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Sinn Fein Mitchel McLaughlin has described reported UUP efforts to recruit the PUP leader to their Assembly group as breathtaking hypocrisy.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

For decades unionists, led by the UUP refused to engage with Sinn Fein elected representatives on the basis of alleged IRA activity. The UUP repeatedly brought down the political institutions on the issue of IRA decommissioning. Yet, in an attempt to obtain an extra Minister in a new Assembly, they are seeking to have the PUP leader join their Stormont group when the UVF has refused outright to decommission and continues to engage in sectarian, racist and internecine violence.

"It is David Ervine's democratic right to join any group he wishes. But the UUP attempts to recruit David Ervine underlined Unionist ambivalent towards loyalist violence in the starkest terms possible. The double standards of the UUP are breath taking."ENDS

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Sinn Féin's Dublin South East Representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan, announced the launch of a comprehensive, "healthcare survey for Dublin South East as part of our constituency wide Healthcare Matters campaign."

Speaking today at the launch in Pearse Street, Cllr. Doolan said:

"Healthcare, or the lack of it, is the single biggest concern facing the public today. As part of Sinn Fein's national campaign we are launching a major and comprehensive healthcare survey. We are going to do a door-to-door survey asking people what their health priorities are, engage with the public on the issue of supplying free health care to all and discussing the option of establishing a series of local health centres providing primary healthcare across Dublin‚s southside.

Next week I will be meeting GP's to enlist their support, I have also been in discussions with both SIPTU & INO and I look forward to meeting healthcare staff in both National Maternity Hospital Holles Street and St Vincent‚s Hospital. Elm Park.

It is absolutely and utterly unacceptable that the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, continues to promote and drive her agenda of privatising our healthcare system while the public continue to suffer in silence and are forced to await treatment for days on hospital trolleys. Our tax money must redirected away form lining the pockets of the private consultants towards providing free healthcare for all ant the point of delivery. That is what Sinn Fein policy is about, the delivery of accessible, quality free healthcare to all.

Here on Dublin‚s southside we intend to bring that call to the public, the GPs and those on the front line in our hospitals. And I have every confidence we will receive the support necessary to assist us in making that demand a reality."

In conclusion Cllr. Doolan demanded the Minister for Health to, "either deliver a healthcare system that works for all or be delivered out of office sooner that she thinks." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP speaking in Dublin as Sinn Féin began a national Day-of-Action highlighting the crisis in healthcare provision on the island said ‘The issue of health goes to the very core of our society, to the values and principles that make us who we are.  We believe that healthcare is a right and should not depend on your ability to pay or where you live.  We will be bringing this campaign to every county in Ireland in the coming months and will be making it a priority in the run up to the next election.’  More than 50 protests will take place across the island today.

 

Ms McDonald said:

 

“Access to decent healthcare is one of the biggest issues facing people today.  We have just come through one of the worst winters in recent years for Accident and Emergency units with up to 490 people per day waiting on trolleys and chairs at its worst.

 

“All across Ireland today, Sinn Féin activists and supporters are taking part in a Day-of-Action to highlight the crisis in healthcare provision on the island.  Beginning in Dublin this morning more than 50 protests will take place throughout the day from Donegal to Kerry, from Wexford to Dungannon. 

 

"Sinn Féin's message is very straightforward. We believe that healthcare is a right, which  should be provided on the basis of need alone and not depend on your ability to pay or where you live. We are totally opposed to the grossly unequal, two tier system being pursued by this government where those who can afford it can get the best care quickly. 

 

“We believe that health spending should go into public services not private health care. We believe that tax breaks to developers of private hospitals should end. We believe that subsidies to private healthcare should stop immediately. Sinn Féin would make this a priority in government.


”Today’s  Day-of-Action is part  of  a  wider campaign which will include meeting with health workers and unions to discuss the proposals set out in our health document ‘Healthcare in an Ireland of equals’, public meetings and  the distribution of hundreds of  thousands of  newsletters,  leaflets and posters.  This campaign will be brought  to  every  county  and  will  form  a  central part of Sinn Féin’s campaign in the run up to the next election.


