Sinn Féin - On Your Side

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called for honesty, transparency, and certainty in relation to the ongoing debacle of the new Children’s Hospital. Teachta Cullinane was reacting to the Minister for Health’s less than reassuring interview on Morning Ireland this morning. 

Teachta Cullinane said that it was deeply disappointing that the Minister for Health was still unable to give a completion date, a handover date, or even an estimated final cost.

The TD for Waterford said that the Minister’s hands-off approach over the last two years left him sitting on the side-lines. The Minister did not hold a single formal meeting with the Development Board in 2022 or early 2023 to grapple with this project. 

Teachta Cullinane said that an agreement on reasonable costs and completion timeframes is needed urgently to deliver the new hospital for the benefit of the 100,000 children languishing on hospital waiting lists.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“I was deeply disappointed and frustrated with the Minister for Health’s less than reassuring interview on Morning Ireland this morning.

“We are now at a stage where the lead developer is saying they cannot deliver the project by May next year, and the Development Board is saying they don’t believe them and that the developer has failed to sufficiently resource the project. 

"All the while, the Minister has spent the last two years sitting on the side-lines without holding a single formal meeting with the Development Board to grapple with this project. He allowed this issue to get out of control and come to a head in the last few months and is reacting to controversy instead of getting to grips with this fiasco.

“We need honesty, transparency, and certainty in relation to this project. We need full disclosure of the relevant facts. The Minister is fooling nobody by hiding the facts. 

“This project desperately needs a final agreement on reasonable costs and completion timeframes. It is the Minister for Health’s job to get this done. He is not a commentator or an observer. It is his responsibility to get a deal and deliver the hospital for the benefit of the 100,000 children languishing on hospital waiting lists.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has criticised the setting of a 320-patients-on-trolleys target in the HSE’s Urgent and Emergency Care Operational Plan, saying that this target is "unacceptably high" and is "normalising the trolley crisis".

Teachta Cullinane said that continually raising the bar instead of hitting targets is an admission of failure by Government and the HSE, and that a zero-tolerance approach, which has worked in Kilkenny, Waterford, and other hospitals, is needed right across the State.

The Waterford TD said:

“It is unacceptable that a target of 320 patients on trolleys would be set in the HSE’s plan for urgent and emergency care. Raising the bar instead of hitting meaningful targets is a total admission of failure by the Government and the HSE.

“This was a crisis figure several years ago, when Fine Gael took office and pledged to end the trolley crisis. It was unacceptably high then and it is unacceptably high now. The level of ambition needed is totally lacking from this Government.

“This target will only serve to normalise the trolley crisis. It sends a message to hospitals that 320 patients on trolleys is acceptable. It is not acceptable.

"If an arbitrary figure had been used in Waterford, I have no doubt that we would still have a trolley crisis in UHW. Instead, management put in place a zero-tolerance approach to patients on trolleys and this has worked. We need to see that approach replicated across the State.

“I am under no illusion that this can be achieved everywhere overnight. It will take time. But it has to start with ambition. If the ambition is wrong from the start, if the targets are wrong, the health service will not overcome the trolley crisis.

“The Minister for Health must put in place a zero-tolerance approach. He must ensure that best practice is being applied at every hospital.

"He must put in place a rapid investment plan to build up the physical capacity in hospitals like University Hospital Limerick where there are clearly too few beds.

The Minister must also support hospitals to perform better by investing in primary care and general practice to take a higher volume of urgent care.”


Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, Pa Daly, has again highlighted the lengthy Cork and Kerry CHO waiting lists for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) first-time appointments. 

Teachta Daly said: 

“CHO 4, which includes Kerry, is the worst area in the country for those waiting, with figures released today stating that 976 children are awaiting appointments.

“Kerry is the epicentre of this crisis, and whilst dealing with the national issue important, it is clear families and children in the county are being left behind.

“The Maskey report, which was a damning indictment of CAMHS, was published in January 2022. There has been little to no action since then, aside from further reports telling many Kerry parents what they already know: that CAMHS is not fit for purpose. 

