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Budget priorities and transfer policing powers dominate Sinn Féin meeting in Dublin

7 November, 2009


At a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle in Dublin today party Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald said Sinn Féin will put forward a budget submission showing how the €4billion that the Government is seeking to cut from public spending can be made without resorting to attacks on the least well off or cutting public services.

McDonald also said there is a strong sense that the unionist political leadership and some within the British system are seeking to push back the date for transfer of Policing and Justice powers to the North beyond next year’s Westminster election.

She said:

“Sinn Féin is finalising our submission to the Government ahead of the budget. It will show clearly, with Department of Finance figures, how the €4billion that the Government is seeking to cut from public spending can be made without resorting to attacks on the least well off or cutting public services.

“We want to see a fair budget where everybody pays according to their ability to pay and where the super rich are made to pay their fair share. Our submission debunks the myth that there is no alternative to cutbacks in public services and social welfare.

“It is time for the Government to stop lying to people and admit that there is an alternative way forward.”

Regarding the transfer of Policing and Justice powers McDonald said:

“Today’s meeting also discussed the impasse in negotiations on the transfer of Policing and Justice powers from Britain to the North. The DUP and the British Government are directly responsible for this situation.

“The final elements of the plan for transfer were put in place two weeks ago with the agreement on a financial package.

“Since then, DUP leader Peter Robinson has introduced the issue of controversial parades as a new precondition.

“There is a strong sense that the unionist leadership and some within the British system are seeking to push transfer beyond next year’s Westminster election.

“The political institutions are only of value if they deliver in the terms agreed on Good Friday 1998 and at St Andrews.

“Some in the DUP seek to obstruct progress because they want to return the North to a unionist one-party state. The unionist leadership and the NIO are allowing these rejectionist elements set the agenda. This has the real potential to push the present impasse into free-fall. This is not in anyone’s interests." ENDS

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