"The issue of health goes to the very core of our society, to the values and principles that make us who we are. This state can afford to improve dramatically the provision of healthcare delivery to every man, women and child.  But it is  clear  that that will only be achieved if we have a change of direction from this government or a change of government.

“We share people’s anger about the health service.  But anger is not enough.  We are callin on people to campaign and demand decent, equitable and efficient services.  We are asking people to join with us in making this a reality.”ENDS

 

Sinn Féin Health Day-of-Action – 13th May 2006

 

Munster

 

CORK - Cork City: Protest and street theatre at Daunt Square, 3pm, incorporating demand for A&E and ambulance service on Cork’s northside. Mallow: Protest outside town hall against down grading of Mallow Hospital, 11am. Clonakilty: Protest at Astna Square, 3pm

WATERFORD - Waterford City: Distribution of leaflets in city centre, 3-5pm

KERRY - Tralee: Distribution of leaflets in town centre, 1-3pm. Killarney: Distribution of leaflets, town centre, 1-2pm.

LIMERICK - Limerick City: Stall in city centre, 2-4pm.

TIPPERARY - Thurles: Distribution of leaflets in town centre, 1-2pm. Nenagh: Distribution of leaflets in town centre, 1-2pm. Clonmel: Picket in town centre at 1pm “Upgrade health services in south Tipperary”

CLARE - Ennis: Distribution of leaflets in town centre, 1-2pm. Shannon: Distribution of leaflets in town centre, 1-2pm.

 

LEINSTER

 

LOUTH - Dundalk - Picket and leafleting @ Louth Hospital, Dundalk 1-2pm and at shopping centres between 2pm-4pm. Drogheda - Picket and Leafleting the Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda from 1-2pm

WEXFORD - Wexford Town -  whiteline Picket and leafleting - 3pm.

Gorey, Enniscorthy Town and New Ross leafleting and pickets 2-4pm

 

WICKLOW - Wicklow Town, Bray and Arklow – leafleting throughout the day

MEATH - Ashbourne, Navan and Trim  - whiteline picket and leafleting in main shopping centres in from 2-4pm.

LONGFORD - Picket and leafleting at Longford Shopping Centre 1-2pm

WESTMEATH - Picket and leafleting at Athlone Hospital 1-2pm. Leafletting on Mullingar Main Street 1-2pm

  

CONNAUGHT ULSTER


MONAGHAN - 10.30am, Church Square, Monaghan Town, for leaflet distribution
CAVAN - Leafletting in Cavan Town

DONEGAL - Donegal Sinn Féin will participate in a major rally in Letterkenny on Sunday 14th May commencing at 2pm from Market Square organised by Donegal Action for Cancer Care.

GALWAY - Galway City – protest at UCG 11am-1pm and petition signing on Shop Street 2pm-4pm

SLIGO - Petition signing on O’Connell Street 2-5pm

MAYO - Breast Check protest outside Castlebar Hospital 1.30-2.30pm

 

SIX COUNTIES

 

Sinn Fein will hold a meeting in Dungannon on Saturday which will bring together activists from across the Six Counties to launch a campaign prioritising rural health issues.

 

DUBLIN

 

Dublin events will begin in the City Centre at the GPO - O’Connell Street at 11am with a protest attended by Sinn Féin’s MEP, TDs and Councillors from across Dublin.

 

Clondalkin - Picket at Mary Harney’s constituency office. Main Street Clondalkin

1pm to 2pm

Donaghmede - Picket and Leafletting - Donaghmede Shopping Centre 12:30pm

Coolock - Picket and Leafletting - Northside Shopping Centre - 2pm

Phibsboro - Stall and Leaflet drop Phibsboro Shopping Centre 2pm

Dun Laoghaire - Picket at Loughlinstown Hospital - 12pm and leaflet drop and Street Theatre Dun Laoghaire Main Street at 1.30pm

Tallaght - Picket at Tallaght Hospital 1pm - 2pm

Dundrum - Picket and leafletting at Dundrum shopping centre 1pm - 2pm

Dublin South East - Launch of constituency health survey

Crumlin - Picket and leaflet dropCrumlin Shopping Centre - 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Ashleaf Shopping Centre - Picket and leaflet drop - 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Ballyfermot - Picket and leaflet drop - Tescos, Upper Ballyfermot Road 12.30pm to 1.30pm

 

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP spoke to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern today as final preparations are being made for the return of the Assembly on Monday 15th May.   Mr. Adams is in Wicklow and Wexford today for a number of constituency visits with party candidates Councillor John Brady and Councillor John Dwyer. 

