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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has welcomed the admission of officials from the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment that the Tánaiste’s draft remote working bill was "flawed", and that changes will be brought forward.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

"Remote working, or working from home, is not just a response to the pandemic.

"For many years workers, trade unions, and politicians have been highlighting the benefits of remote working and pushing for it to be recognised as a protected form of work with particular safeguards, protections, and allowances for those workers.

"A report on the right to request remote working, published by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, highlighted that workers see remote and hybrid working as key to the future of work.

"Therefore, it was unsurprising that workers were confused and angry that the government’s proposed legislation on a right to request remote working was conservative and fell far short of what was expected.

"The Tánaiste’s 13 sweeping and subjective reasons to allow an employer deny a remote working request were far from fair, reasonable, or proportionate.

"The flawed legislation was exacerbated by the fact the appeal mechanism outlined in the draft heads of bill was far too weak.

"These were issues which Sinn Féin, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and many others raised when the legislation was first published.

"Thankfully, at the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee this morning, officials from the Department outlined that they are currently strengthening the bill and looking to reduce the number of grounds for refusal, improve the redress provisions, and strengthen the right of appeal mechanisms.

"This legislation will be judged on whether workers have confidence that it compels employers to be fair, reasonable, and consistent in their considerations – unfortunately, as it stands, it does none of these things.

"For the vast majority of workers, remote working throughout the pandemic was a positive experience, however, it stands, the Tánaiste’s remote working bill is one step forward, two steps backwards for workers.

"Therefore, it is essential that the Tánaiste and officials in the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee significantly amend the draft remote working bill to ensure it delivers for workers.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said TDs must take the opportunity to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital is a public hospital on public land.

His comments come amid reports that a vote will be called on his party’s motion this evening about the future of the hospital.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Cullinane said:

“TDs have an opportunity now to do the right thing and back Sinn Féin’s motion to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital is a public hospital on public land. TDs can vote to require the government to engage in high-level talks with St Vincent’s Healthcare Group about serious unresolved issues around land ownership.

“The government’s approach to this issue continues to be deeply alarming. Their deal is legally messy and this government has failed to engage in serious or meaningful discussions, in the words of the Chair of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, to acquire ownership of the land, and failed to provide adequate assurances that there is no risk to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services in the decades to come.

“I asked the Minister and the Taoiseach several times over the last number of weeks about what efforts are being made to persuade St. Vincent Healthcare Group to gift the land to the State. It also transpired earlier this week that there was no communication from the head of Government, the Taoiseach, with St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group. That is unbelievable given the importance of this issue.

“We are going to lock ourselves into this flawed legal framework for generations to come. The cabinet’s decision yesterday was not the right decision. The women of Ireland deserve better than the dismissive way in which the Health Minister has walked into this mess.

“TDs must do the right thing now and ensure that they back our motion this evening.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said with the latest figures published today showing inflation soaring to 9%, hitting a 40-year high, the DUP needs to get back into the Executive immediately to put money into people's pockets, to support farmers and businesses, and to agree a budget to start to fix our health service.

The party's economy spokesperson said:

"With inflation soaring to 9%, hitting a 40-year high on the back rising energy, fuel and food costs, it is clear the DUP needs to get back into the Executive and work with other parties to support people struggling with the cost of living crisis. 

"It is a dereliction of duty that the DUP, aided and abetted by Boris Johnson's government, would block the Executive formation and sit outside government while people struggle to put food on the table and heat their homes.

"We need to have ministers in place to take decisions to allocate the £400 million of funding available and put money into people's pockets, support farmers and businesses and to agree a budget to start to fix our health service." 

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Government to sanction urgent and meaningful engagement with the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association to resolve genuine long-standing pay and career issues.

He said that these issues have been dragging on for over a decade and that Medical Lab Scientists, who are critical to the delivery of normal acute care and were essential to the Covid-19 testing response, have put off strike action time and again.

Teachta Cullinane raised the issues with the CEO of the HSE Mr Paul Reid at the  Health Committee this morning. It was recognised that, if not resolved quickly, further strike actions will impact negatively on achieving waiting list targets, and that sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is needed to resolve the impasse.

Teachta Cullinane has proposed that the Health Committee engages with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure meaningful engagement and a quick resolution.  

