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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Reform, Equality and Integration, Pa Daly TD, has today welcomed a forthcoming report on reforms to Garda vetting legislation, and reiterated his call for the government to examine Sinn Féin proposals in the area.

Teachta Daly said:

“According to a Parliamentary Question response which I recently received, the Garda Vetting Review Group is due to report soon, including on any changes that may be possible in relation to multi-purpose vetting or re-vetting.

“The Minister has advised that she expects to receive the Group’s report on arrangements for Garda Vetting, including any recommended legislative amendments, in the coming weeks.

“Last year, Teachta Paul Donnelly, Teachta Réada Cronin and I introduced a Private Members Bill to simplify the Garda vetting process for volunteers and workers.

“The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, and the Garda vetting system as a whole, is a crucial measure which protects children and vulnerable adults. Garda vetting is used in many professional and voluntary contexts, in both paid and voluntary roles.

“The vast majority of individuals have nothing to fear from the process, and it is a vital component in the recruitment process for jobs and voluntary roles involving vulnerable people.

“The bill provides for a ‘Register of Generalised Consents’, a simple solution to the challenges faced by those who must be vetted multiple times. It allows an individual to apply for inclusion on this Register, and I would be confident it can be implemented.

“I look forward to the report of the Review Group becoming available, and will await its conclusions with interest.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Minister for Finance to cancel his government’s out-of-touch plans to push ahead with two separate tax hikes on petrol and diesel in October.

The Government will increase the price of petrol and diesel with a hike in the carbon tax on 11th October and further excise duty increase on 31st October.

The Donegal TD warned that the Government is making the cost-of-living crisis worse for workers and families.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Petrol and diesel prices have increased steadily since May and have shot up in the past number of weeks.

“Despite these price rises, the Government pushed ahead with a tax hike on petrol and diesel on the 1stof September.

“The Government plan to increase petrol and diesel prices again in October.

“First, on the 11th of October with a hike in the carbon tax, and again on the 31st of October with another increase in excise duty.

“These tax hikes will increase the price of a litre of petrol by 10 cents and the of a litre of diesel by more than 8 cents.

“As households continue to struggle under this cost of living crisis, hiking the transport costs is the wrong decision.

“I warned the Government that pressing ahead with these tax hikes was the wrong decision when prices and the international oil market remained volatile.

“It is time that they reversed course, heeded our concerns, and scrap their tax hikes on petrol and diesel that are due to take effect next month.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to take action on urgent concerns raised by farmers.

Farmers have raised serious concerns over the past week around the delays to farm payments, announced changes to the nitrates derogation, and the crisis facing the sheep sector. 

These concerns remain outstanding despite being raised with the Minister for several months.

Teachta Kerrane said:

“Farmers and representative organisations are yet again having to raise serious concerns which will affect many of our family farms and rural communities.

“The impact of delays to farm payments, of changes to the nitrates derogation, and of the crisis affecting the sheep sector are not new – these are issues that have been raised time and time again with the Minister.

“Yet, what we are seeing now is several of these significant issues coming to a head following months of the Minister failing to listen to farmers and failing to take action to address these concerns.

“Back in May, I raised the delays of payments - the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) and Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) schemes - directly with the Minister in the Dáil and several times since, including before the Dáil recess in July.

“I asked the Minister to instruct his Department to expedite establishing the new system to avoid delays to these crucial payments and believe, if there was a will to do so, it would have been done.

“With regard to the nitrates derogation, Sinn Féin have also repeatedly pointed out that the mechanism on which the review was based is flawed. It is also disappointing that Minister McConalogue was not transparent with farmers about the presence of this mechanism and the required review for months after the Nitrates Action Plan was approved, and this is something my colleague Matt Carthy highlighted for some time.

“Similarly, we have repeatedly called for the Minister to engage on the ongoing crisis facing the sheep sector. This matter has been at the fore since I took up the role of party spokesperson for Agriculture back in April, and yet there has been almost no movement or progress since then. I have quizzed the Minister on the potential use of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) to provide much-needed supports to sheep farmers, but he has stated that this is not possible without any explanation.

