Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has said current pressures being felt in Altnagelvin Emergency Department further demonstrates the need for an Executive to be formed urgently.
Speaking after reports that over 40 patients were waiting on a bed after presenting at Altnagelvin Emergency Department Delargy said:
“The situation at Altnagelvin hospital is a real worry.
"The public deserve access to first-class healthcare yet as we speak dozens of people are having to wait to access care.
“Our healthcare system is at breaking point and our health staff have worked themselves into the ground trying to maintain frontline services.
"Unfortunately, the staff alone cannot fix this crisis.
“We need a functioning Executive so that the additional £1 billion over three years for health proposed in Finance Minister Conor Murphy's draft budget to tackle waiting lists and recruit more doctors and nurses can be put to work.
“I once again call on the DUP to lift their cruel boycott of the Political institutions and get back round the Executive table to work with others to support workers and families suffering from the cost of living crisis and fix the health service.”
‘Box of outdated chargers will now be a thing of the past’ – MacManus
Victory for Consumers and the Environment as EU backs common chargers
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the final adoption of new EU rules which will make common chargers for phones and other devices mandatory from two years’ time.
Speaking in Strasbourg MacManus said:
“I warmly welcome this decision. I hope the box of chargers most homes have to keep old and usually outdated chargers can now become a thing of the past. It is not just phones but other devices like laptops, e-readers, earphones, keyboards and mice, navigation devices, speakers and video consoles that will be covered.
There was and there is no justification for one company to insist on a different charger for its devices. That situation simply cost consumers money and led to unnecessary electronic waste.
This standardisation is expected to save consumers in the region of €250 million which will be welcome news to many feeling the impacts of the current cost of living crisis. This is also a big environmental win as less electronic waste will be generated.
It’s not a revolutionary change but it is common sense. Anything that protects consumers and saves money is always very welcome.” ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called on Minister Eamon Ryan and the National Transport Authority to address the atrocious standards being delivered on bus routes served by Go-Ahead Ireland.
Deputy O’Rourke was speaking from outside the Department of Transport at a Sinn Féin demonstration to highlight Go-Ahead Ireland’s poor service across Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.
The Meath East TD said:
“Commuters across the capital and in the Greater Dublin Area are fed up to the teeth of the poor service being delivered by Go-Ahead Ireland.
“Late buses, no shows, overcrowding and generally poor service standards has been raised constantly with us as public representatives on routes right across Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.
“This is causing serious problems for people who rely on these buses and very little is being done by the Minister or the regulator to fix the ongoing issues.
“People are literally being left stranded on the side of the road. This type of service will drive people away from using public transport.
“Go-Ahead Ireland are a number of years into their contract, so we simply don’t accept this is still teething problems.
“Sinn Féin warned the privatisation of our bus services would drive down standards, as profits would be prioritised over punctuality, reliability and customer service.
“Go-Ahead's Irish subsidiary made a €2.6m profit last year, which is hard for commuters to stomach given the poor service they are experiencing on the ground.
“The privatisation of public transport in Britain has been an unmitigated disaster and we must avoid that template at all costs.
“If Minister Ryan wants more people to use public transport, he needs to ensure buses are on-time and reliable. He needs to get on top of these problems.
“The National Transport Authority needs to stop treating Go-Ahead Ireland with kid gloves and use their regulatory powers to ensure the service on these routes is improved.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said Minister Roderic O’Gorman must answer questions on why he reneged on his earlier commitment to establish an International Expert Group to review testimonies provided by survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.
Minister O'Gorman will today appear before the Oireachtas Children's committee.
Teachta Funchion said:
“As my parties spokesperson and Cathaoirleach of the Committee, I have been steadfast in my commitment to all survivors, and that their stories would be heard.
“The Ministers decision to do a complete u-turn was a devastating blow to many who felt completely let down by the final Mother and Baby Homes Report. It is crucial the Minister comes before the committee to give a full and unequivocal account of his decision.
“Survivors accused the authors of the Commission of Investigation Report of either misrepresenting and or amalgamating their evidence. The Minister, at the time, seemed concerned with such reports and I believe in good faith confirmed he would establish an International Expert Group to review testimonies.
