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Sinn Féin Higher and Further Education Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has said that the plans of the British Labour government to introduce top-up fees will introduce the marketplace into universities and discourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds from taking up university opportunities.

Mr Ferguson said:

"Sinn Fein are opposed to introduction of top-up fees. We believe that education is a basic right. Tuition fees should be abolished and the student loan should be replaced with a proper maintenance grant.

"The British Labour government plans to introduce top-fees are yet another stealth tax. Sinn Féin believes that education should be paid for through a progressive general taxation system. The so-called concessions offered by Tony Blair and his cronies do nothing to address the fundamental flaws in the policy.

"The way that the British government have approached the problem of increasing resources for universities and increasing access is deeply flawed. It will lead to the introduction of the marketplace into our universities and a two-tier third level education system. It will also act as a further barrier to expanding access to universities particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"This fiasco highlights a deep flaw at the heart of British government education policy and the failure of the previous Employment and Learning Minister to deal with it's impact here. We need to look at how be develop our workforce here so that it is able to drive forward a modern economy. This means that we need to widen access and it means that we need to support people financially across all the third level education options." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP today joined the anti-racism rally at Belfast City Hall. Speaking from the event Mr Adams said that all of those in political leadership had 'a duty to stand up against the racists and the bigots who were bring terror to the ethnic minority communities in the city'.

Mr Adams said:

"On countless occasions in the past I have joined rallies in this city to demand Human Rights and Civil Rights. Today's event is no different. The Ethnic Minority Community in this city are part of our fabric and they must be defended and protected. Their rights as citizens must be upheld and they must be allowed to live their lives in peace without the threat of racist attack or abuse.

"All of us in political leadership in this city have a duty and an obligation to stand up against the racists and the bigots who have been engaged in an organised campaign of intimidation against ethnic minority communities in this city.

" Today's rally must not be the end, it must be the start of us confronting and tackling racism and sectarianism fron whatever quarter. I commend the organisers of today's march and pledge the support of Sinn Féin representatives and activists to tackle the issue of racism in the time ahead." ENDS

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West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Bairbre de Brún has accused the PSNI of failing to carry out a forensic investigation after a device was left attached to a gate a the Lamh Dhearg GAA club in Hannastown over the weekend.

Ms de Brún said:

" After the PSNI departed from the Lamh Dhearg pitch yesterday club officials were shocked that component parts of the bomb were left behind. This is crucial forensic evidence and would presumably be crucial to any serious effort to find those responsible for what amounted to a murder attempt on the children using the pitch.

" It is ironic that in the very week the Police Ombudsman released a damning report into the RUC investigation into the murder of Sean Brown abducted from Bellaghy GAA club, the PSNI apply similar standards to an attempted murder investigation at the Lamh Dhearg club.

" Club officials have photographed the scene and the discarded evidence and are going to present this to the Police Ombudsman and ask her to carry out an investigation into the PSNI response to the bomb alert and their forensic investigation into it." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly this afternoon responded to the meeting between the UPRG and the Irish government. Speaking at a protest held by nationalist residents in the Ligionel area, who have suffered as a result of attacks by unionist paramilitaries and the UDA in particular, Mr Kelly said that 'the Irish government needed to make it clear to the UPRG that the UDA campaign against catholics had to end'.

"There are two core issues here. The first is the ongoing UDA campaign which is felt particularly in areas like this and the second is the response to it by the British state.

"There is a tolerance by the British government of the UDA campaign. Remember the organisation was only banned in 1992 and the response by the British State to its latest wave of violence has been predictably muted.

"Sinn Féin have a clear position that dialogue is the mechanism to solve political problems. That is what happened on interfaces in Belfast over the summer months and it is what contributed to a relatively quiet summer. The Irish government need to use today's meeting with the UPRG to tell them that the ongoing UDA campaign against catholics has to end." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokespersons on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD and Councillor Gerry McHugh, have welcomed this morning's meeting between Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh and Britain's direct rule Minister with responsibility for Agriculture Ian Pearson. The two discussed CAP reform and animal health and disease prevention.

Deputy Ferris and Cllr. McHugh said: "Sinn Féin very much welcomes the fact that the two Ministers have taken this initiative. We particularly welcome the commitment to establish a joint working group on the implementation of aspects of the CAP reform. This is something that we have called for since the reform package was agreed last June. We would also recommend that this be expanded to ensure that the overall package is implemented in close co-operation in the best interests of farmers throughout the island.

"In regards to animal health and disease prevention, we would hope to see an identical contingency plan to meet any future crisis. We would also like to see moves towards a joint marketing strategy in regards to the sale of Irish food produce.

"However, while any move towards such co-operation is valuable, it also highlights the urgency for having elected representatives from both parts of the island engaged in this work, through the institutions to which they have been elected". ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chief negotiator, Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness MLA, Bairbre de Brún MLA, Equality and Human Rights Spokespersons, South Down MLA Caítriona Ruane (6 County) and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD (26 County) launched the party's discussion document on an All Ireland Charter of Rights.

Speaking at the Stormont launch Mr McGuinness said:

"In just over a week the review of the Good Friday Agreement, involving all of the parties and the two governments will begin here, in Stormont. Sinn Féin will be focusing on a range of issues including, policing, demilitarisation, equality and the issue of human rights.

"Five years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and overwhelming endorsed by the people of this island we have not seen the progress that it promised.

"Instead of full implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects, we have seen delay, foot dragging and inaction is many areas where the British government has direct responsibility. These difficulties are rooted in the British government's tactical approach to the Agreement.

"Since the Agreement we have had Weston Park and the negotiations leading to the publication of the Joint Declaration by the two governments as well as the discussion leading up to the unprecedented moves by republicans of October 21st when the two governments and unionism again failed to deliver. We have not seen the British government embrace political, economic, social, and cultural rights. They can't even bring themselves to publish the Cory report.

"If we are to see progress when the review starts next week then the British government must challenge and reconsider its own approach to the Agreement.