“It is really disappointing that these significant issues have been presented to the Minister many times and, despite the alarm bells being sounded from farmers, we are in the situation we are in today.

“It is not too late for the Minister to engage constructively on these key issues, and I am demanding that he does so as a matter of urgency. This is no way to treat farmers. The Minister needs to wake up to the impact of his decisions and the reality for farmers."


Improved Connectivity vital for Donegal - MacManus
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said that improved connectivity will be vital for addressing regional imbalance in the Northwest and creating jobs and wider opportunities across County Donegal. The Midlands Northwest representative was speaking after attending a number of engagements in the county on transport-related issues alongside local Sinn Féin TD Pádraig MacLochlainn and Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Martin Kenny TD.

MEP MacManus said:
“I was pleased to be in Donegal this week for a number of engagements on transport issues within the county alongside my colleagues Martin Kenny TD and Pádraig MacLochlainn TD.”

“We received an update on Derry Airport and some of the challenges it faces going forward. This airport is key for attracting investment and business to the entire north-west region and is a vital service for the people of Donegal, who make up 40% of the passengers using the airport. Developing an air-link between Derry and Dublin is a priority for us, especially given the poor road and rail links that exist between the north-west and Dublin, and we will be working together with Sinn Féin colleagues in Derry in the time ahead to progress the introduction of this service.”

“We also met with Donegal County Council’s National Roads Office on the TEN-T roads projects within the county; the N15/N13 Ballybofey/Stranorlar Urban Region, N56/N13 Letterkenny to Manorcunningham and N14 Manorcunningham to Lifford/Strabane/A5 Link projects. These projects are 50% funded by the EU and are an example of how EU transport funding can be used to benefit local communities. They are hugely important for developing transport links within the county and improving road safety, and it was positive to hear about the progress being made on these key pieces of infrastructure.”

“I‘m firmly committed to the improvement of public transport so we were pleased to also meet with rail campaigners from several groups seeking the return of rail services to County Donegal. Donegal has been starved of rail for decades and extending the rail network to the county is vital if we are to achieve a true all-island rail network. It is welcome that the all-island rail review has recommended the development of a rail link between Letterkenny and Derry and preparatory work for this project should begin as soon as possible.”

“Donegal has long been neglected and improved connectivity will be vital for addressing regional imbalance and creating jobs and opportunities within the county. My Sinn Féin colleagues and I will continue to fight for Donegal to receive it’s fair share of investment in the time ahead.” ENDS
See attached photo of (L-R): Damian McDermott (National Roads Office Donegal), Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, Aine McHugh (National Roads Office Donegal), Chris MacManus MEP, Martin Kenny TD.


Improved Connectivity vital For Galway and West of Ireland - MacManus
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said that improved connectivity will be vital for addressing regional imbalance and creating jobs and opportunities across Galway and the West of Ireland. The Midlands Northwest representative was speaking after attending a number of engagements in the county alongside Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell and Sinn Féin’s Transport Spokesperson Martin Kenny TD.

MEP MacManus said:

“I was pleased to be in Galway this week for a number of engagements alongside my colleagues Martin Kenny TD and Mairéad Farrell TD.

“We had a very informative meeting with Conor O’Dowd from the Port of Galway who briefed us on their plans for redevelopment. These plans will transform the dock area of Galway City, delivering high quality residential, commercial and public spaces.

“The Port of Galway is now to be included in the EU’s revised TEN-T Network for the first time which will enhance it’s ability to attract much-needed investment, in particular to develop the port for offshore renewable energy projects off the West Coast. This was something that I and other Irish MEPs assisted with, so that the Port of Galway can reach its full potential in the years ahead.

“We also held a productive meeting with representatives from West on Track, to discuss the recent publication of the all-island rail review. We are pleased that the Athenry-Claremorris section of the railway has been recommended for reopening in the short-term. It is imperative that the Government implement this recommendation as soon as possible and that a clear timeline for the beginning of construction works is put forward.