“Which makes his decision to abandon any further expert investigation as perplexing – nothing has changed.
“The Minister has recently stated he is addressing 'key asks' from survivors through enacted legislation, the establishment and further progression of the new national records and memorial centre [NRMC].
"I too am fully committed to the new NRMC. It will be a very significant national and international site of historic importance for the country.
“However, it cannot be forgotten that many mothers have passed away in the intervening years, and my fear is that incorrect and completely distorted accounts now remain on the record in the seriously flawed Mother and Baby Homes Report.
“I look forward to hearing more of the detail around how the Minister will support survivors to tell their stories, so they can be formally recorded and that these records become part of the official record."
Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has said the DUP should end its ‘shameful and cruel boycott’ of the Executive and help people who are struggling to pay their bills.
The North Belfast MP said:
“DUP representatives are tripping over themselves to double down on their shameful boycott of the Executive and dereliction of duty during a cost-of-living emergency.
"Inflammatory language such as what was used today is irresponsible and does nothing to help reach a resolution.
“They are also clearly having trouble respecting democracy and refusing to accept the democratic outcome of the Assembly election.
“Sabre-rattling and threats do nothing for people who are suffering on hospital waiting lists and people who are struggling to heat their homes.
“It’s time Jeffrey Donaldson’s party stopped sitting on their hands, ended its cruel boycott and turned up for work on behalf of the people who elected them.
“Sinn Féin is ready to form an Executive today, to work together with others, and put money in the pockets of workers and families. They need help now.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said ordinary people will pay the price for the British Chancellor's fantasy economics.
Speaking in response to the British Chancellor's speech at the Tory party conference, the party's economy spokesperson said:
“The British Chancellor has again defended his outrageous mini-Budget that will line the pockets of the rich, push up mortgages and do nothing to support ordinary people.
“And to add insult to injury, the Tory chancellor has now announced his intention to attack public services with cuts amounting to £18 billion following a decade of Tory assaults on health and other services.
"Rather than u-turning on just one part of their scandalous budget, the Tories should scrap the whole thing and instead invest in our public services and help workers, families and small businesses who are struggling.
"We need an Executive up and running immediately so that locally elected ministers can work together to put money in people’s pockets. The DUP must end its cruel boycott now.”
Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed concern that if a resolution is not reached in negotiations between Retained Fire Fighters representatives and Fire Services National Oversight and Implementation Group (FSNOIG), Retained Fire Fighters will be forced to consult with its members with a view to balloting for industrial action.
A national emergency meeting took place on Thursday September 29th in Liberty Hall to discuss a proposal for industrial action, and to ensure that all stations across the state are onboard.
The meeting took place in the absence of any meaningful progress in discussions between the SIPTU national negotiating committee and Fire Services National Oversight and Implementation Group (FSNOIG) in terms of trying to put in place measures to deal with the recruitment and retention crisis in the service.
Teachta Brady said:
“There is serious concern that if the government does not meaningfully engage with the Retained Fire Fighters representatives to address the retention and recruitment crisis in the service, following the emergency meeting on Thursday September 29th to discuss a proposal for industrial action, the Retained Fire Fighters will be forced to vote for industrial action.
“It was agreed at the emergency meeting to meet again on October 7th to give the government time to respond. Failure to progress matters will leave the Retained Fire Fighters with no option but to bring forward proposals with a view to holding Industrial action
“The Retained Fire Service are frontline workers. The majority who join up are motivated by a desire to serve their community as emergency workers. Their role involves huge sacrifices.
“With the current crisis in retention and recruitment, they are forced to work extra hours to make up for staffing shortages where they forgo time off to spend with families. It is not a role conducive to family life. And the retainer money they receive does not come close to compensating them for the sacrifices that they make.
“Current conditions offer little incentive for new recruits to the Retained Fire Service. It is seen as a thankless role with little or no personal benefit.
“A recent survey points to some 60% of Retained Fire Service intending to leave the service in the near future. Many within the next year.
“The strain of being on 24-hour call, seven days a week, in understaffed fire stations, with little hope of promotion is having a significant impact on morale. Many highly trained, highly motivated individuals who love the fire service, and are committed to serving their communities are being forced out of the job.
