Deputy Crowe said, "The One in Four group are in possession of evidence which indicates that certain schools allowed unhindered access to abusing clerics. The result of this was to allow children to be taken from the school for the purposes of abuse. This is an appalling situation.
"It beggars belief that children could be plucked from an environment where they were entitled to feel safe, where the state had a duty of care to them and suffer such abuse. It is noteworthy that the evidence points to a concentration of this activity in deprived inner city areas. It is surely no coincidence that the abusers chose these areas, as sadly these people had no voice. No one in authority seemed to care." ENDS
Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, today sought to have the business of the Dáil adjourned so that the case of the 13 eastern European periwinkle-pickers, stranded on an island off Skerries last night by an unscrupulous employer could be discussed. Deputy Crowe called for "greater measures" to be taken to prevent the further exploitation of mistreatment of migrant workers.During Order of Business Deputy Crowe said, "The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must take greater measures to prevent to exploitation and mistreatment of migrant workers in the light of the fact that 13 eastern European periwinkle-pickers were abandoned on an island off Skerries in north Co Dublin last Saturday night and had to be rescued by the RNLI lifeboat." ENDS
Speaking at the launch of this years publication from the Magill Summer School, 'Managing Ireland's Future 2005 - 2030' at the Merrion Hotel, Dublin this evening, Martin McGuinness said,
"The Magill Summer is unique in its ability to draw together in a small rural village in the hills of Donegal the most important and influential political, social and economic thinkers in Ireland. Just as importantly it is open to the public giving the discussions an immediate and at times compelling relevance.
"This book, recording the contributions at this year's summer school, covers a wide range of issues and identifies some of the very real difficulties that we, as a people, must face in the period ahead. It is essential that we ensure that the growing wealth of the nation is shared among all of the people, that it is used to tackle disadvantage and to provide support for the less able in our society.
"Over the last 25 years we have witnessed unimaginable change here in Ireland and globally. The next 25 years will probably see that process of change accelerate. I have no doubt that the Ireland of 2030 will be a much better place for all of its people, just as the Ireland of today is a much better place than the Ireland of 1981. In that year the uneven struggle between naked political prisoners and the British state was convulsing the body politic of Ireland, north and south. Who could have imagined the enormous progress that we have seen towards a peaceful Ireland and I am confidant that that progress will continue in the time ahead. I welcome the presence of the representatives of unionism in Glenties. Their presence is a clear acknowledgment that the isolation of north from south that partition caused is nonsense and that the future lies in engagement, dialogue and agreement.
"The DUP in particular have moved a long way from the politics of no surrender and not an inch. They regularly meet with the Taoiseach, and I welcome that. They accept the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement and I welcome that also. But the process of bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion will be accelerated enormously if they act on the logic of this position and move quickly to re-establish the political institutions.
"As the violent events of this summer have shown, the unionist community needs confident and positive leadership. They need politicians who can deliver for them. There is no way to do this other than through the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. That is the challenge that the DUP faces, I hope that their response is positive and forward-looking.
"The future holds challenges and demands for all of us. We do have many problems to face in the time ahead. Most of them are identified and addressed in this book but I firmly believe that we can face into the resolution of these issues in a spirit of confidence and optimism. I know that the Magill Summer School will continue to make an important contribute to this process of progressive change." ENDS
Sinn Féin's Dublin Spokesperson on the Environment & Dublin South East Representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan, has today welcomed, "the launch of the Play Nice Campaign in Dublin's Temple Bar."
Speaking at the launch in The Morgan Hotel, Cllr. Doolan said:
"This is a serious attempt by Traders in the Area Supporting the Cultural Quarter, (TASCQ), to tackle the ongoing drunken loutish image Temple Bar has acquired in recent years. The 3,000 local residents and dozens of local businesses have had enough of the larger, the trouble and the urine and have together drawn a line in the sand. This behaviour is no longer welcome in Dublin's cultural quarter. The campaign is focused on tackling 6 serious issues including noise levels, excessive drinking, public urination and littering. It is supported by City Council, Dublin Bus and the Gardaí and will involve the installation of 8 CCTV cameras, a publicans charter and on the spot litter fines.
I will continue to work with the residents, the businesses and TASCQ to ensure this initiative sets the standards for others to follow. The government must now row in behind the project and support it through legislation and financial support for Temple Bar's Irish music and cultural festival in February next year."
