regard to health and safety, and two separate minimum wages’ which leave workers exposed to a race to the bottom in relation to wages and conditions between jurisdictions;
      • partition creates a myriad of difficulties for all workers as well as for those honest, decent employers who wish to provide decent jobs for their employees by creating extra paperwork, bureaucracy and red tape;
      • for those employers who wish to exploit their workers, it provides opportunities to do so by dividing Irish workers territorially and politically;
      • partition has also distorted the political representation of workers by preventing the development of a left/right divide in politics, allowing conservative groupings dominate;
      • in the south, workers endure the second highest percentage of low paying jobs in the OECD and also the second highest level of wage inequality in the EU-15. In the north, data provided by the NICEP highlighted that wages fell by 6.9% in real terms between 2007 and 2013, while in-work poverty saw a sharp increase between 2015 and 2016 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation report 2016).
      This Ard Fheis recognises that Irish unity can benefit all workers and will deliver:
      • more and better paid jobs and opportunities for all workers including women and people with disabilities;
      • greater mobility allowing workers work and live anywhere on the island without inconvenience;
      • stronger trade unions and workers’ protections;
      • better pay and less red tape for workers and employers alike;
      • better political representation for workers as partition is removed as fault line in Irish politics.
      Wexford Comhairle Ceantair

    • 36

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that workers and working families are the bedrock of our communities, our society and our economy; that our society and workers in particular, have suffered from almost a decade of Tory austerity: that this has meant that in real terms, the block grant to the North has been reduced by 10.2%. Inflation has out stripped pay increases, leading to a de facto pay cut of 8.5% (Better Work, Better Lives, NIC-ICTU);
      • supports the NIC-ICTU campaign for Better Work, Better Lives and the protection of better, decent and more secure work whilst challenging the scourge of low pay.
      • recognises that Brexit poses a real and present threat to workers’ rights and that the Tory government intends to use Brexit to deregulate and attack workers’ rights;
      • believes that securing special designated status for the North within the EU is the best way to prevent this happening. In addition, Sinn Féin will use its influence to maintain existing protections and implement any future progressive EU Directives in respect of improving workers’ rights in the event Brexit proceeds as planned;
      • commits to bringing forward draft legislation in the North to strengthen workers’ rights in our society;
      • notes that some employers are wrongly treating workers as self- employed in order to avoidpaying tax and conferring employment rights. This denies workers vital protections such as sick pay and maternity leave, loses revenue for public services, and undercuts scrupulous employers;
      • calls for the introduction of legislation to prevent employers from illegitimately treating workers as self-employed.
      In practice this will include the following proposals:
      • a commitment to progressively introduce the real living wage (Independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation). That the Real Living Wage be applied to all workers;
      • as a first step, a requirement that the Real Living Wage will be paid by any company bidding for public procurement contracts;
      • the banning of zero hour contracts and ensuring that part time workers will have the same rights as full-time employees;
      • legislation to increase the statutory redundancy provision to a minimum of 3 weeks per year of service. This will be available to all employees regardless of age or length of service. The period of statutory consultation with employees will be increased to 90 days. The weekly wage for the purposes of redundancy, will be calculated upon the individual’s average weekly wage, including overtime and any additional premium;
      • Recognition of the right to withdraw one’s labour and to strike is a basic and fundamental right. Any restriction upon the exercise of that right should be removed. The current 12 week restriction upon the length of any dispute, including strike action, should be removed;
      • Recognition of the rights of workers to organise themselves in unions will be facilitated by removing restrictions within legislation and allowing for employments below 20 workers to seek trade union recognition for the purposes of collective bargaining. This will also include greater access, at an earlier stage, for unions to workplaces when an application for recognition is made to the Industrial Court;
      • protection from unfair dismissal being made available to all workers with more than 6 months service;
      • the introduction of stronger protections against bullying and intimidation for workers and trade union representatives. We will seek to introduce stronger sanctions against employers found guilty of bullying or intimidation of any kind;
      • halting all unpaid bogus internships;
      • increasing paid paternity leave to 4 weeks;
      • a strengthening of the power of the Labour Relations Agency to intervene and mediate in workplace disputes. This will also include reform/review of the Industrial relations mechanisms of the state to make them more user friendly to workers;
      • encouraging an increased strategic focus by the trade union movement and employers organisations in the private sector to promote policies and initiatives which challenge sectarian behaviour and discrimination in the workplace and to make management and employees aware of relevant legislation.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 37

      This Ard Fheis instructs the party to include in any future Programme for Government in the 26 Counties, or a united Ireland, the inclusion of true Collective Bargaining legislation.
      The 2015 Industrial Relations Amendment Act is not Collective Bargaining.
      This Ard Fheis instructs the party to examine international collective bargaining legislation and formulate legislation that will truly protect workers and workers’ rights and finally have the right to Collective Bargaining enshrined into Irish law.
      Peadar Clancy/Mairéad Farrell Cumann (Ennis)

    • 38

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the current system of industrial relations in Ireland is essentially a voluntary model. This system requires both employers and trade unionists to voluntarily engage to negotiate and resolve important industrial relations matters, unfortunately due to the behaviour of many anti- union employers in many sectors of employment including retail, the voluntary system is being undermined at best and avoided by these unscrupulous employers.
      This Ard Fheis condemns the fact that the 26 Counties is one of the only states in the European Union without adequate legislation for both union recognition and collective bargaining. Therefore, this Ard Fheis, in order to ensure state compliance with judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, calls for the immediate implementation of legislation to provide for mandatory trade union recognition and to give employees the right to collective bargaining through their representative trade union.
      Greystones Cumann (Greystones)

    • 39

      This Ard Fheis supports the Fórsa trade union campaign for tax equality on trade union subventions in line with other professional bodies and the call for the reinstatement of the tax relief on trade union subventions withdrawn by the Irish government in 2011 and commits to making provision for this in Sinn Féin’s 2019 alternative budget.
      Cork City Comhairle Ceantair
      Patrick Sheehy Cumann (Limerick City West)
      Greystones Cumann (Greystones)
      Robert Emmet Cumann (Rathgar/Rathmines)

    • 40

      This Ard Fheis affirms its commitment to the granting of employee status, where it is sought, to PhD researchers in third level institutions, whose working hours exceed 35 hours per week.
      Full time PhD research is analogous to a structured training programme in terms of workload, but without the underlying rights granted to workers on a structured training programme.
      Robert Emmet Cumann (Rathgar/Rathmines)

    • 41

      This Ard Fheis supports the Youth Workers Campaign for more investment in longer term, sustainable funding lines to ensure our young people have consistency in terms of building professional relationships with their youth worker, thereby fostering youth development and community participation that young people feel they have ownership and direction of.
      Cork City Comhairle Ceantair

    • 42

      This Ard Fheis asserts that:
      • City Deals should be focussed on promoting inclusive growth;
      • the Belfast and North West deals should be treated equally. To this end the British government should extend its formal commitment for a deal in Belfast to the North West;
      • governance arrangements should be based on existing democratic structures.
      Derry Comhairle Ceantair

    • 43

      This Ard Fheis:
      • calls on all government departments involved in tourism, heritage and culture to market and brand Ireland on an all-island basis when seeking to attract overseas tourists;
      • mandates our MEPs to consider landscape characteristics as an important tourism asset for Ireland and to work to put in place, at European level, protection for landscapes in rural communities relying on freedom from industrial characteristics for their tourism asset;
      • supports establishing greater links between our communities in Ulster to create strong cross border branding with regard to tourism based on centuries of shared heritage, culture and that we also work to link this heritage to the wider European cultures it inspired.
      Leo Casey/Matt Devlin Cumann (Ballymahon)

  • Challenging vested interests
    • 44

      This Ard Fheis recognises Ireland’s political establishment has a poor record of challenging vested interests. In government, Sinn Féin will demand probity and accountability from all who hold positions of power and responsibility and by doing so we will uphold and protect the common good, and will;
      • develop a statutory framework that holds senior civil servants and public officials to account for their decisions and actions, upholds the public interest and the common good and imbeds the principle of open public administration;
      • establish a seminal independent audit of the State’s oversight agencies in the 26 Counties involved in combating white-collar crime to include but not limited to front line staff architecture, expenditure, enforcement, and inter-agency cooperation to include an international comparators study of other jurisdictional approaches and recommendations for prioritised implementation;
      • introduce a White Collar Crime Bill to strengthen investigative, enforcement and prosecution powers contained within existing company, employment and public administration legislation;
      • extend the power and resources of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the 26 Counties to inspect the accounts, books and records of any organisation in receipt of public funds;
      • introduce measures to protect the public interest from the often insidious relationships between the public and private sector;
      • introduce a statutory Register of Lobbying in the north to provide transparency and greater assurance that policy decisions made are done so in the best interests of everyone and not simply a lobby group which has the financial backing to buy influence and votes;
      • as a more immediate measure amend the Ministerial Code in the north to require Ministers to declare all meetings with lobbyists.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 45

      This Ard Fheis implores the Minister for Health Simon Harris to introduce a statutory ‘duty of candour’ for the purpose of enforcing a policy of open disclosure within the health services.
      O’Hanlon/McMahon/Lynagh Cumann (Monaghan Town)

    • 46

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that the abuse of children took place right across the country in places and institutions which the state, voluntary organisations or religious institutions had a direct responsibility for;
      • calls for an open and honest admission of the roles in such abuse that the state, voluntary organisations and religious institutions were responsible for;
      • calls on all of those involved to release the information that they hold so as the full story of what children and young people were forced to endure can by fully told and that where possible those who carried out the abuse can be brought to justice.
      In particular this Ard Fheis calls for the recommendations of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in the north to be fully implemented following consultation with those who suffered and further calls for the state, voluntary organisations and the religious institutions to make reparations to all involved. This Ard Fheis also recognises the suffering of those who were in Mother and Baby Homes and calls for abuses that took place within them to be fully investigated.
      Barney McFadden Cumann (Greysteel)

    • 47

      This Ard Fheis notes:
      • the need for radical change within An Garda Síochána and its oversight bodies in ensuring senior Gardaí can be held accountable for their actions.
      • the culture of impunity that has existed in the senior ranks of An Garda Síochána;
      Therefore, this Ard Fheis calls for:
      • the government and the Minister for Justice to address the issue of accountability in a way that can restore public confidence in An Garda Síochána;
      • the establishment of a Criminal Justice Inspectorate overseeing inspections of An Garda Síochána, the courts and the Director of Public Prosecutions;
      • the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to be reformed, fully empowered, properly resourced, and independent in order to fulfil its oversight obligation;
      • the powers of GSOC to be further enhanced in order to ensure that the Garda Commissioner comes within the remit of GSOC for investigation purposes;
      • the Policing Authority to be granted a full independent capacity regarding the appointments of the Garda Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Garda Commissioners following open competition by the Public Appointments Service based on best practice in recruitment and to have the independent power to remove these senior officers.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae

    • 48

      This Ard Fheis believes that the Irish media industry faces a number of issues of real concern including:
      • an over concentration of media ownership;
      • precarious working conditions;
      • lack of supports for investigative journalism;
      • lack of socio-economic, gender, disability and ethnic diversity and;
      • defamation laws that can have a chilling effect on news coverage and publications in the public interest.
      Given that these issues have been flagged in a number of independent reports and that Ireland continues to fall in the World Press Freedom Index, this Ard Fheis calls for the establishment of a multi-disciplinary commission of Inquiry into the media landscape in Ireland.
      Healy/Howard Cumann (Cabra East)