“The impact of this loss of experience will be devastating to both the Retained Fire Service, and the communities which they serve.
“The government must act, and it must act immediately to address the concerns of the Retained Fire Service.”
Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has said the fire in the Old Cathedral Building will be a blow for the many local, independent businesses and creatives and artists in the area.
John Finucane said:
“News that a fire has broken out in the Old Cathedral Building will be a blow for the many local, independent businesses and creatives and artists located in Cathedral Buildings.
“The fire has caused disruption to the area and businesses, while firefighters assess the safety of the building.
“Emergency services are at the scene and responding and I would urge the public to be cautious and to assist the emergency services in whatever way possible."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has expressed his disappointment with the ongoing issues regarding regulations of counsellors and psychotherapists through CORU, the regulatory body for health and social care professionals.
Deputy Ward was speaking after he received a response to a parliamentary question, which confirmed that it is anticipated this could require ‘a number of years’ to fully relegate these professions.
Teachta Ward said:
“There will be widespread disappointment among professionals, such as counsellors and psychotherapists, with the news of further delays to their regulations through CORU. I share their disappointment.
“I received a response to a parliamentary question this week which stated that ‘it is not possible to say with any degree of accuracy when the professions will be fully regulated. I would anticipate that the Registration Board will require a number of years to complete its work’.
“Regulations were made in 2018 to facilitate this and the Registration Board have met 20 times since then.
“Counsellors and psychotherapists are looking for certainty that the courses they are doing now will allow them to be eligible for registration through CORU.
“There can be no such certainty if this delay is to continue for years.
“I have met with both the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Therapists for Change and have listened to the concerns of the members they represent.
“I recently called on the Minister for Mental Health to commit to meeting with Therapists for Change who had not received a proper response from CORU when they raised their questions.
“This uncertainty has gone on for long enough, and these professionals deserve an urgent response from both the Minister as well as CORU.”
Sinn Féin National Party Chairperson Declan Kearney has described Saturday’s Ireland’s Future event in Dublin as “a seminal moment in the conversation around constitutional change and Irish unity.”
Declan Kearney, who addressed the conference on Saturday said:
“The success of the Ireland’s Future event is evidence of the growing desire for constitutional change and of a willingness by increasing numbers of citizens to discuss what that means and to plan for a new future. This event was a seminal moment in the conversation around constitutional change and Irish unity.”
On 12 October Sinn Féin in Belfast is holding a Belfast Peoples’ Assembly in the Waterfront Hal; as part of our contribution to this discussion. Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald is the opening speaker. Invitations have been issued and hundreds have already registered to attend. We also have received over 60 submissions from individuals and organisations.
As part of our determination to make the event as broad based as practical several different leaflets aimed at Irish and Ulster Scots speakers, as well as Arabic, Polish, Ukrainian, and Romanian people have been published.
There is limited space remaining. If you would like to attend the Belfast Peoples Assembly register as soon as possible.
You can register at www.eventbrite.ie
An online submission can be made by accessing www.sinnfein.ie/futureofireland
MacManus Commends Work Of Discover Bundoran
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has commended the work of Discover Bundoran in attracting tourism to the local area. The Midlands Northwest representative was speaking after meeting with Shane Smyth from Discover Bundoran at the Bundoran Tourist Information Office alongside his Sinn Féin colleague Cllr Michael McMahon.
MEP MacManus said:
“I was delighted to meet with Shane recently at the Bundoran Tourist Office alongside my colleague Cllr Michael McMahon."
“Discover Bundoran do excellent work in promoting Bundoran and surrounding areas, and play a key role in attracting tourists to the local area. I would like to commend the local businesses, Donegal County Council and Fáilte Ireland who have all supported Discover Bundoran in their work."
“Discover Bundoran will play a key role in the hosting of the Douzelage Festival of Europe taking place in Bundoran in mid-October, which will attract visitors from all over Europe, as well as many other events held throughout the year in the local area."
“Tourism is a very important driver of economic development in Ireland and undoubtedly the work of Discover Bundoran has provided a huge boost to the local economy. This can be seen both through direct employment at the many attractions throughout the local area and through spin-off benefits and jobs in local businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.”