Teachta Cullinane said:

"It is vital that there is urgent and meaningful engagement between the HSE and the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, supported by the Minister for Health. 

“The Health Committee will engage with the Ministers for Health and Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure meaningful engagement and a quick resolution.

"The Government must sanction honest negotiations with a view to resolving this issue shortly if there is to be any hope of making progress on waiting lists.

"Like many workers in healthcare, there is burn-out among medical scientists and a high number of vacant posts due to recruitment and retention issues.

"Widespread disruptions to health care services, such as cancellations of outpatient appointments and elective procedures, can be avoided with fair and honest dialogue, but have not been avoided today.

"Medical Scientists need a genuine commitment from Government and the HSE to address longstanding concerns.

"It is worth noting that medical scientists have been raising such concerns for years. They avoided industrial action during the pandemic. They worked extremely hard under very difficult circumstances and this must be recognised by the HSE and the Minister.

"Urgent and meaningful engagement is needed to resolve the current impasse and stop further healthcare disruptions.”

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Sinn Féin Policing & Justice spokesperson Gerry Kelly said today that the British government’s legacy proposals are a cruel blow to victims and their families, some of whom have been waiting for truth and justice for more than five decades.

And he said that the British State’s attempt to pull down the shutters on citizens attempting to access the courts is akin to the actions of a totalitarian state.

Gerry Kelly said:

“These latest proposals are effectively an amnesty through the back door for British state forces, their intelligence services and agents who murdered Irish citizens during the conflict in Ireland.

“These proposals have been opposed by the victims, their families, by the political parties and by the Irish government.

“It is yet another example of this Tory government attempting to bin an international agreement made with the Irish government and the other parties at Stormont House in 2014 which gave victims and their families access to truth, justice and reconciliation.

“This is also an attempt to shut citizens out of the courts, to deny families inquests on the deaths of their loved ones, to deny access to judicial reviews and to the civil courts.

“The British government is acting like a totalitarian state and their actions are a cruel blow to families who have waited more than five decades on truth and justice.

“The campaigns by the families cannot be wished away by a British government determined to pull a veil of secrecy over the actions of the state during the conflict.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand with the families in their campaigns for truth and justice.

“There is also an onus on the Irish government to stand up for the agreement it made with the British government and oppose this latest heartless attempt to close down truth and justice.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has today introduced a bill at first stage in the Dáil that would see estate agents and platforms like Airbnb fined for advertising short-term lettings without planning permission.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The Short-Term Lettings Enforcement Bill 2022 strengthens the enforcement of the planning regulations for short-term lettings which were introduced almost three years ago.

“The bill would require estate agents and online platforms to only advertise properties that are compliant with the Planning and Development Act 2000 (exempted development) (no. 2) Regulations 2019.

“It would also allow for the issuing of spot fines to Airbnb and other providers who advertise non-compliant properties.

“Research conducted by the Times Ireland shows that Airbnb now outstrips long-term rental homes in every county.

“For example, in Dublin there are 2,704 properties advertised on Airbnb, but just 436 for long-term rental on Daft.ie.

“In Cork there are 1,419 properties on Airbnb but just 72 homes available to rent on Daft.ie.

“Further action is needed to regulate the short-term letting sector. My bill does not limit genuine peer to peer home sharing.

“However, stricter regulations are needed to ensure that the properties being advertised without exemptions or planning permission are removed from the short-term letting market and that there is a disincentive from doing so in the future.

“Requiring estate agents and online platforms to only advertise properties that are compliant with the planning regulations is therefore a reasonable request to make.

“Allowing the Minister to give local authorities the power to issue spot fines to short term lettings providers and estate agents that advertise non-compliant properties would act as further disincentive for advertising properties that are breaking the law.

“We hope to further debate this legislation during Private Members’ Time in the coming weeks.”

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Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has said while Boris Johnson’s Tories launch a plan to break the law, they continue to give cover to the DUP to block an Executive being formed to support workers and families.

Speaking from London, the North Belfast MP said:

“People voted to make politics work, to fix the health service and invest an extra £1 billion and they voted for an Executive to put money in their pockets to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

“They did not vote for Boris Johnson and the Tory party to give cover to the DUP to hold society here back and block the formation of an Executive.

“We need an Executive up and running now, people should not have to wait a day longer. No one has a veto over progress.