During his visit to Enniscorthy Mr. Adams also met with members of the Presbyterian Church including Rev. Stephen Rae.  Mr. Adams said ‘I was very glad to accept this invitation to meet with members of the Presbyterian Church in Enniscorthy.  At a time when a young man, Michael McIlveen, lost his life in Ballymena in such tragic circumstances, it is important that people take the time to reach out and talk to each other.”

Later this evening Mr. Adams will speak at an event to mark the anniversary of the death of Hunger Striker Francis Hughes and the execution of 1916 leader James Connolly.

Mr. Adams said:

“The coming weeks and months are critical for the Good Friday Agreement. We have all invested a huge amount of time and energy into this process over the last decade but we are approaching make or break time for the Agreement.

“There are huge challenges ahead for the Irish and British governments and all of the parties. The reconvening of the Assembly next week provides an opportunity to make genuine progress but the sole focus must be on ensuring that the power-sharing Executive and all-Ireland institutions are fully restored and that local politicians take up their responsibilities. We need to ensure that the sectarianism which manifested itself in the murder of Michael McIlveen is eradicated forever.

“For all of this to work the British government needs to stop going off on wild goose chases. They must make it clear to the DUP that they have a choice to make in the coming weeks with regard to participation in a power sharing government and that if they choose otherwise the two governments will move forward anyway with the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.“ENDS

 

 

 

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South Dublin Sinn Féin candidate for the general election Shaun Tracey has called on Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council to push ahead with the planned social housing development on the Blackglen Road at the foot of the Dublin Mountains.  Mr. Tracey described the opposition to the development on the grounds of the link to Countess Markievicz as a “cynical exploitation of the 90th Anniversary of the 1916 rising.”

He said, “Currently 2,699 families are on the housing waiting list in DL/RD and many people are suffering appalling housing conditions in places like Rosemount in Dundrum and Laurel Avenue in Loughlinstown.  The council must provide quality social housing for all of these families without any further delay.

“The argument, put forward by the ‘not in our backyard brigade’, that the land at the Blackglen Road should be preserved because Countess Markievicz trained Na Fianna Éireann there smacks of political opportunism. It is a cynical exploitation of the 90th Anniversary of the 1916 rising.  This argument was not heard of until the commemorations and the debate about 1916 hit the headlines.

“Countess Markievicz also trained volunteers in Fairview but nobody battered an eyelid when they built the flats there. She was also an ambassador for the poor and I’m sure if she was alive today she would much rather see people being housed rather than some sort of memorial park in her honour. The most appropriate thing to do would be to go ahead with the development and name it after Countess Markievicz.  Maybe a memorial monument or plaque could also be incorporated into the plans.

“I am calling on Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council to push ahead with this development, to initiate more social housing developments and to properly implement Part 5 of the Planning Act to put an end to its shameful reputation as the worst Council in the Country for providing social housing.” ENDS

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South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey and Balmoral Sinn Féin representative Stiofan Long has said that the fact that although Jeff Rooker has been transferred from his post as British Direct Rule Minister here they still expect to hold a meeting with his replacement, David Cairns, to call for a moratorium on the building of apartment complexes in the South Belfast area.

Alex Maskey MLA said,

" We had agreed a meeting with former Direct Rule minister Jeff Rooker in relation to planning issues in South Belfast. This is an issue which has been consistently raised with me throughout the constituency.