“Time is simply running out for many, as they grow older without the support they need. For those who were victims of the deficiencies in the past, many have spoken to me about how they wish to see what happened to them never happen again. 

“To give them that assurance, we need to have a plan that will transform child and youth mental health services.

“Sinn Féin have just such a plan, with capital investment and accountability reforms prioritised. 

“Staff and workforce planning is crucial also. Anything short of this will fail, and if we do not learn the lessons of the CAHMS scandal, there will be more and more children let down in the future.”


Sinn Féin junior spokesperson on Defence, Réada Cronin TD, has written to the Tánaiste asking him to examine, urgently, any mooted closure of the fire station at the Curragh Camp.  

She said a designated fire service at the camp is essential given it is already so much relied on and that there are munitions on site.   

“To deprive the Curragh Camp of its fire service because of a lack of Defence-Force personnel would be retrograde and reckless. Staff at the Curragh must have  the physical and psychological security of an emergency service as they, themselves, work diligently and loyally in the service of the State. ”

“The current poor working conditions of staff in the fire service reflect the wider personnel crisis across the Defence Forces. Our Defence Forces have been neglected and have been deprived of government money, respect and attention. This must change and urgently. 

“I have asked the Tánaiste to make sure the fire station at the Curragh Camp remains open and that he address the wider issues of pay, conditions and recruitment in our Defence Forces with equal urgency.”


Sinn Fein spokesperson for Older People, Patricia Ryan TD, has urged government to act urgently to address the shortfall in nursing home beds.

She warned that ‘catastrophic social and financial costs will be incurred unless there is an immediate step-change in the position of Government around support for the private and voluntary nursing home sector’.

Her comments follow reports that approval for a project to build 40 public nursing home beds in Clifden, Co Galway at a cost of €35.34m will equate to a cost of €883,500 per bed. This is approximately 445% more than the cost of developing private nursing home beds in rural areas which-was €162k in 2022 according to independent analysis by PWC of publicly available and sector participant data for Nursing Homes Ireland.

Teachta Ryan said:

“Government must act urgently to address this substantial shortfall of nursing home beds.

"Every time we look at the data and the trajectory of where this issue is headed, the more terrifying the situation becomes.

“For example, 36% growth in bed capacity is required by 2031 if HSE forecast targets are to be reached.

“Indeed, the HSE’s own Health Service Capacity Review indicated that 43,000 additional beds would be needed by that time.

“However, we also know from the PWC analysis that if current levels of nursing home closures continue and no new capacity is added after 2024 only 27,000 beds will be available.

“That is a major supply deficit of 16,000 beds. Where are those people to go and who will respond to their increasing levels of complex physical and care needs?

“I also find it incredibly alarming to note that rural and urban nursing home developments have experienced significant increases in development cost per bed over the last 5 years.

“In fact, in rural Ireland the cost of developing a nursing home bed in 2017 was €111k. However, in 2022 the cost had jumped by €51k to €162k.

“As I understand it from my consistent engagement with NHI and nursing home operators, the proportion of nursing homes reporting an operating loss has increased from 4% in 2018 to 33% in 2022. If that trend continues then we are in serious and uncharted territory.

“Government must give absolutely urgent consideration to allocating additional funding to the private nursing and voluntary sector to ensure the short-term viability of nursing homes and halt further closures.

“This makes clear social and financial sense when you consider that an additional €201 per bed per week of additional funding to keep these beds available is a fraction of the difference between the average private and public bed rates of €744 as of January 2023.

"Older people should be able to enjoy their golden years comfortably in safe, supportive settings. They and their families should never have to face the additional worry and stress of struggling to find a suitable home when needed.

"Sinn Féin in government would stand up for older people and end the scandal of this nursing home bed shortfall.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for an immediate Government intervention to ensure the specialist MSc in children’s mental health is reinstated at Trinity. 

The College stated difficulty in finding specialist teaching staff to run the course this year, as the reason for its suspension.