“This rail line will provide a fantastic service to passengers across the West of Ireland, and in particular to towns like Tuam which have suffered due to a lack of rail services. It will bring huge potential for economic development and investment in our region, and must be a priority for Government. 

“Improved connectivity will be vital for addressing regional imbalance and creating jobs and opportunities across this region. My Sinn Féin colleagues and I will continue to fight for Galway and the West of Ireland as a whole to receive it’s fair share of investment in the time ahead. ENDS
See attached photo from the Port of Galway of (L-R): Chris MacManus MEP, Mairéad Farrell TD, Conor O’Dowd (Port of Galway), Martin Kenny TD


MacManus welcomes PEACE PLUS and urges maximum participation  

Sinn Féin Midlands-Northwest MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the announcement of the €1.1bn PEACE PLUS programme. The new programme will support peace building in the border counties, north and south up to 2027. 


MacManus said: 


“I warmly welcome today’s announcement. The EU’s Peace programmes have made a real and substantive difference to life for people and communities affected by conflict and I am delighted that this new programme is now formally being launched. I have engaged with the EU Commission and the Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee on this issue and I wish to thank the EU for its ongoing involvement in peace building in our country. 


Brexit has had a disastrous impact on many border communities and the entire region and I hope PEACE PLUS can go some way in mitigating that damage. It is a huge pity that due to DUP intransigence the northern executive is not operational today as this new programme is announced. 


I have personal experience of the Peace programmes and have seen the great work it can do. I urge all groups and communities in our region to investigate the funding opportunities and to maximise the potential of PEACE PLUS.” ENDS


Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay South, Chris Andrews, has raised concerns over St. John’s Ambulance’s failure to implement recommendations of the report on historic child sex abuse allegations within the organisation.

Teachta Andrews Said:

“I am very concerned that since the publication of this damning report 6 months ago, St John Ambulance are yet to implement any of Justice Shannon's recommendations.

“During Justice Shannon’s report on historic child sex abuse allegations at St John's Ambulance, it was discovered that there was a failure to investigate concerns of sexual abuse within the organisation. 

“St John’s Ambulance refused to address these concerns for over half a century. 

“The report found there was ‘a significant degree of organisational awareness’ of serious threats to children for years, yet the St John’s Ambulance failed to take any action.

“The Government must act to ensure the full implement all of Justice Shannon's recommendations St John Ambulance. 

“The Government must ensure that no public funds are being provided to St. John’s Ambulance while they refused to implement Justice Shannon’s recommendations. 

“St. Johns Ambulance should not be allowed at any publicly funded event, until we see the report by Justice Shannon fully.”


First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill MLA has attended today’s official launch of the €1bn PeacePlus programme. 

Speaking at the Shared Space New Forge project in South Belfast, Michelle O'Neill said:

“I am delighted to attend today’s much-anticipated launch of PeacePlus.

“While so much has been achieved over the past 25 years since peace was ushered in, so much more remains to be done to boost economic growth and stimulate social and economic regeneration to ensure all communities feel the benefits of peace. 

“This new €1bn investment by the two governments and the European Union is designed to support peace and prosperity across the North, and the border counties where it will have real impact at grassroots level. 

“The PeacePlus programme is being managed by cross-border body, SEUPB, who are currently accepting applications across the programme investment areas. 

“I would therefore encourage organisations to make contact with the programme and see how they can bring benefits to their local community.” 


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pa Daly TD, has warned that government needs to produce a robust, credible and fully resourced plan to tackle crime in Dublin. 

His comments follow the publication of the government’s community safety proposals for Dublin’s north inner city.

Teachta Daly said:

“I welcome that government has now brought proposals forward. This is long overdue as communities have been raising concern about crime in Dublin for a considerable time now with concerns heightening in recent months.

“I have been calling for a robust plan with clear timelines for delivery. It must also be fully resourced, so that these are not just vague ideas from government that fail to materialise. 

“People in Dublin need to see real change, not just another glossy announcement from government that falls by the wayside and fails to make a difference to their lives.

“We need to see a credible long term vision for keeping communities safe in Dublin. In our document ‘Keeping Communities Safe’, Sinn Féin have outlined in detail how we would deliver this. 