Balmoral Sinn Féin representative Stiofan Long said,

" One particular example which we had intended to raise was the Diamond Gardens issue. Here we have a proposed plan, which we have objected to, to build 55 apartments in Diamond Gardens.

" We believe that a development of this size will have a serious detrimental impact on the residential nature of an area like Diamond Gardens. Residents have, quite rightly, expressed their concerns about the increased traffic and potential erosion of this areas family friendly nature if this development is allowed to proceed."

Alex Maskey MLA concluded,

" It is our intention not to allow the change in Ministers to deter us from seeking a meeting on the planning issue. In particular we will be calling for David Cairns to call a moratorium on the building of large apartment complexes in the South Belfast area until we have a coherent planning strategy for the area"." ENDS

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Speaking in response to the survey of carried out by the Quarry Products Association, Sinn Féin Regional Development spokesperson Raymond McCartney expressed his alarm at the depressing state and potential safety implications for the Six County road network.

Mr McCartney said:

"The Regional Director of the QPA, Gordon Best has clearly outlined that within Western Division Roads covering Magherafelt, Cookstwown, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Omagh and Strabane spending has been slashed from £9.9million in 2005 to £3.95million in 2006. As a key group representing the road aggregates suppliers industry, the knock on effect on a threefold basis:

1. Decay in roads network valued at £20billion - no investment means undervaluing key asset. Downstream, roads will decay due to lack of maintenance and eventually require reconstruction, forcing rates increases;

2. Newly formed Councils will inherit an estimated £900,000,000 under-spend once they assume responsibility for roads network in 2009;

3. Loss of some 300 highly skilled jobs within road surfacing industry in North of Ireland.

(SOURCE: QPA, PRESS RELEASE 12 MAY 206)

Mr. McCartney commented:

"This survey carried out by the Quarry Products Association paints a stark picture for those responsible for the structural maintenance of the one of the North‚s biggest assets ˆ its roads. In each of the four Area Divisions within Roads service the average breakdown of asphalt and bitmac resurfacing over the next 2 years ranges from 60% to in the West to a shocking 78% in the Southern Division. British Direct Rule is not even performing a minimal role in Ireland when it comes to Regional Development; it is verging on negligent when this minimalist approach to road investment is translated downstream. There are severe road safety repercussions involved unless immediate action is taken.

The Sinn Féin Assembly member who knows all too well the huge deficit which exists in road infrastructure expressed his willingness for the reconvened Assembly to have the power to deal with core issues, which British Ministers have failed abysmally on trying to deliver.

"This is another live and crucial issue which British Direct Rule Minister after Minister has failed to deal with. There is no doubt that the Hain Assembly which is being reconvened next Monday must sit up and take cognisance that road safety, the upkeep of a key asset and industry as envisaged under the Regional Transportation Strategy must be delivered on. This is done best at a local level, in the shape of the political institutions envisaged under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. The Audit Office, DRD's own external consultant, ICE Institute of Civil Engineers, and Roads Service Corporate Plan state that the Roads Structural Maintenance budget out to be in the region of £90million per annum. I am calling on my colleagues within the Assembly to join me in a cross party delegation to put it to the Minister, David Cairns if he is going to preside over and watch as the road aggregates industry goes down the tubes, along with an increase in road accidents, rising rates, insurance claims as he continues to maintain the roads network at less than a quarter of its value?

Mr. McCartney concluded:

"I look forward to working in a fully operational Assembly supported by an Executive, with all my colleagues, including the DUP to work hard to install a Minister for Regional Development who is accountable to the people of the North, who knows the impact of such news and who is in a position to take steps to make good the legacy that is the cost of direct rule." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly will this afternoon meet with the Police Ombudsman in her offices in Belfast. The meeting will take at 2pm and is at the request of Sinn Féin.

Speaking before the meeting Mr Kelly said:

"Our position on the current policing arrangements is well known. We have requested today's meeting with the Ombudsman to discuss a range of issues.

"These include the powers of the Ombudsman's office and some concerns we have about their scope and range. We will also raise a number of individual cases of concern which have been working on for sometime.

