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Budget 2015

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Commenting on Minister Zappone’s hosting of the Open Policy Debate on Child Poverty in association with the Children’s Rights Alliance, Sinn Féin Children and Youth Affairs Spokesperson Kathleen Funchion TD said that while she supports the initiative’s objectives, Zappone must reflect on the fact that the new National Childcare Scheme launched this week is disenfranchising vulnerable children in homelessness by failing to create a new childcare system that identifies and targets the most vulnerable with critical supports via full day childcare provision.

Deputy Funchion said:

“Today’s debate focused on a wide range of issue’s relating to child poverty, including identifying systems and implementation measures that will reduce child poverty, the role of income and targeted payments in addressing child poverty and identifying key quality services that will reduce child poverty in the short-term and the long-term.

“While I commend the objective of this initiative and the work of the Children’s Rights Alliance, the Minister and her Department need to recognise the very issues being discussed today are not being reflected in the roll out of the New National Childcare Scheme which was launched just this week.

“In fact, the reality is that vulnerable children living in homelessness are not being identified and targeted with the provision of childcare services they so badly need.

“I have been told first hand by childcare providers that children who should be in receipt of support are falling through the net.

“Those working in homeless services have said it is very unclear how the process works or even who in the local authorities or the Dublin Regional Homelessness Executive is responsible for receiving and processing the applications for placements in childcare settings.

“As a result, homeless children are losing out not only on their places in early learning settings, but also vital early intervention such as AIM which is provided to children with additional needs through attendance at their designated créche.

“I have also been informed that Public Health Nurses (PHN) who are in a position to refer children into childcare settings, that the process is similarly unclear within the HSE.

“This is a massive oversight of the new system and needs to be rectified immediately by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

“I am hugely concerned that in the rush to roll-out the new NCS, the sponsorship aspect has been side-lined and adequate training and information has not been provided to those organisations who will have responsibility for administrating the system.”


Note to editor: The following designated statutory bodies may make referrals for childcare support under NCS, for the specific reasons outlined:

  1. Minister for Education and Skills to support parents under the age of 18 years to remain in education or training through access to childcare services.
  2. Minister for Justice and Equality to facilitate access to childcare services for applicants within the meaning of section 2 of the International Protection Act 2015 and programme refugees within the meaning of section 59 of the International Protection Act 2015, so that parents or children can access education, integration and other relevant supports.
  3. Child and Family Agency to enable participation in a childcare service as part of the provision of child care and family support services by the Child and Family Agency to promote the welfare of children who are in need of additional care or protection.
  4. HSE to enable participation in a childcare service where there is an identified need for childcare as an additional support to the home environment to meet child development needs for a child who is under the age of 4 years and who is not enrolled in a pre-school programme funded by the Minister or the Minister for Education and Skills and who would otherwise not attend a childcare service.
  5. Local authorities to support families who are homeless or moving out of homelessness, to access childcare services.


Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that Fine Gael are clearly “out of depth” when it comes to handling the trolley crisis as figures show Cork University Hospital is the worst affected hospital in the State with 57 patients waiting on hospital trolleys.

Speaking today, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“2019 has been a year of failure for Fine Gael when it comes to the running of our health service.

“This year has seen the record broken for the worst of hospital overcrowding and patients on trolleys.

“Since the beginning of the year until November, 108,364 people have gone without a bed in an Irish hospital, breaking the 2018 record high, with weeks still left to go in the year.

“Fine Gael have had eight years to address this crisis, but it has only continued to get worse each year they have been in government.

“Alongside their supporters in Fianna Fáil, the Government have failed to recognise that their policies are failing, and that failure is having a devastating impact on the lives of patients and staff.

“The scenes that we are witnessing in our hospitals and right across our health service are the direct consequences of their political actions.

“To tackle the trolley crisis, you have to address the issues at the heart of it and focus on addressing them through:

- increasing recruitment and retention of staff

- reopening closed beds

- delivering more step-down facilities

- increasing home help hours

- proper investment in primary and community care.”

“What sets Sinn Féin apart from the mainstream political parties eroding our health service is we have the solutions and political will to ensure ordinary people are treated with the care and dignity they deserve.”


Following last night's election in the north, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said:

"Firstly, I want to thank all of our Sinn Féin candidates, our activists and those who voted for Sinn Féin."This was an historic election and a defining moment in our politics.

"Brexit has changed the political landscape in Ireland, in Britain and in Europe.

"All the old certainties are gone.

"In this election, voters clearly responded to co-operation between pro-remain, progressive parties and that has demonstrated once again that the majority of people in the north are opposed to being dragged out of the EU, opposed to any hardening of the border in Ireland and want to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the all-Ireland economy.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a successful conclusion of the talks established by the two governments and the political institutions restored on a credible and a sustainable basis.