Speaking after reports on this morning, Teachta Ward said,

“I am calling on the Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, and the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler, to work with Trinity to come up with a solution that will see this course reinstated.

“More must be done to plan for the future of the CAMHS workforce, in light of figures released yesterday which show that over 4,300 children are waiting on an appointment with the service.

“There are also huge discrepancies on how long a child has to wait based on where they live.

“If the Government is serious about reforming CAMHS, this course is of significant importance.

“It is very concerning that the provision of this vital and specialist course on children’s mental health has stalled. 

“Workforce planning is vital in the recruitment of specialists and in the provision of mental health care. We are seeing mental health services in crisis right across the state, and in particular in the area of child and adolescent mental health services.

“This comes at a time when 735 children have been waiting over a year for CAMHS services, representing a 209% increase since the Government was formed in 2020.

“There have been numerous reports into CAMHS recently, which have shown the inefficiencies by both government and HSE.

“The specialist MSc in children’s mental health provided by Trinity is open to people from a range of different backgrounds. These include: professions who work with children, adolescents and families with mental health issues including medicine, education services, speech and language therapy, psychology, and nurses."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Communications, Martin Kenny TD, has this evening responded to reports that P&O Ferries are to end their Dublin-Liverpool route in the coming months.

The current route operates twice daily, transporting both passengers and freight.

Teachta Kenny said: 

“I am deeply concerned to hear that P&O Ferries are preparing to terminate their passenger and freight service between Dublin and Liverpool.  

“This service has been running twice a day, seven days a week, and I understand may be ceased at the end of December. 

“This is a hugely important service, and we need to see immediate action towards maintaining this route. 

“I am calling on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to put every effort into saving this service.  Not only is this a valuable service, but the loss of the route could see around 60 employees out of their jobs. 

“As an island nation, we cannot underestimate the importance of these passenger and freight ferry services."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government and regulator to ensure that the decrease in wholesale electricity prices are urgently passed on to ordinary workers and families. 
The Meath East TD was commenting on the latest figures from the CSO which report that wholesale electricity prices have fallen to their lowest point in two years.  
Teachta O'Rourke said:
“According to the wholesale price index, electricity prices have fallen to a two year low. This follows a 17.9% reduction between June and July, and a 64% drop when compared to July last year.

“It is absolutely essential that these savings are passed onto consumers with immediate effect. It is totally unacceptable that ordinary workers and families continue to suffer under the weight of sky high energy bills while prices and profits continue to soar. 
“Despite the fact that retail prices are falling all over Europe, Ireland remains an outlier, with our electricity bills an eye-watering 80 percent above the EU average. 
“According to the CRU’s latest figures, the average annual domestic electricity bill is between an eye-watering €2023 - €2886.  There have been massive increases in arrears and disconnections during the first half of this year. Between February and May there has been an increase of over 10% in the number of households in arrears (364,131 to 405,997). This means that there are now over 400,000 households in arrears. The figures for domestic electricity arrears are particularly alarming. From February this year to the end of May, the number of households in arrears shot up by almost 30,000 to a staggering 240,791. Unsurprisingly, energy poverty is at an all time high.
“These figures are shocking. They are the inevitable consequence of a government and a regulator that continues to allow energy companies to run rough-shod over consumers.
“In February and March, the Taoiseach and Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan, told us that the government would ensure energy companies bring prices down; that this would be more than ‘polite encouragement.’ It is now August and despite wholesale prices falling further, nothing has changed. Instead the government and regulator seem content to act as mere commentators. Whether incompetence or negligence, it is clear a step-change is needed. 
 “Winter is fast approaching and many families risk not being able to keep the heat and lights on if things continue as they are. Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on the government and the regulator to get to grips with the chaos that reigns in Ireland’s energy market. If today’s most recent news is anything to go by, It is high-time they heeded those calls.”