  • Party Development
    • 49

      This Ard Fheis commends the Sinn Féin health policy document - A Sinn Féin Plan for Universal Healthcare, and believes that Sinn Féin should lead by example on the issue of Mental Health by endorsing the following;
      • the provision of training for all paid party activists to undertake suicide awareness training;
      • to encourage the wider membership to avail of any suicide awareness training that may be available in their own areas ;
      • to undertake a consultation process with its paid party activists to identify any additional mental health/wellness supports that may be needed within their roles;
      • following which the party will undertake to publish guidelines for paid party activists on best practise for mental health/wellness.
      Colonel Leonard Cumann (Tullyallen)

    • 50

      This Ard Fheis asks the Ard Chomhairle to positively consider Sinn Féin putting forward a candidate in this year’s presidential election, recognising that the office of Uachtarán na hÉireann is too important to be uncontested and that the Irish people should not be denied the chance to vote for a Sinn Féin candidate in any election.
      McGrath/O’Brien Cumann (East Waterford)

    • 51

      This Ard Fheis recognises that minority partners in previous Irish government have suffered heavy subsequent losses in popularity and political development.
      This Ard Fheis also recognises that the losses suffered by minority partners in the past have come about as a result of the perfidious manner in which said minority partners abandoned their principles in favour of short sighted gains
      Therefore, this Ard Fheis re-affirms Sinn Féin’s aspiration to the formation of government in the south based on our socialist republican principles and reaffirms that any potential coalition proposals must go before a Special Ard Fheis.
      Any Programme for Government in such a coalition must prioritise issues such as a road map to Irish Unity, have a commitment to creating a universal healthcare system as outlined in our Better for Health Policy and a commitment to proper investment in social housing as outlined in the Better for Housing policy.
      Ógra Shinn Féin
      Countess Markievicz/Tadhg Barry Cumann (North West/Central Wards)

    • 52

      This Ard Fheis notes that while Sinn Féin may engage in discussions with other political parties after any election, the party should attempt to form a broad left-wing government comprising parties and independents of a similar political ideology.
      Devlin/Plunkett Cumann (Templeogue/Terenure)

    • 53

      This Ard Fheis sends its best wishes and warm thanks to our longest serving TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, TD for Cavan/Monaghan, on his decision to stand down at the next election, we wish him all the best for the future after so many years hard work.
      Kieran Doherty Cumann (Cavan Town)

    • 54

      This Ard Fheis:
      • supports the stand taken by Cliftonville Football Club and commends the dignified way in which it carried out its protest at the Irish Cup Final on the 5th May 2018;
      • confirms its support for a united Ireland national football team, and calls on the FAI and IFA to begin talks on a pathway to achieving this;
      • in recognising that we have two national leagues on this island, this Ard Fheis calls for a position paper on setting up a single national league that will see teams competing from all 32 Counties. This paper should be done by setting up a group of Sinn Féin members who have an interest in the leagues on the island and be headed up by both our spokespersons for Sport in the Six Counties and 26 Counties. The paper should also look at how we could grow the league to have the maximum impact.
      Charlie McGlade Cumann (Drimnagh)

    • 55

      This Ard Fheis commends the party for its focus on and continued support for equality inclusion and diversity including, but not limited to:
      • working for gender equality of elected representatives and internal structures;
      • treating all party members fairly, regardless of race, religion, gender label or none, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or creed;
      • being non-sectarian in all interactions;
      • supporting rights of travellers;
      • challenging those who treat people of different socio-economic levels unequally;
      • welcoming immigrants to Ireland;
      • supporting people with disabilities.
      This Ard Fheis calls on the party to continue and expand its efforts to continue to be inclusive as we build a united Ireland.
      Midlands/North West Cúige
      SATURDAY 16th JUNE
      Local Government, electoral reform and transport

  • Local Government, electoral reform and transport
    • 56

      This Ard Fheis calls on the north’s Electoral Boundary Commission to reverse their current proposals and to go back to their original provisional proposals from September 2016.
      Brady/Liggett Cumann (St. James)

    • 57

      This Ard Fheis reaffirms its support for the establishment of an Electoral Commission in the south, for the reform of the Electoral Office in the North (EONI) and for electoral reform as outlined in ‘Towards a New Republic’ and further calls for:
      • the introduction of regulation for online advertising on social media platforms. In order to provide transparency for citizens we must remove control of our democratic processes from the hands of global internet giants;
      • to immediately roll out online voter registration which was due to be in place in the north by January 2017;
      • the introduction of absentee on demand voting, both north and south.
      Dunne/Meaney Cumann (Ballybrack)
      Blackmountain Comhairle Ceantair
      Lagmore Cumann
      Donegal Comhairle Ceantair
      Dublin Cúige

    • 58

      This Ard Fheis:
      • commends the Councillors Consultation Project initiated by the Office of Uachtarán Shinn Féin;
      • recognises that councillors are a vital link between the party’s activist base and the national leadership and are the drivers of the party’s political objectives within the communities Sinn Féin represents;
      • acknowledges that this in-depth consultation with Sinn Féin councillors across the island in the areas of communications, training and enhanced organisational structures is underway;
      • accepts that the councillors will inform the recommendations arising from the consultation;
      • commits to implement the recommendations of the interim and final Consultation reports.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 59

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises the great work done by all our local councillors, and supports the Councillor Consultation launched by Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald to support them in their work;
      • calls on the incoming Ard Chomhairle to take this a step further and appoint a councillors representative attached to the office of local government spokespersons in both in the Dáil and Assembly. This representative would act as a link between our council teams and the Dáil/Assembly and allow local councillors to have the expert support they need;
      • calls for the National Councillors Forum, as set out in our constitution, to be re-established and to meet as soon as possible after this Ard Fheis with the first meeting electing an interim officer board who will then arrange an AGM before the end of this year.
      Charlie McGlade Cumann (Drimnagh)

    • 60

      This Ard Fheis condemns the cuts in funding for local government over the past decade as well as the centralisation and privatisation of local services in the south. It further calls on An Ard Chomhairle to develop a comprehensive policy paper that outlines a new model for local government in Ireland including a significant increase in the percentage of central government funding to local authorities, replacement of outsourcing with increased permanent local authority employment and the decentralisation of key public service provision to local authorities.
      Mulvoy/Campbell/McGirr Cumann (City East Ward)

    • 61

      This Ard Fheis supports the abolition of the unfair Local Property Tax which directly links local authorities ability to operate with the private housing market and calls on the Ard Chomhairle to develop alternative proposals to ensure adequate funding for local authorities, with such proposals to be put to the next Ard Fheis for consideration.
      Limerick City Comhairle Ceantair

    • 62

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises the invaluable contribution councillors make to the local communities they represent;
      • acknowledges the inadequacy of full time councillors current remuneration;
      • commits to review, in consultation with the party’s local government spokespersons, relevant legislation and develop proposals to introduce a revised pay structure for elected members’ of local authorities in advance of Budget 2019 or a general election; whichever takes place first.
      Fullerton/MacLochlainn/O’Hagan Cumann (Buncrana)

    • 63

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that there are approximately 70 million citizens across the globe who claim Irish roots;
      • appreciates the diaspora as an important part of the Irish nation;
      • identifies forced emigration as a crisis that successive governments have failed to tackle;
      • notes that the Irish government has failed utterly in recognising the legitimate rights of the Irish abroad to vote in elections or have political representation in the Houses of the Oireachtas;
      • remains steadfast in its aim of addressing this when we are in government;
      • commends the work of activists and elected activists on their longstanding record on diaspora affairs and building firm relationships and connections across all sectors where Irish citizens are involved, particularly so in the USA, Canada, Britain, Europe and Australia.
      Fermanagh Comhairle Ceantair

    • 64

      This Ard Fheis calls for all Irish citizens regardless of their domiciliary status, to be able to participate in Presidential elections.
      O’Carolan/Kilmartin Cumann (Dungiven)

    • 65

      This Ard Fheis:
      • agrees that the provision of resources to ensure adequate transport services are essential to address social isolation in rural communities and ensure the economic viability of rural Ireland;
      • further agrees that in light of the government’s recent announcement to provide for the expansion of LocalLink services to provide evening transport services in some rural areas, it is now incumbent on the Minister for Transport to make available sufficient funding to ensure enhanced community transport services in order to better meet the needs of rural dwellers.
      Wolfe Tone Cumann (Naas/Sallins)

    • 66

      This Ard Fheis opposes the de-staffing of train stations across the 26 Counties. The move towards de-staffing stations has a detrimental impact on those who rely on public transport particularly our vulnerable citizens. All our public transport should be fully accessible with no notice needed to be given by any citizen wishing to use it.
      Delaney/O’Rahilly Cumann (Bray)

    • 67

      This Ard Fheis, given the increasing number of cyclist fatalities and injuries on our roads, supports the introduction of minimum passing distance legislation to make our roads safer for all users.
      North Antrim Comhairle Ceantair

    • 68

      This Ard Fheis commits Sinn Féin’s policy unit to look at the feasibility of setting up a state insurance body to deal with the spiralling costs of insurance premiums across the state, particularly for younger drivers.
      John Joe Sheehy Cumann (Tralee)

    • 69

      This Ard Fheis:
      • encourages active travel for all age groups and recognises the benefits in relation to improving the physical and mental health of a population, and helping to reduce congestion, air pollution, and traffic collisions;
      • calls for Sinn Féin at all levels of government to promote active travel policies; incorporate active travel plans into all major road developments; and invest in footways, Greenways, cycle lanes and other methods to allow active travel to take place safely.
      North Antrim Comhairle Ceantair

    • 70

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that broadband provision in increasingly essential in accessing public and private services, ensuring social inclusion and promoting economic growth;
      • calls on future investment in broadband to prioritise areas that have the weakest internet access on the basis of objective need and notes that these are primarily rural areas.
      Newry Comhairle Ceantair

  • Tackling Climate change
    • 71

      This Ard Fheis endorses Sinn Féin’s policy document ‘Powering Ireland 2030: Proposals for accelerated transition to climate-friendly electricity generation’.
      This Ard Fheis believes that Ireland needs ambitious, sustained and co-ordinated action, to accelerate the transition away from environmentally devastating fossil fuels and to build our renewable capacity. 
      There is huge uncertainty as to the approach which will be taken by the British government to climate change post-Brexit. 
      The Irish government’s Mitigation Plan is inadequate and their Project Ireland 2040, which includes the all-island Single Electricity Market, is too narrowly reliant on on-shore wind and finite fossil fuel. 
      Sinn Féin believe Ireland needs a more diverse energy mix with greater use of a wider range of renewable sources including:
      • a much larger emphasis on off-shore wind;
      • sustainable replacements, such as biogas and to a lesser extent, biomass, for fossil fuels currently underpinning dispatchable power.
      The energy system we plan for is sustainable, secure and affordable. It is also achievable and can be delivered by:
      • redirecting public, semi-state and private investment into developing and deploying a new energy mix;
      • supporting householders, communities, farmers and small business with a broader range of grants and supports enabling them to both reduce and produce the energy we need.
      The Ard Fheis also reaffirms that the North-South Interconnector must be undergrounded in line with international best practice.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 72