"I and our negotiating team stand ready to re-enter talks with the two governments and the other parties on Monday and we will work towards securing agreement on outstanding issues.

"We need a new kind of politics, a new Assembly and a new Executive, which is underpinned by the resources to deliver quality public services.

"Alongside this, it is now impossible to ignore the growing demand for a referendum on Irish Unity and I want to reiterate Sinn Féin's call for the Irish government to establish an All-Ireland Forum on Irish Unity without delay." 


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD has said reports that chemotherapy sessions for children at Crumlin children's hospital are being delayed due to staff shortages are “shocking” and that the Minister for Health needs to put a plan in place to ensure children get the necessary care.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said;

“The reports coming from Crumlin children's hospital that children’s chemotherapy sessions are being delayed due to a lack of staff are extremely shocking.

“It has been reported that a number of families have been informed by the hospital that their child’s chemotherapy session cannot go ahead as planned because the hospital does not have any staff available to administer the chemo.

“If these reports are true, then this is a direct result of this government’s health policies, in particular the recruitment freeze in the health service.

“The Minister for Health needs to immediately investigate this situation and if the reports are true, then he needs to release the funding to hire more staff for Crumlin children's hospital and put a plan in place to ensure chemotherapy sessions are not being delayed."


Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O'Neill has thanked all those who came out to vote in today's election. 

Michelle O'Neill said: 

"I want to thank each and every voter who came out to vote in today's election. 

"This is a hugely important election and everyone we engaged with on the doorsteps during the campaign responded positively to the Sinn Féin message. 

"The votes will now be counted and we will soon know the results. 

"Whatever the results, Sinn Féin will be in the talks on Monday morning to work to secure a genuine power-sharing Executive which is credible and sustainable to deliver good government and properly resourced public services to all. 

"Sinn Féin will continue to represent people where it matters and stand up against Brexit.”


Sinn Féin Wicklow TD John Brady has called for a full time fire service for the Bray area after revealing that manning levels for the two-pump station in Bray continues to be inadequate some twelve years after the deaths of two firefighters from that station.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Teachta Brady said;

“In February 2005, the retained firefighters in the fire station in Bray staged a day of protest over major difficulties in how the service was operated. 

“One of their main concerns was the manning level in the station. Bray is a two-pump station which means there should be fifteen firefighters, however at the time there was only ten.

“Two years later on 26th September 2007, two of the firefighters that took part in the day of protest in Bray, Sub Officer Brian Murray and Firefighter Mark O’Shaughnessy, died in the line of duty serving the community of Bray. 

“Brian had said prior to his death that unless the serious issues in the fire service were addressed someone would lose their lives, little did he know two years later it would be himself and one of his colleagues.

“Fourteen years after the protest at the station in Bray, and twelve years after the deaths of Brian and Mark there are still very serious issues with the fire service in Wicklow.

“A recent response from Aiden Dempsey, Chief Fire Officer in Wicklow, shows that the current manning level in the Bray station is ten and two of those are on long term sick leave - so out of an establishment of what is supposed to be 15, there are eight firefighters to provide the cover for a population of nearly 40,000.

“The only way to protect lives and address the serious problems in the Fire service in Wicklow is to provide a full-time fire service in the Bray area.  So, Minister what is going to be done to immediately address the serious problem with manning levels in the fire service in Wicklow?”



Louth TD Gerry Adams, commenting on the successful passing at second stage in the Dáil of the Sinn Féin Rent Freeze (Fair Rent) Bill 2019, has called on the government to “stop obstructing the implementation of meaningful measures to tackle the scandal of sky rocketing rents.”

Gerry Adams said:

“The passing of the Bill, by a resounding majority, is a welcome first step and I want to commend Teachta Eoin O’Broin and Teachta Mark Ward for their diligence and resolve in pushing this Bill forward.

“If it passes all stages and becomes law the bill would freeze all rents on existing and new tenancies for a period of three years. The legislation also calls on the Minister for Finance to introduce a refundable tax credit for renters, equivalent to one month’s rent.

“Having been resoundingly defeated today, any refusal by the government to allow the bill to go to committee stage would be a slap in the face to the Dáil.

“The reality for many working families is that they have been confronted over recent years with significant pressures from cost of living increases, including rents.

“ recently reported that rents in Louth and Meath have doubled in the last ten years. Currently the average rent in Louth is €1,236 which is a 3.6% increase on last year. 

“Some households are paying up to half their income on rent. Tens of thousands are trapped in rent despair as a result of government policy. 

“Very clearly the government’s housing policy, including the system of rent control zones, is not working.

“There is a crisis in housing. There is a crisis in the rental market. Strong and effective measures are needed.

“Sinn Féin believes that the Rent Freeze (Fair Rent) Bill 2019 is one such effective measure and we will continue to press for it to be advanced through the Oireachtas.”