"Sinn Féin believe that we can come to the review in a positive frame of mind but that requires that everyone accept that many aspects of the Agreement have not been implemented. It demands in particular that the two governments and especially the British government accept their responsibility in honouring commitments on delivering the human rights and equality commitments that it has made."

Sinn Féin's Charter for 'Rights for All' discussion document covers:

  • Equal rights for all;
  • Democracy - making it representative, accountable and responsive to people's needs;
  • Actively opposing discrimination;
  • Children's rights;
  • People with disabilities reaching their potential;
  • Public Services, housing, health care and education;
  • The right to work - employment and trade union rights;
  • Natural resources and the environment;
  • Justice, the judiciary, policing and public safety;
  • Ireland's role, rights and responsibilities internationally.

Caítriona Ruane added:

"This demands action to challenge systematic and institutionalised discrimination against any section of people living on the island of Ireland. Governments have a duty to ensure that all people have equality of opportunity and equality of access and a duty to take proactive steps and affirmative actions to ensure social and economic equality.

"The British government in particular, but indeed both governments have failed to implement key actions contained within the Good Friday Agreement to deliver equality and eradicate the legacy and active discrimination in the 6 counties; they have also failed to deliver to those marginalized and excluded throughout the parts of this island that they have jurisdiction over."

Bairbre de Brún added:

"A charter of rights must guarantee, promote and protects the 'Rights for All'. Sinn Féin is also aware that we have a responsibility to build an inclusive society, which addresses the political allegiances of unionists and guarantees their rights and entitlements so that they can have a sense of security and a stake within an Ireland of Equals."

Aengus O Snodaigh concluded:

"The people of Ireland have a right to government that is democratically elected and composed of the elected representatives chosen through the universal right to vote. It also demands that all elected representatives are entitled to and accorded fair, full and effective participation in governance.

"Sinn Féin also believe that every citizen at the age of 16 is entitled to vote in all elections and to stand as a candidate for public office.

"The founding principle of the Republic proclaimed in 1916 is to cherish all of the children of the nation equally and to share in a peaceful future embodied in a united and democratic state, underpinned by indivisible common values of human dignity, equality and justice. That remains Sinn Féin's goal today." ENDS

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Réamhrá

Le linn phróiseas na síochána d'ardaigh Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh, don chéad uair, ceist chairt síochána d'Éirinn -- cairt a bhainfeadh le ceartas agus síocháin agus a fheidhmeodh mar nasc idir na héilimh ar shaoirse pholaitiúil, shóisialta agus eacnamaíochta.

Dar le Sinn Féin, ní fiú an rud an tsaoirse pholaitiúil muna mbíonn cearta polaitiúla, eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, cultúrtha agus daonna san áireamh inti. Caithfear urra a bheith ann go mbeidh cothroime sa mheas agus cothroime sa slí ina chaitear le daoine chomh maith le hurra go mbeidh cearta iomlán daonna ann do gach duine.

Bhí súil ag Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh ar Chairt Saoirse Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na hAifrice (ANC) nuair a mhol sé cairt dá cuid féin d'Éirinn. Faoi mar a bhí lámh ghníomhach ag muintir na hAifrice Theas ina gCairt féin agus san fhís a bhí acu sochaí dhifriúil a mhúnlú, tá súil againn go spreagfar díospóireacht ag an cháipéis seo. Tá súil againn, fosta, go spreagfar moltaí daingne faoin saghas sochaí a theastaíonn ó mhuintir na hÉireann.

San áireamh tá :

• Cearta comhionannacha do gach duine

• Córas aonlathach atá ionadaíoch agus freagrach agus mothálach ar éilimh na ndaoine

• Cur i gcoinne an idirdhealaithe

• Cearta do pháistí

• A bhféinchumas á shroichint ag daoine míchumasacha

• Seirbhísí poiblí, an tithíocht, seirbhísí sláinte agus oideachas

• Ceart oibrithe -- fostaíocht agus cearta ceardchumainn

• Acmhainn nádúrtha agus an timpeallacht

• Ceartas, na cúirteanna, an phóilíníocht agus sábháilteacht phoiblí

• Ról, cearta agus dualgais idirnáisiúnta na hÉireann

Tá sé de dhualgas orainn freisin sochaí cuimsitheach a thógáil chun dul i gceann géillsiní polaitiúla na nAontachtóirí agus chun a gcearta is teidlíochtaí a ráthú, sa dóigh go bhfuil céadfa sábháilteachta acu agus suim acú san Éire Nua.

Ní cáipéis dho-athruithe ach cnámhlach prionsabal atá inti seo. Creidtear dúinn gur chóir na cearta a luaitear anseo a chumhdú mar chearta i sochaí fhorchéimnitheach. Is féidir prionsabail eile a bheith ann. Is féidir soiléirithe úsáisáideacha nó athruithe a bheith de dhíth. Ach, tá súil againn go bhfeicfear ábhar díospóireachta sa cháipéis seo.

Tá sé ar intinn ag Sinn Féin ábhar na cáipéise seo a phlé le dreamanna tré shochaí na hÉireann -- grúpaí pobail, ceardchumainn, eagraíochtaí deonacha agus páirtithe agus tuairimí polaitiúla de ghach uile shaghas.

Ba mhaith linn bhur mbarúlacha a chluinstin -- mar dhaoine aonair nó mar bhaill d'eagraíochtaí éagsúla. Ba mhaith linn díospóireacht a spreagadh agus smaointe a ghríosú. Teastaíonn Cairt Chearta do Gach Duine uainn.

Cearta Daonlathacha do Chácha

1. Tá sé de ceart ag muintir na hÉireann féin-chinntiúchán náisiúnta a bheith acu.

2. Toghtar Rialtas na hÉireann go daonlathach agus bíodh ionadaithe tofa ann a roghnaítear ag muintir fhlaithiúnta na tíre tré cheart vótála uilíoch.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach saoránach Éireannach 16 bliain d'aois vóta a chaitheamh in achan toghchán agus seasamh mar ionadaí don oifig phoiblí.