“Today, the same British government that negotiated and agreed the Protocol has announced a plan to legislate to break international law and undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

“Businesses are benefiting from the huge opportunities afforded by the Protocol to create jobs and attract investment through unique access to the British and EU markets.

“The British government should stop creating further instability, end the threats to take unilateral action and work constructively with the EU in negotiations to find solutions to fix the problems.”

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Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has told the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he is standing in the way of an Executive being formed and money being spent to fix the health service and deal with the cost-of-living crisis.  

Speaking after the party leadership met with Boris Johnson today, Mary Lou McDonald said: 

“It is just ten days since the election when people came out in large numbers and voted for politics to work. They voted for parties to work together. They voted for the Executive to start putting money in their pockets to help with the cost-of-living crisis. They voted to put £1 billion into the health service. They are being denied all of that by the DUP who are being supported by Boris Johnson.

“It’s become increasingly clear that Boris Johnsons actions are all part of a choreographed and disgraceful set of events designed to give cover to the DUP.

“That is not acceptable. Nobody has a veto on progress and the blocking of the Executive shouldn’t be tolerated for even one day longer.

“And to make matters worse, tomorrow, the man who negotiated the Protocol is going to introduce legislation to break the law and create further instability and undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

“The outcome of this month’s election must be respected, and we need to get the Executive formed without any further delay.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD is travelling to the United States this week as part of a Joint Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defence (JCFAD) delegation. He will engage in a series of high-level meetings with representatives of the Biden Administration, and the US state department.

Teachta Brady will be visiting Washington and New York, where he will also meet with the members of Irelands Permanent mission to the UN. He will also be visiting an Irish Immigrant Centre and meeting with representative of the Irish emigrant community. 

Speaking before his departure, Teachta Brady said:

“I am traveling to the United States this week for a series of meetings in Washington and New York. I will be using this opportunity to brief members of the US administration and the representatives of the Republican party on developments around the British government’s actions on the Irish Protocol.

"The support for the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in the US cuts across party lines, and there is zero tolerance for the antics of the British government, who are threatening to tear up an international agreement. The Biden administration has been very strong in their support for the GFA.

"I will also be meeting with representative of the Irish emigrant community and will be raising the issue of the undocumented with the administration.

“During my visit to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, I will be meeting with the members of the Irish Permanent Mission to the UN. I will also be attending a public session of the UN Security Council, on conflict and food security- an issue I raised with Minister Coveney last week.

"I will also be participating in a debate at UN on the Future Agenda for Global Diaspora Engagement: paving the way to achieving Objective 19 through regularisation and further inclusion, which will focus on the issue of the undocumented Irish emigrants in the US.

"It is my intention to use the opportunity of this visit to brief law makers in the US on the situation in Ireland in respect of the Irish Protocol, and the importance of their continued support. I will also be raising the issue of undocumented Irish emigrants in the US.”

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Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has said the DUP boycott is preventing the extension of free school meal payments for children and families and called on them to form an Executive immediately. 

 The West Belfast MLA said:

“We need an Executive to make critical decisions including the extension of free school meal payments to school holidays for the next three years for the thousands of families that depend on them.

“Our priority is getting the Executive up and running, to work with others, and put money in the pockets of workers and families. 

“I would urge the DUP to end its boycott of the Executive, get back to work and get on with the job of delivering - that’s what people elected us to do.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has said Government must prioritise the delivery of genuinely affordable homes to buy and revise upwards its delivery targets as the latest CSO Property Price Index shows that house prices are continuing to soar.

The CSO Residential Property Price Index report for March 2022 shows that house prices across the State have risen by 15.2% annually.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

"The latest CSO Residential Property Price Index report shows that property prices are continuing to rise across the State.

“Since March 2021, house prices have increased by 15.2% across the State, with prices in Dublin rising by 12.7% and prices outside Dublin increasing by 17.3%.

“According to the CSO data, the median new build house price for first time buyers across the State is now €335,000.

“The border regions continue to experience increasing house price inflation, with prices up 25.1%.

“Housing affordability has gotten worse since Fianna Fáil got back into power. The Minister for Housing has failed to grasp this as thousands of ordinary people struggle to secure an affordable home.

“As a solution he offers another mad developer lead scheme which will just lock in high prices and provides no affordability dividend for the purchaser.

“The government must revise upwards its affordable housing targets. The targets published last week were too unambitious and too low.

