Tá sé ráite ag an Teachta Dála do Dhún na nGall, Piaras Ó Dochartaigh, go bhfuil tacaíocht de dhíth ar na hIonaid Pobail atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht mar gheall ar an easnamh mór atá sa gheilleagar de dheasca COVID-19.
Cé go bhfuil scéim anois ar bun ag an Roinn d’fhir agus mná tí, níl an tacaíocht ceanna ar fáil do na hIonaid Pobail atá ag cailleadh amach mar gheall ar na cursaí Gaeltachta a bheith cúrtha ar ceal i mbliana, a deir an Teachta Ó Dochartaigh.
Ag caint tráthnona, dúirt an Teachta Ó Dochartaigh gur scríobh sé chuig an Aire Stáit, Séan Kyne, ag moladh scéim a thabharfadh tacaíocht do na hIonaid a chaill amach mar gheall ar an gcealú.
Dúirt an Teachta Ó Dochartaigh:
“Tá ról tabhachtach ag baint le na hIonaid seo i saol na Gaeltachta agus s’iad na hIonaid a chuireann imeachtaí, cúrsaí agus ranganna ar fáil don phobal i rith na bliana.
“Ach bíonn na hIonaid ag brath ar an airgead a fhaigheann siad ó na colaistí Gaeilge le linn an tsamraidh chun na seirbhisí eile seo a chur ar fáil don phobal, agus ar an droch uair, níl tacaíocht ar bith a thabhairt do na hIonaid faoi’n tionscnamh €4.7m d’earnáil na gColáistí Gaeilge, a d’fhógair an Aire Stáit Seán Kyne.
“Mar gheall ar seo, scríobh mé chuig an tAire Kyne, ag moladh tacaíocht a thabhairt do na hIonaid Pobail le cinntiú go mbeidh todhchaí acú agus chun saol ár bpobail Gaeltachta a chosaint. Sa scéim seo, ba cheart airgead a chur ar fáil do na hIonaid atá ag cailleadh amach de bharr na gcoláistí a bheith curtha ar ceal.
“Tá mé féin agus mo chomghleacaí Mairead Farrell, Teachta Dála Shinn Féin do Ghaillimh Thiar agus Maigh Eo Theas, ag obair lena chéile ar seo agus tuigeann muid chomh tabhachtach agus atá na hIonaid i saol mhuintir na Gaeltachta.”
Sinn Féin TD for Meath East Darren O’Rourke today called on the Irish government to intervene in the disgraceful treatment of workers by the management and parent company of Aer Lingus. Teachta O’Rourke’s comments come as Aer Lingus and the International Airlines Group seek major redundancies and significant pay cuts at the airline.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Rourke said;
“The treatment of workers by the management and parent company of Aer Lingus has been disgraceful.
“We are all well aware of the huge challenges now facing the airline industry, however it now appears IAG is using the coronavirus pandemic as cover to downgrade the pay and conditions of workers in Aer Lingus.
“The Irish government have been silent on this issue, with the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, taking his traditional hand’s off, nothing to do with me, approach.
“Aer Lingus should never have been privatised, and the Fine Gael-Labour government sold workers out at the national flag carrier, when they sold the State’s remaining 25% stake in 2015.
“At that time, the then Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe TD gave assurances in relation to continued connectivity, more jobs at the company and said the existing rights of all Aer Lingus employees “will be safeguarded”.
“A House of Commons Transport Committee report published in recent days, called IAG’s treatment of workers at British Airways a ‘national disgrace’. The very same can be said for IAG’s treatment of workers at Aer Lingus here.
“Workers at Aer Lingus have highlighted the substantial financial reserves of IAG, in addition to IAG’s plans for acquiring more airlines, Air Europa for example, at the same time as slashing pay and conditions of current staff and making hundreds of others redundant.
“IAG’s actions appear to be an attempt to take advantage of the pandemic to cut jobs and weaken the terms and conditions of the remaining employees.
“The Irish government have given Aer Lingus substantial financial assistance through the Wage Subsidy Scheme and also with contracts to deliver PPE from China. The government here also continues to hold a share interest in Aer Lingus relating to landing slots.
“The government need to intervene in this situation and use their influence to protect the pay and conditions of workers at the former State owned company.”
Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed legal proceedings against plans to hold an unregulated academic selection transfer test later this year.
The Education spokesperson said:
"I welcome this morning's news that leave has been granted at the High Court for a Judicial Review challenging the dates for transfer tests due to be held later this year.
"The challenge is being taken on behalf of a child with special educational needs and seeks to delay the tests.
"While the purpose of this particular challenge is to delay these unfair and unregulated tests, it will add to the growing public debate around academic selection.
"This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have already taken the decision to suspend the use of academic selection tests and there are growing calls for it to be abandoned altogether.
"I would appeal to schools still intent on using academic selection to listen to the views of an increasing number of educationalists, trade unions and parents and end transfer tests once and for all."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that the housing proposals contained in the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green Party Programme for Government are “deeply disappointing”, saying it read like a continuation of the failed policies of Rebuilding Ireland.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The Programme for Government commitments on housing show that once again Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are unable to grasp the complexity of the housing crisis.
“Housing was one of the biggest concerns for voters in the general election.
“Fianna Fáil - for all their talk - have essentially signed up to continue the failed policies of Rebuilding Ireland.
“The Programme for Government is weak on affordable housing. Despite six years of promises from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, there are no targets for the delivery of affordable rental or purchase homes in this programme.
“There is no definition of affordable housing and no price points - just more of the same Fine Gael disinterest and Fianna Fáil spin.
“There are no commitments to deliver any additional social housing above the 50,000 homes already committed to in the National Development Plan. This is 10,000 fewer than even Fine Gael promised in their general election manifesto.
“There is nothing new for renters beyond what has been already committed to by Eoghan Murphy, and there are vague commitments on homelessness and Traveller accommodation.
“Worryingly there is reference to a referendum on housing, but not on the 'right to housing'. This appears to be a political fudge; again to satisfy Fine Gael who are opposed to the right to housing.
“The notion that Fianna Fáil has 'delivered' on housing in this Programme for Government doesn't stack up.
“In the absence of ambitious targets it is unlikely that much affordable housing will be delivered in the years ahead.
“This is deeply disappointing, and a continuation of the failed Rebuilding Ireland policy of the outgoing government. It will do nothing to tackle the housing crisis and deliver the change needed to solve it."
Tá ráite ag an Teachta Dála de chuid Shinn Féin do Ghaillimh Thiar/Maigh Eo Theas Mairéad Farrell gur iarracht atá sa dréacht chlár rialtais atá aontaithe ag Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael agus an Comhaontas Glas "dalladh púicín" a chur ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta is na Gaeilge.
Dúirt an Teachta Farrell;
"Níl aon cheo nua sa gclár rialtais seo a thabharfadh sásamh do mhuintir na Gaeltachta is na Gaeilge.
"Béalghrá den chuid is mó atá sna ráitis gan bhrí atá le léamh sa gcáipéis seo ach pé ar bith céard faoin duine nach dtuigeann cúrsaí Gaeilge is atá dall ar an ngéarchéim sa nGaeltacht maidir le cúrsaí fostaíochta, teangan, infreastruchtúr is bunseirbhisí poiblí, cúis náire amach is amach go raibh ábhar rialtais againn sa tír seo a thugann faoin ealaín chéanna.
"Níl aon ghealltanas maidir le toghcháin phoiblí a thabhairt ar ais do bhord Údarás na Gaeltachta agus níl caint ar bith ar Aire Sinsearach don Ghaeilge agus don Ghaeltacht. Bhí barúil againn nach raibh Fine Gael sásta polasaithe mar seo a chur i bhfeidhm ach tá a fhios againn anois nach raibh Fianna Fáil ná an Comhaontas Glas ró-chorraithe fúthu ach an oiread.
"Deirtear linn go dtabharfar tús áite do bhranda "Gaeltacht na hÉireann", agus sin í an áit a bhfuil an buile. Sin duit an tuiscint atá acu ar an nGaeltacht. Branda atá ann le turasóirí a mhealladh don tír seo agus riocht an Ghaelachais a tharraingt orainn seachas infheistíocht cheart a chur isteach i gceantracha Gaeltachta sa gcaoi is gur féidir leis an bpobal maireachtáil ann.