"One area we will discuss is the role being played by former RUC Special Branch detectives. At least one has publicly admitted stealing confidential files and the Ombudsman herself expressed concern this week at a lack of co-operation from these individuals." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan this afternoon expressed his deep sadness on hearing of the death of Breandán Ó Dúill. Cllr Doolan extended his condolences to Breandán's family and friends.

Speaking this morning Cllr Doolan said:

"Breandán Ó Dúill contributed greatly to Irish life, socially, politically and culturally. He was admired and respected throughout the country. I knew Breandán and always had great admiration for him. He was active in the local Tom Smith Sinn Féin Cumann in Rathmines until recently when ill health prevented him from involvement. We always knew we had a strong ally, friend and supporter in Breandán. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to extend my condolences to his family and friends. I measc laochra na nGael a raibh sé."ENDS

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Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has this morning questioned the Irish Government Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea on whether or not Irish troops would be under the command of British forces in the new European Battle Groups.

Ms McDonald made her comments after it emerged that the battle group which Ireland will likely join will have its headquarters in Northwood, Britain.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The Irish Government has clearly committed itself to the European Union‚s fledgling military ambitions as a regional power on the global stage. These EU Battle Groups are the first step along this road and will allow the European Union to deploy troop platoons in conflict zones around the world.

"Sinn Féin has serious reservations about these EU Battle Groups. Not only are they a gross infringement of the principle of Irish neutrality but in addition they will weaken the United Nation‚s ability and capacity to respond to international crises effectively, since European troops will be diverted to these battle groups.

"I want to take this opportunity to challenge Willie O'Dea, and to ask him whether or not Irish troops will be expected to fight alongside British forces and if Irish troops will be under the command of the British Army. Many Irish people will have serious reservations regarding the further erosion of the principle of neutrality and also the fact that Irish troops could potentially take orders from an army who continue to occupy the north eastern six counties of Ireland.

"If this is indeed the case, then the Irish people have a right to know that Ireland has become inextricably associated with the concept of a fledgling EU army, military intervention and the British army - which has murdered Irish citizens, colluded in the murder of Irish citizens and continues to occupy part of the nation." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness today urged people to attend the weekend events to commemorate the sacrifice of legendary IRA Volunteer Francis Hughes who died this day 25 years ago on Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Twenty five years ago today Francis Hughes one of the most fearless and courageous IRA Volunteers to emerge out of the current phase in the Republican Struggle lost his life after 59 days on Hunger Strike in Long Kesh.

"The sacrifice of Francis Hughes and the other H-Block Hunger Strikers remains with all of us to this day. I remember travelling to Bellaghy to give the oration at the graveside of Francis Hughes. I recall the RUC disrupting the funeral. I also recall the dignity displayed by the Hughes family and by those republicans from throughout Ireland and beyond who had gathered in South Derry in the face of their provocation.

"On Sunday twenty five years on I will travel to Bellaghy graveyard to join again with the Hughes family as the MP for Mid-Ulster. Our struggle has changed greatly since the difficult summer of 1981 but we remain committed to our republican goals and we remain committed to delivering the sort of society which is demanded by the sacrifice of the Hunger Strikers.

"I would encourage people to get involved in the events this weekend and indeed throughout the year as we seek to remember our comrades who died in 1981 and build the sort of Ireland which is peaceful, free, united and democratic." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning welcomed the confirmation that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg this coming Tuesday (16.05.06).

This will be would make the first trip to the European Parliament for President Abbas. A previous planned visit in March was cancelled due to a looming crisis at home when Israeli forces attacked and demolished Jericho Jail. Many believe this was timed to prevent President Abbas from addressing the European parliament in solemn session.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"I look forward to hearing President Abbas‚ address to the European Parliament next week. Unfortunately, Mr Abbas‚ last trip to meet MEPs had to be aborted at the last minute due to an Israeli incursion into the city of Jericho, which resulted in the killing of a guard and the public humiliation and ill-treatment of prisoners.

