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Speaking at an event in Belfast City Hall as part of the Sinn Féin campaign to see a Green Paper on Irish unity brought forward, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said that on the eighth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement it remained the only basis for moving forward.

Mr Adams said:

"Today marks the 8th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. I said at the time that I expected it would be a battle a day to ensure its implementation. And there have been difficulties. But despite these, significant progress has taken place in that time and we should be proud of that fact.

"And more can take place. Why should unelected British Ministers, who don't know one end of the north from the other, be allowed to take decisions on education and health, and the environment, and on water rates and council rates, which will have major consequences for every citizen?

"Local politicians should be taking these decisions. The basis for doing that is the Good Friday Agreement. It remains the only show in town. There is no other way forward.

"That is accepted by the governments and all of the other parties, except the DUP. The big challenge is therefore for the DUP. If the DUP refuses to participate then the onus will be on the two governments to deliver on their commitment to jointly implement all other elements of the Good Friday Agreement. And Sinn Fein will also be meeting with the two governments to seek clarity and detail on the accelerated all-Ireland co-operation and action that will replace the Assembly if the DUP is not prepared to share power.

"However, Sinn Fein's focus is the full implementation of the Agreement. On Saturday the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle met, following detailed consultation with our Assembly team, and after careful consideration, we decided to attend the reconvened Assembly on May 15th.

"We have been in touch with all of the other parties in the Assembly seeking meetings with them to discuss how the process of forming a power sharing government can proceed. This afternoon we will be meeting with the SDLP.

"Sinn Féin's objective on May 15th is to see the reestablishment of the political institutions on the basis set out in the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly today said that a report in yesterdays Sunday Business Post newspaper alleging that a former PSNI detective was involved along with a Sunday World journalist in the location and outing of Denis Donaldson's whereabouts in Donegal raised very serious issues for the PSNI to address.

Mr Kelly said:

"We are told in yesterdays Sunday Business Post newspaper that the man who led the Sunday World to Denis Donaldson's home in Donegal and who secretly filmed him there was a former RUC member called Colin Breen. Shortly after the Sunday World exposure, Denis Donaldson was killed.

"Given the role played by Special Branch in Denis Donaldson's life over the course of many years the revelation of the involvement of Colin Breen in this story is extremely sinister. It is clear that the PSNI Special Branch now have very serious questions to answer about their role in publicising Denis Donaldson‚s whereabouts." ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has been selected as the party’s candidate to contest the North Kerry constituency in the forthcoming general election. Deputy Ferris was selected unopposed after being nominated by the Sinn Féin Cumann in Ardfert and seconded by Councillor Robert Beasley at the election convention that took place today in the Earl of Desmond Hotel.

 

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP, who chaired the convention, congratulated Martin Ferris, saying; “The people of North Kerry can be proud that they have a strong TD in Martin Ferris representing them in the Dáil. Martin has done fantastic work both locally and nationally and he continues to play a vital role in Sinn Féin's peace strategy. Martin's strength and commitment to his constituents is second to none. I have no doubt that the people of North Kerry will once again put their trust in Martin Ferris and will re-elect him to the Dáil.

 

Speaking following his selection Deputy Ferris said:

“Four years ago, despite the best efforts of certain people to thwart our efforts with dirty tricks, the people of North Kerry put their trust in me and in Sinn Féin in overwhelming numbers. I have done my level best to live up to your expectations by working hard for the last 4 years both here in the county and in the Dáil on issues that matter to you.

 

“I have been fighting tooth and nail with this government for the people of North Kerry. The problems being faced by patients and staff at Kerry General Hospital has been at the fore of my work in the Dáil. There isn’t a month that goes by that Mary Harney isn’t made aware that Kerry’s health services are unacceptable, whether it is the disgraceful delay in the building of a Community Hospital in Tralee, the understaffing and overcrowding at the A&E department or the need for a full time Consultant Cardiologist at Kerry General.

 

“Just last week I was told by the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell that there were only three extra Gardaí deployed in North Kerry since he took office in 2002. At the same time people are afraid to walk the streets of our towns at night and people living in the countryside, particularly the elderly are living in fear in their own homes.