In conclusion Cllr. Doolan, called on the government, "to complement today's initiative and introduce legislation to regulate the private security industry particularly for those involved in the publican industry."
Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy today said that people in the area were shocked at the brutal killing of a man outside Keady last night.
Mr Murphy said:
" Whatever was the motivation behind this killing it was unjustifiable, wrong and should not have happened.
" There is some suspicions locally that one of the dissident micro organisations may well have been involved in this killing.
" Initial reports are suggesting that this was an Armagh man who was abducted from his home in the city yesterday and brutally shot outside Keady.
" There can be no possible justification for this killing. I would extend my sympathies to the mans family and friends at this very difficult time." ENDS
Speaking today at the EU British Presidency conference on regional and rural development in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún stressed the need to ensure that the drive for competitiveness does not endanger social inclusion.
Ms de Brún said:
"We must ensure that the equality agenda underpins plans for the future use of EU regional and rural development monies. This funding must ensure better opportunities for all.
"We cannot accept an approach that suggests that a rising tide will lift all boats. That same rising tide can often leave the vulnerable swamped, inundated and further marginalised.
"Actions to improve social inclusion, to tackle poverty, to protect the environment, and to ensure balanced regional development must be at the heart of the next cycle of EU regional and rural development funds." ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan T.D. has expressed concerns regarding suggestions that the Government will today agree to abolish the groceries order. Deputy Morgan questioned whether the concerns raised by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Combat Poverty Agency and Crosscare regarding the impact on low income families of repealing the order had been given proper consideration.
Deputy Morgan said, "Sinn Fein supported the retention of the groceries order. The order was brought in to address the fact that large supermarket chains would in its absence use 'loss leaders' which are products sold at less than the cost of production to lure customers into the store and create a distorted impression that the store is cheaper than rivals. Small stores with tight profit margins find themselves unable to compete. Ultimately communities and consumers suffer as small retailers are forced out of business and people cease to have access to small retailers based in their community.
"In their joint submission to the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Combat Poverty Agency and Crosscare raised concerns that the repeal of the groceries order 'may well cause a negative impact by worsening the inequalities that already exist in the groceries market owing to issues of access and availability of low-cost nutritional foodstuffs in low-density and low-income areas.' I am calling on the Minister to make clear how precisely he intends to address these very particular concerns." ENDS
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Martin Ferris TD, has stated that he fully supports the demands of farmers who are protesting in Dublin today against EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's proposals to offer cuts in farm supports as part of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.
Deputy Ferris said: "When the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy was agreed two years ago the clear understanding was that no changes would be made to the projected budget until at least 2013. Farmers in this country only agreed to the changes and to the decoupled Single Farm Payment on the basis that this degree of income security was built into the deal.
"Commissioner Mandelson, however, in proposing to make agriculture the sacrificial lamb in any WTO deal, is threatening to break that agreement and to undermine the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers in the EU. The Irish Government must let him know in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable and that the terms of the CAP reform must be adhered to." ENDS
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that PEACE III funding can be secured for the period between 2007 and 2013, but that 'the British Government must commit itself to make the formal request to the EU.'
Ms de Brún made her comments after researchers at the University of Ulster said that hundreds of jobs could be lost if a PEACE III programme was not secured.
Speaking today Ms de Brún said:
"Securing a PEACE III programme for the period between 2007 and 2013 is a Sinn Féin priority. We have been working tirelessly towards ensuring that this happens. In recent months I have met with both the British and Irish Governments, as well as the European Commissioner for Regional Development, Danuta Hubner to press the case.
„There is now an onus upon the British government to make a formal request to the European Commission for the allocation of an extended period of PEACE funding. As we emerge from a period of sustained conflict, the British Government has a particular responsibility and contribution to make towards peace and reconciliation in Ireland. The promotion and empowerment of the community sector must be a priority for the British Government if that sector is to be able to carry on its vital work of peace building and reconciliation.
"Without wishing to be alarmist, it is increasingly clear that if PEACE III funding is not secured then many community organisations and projects involved in peace building and reconciliation will find themselves in a precarious financial position. I have witnessed at first hand the invaluable work undertaken throughout the Six Counties and the border region.