Pa Daly TD,  Sinn Féin spokesperson for Justice, has commented on reported moves by the Minister for Justice to deploy the armed response and public order units in Dublin City Centre.  
Teachta Daly said:

“We have been very clear for a number of months now that urgent action needs to be taken in respect of public safety in Dublin City Centre. The confidence of workers, families, businesses and communities in the area, as well as visitors from the island and overseas, was being eroded.
“An increased Garda presence in the city centre is no doubt required, but the extra resources must address these concerns and build confidence.
“I would sound a note of caution in relation to some aspects of the proposed changes. It is crucial that we get this important issue right. We need more details about the deployment of public order and armed response units. This must be a short term response. Policing requires the faith and co-operation of the communities being policed. We also need to see a medium and long-term response that addresses the core issues that Fine Gael have neglected for so long.
“In addition, whilst extra Garda overtime is proposed, along with the reallocation of some staff, this does not solve the fundamental issue that there are not enough active numbers to cover what is required. This risks stretching Gardaí even thinner and compromising policing elsewhere as well.
“Short-term, government must publish the regulations for the Garda Reserve so that An Garda Síochána can recruit more part-time members, and redeploy full time members. Also, as recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing, Gardai must be freed from non core activities.

“It’s time for Fine Gael to end their failed approach to policing issues in Dublin, so that all communities can feel safe.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has responded to new Forestry Statistics published today, stating that these figures highlight the Government’s continued failure to delivery on Forestry.

The report is compiled and published annually by Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and provides key statistics on the forestry sector in the State.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Today’s report further underlines what we already know - that the Government have failed and continue to fail to deliver on forestry.

“The newly-published Forestry Sector statistics show that not only have key forestry metrics plummeted in recent years, they remain at some of the lowest levels of the past decade.

“For example, there was just 2,273ha of afforestation in 2022. This is compared with 6,652ha of afforestation in 2022.  

“There is an annual target of 8,000ha of afforestation, yet we are looking at a combined total of 6,723 for the past three years.

“As well as this, the report starkly highlights the lack of confidence in the sector from farmers and foresters and the impact this has had on buy-in in recent years.

“For example, in 2017 there was 536 farmers involved in afforestation in the State. This number has dropped to just 76 as of 2022.

“The statistics published today make clear that this Government has mismanaged forestry. We are now 8 months into 2023 and desperately need the new Forestry Programme in place.

“There remains a lack of clarity and uncertainty about when that will be. Farmers and foresters have called for information to be provided on the status of the new programme but, this has not been provided.

“In fact, we are still awaiting further clarity on the approved €308m for afforestation that was announced last week.

“Given the serious challenges facing the forestry sector, which are underlined by today’s Forestry Statistics report, it is alarming that the Government have not provided the sector with further update on the status of other measures within the Programme.

“Farmers and foresters need certainty. I am calling on Minister Hackett to provide an update on the new Forestry Programme in full.”


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Sport, Chris Andrews TD, has called for an independent inquiry into the tragic death of two athletes at the Cork Ironman.
Speaking today, Teachta Andrews said:
“A terrible tragedy unfolded at the weekend, which saw the deaths of two athletes taking part in the Cork Ironman.
“My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved family members.
“An event that should have brought much celebration of achievement, has led to devastation for the families and friends of these two men.
“Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials, who were present before the start of the race, due to the adverse weather conditions, have said they confirmed to the race organisers that it was not possible to sanction the race.
“We need to see an independent inquiry take place into the conditions on the day and the tragic deaths of these two athletes, and I call on Sport Ireland to take a central role in this.”


Sinn Fein spokesperson on Communications and Transport, Martin Kenny TD, has called on management within the National Car Test Service to explain their decision to move to a cashless, pre-pay model of payment in the coming months. 