      This Ard Fheis, faced with the challenge of climate change, commits to fossil fuel divestment as a means of driving the transition away from carbon-dependent energy production. Fossil fuel divestment involves the selling off of financial assets related to, and prohibiting additional investments in corporations primarily involved in, the extraction, production and sale of fossil fuels.
      This Ard Fheis recognises the economic and moral imperatives of fossil fuel divestment:
      • the overwhelming majority of the international community has committed to maintaining levels of global warming below 1.5/2 degrees, in order to secure a safe and stable global environment;
      • to achieve these targets, at least 80% of all existing proven reserves of fossil fuels cannot be extracted and burned. Despite this reality, huge investments continue to pour into fossil fuel extraction companies, inflating the value of commercial operations which must urgently end in order to prevent climate breakdown.
      This Ard Fheis, therefore, supports establishing legal obligations for public bodies and capital investment schemes, such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund or the Local Government Pension Scheme in the north, to remove their investments from fossil fuel assets.
      This Ard Fheis further supports the reinvestment of these assets into green bonds and renewable energy assets to drive the transition to a financially secure sustainable and recognises the building global momentum behind the fossil fuel divestment movement, and commits to supporting the divestment efforts of the international community.
      Mulvey Cumann (Bray)

    • 73

      This Ard Fheis recognises:
      • the benefits of microgeneration and how it can support the sustainability and energy efficiency of businesses, local communities and individual households through the generation of small scale renewable energy;
      • micro-generation adds to the renewable energy produced in the state with the potential of supplying excess energy to the grid; reducing household and small business energy bills through self-consumption and allow people to become actively involved in the states switch to renewables energy.
      This Ard Fheis endorses Sinn Féin’s Microgeneration Support Scheme Bill and calls for its implementation.
      Wicklow Comhairle Ceantair
      Barney Morris/Seamus Harvey Cumann (Crossmaglen)

    • 74

      This Ard Fheis recognises the immense offshore assets the state has available that are largely underdeveloped. This includes the potential in offshore energy, inclusive of offshore wind and the emerging technologies of wave and tidal. Offshore wind alone can supply a significant amount of the state’s electricity needs if it is utilised correctly. Our renewable energy future requires significant expansion in offshore energy. To achieve this Sinn Féin propose:
      • creating a single body to address offshore planning and consent requirements;
      • streamlining of planning legislation to ensure swifter development of offshore projects alongside stringent environmental considerations.
      Wicklow Comhairle Ceantair

    • 75

      This Ard Fheis:
      • condemns the government’s failure to introduce stricter guidelines to protect rural communities from the worst effects of industrial wind farms;
      • agrees that the one in four set-back distance currently being proposed in the government’s Wind Farm Guidelines are woefully inadequate as they fail to protect rural dwellers from industrial turbines that can rise to a height in excess of 180 metres;
      • reaffirms its support for the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2016, tabled in the Dáil by Deputy Brian Stanley in 2014 and 2017 which stipulates a minimum setback distance of 10 times the height of the tip of the blade and that turbines over 25 metres in height must only be located in areas designated by councillors in County Development Plans;
      • calls on the government to codify in law the proposals contained within the Sinn Féin Bill in order to preserve the environment and landscape and protect rural dwellers from the serious ill-effects of having industrial size wind turbines located close to their homes;
      • demands that the government impose an immediate moratorium on current and future planning applications for industrial wind turbines that exceed 120 metres until more stricter guidelines are in place to protect rural communities.
      Barnes/McCormack Cumann (Mullingar)

    • 76

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the complexities related to biofuels and the consumer confusion related to its name, while also acknowledging the important role biofuels can play in greening the economy, especially the transport sector. This Ard Fheis believes in developing a sustainable indigenous biofuels industry, based on first and particularly second generation sources, both complying to high sustainability criteria in order to minimise land use change emissions and adverse effects to biodiversity.
      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the positive impact the development of this industry can have on the island of Ireland, particularly in rural communities and contributing to energy security, as well as by-producing locally produced protein for agricultural purposes. Sinn Féin believes in supporting an EU-wide palm oil ban, given the destructive environmental impact of this industry and highlights the need for high sustainability in this sector.
      Boland/Harford Cumann (Balbriggan)

    • 77

      This Ard Fheis:
      • notes with concern proposals to invest further in the importation of energy produced from nuclear fission and fracked gas sources given the implications of this for our necessary efforts to transition to low carbon, environmentally friendly societies;
      • recognises these energy sources are extremely damaging to the environment and currently there is no way to safely dispose of nuclear waste;
      • opposed the construction of any new energy infrastructure whose primary purpose is to rely on fracked gas or nuclear fission and instead call for the re- direction of investment into sustainable energy technologies.
      South Armagh Comhairle Ceantair

    • 78

      This Ard Fheis calls for a national debate to be had, backed by scientific facts on international best practice, on the potential of nuclear energy as a national energy supply, considering the speed of depreciation of both the global natural environment and ice caps and the need for a relatively immediate solution to same on the move away from fossil fuels.
      Grey Abbey Martyrs Cumann (Kildare Town)

    • 79

      This Ard Fheis:
      • condemns the fact that 22% of households in the north and 28% of households in the south of Ireland are suffering from fuel poverty, with the north having one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the European Union;
      • calls for all new-build homes to be constructed to the highest levels of energy efficiency and to include suitable micro-generation capabilities to enable households to reduce their energy bills and also potentially provide an avenue of income through microgeneration and for the expansion of the eligibility for energy retrofitting schemes for those on low incomes free of charge in both the north and south.
      Andersonstown Martyrs Cumann

    • 80

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the dangers of a plastic dependent society and acknowledges the threat that plastic pollution poses to our environment, to marine and other life, human health, the economy and society at large. In combatting this looming problem, Sinn Féin believes that the key is reduction in overall use.
      This Ard Fheis, in government, would:
      • phase out single use plastics and invest in recycling capacity on the island of Ireland to allow the uptake of secondary raw materials;
      • would support community led projects, such as clean ups and cup-return schemes, as well as establish a national return-deposit scheme for plastics to encourage higher rates of recycling in households;
      • oppose any financial burdens placed on people for recycling and believes in extending producer responsibility by internalising the costs of the pollution and encouraging the modulation of fees to ensure products are better designed for a circular economy.
      Pól Kinsella Cumann (Northlands)
      Dunne/Meaney Cumann (Ballybrack)

    • 81

      This Ard Fheis:
      • notes with concern that approximately 600 million coffee cups are used in Ireland each year, many are made from material that is difficult to recycle, and only one in four are recycled;
      • calls for the introduction of an all-Ireland Coffee levy on disposable coffee cups to reduce their use, with the revenue generated to be used to fund environmental schemes.
      Ladybrook and Riverdale Cumman

    • 82

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the concerns with the scientific assessments for the reauthorisation of the active substance glyphosate, as well as the litigation around the world against Monsanto relating to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and exposure to the substance. Moreover, this Ard Fheis recognises the intrinsic link between this herbicide and genetically modified organisms - the two designed by the agrochemical industries, creating farmer dependency, destabilising food security and threatening biodiversity across the planet. This Ard Fheis expresses disapproval at the use of ghost-written scientific papers by EU agencies and believes that peer-reviewed, independent and veritable science should be the only standard that dictates the authorisation of chemicals in the EU.
      Boland/Harford Cumann (Balbriggan)

    • 83

      This Ard Fheis commits in government to facilitate the establishment of a planning aid service offering help and transparency on planning issues and ensuring more people are engaging with the planning process helping to make our communities better places to live.
      Paddy Wright Cumann (Athy)

    • 84

      This Ard Fheis re-affirms its commitment to a right to water for all Irish citizens and recommits the party and our Oireachtas spokesperson to call on the government to ensure full equality between those on group water schemes and those in the public system.
      Robert Byrne Cumann (Limerick City East)

    • 85

      This Ard Fheis recognising the vast amount of illegal dumping that is being done in rural Ireland and especially in scenic areas, which is a blight on our landscape and calls for plans to be put in place to tackle this issue.
      Gleeson Cumann (Taghmon)

    • Additional Motion

      This Ard Fheis calls on Irish Water to ensure that the levels of trihalomethanes in the public drinking water supply comply with the European Union (Drinking Water) Regulation 2014 and in the context of the forthcoming revised Drinking Water Directive reduce the level of chlorine used in the public water system by promoting healthier approaches to treating the water supply such as exist in the Netherlands, including improved source water; treatment through sedimentation, filtration and UV disinfection; reduce contamination during distribution; production and distribution of biostable water; and improve monitoring and timely detection of system failures.

      Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde (Moville/Greencastle)

  • Standing with Women
    • 86

      This Ard Fheis notes:
      • that 2018 marks the centenary of women’s suffrage which historic milestone in the role of women in our struggle for national liberation and social justice;
      • that in the last 100 years Ireland has seen occupation, liberation and partition. We have seen women and children suffer systemic injustices at the hands of church and state. Many of those injustices, such as the scandal of illegal adoptions, the mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries, are still only fully coming to light;
      • that while significant strides have been made on the path to full equality for women in Ireland, significant hurdles remain, including:
      - the failure to tackle the scourge of domestic violence and to adequately protect women and children;
      - low pay and low hours contracts which disproportionately affect women workers;
      - the high cost of childcare which forces many women out of the workforce;
      - austerity measures and the disproportionate impact of same on women and children;
      - a gender pay gap of 14% despite more women obtaining higher education qualifications;
      - a failure to tackle the scourge of family homelessness which shows 3,689 children in the south without a roof over their heads;
      - a health service which is under resourced and which has been complicit in the CervicalCheck scandal which has impacted on the health and lives of hundreds of women.
      This Ard Fheis believes that we can build a society in which women are truly equal and calls for the following set of principles to be prioritised as a first step;
      • Tackle low pay and support low income households.
      • Reshape and resource childcare.
      • Transform the health system for women and their families.
      • Provide supports to women and their children escaping domestic violence.
      • Encourage alternative paths to work.
      • Progress gender proofing and equality budgeting across government departments.
      Ard Chomhairle

    • 87

      This Ard Fheis:
      • reaffirms Sinn Féin’s commitment to universal health and social care, free at the point of delivery, based on need and to address the significant challenges facing health and social care services in the Six Counties set out by Michelle O’Neill when Minister for Health in her transformation plan;
      • remains determined to further developing all-island and cross- border health services-such as the North West Cancer Center in Altnagelvin and the all-island Congenital Heart Disease Network-in progressing towards and All-Ireland National Health Service;
      • is determined to tackle the scourge of health inequalities in society where a postcode lottery means that where you are born can determine the level of your accessibility to health services and how long you will live;
      • reiterates calls for parity of esteem, giving equal priority to mental health as that given to physical health as a means of improving mental health and wellbeing and tackling the serious problem of suicide that has devastated communities across the north;
      • believes that early intervention and prevention measures are vital to ensure where possible people remain in good physical and mental health;
      • supports greater investment in delivering services closer to the community and people’s homes through primary care and thus reduce pressure on our acute care services;
      • rejects DUP backed Tory Austerity that for years has meant a year on year reduction in the Block Grant which has prevented the necessary investment in health to keep pace with growing demands;
      • is concerned that continued Tory Austerity, supported by the DUP will undermine and derail health transformation in the north of Ireland as it has done previously;
      • recognises that our health systems have failed women on many occasions, north and south, exposing them to and compounding injustices including the outrageous wrongdoings of thalidomide and symphysiotomy,, the unfolding vaginal mesh implant scandal and the appalling failures of the cervical cancer screening programme;
      • believes that women’s voices must be heard in our health system and the only safe and effective way to deliver healthcare to the women of Ireland is through a 32 country public system that is sensitive to and reflective of gender differences and diversity;
      • endorses Sinn Féin’s all-Ireland Policy Document - A Vision for Women’s Health.
      Ard Chomhairle
      Michael Moran Cumann (Tuam)