"It is my aim to see that the good work of the community sector is not lost, but is built upon in the time ahead.‰ ENDS
interests of the British government at heart rather than the welfare and needs of the people who live here." ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting this evening on the decision to deny him a fundraising visa to visit the US said:
"This is an effort by elements within the US Administration to get Sinn Féin to change our position on policing. Something which can only be done by Sinn Féin and our electorate.
"Our position on policing is very clear. The British government has agreed to honour certain commitments made on the policing issue. When they do this I will honour commitments I have made including going to a special party Ard Fheis to deal with this matter.
"The visa position is absurd. I am expected to go to New York and not attend the most important Friends of Sinn Féin funding event of the year, an event incidentally that will go ahead as planned. The decision robs me of the opportunity to speak in person to over 1000 US citizens who have consistently supported the peace process.
"They want to hear how we can make best use of the recent historic republican initiatives to move the peace process forward.
"I particularly regret that this decision means that I cannot attend the National Committee on American Foreign Policy dinner and thank them and their Chairperson Bill Flynn for their positive work in the Irish Peace Process over many years. It is particularly disappointing to me that I cannot take this opportunity to praise their work as it was the NCAFP who broke the visa denial on me eleven years ago.
"I am especially concerned that this decision will play into the hands of those who don't want too engage in the peace process." ENDS
In an article in the latest edition of the Irish Medical News Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil and spokesperson on Health and Children, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin repeated his call for the ending of the two-tier healthcare system saying it is "characterised by inequality which contributes to inefficiency." He said, "We believe that public money should be spent on public health services only. It should not be used to subsidise the private health business."
Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This is a prosperous country. It is a small country. For a decade now the Irish economy has experienced record growth. Government revenues were never higher. Tax receipts have consistently exceeded forecasts. There is sufficient wealth in our society to ensure that, at the very least, no child should want for any of the basics of life and should be able to look forward to a full and rewarding future.
"We have thousands of skilled and dedicated people working at all levels of health care in Ireland today. But the system in which they work does not match that skill and dedication. For Sinn Féin the foundation stones of the health service must be equality and efficiency. But the Irish health system is characterised today by inequality which contributes to inefficiency."
In the same article Deputy Ó Caoláin also described as "scandalous" plans by the Tánaiste and Minister Health, Mary Harney, to provide land on public hospital sites to the developers of private hospitals. "State subsidisation for the private health business must end," he said.
He went on to say, "we must organise the taxation system in such a way that social expenditure can be enhanced. Social expenditure is what the State spends directly on its people through health, education, childcare, social welfare and 'social infrastructure' generally. Ireland has relatively low social expenditure in an EU context, as shown in a Combat Poverty Report published earlier this year. Better social expenditure for services that are more equitable and more efficient will be good for the overall economy. Such an approach to the health services will lead to a healthier population and a better Ireland." ENDS
Note: Full article can be read in the latest issue of the Irish Medical News or online at: http://www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=PView&ArticleID=14815
The Report of the first ever Hospitals Hygiene Audit was published by the Health Service Executive last week and is highly critical of overall standards of hygiene in Irish hospitals. Results in individual hospitals vary widely and there is a lack of consistency across the services, leading the HSE to recommend changes to ensure better practices and cleaner hospitals.
Only 9% of hospitals achieve what the HSE describes as a ‘good result’ – scoring 84-100%. Hospitals that score 76 to 84% are described as ‘fair’ while those with 75% or under are ‘poor’. Cavan General Hospital appears at the higher end of the ‘poor’ category with a score of 71% while Monaghan General Hospital is ‘fair’ at 78%. One of the two lowest scoring hospitals is Beaumont in Dublin.
Commenting on the HSE report, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
"This is a very grave report which starkly highlights the gross inadequacies in hospital hygiene throughout this State. A comprehensive response is essential. Issues which must be addressed include the need to improve cleaning and waste disposal services in all hospitals and to standardise best practice across the system. All factors need to be considered including the adequacy of staff numbers, the issue of in-house cleaners as opposed to contract cleaners, and pay and conditions for all cleaning staff.