 

“When I first entered the Dáil chambers one of the first issues I raised was the lack of investment and new jobs in North Kerry. I highlighted the governments and the IDA’s seemingly complete lack of interest in promoting Kerry as an attractive area for new businesses to set up. As my party’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs, I have fought to reverse the trend we are seeing were more and more people are leaving the land. Our rural communities are suffering badly because of neglect by successive governments.

 

“These are just some of the issues that I have been fighting for and I will continue to give the people of North Kerry a strong voice in the Dáil. ENDS

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Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty, speaking at the party's selection convention in Kerry North this weekend, said 'The 1916 Rising was for all the people of Ireland. The best memorial to the men and women of 1916 is an Ireland in which the principles of the Proclamation are put into effect - an Irish Republic worthy of its name."

Mr. Doherty said:

"Next weekend republicans across Ireland will gather throughout the country to commemorate the 1916 Rising. This will include, for the first time in many years, an official State event in Dublin.

"But simply commemorating the events of Easter 1916 is not enough. Learning the lessons of 1916 means putting the issue of Irish unity at the top of the political agenda. It means the Irish government driving forward a process which will deliver national reunification.

"The 1916 Rising was for all the people of Ireland. It belongs to no one group and nor should it. The actions of the men and women of Easter Week 90 years ago were a beacon of hope for oppressed people across the world. Their proclamation was a visionary and revolutionary document, which is as relevant today as it was then, especially given that many of its aspirations remain unfulfilled.

We don't have a United Ireland - yet. We don't have a society where all the children of the nation are cherished equally - yet. But we in Sinn Féin believe that we can achieve those aims and create a better society for everyone on this small island - Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, people of all religions and none, Irish citizens and new communities in our country alike, and we believe that we have a strategy to get there.

"The best memorial to the men and women of 1916 is an Ireland in which the principles of the Proclamation are put into effect - an Irish Republic worthy of its name."

Commenting on the auctioning of priceless documents associated with the 1916 Rising Mr. Doherty said:

"It is a disgrace that in the week of the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising that priceless historical documents are being auctioned off in our capital city. The Government should immediately intervene with emergency legislation to prevent this sell-out of our heritage." ENDS



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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking during a meeting of the party’s Ard Chomhairle said “Today the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle met, following detailed consultation with our Assembly team, and after careful consideration, we have decided to attend the reconvened Assembly on May 15th. Our focus in doing so will be the formation of a power sharing government on the basis set out in the Good Friday Agreement. “

Mr. Adams said:

“On Thursday, in response to the joint statement from the two governments, I said that Sinn Fein would judge their proposals against the benchmark of the Good Friday Agreement, and whether they would secure the restoration of the political institutions. I also welcomed the convening of the Assembly and the clear statement that its primary role is to elect a power sharing government.

“Today the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle met, following detailed consultation with our Assembly team, and after careful consideration, we have decided to attend the reconvened Assembly on May 15th. Our focus in doing so will be the formation of a power sharing government on the basis set out in the Good Friday Agreement.  This also has to be the focus of the Irish and British governments.

“The DUP have to decide if they are prepared to join the rest of us in a power sharing government. That is the inescapable question which they must face. If they refuse to do so the two governments must deliver on their commitment to jointly implement all other elements of the Good Friday Agreement. In the coming days Sinn Fein will seek clarity and detail on the accelerated all-Ireland co-operation and action that will replace the Assembly if the DUP is not prepared to share power.”ENDS

 

 

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Sinn Féin's Dublin Environment Spokesperson Councillor Daithí Doolan, has called on Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to "demand his government stop the incinerator in Poolbeg or finally take a stand and resign from the cabinet".

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's anti-incinerator march & rally in Ringsend, Cllr. Doolan said:

"The Minister McDowell claimed in his 2002 election literature that no incinerator would be built here in Dublin South East, yet this same Minister supported the Programme for Government which demands the building of an incinerator right here in Ringsend. Minister, it's time to put up or shut up. He can't claim to be against the incinerator and then sit in the cabinet that supports the incinerator.

"This smacks of gross hypocrisy. The Minister must now come clean on this issue. Does he support the public who voted for him or does he support his government that calls for the construction of an incinerator on Dublin's south side?