“In the short term we need a better presence of Gardaí in Dublin. Publication of the new regulations for the Garda reserve should be expedited- not due until the end of this year- so that new Garda reserve can be recruited.

“The recommendations in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland should be implemented in order to free up more Gardaí for frontline duties.

“The Community Safety Warden scheme should have established effective grassroots communication with state and community services, including detached youth workers, An Garda Siochána, local drug and alcohol programmes and Dublin City Council.

“The inner city has been without a local drug/alcohol taskforce for over a year. This isn’t good enough. 

“Fine Gael have badly let down communities throughout the decade that they have been responsible for the Justice Department. Throughout this time, they have failed to deliver the leadership and investment Gardaí need to do their jobs safely and properly. It is clear that a total step change is needed from government.

“Sinn Féin in government would prioritise keeping communities safe, so that they can feel protected from crime.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for better supports for young people in CAMHS experiencing suicidal ideation.

Young people with suicidal ideation are waiting more than 200 days for treatment with CAMHS.

Deputy Ward was speaking after World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, following on from the reports released by the Mental Health Commission into CAMHS in each CHO area.

Teachta Ward said:

“The 10th of September every year is World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a day to refocus our attention on preventing suicide.

“The Mental Health Commission published reports on CAMHS in each CHO area last month. These gave a detailed breakdown of time waiting for high risk referrals. High risk referrals included deliberate self-harm (DSH), suicidal intent, suicidal ideation and eating disorders.

“The waiting times for these high risk referrals were completely unacceptable in many CHOs.

“Young people with suicidal ideation in CHO9, which covers North Dublin, were waiting more than 200 days from the point of referral until they received their assessment. 200 days is in no way an urgent response to what is an urgent need. The lowest average wait time for suicidal ideation was in CHO3, which covers Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, with 15 days.

“How can such a disparity between CHOs exist? We need to do away with the postcode politics that exist within CAMHS and the wider health service.

“CHO4, which covers Cork and Kerry, had wait times of around 60 days for young people with suicidal intent. Suicidal intent refers to a clear desire and plan to complete suicide, and yet the young people of Cork and Kerry have to wait two months to be assessed. CHO3 once again had the shortest waiting time of around five days.

“Our mental health system is truly broken if we cannot give interventions for our young people contemplating suicide. This must change.

“I have met with Pieta and they have told me that they received almost 100,000 interventions on their Crisis Text and Phoneline last year.

“The demand for help is high but the response from government is found wanting. This year saw no additional funding for the National Clinical Programmes in mental health, including the National Clinical Programme for Self Harm and Suicide-related ideation. What we are seeing in CAMHS is the real life consequence of not funding these programmes.

“I am calling on the government to fund the National Clinical Programmes for mental health and to prioritise reducing wait times for suicide related assessments in CAMHS. These unacceptable waiting times cannot be allowed to continue.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has called on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to speedily implement the recommendations from the Residential Tenancies Board on illegal evictions. The call was made after social media reports of an illegal eviction in Waterford over the weekend.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Over the weekend social media reports from CATU, the tenants rights campaign group, highlighted an illegal eviction in Waterford. The social media posts showed distressing scenes of tenants and their belongings being forcibly removed from a property. Gardaí were present at the eviction.

“Last November, Darragh O’Brien received a detailed report from the Residential Tenancies Board on the issue of illegal evictions. The report had been requested by the Minister on foot of a number of high profile illegal evictions in 2020.

“The report, which had been completed in October 2021 but could not be issued to the Minister for legal reasons, contains five recommendations. A cover letter with the report dated November 2022 sets out four further recommendations made in light of subsequent illegal evictions.

“The recommendations by the RTB are eminently sensible. They include the need for trained illegal eviction facilitators at the RTB; inclusion of illegal eviction as an improper conduct by a landlord; issuing of significant fines for carrying out an illegal eviction; and powers to the Gardaí to arrest without a warrant anyone participating in an illegal eviction.