4. Déantar deimhin de go bhfuil sé de cheart ag gach dream sa tsochaí, go mórmhór mná agus mionlacha chomh maith, rannpháirtíocht cheart, iomlán, chothrom a bheith acu sa saol poiblí. Caithfear an rannpháirtíocht i bpróiseas an tsocraithe agus i teacht ar chumhacht a bheith san áireamh anseo.

5. Bíodh rannpháirtíocht chothrom, iomlán, éifeachtach ag ionadaithe tofa i rialú na hÉireann.

6. Bíodh sé de cheart ag na daoine córas fíor, freagrach, daonlathach a bheith ann. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, fosta, go réiteoidh an Rialtas gearáin dhlisteanacha chomh luath agus is féidir. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine, gan trácht ar stádas sóisialta nó eacnamaíochta, teacht ar lucht déanta na socruithe agus tionchar a bheith acu orthu. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, chomh maith, a bheith rannpháirteach i socruithe ar bith a bhaineann leo féin.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag na daoine rialú maith a bheith ann. Caithfear leas an phobail a bheith chun tosaigh agus socruithe poiblí á ndéanamh agus caithfear an costas iomlán sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta, díreach agus indíreach, a bheith san áireamh, gan socruithe poiblí a bheith faoi bhróg an bhrabaigh phríobháidigh.

8. Bíodh sé de dhualgas agus de fhreagracht ar an Rialtas cearta na ndaoine a chur i gcrích go gníomhach.

9. Bíodh an Rialtas freagrach do na daoine, bíodh sé oscailte agus trédhearcach agus bíodh reachtaíocht éifeachtach shaoráil eolais ann.

10. Bíodh na hinstitiúidí poiblí freagrach do na daoine agus ionadaíoch orthu.

11. Déantar cruthú cothroime, cruthú bochtaineachta agus cruthú cheartas daonna ar gach polasaí poiblí agus bunaítear iad ar an chleachtadh idirnáisiúnta is fearr.

Cearta Do Chách

"Dearbhaíonn an Phoblacht saoirse creidimh agus sibhialta agus cearta agus deiseanna cothrom dá saoránaithe go léir. Dearbhaíonn sí fosta an rún atá aici rath agus sonas an náisiúin uilig agus na gcodanna éagsúla de a chur chun cinn. Dearbhaíonn sí go gcaomhnófar gach páiste ar aon bhonn lena chéile gan trácht ar na difríochtaí a cothaíodh go cúramach ag rialtas iasachta, difríochtaí a scoilt an mionlach ón tromlach roimhe seo." -- Forógra na Poblachta 1916

"Fógraímid go gclúdaíonn flaitheas an náisiúin, ní hamháin fir agus mná an náisiúin, ach seilbh iomlán ábhartha an náisiúin, idir ithir agus acmhainn, idir mhaoin agus phróiseis táirgthe na maoine laistigh den náisiún agus ... dearbhaímid go gcaithfidh ceartas iomlán úinéarachta an tsealúchais phearsanta a bheith faoi réir ag ceart agus ag leas an phobail."

-- Clár Daonlathach na Chéad Dála 1919

• Is é bunphrionsabal na Poblachta a fógraíodh sa bhliain1916 ná páistí uilig an náisiúin a chaomhnú go cothrom i stát aontaithe daonlathach a bhfuil sochaí shíochánta ann agus a bhfuil mar bhunaidhmeanna aige fiúntas coitianta do-roinnte na dínite daonna, fiúntas an chomhionannais agus fiúntas an cheartais a bheith ann. Is iad muintir na hÉireann sa deireadh a rachaidh i mbannaí air.

• Geallaimid cur chun cinn iomlán agus cosaint iomlán na gceart tré phróiseas a bheidh mar aidhm aige an t-athmhuintearas náisiúnta a bhaint amach, an daonlathas polaitiúil a thacú, an daonlathas eacnamaíochta a thacú agus a fhorbairt, agus cosaint chuimsitheach, eagraithe, éifeachtach, dhomhain a sholáthar do na cearta a n-imlínítear anseo.

• Tá institiúidí polaitiúla an oileáin seo dochuimsitheach, doshroichte agus dofhreagrach do chuid mhór de shaoránaithe na tíre.

• Creideann Sinn Féin go gcuideoidh an Chairt seo le hiarracht níos leithne a dhéanamh chun cearta mhuintir na hÉireann a chomhréiriú agus a chaomhnú, agus fiúntas na dínite daonna, fiúntas an chomhionannais, fiúntas an cheartais agus fiúntas na saoirse a dhearbhú ag léibhéal pearsanta agus go huilíoch.

• Geallaimid go leanfar ar aghaidh leis an obair go dtí go gcuirfear prionsabail an rialaithe dhaonlathaigh agus prionsabal an cheartais daonna mar a chuirtear os bhur gcomhair anseo i gcrích.

Cearta Cothrom do Chách

1. Ná bíodh sé de cheart ag grúpa ar bith nó ag duine ar bith cos ar bolg a imirt ar ghrúpa eile nó ar dhuine eile, m.sh., an ciapadh agus an t-ansmachtú.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine a bhfuil cónaí orthu in Éirinn an ceartas dlí chéanna agus an chosaint dlí chéanna a bheith acu gan trácht ar idirdhealú -- go mórmhór idirdhealú atá bunaithe ar cheann amháin (nó níos mó) díobh seo a leanas : cine, bunús eitneach, náisiúntacht, dath, inscne, claonadh gnéasach, míchumas, aois, stádas sóisialta nó eacnamaíochta, stádas pósta nó clainne, áit chónaithe, teanga, reiligiún nó creideamh, barúil pholaitiúil nó barúil ar bith eile, ballraíocht cheardchumainn, stádas mar íobartach.