"Sinn Féin has delivered over 10,000 newsletters in the area reiterating our determination to stand with the community firmly against incineration and offering real solutions to our waste problems by adopting a Zero Waste Strategy." ENDS

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Speaking in the Dáil yesterday evening, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Seán Crowe TD, urged the government to re-nationalise Eircom  and  take it back into public hands.  Deputy Crowe slated the privatisation of Telecom  Eireann in which "venture capitalists  paid themselves a €500 million dividend while refusing to invest in the national broadband roll out". He further stated that the government "had made a huge mistake, and should learn from this catastrophe and halt the proposed privatisation of Aer Lingus".

Crowe added that, "Ireland's telecommunications  infrastructure is languishing behind those of other countries and that there should have been an all-Ireland  approach to ensure that we didn't become the IT laughing stock of Europe".

In the 6 counties there is 100% broadband saturation whilst in the south we reached a paltry 1.7% last year, in which people in rural areas struggle to send simple emails.

Deputy  Crowe concluded by asking the Minister "will the government rely on the liberalised market  that  has  failed us, with private investors more interested in profit  than the public good, or will he put a halt to this telecommunications farce and re-nationalise Eircom?" ENDS

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The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will meet in the party's Head Office in Dublin tomorrow, Saturday 8th to discuss the proposals announced in Armagh yesterday by the British and Irish governments. A senior member of the party leadership will be available to talk to the media at 12.30pm.

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On International Roma Day, Bairbre de Brún has called for "positive action" to improve the status of Romani people across Europe.

The Sinn Féin MEP said, "The past year has seen little improvement in conditions for Europe's Roma communities. More worryingly, there are few indications that the problem is getting the consideration it deserves. The desperate inequalities faced by these communities appear to rank far down the list of priorities, both on government and international levels.

"In Kosovo, Roma refugees continue to be housed in camps built upon a toxic waste dump - with horrifying health consequences, particularly for the children. Last year the UN Secretary General in Kosovo asked for all western governments to contribute ?500,000 to their rehousing. The Dublin government - one of the wealthiest in the world - has disgracefully given only half that amount.

"In Slovakia, evidence has been presented of ongoing coerced sterilisation of Romani women, which the Slovak government continues to deny. In Bulgarian elections last year an ultra-right party campaigning on an anti-Roma platform won 9% of the vote and 22 out of 240 seats.

"And the problem is not limited to Eastern Europe. In France, the Roma are subject to racist legislation which inhibits their freedom of movement and voting rights, while in many Greek schools Romani children are placed in segregated classes.

"It is not all bad news, however. In Spain, a programme aimed at improving the employment prospects of Romani youths has exceeded expectations. And I welcome the Czech Republic's initial steps toward addressing its own history of coerced sterilisation, although more progress in this regard is needed. These are small advances with huge potential. If the governments of Europe will commit to taking positive action, much more can be achieved.

"Sinn Féin sends its greetings today to the Roma people in Ireland and throughout Europe." ENDS

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Sinn Féin activists will take part in a picket at the Dublin Airport roundabout at 3pm on Saturday afternoon to show their opposition to the proposed sale of Aer Lingus, the state's national airline. They will be joined by Cllrs Felix Gallagher (Fingal County Council) and Dessie Ellis (Dublin City Council). Both Councils, along with South Dublin County Council passed Sinn Féin motions of opposition to the proposed sale.

Speaking ahead of the protest Cllr Ellis, who is the Sinn Féin candidate in Dublin North-West in the coming General Election, said: "The proposed sale has accurately been described as an act of economic vandalism. We are going to sell a profitable, efficient democratically owned company because the Government refuses to invest in it but the sale itself will only raise at best a quarter of the investment Aer Lingus management claims is needed."

Cllr Gallagher said: "There is no economic reason for this sale. The Government can invest in this airline, contrary to some of the spin in the media and the analysis of Labour on Fingal Council who opposed our motion not to sell off the airline. One of the greatest assets belonging to the people of Ireland is going to be sold to private investors whose sole goal will be to ring every last cent out of the airline regardless of the strategic needs of our island economy." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly today said that the election of Des Rea as Policing Board Chairperson for another term demonstrated to nationalists once again that many within political unionism have failed to grasp the concept of power sharing.

Mr Kelly said:

"Aside from our well documented objections to the current policing structures today's election of Des Rea for another term as Policing Board Chair sends a very clear political message to nationalists.