“Darragh O’Brien must speedily implement the Residential Tenancies Board recommendations on illegal evictions. They will produce additional protections for tenants at a time when there is likely to be an increase in illegal evictions.

“The events in Waterford this weekend again highlight the need for strengthening the powers of the RTB and to give the Gardaí much needed clarity with respect to their powers when illegal evictions are taking place.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee, Louise O'Reilly TD, said monies owed to Iceland workers must be prioritised as the company moves from examinership to liquidation.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

 "It was reported last night that the examinership of food retailer Iceland had failed and a liquidator was being appointed to the company.

"This is the culmination of what has been a tumultuous period for Iceland, and especially for the workers.

"This news will come as a crushing blow for the workers, their families, and their communities, and Sinn Féin offer them our full support.

“Since the changeover of ownership at Iceland some months ago there have been sustained allegations of poor management, a lack of communication, and intimidation of workers.

"When the company entered examinership, Sinn Féin stated that the workers needed to be front and centre of that process and for monies owed to them to paid without delay.

“Unfortunately, that did not happen and now the company has entered liquidation.

"The treatment of these workers has been nothing short of a disgrace since the change of ownership and should be condemned from all quarters.

"It is essential that the Iceland workers are now supported by government, and that they receive all monies owed to them by Iceland, as well as their redundancy.

“The move from examinership to liquidation has only reinforced serious questions regarding the takeover of Iceland. 

“Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted the abhorrent treatment of workers and the opaque nature of Iceland’s new ownership.

“These issues at Iceland compelled us to write to the Corporate Enforcement Authority seeking an investigation of any potential breaches of company law. An investigation is only more pressing now that the company has entered liquidation. 

“Sinn Féin offer our full support to the workers."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called for the introduction of temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief to support struggling households.

The Donegal TD was speaking after the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that mortgage interest costs had risen by 51 percent in the past 12 months.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Yesterday the CSO released its inflation figures for August.

“The Consumer Price Index shows that the cost of living continues to rise while electricity prices did not fall, despite the sharp reduction in wholesale prices.

“For so many households, the cost of living crisis is getting worse.

“In the past year, mortgage interest costs have increased by 51 percent.

“This is a massive income shock for households.

“The Central Bank estimates that 1 in in 5 households will see their annual mortgage costs increase by €5,700.

“Targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief should be introduced to support struggling households and address this mortgage misery.

“Yesterday’s figures also show that the price of petrol, diesel and home heating oil all rose significantly in the past month.

“The Government’s plan to increase taxes on each is the last thing households need at this time of challenge and financial worry.

“The hikes in excise and the carbon tax should not proceed as workers and families contend with a cost of living crisis.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to ‘release funding for emergency works for those living in Celtic Tiger era defective homes.’

The call comes amid growing frustration among homeowners of defective buildings that funding for emergency interim works promised since the start of 2023 has not yet materialised.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

"Last year, Darragh O’Brien secured Cabinet approval to introduce a redress scheme for people living in homes with Celtic Tiger era fire safety and other structural defects. As the redress scheme would take some time to get up and running due to the need for legislation, the Minister also promised funding for emergency interim works such as fire safety repairs and the provision of sprinkler systems and in some cases fire wardens.

"Minister O’Brien told affected homeowners at the start of 2023 that this was imminent. However, at a recent meeting with affected homeowners Minister O’Brien was not able to give a firm date for when applications for this funding would open or when the funding itself could be drawn down.

"There are people today living in buildings that are simply not safe. Insurance cover is being withdrawn from some defective developments because of a lack of progress on emergency works.

"Minister O’Brien must make this funding available immediately. Most of the 2023 Departmental budget line for defective building and defective block remediation remains unspent. The Minister should open applications for emergency repair works and interim measures as requested by the Construction Defects Alliance and the 100% Not Our Fault campaign. Any further delay is putting people’s lives at risk.

"Minister O’Brien must also accelerate the introduction of a comprehensive redress scheme for defective buildings. While legislation is required there is no reason that the Pyrite Resolution Board’s remit could not be expanded on a non-statutory footing as an interim measure to enable them to undertake preparatory work for the redress scheme in parallel with the development of the legislation."