3. Níl san áireamh sa cheartas dlí thuas, aon dlí, aon chlár nó aon ghníomh a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige coinníollacha maireachtála lucht an mhíbhuntáiste mar a luaitear thuas a fheabhsú.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine agus ag gach grúpa -- náisiúnach, eitneach, reiligiúnda, teangach (bodhráin san áireamh) -- sult a bhaint as a gcultúr féin, a gcreideamh féin a dhearbhú agus a chleachtadh, agus a dteanga féin a úsáid. Is cuid shaibhir de chultúr na hÉireann iad uilig.

5. Bíodh gach seirbhís phoiblí ar fáil as Gaeilge agus as Béarla agus, mar is fóirsteanach, i dteangacha mionlacha eile.

6. Bíodh aitheantas ar leith ag an stát don Ghaeilge agus do chearta lucht na Gaeilge. Ná bíodh sé ina mhíbhuntáiste ar éinne an Ghaeilge a bheith mar phríomhtheanga nó mar theanga roghnach acu.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine bheith fánach nó gan bheith fánach agus aistriú a dhéanamh ó chóras maireachtála ar leith go córas maireachtála eile.

Cearta Daonna agus Cosaint do Chách

1. Bíodh ceart na beatha ag gach duine.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine cosaint a bheith acu ó fhoréigean fisiciúil, tochtach agus intinneach, ó phionós mídhaonna nó maslach, ó ghortaíocht agus ó dhrochíde. San áireamh bíodh an drochíde sheicteach, fhrithhomaighnéasach agus chiníoch, an seicteachas, an ciníochas, an neamart, an t-ansmacht, an mhíúsáid nó an dúshaothrú. Bíodh cosaint an stáit ar fáil dóibh siúd a bhfuil drochíde sheicteach/ fhrithhomaighnéasach/ chiníoch /dhaonna á fulaingt acu, chomh maith le foréigean gnéasach agus teaghlaigh.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine saoirse agus sábháilteacht phearsanta a bheith acu. San áireamh ansin, bíodh sé de cheart ag éinne, ...

(a) Gan an tsaoirse sin a bheith bainte díobh gan chúis chóir

(b) Gan a bheith ina gcimí gan triail

(c) Bheith saor ó fhoréigean poiblí agus príobháideach

(d) Gan dul faoi chéasadh

(e) Gan pionós cruálach, mídhaonna nó maslach a fhulaingt.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine iomláine cholainne agus shiceolaíochta a bheith acu. San áireamh ansin, bíodh sé de cheart acu socrú a dhéanamh a bhaineann

(a) leis an síolrú

(b) le sábháilteacht agus smacht a bheith acu ar a gcolainneacha féin

(c) le dul faoi idirghabháil leighis nó eolaíochta ar bith gan aontú eolach uathu.

5. Bíodh saoirse cainte ag gach duine. Bíodh saoirse ann sa phreas agus sna meáin eile.

6. Bíodh ceart na saoirse ag gach duine sa choinsias, sa reiligiún, sa smaoineamh, sa chreideamh agus sa bharúil.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht le chéile ina ngrúpaí, saor ó eagla, agus corraíl a dhéanamh.

8. Is é an t-aon chosc amháin atá ar na cearta sin thuas -- saoirse cainte, creidimh agus teacht le chéile -- ná nach gcuirfear isteach ar chearta ar bith a luaitear sa Chairt seo -- cearta daoine eile a bheith saor ón imealgú, ón ansmachtú agus ón idirdhealú.

9. Bíodh saoirse gluaiseachta ag gach duine.

10. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine an príobháideachas a bheith acu -- a bheith saor ón airdeall uilíoch nó míréasúnta (airdeall leictreonach san áireamh), a bheith saor ó chuardach agus ó ghabháil -- bíodh sé ag baint leis an duine é/í féin, le hearraí, le háitreabh, leis an chumarsáid nó le gné ar bith eile.

11. Bíodh an córas dlí cothrom, éifeachtach, gan claonadh, freagrach, bunaithe ar na cearta a luaitear sa Chairt seo agus sa Bhille Cearta agus bíodh bíodh tacaíocht agus muinín an phobail uilig ag dul leis.

12. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht ar ionadaíocht dlí den chéad scoth.

13. Bíodh se de cheart ag gach duine dul faoi thriail ag a gcomhghleacaithe féin.

14. Aisghairfear aon reachtaíocht éigeandála ina hiomlán.

15. Bunaítear an córas dlíthiúil ar athbhunú agus ar athshlánú an duine isteach sa tsochaí. Bíodh sé de cheart ag daoine faoi choimeád na cearta céanna a bheith acu -- go gcaithfear leo ar bhealach daonna, bealach a mbeidh muinín aige as dínit dhúchasach an duine dhaonna.

16. Bíodh an tseirbhís phoiblí, an phóilíníocht san áireamh, oscailte do gach duine,

ionadaíoch ar an bpobal agus freagrach don phobal.

17. Bíodh caighdeáin den chéad scoth sa phóilíníocht ar fud an oileáin, caighdeáin a bhaineann le cearta daonna, le freagracht, le cothromas, le trédhearcacht agus le héifeachtacht. Bunaítear aon úsáid a bhaintear as an bhforéigean sa phóilíníocht ar an phrionsabal a chuireann an neart is lú i bhfeidhm.

Caomhnaítear Gach Páiste ar Aon Bhonn lena Chéile

1. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach páiste cosaint a bheith acu ó fhoréigean de gach saghas -- fisiciúil, tochtach, intinneach -- ó phionós mídhaonna nó maslach, ó ghortaíocht agus ó dhrochíde (drochíde sheicteach agus chiníoch san áireamh), ó neamhchúram, ó ansmachtú, ó dhúshaothrú (dúshaothrú gnéasach san áireamh).

2. Is saoránaigh iad gach páiste a shaolaítear ar oileán na hÉireann. Bíodh sé de cheart acu, mar sin, fanacht in Éirinn, faoi chúram agus i gcuideachta a dtuismitheora/dtuismitheoirí, gan trácht ar bith ar bhunús náisiúnach an tuismitheora/na dtuismitheoirí.

3. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach páiste go n-éistítear leo, go ndéantar comhairle leo ar na hábhair ar fad a bhaineann leo agus bíodh sé de cheart acu teacht ar eolas ar bith a bhaineann lena bpearsana.

4. Bíodh leas an pháiste chun tosaigh i ngach uile ábhar a bhaineann leo.

5. Cuirtear ar fáil ag an stát pé tacaíocht agus cuidiú a theastaíonn ó thuismitheoirí nó ó chúramaithe príomha eile chun go dtiocfaidh le páistí, chomh fada agus is féidir, éirí aníos agus rath a bheith orthu i dtimpeallacht sheasmhach shábháilte, timpeallacht a mbeidh meas aici ar pháistí agus ina spreagtar páistí a bhféinchumas a bhaint amach.

6. Bíodh teacht ag gach páiste ar áiseanna aire agus áiseanna crèche den chéad scoth.

7. Bíodh an t-oideachas ann de cheart. Bíodh teacht ag gach páiste ar an saoroideachas.

Sroichint an Fhéinchumais do Daoine Míchumasacha

1. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais go mbeadh aitheantas iomlán ann dá bpearsana, meas ceart agus deiseanna dul chun cinn ann dá bhféidearachtaí, agus muinín ann as a ndínit.

2. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais rogha a dhéanamh ina saoil féin, go ndéantar comhairle leo agus go n-éistítear leo agus go gcuirtear ar fáil dóibh pé acmhainn fhóirsteanach a bhíonn de dhíth orthu.

3. Bíodh cosaint ann ag lucht an mhíchumais ó dhúshaothrú ar bith, ó rialacha ar bith agus ó úsáid ar bith a bhfuil idirdhealú nó míúsáid nó ísliú ag baint leis.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais saol a bheith acu atá saor ón bhochtaineacht, le híocaíochtaí díreacha ann dóibh chun costas an mhíchumais a laghdú. Ina theannta sin, bíodh sé de cheart acu insroichteacht chothrom a bheith acu ar an oideachas, ar an fhostaíocht agus ar an traenáil.

5. Bíodh sé de cheart ag lucht an mhíchumais teacht ar sheirbhísí fóirsteanacha comheagraithe. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát seirbhísí mar iad a chur ar fáil chomh maith le riachtanais phearsanta ar leith a mheas.

Cearta Sóisialta agus Eacnamaíochta ar Fáil do Chách

1. Ná bíodh idirdhealú ann, de réir an chórais nó de réir an eagrais, ar dhream ar bith de mhuintir na hÉireann nó ar dhaoine a bhfuil cónaí orthu in Éirinn.

2. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an Rialtas deimhin a dhéanamh de go mbíonn na deiseanna céanna agus an insroichteacht chéanna ag gach duine.

3. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an Rialtas a bheith gníomhach agus dearfach i gcúrsaí sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta na cothromaíochta.

4. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine caighdeán imleor maireachtála a bheith acu agus, ina theannta sin, caighdeán sláinte -- idir cholainn agus intinn -- den chéad scoth.

5. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine bheith rannpháirteach in imeachtaí eacnamaíochta agus sóisialta shochaí na hÉireann agus a gcuid féinchumas a bhaint amach ina n-iomlán.

6. Bíodh córas sláinte saor ar fáil do gach duine agus an ceart cothrom céanna ann do gach duine teacht ar sheirbhísí sláinte, idir chothú agus riar na dea-shláinte agus sheachaint na drochshláinte.

7. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine teacht cothrom a bheith acu ar sheirbhís sláinte a bhaineann le cúrsaí gnéis agus síolraithe agus ceart acu freisin teacht ar eolas a bhaineann le cúrsaí gnéis agus síolraithe ar gach léibhéal, saor ó ansmacht, ó idirdhealú agus ó fhoréigean.

8. Bíodh saoroideachas tuata ar fáil do gach duine agus teacht acu ar dheiseanna foghlamtha ar feadh a saoil.

9. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine conradh cothrom fostaíochta a bheith acu agus tuarastal os cionn an íos-thuarastail reachtúil a bheith acu.

10. Bíodh sé de cheart ag gach duine láthair oibre shábháilte a bheith acu, láthair nach bhfuil díobhálach ó thaobh na sláinte nó ó thaobh leas an duine de.

11. Bíodh sé de cheart ag oibrithe, ceardchumainn a bheith acu agus a bheith rannpháirteach iontu, conarthaí fostaíochta a shocrú, picéid a chur ar siúl agus a saothar a tharraingt siar.

12. Bíodh sé de cheart acu siúd a n-oibríonn sa bhaile nó mar airí príomha aitheantas ceart a bheith ann don ghnó eacnamaíochta atá ar siúl acu i dtithe aonair agus sa gheilleagar náisiúnta.

13. Bíodh ceart tithíochta ag gach duine. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát titíocht imleor fhóirsteanach a chur ar fáil don daonra.

14. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát acmhainn náisiúnta na tíre a chosaint agus a chaomhnú ó dhramhaíl agus ó chreach ar mhaithe le pobal an lae inniu agus ar mhaithe leo siúd atá fós le teacht. Ina theannta sin, bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát timpeallacht shláintiúil a bheith ann a mbeidh leas an phobail slán sábháilte inti.

15. Bíodh seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha poiblí mar cheart ag gach duine -- gan trácht ar ioncam ná ar áit chónaithe. San áireamh sna seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha sin (ach ní iomlán é seo) tá fuinneamh imleor teaghlaigh, soláthar uisce, córas séarachais agus dramhaíola agus córas taistil poiblí.

16. Bíodh sé de dhualgas ar an stát seirbhísí riachtanacha bunúsacha mar iad thuas a fhorbairt ar shlí cothrom, ar shlí atá inchothaithe ó thaobh na heacnamaíochta agus ó thaobh na timpeallachta agus ar shlí a bhunaítear ar an taithí idirnáisiúnta is fearr.

