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Government must now press British on Finucane inquiry — Adams

4 December, 2013 - by Gerry Adams TD


Pointing out that the Pat Finucane Inquiry is now the only Inquiry agreed to at Weston Park that has not been held, he asked the Tánaiste if the Government would, as a matter of priority, “increase its lobby, including internationally, on the British Government to honour its commitments and establish the promised public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane?”

Speaking in the Dail today in the wake of the report of the Smithwick Tribunal, Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD called on the Government to increase pressure on the British Government to honour its commitment to establish an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Commending the government for fulfilling its Weston Park commitment to hold an inquiry into the killings of RUC officers Harry Breen and Robert Buchanan, Mr Adams also said he was very mindful that at the heart of the Smithwick Inquiry were two bereaved families. He said he hoped the report would bring some measure of closure for them.

He drew the attention of the Tanaiste to what he said were clear contradiction in Justice Smithwick’s conclusions:

“On the one hand he concludes that the Tribunal ‘has not uncovered direct evidence of collusion’. But then, in a clear contradiction of this and on the basis of circumstantial and untested intelligence, Justice Smithwick accepts that ‘on balance of probability’ some form of collusion occurred.”

He said what Smithwick defined as collusion was very different in form and scale from that which occurred as a matter of policy between British agencies and their allies in unionist paramilitaries.

“The British state was responsible for structured, institutionalised collusion with unionist paramilitaries. Everyone here knows this.

“This includes the Dublin/Monaghan bombings. The British government arrogantly disregards the unanimous all-party Oireachtas motion calling on it to provide vital information about these bomb attacks.”

Pointing out that the Pat Finucane Inquiry is now the only Inquiry agreed to at Weston Park that has not been held, he asked the Tánaiste if the Government would, as a matter of priority, “increase its lobby, including internationally, on the British Government to honour its commitments and establish the promised public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane?”

Mr Adams also called for the Government to explore Sinn Féin’s proposal for an Independent International Truth Commission to deal with the legacy of the conflict.

ENDS

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We need to ensure that we have all available capacity within our health systems, that we have sufficient ventilators and respiratory equipment, sufficient beds including ICU beds, and that our frontline workers are protected.  We need more testing and tracing and we need to ensure that we have all available capacity within our health systems, that we have sufficient ventilators and respiratory equipment, sufficient beds including ICU beds. 

The lack of protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, carers and others is causing a lot of concern – with frontline workers taking to the internet looking for resources and the government have stated that homehelp workers don’t need PPE. 

We need to see delivery of more testing across the island to tackle COVID-19 in line with the advice of WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Income Support - Protecting Workers & Families

Sinn Féin’s proposals in the south would have guaranteed 100% of income up to €525 a week for workers and the self-employed who are laid off due to this crisis.  The Irish government’s proposal comes nowhere close to that and does not go far enough. €350 is not enough for people who have lost their jobs. 

While we are supportive of the wage subsidy scheme we believe that it must be targeted and not open to abuse - employers should have to make up the rest of the 30% of the salary – under the Irish government proposal employers could put in just one cent towards their employees pay.

There are also outstanding issues including: will workers have to pay tax on this income, now or at the end of the tax year; can workers who reside in the north but pay tax in the south be able to access the PUP payment?

Protecting Workers, Families and Businesses in the North

Finance Minister Conor Murphy has introduced protections for workers, small businesses and is lobbying the British Treasury to support the self-employed. He has brought in rate relief, including a three month rate holiday for all businesses and grants to support SMEs.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has streamlined the benefit system to make it easy for those affected by COVID-19 to access benefits, including sick pay for workers.  She has also introduced support measures for the community and voluntary sector.

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Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot be trusted to deliver on housing. Their records speak for themselves.

Sinn Féin is committed to delivering the largest housing build in the history of the State.

Sinn Féin's "Fair Rent and Protection of Renters Bill" would prohibit rent increases on existing and new tenancies for three years and end the practice of tenants being evicted from buy-to-let properties on the grounds that a property is to be sold. These are vital protections that people need now more than ever.

In the north, Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has introduced measures to support those in the public housing sector and we have called for mortgage relief for homeowners and businesses.

Banks and the Insurance industry

It is outrageous that many people with a €200,000 mortgage will pay close to €2,000 more over the lifetime of their mortgage because the banks are not only charging interest but interest on the interest.  This is how the banks are intending to profit out of this crisis and it is outrageous. We want the Central Bank and the banks called in by the government and this to be stopped. We have been in touch with the Minister, the Central Bank and the banks on this. The fact is that they already charge twice the average EU interest rates for mortgage  - they need to waive all interest during the period of the emergency and not profit on it.

The behaviour of the insurance industry also needs to be tackled – they are failing to respond properly to this crisis.

The insurance industry is trying to find ways of avoiding providing coverage to businesses who pay very high insurance premiums and have been forced to close as a result of the crisis.  They need to be reined in by the Central Bank and taken to task over this behaviour. Nothing less than this is approach is required.