Ghuí Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir Shinn Féin agus Cathaoirleach ar Chomhchoiste Oireachtais na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus Phobail Labhartha na Gaeilge, gach rath ar chainéil nua Cúla4 agus TG4+1 agus ghabh sé comhghairdeas thar cheann a pháirtí le TG4 as an éacht atá bainte amach acu.

Dúirt an Teachta Ó Snodaigh:

“Léiríonn TG4 arís agus arís eile gur féidir éacht i ndiaidh éacht a bhaint amach ar bheagán maoiniú i gcomparáid le RTÉ nó fiú a mhacasamhal sa Bhreatain Bheag, S4C. Ar lámh amháin, tá ceacht le foghlaim ag RTÉ ón deá-shampla seo, ach ar an lámh eile caithfear a shamhlú cad a bheadh TG4 in ann a dhéanamh dá mbeadh cothrom na Féinne taispeánta dóibh sa bhuiséad.

“Tá Sinn Féin ar bís go mbeidh cainéal iomlán teilifíse anois ar fáil don aos óg amháin trí mheán na Gaeilge. Cabhróidh sé seo go mór le teaghlaigh atá ag iarraidh clainne a thógáil trí Ghaeilge, le scoileanna lánGhaeilge agus Gaeltachta, chomh maith leis an dream óg iad féin a bhainfidh taitneamh agus tairbhe as na cláracha suimiúla, spreagúla, cruthaitheacha.

“Cuirfidh TG4+1 go mór freisin leis na deiseanna atá ag daoine teacht ar na sárshaothair atá á craoladh ag craoltóir náisiúnta na Gaeilge, idir scannáin, cláir faisnéise, cláir spóirt agus cúrsaí reatha.

“Tréaslaím le foireann go léir TG4 as na cainéil seo a sheachadadh. Tá ardchaighdeán craoltóireachta TG4 aitheanta go foirleathan, agus beidh muid go léir ag súil go mór leis an aschur nua a fheiceáil go luath ar thrí chainéal an ghrúpa.

“Ré nua atá ann don Ghaeilge ar an teilifís agus don aos óg. Ba chóir don rialtas an deis seo a thapadh chun borradh a chur le húsáid na Gaeilge sna meáin – táimid fós ag fanacht ar stáisiún raidió náisiúnta don dream óg mar shampla, mar atá geallta le fada, agus tá an teanga anois san iomaíocht ar ardáin nua craoltóireachta san fhís-sruthú agus ar líne.

“Impím ar an Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán Catherine Martin an maoiniú cuí a chinntiú do TG4 ionas go mbeidh siad in ann a’ mhéid agus is féidir a dhéanamh leis na stáisiúin nua seo agus freastal ar lucht labhartha agus lucht foghlama na Gaeilge agus ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta uile.

‘A New Era for Gaeilge on TV: Sinn Féin congratulates TG4 as they launch Cúla4 and TG4+1 – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture and Cathaoirleach of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Irish Speaking Community, wished the new channels Cúla4 and TG4+1 every success and issued congratulations on behalf of his party to TG4 on this achievement.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“TG4 demonstrates again and again that achievement after achievement can be attained on little funding compared with RTÉ or even their Welsh counterparts S4C. On the one hand, there is a lesson to be learned by RTÉ from their good example, but on the other hand we must imagine what TG4 could do if they were given fair treatment in the budget.

“Sinn Féin is delighted that there will now be an entire TV channel just for young people through the medium of Irish. This will greatly assist parents who want to raise their children through Irish, with Irish medium and Gaeltacht schools, as well as with young people themselves who will both enjoy and benefit from the interesting, inspiring and creative programming.

“TG4+1 will also greatly add to the opportunities people will have to engage with the superb work being broadcast by the national Irish language broadcaster, from films to documentaries, sports and current affairs.

“I commend the entire team at TG4 for delivering these channels. The high quality of broadcasting by TG4 is recognised far and wide, and we will be very much looking forward to seeing the new output soon on the group’s three channels.