17. Ná ceadaítear d'iomaíocht an mhargaidh í féin a fhorbairt ar shlí is go gcomhchruinneofar úinéaracht earraí riachtanacha éagsúla (tailte, foirgnimh agus acmhainn san áireamh) i lámha dream beag ar bith, slí nach n-oibrítear ar mhaithe leis an phobal i gcoitinne.

18. Cuirtear seirbhísí uilíocha poiblí ar fáil dóibh siúd a dteastaíonn siad uathu, seirbhísí a bhunaítear ar an taithí idirnáisiúnta is fearr. Íoctar as na seirbhísí sin tré chóras cánach forchéimnitheach. Bunaítear an córas cánach ar phrionsabail na cothroime agus na trédhearcachta.

Síocháin agus Athmhuintearas

1. Cuirtear deiseanna nithiúla ar fáil ag an stát chun díriú ar oidhreacht na coimhlinte in Éirinn agus chun deileáil léi.

2. Bíodh síocháin chóir ann chomh maith le caidreamh agus comhoibriú sa phobal agus idir an pobal agus institiúidí an stáit, síocháin a bhunaítear ar an athmhuintearas agus ar chomhmheas na ndaoine agus na n-institiúidí ar a chéile. Seastar leis an tsíocháin sin trí chearta cothrom a chur i bhfeidhm chomh maith le deiseanna agus stádas cothrom do gach duine.

Éire agus an Domhan

1. Bíodh Éire ina stát neamhspleách flaithiúnta, stát a mbeidh muinín aici as ceartas agus agus as flaithiúnacht gach náisiún eile, de réir (agus faoi iallach) an dlí idirnáisiúnta.

2. Dearbhaíonn Éire a dílseacht do choincheap na síochána agus do choincheap an chomhoibrithe chairdiúil idir na náisiúin éagsúla, dílseacht a bhunaítear ar cheartas idirnáisiúnta. Geallann an stát go n-oibreoidh sí ar mhaithe leis an chomhionannas domhanda polaitiúil agus eacnamaíoch a fheabhsú, caidreamh trádála ar mhaithe le leas gach náisiún san áireamh.

3. Dearbhaíonn Éire go gcloíonn sí leis an phrionsabal go réiteofar conspóidí idirnáisiúnta go síochánta, tré eadráin idirnáisiúnta nó tré shrocrú dlíthiúil.

4. Ag cuimhniú ar thaithí s'againn i dtaca le eisimircheas, cuirimid fáilte roimh duine ar bith a bhíos ag cuardú cúl dín ó céasú nó a bhfuil súil acú saol níos fearr a thógáil agus a chion éifeactach féin a dhéanamh ar an oileán seo.

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Former Education Minster Martin McGuinness MP MLA has welcomed the announcement that his decsion to abolish the 11 + is to stand but expressed disappointment at the 2008 target date. Mr McGuinness also paid tribute to the Costello working group.

Mr McGuinness said:

"I very much welcome this report from the Costello working group. I am pleased that this highly experienced working party has recommended that the 11+ should be abolished and that this recommendation has been accepted.

"Equality must be at the heart of education. The reality is that academic selection for some means academic rejection for the majority of our children. It is a system, which is fundamentally unfair.

"A system, which designates any 11-year-old child, a failure is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced. That is why as education Minister I took the decision to end the 11 +. I am delighted that this decision will now be acted on.I believe all children must be given the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances.

"I am a little disappointed that it will take until 2008 to definitively end the 11+ but that is balanced by the sensible suggestion that all of this could happen much quicker if more parents choose not to put their child forward for the exam in the mean time and grammar schools move away from selection as a method for enrolling pupils.

"We now need to see the new arrangements put in place which will deliver both a modern education system and equality of opportunity for all our children."

Editors Note: Mr McGuinness will meet with Jane Kennedy at 3pm this afternoon at Castle Buildings to discuss the outcome of the Costello Report

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Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will launch a major consultation document 'Rights for All' at 11am tomorrow, Monday 26th January, in the Long Gallery in Stormont.

Accompanying Mr. McGuinness will be Bairbre de Brún MLA, Caitríona Ruane MLA and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.

Rights for All is a discussion document and is a framework of principles that Sinn Féin believes should be enshrined as rights in a progressive society. Sinn Féin will be pro-actively engaging with all sections of society - from community and trade union groups to voluntary organisations and all shades of political opinion throughout the island of Ireland.

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West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Bairbre de Brún has blamed unionist paramilitaries for attaching a device to the gates of Lamh Dhearg GAA club in Hannastown. The device was discovered as underage teams were about to start their weekly training session.

Ms de Brún said:

"Underage teams train at the Lamh Dhearg pitch each Sunday. Around 1pm a device was discovered by some of the children attending training attached to the gate at the side of the pitch.

"I have no doubt that unionist paramilitaries are behind this incident. There has been a history of attacks on this club over many years.

"It is only through good fortune that this device was discovered and people in West Belfast are angry at this attack on our young people.

"Those responsible deliberately decided to target a sports facility which they knew was used by children.

"Many nationalists and republicans are of the firm view that the British government has a tolerence for an acceptable level of unionist violence and todays incident taken with a series of recent attacks, and the British response to them, would certainly reinforce this belief.." ENDS

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Sinn Féín Prisons spokesperson Gerry Kelly has said that he concerned that ordinary prisoners in Maghaberry are being punished simply because they happen to share the same block as the loyalist inmates who damaged the accommodation last week.

Mr Kelly said;

" Families of prisoners serving sentences in the Bann House wing in Maghaberry have contacted my office concerned that the men who are not part of any protest have been on a lockdown regime for over a week now. That means that they are confined to their cells 23 hours each day. These men are housed on a separate landing from the loyalist prisoners.

" The justification being given for the lockdown regime by the prison authorities is that the loyalist inmates who damaged the jail are also housed in the same block.