    • 88

      This Ard Fheis calls for a change in the legislation that would allow expectant mothers a routine screening during pregnancy; this could detect Streb B which is largely a preventable disease in new-born babies.
      Pól Kinsella Cumann (Northlands)

    • 89

      This Ard Fheis:
      • welcomes Mr. Justice O’Hara’s report entitled the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related deaths;
      • praises the perseverance and endurance of the bereaved parents in their search for truth and justice;
      • endorses Justice O’Hara’s first recommendation that a statutory duty of candour be enacted and legislation introduced to give effect to this.
      Countess Markievicz Cumann (Culmore)

    • 90

      This Ard Fheis supports women who choose to return to work after having children and recognises:
      • that for many workers child care is expensive;
      • that crèche opening hours are not always compatible with shift work which makes childcare inaccessible for many shift workers especially in the manufacturing sector.
      This Ard Fheis calls for the introduction of a requirement that all IDA parks provide crèche facilities within their designated areas to accommodate their workforce at a subsidised rate.
      North Clare Cumann

    • 91

      This Ard Fheis:
      • acknowledges the findings of a recent ESRI report showing that out of 11 EU states, the 26 Counties has the highest rate of persistent deprivation amongst lone parents;
      • recognises that research has shown that child maintenance payments play a crucial role in lifting children out of poverty;
      • calls for the establishment of a child maintenance service to assist and support lone parent mothers and fathers.
      Mulvey Cumann (Bray)

    • 92

      This Ard Fheis recognises the high cost of childcare for working parents and endeavours to broaden the threshold for assistance through subsidies to benefit more families and give further choice for those currently adversely affected from availing of employment due to the crippling cost of childcare.
      Patrick Sheehy Cumann (Limerick City West)

    • 93

      This Ard Fheis, recognising the decision of the people to repeal the 8th amendment of the constitution and the need for legislature to now address the issue of abortion;
      This Ard Fheis:
      • reasserts that abortion should be available where a woman’s life, health or mental health is at risk and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality;
      • supports the Joint Oireachtas Committee findings that it is not possible to legislate for abortion in the case of rape in a compassionate way;
      • recognises that Irish women already access abortion services every day in other countries or through abortion pills purchased online without any medical supervision;
      • accepts that abortion without specific indication should be available through a GP led service in a clinical context as determined by law and licensing practice for a limited gestational period.
      Sinn Féin members of a legislature shall act in line with the view of the Ard Chomhairle which will be informed by the best available medical advice, when legislating regarding the limited gestational period.
      Ard Chomhairle
      Ógra Shinn Féin
      Markievicz/Ryan/Farrell (Tallaght)
      Ruth Hackett Cumann (Maynooth)
      O’Malley/Russell Cumann (North East Inner City)
      Clarke/Smith/Doherty Cumann (Finglas)
      James Connolly Cumann (Ballyfermot)
      Shantallow Martyrs Cumann (Shantallow)
      Dublin Mid West Comhairle Ceantair
      Devlin/Plunkett Cumann (Templeogue/Terenure)

    • 94

      This Ard Fheis congratulates ‘Together For Yes’ for running a successful, inclusive and positive campaign and commends all those Sinn Féin members and supporters who were active during the campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment.
      James Connolly Cumann (Ballyfermot)

    • 95

      This Ard Fheis:
      • recognises that abortion remains a deeply divisive issue both within Sinn Féin and in wider society;
      • understands that people’s views are based on their own, often painful experience and on strongly held beliefs;
      • seeks to ensure cohesion and to allow all republicans to contribute to the objective of securing a united Ireland;
      • considers that republicanism is strong enough to accommodate different views on this difficult issue; and
      • agrees that all Sinn Féin members be allowed to articulate and vote on the issue of abortion according to their conscience.
      Gallagher/Foy Cumann (Drumconrath)
      McCusker/McMullan/O’Hagan Cumann (Swatera)
      Tom Kealy Cumann (Celbridge)
      Seán English Cumann (Cadamstown)
      Fergal O’Hanlon Cumann (Brookeborough)
      McGrath/O’Brien Cumann (East Waterford)
      Joe McManus/Dessie McNulty Cumann (Ballintra/Laghey)
      Casement/Highstead/Kelly Cumann (Maghera)
      O’Hanlon/Davey Cumann (Lavey)
      Brian Keenan Cumann (Ballinascreen)
      Thomas Allen Cumann (Trim)
      Martin Meehan/MacArts Fort Cumann (Glengormley)
      Hughes/Connolly/McElwee Cumann (Bellaghy)
      O’Reilly/McGennity/Watters Cumann (Kileen)
      Clarke/Smith/Doherty Cumann (Finglas)
      Robert Emmett/McEldowney/McMullan Cumann (Slaughtneil)
      Lawlor/Mulvihill/Clashmealcon Martyrs Cumann (Ballyheigue/Causeway/Ballyduff)
      South Derry Comhairle Ceantair
      Francis Bradley Cumann (Magherafelt)
      Kelly/Arthurs Cumann (Kells)
      Kieran Doherty Cumann (Cavan Town)
      Vol.Ed O’Brien Cumann (Gorey)
      Logue/Marley Cumann (Crumlin)
      French/Doyle Cumann Johnstown (Navan)

    • Emergency Motion 2

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes that the recent cervical check scandal served to highlight a number of serious failings
        in the health service in the 26 Counties, in particular the failure to share information with
        patients about their own results;
      • acknowledges the positive impact that screening programmes can have and reaffirms its
        commitment to these screening programmes;
      • acknowledges that recent events have served to undermine public confidence even further

      in the health service and this must be rebuilt.

      This Ard Fheis calls for:

      • the immediate issuing of medical cards for all the women impacted by these scandals;
      • a commitment from government that the aggressive strategy employed by the state claims
        agency will be discontinued immediately and an appropriate resourced compensation
        scheme be instituted without delay;
      • access to any available treatment for the women impacted to include access to new drugs
        and drug trials;
      • resources to be made immediately available to ensure the completion of the Scally report on
        schedule before the end of June 2018;
      • the repatriation of all screening to Irish labs and a commitment to resource these labs and
        the training necessary for the staff to work in them.

      Ard Chomhairle

  • Securing Your Future - Investing in housing and quality public services
    • 96

      This Ard Fheis calls on the government to declare a housing and homeless emergency and to introduce emergency legislation to stem the flow of adults and children into homelessness.
      The emergency legislation should include:
      • the Focus Ireland Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act preventing buy to let landlords from issuing vacant possession Notices to Quit when selling their properties;
      • a legal requirement for local authorities to put in place a homeless prevention plan for any family at risk of homelessness 60 days before losing their home;
      • a legal limit so that no person is forced to remain in emergency accommodation no more than 6 months and;
      • a target date for the ending of long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough.
      Dublin Cúige

    • 97

      This Ard Fheis:
      • expresses its solidarity with those facing the sale of their mortgage, farm loan or business loan to vulture funds;
      • condemns the policy of the banks, especially those in which the state holds a stake, of selling the mortgages, businesses and farm loans of those doing their best to pay their way to unscrupulous vulture funds;
      • notes the acquiescence of government in this strategy following the rolling out of the red carpet by Fine Gael for the vultures in previous years.
      This Ard Fheis therefore calls for:
      • the banks to do their job and work through their impaired loans using the many options open such as mortgage to rent, write-downs and restructurings;
      • an end to the sale of all loan books which include any family home in which a genuine effort is being made to pay;
      • the full legal protection of tenants in cases where buy-to-let mortgages are to be sold;
      • the full regulation of all mortgage owners in the state;
      • a review of the tax arrangements put in place for the vultures.
      Gallagher/Foy Cumann (Drumconrath)
      Ed O’Brien Cumann (Gorey)

    • 98

      This Ard Fheis calls for the introduction of a long term plan for the private rental sector to provide tenants with long term security of tenure, rent certainty and improved policing of quality and standards.
      These objectives would be achieved by introducing tenancies of indefinite duration, linking rents to an index such as the CPI, inspecting 25% of all rental properties per year and requiring landlords to provide an NCT type certification on commencement of a new tenancy. The strategy should also provide increased support for landlords to improve the professionalisation of the sector.
      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae
      Sligo Comhairle Ceantair

    • 99

      This Ard Fheis calls on the government to introduce a new model of public housing by funding the development of mixed income and mixed tenure estates on public land including social, affordable rental and affordable purchase homes of high quality, Near Zero Energy building standards and adequate transport, social and economic infrastructure and amenities.
      This new model should:
      • be on a scale commensurate to the level of housing need that currently exists;
      • be funded through exchequer funding and low interest loans for the Housing Finance Agency and Credit Union Movement;
      • ensure that the affordable housing remains permanently within affordable with a prohibition of the properties being sold into the private market in the future;
      • aim to deliver 70,000 real social homes and 60,000 affordable rental and purchase homes over five years.
      Kevin Barry Cumann (Carnew)

    • 100

      This Ard Fheis:

      • condemns the hoarding of land by state and semi-state land bodies;
      • commits Sinn Féin, both nationally and regionally, to doing all in its power to provide mixed tenure, public, affordable and rent-to-buy housing by ensuring that land, owned by state and semi state bodies, is made available for housing where needed and appropriate.

      Bob Smith Cumann (Dundrum)

    • 101

      This Ard Fheis:

      • expresses its concerns about the growing housing crisis in many areas across the north;
      • condemns the persistent inequality in the provision of social housing in areas such as North and West Belfast and Derry and deplores the removal of equality protections by the SDLP on social housing new build targets for West Belfast, North Belfast and Derry - areas with the longest housing waiting lists in the north;
      • supports the reinstatement of protections for social housing targets to tackle persistent housing inequality in areas that experience acute housing stress;
      • calls for an increase in the supply of social housing;
      • demands that social housing build and allocations are done on the basis of objective need;
      • calls on the Department of Communities to consult on a definition of ‘affordable housing’ and to include the option of a definition based on income rather than market rents;
      • calls for those fleeing their homes as a result of domestic violence to be entitled to intimidation points when applying for social housing in the north;
      • calls for greater regulation in the private rented sector, the power to introduce rent controls where necessary to ensure affordability;
      • calls for more security for tenants; and
      • calls for an increase in the number of inspections to ensure compliance with housing fitness standards.

      Cúige na Sé Chontae North Belfast Comhairle Ceantair Falls Comhairle Ceantair

    • 102

      This Ard Fheis:

      • believes that with the correct political will and leadership the housing crisis can be solved.