“It highlights the importance of continuing to promote and develop the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way initiative in order to encourage even more tourists into the local area. I want to thank Shane for having us in Bundoran and I wish them continued success.” ENDS
Pictured at Bundoran Tourist Information Office are (L-R): Cllr Michael McMahon, Shane Smyth (Discover Bundoran), Chris MacManus MEP
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said ordinary people and our public services are paying the price for Tory party chaos.
Speaking after Tory Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed a plan to attack public services, the East Derry MLA said an Executive must be formed now to help people who are struggling.
Caoimhe Archibald said:
“Workers, families and businesses are paying the price for the chaos within the Tory party and their catastrophic decisions.
“The Tories u-turn on their obscene decision to cut taxes for the super-rich is another distraction for a new plan to attack public services with what amounts to, £18 billion of cuts.
“The British Tory government has made a mess of the economy, failed ordinary people and pushed up people’s mortgages with their outrageous Budget.
“Now they are coming after our health service coming on the back of ten years of savage cuts and decimating our public services.
“People need help now. We need an Executive up and running now so that locally elected ministers can work together to put money in people’s pockets.
“The DUP need to end its cruel boycott of government and get back to work with the rest of us ahead of a tough winter.”
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has condemned the brutal killing of a man in a shooting in a West Belfast club on Sunday.
Paul Maskey said:
“There local community is shocked after a man was gunned down and killed in front of customers in a West Belfast club today.
“This is a brutal killing and a family have now been left grieving as a result.
“I unreservedly condemn it. There is no place for guns on our streets.
“Police have now opened a murder investigation and I would encourage anyone with information to bring it forward to the police.”
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, today said Minister Eamon Ryan needs to bring forward concrete proposals aimed at accelerating our offshore wind delivery, as we can no longer afford a business-as-usual approach.
Teachta O’Rourke was speaking from Scotland as part of an Oireachtas delegation visiting the Moray East Offshore Wind farm, off the coast of Aberdeen.
The Meath East TD said;
“This weekend we visited the Moray East Offshore Wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, a really impressive project that is now producing enough renewable energy for one million homes.
“Scotland’s example on offshore wind shows what’s possible for our island if the political will is there.
“The Scottish have been powering ahead developing their offshore wind resources, but due to twenty years of inaction by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Ireland has fallen way behind and has considerable catching up to do.
“The climate crisis, our energy insecurity and the huge cost of electricity all reinforce the need to radically accelerate the delivery of our offshore wind projects.
“We need to see our planning agencies resourced properly to reduce the planning delays offshore wind projects are facing.
“We need robust, thorough, quality planning procedures for renewable energy projects, but we also need decisions to be made in a timely manner.
“Last month we heard just one port on the island of Ireland is capable of hosting the construction of offshore wind farms.
“If we don’t invest in and ready our ports now, we will lose the jobs and supply chain business from these multi-billion-euro projects to ports in Britain.
“Investing in our electricity grid, developing our battery storage and green hydrogen sectors and reducing the cost of producing renewable energy here also all need to be addressed.
“Reduced emissions, energy independence, quality jobs, new export opportunities and lower electricity costs for consumers are just a handful of the reasons we need a step change in the pace of delivery of our offshore wind potential.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that Sinn Féin would deliver a new approach to healthcare and end the two-tier health service.
Teachta Cullinane made the remarks at the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association annual conference in Dublin on Saturday, where he spoke about Sinn Féin’s plans to develop the health workforce, deliver a new contract for doctors, and reform the health service.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“More than 5 years on from the Sláintecare report, and we are yet to agree a new, public-only consultant contract or to resolve long-standing disputes with workers from junior doctors to medical scientists.
“There are few quick wins in healthcare, but there are things we can do this year, and over the coming years, which would make that dream a reality.
“The first thing we must do is dispense with short-termism, and with the notion that short-term plans can solve long-term problems.
“We cannot deliver change in healthcare in a few weeks. We will not clear the backlog on waiting lists right across the health service in just a few months.
“We need a new approach. We need an ambitious plan, set out over a 10-year period, to tackle the challenges facing the health service: the recruitment and retention crisis; the lack of capacity in our hospitals, and the 20th century IT systems which are holding workers back.
