Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD, has commended the multi-agency operation that led to the detention of the MV Matthew ship off the Irish coast on Tuesday.
But he added that the operation demonstrates the need to deliver a plan to address years of government neglect of the Defence Forces and the Naval Service.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The Defence Forces; the Naval services and the Army Ranger Wing; and all agencies involved in the operation to detain the MV Matthew, deserve every bit of praise they have received since the operation off our coast on Tuesday.
“The successful operation again demonstrates the need to invest in naval capacity and the wider Defence Force.
“It also serves to remind us of the dangerous consequences of the undermining of our Defence Forces by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments.
“Due to government failures, a maximum of two naval vessels can presently be put to sea at any time because of staffing shortages.
“There are fewer Defence Forces personnel today than at any time in the history of the state, and the situation has worsened under the current government. More members will leave the Defence Forces this year than will be recruited.
“So, while it is absolutely correct that we commend the Defence Forces when they successfully complete a dangerous operation such as this, we must also note that their ability to do so has been made more difficult because of government failures.
“Too much time has passed since the publication of the Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces without a full implementation plan – that must be completed without delay.
“We must ensure that the men and women of the Defence Forces receive the pay, conditions and equipment required to do the job we depend on them for. We must also see the plan that will adequately address the retention and recruitment crisis within the Defence Forces, including the naval services.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to urgently reform their regressive retrofitting programme, arguing that without a major overhaul, Ireland will not meet its 2030 targets.
Commenting on the newly published report by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), the Meath East TD said:
“The report by the BPFI confirms what Sinn Féin has been saying for some time now - the government’s retrofitting plan is not working. It needs a major overhaul if we have any hope of meeting the 2030 target of 500,000 homes to BER B2 standard or higher.
“Of those surveyed as part of the report, cost was identified as the major barrier. As a result, the BPFI confirmed that more support is needed in order to address the cited ‘affordability gap’ in the government’s retrofitting programme.
“This ‘affordability gap’ is most pronounced for the poorest, coldest homes. Whereas the government seems content to leave these ordinary workers and families out in the cold, Sinn Féin’s retrofitting plan aims to address this deep inequity.
“After all, retrofitting is not just about cutting carbon emissions; it represents an important way to cut the cost of energy bills, as was confirmed by today’s report, with over 80% of those over 45 stating that it was a key reason motivating them to retrofit their homes.
“Despite 1 in 3 people living in energy poverty in Ireland, the government’s retrofitting plan prioritises those with the greatest means over those in the greatest need and excludes a huge cohort of households; those who don’t qualify due to high costs and those who don’t qualify due to strict eligibility criteria.
“A wealthy household can access €25,000 of taxpayer-funded grants for a deep retrofit, while many with far greater need cannot access basic measures such as attic or wall insulation.
“Sinn Féin has presented a real alternative in our policy document ‘A Fairer Retrofit Plan’. We commit to significantly increase the retrofitting budget, targeting the funding at the poorest, coldest and most carbon intensive homes.
“Our plan is to spend more where it matters – it is an ambitious costed proposal to move all households to a B2 BER insulation standard with a tiered, area-targeted, scheme aimed at low and middle income households.
“We propose a tiered plan targeting those most in need. Directing scarce labour resources to the coldest homes is the best use of public money, is socially equitable and will show the best return on public investment in achieving climate targets.
“We would also increase the budget for local authority retrofits. The area-based approach of our schemes would see local authority homes, tenant-purchased homes and other private dwellings retrofitted simultaneously, helping to reduce wait times, labour intensity and deliver cost savings.
“Rather than targeting solid fuel homes with punitive action like carbon tax hikes and turf bans, Sinn Féin has an alternative plan to assist them with retrofitting their homes, which will particularly benefit those in rural areas.
“Finally, we believe Ireland has the potential to have a revolution in solar energy which can greatly benefit ordinary workers and families, but only if sufficient resources are dedicated to it.
“Sinn Féin’s plan would both cut our carbon emissions and reduce energy poverty and inequality in our society. We would deliver a fair and realistic retrofitting scheme, making a real difference to ordinary people's lives and to the planet. Unlike the government, we plan to deliver more than lofty targets and fluffy rhetoric.