Louth TD Gerry Adams has condemned the refusal by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to provide a County by County breakdown on the number of homeless families and children. Teachta Adams described the failure to provide this statistic as “symptomatic of a government which seeks to evade its responsibilities to provide housing by refusing to provide the extent of the problem County by County across the State.”

Gerry Adams said:

“The official figures produced by the Department of Housing cover regions. Louth is part of the North East region which includes Louth, Monaghan and Cavan. The most recent report for October revealed there are 144 adults and 47 children living in homeless accommodation in the North East. The report also states that 131 homeless adults are from Louth, 3 are from Monaghan and 10 from Cavan. There are 27 families and 47 homeless children in the North East region.

"The statistics do not tell us how many homeless families there are in Louth or any of the Counties or how many of the 47 homeless children are in Louth.

"I wrote to the Minister asking for this information and in a PQ response he simply e-mailed me the most recent October report on Homelessness from the Department which does not answer the questions I asked.

"This is a serious gap of information which means we do not have a complete picture of the homeless crisis as it impacts on Counties. We know there are over 10,500 homeless citizens, almost four thousand of whom are children. As we try to understand the impact of this on people and seek to provide solutions to this crisis the more information available the better.

"I intend writing again to the Minister for Housing asking that the Department provide this information which must already be in their possession.

"Minister Murphy has failed in his responsibility as Housing Minister to provide a coherent strategy to tackle the homelessness and rent crisis, as well as producing a credible public housing building programme."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Stanley TD has today raised with the Tánaiste startling new information that supermarkets are taking up to 50% of all profits made on fresh meat.

This news follows several days of protests by the IFA outside a number of high-profile retailers, and would support the argument that it is not only factories taking advantage of beef farmers but also large supermarket chains.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Teachta Stanley said:

"This leaked information that reveals supermarkets are pocketing between 33-45% of the retail price of meat is damning evidence that beef farmers are being robbed.

"Three large supermarket chains make up 75% of the retail market in Ireland and they dominate the industry by taking advantage of a lack of price transparency in the supply chain.

"Thanks to these documents, farmers now know exactly how much of the retail price that supermarkets are taking for themselves and it is almost 50% in some instances; whereas farmers are losing 60-70c on every kilo produced.

"This is completely unacceptable when you consider that farmers rear animals for two or three years while the supermarket has it for two or three days. Where is the justice in that?

"Much of the focus of the past while has been on factories and the fact that there is one big player dominating the supply chain, but what we also need to recognise is that at the other end you have three large supermarket chains dominating retail and taking the lion share of the profits.

"What we need is full price transparency throughout the supply chain. We need to know what the supermarkets are paying the factories for produce and we need a live index to show what factories are paying farmers across the country. Only then will farmers be able to make fully informed decisions.

"We also need retailers to be active members of the Beef Taskforce - these leaked documents show the dominance they have on the industry and they must be present at talks." 

Read and share Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015

Overall Balance Sheet

Tax income €1,701.70
Tax Spend -€1,053.00
Adjustment for partial year -€385.00
Savings €231.59
Departmental Spend -€495.29
Budget adjustment €0

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In Budget 2015 Sinn Féin will:

Put €800 million back into the pockets of ordinary workers through the abolition of the property tax and by stopping water charges.

Invest an additional €202.6 million in disability services and supports.

Help stop forced emigrationof our young people by restoring the Jobseekers payment for those under 26 over two years.

Invest €1 billion from the Strategic investment Fund to build an additional 6,600 homes over the next 18 months and create 8,000 jobs.

Prioritise investment in health and education to make back to school more affordable and recruit an additional 1,000 nurses and midwives.

Reduce salaries and allowances of high earners in the public sector and Oireachtas.


Easing the Tax Burden on ordinary families Costing
Save 1.8 million homeowners an average of €278 per annum by abolishing the property tax. Cost €500 million
Don’t introduce water charges. Cost €300 million
Take 296,000 people earning below €17,542 out of the Universal Social Charge. Cost €138 million
Keep 7% exemption USC rate for medical cardholders with an aggregate income below €60,000. Cost €115 million