      • calls on Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to adopt the following 5 point plan: - funding - the Department of Housing must provide adequate funding to allow councils take the lead in developing social and affordable housing on public land; - affordable housing - Introduce an affordable housing model as a matter of urgency in order to facilitate the development of affordable to buy housing; - Affordable Rent - Department of Housing should introduce an affordable rented model to provide secure housing for families who do not qualify for council housing but remain trapped in the private rented sector facing a precarious future; - cut back on red tape - the Minister must reduce the bureaucracy in the procurement process by fast-tracking funding for social and affordable housing; - reduce stages in public procurement process - raise the ceiling in Public Spending Code whereby a cost benefit analysis is required on all projects with a value in excess of €20m.

      Dublin South Central Comhairle Ceantair

    • 103

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the chronic need for social housing in Belfast, and in particular within the Short Strand given the historical displacement of that community and the detrimental health implications from the siting of a bus depot in the centre of a residential area;
      • calls on the Translink company to seek an alternative location for its current depot with the Short Strand in order to make available the land it currently utilises for the development of housing and social amenities;
      • commits any future Sinn Féin DFL Minister to actively pursue this.

      Sean Martin/Sean Tracey Cumann (Short Strand)

    • 104

      This Ard Fheis supports and endorses the efforts of inner city communities in South Belfast especially the Market community in resisting bad development plans which would impact detrimentally on their quality of life and access to housing; and calls on Belfast City Council to develop principles in development planning which protects the history and social fabric of inner city communities and makes meeting social housing need a priority.

      As well as this we endorse and fully support the ‘Homes Now’ campaign in resisting bad developers running rough-shod over inner city working class communities.

      Nolan/Downey Cumann (Laganbank)

    • 105

      This Ard Fheis:

      • noting that after over a century and a half of rural depopulation, the most devastating recent development has been new regulations on septic tanks in counties such as Leitrim where it is now practically impossible to get planning permission for single, rural houses;
      • calls on local authorities to facilitate a system for the systematic disposal of sewage from storage tanks into town sewage systems (at appropriate conditions and charges) thus eliminating the need for septic tanks in areas where the soil is not suitable for percolation.

      Seamus Wrynn Cumann (Ballinamore)

    • 106

      This Ard Fheis calls for the creation of a road and alleyway adoption fund administered through the Department of Infrastructure to help alleviate the unnecessary burden on residents whose streets and alleyways weren’t officially adopted and handed over to the Department for routine maintenance.

      Ladybrook and Riverdale Cumman

    • 107

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the significant impact regeneration, improving educational attainment and access to employment has had on tackling poverty and disadvantage for those living in the most deprived areas;
      • opposes the continuation of cuts to the programme budget; and
      • calls on the Department for Communities to retain current funding levels and ring-fence the budget.

      Pat McGeown Cumann (Beechmount) McCloskey/Mooney Cumann (Ligoniel) Joe Cahill Cumann (Lower Andersonstown) Fennell/Rooney/Sands Cumann (Twinbrook)

    • 108

      This Ard Fheis recognises the importance of operating on an all-Ireland basis across all sectors and, in particular, in the health sector. Ultimately, an all- Ireland health system, free at the point of delivery, must be a fundamental building block of a united Ireland based on equality and justice.

      Therefore, this Ard Fheis calls for:

      • the introduction of a single, integrated hospital waiting list management system for the island of Ireland where people can move from one hospital to another to reduce waiting times;
      • the introduction of a new IT system across the island based on the one in use in the Portuguese NHS which would generate new maximum waiting times by transferring those on the list from hospitals that are struggling to meet demand to those that are in a better position to perform the procedure more timely;
      • continued access to citizens in north to the European Health Insurance Scheme;
      • the widening of the individual areas of cooperation between the jurisdictions both in border areas and in areas of specialist medical practice;
      • the prioritisation of the establishment of an Implementation Body in the areas of health promotion and healthcare provision, ultimately developing into an all- Ireland National Health Service;
      • all-Ireland recognition of health qualifications and standards.

      Comerford/Adrien Cumann (Malahide/Portmarnock)

    • 109

      This Ard Fheis calls for the end of outsourcing of health screening services by the state and for all medical laboratory testing to be completed on the island of Ireland. Except in circumstances where conducting the test overseas is in the patient’s best interests for example in cases of rare disease.

      Mairéad Farrell Cumann (Galway City Central Ward)

    • 110

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the decision in June 2016 by Michelle O’Neill as Minister for Health to lift the lifetime ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM);
      • notes the recent recommendation from the expert group on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SABTO) to further reduce the deferral period of MSM donating blood from 12 months to 12 weeks; and its implementation in Britain.
      • notes that deferral periods still discriminate MSM preventing the overwhelming majority from donating blood, regardless of how responsible or committed their sexual behaviours may be.
      • calls on our  elected representatives to work towards the full removal of the deferral period, as done by 15 countries, along with effective blood donation screening resources which allow for this.

      Cumann Mháirtírigh Lóiste Na Móna (Turf Lodge)

    • 111

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises that on entry to any A&E, access to a patient’s medical record in a timely manner is a crucial factor in effective diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s condition;
      • recognises that the paper medical record system currently in place, is inefficient and puts patients’ lives at risk where delays occur in retrieving files from medical archives off site;
      • supports the prioritisation of a National Programme to advance the roll out of an Electronically Stored Medical Records System in order to maximise efficiency and effective patient care in Irish hospitals.

      North Clare Cumann

    • 112

      This Ard Fheis calls on the government to extend the list of those automatically entitled to a medical card, to include those individuals who have reached the €134 drug payment scheme threshold for 3 months in any 6 month period, for as long as they fulfil this criteria, without means test.

      Grey Abbey Martyrs Cumann (Kildare Town)

    • 113

      This Ard Fheis recognises that, when it ran last, the FAST campaign to help everyone to achieve a better understanding of the warning signs of stroke had such a profound impact on public behaviour that there was an 87% increase in the numbers of patients getting to hospital in time for potentially lifesaving clot busting stroke treatment and a 190% hike in awareness of stroke warning signs. Recognising that the incidence of stroke is set to rise by 59% and deaths from stroke will rise by 84% by 2035.

      This Ard Fheis therefore calls for the Department of Health:

      • to ensure funding is available to reinstate the FAST Campaign;  
      • to ensure that every hospital treating patients with acute stroke has a properly resourced stroke unit;
      • to roll out early supported discharge programmes nationally for stroke patients;  
      • to ensure that endovascular stroke centres providing thrombectomy are developed in conjunction with emergency services to provide access for all suitable stroke victims regardless of location.

      Tony Gormley Cumann (Ballyjamesduff)

    • 114

      This Ard Fheis welcomes the introduction of the Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring technology for both children and adults with Type 1 diabetes in the north and for under 21’s in the south , and calls for the extension of this programme so that it is available to all those with Type 1 diabetes in the south.

      Doherty/Delaney Cumann (Navan) O’Carolan/Kilmartin Cumann (Dungiven)

    • 115

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes that after Brexit has taken effect, patients in the 26 Counties will no longer be able to avail of medical services in the Six Counties and the Britain under the Cross-Border Directive and calls upon the Irish government to take immediate steps to reduce unacceptable cataract surgery waiting times, which extend to several years;
      • recognising trauma and fear endured over a number of years by the thousands of Irish people awaiting this surgery could be brought to an end and their lives returned to normal if only the political will existed;
      • calls for action to ensure that Irish citizens who cannot afford private treatment do not become practically blind before receiving the treatment they need under the public health service.

      Traolach MacSuibhne Cumann (South West/Central Wards)

    • 116

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes that 800,000 people in Ireland are living with neurological conditions such as migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and rare and genetic conditions;
      • supports the ‘Invest in Neurology’ campaign in calling for immediate investment to address critical deficits in neurology staffing, including neurologists, specialist nurses and health and social care professionals to recommended levels.

      This Ard Fheis therefore calls for:

      • targeted long term investment in neurology services to support implementation of the Neurology & Epilepsy Models of Care;
      • dedicated resources to support the development of clinical pathways for headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and rare and genetic neurological conditions.

      Dublin Mid West Comhairle Ceantair

    • 117

      This Ard Fheis recognises the lack of rural mental health/special needs services and to offset the imbalance between rural and urban community care, calls for more funding at a community level.

      Clare Comhairle Ceantair

    • 118

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises that at present mental health services and supports for young people are not adequate to meet demand and are failing many who are in desperate need of care. This was poignantly highlighted in the recent RTE documentary The Big Picture;
      • notes the value of early intervention and primary care in tackling developing mental health issues in young people and providing effective and appropriate care;
      • further notes the need to foster a culture of mental well-being and support in our schools and communities. Resolves to in government:
      • ensure all young people across the state have easy access to a Jigsaw service;
      • ensure all youth workers, primary and post primary teachers will be provided with Mental health first aid;
      • end the shortages in Child and Adolescent Mental Health services by reforming recruitment policy and incentivising retention of staff with regard for the upcoming proposals of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health;
      • establish a dedicated Advocacy Service for young people accessing mental health services;
      • improve ease of access for young people at primary care level; • establish a National Lead for Youth Mental Health position and corresponding positions for each Community Health Organisation;
      • create transitional service under CAMHS to avoid service gaps for 18-24 year olds;
      • enhance supports for 3rd level mental health and counselling supports;
      • develop e-health online supports and information in consultation with young people;
      • deliver the additional beds promised for inpatient youth mental health services recommended under A Vision for Change;
      • • improve access to specialised Eating Disorder services;
      • fulfil the promise made by the Irish government in 2009 to ring fence funding for mental health services and to now do so with immediate effect.

      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae Fr Murphy/Manchester Martyrs Cumann (Ferns)

    • 119

      This Ard Fheis supports the Safe Place Campaign, to provide a suicide prevention service for people, including out of hours, who have poor mental health and also for people in mental health crisis who are also addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling to seek support from health and social care and community practitioners in their treatment and recovery.

      O’Hanlon/McCusker Cumann (New Lodge)

    • 120

      This Ard Fheis:

      • commends the hard work and contribution made by staff in the statutory, community, and voluntary sectors to addressing mental ill health across the island;
      • calls on the incoming Ard Chomhairle to bring to the next Ard Fheis a comprehensive all-Ireland mental health policy looking at preventative actions, early intervention and service provision.

      Colin Comhairle Ceantair

    • 121

      This Ard Fheis:

      • acknowledges that presently, we only know the gender breakdown of suicide figures on a county by count basis meaning we cannot, with any certainty, recognise the ethnicity of those who take their own lives;
      • further acknowledges that if an ethnic breakdown of figures were available, the provision on mental health care could be targeted at specific communities rather relying on vague statements and non-specific rhetoric;
      • cites as an example, the second-ever national study of Traveller attitudes, which found that 90% agree that mental health problems are common among the community, while 82% have been affected by suicide;
      • accepts that this startling statistic cannot be reinforced by actual numbers of suicide in the Traveller community and that the same can be said of many other ethnic groups across Ireland because we simply do not have the pertinent information;
      • agrees that if such information was available, it would be hugely beneficial for government agencies and NGOs so that they could, in turn, place special focus on the issues of mental health in Ireland so that the meagre mental health budget can be spent on areas and groups that need it most;
      • calls for a more transparent ethnic breakdown of suicide statistics across Ireland and the government to explore the feasibility of employing such a measure with Coroners and the Central Statistics Office.