“The score given in this report for individual hospitals should not be taken as criticism of those hospitals or their staff. In many cases such as Cavan General Hospital, overcrowding and inadequate staff numbers undoubtedly contribute to the problem. And this in turn cannot be divorced from overall policy, such as centralisation and the cutting of services in Monaghan, leading to greater pressure on Cavan. Clearly Beaumont, with the massive pressure on staff there, is a prime example of this."The report also highlights the need to combat the high incidence of MRSA infection in Irish hospitals. We need to know the full extent of the problem. It is now a common experience that patients and their relatives are not being informed when patients have contracted MRSA in hospitals. This must change and all patients who contract MRSA must be fully informed, as must their relatives," concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin. ENDS
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today travelled to Newcastle upon Tyne, England as part of the European Parliament Regional Development committee delegation to discuss the EU's Regional and Rural Development programmes for 2007-2013.
The conference has been organised as part of the British EU Presidency.
Speaking today Ms de Brún said:
"The message I am taking to today's conference is the need for a bottom up approach to the design and implementation of the next round of Rural and Regional Development Programmes. We also need a set of properly funded programmes to ensure that areas are not left behind as the economy develops and improves." ENDS
Speaking as Assembly members are preparing to meet with the British Direct Rule Administration to discuss the draft budget Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin said that the DUP had to decide whether or not they were going to seize the opportunities presented by recent IRA initiatives and replace the current part time Ministers with an accountable local administration.
Mr McLaughlin said:
"Today's invitation to discuss the draft budget proposals with Peter Hain and Jeff Rooker is not a substitute for local accountability.
"I have no doubt that parties present this afternoon will be in broad agreement on a number of these crucial fiscal matters. However the real decision needs to be taken by the DUP. Are they content to simply continue to complain from the sidelines about the policy decisions taken by the Direct Rule ministers or are they confident enough to see them replaced by a locally accountable administration involving all of the parties.
"If the DUP fail to grasp the opportunity to restore the power-sharing political institutions presented by recent IRA initiatives then they must take full responsibility for the continuation of direct rule and unaccountable government. That means more cuts to our public services, in our children's education and in health provision. It means increased rates and water charges.
"The DUP have the chance now to change all that and move into a situation where they govern this place along with the rest of us. They can choose to go down this path or they can continue to allow British Ministers to continue taking decisions in the interests of the British government instead of the people who live here." ENDS
Sinn Féin's Dublin Spokesperson on the Environment Councillor Daithí Doolan, today welcomed, "the appointment of Prof Margaret O'Mahony as Chair of the new transport authority for the Greater Dublin area."
Speaking in Dublin today, Cllr. Doolan said:
"I welcome the appointment of Prof O'Mahony as part of the government's new transport plan, but I would call on her to ensure that the new authority does not become another expensive talking shop funded by the taxpayer. To ensure it's success the authority must be time framed, accountable, inclusive and answerable to the local authorities in Dublin. This will only happen if members of the 4 local authorities in Dublin are included on any authority. Also included on any authority must be the fire service so as to avoid the M5O fiasco, where we have a major stretch of road with no fire protection.
"The authority must be ready to take bold and brave decisions to tackle the causes and consequences of the grid lock across Dublin. The authority has a multi billion euro budget, the same old solutions will become a total waste of this money. The priorities for any authority must be road safety and both economic and environmental sustainability. This authority can not be allowed get away with simply navel gazing or reinventing the wheel. To discuss these priorities I am calling on Prof. O' Mahony to meet with the 4 local authorities, the Dublin TDs and the city's 4 MEPs as a matter of urgency."
In conclusion Cllr. Doolan said, " to ensure this meeting takes place I will be tabling a motion at tomorrow's night's City Council meeting, calling for a meeting with Prof. O'Mahony."
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP addressing more than 1,000 supporters at a major event in the City West Hotel in Dublin to mark the 100th anniversary of the party said: "We will see a united Ireland in our lifetime".
Mr. Adams said:
"As Sinn Féin celebrates its first 100 years, Ireland stands on the threshold of great change. The people of Ireland are closer than ever to achieving the united, independent and prosperous country which previous generations of our people have struggled for.
"Even though the IRA initiative of formally ending its campaign and putting arms beyond use occurred only a few months ago already a debate has started within unionism. This may take sometime to play out but it is positive none the less And in the 26 Counties the other political parties are facing up to the reality that the political landscape is being transformed. The old political certainties are being challenged.
"All the main political parties in this state say that Irish unity is one of their aims. This is to be welcomed. But aims and objectives are things that must be worked for. The unity and independence of Ireland must be more than a mere aspiration.