“The private market will not deliver affordable homes for the vast majority of people and it is time for the state to ramp up its direct delivery of new homes."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has responded to this morning’s announcement that the Government will provide an additional €100 payment to Fuel Allowance recipients.

Minister Humphreys has indicated that the payment will be made this week.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Any additional measure to support households is welcome at this time, but the announced payment will only provide relief to a very limited number of households.

“Many workers and families are seriously struggling to make ends meet, and they are excluded from receiving an additional payment for energy costs.

“Yet again there are no measures to support these households, despite soaring household energy costs affecting homes everywhere.

“That is why Sinn Féin called for the establishment of a Discretionary Fund to assist households, including those who are locked out of the Fuel Allowance, with utility debt.

“This call is reiterated by the Society of St Vincent de Paul who, like us, do not agree that the Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) is enough.

“Minister Humphreys has pointed to the ENP for households who are struggling, but the payment is available in only some circumstances through local Community Welfare Officers.

“We have made this point to Minister Humphreys repeatedly that the ENP is not a catch-all solution for those who are struggling with energy costs and who are locked out of the Fuel Allowance.

“Just last week I dealt with a Family Carer who was refused financial assistance through the ENP to help with home heating oil, because she received a payment six months ago, in December 2021.

“Supports like the Exceptional Needs Payment need to be flexible. However, cases like this show exactly why we are not confident it is enough to support families and workers.

“The Government have also refused to provide support to households who rely on home heating oil, the cost of which has increased by €1000 in the last year and continues to rise.

“The majority of households in rural Ireland use home heating oil and effectively have been ignored as part of measures brought forward in relation to the cost of living crisis.

“Added to that, the Government have proceeded with the Carbon Tax increase earlier this month, which will further increase the cost of home heating oil for those households that rely on it.

“It is simply not good enough. As we have said, the Government cannot do everything to address the cost of living crisis, but they can absolutely do more."

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Sinn Féin MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Colm Gildernew has expressed disappointment in Dankse Banks decision to close branches in Fivemiletown, Lurgan, Cookstown and Kilkeel.

The Sinn Féin MLA said:

“These latest closures are a hammer blow to rural communities which will be deprived of banking services and I would urge Dankse Bank to listen to customers and maintain services.

"It is Sinn Féin's view that there should be no bank branch closures and planned closures should be paused to evaluate customer behaviour post-pandemic. 

"While the trend is towards increasing digital banking, for some customers this is not convenient or possible and for rural communities, important services are disappearing.

"Sinn Féin would like to see a future banking forum so that policy makers, banks and other stakeholders can discuss issues including banking in a digital age and how banks and other service providers can best respond to serve customers and communities that rely on their services."

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Writing for the online edition of An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin National Chairperson, Declan Kearney has said that in the aftermath of the northern Assembly election, the most serious political crisis in the post-GFA era is now taking place. 

“The 5 May election has indeed proved to be the most important of a generation. It was a watershed. 

“Brexit changed everything, and now the political and societal landscape has changed again.

“There can now be a First Minister for all – for the first time in 101 years. 

“And there is now the potential for proper power sharing to be established.

“However, that positive democratic agenda is now being directly threatened with a refusal by the DUP to allow the power sharing and the north/south political institutions to be restored.

“The most serious and profound political crisis of the post-GFA era is currently unfolding in plain sight.”

The South Antrim MLA stated.

“ The entire basis of power sharing is being imperilled by the tactics of both the DUP and the Tory government; and in particular, a toxic alliance between the Tory Foreign Secretary, the Economic Research Group (ERG) and the DUP.

“International treaties and international law in the form of the Protocol and GFA are under direct attack. 

“A wrecker’s charter is being used to dismantle the GFA by stealth, alongside the use of a phoneywar against the EU, ostensibly to dismantle the Protocol.

“But the fact is that the Tories’ objective is all about shoring up its electoral coalition in England; while the DUP’s objective is to try to reassert itself as the dominant force within political unionism, and stem the hemorrhage of its political power and influence in the north.

“The current Tory administration has no investment in, or attachment to the Irish peace process. The Tory fat cats in Whitehall don’t care about anyone in the north.

“This current leadership of the DUP is unable and unwilling to adapt to the changed political landscape. 

“The Tories and the DUP are outliers in terms of respect for international treaties and all forms of democratic conventions, principles and values.”