"An méid atá sa gcáipéis i dtaobh chur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla agus Lárionaid Ghaeilge do Bhaile Atha Cliath agus áiteacha eile 'fud fad na tíre', tugadh na geallúintí sin cheana agus níl ann ach athrá ar a bhfuil beartaithe.
"Dar liomsa gur iarracht atá sa gclár rialtais seo dalladh púicín a chur ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta is na Gaeilge. Más ea, is lag mar iarracht í. Tá seans fós againn an clár seo a chaitheamh i dtraipisí agus iallach a chur ar na páirtithe dul chun cainte le Sinn Féin ach g bo gcaithfeadh baill na bpáirtithe sin vótáil ina aghaidh ag na comhdhálacha a bhéas ar siúl go gairid amach romhainn. D'fhéadfaí ansin plean ceart feiliúnach a chur le chéile ina mbeadh spriocanna soiléire, amlínte agus eile, ní hamháin don Ghaeilge agus don Ghaeltacht ach don stát ar fad."
Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward has hit out at the lack of any mention of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMs) in the Programme of Government announced yesterday.
The omission comes despite the fact that some children are waiting up to three years for an appointment.
Speaking today, Teachta Ward said: "Having worked for numerous years in frontline mental health and addiction services, this Programme for Government does not go far enough.
"We need mental health services available when you need them and where you need them.
“I was astonished to see no mention of CAHMS. This is despite that, at the beginning of this year, we had 2327 children waiting on services from CAHMS.
“212 of these children were waiting more than a year for an appointment, 52 children waiting two years, and seven children waiting for over three years. This is nowhere near good enough.
"CAHMS needs urgent attention. Waiting on appointments can lead to a deterioration in mental health of a child, hinder their development in education and other areas.
“There are no plans on how the incoming government will address these waiting lists or increase the amount of staff needed to deal with the future demands on the service.
“Mental health is a core component of the overall health of our young people and having no mention of the CAHMS shows a total disregard for our children’s futures.
“There is also a move to further rely on the charity sector and non-government organisations (NGOs) to plug the gaps in our mental health services.
"We have seen in the past how this has failed with the collapse of Console and, more recently, the announcement that the HSE are investigating the finances of Pieta House.
“This would-be government is already failing to recognise the need to move towards the provision of mental health services by the state instead of relying on charities to cover successive government failings.
“The programme also seeks to expand the remit of the National Treatment Purchase Fund for mental health services. We should be directly funding public mental health services right now; this Programme for Government will once again depend on the private market to solve the systemic problems in our public services.
“There is also a mention of expanding the services provided by JIGSAW, which people from my constituency of Dublin Mid-West will find hard to believe after campaigning for the retention of a five-day-a-week comprehensive JIGSAW service in North Clondalkin that is being reduced to a possible one or two-day a week satellite service.
“We need a government that can adopt a modern outlook on mental health reform and to develop an understanding of the changed world we live in so that we can respond better to society’s needs.
"We could be on the verge of a mental health tsunami post COVID 19 and we need investment in mental health services right now."
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Seán Crowe has said that the Programme for Government agreed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Greens represents an abandonment of the Palestinian people at a time when they need international support more than ever.
Teachta Crowe said that the impending annexation of the West Bank and Jordan Valley necessitated Ireland recognising the State of Palestine in the face of such existential danger.
The removal of the Occupied Territories Bill from the Programme before a UN vote on Wednesday was a cynical betrayal of the Palestinians in the name of the outgoing Government’s vanity project of getting onto the Security Council, said Teachta Crowe.
The Dublin South West TD said;
“Palestine needs our support and the support of the international community now more than ever. The current Israeli government is cobbled together on the promise of further invasion and annexation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. This will begin as soon as July 1st.
“While the three presumptive parties of Government speak honied words of Ireland’s support for a two-State solution and their support of the Palestinian people, this unilateral action by the Israelis effectively ends any possibility of that solution. The outgoing Government continually cried false that ‘the time was not right’ to recognise the state of Palestine. It seems that Fine Gael managed to get that same lame justification into the Programme for Government.
“It is clear that the removal of the Occupied Territories Bill is little but a sop to the outgoing Government’s vanity project of getting onto the UN Security Council, a vote on which happens tomorrow.