"The importance of this visit should not be underestimated. At present the Palestinian Authority is facing a severe humanitarian crisis. Following the Hamas election victory at the beginning of the year, both the European Union and the United States have frozen aid payments to the authority.

"No doubt President Abbas will impress upon MEPs the gravity of the situation within Palestine at present. Tens of thousands of public service workers have not been paid for over two months, essential services are beginning to come under severe strain and food and medicine shortages have been reported in the region.

"All of this comes against the backdrop of the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine. Having travelled to Palestine as an election observer, I was able to witness first hand the restrictions which are in place - roadblocks, harassment of voters and candidates and the continued presence of the 'Apartheid Wall'.

"I want to take this opportunity to call upon the European Parliament and Commission to address the funding crisis immediately. We cannot play politics with the lives of the Palestinian people." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has re-iterated Sinn Féin's opposition to a shadow assembly and has expressed concern at SDLP confusion in its approach.

Mr Murphy said,

"Sinn Féin is absolutely clear on our approach to the Peter Hain Assembly. We will be there solely for the business of establishing a power-sharing government. Anything else is a waste of time and an attempt by powerless politicians to justify their salaries and allowances.

"The Peter Hain Assembly is not the assembly set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The British government, at Sinn Féin's insistence, made clear that the primary focus of this Assembly was the formation of a power-sharing government. Peter Hain is now signalling an intention to facilitate the talking shop Assembly which the DUP wants. Sinn Féin will not be party to the pretence that this Assembly can do real business.

"If Assembly members want to change British policy on water charges, increased rates, rural planning, education and health cutes, the only way to do this is to set up our own power-sharing Executive. The DUP, however, have given no commitment or signal that they will enter a power-sharing Executive.

"I am therefore, concerned at the confusion and mixed messages coming from the SDLP. Having repeatedly said that they would not be involved in a talking shop they are now saying they will take part in pointless debates in a powerless Assembly. This can only encourage the DUP in their belief that they can achieve an Assembly which departs from the principles of the Good Friday Agreement. The SDLP need to clear up the confusion and tell us if they are now willing to be part of a sham Assembly." ENDS

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The Sinn Féin Trade Union Department will this weekend host a series of events in Belfast to mark the 90th Anniversary of the execution of James Connolly who was murdered by the British government on May 12th 1916.

Tonight at 7pm the plaque at James Connolly's former home on the Falls Road (Facing the entrance to City Cemetery) will be rededicated. The main oration will be given by the Head of the Sinn Féin European Department and editor of the Left Republican Review, Eoin O'Broin. A short lyrical and musical pageant will also take place.

On Sunday at 2.30pm Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will unveil a new mural in Connolly's honour at the bottom of Rockmount Street.

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Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has invited people across Dublin to take part in citywide public events and protests to highlight the crisis in the health service. Sinn Féin's Day-of-Action on healthcare will begin at the GPO on O'Connell Street at 11am tomorrow, Saturday 13th with an event attended by the party's elected representatives from across Dublin city and county. It will be followed by local events across Dublin.

Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin TDs Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Crowe will be available to talk to the media at the GPO tomorrow, Saturday 13th, at 11am.

Ms. McDonald said:

"Access to decent healthcare is one of the biggest issues facing people today. We have just come through one of the worst winters in recent years for Accident and Emergency units with up to 490 people per day waiting on trolleys and chairs at its worst. At the root of this crisis is the fact that we have a grossly unequal, two tier, public-private system. Those who can afford it can get the best care quickly. Everyone else has to wait, sometimes for years. Sinn Féin is demanding change.

"Tomorrow, as part of a wider campaign on Health, Sinn Féin will be holding protests across Dublin city and county. We are calling on people not just to complain about the health services but to campaign and to demand the decent, equitable and efficient services that we need." ENDS

Sinn Féin Day-of-Action on healthcare

Dublin events will begin in the City Centre at the GPO - O' Connell Street at 11am with a protest attended by Sinn Féin's MEP, TDs and Councillors from across Dublin.