The announcement was made yesterday by the NCT, and has been met with confusion and anger by members of the public.     
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:

“This announcement was made with little follow-up information.  The only information motorists currently have is that at some stage in the coming months, the centres will stop accepting cash payments. 
“According to the announcement, NCT will only accept a pre-payment made online or by postal order.  Motorists have been left without the basic information here, including a start date for the introduction of the new pre-pay model. 
“I have made contact with NCT senior management and asked for a detailed explanation of this upcoming change, and indeed how they have reached this decision in the first place. 
“Given the technical and digital difficulties we’ve seen with some of our long-standing banks over the last number of months, people are – quite rightly – concerned about moving towards online payments and cashless transactions. 
“This announcement was a bolt from the blue which has shocked and angered the public.  In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, it’s understandable that many people wait until the day of their NCT to pay at the centre because they simply do not have the money until then. 
“NCT need to re-think this decision.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called out Government Ministers for failing to challenge the banking sector and support hard-pressed citizens as mortgage interest rates and bank profits have soared.

Teachta Doherty said:

“For several months Sinn Féin has been calling for action as households have seen mortgage interest soar while deposit rates for savers have remained stubbornly.

“Since February we have warned that Irish banks could accrue huge profits on the back of rising interest rates as households struggle.

“For months these warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

“In the past week we have heard Government Ministers offer nothing but empty words as Irish banks are on course to record combined profits of €5 billion this year alone.

“In the past year Irish mortgage holders have seen their interest rates soar, with 2 in 5 households set to see their annual mortgage costs rise by €3,000.

“Workers and families who had their mortgages sold to vulture funds are facing rates as high as 10 percent.

“Fine Gael and Minister Simon Harris have no credibility whatsoever.

“This is a party that welcomed the sale of mortgages to vulture funds.

“Fine Gael is a party that, together with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, reduced the bank levy and allow banks to reduce their corporation tax liability through the use of historic losses.

“This Government has been the ultimate laggard in challenging the banking sector as their profits and net interest income soar at the expense of borrowers and savers.”


Sinn Fein spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for an end to the postcode lottery of services for children attending the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Figures released today show that over 4,300 children are waiting on a first-time appointment with CAMHS, with huge discrepancies on how long a child has to wait based on where they live.

Teachta Ward said:

“Figures released this morning regarding the number of our young people waiting on vital mental health services are of no surprise.

“Under this Government, waiting lists for CAMHS have only gone one way and that is up.

“There are now over 4,300 young people waiting on a first-time appointment with CAMHS. When this Government was formed in 2020, this list was at 2,115 children.

“This is a 106% increase under this Government's watch.

“What is even more concerning is that 735 of these children have been waiting for over a year for CAMHS services which is a 209% increase since 2020.

“Access to Children's mental health services should be based on need and not where you live.

“A postcode lottery of care has developed which has led to some children waiting longer for an appointment based on their location.

“CHO 4, which includes Kerry, has the largest number of young people waiting on an appointment with CAMHS, currently standing at 976.

“Kerry was the subject of the Maskey report, which was a damning indictment of CAMHS. This report was published in January 2022 and the government has failed to act.

“There have been numerous reports into CAMHS recently, which have shown the inefficiencies by both government and HSE.

“The increase is right across the state with CHO 2, which covers Mayo, Roscommon and Galway, showing the largest increase of 600% in young people waiting on mental health care since this Government was formed.

“If children do not get early intervention mental health supports at primary care level, they are more likely going to need the more acute services provided by CAMHS.

“The Primary Care Psychology waiting list for children now stands at 16,253 with 6,129 children waiting for over a year.

“The 2020 figures were 9,689 waiting and 5,353 over a year so that’s 68% of children waiting on primary care mental health supports.

“We have gone beyond crisis point in children’s mental health care and the Minister has gone missing.

“The latest Mental Health Commission report had 49 recommendations and I have no idea if the Government will act on them.

“Sinn Féin has published a plan that will transform child and youth mental health services out of a state of crisis.

“Capital investment and accountability reforms are needed in the sector, along with planning for staff to meet the demands of the service.

“We have set out achievable policies, grounded in reality and based on evidence, to deliver the ambitious change that is needed.

“There is also a cliff-edge in our mental health services for young people at 18. There is inconsistent continuity of care, and many young people fall out of services or never access them.