"On a variety of local councils and other bodies, unionists when they find themselves in a majority, fail time and again to share power.

"Today those UUP and DUP members of the Policing Board sent out a very clear message at this delicate time in the peace process that they seem incapable of embracing concepts of equality, respect and power sharing." ENDS

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Speaking today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus O Snodaigh TD welcomed the validation of Sinn Fein's position on the Criminal Justice Bill by the Children's Ombudsman and Human Rights Commission.

Speaking in response to the critiques of the Criminal Justice Bill
published today by the Children's Ombudsman and the Human Rights
Commission, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I welcome the observations by the Human Rights Commission and the recommendations from the Children's Ombudsman in relation to the Criminal Justice Bill, both of which validate the position taken by Sinn Fein.

“I have already tabled some 52 amendments to the Bill aimed at addressing
many of the concerns reiterated today by the two bodies.  Sinn Féin are
trying to alleviate the worst consequences of the Criminal Justice Bill
2004 for children by proposing the exclusion of the Minister's proposals
from the Bill to: introduce ASBOs; lower the age of criminal
responsibility; lift restrictions on reporting that might identify a child;
continue using St. Patricks Institution for the detention of children and;
reduce the number and independence of inspections of child detention
centres.

“The Minister's proposed ASBOs allow for a serious and open-ended
curtailment of some of the most fundamental rights of individuals.  In my
view McDowell's legislative response to the grave problem of anti-social
behaviour is disproportionate and indeed unnecessary. It is well documented
that ASBOs are inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights
and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And in the end of the day we
do not need more legislation we need the resourcing and operationalisation
of the existing provisions contained in the Children Act 2001.

“ASBOs are proven to fail at addressing their stated purpose i.e. reducing
anti-social behaviour. And the Minister has failed to produce any evidence demonstrating that ASBOs actually work.”

Deputy Ó Snodaigh went on to say, "The government are trying to roll back
on child protection. They are attempting to legislate away complex problems
that Sinn Fein recognises require the resourcing and
implementation of existing laws and investment in communities.

“The Children's Ombudsman Emily Logan has a statutory duty to protect the
interests of children in this state.  Minister McDowell already has an
established track record of ignoring the HRC's recommendations and we hope
this practice will not be repeated with regard to the Ombudsman for
Children.  The Minister should listen to and take on board the opinions of
both the HRC and Children's Ombudsman who are tasked with protecting and
enhancing human rights in this state.  Ultimately he should withdraw much
of his increasingly controversial Bill.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP was today joined by Martin McGuinness MP, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Caitriona Ruane MLA and Wexford Councillor John Dywer as he responded to the joint statement issued by the two governments earlier in Armagh. Mr. Adams said: "Over the coming days the Sinn Fein leadership will meet to discuss these proposals and our response to them. The Ard Chomhairle will meet on Saturday and we will be consulting with our Assembly team."

Mr. Adams said:

"Over the last number of months Sinn Féin has expressed reservations about the approach taken the British and Irish governments. It is our view that there would have been significant concessions but for

Sinn Féin's defence of the Good Friday Agreement.

"We welcome the convening of the Assembly and the clear statement that its primary role is to elect a power sharing government. Over the coming days the Sinn Fein leadership will meet to discuss these proposals and our response to them. The Ard Chomhairle will meet on Saturday and we will be consulting with our Assembly team.

"It appears that the two governments are saying to the unionists and especially the DUP, that they have to decide if they are prepared to join the rest of us in moving forward in partnership through a power sharing government.

"And if they do not do that the two governments are committed to moving ahead to implement all other elements of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Nationalists and republicans will be sceptical about this commitment and it will be tested in the period ahead.

"Sinn Fein will also be seeking assurances from the two governments about the new joint government arrangements and the accelerated all-Ireland co-operation and action, that will replace the Assembly if the DUP is not prepared to share power.

"Whatever the two governments do, there is no going back to the days of unionist domination because Sinn Féin will not allow it. I say that as a gentle reminder to the DUP that the only way they will be part of institutions is on the basis of equality and the Good Friday Agreement.