“We need a new consultant contract. There is an obligation on all of us to deliver that.
“What matters most to me is that it is a contract which will work for the next and current generation of doctors, which will attract and retain the best in the business to provide care in public hospitals to public patients.
“We must end the deeply unfair two-tier health service, but we must also end the unfair two-tier pay system.
“We must also address working conditions and workforce challenges which run much deeper.
“We cannot continue to allow a situation in the health service which drives our young doctors and nurses to emigrate, to the benefit of Australia.”
“Sinn Féin would establish a high-level workforce group, led at the highest level by an Taoiseach, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Minister for Further and Higher Education, to set out workforce targets on a multi-annual basis.”
‘A New Ireland. A Nation Home for all’
Speech by Mary Lou McDonald TD
To Ireland’s Future
Saturday, October 1st, 2022
We’re here today in big numbers for an exciting stage of what is the most important conversation of our generation.
Together, we look to an Ireland beyond partition.
We reimagine the future of our country, discuss our ideas for a United Ireland and a tomorrow that captures all the potential and immense opportunities for this island.
We are here in the spirit of ambition. To seize the day.
To exceed even our own expectations for Ireland’s future, to reach beyond the trenches of the past, and see the light of a new dawn.
Friends, we have come together to build our nation anew.
Ireland Future’s - A Nation Home
Often, discussion on nation building gets lost in complexity.
To me, it’s very simple. Building a nation means building a home.
The two conservative, reactionary states established on this island following partition failed generations.
Born out of colonisation and division, and broken further by economic collapse, by inequality and greed, by strict social rules and by religious dogma.
The dream of and right to a good life was lost to so many.
It is our duty as a generation to fix what was broken.
To make Ireland the home we know it can be, for everybody.
A home for every person regardless of community, colour, creed, sexual orientation, identity, or background.
Recognising and embracing that while we have many tribes and traditions, we are but one nation.
North, South, East, West, Urban and Rural joining together in common purpose and under the banner of ‘no one left behind.’
A unified nation fuelled by confidence and compassion, driven by talent and ingenuity, rising together, claiming our future and our rightful place amongst the nations of the world.
A home is where you are loved, respected, nurtured, encouraged to succeed. It’s where you are protected.
Home is where family comes together, despite all differences, under one roof.
Where everything is organised in a way that reinforces that unifying message - this is where you belong.
That’s the foundation for building a nation and for governing a nation too.
For if we aspire to build our new Ireland as a real home for everyone then that must shape how we deliver healthcare, housing, and public services.
It must shape how we create good jobs, decent wages, dynamic businesses and how we ensure that workers and families can live good, secure, and prosperous lives.
We can achieve big things.
Together we can build prosperity and end poverty in Ireland.
Together we can make equality real for every person.
Together we can achieve energy independence and use our renewable resources to drive a just transformation to a green, clean future.
We can do all these things and more and we must do them as a nation united, not divided.
A New Ireland for young people
I love our young people. They’re great.
A generation brimming with compassion, solidarity, and talent.
Refusing to be held back by the limitations of the past.
Calling-out the inequalities in our society.
Demanding a better future.
Good for them, I say.
No one is more deserving of change than our young, more deserving of a nation home.
In our young people, we have everything we need to achieve a new Ireland, and we will not tolerate another generation of forced emigration.
We want our young people to stay where they belong.
But if you do leave for however long or short, leave knowing that we are determined to build a new Ireland for you to come home to.
An Ireland where you have opportunity. Where you can make it. Where you can build your future.
Friends, building Ireland as a nation home for all our people isn’t beyond us.
The title of today’s conference is ‘Together We can’.
I say together we can and together we must.
We must move forward. We must unite. We must build our new Ireland.
For too long, Ireland’s progress was held back by the oppression of second-class citizenship, by the politics of ‘them and us’.
There is no doubt that we have had very different experiences, different perspectives, different traditions
But in the end, there is no them. There is only us.
Us who call Ireland ‘home’.
Ireland’s future will be determined by choices made today, by decisions of this generation.
So, the question before us is clear.