“This is a new era for the Irish language on television and for young people. The Government should seize this opportunity to grow the use of Irish in media – we are still waiting for a national youth radio station for example, as has long been promised, and the language is now competing on new broadcasting platforms in terms of video-streaming and online.

“I call on Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin to guarantee appropriate funding for TG4 so that they can make the most of these new stations to unleash their potential and serve the Irish speaking and learner communities and on all the people of the Gaeltacht.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Government to work with the Dental Council and the Health Information and Quality Authority to tackle unregistered dentistry.

The TD for Waterford said that unregistered practice is a criminal offence, yet clearly the regulatory bodies are not empowered to tackle fraud and unregistered practice in the sector.

Teacha Cullinane was reacting to RTÉ Investigates’ findings and testimony from the Dental Council that there are “significant legislative [weaknesses] in terms of the protection of the public.”

Under the Dentists Act 1985 only registered healthcare professionals are regulated. You do not have to be a dentist to own a dental practice, meaning it is not possible to sanction an unregistered person operating a dental practice unless they individually explicitly purport to be a dentist. There are no restrictions on who can open or operate a dental clinic here and there is no code of practice governing the operation of dental practices, nor is there a register of dental practices.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The RTÉ Investigates programme this evening has shone a clear light on the major gaps in oversight in dentistry, which is leaving patients at risk of harm and fraud.

“Unregistered practice is a criminal offence, yet clearly the regulatory bodies are not empowered to tackle fraud and unregistered practice in the sector.

“I understand that the Dental Council and HIQA recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to increase and improve their cooperation, but it is clear that improvements are also needed in legislation.

“The Government is committed to reviewing the outdated Dentists Act of 1985, but this review has yet to happen. The Minister is dragging his feet. This issue is similar to the unacceptable lack of regulation of psychology, which is taking years to address, and is yet another weakness where the State is failing to properly protect patients.

“The Minister must urgently review the regulation around dentistry and the requirements for practices to be registered. The Dental Council and HIQA must be adequately empowered and resourced to increase inspections and to take action against unregistered practices and fraudulent ‘dentists’.

“I will be asking the Oireachtas health committee to examine this issue in detail in the coming term. We know that there are already many issues in dentistry which dentists themselves have identified, including improvements to professional regulations.

“It is important that these regulations are up to scratch to protect patients, and to protect the professional reputation of fully compliant dentists, who are by far the majority of dentists.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers, Deputy Pauline Tully, has been informed by parents of a number of children with disabilities that they have been left high and dry after being notified at the last minute by Bus Éireann that their school transport would not commence as expected.

Parents told Deputy Tully that they were informed that the private bus contractors servicing a number of routes had handed back their contracts and that they would have to organize this transport themselves until Bus Éireann can secure a new service.

Teachta Tully said:

“I am astounded that children with disabilities would be abandoned like this and that their parents would be given such short notice of their child’s bus service not operating.

“These parents had previously been informed that their children had secured a school transport place, only for this to be turned on its head in the last few days when they were updated that bus contractors servicing their bus route had handed back their contracts and that they would have to organize this transport themselves until Bus Éireann secured a new service.

“This has left a lot of parents in the lurch and struggling to find an alternative way to get their children to school.

“Some of these parents, who have access to a suitable vehicle, are working or studying and are having to take time off work or college to ensure their children to not miss out in their first weeks back to school.  

“Other parents do not have access to a suitable vehicle, and they have to try to organize a private taxi to bring their child to school and home again.

“This is a scandalously bad situation these parent and their children have been left in. The short notice given has left parents in an almost impossible situation in trying to find an alternative.

“It makes little sense that neither Bus Éireann nor the Department of Education would not have been aware of private bus operators having issues with regard to their contracts to operate these routes.

“I have written to the Minister to query when the issuesregarding the contracts were first flagged by the bus operators to her Department, what has been done in the interim period to rectify these issues, and why parents were not given prior notice that issues existed that may leave them having to source alternative transport for their children.