Calling for urgent action, he said:

“The Tories and DUP must not be allowed to drag us all into their race to the bottom.

“This is a defining moment.

“The EU, and the US administration, must hold firm on the GFA, and the primacy of international treaties and international law. 

“There should be no renegotiation of either the Protocol or GFA. 

“It is time for the Irish government to step firmly up to the mark, and adopt an unequivocal position against the destructive behaviour of both the DUP and the Tories.

“The united voice of wider civic society across the north must also be heard loudly.”

The full article can be read here https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28310

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has welcomed the opportunity offered by the announcement by Minister for Defence Simon Coveney that he will make a statement next week surrounding the issue of affiliation of Defence Forces representative bodies with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome the Minister for Defence’s comment that he hopes to make an announcement by the middle of next week on this issue. This offers the government the opportunity to bring the Defence Forces into line with what is seen as the norm in other European countries.

“Just this week, Minister Paschal Donohoe met with representatives from other public sector bodies in advance of public sector pay talks. But yet again the representative bodies of the Defence Forces were absent from the room. This has repeatedly placed the Defence Forces at a disadvantage.

“If the Minister for Defence is serious about tackling the issues of retention and recruitment in the Defence Forces, he cannot afford to sit on the fence any longer when it comes to the issue of ICTU affiliation.

“It remains a key issue for members of the Defence Forces.

“There is currently a dysfunctional cycle of turnover which is impacting on the capacity of the Defence Forces to carry out their core functions.

“The Report from the Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces has recommended that representative bodies be allowed to affiliate with ICTU, and as the Minister has said in response to Dáil questions by me, he has received legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter.

“I again urge the Minister to use this occasion to grant approval for the representative bodies to affiliate with ICTU.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has marked Nakba Day by calling on the Irish government to use their position on the UN Security Council and in the EU to do more to hold Israel accountable for its gross abuse of human rights.

Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic, occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war. Nakba Day commemorates these events and raises awareness of the current plight that faces Palestinian refugees and their families.

The Wicklow TD said: 

“I want to commend all those from all around the Island of Ireland, who will mark Nakba Day this year. Today, more than ever, it is important that we mark the plight of the Palestinian people. Since 1948, Israel has denied these Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homeland.

“Unfortunately, the policy of forced displacement of Palestinians continues today. Israel continues to flout international law with impunity.

“The Palestinian refugee and displaced population remains the largest in the world. Many are forced to live in exile while others are internally displaced because of actions of the Israeli military, which continues to occupy Palestine.

“The number of illegal Israeli settlers who continue to occupy Palestinian territories is now over 700,000 in over 200 illegal settlements. 

“The Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people continues. This week we mourn the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh; the veteran reporter gunned down by Israeli forces in their latest attempt to suppress the truth of what is happening on the ground to Palestinians.

“I am calling on the Irish government to use Ireland’s position on the UN Security Council, and its standing in the EU, to demand that the international community acts to bring an end to the awful catalogue of human rights abuses being perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian people.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed concern that more than 234,000 people continue to languish on hospital waiting lists for longer than a year, according to new data released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Teachta Cullinane said that the Minister for Health’s short-term waiting list plans have not made inroads into waiting lists, with Emergency Department overcrowding also at records levels.

Previous data released by the HSE shows that Emergency Department waits are at their highest in 5 years. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Patients continue to wait longer than ever for healthcare.

“Treatment is not accessible or affordable for the great majority of people.

“There are more than 877,000 patients on hospital waiting lists, with no change on last month’s figures.

“More than 234,000 people are waiting longer than a year, and there are more than 100,000 children on waiting lists.

“The Health Service needs more than promises. We need a serious plan to reform the health service, boost capacity and staffing levels, equip our healthcare professionals, and cut wait times to deliver the timely care that patients need and deserve.

“The current government has failed to introduce any meaningful reform, and their minimal-change regional health area plan will not face down the many challenges facing the health service.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has warned that reports of a ‘letter of comfort’ around the National Maternity Hospital highlight the need for appropriate scrutiny of the government’s increasingly chaotic plans for the site.

Speaking today, Teachta Cullinane said:

“Reports have emerged that the government has produced a ‘letter of comfort’ for Minister Martin signed by members of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and Minister Donnelly around the future of the National Maternity Hospital. It is extraordinary that this has been produced at such a late stage, given that the minister was proposing that the cabinet sign off on this last week. 