“The Palestinians need more than just our solidarity now. They need firm and decisive action. Ireland must recognise the state of Palestine in the face of impending annexation. We must also enact the Occupied Territories Bill and show the world that Ireland will not stand for the plunder of illegally held lands anywhere in the world.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has condemned an attack on a house in Westbourne Crescent, Coleraine, in which the living room window of the house was smashed and containers of paint thrown inside, causing extensive damage.
Two cars parked outside the property were also damaged.
The East Derry MLA said:
"I have spoken to the police and they confirmed they are investigating this attack as a sectarian motivated hate crime.
“Everyone has the right to live free from the fear of intimidation or violence.
“Sectarianism has no place in our society and I call on all political and community leaders to show leadership and work to end these types of attacks.
“I condemn this attack and call on anyone with any information to bring it forward to the PSNI.”
Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon-Galway Claire Kerrane has called on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to publish plans for the return of driving tests.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have received figures from the Road Safety Authority with the breakdown by county of the numbers waiting for a driving test across the State, following my request to Minister Ross.
“The figures show that there are 55,027 people waiting for a driving test across the 49 testing centres in the State with the longest lists in Tallaght, Finglas and Cork.
“These numbers have skyrocketed from the 20,000 reported.
“There is now an urgent need for clear plans as to how driving lessons and driving tests can be re-introduced in a safe manner. Perspex dividing screens, PPE for instructors and testers, shorter driving routes all need to be examined.
“We also need to look at how other countries are managing this issue post-Covid.
“By now driving instructors, examiners and their unions should have been consulted along with the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport. We now need a plan on how we get over 55,000 people through their driving test.”
Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has called for the continuation of free school meal payments over the summer holiday period.
The Foyle MLA said:
“Payments made available to families in the absence of free school meals is due to come to an end at the end of June.
“This financial support has benefited over 100,000 children and their families during this period of the COVID-19 crisis and the 30th of June now represents a very real and severe cliff edge for these families.
“We now have a mechanism by which holiday hunger can be addressed through the fortnightly direct payment.
“The Department of Education must extend this financial support right through the summer period.
“Families already struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19 will struggle over the next two months with the additional cost of food if financial support is not put in place.
“The impact on some of the disadvantaged young people in our society has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and it’s vital we prioritise and support these young people and their families.
“The links between educational underachievement and deprivation are well known and the evidence suggests that children returning to school can often be weeks or months intellectually behind classmates who have access to a more wholesome diet during the holidays.”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay South Chris Andrews has described the abandonment of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party of the Occupied Territories Bill as 'truly disappointing.'
"Sadly, both Fianna Fáil and the Green Party - who both supported the Occupied Territories Bill in the previous Dáil and Seanad terms - have abandoned it in negotiations for their Programme for Government.
"By banning goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine from entering the Irish market, Ireland has the opportunity to be a world leader in the fight against the injustice and apartheid being carried out daily against the Palestinian people.
"It is a sad state of affairs when the rights of Palestinians are regarded as expendable, and the continued violations of international human rights law are to be tolerated at the behest of Fine Gael. This is truly disappointing on the part of both Fianna Fáil and the Green Party."
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said the British government's reckless decision not to request an extension to the Brexit transition period makes a no-deal exit more likely and heightens the need to plan for a referendum on Irish unity.
Declan Kearney said:
"The potential for a ‘no-deal' Brexit escalated on Friday when British Minister, Michael Gove officially informed the European Commission (EC) at a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, that his government would not seek an extension to the transition period out of the EU, which ends on 1 January 2021.
"It's a reckless policy position, which defies all logic in the midst of the international COVID-19 health emergency, with its attendant social and economic repercussions, and the strong probability of a deep economic recession to follow.
"The announcement by the British government was high handed and stupid. It was based on no other strategic consideration than to make it clear Britain is not beholden to any other authority.
"Brexit is a Tory wrecking ball. But with that comes unintended consequences.
"It is beginning to reset the political discourse in Europe, about relations with Britain, and between Ireland and Britain.
"One of the unintended consequences has been to accelerate a popular civic discussion in Ireland both north and south, about constitutional and social change, and Irish unity.
"Ever growing sections of political and civic opinion in Ireland and internationally are recognising that reunification is not only reasonable but also achievable.