Do we remain hemmed in by the narrow boundaries of the past, by a dogma that told our parents and grandparents ‘this far and no further’ or do we, together, choose ambition, courage, and the belief that we can build anew?
I think we should choose courage; I think we should choose ambition; I think we should choose hope.
Those who say ‘yes, but not now’ have long lost sight of the bigger picture.
The Irish government is represented here today and rightfully so.
The days of treading water are over.
This is a time for leadership.
A time for energy and action.
It is time for the government to establish a Citizen’s Assembly on Irish Unity.
To urgently plan for constitutional change and unity referendums.
Our change must be orderly, democratic, peaceful, and planned.
Those who seek to guard and defend the status quo have had their day.
Make no mistake, history is happening now. The challenge is now. The moment is now.
We are all nation builders. Ireland’s future belongs to us all.
We can achieve a new Ireland. We can realise the promise of a better tomorrow. Here in our time, we can make Ireland a nation home for everybody
Russia’s actions amount to the largest forcible territorial seizure since WWII.
The Wicklow TD said:
“I want to unequivocally condemn the illegal annexation of four regions in Ukraine by Russia. I am also appalled at the blatant and aggressive threat of nuclear action.
“Russia’s actions represent a major escalation in the conflict.
“Earlier this year I was part of an official Oireachtas committee visit to Moldova and Romania. We visited the refugee centres on the border with Ukraine, and witnessed first-hand the impact of Russia’s senseless aggression against innocent civilians.
“I want to once again express my support, and the support of my party in the strongest possible terms to the Ukrainian people. I want to express our support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and again condemn the illegal annexation by Russia of sovereign Ukrainian territory.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has announced the party will bring forward a motion in the Dáil next week to scrap the government’s concrete block levy plans
Speaking today, Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Next week, Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion in the Dáil to scrap the government’s concrete block levy plans which are flawed and risk making the housing crisis even worse.
“The scheme is badly designed and will mean that people living in homes with defects as well as first time buyers will see their house prices soar. The Society of Chartered Surveyors have warned that this scheme could see an eye-watering €4,000 added to the price of a house.
"It is totally unacceptable that these homeowners and buyers should be expected to foot the bill for the concrete blocks scandal.This is hitting ordinary people’s pockets, at a time when they are already struggling with sky high housing costs due to this government’s failure to tackle the growing housing crisis.
“Our motion calls for the government to hold those actually responsible for housing defects to account. It calls for a defects levy that instead focuses on the banks, the profits of big developers and those responsible for defects.
“I am urging all TDs to back our motion next week and stand with ordinary home owners and buyers to ensure that they are not subjected to the government’s deeply flawed and unfair scheme.”
Note to editor:
You can view the text of the motion below:
The Dáil, believes the defective concrete products levy being proposed by government is badly designed and unacceptable.
It means that people in the homes with defects and first time buyers will foot the bill through increased house prices as has been recognised by the ESRI.
Notes the assertion by the Society of Chartered Surveyors that this will add €4,000 to the price of a house.
Calls on the government to
- Hold those most responsible for defects to account
- Introduce a defects levy focused on the banks, profits of big developers and those who were responsible for the defects
Sinn Féin's Leader in the Seanad, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has thanked contributors to today's session of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee on the Constitutional Future of the Island of Ireland for their respectful and thoughtful discussions.
Speaking today, Senator Ó Donnghaile said:
"Today was a historic first as the first session of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee on the Constitutional Future of the Island of Ireland was held. I commend the Seanad Cathaoirleach for convening the hearings.
"I want to thank all those who took part and engaged in thoughtful, respectful discussions which were thought-provoking and constructive.
"Today's session was a really positive event which included a broad range of voices from across Irish life. The discussions reflect the growing interest in the topic of constitutional change and the many opportunities it would bring for communities across Ireland.
"I want to express my gratitude to all who took part and I am looking forward to these conversations continuing in the coming weeks and months. It is clear that there is an appetite for respectful, inclusive dialogue on this issue.
"I particularly want to pay tribute to the passionate and articulate young people who played such a central role in today's session. It is their future and it is only right that their voices should be at the heart of discussions about a new Ireland."