      Liam Ryan Cumann (Athlone)

    • 122

      This Ard Fheis notes the rising rates of mental ill health amongst school pupils and students, with anxiety, depression and rates of self-harm at alarming levels.

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Department of Education in the North and the Department of Education and Skills in the South, to work together and promote emotional resilience as a truly transferable life skill, and to include it as part of the school curriculum at all levels, and by doing so promote positive mental health among young people.

      McCaughey/Saunders Cumann (Ardoyne)

    • 123

      This Ard Fheis recognises that some patients that require involuntary admissions for mental health assistance are not receiving the care they need in a timeframe that ensures their own safety and wellbeing as well as that of their care givers, their service providers and the wider community. This situation often occurs due to the disjointed approaches, procedures and paperwork between the relevant agents and agencies involved in the process of securing involuntary admissions for those in critical mental health situations.

      The current processes for involuntary admissions can often lead to patients losing vital supports they have already secured such as emergency accommodation or group support networks leaving already vulnerable members of society with no structured supports or assistance.

      This Ard Fheis calls on legislation to be enacted to improve cohesion and partnership in the filing of involuntary mental health admissions between social care professionals, psychiatric and GP services and the Gardaí where necessary, in order to ensure the timely access to services for the persons in need of urgent assistance and care.

      Brett/McLoughlin Cumann (Mid Tipperary)

    • 124

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the importance of an improved mental health service and calls upon the use of holistic and natural therapeutic approaches and the topic of mental health to be given greater precedence within the education system of Ireland. Along with the importance of an overall health system with the introduction of universal health care.

      Cull/Tymon Cumann (Arigna)

    • 125

      This Ard Fheis:

      • welcomes the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Oireachtas;
      • recognises the work of many activists across the sector in finally forcing the Irish government into accepting the need for ratification, and particularly commends Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on his tireless work over many years to help achieve ratification;
      • recognises the unanimous passage of a Sinn Féin motion in the Dáil supporting the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention. However, this Ard Fheis regrets the refusal of the Irish government to implement the motion by its failure to adopt the Optional Protocol, designed to make the ratification of the Convention enforceable. This Ard Fheis commends the ‘Make Rights Real’ campaign which calls for the adoption of the Protocol and the investment in services for people with disabilities to ensure the vindication of their rights under the Convention.

      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae Colonel Leonard Cumann (Tullyallen)

    • 126

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the difficulties encountered by families of sick children all around Ireland through the enforcement of the ‘loco parentis’ clause by the HSE in homecare nursing contracts for sick children;
      • considers that the requirement contained in this clause on parents to provide ‘a designated competent individual’ to remain in their home along with a nurse caring for their child is making prisoners of parents in their own homes and is making their already very difficult lives even harder.

      Therefore, this Ard Fheis, calls on the Irish government in line with a recent unanimously passed Sinn Féin motion in the Dáil on disability rights to ‘immediately abolish the ‘loco parentis’ clause in homecare nursing contracts for sick children’.

      Cumann an Máighe

    • 127

      This Ard Fheis notes the ‘Power to People’ report into adult social care in the north and recognises the fundamental need for co-design and co-production in addressing the challenges facing social care and the invaluable input it can have in providing solutions. This Ard Fheis acknowledges the invaluable contribution of carers to our society and calls for carers rights to be placed on a statutory footing as recommended in the report.

      Dan McAnallen/Tom Clarke Cumann (Brantry/Eglish) Sean McCaughey/Aidan McAnespie Cumann (Aughnacloy)

    • 128

      This Ard Fheis notes:

      • the benefits of having dedicated awareness and educational services, that aim to reduce harm for those who are exposed to alcohol and drugs at Irish festivals;
      • the rise in drug use amongst people at music festivals, the inevitability that drugs will be used by a percentage of people attending such festivals, and that the manufacture of such drugs is carried out by those who do not adhere to any level of health and safety standards;
      • that incidences of ‘bad batches’ have resulted in overdoses, health emergencies and deaths of festival attendees;
      • the success of the harm reduction initiative ‘The Loop’ at festivals in Britain, which offers confidential drug testing services at music festivals, tests drug purity, and ensures that those who consider using drugs are safer from harm. This Ard Fheis calls for:
      • a similar drug-harm reduction initiative at Irish music festivals;
      • such an initiative to offer on-site, confidential drug testing and counselling services whereby festival goers will be informed of the contents of the sample provided, with that sample subsequently destroyed.

      Emmett/Mallin Cumann (Inchicore)

    • 129

      This Ard Fheis welcomes the publication of the West Belfast Community Drugs Panel report, believes that only through statutory and community dialogue will we as a society start to tackle the scourge of drugs in our society and calls on areas throughout the island to look at this approach in dealing with drug related issues in their area.

      Upper Falls Comhairle Ceantair Cumman Mhic Leannain agus Mhic Bradaigh

    • 130

      This Ard Fheis:

      • believes that a good education is an important building block for our children if we want them to be able to fulfil their full potential;
      • recognises that the British government has continued year on year cuts to the Block Grant and that this has impacted negatively on the education budget;
      • calls for the British government, supported by the DUP, to abandon its austerity policy which is punishing the most vulnerable in our society, so as we can ensure that our children get the best educational start possible;
      • furthermore calls on the Department of Education and the Education Authority to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected, that means: - ensuring that the school budgets take account of educational underachievement; - protecting the budget allocated to Special Educational Needs; - ensuring that statements for special educational needs are completed with the statutory timeframe of 26 weeks; - that children with special educational needs are given the level of education that they require; - that funding for Free School Meals is protected; - funding for the School Uniform Grant is protected.
      • calls on the Department of Education in the north to give control of school budgets directly to Boards of Governors;
      • reaffirms its commitment to an education system based upon equality and parental choice, and calls on schools to show leadership by ending the use of transfer tests and building a fully inclusive and non-selective education system for the betterment of all our young people.

      Newry Comhairle Ceantair

    • 131

      This Ard Fheis recognises:

      • the genuine worry and distress caused to parents, pupils and staff throughout the Special Educational Needs schools in Belfast, following the leak of the Education Authority’s, ‘Strategic Area Plan for School Provision 2017-2020’;
      • the ill-judged and insensitive way in which the Education Authority handled the situation and the subsequent dissolution of trust and confidence from those in the specialist needs sector;
      • the often unacknowledged, heroic work that staff who engage children with specialist needs across the island of Ireland provide.

      This Ard Fheis therefore calls for:

      • the Education Authority to rebuild confidence and trust with all relevant stakeholders within the specialist needs community before continuing with the consultation process;
      • the Education Authority to facilitate a meaningful engagement with schools, parents and pupils which should be the epicentre of any future consultation process, with no predetermined proposals or outcomes;
      • the Education Authority to invest in, not cut, the Specialist Educational Needs sector and to concentrate on educational outcome and welfare when bringing forward future provision for children with specialist needs.

      South & East Belfast Comhairle Ceantair

    • 132

      This Ard Fheis:

      • welcomes the recent long overdue amendment to the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016 that empowers the Minister to compel a school to open a special class or classes where the National Council for Special Education has identified a need for such provision within an area;
      • acknowledges that if properly resourced, this will complement the provisions already included in the Bill which will provide for a situation where a child with special educational needs cannot find a school place, and allow the National Council for Special Education to designate a school place for the child;
      • agrees that in these circumstances, additional resources must be provided to ensure children with special educational needs are catered for.

      Barnes/McCormack Cumann (Mullingar)

    • 133

      This Ard Fheis believes that religious freedoms, civil liberties and separating church and state are essential dynamics of an open democratic system of governance. They are the building blocks of a new Ireland. Our laws, our constitutional and cultural frameworks and our public policies must be built on the fundamental equality of every citizen. This Ard Fheis commits the incoming Ard Chomhairle to develop a comprehensive policy document setting out how this would be achieved including in schools and hospitals.

      Ard Chomhairle

    • 134

      This Ard Fheis believes that religious freedoms, civil liberties and separating church and state are essential dynamics of an open democratic system of governance. They are the building blocks of a new Ireland. Our laws, our constitutional and cultural frameworks and our public policies must be built on the fundamental equality of every citizen. This Ard Fheis commits the incoming Ard Chomhairle to develop a comprehensive policy document setting out how this would be achieved including in schools and hospitals.

      Ard Chomhairle

    • 135

      This Ard Fheis:

      • condemns the attempt by the north’s Department of Education and Education Authority
      • to cut the Uniform Grant in 2017 which caused unnecessary stress to children and families;
      • commends Sinn Féin for ensuring that the Uniform Grant was protected;
      • commits to an active campaign to protect the uniform grant;
      • calls upon the Department of Education and Education Authority to act in the interests of children and ensure that the uniform grant is protected.

      Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair

    • 136

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes with concern recent trends in higher education which has seen increased marketisation, the move away from publicly funded education and the increased use of casual and precarious contracts within institutions;
      • recognises the need for sustainable funding for institutions to provide high quality teaching and research;
      • calls for greater transparency in the financial management and governance of institutions including reporting of senior staff salaries and further calls for institutions receiving public funding to enter into public mission agreements.

      Maginn/Rodden/Donaghy Cumann (Kilrea)

    • 137

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Irish government to abandon the need to have a third language in the leaving certificate in order to gain access to many NUI Institutes. In a terminal exam where students are assessed in only six subjects, to have three of the languages (Irish, English and French/Spanish/German etc), that’s 50% languages, is a barrier to students picking Science and IT subjects. These are areas where Ireland has a massive skills gap and currently Irish businesses must advertise abroad to fill thousands of vacancies. This skills shortage is caused in large by the fact that academic students are forced to study a third language in secondary school and therefore limits the possibility of them being able to choose the afore mentioned Science and IT subjects. These are the subjects that our 21st century economy is built around.

      Carrick-On-Shannon Cumann

    • 138

      This Ard Fheis calls for the universal recognition of academic qualifications such as A-Levels and Leaving Certificate on an equal basis, by third level education institutions across Ireland when students are applying for university places.

      Ógra Shinn Féin

    • 139

      This Ard Fheis:

      • Recognises that the changes introduced to the school transport scheme in the 2016 counties has resulted in significant hardship for families and students across the state;
      • Commends the work of current and previous education spokespersons in highlighting this issue and putting forward proposals in the Document “A Fairer School Transport System”
      • Particularly recognises that the nearest school rule is inflexible and does not reflect the reality for rural communities where students often attend the school based on the traditional catchment area, including parish boundaries
      • Believes that students should not be required to attend a different school to siblings, neighbours and former classmates as a result of the nearest school rule
      • Calls on the Government to introduce a derogation from the nearest school rule when it is clear that the school has traditionally served the community in which the child resides

      Leo Casey/Matt Devlin Cumann (Ballymahon)

    • 140

      This Ard Fheis recognises that there is considerable inconsistency in sentencing for serious crimes, particularly for sexual crimes, and this undermines public confidence in the judicial process, traumatises victims and can discourage victims of crime from coming forward. Very often, it is clear that the sentence does not fit the crime, with some serious criminal offenders receiving suspended or short sentences.

      Therefore, this Ard Fheis calls for the introduction, in legislation, of a sentencing guidelines Committee which would be responsible for the drafting of guidelines, which would outline how a sentence should be calculated, and what weight should be given to any aggravating or mitigating factors. The judge would be obliged to have regard to these guidelines, with the final decision and jurisdiction lying with the Judge, safeguarding judicial independence and the separation of powers.