"I would appeal to unionism to see this up coming period as a positive opportunity. There are many problems - water charges, cutbacks in health and education which local politicians can straighten out better than any British Direct Rule Minister." ENDS

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A ban on all imports of poultry to the island of Ireland in light of the confirmed avian flu case in Scotland has been demanded by Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin. He said there needed to be a much more determined and concerted approach by the Irish Government to the very real threat that avian flu now poses to the poultry industry and, if it becomes established here, to human health.

Deputy Ó Caolain said: "Confirmation of an avian flu case in Scotland requires an immediate response from both the Irish and British governments. There should be an immediate ban on the importation of poultry to the island of Ireland, regardless of its source.

"Avian flu poses a huge threat, in the first instance to our poultry industry which could be wiped out if the disease breaks out here, and secondly to human health if the human form of the virus becomes established.

"To date the Irish Government has not given this threat the urgent attention it requires. I had to wait a full month for a reply to a Dáil Question regarding the implementation by the Health Service Executive of free flu vaccination for poultry industry workers, a measure brought in last October as part of the response to the avian flu threat. I only received a reply last week and the HSE was still unable to tell me how many poultry workers have been vaccinated. It is alarming that this simple statistic cannot be given. If it is indicative of an overall lack of efficiency and co-ordination then the Government and the HSE have been guilty of negligence.

"We need a much more determined and concerted approach to meet this threat. Vigilance is required on the part of the authorities in health and in agriculture. Monitoring of wildfowl needs to be stepped up in a planned and co-ordinated manner. We need an immediate response from the Minister for Health & Children and the Minister for Agriculture and Food detailing the additional measures that will now be implemented."

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West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has said that the local community will meet the announcement that all manufacturing operations at Adria's Beechmount Avenue plant in Strabane will cease within 90 days with deep anger and sadness. Adria's Beechmount Avenue plant has been the mainstay of the local economy for more than forty years,

Mr Doherty said

"Since Quantum took over Adria it has been a case of 'death by forty cuts' with the incremental running down of local operations while strengthening operations in developing and third world countries.

"The committed workforce has been treated abysmally by management. They have been kept in the dark and only told at short notice they were being laid off with only the bare minimum of redundancy packages being offered.

"Many of the workers who stayed on, because of promises from the company that there would be future employment in a smaller scale 'centre of excellence' at the Beechmount Avenue site, now feel cheated. Whatever other vacancies were available locally are now long since gone.

"The anger in the local community at Quantum is also tinged with much sadness at the ending of an era for Strabane. Thousands of local people have been employed at the factory down through the years and the realisation that this plant is all but gone will create a great sense of loss in the local community.

"The Direct Rule Administration can no longer ignore the economic plight of the District. If Direct Rule Ministers are as committed to addressing disadvantage and deprivation on the basis of need and not political expediency, as they claim, they must now respond to the demand for the area to be designated as an area of 'Special Economic Need' supported with the provision of an appropriate package of economic regeneration." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon the European Parliament to "thoroughly investigate allegations that airports in the North of Ireland have been used in connection with the unlawful transfer of prisoners".

Amnesty International has said it has evidence that planes which have been used to take prisoners to illegal imprisonment and torture centres in third countries landed and refuelled at both City of Derry and Belfast International Airports.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"There has been increasing speculation for many months that a number of European countries have allowed their airport facilities to be used by the CIA for the illegal transport of prisoners to third countries. Indeed, a European Parliament Committee was recently established to ascertain whether or not this practice exists and how widespread it may be.

"The British Government must respond to the allegations that planes which have been used to take prisoners to illegal imprisonment and torture centres in third countries landed and refuelled at both City of Derry and Belfast International Airports. Equally the Irish Government also has questions to answer about the alleged use of Shannon Airport.

"The Amnesty International report entitled: Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and 'disappearance' makes chilling reading and I echo calls for an independent inquiry into any local involvement with such practices.

"I also call upon the European Parliament committee responsible for investigating this matter to take onboard the mounting evidence that two airports in my constituency have been used in connection with this abhorrent practice. This practice known as "rendition" is a clear violation of basic human rights. We must ensure that our airports and airspace are not used to support and facilitate renditions or rendition flights." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning called for a "stringent all Ireland response to the spread of avian flu". Michelle Gildernew MP for Fermangh and South Tyrone has also said that the "importation of poultry from Britain must stop immediately".