“The BPFI report proves once again that the calls on the Government to change tack are getting louder and more numerous. Minister Eamon Ryan should heed those calls.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that Sinn Féin is committed to funding mental health care and will deliver the much needed change when in Government.
Teachta Ward was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Alternative Health Budget 2024 this morning.
Teachta Ward said:
“When we say that the longer Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in Government the worse things get - we mean it. I’ll give you just a couple of facts.
“This Government was formed in mid-2020. At the time there was just over 2,000 children waiting on an initial assessment with the Children's and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Currently the list stands at 4,000 children, almost double under this Government.
“Sinn Fein has a plan to improve CAMHS. Sinn Féin would invest in restoring lost CAMHS capacity, which has fallen from 72 to 53 inpatient places.
“We would ensure funding to restore 19 CAMHS inpatient places, and to further expand CAMHS inpatient capacity over a term of Government.
“We would ensure funding is available for the fully delivery on CAMHS community teams over three years, including the full provision of 12 CAMHS-Intellectual Disability teams.
“All experts agree early intervention is key and that if a young person does not get the care they need when they need it and where they need it they are more likely to need the more acute services.
“When this Government was formed there was an unacceptable 11,000 children and adults waiting on an appointment with primary care psychology. That has now risen to a staggering 16,000 people.
“Sinn Féin would significantly invest in primary care mental health services.
“We would increase training for psychologists, ensure that Jigsaw primary mental health services are available on a consistent basis across the state, and invest towards universal counselling.
“In Budget 2023 the Government did not provide funding to expand National Clinical Programmes. We would address this.
“There are significant gaps in specialist services for ADHD, eating disorders, and addiction, early intervention in psychosis, liaison psychiatry, and perinatal mental health services which require multi-annual funding certainty to develop.
“Sinn Féin is committed to funding these programmes.
“Sinn Fein is serious about tackling the deficits created by successive Government in Mental Health care.
“We have a raft of measures that will improve people’s access to the mental health care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“These will lead to better mental health outcomes.”
– Click here to view the Sinn Féin Alternative Health Budget 2024 in full.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has this morning launched Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget for Health 2024 and a policy consultation document, Priorities for Change in Health and Social Care.
Teachta Cullinane outlined Sinn Féin’s multi-year plan to fix the health service, which would start with a ‘Year 1’ investment of €1.3 billion in capacity, workforce training, and cutting the cost of healthcare.
Sinn Féin is proposing a major reduction in the cost of medicines to help families with the cost of living by reducing the maximum monthly drugs payment to €50 from €80, abolishing prescription charges, and by extending medical cards for 400,000 additional people.
We are also proposing a major investment in 1,800 additional hospital beds over three years to tackle overcrowding in hospitals and long wait times.
The wide-ranging package includes proposals totalling €509 million for improving access to hospital; €241 million for cutting the cost of healthcare; €100 million for investment across GPs, pharmacies, and community healthcare; €155 million on disability services; €98 million on home support and care for older people; €75 million on mental health services; €26 million on addiction and recovery; €31 million on developing the health workforce; and €170 million across a range of strategies to improve healthcare outcomes across cancer, women’s health, cardiovascular health, and more.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Sinn Féin has a plan to fix the health service, starting with a major €1.3 billion investment in the first year. This is part of a multi-year plan to deliver an Irish National Health Service which ends the two-tier health system and removes cost barriers to healthcare.
“We have a plan to cut waiting times by opening up more beds and training more healthcare workers.
“We would cut the cost of healthcare by cutting medicine costs, delivering 400,000 additional medical cards, and reducing minor injury unit charges.
“We would deliver the world-leading child and youth mental health service that our children deserve.
“We would deliver for people with disabilities by funding the recommendations of the Disability Capacity Review, and by ratifying the UNCRPD Optional Protocol.
“Sinn Féin’s plan would deliver universal healthcare over two terms of Government, tackle waste and inefficiency in the health service, and bring real accountability through significant reforms to the health service.
"We would implement a new healthcare entitlements scheme to deliver universal healthcare, which we call the 'Sláintecard'. We would reform the NTPF to reduce private outsourcing and build public capacity to tackle long waiting lists.
“For too long under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael our health service has lurched from crisis the crisis. We can do so much better.
“Patients, their families and health staff deserve a health system that works. It’s time to start fixing our health service. It’s time for change.”