"Uniting Ireland is a democratic solution which can provide a new, strategic way forward for Irish society.
"As Britain continues to default on its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement, and hurtle towards a potential ‘no-deal' exit from the EU, the economic and societal logic for Irish unity becomes even more urgent.
"With the clock ticking down to the end of Britain's transition period from the EU, the new economic and social opportunities, and potential of Irish unity, need to be developed into practical political and diplomatic strategies in both Ireland and Europe."
Read the full text of Declan Kearney's latest blog at: https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/27835
Following a visit to the clubhouse today where he met with Club Chairperson, Paul McCarthy, Declan Kearney said:
"Last night’s arson attack on the Naomh Séamas CLG premises was an act of wanton criminal vandalism, resulting in significant damage to the club shop and destruction of significant quantities of stock. This disgraceful act needs called out for what is, a crime against both the club and local community.
“It stands in stark contrast with the positive work of Naomh Séamas GAC in the Crumlin and Aldergrove area. This club is at the very heart of Crumlin community life, providing an outstanding service in promoting Gaelic games, supporting the development of our youth, and making a positive contribution to community well-being.
“During the ongoing health emergency its members have been to the fore of the COVID-19 community response, by showing exceptional leadership, and helping to bring essential aid to those most in need in the wider Crumlin community, as well as donating PPE to local nurses and health care staff.
“Not surprisingly the people of Crumlin and Aldergrove are already rallying around the club. I know that they, along with the management committee, membership and players, will ensure Naomh Séamas CLG recovers quickly from this latest act of vandalism against its premises.
“Having spoken with a senior PSNI officer earlier today, I am reassured that police are following a specific line of inquiry and hope to arrive at a positive outcome to this investigation.
“For now I am urging people to remain alert, and to contact local police if they are concerned about any suspicious activity in the community.”
Speaking following a Freedom of Information request confirming that Translink does not keep any records of the numbers of checks occurring on its buses between Belfast and Dublin, Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Martina Anderson said;
“At the Stormont Infrastructure Committee in March, I questioned Translink Officials on the apparent increase in passport and identity checks on buses travelling from Belfast to Dublin.
“Following this, Translink issued a public statement in the Irish News claiming there was no such increase of checks.
“Today we find out that Translink does not in fact keep any records on this.
"It is outrageous that Translink would publicly go on the record and dismiss the issue of checks without any factual evidence, especially when there are allegations these checks are facilitating blatant racial profiling.
“This is a potential dereliction of responsibility by Translink and they should immediately retract their false statement on cross-border checks.
“The Minister for Infrastructure should intervene to provide clarity on what law compels Translink to allow these checks to continue and why they have not equality screened.
“The Minister should also ensure an accurate record of all cases where law enforcement officers stop a bus for the purposes of these checks.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal Mallaghan has welcomed confirmation that everyone who has registered an interest in the Mid Ulster Council’s Gaeltacht Scholarship Scheme for 2020 will be considered for summer 2021.
The decision was taken by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to cancel all Summer Gaeltacht courses in light of the health restrictions due to Covid-19 in April.
The Chairperson of Mid Ulster Council said:
“Following restrictions that prevented students from attending Gaeltacht colleges this year, I made a request to the Council to ensure that every young person who planned to attend to get that opportunity next year.
“This has resulted in the money being set aside for bursaries and following the recent development committee a recommendation will go to council at the end of the month where those applicants will be surveyed to see if they wish to take up that opportunity.
“Every young person should have the opportunity to attend a summer Gaeltacht course and we all must do our part to support the survival of the Summer Colleges.
“No young person who had applied through Mid-Ulster Council will lose the opportunity to attend a Gaeltacht Summer College.
“The Gaeltacht regions are amazing for our young people to immerse themselves in our language and culture.
“We look forward to our young people returning to Summer Courses when it is safe to do so.”
Below is the response of Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD to the announcement that a Programme for Government has been agreed by the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party today:
Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have announced that they have agreed a Programme for Government and that agreement will now go to the members of each party for their endorsement or rejection.
A government led by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil together does not represent the change that people voted for in February.
In fact, it is an attempt to deny change.
To protect the status-quo.
To continue with the same broken politics that has so badly failed workers and families.
This agreement for more of the same wasn’t the only deal possible.