“There is no clear indication as to whether this letter has any legal standing.

“This development highlights the mess that is at the heart of the government’s plans. It also does not address the issue of ownership and the fact that almost a billion Euro of taxpayer’s money will be spent on a hospital where the state will not own the land and where a convoluted legal, contractual and company arrangement is in place.

“It is important that this hospital is not subject to unnecessary delays, however it is also crucial that we get this vital piece of infrastructure right in order to ensure high quality healthcare for the women of Ireland.

“The Oireachtas Health Committee has sought to engage in appropriate scrutiny of the proposals but still hasn’t heard from key players in this situation including representatives of St Vincent’s Healthcare. We also have not had an opportunity to scrutinise this new letter; to evaluate what impact, if any, it will have on the healthcare available to women.

“Given the complexities and concerns that have been raised, and given St Vincent’s Healthcare Group have only recently taken possession of the land, there is a responsibility of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to act in the public interest and engage in talks at the highest level with St Vincent’s Healthcare Group on the issue of land ownership.

“It is clear that the government’s proposals are poorly thought through and ill-designed. On Tuesday, Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion in the Dáil to compel the government to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital is a public hospital built on public land. It is clear that this is vital, as the government’s chaotic and messy plans have failed to provide reassurance amid the serious ongoing concerns around this arrangement.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on the government to urgently implement a fit-for-purpose model of care for people presenting with dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis is when individuals present to any service seeking support who are co-presenting with mental health difficulties and substance use disorders.

Speaking after the launch of a report, Dual Recovery, by Mental Health Reform, Teachta Ward said:

"People who present for help for dual diagnosis often fall between the gaps that exist in addiction and mental health services.

"An addiction may lead to the onset of mental health issues or a mental health issue can lead to people using substances as a coping mechanism.

“The government must urgently implement a fit-for-purpose model of care for people presenting with dual diagnosis as laid out in Sharing the Vision.

“Last year I introduced the Dual Diagnosis: No Wrong Door Bill with my colleague Thomas Gould TD.

“This bill will mean that no matter what door the person knocks on for help for addiction and mental health problems, that they are treated with dignity.

“A joint care plan between addiction and mental health services needs to be developed to make sure people get the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“There can be No Wrong Door for dual diagnosis treatment.

“The Dual Diagnosis: No Wrong Door Bill is an important piece of legislation that aims to plug the gaps in services that exist between mental health and addiction.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has announced the party will bring forward a motion in the Dáil next week to compel the government to ensure the National Maternity Hospital is a public hospital on public land.

The motion will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Cullinane said:

“Next week, Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion in the Dáil to compel the government to ensure the National Maternity Hospital is built on public land.

“The motion also commits the hospital to ensure all necessary safeguards are adopted to ensure the integrity and the highest quality of care on the site. The motion sets out that this must include the full provision of the range of legally available sexual and reproductive health services.

“The National Maternity Hospital is a vital project which should provide much-needed improvements to women’s healthcare. It needs to be built and operational as soon as possible, but expedience cannot be used to dilute rights in any way.

“The full range of legal permissible services, from fertility treatments to termination of pregnancy, whether medical or surgical, must be available in the hospital to any qualifying patient.

“Serious questions are yet to be answered and the Minister cannot expect a leap of faith from the women of Ireland. In recent weeks, the government has failed to provide adequate reassurance on these important issues. It isn’t good enough.

“The hospital must be a public hospital built on public land. There must be absolute, cast-iron guarantees, in black and white, that all legally permissible services will be available to those who want them.

“This must go beyond a vague commitment to legal and clinically appropriate services and should be explicit in the services which will be available and the terms on which a patient is entitled to access them.

“That means when a patient wants fertility treatment or a termination of pregnancy, to which they are legally entitled, there will be no obstacle to accessing that healthcare.

“The government’s dismissive attitude towards women’s concerns is deeply concerning and has failed to provide reassurance on these important issues.

“I am urging all TDs to back Sinn Féin’s motion on Tuesday and ensure that these much-needed guarantees are put in place. Women’s healthcare in Ireland has a painful history and it is crucial that lessons are learnt so that women can receive the best possible care without ideological interference.”


The motion is available to view here

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