Note to Editor:
Sinn Féin’s Commission on the Future of Ireland held their 7th public event last week in the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry.
The theme was ‘Exploring Northern Protestant Identities and Culture in a Shared Future’.
Catherine Pollock, a local community and rights based activist chaired the discussion and was joined on the panel by community activists Catherine Cooke and Alison Wallace.
Speaking after the event Foyle MLA Pádraig Delargy said,
“This was an opportunity to build upon the themes discussed at last year’s event ‘Celebrating Diversity- Ending Divisions’ and on the very diligent reconciliation work that has been undertaken in Derry over many years.
“We were delighted with the attendance and the excellent contributions from the panel and the audience.
“The theme of the discussion helped to deepen our understanding of northern Protestant identities and culture.
“It’s not monolithic- this discussion provided us with an opportunity to learn how diverse it really is.”
Commission Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA gave the opening remarks at the event. He said,
“It is important going forward, that we as republicans, not only internalise what we heard, but that we use it as a pathway for opening up new opportunities to expand this discussion.
“In turn, this will enable us to become much more sensitised, aware and informed about the kind of debate that is going to be required, that will lay the foundations for a new inclusive and agreed Ireland.
“We may never agree on the past but we can plan a better future together”.
Further information on the Commission can be found at: www.sinnfein.ie/futureofireland
Footage from the Derry event can be found on Sinn Féin’s YouTube channel.
Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has called for Further Education lecturers to be offered fair pay and conditions rather than redundancy.
The party’s spokesperson for Higher and Further Education was speaking after it was revealed that colleges have offered voluntary redundancy to staff in response to the British government's cuts to Education funding.
The Foyle MLA said:
"It is deeply disappointing that Further Education lecturers and college staff are being offered redundancy while on the picket line for fair pay.
“These workers are integral to providing students with skills and helping them to reach their full potential. They should be given fair pay and conditions.
“The British government should provide a budget that properly funds the Further Education sector and gives the department the means to offer staff a decent pay uplift.
“I would encourage college management to meaningfully engage with the trade unions and keep staff fully informed of their situation in relation to pay and job security.”
Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has called on the British government to deliver a fair pay deal for health and social care workers in the north.
Speaking as health and social care workers have been forced again to take strike action this week, the party’s Health spokesperson said:
“Our health and social care system in the north is at breaking point as a result of 13 years of Tory cuts which has underfunded and undermined our public services.
“Staff are stretched to the limit and burnt out from working long hours, while also dealing with chronic under-staffing which has heaped extra pressure on already stretched workers.
“This is unsafe and is putting both patients and staff at risk.
“It is unfair, unjust and totally unacceptable that the pay offer made to NHS staff in England has not been extended to health and social care workers in the north.
“In the absence of an Executive, the British government must get on with delivering a fair deal for health and social care workers without delay, in line with the pay offer made to NHS staff in England.
"The difficult situation we are experiencing is being exacerbated by the fact there is no functioning Executive as one party continues its reckless blockade in which workers and families continue to pay the price.
“The public’s patience is wearing thin, the DUP should get back to work with the rest of us around the Executive table to begin to fix the health service.
"Our health workers cannot wait any longer, they are working under ever increasing pressure and they need a locally accountable assembly and Executive.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said ESB's announcement of €676 million of profits in the first six months of the year is a slap in the face to customers who have been struggling to pay their bills.
The East Derry MLA said:
"These extortionate profits, which represent a 30% increase on the same period last year, are a slap in the face for workers and families who are struggling to pay their electricity bill.
“These figures will be cold comfort too to customers of Electric Ireland, which is owned by ESB, who were recently left without power for days.
“To date these customers have received no offer of compensation.
"Electric Ireland needs to compensate customers whose lives were disrupted after being left without electricity."
Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy said today the Tory government is punishing ordinary workers and families for the political neglect and irresponsibility of one party.
Conor Murphy was speaking after British Secretary of State Chris Heaton Harris announced a consultation on a wide range of punishing charges on workers and families.
Conor Murphy said:
“In the absence of an Executive as a result of one party’s refusal to respect the democratic outcome of the 2022 Assembly elections the British Tory Secretary of State set a budget with savage cuts to our public services.
“These cuts by the British government have also denied fair pay rises to local workers in health, education and other frontline public services.