“These failures mean that early intervention is passing our young people by."


Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said businesses impacted by toxic algae should look into Hardship Rate Relief.

The East Derry MLA said:

"Occurrences of toxic algae this summer are very concerning from an environmental perspective and I have been in repeated contact with the NI Environment Agency about this.

"Toxic algae in both the River Bann and the sea off the north coast at Castlerock, Portstewart, Benone and Portrush has also occurred at the busiest time of the year for tourism, which is when many local businesses make the most of their annual income, and therefore has had a detrimental impact on local businesses.

"Businesses who have been directly impacted as a result of toxic algae may be able to get some help in the form of Hardship Rate Relief.

"Hardship Rate Relief is intended to assist a business recover from a temporary crisis, financial or otherwise, as a result of exceptional circumstances.

"So I would encourage businesses to check if they are eligible for this assistance and further information is available at 'nibusinessinfo'." 


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called for more robust regulation of Ireland’s energy market. 
The Meath East TD made the comments in relation to the entrance of new electricity provider, Yuno, to the market.

Teachta O’Rourke argued that the lower rate offered made it clear that it was possible for energy companies to reduce their prices, adding further weight to Sinn Féin’s call for a step-change in energy price regulation. 
Teachta O'Rourke said:
“According to the CRU’s latest figures, the average annual domestic electricity bill is between an eye-watering €2,023 - €2,886. However, today, a new provider entered the Irish market offering a rate of 38.04c per kilowatt hour which would lead to potential savings of up to €500 for Irish workers and households.
“This is certainly welcome news. With electricity prices approximately 80 percent above the EU average, Yuno’s lower rate will provide some much needed reprieve to Irish workers and families who have been struggling under sky-high energy bills for well over a year now. 
“What is most significant about this newer unit rate is that it demonstrates there is clearly scope for energy companies to reduce their prices.

"Today’s news comes off the back of the fact that we have repeatedly been told by energy suppliers, by the regulator and even by the government that reduced costs to households were simply not a possibility.

"What today’s news makes abundantly clear is what Sinn Féin has been saying for months now - that energy providers can and should lower their retail prices. 
“The fact is that wholesale prices have been falling for months now, leading to falls in retail prices in many other EU states. Yet Ireland remains an outlier, with Irish workers and families failing to see any changes in their sky-high energy bills.
“Any benefits of reduced wholesale prices are being gobbled up by energy providers. Prices and profits continue to soar, with the government and the regulator acting as mere bystanders to this chaos. That is totally unacceptable.

“With Winter fast approaching, Sinn Féin is calling on the government and the regulator to get to grips with this situation and to prioritise energy affordability.

"The chaos that has reigned for far too long cannot continue. And what today has shown is that it certainly does not need to.” 


Sinn Féin TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, Brian Stanley TD, has said RTÉ must act to ensure there is a change of culture within the public broadcaster.

His comments follow confirmation by RTÉ that contract negotiations with Ryan Tubridy have concluded without plans for the host to return to the media organisation.

Teachta Stanley said:

“The decision not to renew Mr Tubridy’s contract is a matter for RTÉ. It is clear that the issues at the heart of this scandal went far beyond one individual. Serious questions remain about the broader culture in RTÉ that has been unearthed in recent months. 

“There has evidently been an insider culture with opaque sweet heart deals for ‘top talent’ in stark contrast to the conditions experienced by ordinary workers. We have also seen a concerning lack accountability and transparency around the spending of taxpayers’ money, with farcical revelations around luxury trips and events funded by public money. All of this is indicative of a broader culture that will not be resolved with the employment of a single individual.

“PAC has requested 58 pieces of information, some of which have not been provided by RTÉ or only provided partially. I am again appealing for them to submit this information without any further delay. This includes crucial information around exit packages for top staff, the names of those involved in the Renault deal and the details of commercial deals for other presenters. 