"In Leinster House this week Sinn Fein put the issue of a united Ireland back on the political agenda when for the first time in decades, Irish unity was debated. But much more needs to happen. We need to see the coming together of all strands of Irish nationalism, republicanism and the labour movement to build a new united Ireland.
"Those of us who want to see an end to British rule and the establishment of the republic need to build new alliances, to devise and develop new strategies and shared positions and to drive forward the united Ireland agenda in the time ahead. A key part of this must be a genuine engagement with the unionist community. The type of Ireland we want to create involves the coming together of Orange and Green on the basis of equality and respect.
"Republicanism is about much more than re-uniting Ireland. Republicanism is about equality. There is now the wealth in this state to make that a reality.
"Republicanism is about utilising natural resources for the national good and not giving them to a multi national corporations like Shell. Republicanism is about cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, not about marginalising or discriminating against them. The fact is that there is no political will at this time to tackle these issues because the ethos which guides the conservative parties favours the wealthy and big business. Sinn Féin is about changing all of this.
"Irish people are more confident in our ability to tackle the issues which face us as a nation, to eradicate social inequality and build an island economy that serves the needs of all our citizens.
"Irish citizens in the North share that sense of confidence and are determined to play their part in building that new Ireland. Nationalists in the North are no longer 2nd class citizens and fully intend to play their part in the life of the Irish nation.
"Republicanism is stronger than at any time in recent memory. We are moving forward with confidence and I believe that if we work together we will see a united Ireland in our lifetime." ENDS
Sinn Fein spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan T.D. today hit out at Irish Ferries for placing a full page add in the national papers to "defend the indefensible".
Deputy Morgan said: "I would like to know exactly how much it cost Irish ferries to take out full pages advents in all the national newspapers today. It is quiet extraordinary that a company claiming to be in financial difficulty would carry out such a stunt. Though perhaps we should not be too surprised when Irish Ferries boss Eamonn Rotwell pays himself in one hour what it will take the proposed new migrant worker staff two and a half weeks to earn.
"The advert in today's papers attempts to defend the indefensible. The people of Ireland must reject the propaganda from Irish Ferries and stand with the workers who are facing displacement and those on board the Normandy who are being subjected to exploitation to feed corporate greed." ENDS
Sinn Fein T.D Sean Crowe today urged the Government to reconsider their position on not including the Morning Star Mother and Baby Home as an institution for consideration by the redress board.
Speaking today Deputy Crowe said, "It is a matter of some urgency that this situation be resolved. A former resident of the home Marie Therese O'Loughlin has felt compelled to go on hunger strike outside the Dail over this issue. She is now in the second week of her protest.
"Minister Hanafin says that the reason she cannot include this institution for consideration by the redress board is because the department of Health and Children can find no records to indicate that a statutory body had any regulatory or inspection role in relation to the Morning Star. If this is the case then there has been stunning negligence on the part of the state. I have information that mothers as young as fourteen were in the Morning Star. In addition young children were left there while their mothers were hospitalised, sometimes for extended periods. It is therefore clear that a statuary body should have had a regulatory or inspection role.
"I urgently appeal to Minister Hanafin to liase again with the Department of Health and Children to clarify this matter in the hope that a solution can be reached. It is an indictment of this Government that a woman should be entering the second week of a hunger strike camped outside Leinster House in such terrible weather conditions." ENDS
Sinn Féin Policing and Justice spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said that disclosures today by ex CID officer Jonty Brown underline that 'a key threat to the new beginning to policing is the political cartel of Special Branch members'.
Mr Kelly said:
"Sinn Féin have consistently highlighted evidence of institutional collusion, a culture of serious malpractice and the protection of murderers who were also state agents by the RUC Special Branch. Many of those responsible for operating the policy of collusion transferred en bloc into the PSNI. These are the people who were responsible for a policy of collusion that led directly to the death of hundreds of people.
"Ex-CID officer Jonty Brown's remarks provide one inside view of political policing and the role of the special branch 'force within a force'. Other recent disclosures have shown the protection of state agents involved in serious crime including murder and drugs; the theft and leaking of information for political effect at sensitive times in the peace process; and high profile politically motivated raids.
"This goes to underline that a key threat to the new beginning to policing and a peaceful future is the political cartel of Special Branch members, both serving and retired. What everyone wants to know is will these human rights abusers be weeded out?" ENDS