“Those workers have been forced to go out once again on picket lines to demand their rights by a Tory minister whose party has no mandate here, not even a single elected councillor.
“Now Chris Heaton Harris is consulting on further punitive charges on workers and families.
“These include water charges, increased student fees, prescription charges and other domestic charges which will increase the pressure on ordinary people struggling with the cost of living crisis.
“In the past the Executive has been able to protect people from Tory policies despite more than a decade of Tory cuts to public services. That was and is the right thing to do.
“We need an end to the DUP’s blockade of the political institutions, which has left us at the mercy of these Tory cuts.
“"Workers can’t wait, people on waiting lists can’t wait and families struggling to put food on the table can't wait. Everyone has been more than reasonable in giving space and time, but there are clear limits and public patience is rightly wearing thin.
“We need a restored Executive with all parties working together to get the investment needed to properly fund our public services over a three-year period.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pa Daly TD, has revealed that he has been contacted by a number of rank and file Gardaí, primarily with concerns over the disbanding of specialised units.
Teachta Daly said:
“After other comments on the matter, I have been contacted by many ordinary Gardaí. They indicate that specialised units are being disbanded and many are being assigned to regular units.
“The fundamental issue here is of course the low levels of staff as a result of the government’s failings in the area. Until recruitment and retention are taken seriously, there will continue to be challenges in assigning officers between units.
“However the likes of burglary or domestic violence units being disbanded in Limerick and Dublin is of great concern.
“The consensus from those members who contact me is for the safety of the public and pride in their own work within these units. With this week being the 5thanniversary of the publication of the report by the Commission on the Future of Policing, it is a sad state of affairs when many recommendations of this report remain unimplemented.
“The movement of Gardai away from non-core duties and their assignment to other state agencies could help hugely. The Garda Reserve regulations must be published soon also, least this crisis become irreversible.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called on the government to get a grip on the cost-of-living crisis as a Central Bank report warned that inflation would remain elevated in the coming years.
The Donegal TD also called for an increase in capital investment as government failures in housing and infrastructure delivery pose a real threat to economic competitiveness.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Doherty said:
“Households continue to struggle under a cost-of-living crisis as prices continue to rise.
“Today’s report by the Central Bank has increased inflation forecasts for this year and next.
“The government must do more to reduce the cost of living.
“For too many workers, wages have not kept pace with inflation.
“Those on fixed incomes and the most vulnerable in our society have seen their incomes fall.
“Households continue to face exorbitant energy bills while, as the Central Bank makes clear today, energy prices have fallen across Europe.
“Childcare costs remain too high, with rents rising and unaffordable.
“The government has abjectly failed to tackle rip-off prices that are unsustainable for so many.
“It is also clear from today’s Central Bank report that the government’s deepening failure in housing and infrastructure delivery is a growing threat to our economic prospects.
“Increased capital investment to address these failures and our growing infrastructure deficit is needed now, and in the years ahead.
“Sinn Féin in government would reduce the cost of living and deliver a public investment programme that supports economic development for our communities.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called on the Minister for Health, the HSE, and Children's Health Ireland to ensure clarity and accountability in relation to the use of unauthorised devices and subsequent harm caused to children by a Consultant in Temple St Hospital.
Teachta Cullinane said that, while an external review and the referral of the issue to the Medical Council is welcome, immediate clarity is needed.
He said that there were serious questions to answer in relation to clinical governance and accountability, and said that he has asked the Oireachtas Health Committee to examine the issue.
Teachta Cullinane said that his thoughts were with the affected children and their families, and called on the HSE to ensure that they are fully supported throughout the process and dealing with any lasting complications or harm.
Teachta Cullinane said:
"The revelations of the shocking activity at Temple Street Hospital demand full transparency from Children's Health Ireland and the HSE.
"My thoughts are with the affected children and their families. The HSE must ensure that they are fully supported throughout these processes and in dealing with any lasting complications or harm.
"I trust that CHI will be fully upfront in the investigations, and know that this is difficult news for the healthcare workers in Temple Street as well.
"It is welcome that the HSE and CHI have commissioned reviews, but it is troubling that such incidents have occurred in the first place.
"The Minister for Health must ensure full clarity, in the first place, and then accountability in relation to this scandal. The reviews must be quick and published in full.