“We need to see this information provided so that the whole system can be reformed and public confidence can be restored in our public service broadcaster. It is crucial that the public can trust RTÉ once again and know that the public money it receives is spent with the transparency, accountability and respect necessary.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Matt Carthy TD, has welcomed the passing of a motion at the Australian Labor Party's national conference supporting the reunification of Ireland.

The motion, Amendment 170A Supporting the Reunification of Ireland, was carried yesterday. 

Speaking today, Mr Carthy said:

“I welcome that the Australian Labor Party's delegates have voted resoundingly in favour of a motion supporting the reunification of Ireland at their national conference. The ALP's friendship with and solidarity towards the people of Ireland, reflects the deep bonds between our two nations. Pearse Doherty and I saw evidence of this strengthening relationship during our recent visit to Australia.

“The passing of this motion is a very positive step and reflects the growing interest both nationally and internationally in the benefits that Irish unity will bring to people across the island.  Just as international support was crucial in delivering the peace process so too will be be crucial in making Irish Unity a success for everyone on this island.

“It is undeniable that there is a growing, vibrant and positive conversation around the need for constitutional change to unlock the potential of communities across Ireland. 

“The onus is on the Irish government to begin planning for this constitutional change. The time to engage in clear-eyed discussion about a referendum is now. Failure to plan or engage in these discussions helps no-one. The Irish government must act now.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has urged the Minister for Health to move quickly to reduce delays in access to first-rate new cancer therapies.

Teachta Cullinane was reacting to claims made by leading oncologists that 1-in-4 cancer patients are not getting access to the first-rate therapies they need.
The Waterford TD said that the current system for approving new treatments takes far too long, and that ending months-long delays can make the difference for patients.

Approval for reimbursement is necessary for a treatment to be available to public patients. New treatments are often waiting two years or more for approval, compared to one-to-two years in most European countries.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“It is unacceptable that 1-in-4 cancer patients are not getting access to the first-rate therapies that they need.
“The HSE's approval process for reimbursement of new treatments takes far too long. This has been known for some time, and was confirmed earlier this year by the long-awaited review of the HSE drug reimbursement process.
“Ending months-long delays can make the difference for patients.
“Ireland is behind the curve on approving new medicines for public patients. Many of these treatments are available to private patients and this inequality is unacceptable.
“Value for money is important to manage the health budget, but other countries are achieving value for money and quicker access for their patients.
“It is beyond time that the HSE stops relying on companies to come to it looking to sell their treatments. We must move to a model where clinicians can seek out the best treatments and work proactively with the HSE to bring them into the system.
“Urgency is needed from the Minister for Health to increase resourcing and transparency in the approval process, and reduce the length of time that patients are waiting for new treatments to be approved by the HSE.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications and Transport, Martin Kenny TD, has called on Minister for Local Government,  Darragh O’Brien, to commit to a plan of action as rural communities face into the winter months and more inclement weather forecasts. 

This calls come as a result of a number of Local Link operators being unable to run their services due to icy road conditions in the winter months. 

Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:

“We have a situation in many rural areas where the secondary roads are not gritted or cleared adequately during icy conditions.  This is impacting on the operation of Local Link bus services which are a vital connector for many towns and villages across rural Ireland. 

“As the number of people working from home or working in a hybrid model continues to rise, so too does their reliance on the Local Link service in their communities. 

“In theory, the Department of Local Government and each Local Authority are responsible for ensuring roads being served by NTA vehicles are cleared and useable.  In reality, this is not the case. 

“I have been in contact both with Local Link operators and with commuters who use these services who report cancellations of routes because of secondary roads not being cleared or gritted during cold or inclement weather. 

“Earlier today I wrote to both the Minister and the NTA to express my concern, and to highlight this issue. 

"Government has time to plan for these events, and the public need to know what those plans entail.  I am seeking a commitment from the Minister in particular to ensure teams are in place to grit and clear the secondary roads for use by these services.

“Those relying on public transport in rural Ireland must be encouraged to continue bringing their carbon footprint down.  One of the most basic ways we can do that is by ensuring their services remain reliable throughout the winter." 

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