      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae

    • 141

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises the current accountability deficit in relation to policing in the Six Counties as a result of having no political party representatives on the Policing Board;
      • registers it’s concerns at the current inability to appoint new independent members to the Policing Board from the recent recruitment process , thus decreasing the membership of this body to an unworkable level;
      • recognises that this is happening at a time when serious concerns are being expressed at current trends in the 6 counties towards an overemphasis on the hard end of policing at the expense of the concerns and priorities of local communities as well as the PSNI’s approach to key legacy issues;
      • recognises that this highlights the requirement for the re-constitution of an effective and representative Policing Board , capable of fully holding the police to account;
      • supports the realisation of that requirement through the appointment of political members to a re-constituted Policing Board at each concerned party’s discretion and using the d’Hondt system of representation.

      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 6 Chontae

    • 142

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises that the organisation of An Garda Síochána is in need of radical reform;
      • expresses its concern regarding the relationship between the Department of Justice and an Garda Síochána and calls for more transparency and professionalism in this regard in the process of reforming how both structures operate and interact with one another;
      • calls on An Garda Síochána to be given the resources to take a more proactive, on street, approach to policing, with a particular focus on policing in the community based on a good rapport and relationship with those living in these communities;
      • recognises the role that the expansion of Garda Youth Diversion Projects & dedicated Community Gardaí can potentially play in proactive policing.

      Grúpa Parlaiminteach na 26 Chontae

    • 143

      This Ard Fheis recognises

      • the essential role carried out by emergency services workers including ambulance, fire service, Gardaí and Customs, and the risks that these frontline workers take in the service of the public;
      • that assaults carried out upon such emergency services during the course of their duties, can hamper, delay, and prevent these services coming to the assistance and service of the public generally, often during situations and events of serious duress and danger.

      Therefore considers that the nature of such assaults is particularly serious, and that it should be considered an aggravating factor, where such as an assault is made against a frontline worker during the commission of their duties, and that any future sentencing guidelines should provide that it would be considered an aggravating factor.

      French/Doyle Cumann Johnstown (Navan)

    • 144

      This Ard Fheis recognises The fact that sexual crimes are a particularly serious and grave crime, and the enormous and long lasting impact that sexual crimes have upon the victim, their families, friends and the wider communities. The need for policies to prevent re offending, and to ensure community safety, which are effective, and proportionate. This Ard Fheis therefore calls for:

      • Increased measures to prevent re offending, including greater resources for the monitoring of those found guilty of serious and repeated sex offences including; child sexual abuse, paedophilia and rape;
      • Including the use of electronic monitoring devices for the purpose of monitoring the location and aid in the surveillance of convicted serious sex offenders in circumstances where it is proportionate, necessary and legitimate, and is in line with the Council of Europe Recommendations on Electronic Monitoring
      • Additional measures to ensure that the victims of sexual crime are better supported, before, during and after trial, including measures regarding anonymity and court representation. Calls on the Minister for Justice to take these matters in to consideration during his review of Sexual Offences and for John Gillen to do likewise in his review in the 6 Counties.

      Ard Chomhairle

    • 145

      This Ard Fheis notes the Criminal Justice Inspectorate report on Maghaberry Prison and calls for the full implementation of the report’s recommendations.

      Barney McFadden Cumann (GreySteel)

    • 146

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes that in 2015 the Minister for Justice in the 26 Counties removed the defence of reasonable chastisement for parents who physically punish their child;
      • calls for this defence to also be removed in the Six Counties;
      • further calls on more support and guidance for parents on alternative more positive ways of disciplining their child.

      Clonard Martyrs Cumann

  • Standing up for Rural Ireland
    • 147

      This Ard Fheis:

      • recognises that the Rural Needs Act requires government departments in the north to have “due regard to the social and economic needs of persons in rural areas” in all decision- making;
      • welcomes the incorporation of the Brown Principles into Rural Proofing guidelines;
      • calls for similar legislation to be implemented in the south;
      • calls for all party policies to be rural-proofed to ensure balance and fairness for rural areas with due regard when it comes to infrastructure and investment.

      Omagh Comhairle Ceantair Midlands/North West Cúige Mulrennan/Coen Cumann (Ballaghaderreen)

    • 148

      This Ard Fheis recognises that the aim of Sinn Féin’s Policy on Agriculture and Food is to make the family farm prosperous and to maintain a farming industry that provides careers and a livelihood to Irish men and women, including those of the next generation who should be able to continue the proud tradition of agri-food on this island.

      This Ard Fheis calls for:

      • national and EU legislation to ban the selling of products below the cost of production;
      • the product shall be sold at least for the purchase price plus 10%;
      • retailers shall not be able to discount a product more than 34% of its price;
      • the prices that farmers receive for their produce to be no less than the cost of production and to be in line with offsetting cost of production at a set minimum percentage profit rate ensuring long term viability;
      • an end to the gross disparities in Basic Payment Scheme by adopting a flat rate of payment and a mandatory cap at EU level;
      • rules that will prevent large businesses not directly involved in farming from benefiting from large payments;
      • full and on-time payment of Basic Payments to farmers every year in October.

      Brett/McLoughlin Cumann (Mid Tipperary)

    • 149

      This Ard Fheis, recognising the financial difficulties faced by many within the farming community and the ongoing issues relating to GLAS payments, calls on the Department of Agriculture to:

      • ensure that in future GLAS payments are paid out in the relevant year;
      • implement a system which reduces bureaucracy and allow inspections in a manner that takes account of the reality of farming.

      Noble Six/Fr. O’Flanagan/MacManus Cumann (Sligo Town)

    • 150

      This Ard Fheis:

      • expresses concern at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’(DAERA) plan to end Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) support;
      • notes this would have a negative impact on farmers in Severely Disadvantaged Areas;
      • calls on the DAERA to review this decision and conduct a full Equality Impact Assessment.

      Omagh Comhairle Ceantair

    • 151

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Irish government to actively intervene in the wide scale purchase of agricultural land by private companies and vulture funds. This practice has reduced land availability and affordability for start-up farmers. Mounting pressures, lack of profitability and the lack of supports towards struggling farmers has driven people off their land. The relevant authorities must introduce tighter regulations with stronger social clauses with specific regard to job creation for companies seeking to purchase lands in Ireland.

      This may further include, where investors from third countries are involved, limits on the size of land to be acquired, prior authorisations from relevant authorities for acquisition, and pre-emption rights allowing certain categories of buyers to purchase farmland before it is sold to others.

      Further, where there is vacant land which cannot be zoned for housing, the relevant authorities should endeavour to lease lands below market rate for the purposes of community allotments or for the cultivation of fodder.

      Robert Byrne Cumann (Limerick City East)

    • 152

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the need to reform the laws relating to dog welfare in Ireland including the reform of the dog breeding establishment legislation. We call for this to be considered in the ongoing work of compiling the Sinn Féin animal welfare policy and any reform of such legislation should consider the following:

      • a reduction in the number of breeding bitches permissible on a given breeding premises;
      • the establishment of a properly resourced independent inspectorate which may carry out unannounced inspections;
      • new regulations to address the online advertising of puppies;
      • the investment in enforcement coupled with tougher sanctions and the rollout of a public education campaign on animal welfare.

      Drumm/Doherty/Clarke Cumann

    • 153

      This Ard Fheis calls on the Irish government to immediately cease the aggressive so called reforestation policy being pursued in many parts of Ireland in its current form and recognises:

      • that the practice of monoculture planting, primarily of the non- indigenous Sitka Spruce, is detrimental to the ecology, biodiversity and water quality of the areas that have been planted;
      • it is imperative that sustainable afforestation, continuous cover forestry and agro forestry models are implemented where appropriate, in order to halt rural depopulation and even reverse it. This Ard Fheis proposes a change of afforestation policy, so that every plantation has more broad leaf indigenous plant species;
      • that higher grant subsidies be applied to deciduous woodland and that environmental and socio- economic impact studies must be carried out on larger plantations.

      Carrick-On-Shannon Cumann

    • 154

      This Ard Fheis believes in fostering a sustainable, indigenous and community- led kelp harvesting sector and would establish a robust and democratic licencing system to accommodate it. Sinn Féin believes our kelp forests are natural treasures and are not for the profit-making of multi-national companies. For this reason, Sinn Féin believes in the sustainable management and harvesting of these kelp forests, subject to community control.

      Healy/Howard Cumann (Cabra East)

    • 155

      This Ard Fheis recognises the potential for employment and economic benefit of sustainable aquaculture as an indigenous industry and in government would fund support for training and development in this sector. Recognising the substantial environmental impact of some types of fish farming, especially in relation to salmon, this Ard Fheis supports:

      • the development of closed-system inland fish farming, as it is reduces the risk of escapes, allows for more control of the environment, better reporting and better chemical control;
      • off-shore fish farming should take place only in the most sheltered and safe locations, minimising the dangers of escape of stocks and with great care for the coastal environment;
      • the use of spatial sensitivity mapping for identifying opportunities for fish farming that do not conflict with environmental protection;
      • community consultations which must be integral to the development of aquacultures and would review the licensing procedure to ensure there is no aquaculture instalment has a negative community or environmental impact.

      Given the asymmetrical competition of this sector with Asia, and particularly cheap and fast growing fish from China, this Ard Fheis supports the development of high quality, sustainable and high welfare fish farming in Ireland. Sinn Féin also supports the labelling of farmed fish on food products and believes that the use of GM feed should be banned.

      Comerford/Adrien Cumann (Malahide/Portmarnock)

    • Emergency Motion 3

      This Ard Fheis rejects any attempt to reduce the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It also acknowledges that at a time when Brexit and declining farming incomes are threatening the survival of many farmers, and in turn the future of rural communities, it is deplorable for a proposal for a 5% cut to be made while the budget towards an intensive militarisation policy is being increased. We note with disappointment that the proposals for the CAP post 2020 published by Commissioner Phil Hogan on 1st June fail to adequately address the inherent inequalities that sees 80% of farm payments go to the wealthiest 20% of farm enterprises.
      Through the reform of the CAP, this Ard Fheis calls for:

      • a payment cap of €50,000 to be applied to direct payments;
      • the front loading of payments to assist small farmers;
      • a flat rate payment per hectare to be introduced on remaining hectares to eradicate the discriminatory system of historic entitlements;
      • mandatory and measurable environmental schemes to be put in place;
      • an overhaul of the tax relief scheme covering the transfer of farms to incentivise generational renewal;
      • transitional CAP payments to facilitate and support exit of older farmers after the age of 70, dependent on the older farmer completing a farm succession plan;
      • the incorporation of a Market Responsibility Programme which would monitor prices, trends and production costs. In the end of an imbalance a voluntary reduction in production scheme would be triggered financed through a mixture of EU Crisis Aid Funds, sanctions on over-producers during periods of reduction, and temporary levies;
      • an Income equalisation/averaging scheme which would involve farmers paying reduced levels of tax in a year where their income drops significantly, to be carried forward and paid in full over a three year period when their income rises.