"There are serious questions to answer in relation to transparency, discipline, oversight and clinical governance.
"This incident is scarcely believable. It warrants full disclosure. I have requested that the Oireachtas Health Committee examine this issue to ensure full clarity and accountability."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called on the government to support his proposals to introduce temporary mortgage interest relief for struggling homeowners.
Deputy Doherty was speaking ahead of his party’s motion on the issue, which will be debated when the Dáil returns on Wednesday.
He said that the government cannot continue to sit on their hands while homeowners see their annual mortgage repayments increase by thousands as a result of the tenth ECB interest hike since last summer.
Teachta Doherty said:
“The Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael government has been sitting on their hands, doing nothing as more and more families come under pressure from rising mortgage interest rates.
“The ECB last week announced its 10th interest rate hike since July 2022.
“In that time, repayments have increased by thousands of euros a year for tens of thousands of families.
“It’s time for action now. The government has done nothing and the situation has gone from bad to worse for so many.
“Even before last week’s announcement, the Central Bank estimated that one in five households would see their annual mortgage costs spiral by more than €5,700 as a result of rate hikes, with two in five seeing their annual mortgage costs rise by more than €3,000.
“Now these costs will increase further for so many. This is a massive income shock for struggling households.
“Sinn Féin has been calling for the introduction of a time-limited mortgage interest relief for homeowners hit by interest rate increases for months.
“The government must now provide mortgage interest relief, applicable to principal private residences, equivalent to 30 percent of increased interest costs relative to June 2022, with a maximum benefit per household of €1,500 per annum.
“I urge the government to support our motion, and for Minister Michael McGrath to implement our proposals in next month’s budget.”
Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney met with a delegation of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on a visit to Stormont on Monday.
The delegation included Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly Nathalie Loiseau.
Speaking after the meeting, the party’s Brexit spokesperson said:
“I was delighted to meet with a delegation of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee today. I commended the Committee on its consistent engagement with political and civic leaders in the north, and addressed the huge importance of the Peace Plus official announcement just last week. I also stressed the need for ongoing and close working partnership between this region and the EU.
“The committee is currently working on a report on the implementation of the Windsor Framework.
“I strongly welcome that members of the committee restated their support for the Windsor Framework and the restoration of our political institutions.
“The Windsor Framework is now an integral part of the protocol and is widely supported across the north, in Westminster and the EU.
“The British Government has made it very clear that further renegotiation of the Windsor Framework is not plausible and that the matter is settled. This is the unambiguous position of the European Commission.
“I pointed out that in a time of such economic difficulty for workers and families and endemic crisis across public services, it is beyond belief that the DUP appears determined to undermine the significant potential granted by the Windsor Framework to the north's economy.
“It is time for that party to end its anti-democratic boycott of the assembly and return to the power sharing institutions. We need a return to power sharing and the North/South institutions to realise the potential of the Windsor Framework, and create the political stability needed to begin addressing the scale of crisis across our public services."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, condemned Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin for saying “it is too early… to take a definitive position” on the Spanish Government’s request for Basque, Catalan and Galician to be recognised as official languages of the European Union, and called for the Irish Government to send a strong and unequivocal message of support for the proposal ahead of the EU’s General Affairs Council meeting tomorrow.
The Tánaiste had been responding to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“It is never ‘too early’ to express support for others being granted the same rights we fought hard to obtain. The Tánaiste ought to know that and send a strong message of solidarity on behalf of Ireland abroad.
“The Spanish Government’s decision to request official status for Catalan, Basque and Galician, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the European Union to demonstrate its commitment to multilingualism, and to do so at the behest of the member state concerned.
“The last such move was in 2005 when the Irish Government requested full official status for Irish, which was granted with a derogation in 2007 and took full effect in 2022.
“We know from experience the significance such status at EU level can have by creating career paths and opportunities for speakers and positively changing perceptions of the language. Official status at EU level can be the catalyst for the improvement of language rights at home, which we have seen in subsequent court decisions and legislative change.
“Catalan is spoken by in the region of 10 million speakers across three member states, vying for position as the EU’s 8th most spoken language with Czech, Swedish, Portuguese, Greek and Hungarian, but unlike their fellow European citizens who speak those languages, they are locked out of full participation in EU institutions and decision-making.