The chance to form a Government for Change is real.
Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin set about excluding Sinn Féin from government talks and, in doing so, they excluded the demand for change that came from the people.
Grassroots members of the Green Party know this is true.
Grassroots members of Fianna Fáil also know this is true.
The most important thing is what this means for the future.
No matter what happens, workers and families must not be the ones to shoulder the pain of the economic crisis.
We need investment, not cuts.
Ambition, not fear.
Vision, not more of the same.
The incomes of workers and families must be protected.
There can be no return to austerity.
Ireland needs a fresh start, not a return to the past.
To those who believe in a changed Ireland.
To those who have been so badly let down, time and again, by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments.
To you who voted for a government that would work to transform our society.
I say this;
I hear you. I see you. I continue stand with you.
I know you are impatient for change.
I am also impatient for change.
The team that I so proudly lead is impatient for change.
We know that the change you voted for is not some fanciful notion.
It is change rooted in solutions that will improve your life.
Sinn Féin has the policies and the people to deliver a fresh start for our people.
Pearse Doherty with our plan to reshape the economy, to build an economy that works for you and your family, and where you can retire with dignity at sixty-five.
Louise O'Reilly with our determination that you will have a single-tier national health service.
Eóin Ó Broin with our solutions to make housing affordable for workers and families
We will not let any government turn their face against these solutions that people so badly need.
Many people are disappointed watching Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil pushing back change.
Many might feel like giving up on change.
I know you are fed up of seeing the same old parties grabbing power to suit themselves.
It's okay to be fed up at times.
But I urge you not to give up.
Do not be disheartened by those who want to have everything their own way.
Do not turn-off or tune-out.
Do not be defeated.
The future, and who gets to shape it, depends on our refusal to let go of our belief in fairness, in community, in social justice and in unity.
That future is still there to be won.
I am not giving up.
Because I believe that we are within touching distance of a better Ireland.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can delay change, but they cannot stop it.
Our job now is to keep the ship pointed in the right direction and to keep everyone who shares that vision on board.
We knew changing Ireland wouldn't be easy
But nothing worth having has ever come easily.
A new Ireland is worth having.
It is worth believing in.
It is worth working for.
It is worth all the effort.
Those who benefit from the status-quo will say that the story of change is over.
Do not listen to them.
The story of change is only beginning.
Ní hionnan rialtas faoi stiúir Fine Gael agus Fianna Fáil le chéile an t-athrú a chaith daoine a vóta ar a shon i Mí Feabhra.
Tá a fhois ag gnáthbhail an Comhaontas Ghlas go bhfuil sé seo fír.
Tá a fhois ag gnáthbhail Fianna Fáil go bhfuil sé seo fír freisin.
Níor vótáil gnáthdaoine a chaith a vóta do na bpáirtithe seo chun Fine Gael a chuir ar ais in rialtas.
Dóibh siúd a chaith a vóta ar son athraithe, impím oraibh gan tabhair isteach.
Ná caill croí
Níl mé ag tabhairt isteach
Cé gur féidir le Fine Gael agus Fianna Fáil moill a chur ar athrú, ní féidir leo é a stopadh.
Sinn Féin will not allow Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to waste the potential, the possibilities and the aspirations of our people.
There is a better way and a fairer way.
That means putting people and communities first.
Sinn Féin will defend the change that the people voted for.
Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for workers and families.
Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has raised the issue of Irish passports not being accepted for identity verification for the COVID19 self-employed income support scheme with HMRC and the Irish Government.
Speaking the West Tyrone MP said:
“In recent days the Sinn Féin MP team met with HMRC and the NIO on a variety of issues, including Brexit and COVID-19 support schemes.
“It's concerning that it has been over a month since the self-employed income support scheme has been active but Irish passport holders can still not use their passports to verify their identity.
“Many self-employed workers across the North who hold Irish passports have not been able to access this support scheme as the online application does not accept Irish passports as a verified form of identification.
“The Good Friday Agreement commits to rigorous impartiality and enables citizens in the North to hold either an Irish or British passport or both.
“Citizens must have their identity respected and should not be placed at a disadvantage for holding an Irish passport.
“HMRC officials have said that it is a matter for the Irish Government to share information and data for them to verify Irish passports.