Clondalkin - Picket at Mary Harney‚s constituency office. Main Street Clondalkin 1pm to 2pm

Donaghmede - Picket and Leafletting - Donaghmede Shopping Centre 12:30pm

Coolock - Picket and Leafletting - Northside Shopping Centre - 2pm

Phibsboro - Stall and Leaflet drop Phibsboro Shopping Centre 2pm

Dun Laoghaire - Picket at Loughlinstown Hospital - 12pm and leaflet drop and Street Theatre Dun Laoghaire Main Street at 1.30pm

Tallaght - Picket at Tallaght Hospital 1pm - 2pm

Dundrum - Picket and leafletting at Dundrum shopping centre 1pm - 2pm

Dublin South East - Launch of constituency health survey

Crumlin - Picket and leaflet drop Crumlin Shopping Centre - 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Ashleaf Shopping Centre - Picket and leaflet drop - 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Ballyfermot - Picket and leaflet drop - Tescos, Upper Ballyfermot Road 12.30pm to 1.30pm

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Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has accused the SDLP of being out of touch with reality after Dolores Kelly claimed that Sinn Féin had supported the abolition of the Rural Development Council, which is a lie.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Dolores Kelly in engaged in pedalling lies and myths about Sinn Féin's support for rural communities. Perhaps if Dolores spent a bit more time working with and for rural communities she would realise the stupidity of trying to weaken the growing opposition to the proposed planning guidelines being pushed by British direct rule ministers.

"Both Sinn Féin and the Ulster Farmers Union backed the seven council model. We did so for a variety of reasons but principally because it put ordinary people, citizens, at the heart of local government and not politicians. Indeed many people are wondering just why the SDLP have bought into the unionist opposition to the seven council model. But then again they split the nationalist consensus on policing and settled for minimum change as opposed to trying to achieve the maximum change. On rural planning we clearly need the maximum change to the current draft plans.

"The reality is that the SDLP have not even recognised the importance of community planning and the potential of Area Based Committees that can give local communities a statutory role in the planning process and strategic development of their communities involving all of the government agencies.

"I also want to nail the lie that Sinn Féin supported the attack on the Rural Development Council. Sinn Féin want to see the abolition of every quango that cannot justify its existence because far too many of them are part of the democratic deficit and stuffed with political cronies from parties such as the SDLP. However the RDC has more than proved its importance to the development of sustainable rural communities.

"If the SDLP is as concerned about rural communities as it claims then it needs to stop peddling lies about Sinn Féin and recognise that we need to maximise the campaign to oppose the draft rural planning proposals. They would also benefit rural communities if they abandoned the unionist position on seven councils and started to develop consensus on the powerful role that community planning should have in defining local communities because this can have a particularly important role in rural communities." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said the pattern of violence against young Catholics must be stopped. He said part of this had to involve positive leadership from Ian Paisley and the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said:

"In November 2004 James McMahon was murdered in Lisburn. In August 2005 Thomas Devlin was murdered in North Belfast and last weekend young Michael McIlveen was murdered in Ballymena.

"These three young men had their whole lives ahead of them yet they fell victim to anti-Catholic hatred, bigotry and sectarianism. This pattern of sectarian violence cannot be allowed to continue. Politicians have the primary responsibility to demonstrate leadership and unionist politicians in particular have a role to play in challenging sectarianism within their community. Sinn Féin will stand shoulder to shoulder with any politician willing to stand with us against sectarianism.

"I have to say that remarks made by many unionist politicians in recent days have been encouraging. However the remarks by the DUP Councillor Roy Gillespie stating that Michael McIlveen will not enter heaven because he is a Catholic, are disgraceful and we need to hear commentary from Ian Paisley on this matter.

"Unionist politicians refusing to talk or share power with nationalists and republicans is at one end of the scale which ends up with young catholic lying dead on the street. That is the reality of the society in which we live and that is the reality which must now changed. Ian Paisley has a major role to play in ending the cycle of the murder of young Catholics on our streets. He now has to rise to that challenge." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Trade and Employment, Arthur Morgan TD has described comments by Minister Micheal Martin on the abolition of the Groceries Order as "pathetic" and said "once again people have been duped by this callous and cynical Government." Deputy Morgan was reacting to comments made by the Minister on RTÉ's Morning Ireland show this morning.