" This is communal punishment and it should cease. Prisoners do have rights and these rights must be respected." ENDS

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West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson has demanded that Andersonstown Barracks be closed permanently and the land returned to the local community. Mr Ferguson was speaking after the announcement that the base would now close at night.

Mr Ferguson said:

" The fact is that Anderstown Military Base is a blight on this area and provides no service for the local community. Its function is to spy on and intimidate the local population. The vast majority of people in West Belfast are demanding that this eyesore is removed from our community and the land used for regeneration purposes.

" Closing the base at night will be of little consequence as nobody living in this area visits it any way, night or day. It is my belief that the failure to close this base permanently is yet further evidence of the British government reneging on its commitments to demilitarise its war machine in our country.

" The decision will also clearly cause deep embarrassment for the SDLP whose local representative Alex Attwood announced last year the he has secured a commitment to close the base through his membership of the Policing Board. Clearly working from within flawed policing structures doesn't work and doesn't deliver." ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe TD for Dublin South West has called on South Dublin County Council to immediately withdraw its bin tags after he claimed that the colour coded system "stigmatises individuals and families on low incomes".

He went on to point out that it merely served to highlight again one of the many injustices of the Bin Charges.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "I am at a loss as to why these different blue and yellow stickers are even necessary. What difference does it make to the bin collector if the person has a waiver or not? Why should pensioners, social welfare recipients and people on low incomes be identified as different?

This tagging system is an unnecessary and backward decision by the Council that stigmatises individuals and families on low incomes. I am calling on the Council to immediately end this social labelling which is insensitive to say the least.

"Of course this is just another example of the casual unfairness of the Bin Charges, an unjust tax which forces ordinary people to subsidise the pollution of industry and big business. Instead of a 'polluter pays' principle, we have a 'polluter profits' scheme." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew MLA has said that the news that 350 jobs are threatened at Nortel Networks serves to highlight the failures of the economic strategies currently in place.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Throughout the 6 counties there is mounting daily evidence that we need new thinking about how we support and develop our local economy.

"We are losing not just IT jobs; we have seen huge job losses right across the manufacturing sector. Particularly in a textile industry that is teetering on the edge of destruction and West of the Bann where the situation is compounded by a low manufacturing base and poor investment in infrastructure support to economic development.

"It is not good enough that INI and economic planners in DETI appear to have put all of their eggs into the Œknowledge-based economy‚ basket. It is a strategy that is clearly failing.

"There needs to be a fundamental re-evaluation of the dependency on the IT sector and an imaginative approach to developing economic activity within other sectors. I am also concerned that Ian Pearson appears to be pinning his hopes on call centre jobs or contact centre jobs as he has euphemistically calls them. Many of these are low paid part-time jobs.

"What is required is a new approach to industrial investment not the marketing of the 6 counties as a low-wage economy where companies come and go with no long term commitments despite very high levels of grant aid. All future grant aid and similar financial support must be dependant on the full delivery of promised jobs with strong claw back clauses. While estimates of potential jobs created sound impressive far fewer jobs are delivered. People need full time jobs and not empty promises.

"Despite years of highlighting the damage caused to the local economy by high electricity costs resulting from the bad privatisation deal worked out by previous direct rule Ministers, the unsustainable burden of high insurance premiums, the cost of decades of under investment in our infrastructure we have Ian Pearson refusing to listen to concerns about the way he is handling the industrial de-rating and vacant property rating issues." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Tyrone Barry McElduff will address the annual Bloody Sunday March in London on Sunday. Speaking today before departing Mr McElduff said that 'those within the British establishment who covered up the murders on Bloody Sunday are the very same people who developed the British collusion policy and who are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the truth about it coming out now'.

Mr McElduff said:

" After the massacre on the streets of Derry on 30th January 1972 the British cover-up operation flew into top gear. Widgery was brought in and the truth was suppressed. The British state was determined to prevent the facts from emerging. That is why we now have a Saville Tribunal. However it seems from the British side that the lessons of Widgery have not been learned. The MoD is still trying to prevent the truth coming out. It is still suppressing vital evidence and it is being supported by the current British government in all of this.

" Those within the British establishment who covered up the murders on Bloody Sunday are the very same people who developed the British collusion policy and who are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the truth about it coming out now. They are the people who sanctioned the murder of Pat Finucane and countless others. They are the people who armed the unionist death squads and provided them with intelligence. They are the people who propped up the six county state with a mixture of terror, repression and political exclusion.

" But if anything is to be learned from Bloody Sunday it is that the families of those killed through British State repression and violence will not be bought off by phoney inquires or British lies. The same is true of the families of those murdered through the British collusion policy. Next month 100 relatives of those murdered by the British directly or through their surrogate unionist murder gangs will travel to London. They will travel to the places were the policy was developed and enacted. To the places where the killings of their loved ones were sanctioned.

" The British government and Tony Blair in particular must realise that the truth about collusion like the truth about Bloody Sunday will come out. It will come out because the families of those killed will not rest until they see justice delivered." ENDS

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Speaking during a presentation on the Irish EU presidency by Director General of the Institute of European Affairs Alan Dukes, Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Bairbre de Brún called for the 'Irish government to leave a legacy of social justice after its term of office in the EU presidency'. Ms de Brún's comments were made during a presentation by the former Fine Gael leader at Queens University.

Ms de Brún said;

'The EU Presidency provides the Irish government with the opportunity to make a major impact on policies across a range of areas and sectors in Europe. It can choose to set in place measures to promote social justice and the eradication of poverty not just in Europe but around the globe.

'I want to take today's opportunity to emphasise the need to rise to this challenge, both for the Irish government and all those who are involved in the debate surrounding how the Presidency should be developed.

'It is vital that the EU Presidency is used to push a positive social justice agenda and to promote initiatives in the socio-economic, political and human rights fields.

'It is also important that the Presidency is used to combat the negative impact of the economic constraints placed on Ireland, north and south and indeed other states by EU rulings, especially in relation to the future development of infrastructure.

'Adequate attention needs to be given in the coming months to the full implementation of the CAP reform proposals agreed in Luxembourg last June.