New Tax Measures

Wealth and Property taxes Costing
Re-introduce the second home charge, increasing it from €200 to €400 per annum. Raises €144 million
Increase CGT to 40%. Raises €116 million
Increase CAT to 40% and introduce a 15% reduction in group thresholds. Raises €112 million
Increase once-off charge for establishing a discretionary trust by 1% and the annual charge from 1% to 1.5%. Raises €0.8 million
Reduce windfall tax to 41% for a period of two years to release land for housing. Raises €0 million
Stamp Duty and Excise duties Costing
Increase stamp duty on share transactions from 1% to 1.1%. Raises €29 million
A 20 cent increase in excise duty on a packet of cigarettes. Raises €29.4 million
Increase betting shop tax to be applied to the customer to 3%. Raises €50 million
Income tax Costing
Introduce new 3rd rate of tax of 48% on income earned in excess of €100,000. Raises €448 million
PRSI & USC Costing
Introduce a new employers’ rate of PRSI of 15.75% on the portion of salary paid in excess of €100,000 per annum. Raises €136 million
Retain 10% USC for self-employed over €100,000. Raises €123 million
Tax Relief and Tax evasion Costing
Reduce mortgage interest deductions against rent for landlords from 75% to 60%. Raises €57 million
Increase Revenue Commissioner activity to target tax evasion. Raises €70 million in first year
Standardise section 23 tax relief. Raises €4.5 million
Standardise Film Relief. Raises €37 million
Pensions Costing
Reduce the earnings cap for pension contributions from €115,000 per annum to €70,000 per annum. Raises €110 million
Standardise the relief at which tax back can be claimed. Beginning with a reduction to 28% in 2015. Raises €235 million


Raising Living Standards for the most vulnerable Costing
Increase Family Income Supplement by 10%. Cost €33 million
Increase the Respite Care Grant by €325. Cost €29.6 million
Over the next two budgets restore the maximum rates for young Jobseekers of €188. In Budget 2015 we would increase it by €40 per week. Cost €89 million
Add a telephone allowance of €9.50 per month to the Living Alone increase. Cost €20.6 million
Raise the One Parent Family Payment income disregard to €120. Cost €15.3 million
Introduce 4,000 additional Community Employment Scheme places. Cost €13.6 million
Increase investment in the Employability Service. Cost €1.5 million
Reinstate the Solas Training Allowance. Cost €6.7 million
Re-open the Diet Supplement Scheme. Cost €500,000
Increase Fuel Allowance by 3 weeks. Cost €23.9 million
Restore Farm Assist. Cost €3.4 million
A 10% increase in funding on emergency accommodation including women’s refuge centres. Cost €3.2 million
Increase funding for Traveller’s Initiatives. Cost €450,000
Increase funding to the National Disability Authority budget. Cost €230,000
Addressing the crisis in the health service Costing
Increase funding to disability services including but not limited to community physios, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. Cost €31.3 million
Put in place an additional 1,000 nurses and midwives posts. Cost €40.2 million
Additional funding for suicide prevention and awareness and for roll-out of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses and counselling in primary care and liaison nurses in A&E. Cost €18.7 million
Increased emergency ambulance cover – 2 additional ambulances including personnel for each of the four regions. Cost €6.67 million
As a first step in phasing them out, reduce the charge per prescription for medical card-holders by €0.50. Cost €25 million
Increase budget for discretionary medical cards. Cost €13 million
Extend the BreastCheck programme to women aged between 65 and 69 years of age. Cost €2.9 million
Back to School more affordable Costing
Put in place a fund to make a free pre-school year more accessible to children with disabilities based on the full 15 hours a week. Cost €12 million
Increase the number of resource teachers by 1,000. Cost €45 million
Increase the capitation grant to primary and post-primary schools. Cost €3.3 million
Increase the Capitation Rates for VTOS, YouthReach, BTEI, PLC and Adult Literacy. Cost €1 million
Increase Back to Education Allowance for under 26s to €188. Cost €3 million
Increase funding to school meal programme by 15%. Cost €5.55 million
Increase funding to school books grant by 30%. Cost €4.5 million
Increase the annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance by €50. Cost €15.5 million
Frontline Workers Costing
We are also proposing that €20 million be ringfenced to ensure frontline posts could be rehired or filled where necessity demands it. Cost €20 million
Irish language and Gaeltacht areas Costing
Increase capital budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta by 50%. Cost €3 million
Increase funding to Foras na Gaeilge. Cost €2 million
Increase funding for the implementation of the 20-year strategy on the Irish language. Cost €1.69 million

Savings Measures

Public Pay and Pensions Costing
Reductions in public sector pay and pensions, including 15% reduction in public sector salaries between €100,000 & €150,000 and 30% on income over €150,000. Saves €23.02 million
Oireachtas Pay and Allowances Costing
Reductions in Oireachtas Pay and Allowances, including Taoiseach and Ministers reduced by 50% of everything over €75,000, and TDs and Senators reduced to €75,000 and €60,000. Saves €3.88 million
General Government Expenditure Costing
Reduce Professional fees and general department spend on travel and training by 10%. Saves €27.2 million
Public expenditure Costing
End the State subsidy of private care in public hospitals. Saves €107.29 million
2% reduction in branded medicines. Saves €21 million
Phased withdrawal of private school annual state subsidy over five years. Saves €20.6 million
Wind-down JobBridge Scheme. Saves €10.3 million
Cancel Gateway Scheme. Saves €3.1 million
Greater use of JobsPlus. Saves €15.2 million