“I have also written to Bus Éireann seeking further information as to how this was allowed to happen, exactly how many schools are effected and how many disabled children have been left in this situation.”


Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said the opportunity to once again apply for EU Horizon funding will be a huge relief for scientists and researchers the north.

Caoimhe Archibald said:

“Today’s announcement will be a huge relief to scientists and researchers as they will have the chance to apply for money from the £81bn (€95bn) fund.

“For three years scientists and researchers in the north faced uncertainty, losing vital opportunities to access funding and the chance to play a role in collaboration work to drive forward innovation and research.

“All efforts should be made to maximise opportunities to access funding for research and to recruit talented scientists.” 


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O Rourke TD, has pointed to the enormous unfulfilled potential of Public Participation Networks (PPNs) to mobilise community engagement and action, and called on the government to fully recognise the importance of communities as dynamic and powerful catalysts for climate action.

Teachta O’Rourke made these comments in response to paper submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action by the PPNs entitled, “Critical Agents for Mobilisation of Community Climate Action”.

The Meath East TD said:

“Genuine, bottom-up approaches are critical to achieve our climate targets. PPNs are an exemplary example of such approaches. Spanning 31 local authorities, they have significant community reach with over 18,000 group members, members which involve many multiples of thousands of active participants.

“Unlike the approach of government on climate action to date which has been focused at the national level and on the actions of individuals, PPNs focus on collective action mobilisation at the community level, which has proven to be of huge benefit to achieve climate goals.

"This is because communities have expertise and knowledge that official policy makers often don’t, particularly about their locale and the (sometimes unforeseen) implication of structural or policy changes.

“Top-down decision making often means local people and organisations often feel left out of critical decision-making processes in climate action, such as the design or adaptation of programmes or plans.

"This means they are less effective at delivering their intended goals, with local people feeling disenfranchised and left behind. Through PPNs however, local communities can be empowered to be the authors of change, rather than passive recipients of policy changes.

“These types of participatory models have not only proven to be more democratic and inclusive, but they have also proven to be more successful. This is borne out by the research which says that community based collective action on climate holds the key to broader social change.

“PPNs face significant and wide-ranging barriers, however. The recently released report detailed results of a survey of PPNs and their member groups.

"Their response highlighted the need for much more active support from the government, including the need for information, as well as a structure for skills, knowledge and experience sharing.

"They also pointed to training and tailored support deficits, as well as the need to feedback community experience of policy and programmes. The report also pointed to inadequate resourcing of PPNs and as we a result, a lack of capacity.

“Therefore, we are calling on government to ensure PPNs are adequately resourced to carry out their goals. Furthermore, government establish a clear mechanism for PPNs to engage with policy makers and agencies rolling out climate change programmes, to ensure they are fit for purpose and operating as intended.

“Sinn Féin has always prioritised the empowerment of communities in climate action. We have continuously highlighted just how essential it is that grass roots groups and local communities can co-produce climate policies and programmes.

"We know that successful local examples of climate action are powerful mobilisers, often yielding multiplier effects.

“With effective participation and citizen engagement that empowers people from the bottom up, we can deliver a just transition. PPNs are one vehicle through which this can be achieved.”


Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay South, Chris Andrews, has urged the Minister for Education to address and resolve the crisis affecting students at Enable Ireland Sandymount School.

Deputy Andrews said:

‘’The commencement of the school year has been long established.

‘’It is unacceptable that two days before the beginning of the school year, parents were informed that school transport is no longer available to their children.

‘’While the shortage of school buses is a national issue, it is clearly having a disproportionate impact on children in special education schools. Almost 1/3 of the students of Enable Ireland Sandymount School are without bus transport.

‘’Families have seen their well establish school routines pulled apart, which is causing significant distress to both the parents and children.

‘’Due to the number of eligible children for school transport, there is an obligation to provide transport along this route. 

‘’Removing this route is creating a barrier to education, a barrier that we as a society cannot tolerate.

‘’The Minister must intervene to ensure that this crisis comes to a speedy resolution. Time is of the essence. These families cannot wait for the resumption of the Dáil for this issue to be addressed.”

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