Issues such as the need for specific gender and disability directives also need to be given greater priority, as well as the harmonisation of workers rights and trade union recognition. The recognition of the Irish language as an official working language of the European Union also needs addressed.

'Today's seminar is a welcome opportunity to heighten public awareness of the importance of the EU Presidency for the island of Ireland as a whole and hopefully will lead to a greater understanding and debate around many of these issues in the run up to this years European elections.' ENDS

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Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Paul Butler has accused the British government of tolerating an 'acceptable level of UDA violence'. Mr Butler's remarks come after yesterday's meeting between the British Minister Jane Kennedy and representatives of the UPRG.

Mr Butler said:

" In recent weeks and months the UDA has been involved in a violent campaign including attacks on the homes of Sinn Féin members, prison staff, and ordinary Catholics. Last week they brought the city of Belfast to a stand still with a series of well-planned and co-ordinated bomb alerts.

" The British government response has been virtually nil. The fact is that since the UDA was formed the British government has tolerated and in many cases encouraged its activities. They did not ban the organisation until 1992 despite its involvement in a murder campaign against Catholics over a 20 year period.

" In the late 1980's through their agent Brian Nelson they rearmed the UDA and handed it thousands of intelligence files. They created a well armed murder machine and unleashed it on the nationalist and catholic population. British agents still remain at the very top of the UDA and UFF.

" Maybe this is the reason behind Britain's softly softly approach to the activities of the UDA. Certainly it is very obvious that the British government have a tolerance of what they view as an acceptable level of loyalist violence and activity. ENDS

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Following a meeting with the Justice Oversight Commissioner, Lord Clyde, Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on Policing and Justice, Gerry Kelly, has stated that a issues regarding the implementation of justice reforms still need addressed. Speaking after today's launch of the Oversight Commissioners first report Mr Kelly said:

"Sinn Féin held a forty five minute meeting yesterday with Lord Clyde in order to discuss the report by the Criminal Justice Oversight Commissioner. During this meeting a number of concerns were raised.

"The Oversight Commissioners appointment is for three years only. The DPP has stated it will take longer than that to implement the changes to the DPP's department as laid out in the Justice Bill.

"The issue of Symbols and Emblems within court premises was also raised, with particular emphasis on the High Court in Belfast. The existing display of emblems is in clear conflict with the legal requirements to have a neutral environment in courthouses.

"We also raised the case of John Boyle which is currently going though a Judicial Review. John Boyle was convicted wrongly and served a long sentence on the basis of the RUC falsifying documents. While the DPP accepts that falsification of evidence took place he has refused to prosecute those involved and has also refused to give reasons why.

"Cases such as these undermine public confidence in the ability of the DPP to be truly independent and therefore raises questions about the British Governments will to achieve a new and accountable justice system." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Minister for Justice to activate the Section 8 (b) provision of the Human Rights Commission Act to obtain an opinion from the Commission on the Joint Investigation Teams Bill that reached second stage in the Dáil today. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Sinn Féin are not opposed in principle to inter-jurisdictional police cooperation on investigation of serious crimes with a cross-border dimension, where such cooperation is authorised on a case-by-case basis, limited to the necessary, and where there are appropriate safeguards and accountability mechanisms in place. Contrary to the unfounded and unproven allegations of this Minister, I confirm that Sinn Féin strongly support effective action against cross-border organised crime including trafficking in human beings and drugs, especially where such action strikes the correct balance between the need and right of individuals and communities to be safe from predation with the civil rights of individuals.

"However, this proposed legislation goes well beyond the existing INTERPOL and EUROPOL mechanisms for police cooperation and information-sharing by allowing for members of foreign police forces and possibly intelligence agencies to operate in this state. In addition, this Bill must be considered in its proper context, as another in the series of draconian so-called EU Anti-Terrorism Roadmap measures that this Government has signed up to and Sinn Féin, together with the human rights sector, has criticised. As such it has far-reaching consequences for both the sovereignty and human rights of the Irish people and so deserves careful consideration.

"Our concerns about the PSNI are well-established, but there is also evidence of human rights abuses by police forces from other EU states as documented by Amnesty International. Given this fact - but also in principle - the operation of other forces in this jurisdiction must not proceed in the absence of a properly established, best-practice complaints investigation mechanism in the form of a fully independent Ombudsman's Office on the Patten model, and a properly-established best practice civilian oversight mechanism in the form of an independent civilian Policing Board, as proposed by Sinn Féin.

"Fundamentally, this legislation must not proceed in the absence of adequate safeguards, and in particular until such time as the Irish Human Rights Commission is convinced of the adequacy of both the Bill's provisions and the state's mechanisms for police accountability. It is not acceptable that the Minister did not approach the Human Rights Commission to furnish its opinion on this Bill in accordance with Section 8 (b) of the Human Rights Act. His duty to the public interest obliges him to seek the Commission's opinion, and to guarantee that Committee Stage of this Bill will not proceed until such time as this opinion is available to the Dáil."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also urged the Minister to raise the issue of human rights violations by police forces across the EU and to highlight the recommendations of the Amnesty International Human Rights Begin at Home Campaign at the Justice and Home Affairs informal meeting in Dublin Castle today and tomorrow. ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Women's Issues and Poverty, north Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton, speaking after a party delegation including former Health Minster Bairbre de Brún and Cllr Sue Ramsey met with representatives from Women's Aid, has welcomed their new building as a vital project that will benefit women and support them building a new life.

Ms Stanton said:

"Last year 198 women and 230 children stayed at the Women's Aid refuge, many of whom were ethnic minorities. Sinn Féin is fully supportive of this project because we all know how much t will benefit women and their children who face serious risk of violence. A new building will give women in this position extra security and enable them to make the crucial step in leaving a violent home.

"This resource meets the emergency accommodation needs of women and children forced to flee their homes because of domestic violence. It will provide women with the opportunity, free from accommodation worries, to plan for a safer and happier future for them and their children."ENDS

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