“Basque, Europe’s oldest spoken language, has more speakers than the populations of Malta or Luxembourg, while the Galician language community has a larger population than 6 EU member states at 2.4 million.
“All three languages have robust sociolinguistic ecosystems, are rich in literature and culture, with immersive schooling and media infrastructure including dedicated TV stations, and already have official status equal to Spanish in their regions.
“English, not even the national language of any member state, is only official in two member states with a combined population of fewer than 6 million, and yet it not only an official language of the EU, but one of three procedural languages with the highest status in EU institutions.
“If that is possible for English, and if official status has already been granted to 24 languages, including Maltese with as few as half a million speakers, there is no reason why the European Union cannot extend a basic respect and status to the speakers of Catalan, Basque and Galician as well.
“Seizing this opportunity would send a strong message of inclusion, equality and dignity to millions of European citizens, enabling them to take full part in EU affairs.
“Failure to do so, however, would damage the EU’s reputation as a guarantor of rights and defender of minorities, and could potentially set back language rights in Spain for generations by dissuading future governments form making such efforts.
“It should not be understated what a sea-change this request is considering the history of oppression and persecution of regional languages under Franco.
“While much work remains to be done in Spain to resolve the legacy of that period, the European Union and Ireland must play their role in supporting any efforts by the Spanish Government to do just that by demonstrating respect and advancing the language rights of their citizens.”
Ní mór don Tánaiste tacú le aitheantas don Chatalóinis, don Bhascais, agus don Ghailisis mar theangacha oifigiúla AE - Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Cháin urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, an Tánaiste agus Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha Micheál Martin as a ráiteas go bhfuil sé “ró-luath… chun seasamh cinnte a ghlacadh” ar iarratas Rialtas na Spáinne chun aitheantas a fháil don Bhascais, don Chatalóinis agus don Ghailisis mar theangacha oifigiúla den Aontas Eorpach, agus d’impigh sé ar Rialtas na hÉireann teachtaireacht láidir lom a thabhairt don mholadh roimh chruinniú an Chomhairle Gnóthaí Ginearálta de chuid an AE amárach.
Bhí an Tánaiste ag freagairt Ceist Parlaiminte ó urlabhraí Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Cosanta Shinn Féin, Matt Carthy TD.
Dúirt an Teachta Ó Snodaigh:
“Níl sé ‘ró-luath’ riamh tacaíocht a léiriú dóibh siúd atá ag lorg na cearta céanna a bhain muid amach de réir streachailt. Ba chóir go dtuigfeadh An Tánaiste an méid sin agus go seolfadh sé teachtaireacht láidir dlúthpháirtíochta thar cheann Éire thar lear.
“Tá deis sa chinneadh seo ag Rialtas na Spáinne stádas oifigiúil a lorg don Chatalóinis, don Bhascais agus don Ghailisis, deis nach dtagann ach uair amháin i nglúin, don Aontas Eorpach a thiomantas a léiriú don ilteangachas, agus é sin a dhéanamh de réir éileamh ón bhallstát ábhartha.
“Tharla an bogadh deireanach den chineál seo chomh fada siar le 2005 nuair ar lorg Rialtas na hÉireann lánstádas oifigiúil don Ghaeilge, rud a fuair muid le maolú i 2007 agus a tháinig i bhfeidhm go hiomlán i 2022.
“Tuigimid ónár dtaithí féin an tábhacht a bhaineann leis an gcineál sin stádas ag leibhéal an AE trí slite beatha agus deiseanna a chruthú don lucht labhartha agus dearca dearfach a chothú faoin dteanga. Féadfadh le stádas oifigiúil AE feabhais a spreagadh i gcearta teanga sa bhaile, rud atá feicithe againn sna cinntí cúirte agus athruithe reachtúla a tháinig ina ndiaidh.
“Labhraíonn timpeall 10 milliúin duine trasna trí ballstáit an Chatalóinis, atá san iomaíocht i measc an tSeicis, an tSualannais, an Phoirtingéilis, an Ghréigis agus an Ungáiris le bheith mar an 8ú teanga is mó labhartha san AE, ach i gcodarsnacht leo siúd a labhraíonn na teangacha sin go léir, tá bac orthu lánpháirtíocht a ghlacadh in institiúidí agus déantús polasaí an AE.