      Ard Chomhairle

  • Brexit and International solidarity
    • 156

      This Ard Fheis:

      • acknowledges the commitments made by the British government and the EU in Paragraph 49 of the Joint Report and repeated in Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement;
      • notes that this puts forward a ‘backstop’ option which keeps the north of Ireland in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market;
      • is concerned that this does not cover all of the Single Market, omitting services, which will still cause significant difficulties for businesses and people living on the border and beyond;
      • notes that, even this compromise agreement in December, is now being reneged on by the British government and the DUP;
      • calls on the Dublin Government and EU negotiations team to robustly reject the British Government “time limited” version of a backstop;
      • recognising that the ‘backstop’ option does not go far enough this Ard Fheis calls for the people of the north to be given the right to make a choice of which Union they would chose to be part of through a Referendum on Irish Unity;
      • calls on the Irish government to support the position that a Referendum on Irish Unity should be brought forward in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.

      Ard Chomhairle

    • 157

      This Ard Fheis acknowledges the commitments made in the Brexit negotiations (both the Joint Report and the Draft Agreement) where Irish citizens living in the north will continue to enjoy, exercise and have access to rights, opportunities and benefits:

      • notes that no diminution of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity set out in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements must mean protection against discrimination and enshrining the provisions of the ECHR and the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
      • recognises that this body of rights includes democratic rights i.e. the right to vote and stand as candidates in EU elections;
      • notes that the first test of whether these commitments will be upheld is the EU elections in June 2019;
      • and is concerned that if this first test fails it will set an undesirable precedent for how all other rights are exercised for Irish citizens in the North.

      In supporting the rights of Irish citizens in the north, this Ard Fheis:

      • calls on the Irish government to seek amendments to Article 1 of the Protocol in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, to ensure that post Brexit, people in the north have direct access to relevant courts and remedies for breaches of such rights;
      • calls for the right to vote in EU elections for Irish citizens in the north;
      • calls for the right to stand in EU elections for Irish citizens in the north;
      • calls for the right to represented in the EU institutions.

      Ard Chomhairle South Down Comhairle Ceantair Derry Comhairle Ceantair

    • 158

      This Ard Fheis:

      • opposes the creation of transnational lists which will only further move power away from citizens into the hands of the larger member states and lead to a decrease in accountability;
      • deplores the Commission’s aims to increase Frontex’s budget by 30% and increase defence research to over €2bn while social programmes and agricultural subsidies are subjected to cuts;
      • further strongly rejects moves towards a military union, any decision to hand over control of internal borders to Frontex and the fortification of Europe over the promotion of social programmes and inclusive strategies;
      • calls for a halt to discussions, and for the Irish government to publicly withdraw its support for, the establishment of a Multilateral Investment Court. Such a Court has the potential to violate the Irish Constitution, and give corporations undue influence over legislation in the public interest;
      • emphasises the need for a national debate on the European Commission’s accelerating Free Trade Agenda; reiterates that the pace, depth and cumulative impact of ongoing and recently concluded negotiations has the potential to seriously damage domestic industries, lower environmental standards, lead to increased concentration and thus instability in the financial sector, and have adverse impacts on rural employment;
      • calls for initiatives included in the European Social Charter to be reflected in legislation and budgetary planning instead of being constantly attacked and conditionalised against the European Semester and other financial and liberalisation constraints;
      • rejects any cuts to the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy;
      • criticises the duplicity of the European Commission in progressing Association Agreements, including data sharing agreements, with regimes that systematically oppress their own citizens and inflict violence; further calls for an end to the EU’s complicity in the violation of human rights of migrants and refugees;
      • notes that following Brexit there should be an increased emphasis on the needs of countries and regions that are on the peripheries of the EU; this necessarily involves redefining “core” network transport links and projects of common interest, the criteria through which to apply for other areas of funding, and, the prerogative of the Irish government to be exempt from or opt out of legislation that would have an uneven impact on peripheral as opposed to continental countries;
      • believes that there is no future of the EU without addressing head- on the disillusionment that has grown following years of Brussels- lead austerity policies and a wealth gap wedged wider by neo-liberal policies to privatise public services and deregulate the private sector.

      Kevin Barry Cumann (Carnew)

    • 159

      This Ard Fheis sends solidarity greetings to the Palestinian people living under occupation or in exile and condemns:

      • the continued vicious and relentless occupation of Palestinian land;
      • the decision of the US Administration to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
      • the recent killings and injuries inflicted by Israeli soldiers on Palestinian citizens on the ‘The Great March of Return’;
      • the use of all repressive measures by Israel against the Palestinian people.

      Calls on Israel to:

      • implement all outstanding UN resolutions and the enforcement of international law;
      • commence inclusive negotiations with all representatives of the Palestinian people based on the right of the people of Palestine to Statehood.

      And further calls for:

      • the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland in protest at continued Israeli aggression;
      • the formal recognition by the Irish government of the state of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.

      This Ard Fheis, in marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, supports agreement among all Palestinian representatives, ending political divisions and developing a strategy for advancing the Palestinian cause, creating the conditions for renewed dialogue and a new collective international initiative to rekindle the moribund Middle East peace process.

      Ard Chomhairle Coleraine Comhairle Ceantair Liam Dignam Cumann (Clara)

    • 160

      This Ard Fheis believes that while the Israeli government employs apartheid policies, oppression and colonisation in its occupation of Palestine, Sinn Féin should heed the call from Palestinian civic society to fully support the BDS campaign. This includes not meeting with any Israeli government grouping until requested/supported by Palestinian representatives to do so.

      Martin McGuinness Cumann (Bogside) Ruth Hackett Cumann (Maynooth) Dublin Cúige

    • 161

      This Ard Fheis:

      • sends solidarity greetings to the people of the Palestinian Nation;
      • reaffirms our policy to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement;
      • supports the BDS Movement and, in future, Sinn Féin will endeavour not to hold meetings or conferences in any establishment that offers products that are on the BDS list without offering alternatives.

      Joe McManus Cumann (Garrison)

    • 162

      This Ard Fheis calls on RTÉ, (and if necessary, the Irish government), and other European broadcasters, to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest which is due to be held in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem next year, in light of Israel’s ongoing and grievous violations of international law and international humanitarian law; the deliberate killing by Israeli armed forces of unarmed protesters and journalists; the unlawful acquisition and incorporation into Israel of Palestinian territory captured by Israel in military conflict; the ongoing ethnic cleansing of such territory by Israel of Palestinian residents; the apartheid policies increasingly applied to Palestinian residents of the occupied Palestinian territories by Israel; the discriminatory treatment of Palestinian residents in Israel; and the siege being enforced by Israel on the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

      Mick Murray Cumann (Clontarf) John Joe Sheehy Cumann (Tralee)

    • 163

      This Ard Fheis notes that:

      • on 17 October 2011, an international conference for the resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country took place in Donostia/San Sebastian, including former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, and former Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams, TD;
      • since then ETA has announced a definitive cessation of activities, completed its disarmament, apologised for the hurt it has caused, and announced that it has brought a definitive end to its organisation. This Ard Fheis therefore:
      • calls on the Spanish and French governments to acknowledge the unprecedented opportunity which now exists for the Basque region to move beyond conflict, towards the development of a durable democratic peace process;
      • urges both the Spanish and French governments to respond with generosity, to fully engage with the peace process, and to bring forward substantive confidence building measures including on the transfer and treatment of Basque political prisoners.

      Ard Chomhairle

    • 164

      This Ard Fheis:

      • condemns the Spanish State’s prosecution of Catalan civil society activists, political activists, Members of Parliament, the Speaker of the Parliament, and Catalan Ministers;
      • sends solidarity to all these civic society activists and democratically elected political representatives who are being prosecuted because they support Catalan independence and self-determination. It calls for the political prisoners to be released, those in exile to be allowed to return home, and calls for the extreme charges against them to be dropped;
      • calls on the Spanish government to turn away from its confrontational and provocative approach and to instead enter into internationally mediated negotiations with the Catalan government to find an acceptable path forward through inclusive dialogue;
      • reiterates Sinn Féin’s recognition of the right of Catalans to self- determination and for Catalonia to decide its own future.

      Smith/Farrell/Griffith Cumann (Ringsend/Pearse Street)

    • 165

      This Ard Fheis:

      • notes that Raúl Castro has stepped down as the President of Cuba and Cuba has elected Miguel Díaz-Canel to become the 19th President of Cuba;
      • commends Raúl Castro on his successful Presidency and his lifelong commitment to the Cuban revolution;
      • extends our congratulations to Miguel Díaz-Canel and wishes him every success;
      • restates Sinn Féin’s continued solidarity with Cuba and its people;
      • reiterates our call for the USA to unconditionally and fully lift its illegal blockade of, and to normalise its relations with Cuba.

      Smith/Farrell/Griffith Cumann (Ringsend/Pearse Street)

    • 166

      This Ard Fheis notes that since the signing of the Colombian Peace Agreement in November 2016 there has been an increase in the assassination of human rights defenders, community leaders, political activists, former FARC members and their families. These continued attacks and killings severely threaten the Colombian peace process.

      The Ard Fheis calls on the Colombian government to ensure that human rights and the democratic process are respected, and for it to fully deliver its side of the peace agreement, and to bring the killers of these activists to justice.

      Elizabeth O’Farrell Cumann (Portobello/Kevin Street)

    • 167

      This Ard Fheis believes the recent airstrikes by the US, Britain and France in Syria were a retrograde step and opposes any further military interventionism in the country.

      The Ard Fheis calls on the international community to press for a peaceful, political solution to the Syrian conflict, calls for genuine dialogue and reconciliation lead by the people of Syria that allows them to agree who they choose to lead their Country into the future free from negative foreign intervention and an immediate withdrawal of Turkish armed forces from Kurdish majority areas in Northern Syria.

      This Ard Fheis extends solidarity to Kurdish and allied political groups in Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria) who are fighting to defend democracy and equality in Rojava and other areas.

      Markievicz/Tadhg Barry Cumann (North West/Central Wards) Eamonn Lafferty Cumann (Creggan)

    • 168

      This Ard Fheis condemns the abuse of workers’ rights by Egyptian authorities where workers and trade unionists have been subjected to unfair military trials, arbitrary arrests, and dismissal from work and other disciplinary measures solely for exercising their right to strike and form independent trade unions.

      Dunne/Kelly/Whitty Cumann (Wexford Town)

    • 169

      This Ard Fheis continues to support the release of Native American Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier who is in his 43rd year in prison, is 73 years old and is in poor health. We call on the United States to show compassion and release Leonard Peltier.

      Carroll/Ashe Cumann (Cabra)

    • 170

      This Ard Fheis is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras, particularly since the contentious November 2016 Presidential election which had huge irregularities. We condemn violent tactics employed by State forces against its own citizens who were protesting against these irregularities and the systematic violations of human rights by state forces. We call for the release of all political prisoners who have been detained for standing up for human rights and democracy, and against corruption and economic inequality.

      Martin Meehan Cumann (Rosslare)

    • 171

      This Ard Fheis condemns the continued persecution of political and human rights activist by the sectarian Bahraini regime. We condemn the use of military courts to try activists, the reintroduction of the death penalty, the systematic torture in prisons, and the persecution of anyone who opposes the autocratic rule of the Bahraini monarchy. We call for the release of all political prisoners in Bahrain, meaningful and thorough political reform, democratic elections, and compliance with international human rights standards.

      Maria Curran Cumann (Arklow)