“I have written to the Irish Government to request that they facilitate this process in the interest of equal treatment for Irish citizens residing in the north.
“As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement the Irish Government must act to protect the rights of Irish citizens in the North.
“During the recent Emma De Souza case, the Irish Government acknowledged that more needs to be done to support confidence in the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.
"Sinn Féin will continue to actively work to strengthen the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement."
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan today called on the caretaker Government to outline what steps they will be taking to ensure Shannon Airport remains viable.
He warned that the situation is critical as, without urgent government support, the airport will struggle to compete in what is becoming an increasingly difficult market. Immediate intervention is now needed.
Deputy Quinlivan’s comments come as United Airlines announced they are set to cancel their Shannon operation.
Speaking today, Teachta Quinlivan said;
“This announcement by United Airlines is bad news for consumers, for Shannon Airport and for the mid-west. This follows on Aer Lingus’s terrible treatment of the Mid-West region and its staff with none of their flights departing from Shannon during the COVID-19 crisis.
“United Airlines entry to the market saw more competition in the transatlantic market, resulting in more competitive fares for Irish consumers.
“The loss of this airline’s services is a real shame, and it will result in thousands of less visitors arriving into the mid-west when flights resume.
“This move does mean that Shannon Airport will have to become more proactive when it comes to seeking out new routes and airline partners, in order to compete with Dublin Airport. It cannot do this alone and needs urgent Government intervention.
"Shannon Airport faces a very difficult future. The situation is critical. The last Aer Lingus Heathrow flight operated on April 5th and the airport is currently handling only transit, cargo and other airfield related movements as a result of the current restrictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of international travel and without Government support the airport will simply not be able to compete.
“A proper bus link and rail line should be developed to get passengers into the city as quickly and conveniently as possible and provide increased access to Shannon Airport from the mid-west. Parking fees at the airport need to be made more competitive. The Transport Minister must ensure that at least every second bus from Cork to Galway serves the airport in the future.
“Over the years Shannon has done very well with flights into Shannon with visitors from North America, boosting tourism and benefitting the local economy. The loss of any of these airlines’ services will be a real shame, and it will result in hundreds of thousands of fewer visitors arriving into the mid-west. Our economy has already been battered by the pandemic and does not need another blow like this.
“Once the immediate pandemic emergency ends and we turn to putting our economy back on track, a functioning and resourced Shannon airport will be a key part of the infrastructure needed to achieve this.
“Shannon Airport needs to be an attractive option for consumers and airlines, so that they will choose to use the airport over Cork and Dublin. An ambitious plan can only be achieved with the delivery of the necessary Government resources
“Shannon Airport and its board need to up their game and invest more in better facilities that will see consumers and airlines choose to use the airport over Cork and Dublin.”
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has confirmed that a senior Sinn Féin delegation will be attending a joint meeting with both the South Eastern and the Southern Health Trust Chief Executives to discuss the restoration of services at the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals.
The South Down MP was speaking following the publication of the Trusts' COVID19 recovery plans in recent days.
Mr Hazzard said:
“Due to the COVID19 pandemic our local community in the wider South Down and Newry area was left without local access to vital services in the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals as the health system’s response to the Coronavirus required what amounted to extraordinary measures for an extraordinary time.
“Both the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals were left unrecognisable as Emergency and Outpatients services - amongst others - were closed from Monday 30th March.
“Where required, all available staff and equipment from these units were also requisitioned for use in other parts of the Southern and South Eastern trust area.
"In agreeing to the radical reconfiguration of the Downe and Daisy Hill hospitals in March, our local community made a big sacrifice in order to accommodate the unprecedented demands made by the Health Trusts in the fight against COVID-19.
“This was the right thing to do at the right time; however, there is an onus now on Trust management to respond in kind to our local community.
“The recently published ‘Recovery Plans’ have delayed the restoration of vital services to our local community, this has caused significant concern amongst many people locally who fear that ‘temporary closure’ might inevitably mean ‘permanent removal’.
“A delegation of Sinn Féin representatives from the South Down, Newry and Armagh areas will now be meeting with both Shane Devlin (CEO Southern Trust) and Seamus McGoran (Interim CEO South Eastern Trust) in the days ahead to discuss the recovery plans, and ultimately the full restoration of services as soon as possible.”