Deputy Morgan said, "The real rationale behind the removal of the Groceries Order was not as it was claimed by the Government and others to benefit the consumer by reducing prices. Minister Martin's attempts this morning to explain away why prices have continued to rise was not only pathetic but a blatant falsehood.

"The removal of the Groceries Order was never about protecting the consumer -- instead it was about facilitating large retail multiples expand their operations and dominate the market.

"It should not be forgotten that the abolition of the groceries order was opposed by many of the anti-poverty organisations, including the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Combat Poverty Agency and Crosscare on the basis that families on low incomes would be at greater risk of food poverty if it were repealed.

"Prices will not come down as a result of the abolition of the Groceries Order. Instead profits and the size of retail outlets will continue to rise and rise. Once again people have been duped by this callous and cynical Government -- aided in the process this time by a willing fool in Fine Gael -- who also supported the abolition of the Order.

"Once again it is obvious as far as this Government is concerned that the interests of big business come before the citizens of this state." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew will lead a party delegation to meet with the Ulster Council GAA at their headquarters in Irish Street in Armagh tomorrow, Friday 12th May, at 11am to discus the campaign to force British direct rule ministers back to the drawing board over their draft proposals on rural planning.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Ms Gildernew said:

"There is widespread anger among people living in rural communities at the way British direct rule ministers are trying to impose a model of rural planning that may well suit Britain but will be hugely detrimental to rural communities here in this part of Ireland.

"Sinn Féin have launched a campaign to try and force the British government back to the drawing board because unless there is a serious reassessment of how to proceed then the long-term future for rural communities does not look good. The GAA both centrally and at local club level have come out strongly against these draft plans as have a number of other rural and farming
organisations.

"It is important that we all work together to see how we can maximise this campaign. It is also important that we come up with solutions that strike the right balance between protecting the environment and protecting our rural communities." ENDS



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Sinn Féin all-Ireland spokesperson West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff speaking ahead of a high level meeting between Senior Officials of both Health Departments, North and South, aimed at putting in place 'real, meaningful North/South Cooperation in the area of GP Out of Hours Services' has said that the border and the existence of two separate Health Departments in Ireland is acting as a major barrier to proper GP access in border areas.

The meeting will take place tomorrow, Friday 12th May, at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan involving Mr Fergal Goodman, Principal Primary Care Officer, Department of Health and Children (Twenty-Six Counties) and Ms Christine Jendoubi, Director of Primary Care, Department of Health (Six Counties) and Sinn Féin Health Spokespersons, Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD and John O'Dowd MLA, Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy, Barry McElduff MLA and Donegal County Councillor Tony McDaid.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr McElduff said:

"Sinn Féin have been liasing closely with both Fergal Goodman and Christine Jendoubi to establish the seamless provision of Primary Care Services across the border. At least 65,000 people living close to the border actually live closer to GP Out of Hours Services provided 'in the other jurisdiction'. Progress in breaking down the barriers to accessing GP Out of Hours Services would have a huge impact.

"Sinn Féin is pushing for an integrated all-Ireland approach to health care provision. Nowhere is the folly of two separate Health systems in the same small country more apparent than in the experience of people living in border areas who have to travel the longer distance to be treated by a doctor if they fall sick in the evenings or at weekends. Health is an Area of Cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement and everybody accepts that a single-island approach is the patient's solution.

"However, it is clear that there is opposition somewhere within the health establishment on this issue and the Monaghan meeting is aimed at removing any hurdles to proper GP access in border areas. I am calling for greater joint working between the two Health Departments and Sinn Féin will be following up Friday's meeting with direct lobbying of the two Health Ministers, Mary Harney and Paul Goggins.

"People living in the Lifford-Strabane area, the Keady-Castleblaney area, the Derry-Buncrana area and the Fermanagh-Leitrim border deserve the best in terms of essential health care. Yet, both the border and Departmental red tape are standing in the way of this entitlement. " ENDS

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