“Tá níos mó daoine ag labhairt Bascais, an teanga is ársa labhartha san Eoraip, ná atá ina gcónaí i Málta nó sa Lucsamburg, agus tá daonra níos mó ag lucht labhartha na Gailisise (2.4 milliúin) ná atá ag 6 ballstáit de chuid an AE.
“Tá éiceachóras folláin sochtheangeolaíoch ag gach cheann den trí teanga, atá saibhir ó thaobh na litríochta agus an chultúir de, le scoileanna tumoideachais agus bonneagair meán lena n-áirítear cainéil teilifíse, agus tá stádas oifigiúil acu ar chomhchéim leis an Spáinnis ina réigiúin féin.
“Níl an Béarla, nach bhfuil fiú ina theanga náisiúnta ag ballstát ar bith, ach mar theanga oifigiúil ag dá ballstáit ina bhfuil daonta níos lú ná 6 milliúin idir an phéire acu, ach in ainneoin sin ní hamháin go bhfuil sé mar theanga oifigiúil an AE, ach tá an stádas is airde institiúdach aige i measc an trí teangacha imeachta de chuid an AE.
“Más féidir é sin a dhéanamh don Bhéarla, agus má tá stádas oifigiúil bronnta cheana féin do 24 teanga, lena n-áirítear Máltais nach bhfuil ach leathmilliúin cainteoir aici, níl fáth ar bith nach bhféadfadh leis an Aontas Eorpach an meas agus stádas bunúsach céanna a leathnú do lucht labhartha na Catalóinise, na Bascaise, agus na Gailisise chomh maith.
“Tríd an deis seo a thapadh, sheolfar teachtaireacht láidir ag léiriú cuimsiú, cothrom na Féinne agus dínit do na milliúin saoránaigh Eorpacha agus iad á gcumasú pairt iomlán a ghlacadh i ngnóthaí AE.
“Dá dteipfeadh leis an AE sin é dhéanamh áfach, bheadh cáil an AE mar chosantóir cearta agus mionlaigh millte acu, agus seans go mbeadh céim chun cúil ann do chearta teanga sa Spáinn dos na glúnta toisc go ndéanfar rialtais sa todhchaí a dhíspreagadh iarrachtaí dá leithéid a dhéanamh arís.
“Ní fhéadfar an t-athrú poirt san iarratas seo a chaolchúisiú i gcomhthéacs an stair de dhaoirse agus géarleanúint a rinneadh ar theangacha réigiúnacha faoi Franco.
“Cé go bhfuil a lan obair fós le déanamh sa Spáinn féin chun impleachtaí an ré sin a réiteach, ní mór don Aontas Eorpach agus d’Éire a roil a ghlacadh ag tacú le haon iarrachtaí de chuid Rialtas na Spéinne chun dul i ngleic leis sin trí mheas a léiriú agus cearta teanga a chur chun cinn dá saoránaigh.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has said that the Sinn Féin leadership look forward to engaging with participants, visitors and exhibitors at the National Ploughing Championships this week.
From tomorrow until Thursday, Teachta Kerrane will be joined by Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, Fire Minister Designate Michelle O'Neill, as well as party representatives from across the island over the three-day event.
Sinn Féin will also host a series of engagements and panel discussions at the party’s stand which will be located at Block 2, Row 23, Stand 356.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“Myself and my Sinn Féin colleagues are looking forward to the return of the National Ploughing Championships in County Laois this week. The ploughing is always a great opportunity to engage with farmers and rural communities on the issues that matter to them.
“Sinn Féin’s leadership will be in attendance, and we will be joined by Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill. We will also have a range of our representatives present throughout the three days, including our MEP, Chris MacManus and TD for Laois-Offaly, Brian Stanley.
“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to visit businesses, rural organisations and farm bodies during the event. As well as this, Sinn Féin will be hosting a number of discussions on key issues facing our family farms and rural communities at our own stand.
“We know the farming community has faced significant challenges in recent years; from rising costs and market volatility, to questions around farming practices and generational renewal. Sinn Féin representatives are looking forward to facilitating important discussions on supporting farming communities and rural Ireland, and securing the future of our family farms for generations to come.
“Sinn Féin representatives be will at our stand throughout the three days to talk to visitors, and we especially welcome people to attend our panel discussions”.