Ms de Brún made her comments in the light of a possible avian flu outbreak in the North and after it emerged that a swan was detected with avian flu in the East of Scotland last week, with details only emerging yesterday evening.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

For over a year, Sinn Féin has been consistently warning that it was only a matter of time before avian flu reaches Irish shores.

We have called for some time now for a co-ordinated all-Ireland response to any possible outbreak of bird flu on the island. Now is the time to ensure the correct measures have been put in place. We need a stringent all-Ireland response in the fight against bird flu.

An all Ireland and cross departmental working group is needed to implement a working strategy to combat bird flu across the island of Ireland and to ensure that the public has clear and precise information.

Departments of Agriculture on the island need to work together for the sake of animal health. Avian flu needs to be treated in a similar manner to the Foot and Mouth outbreak a number of years ago, as a demonstration of the need for a joined up strategy. Proper co-ordination across the island and a stringent local response was key to combating foot and mouth disease at the time of the Executive.

"Although the impact of avian flu is on birds at present, it is also necessary to have a co-ordinated public health response to deal with any possible mutation of the virus in the future.

"Both the British and Irish governments must state their intentions clearly in the light of the current outbreak.

Ms Gildernew added:

"Time is of the essence on this matter. Both departments of agriculture need to state at what stage does the free movement of poultry across the island stop. In addition, the importation of poultry from Britain must stop immediately." ENDS

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The Justice Committee of the Dáil this afternoon discussed four amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill tabled by Sinn Féin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, which would introduce mandatory videotaping in all Garda Stations and sanctions for any failure by the Gardai to comply.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "There is a rogue element within the Gardai and video-recording would help to protect against them.

"Video or digital recording in Garda Stations would protect the Gardai from allegations of abuse as much as it would protect all those in Garda detention. In this day and age with the technologies available we should be looking to ensure that recording is operating in all Garda stations, in particular video-recording of witness interrogations but also of all areas in Garda stations. We are also attempting to ensure that the corridors of Garda stations be taped as well. Because it is here that beatings occur that result in vulnerable people signing confessions for crimes they didn't commit."

The Dublin South Central TD argued that, "the admissions of Detective Sgt. White to the Morris Tribunal in recent days describing the routine practices of hard and tough interrogations that disregard the manual on interrogation techniques demonstrate the urgency of Sinn Fein's proposal."

Speaking afterwards Deputy Ó Snodaigh welcomed the Ministers agreement to revisit his proposal for a new Garda power to issue their own search warrants, on foot of amendments tabled by himself and the Labour Party spokesperson Joe Costello earlier in the day.

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD has said that the Forfás report on the implications of the future availability of oil highlights the need for this country to intensify research and development of alternative energy sources.

Deputy Ferris said: "Forfás correctly draw attention to the threats posed to the future availability of oil. However, the focus has been almost exclusively on the suggestion that nuclear energy might provide an alternative source. It is my opinion that this deflects from other suggestions regarding the possibilities of utilizing alternative sources and the priority to develop sources which are more subject to national control. In that regard it is essential, for example, that our offshore oil and gas reserves are taken away from the exclusive control of foreign corporations.

"Among the alternatives are wind and wave power. I would also urge that greater effort is put into promoting the growing and processing of energy crops for the production of biofuels. The EU has already set targets for the proportion of vehicle fuels to be supplied from that source but the concern must be that this will also be dependent on suppliers from outside the country. It is essential therefore that the Government act immediately to promote the growing of energy crops by farmers and the development of processing facilities as part of a coherent response to the problems posed in the Forfás report." ENDS

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Reacting to news that the Ryder Cup won't be added to the list of sporting events designated to be broadcast free-to-air by the Minister for Communications, Noel Dempsey, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Sport and Tourism, Martin Ferris TD, said it was a "shameful" decision.

Deputy Ferris said, "Once again it is clear that this government is more than prepared to give in to the greedy demands and powerful lobbying of a major corporation, in this case the Rupert Murdoch owned SKY television, against the interests of ordinary people.

"All major sporting events in Ireland, especially where Irish sport stars are participating should be free-to-air. Golf should be no different than any other sport.

"There is a tremendous affinity right across all sectors of Irish society with golfing and with the performance of the top Irish golfers at home and abroad. This decision by Noel Dempsey is a shameful one, which should be reversed. In fact this decision by the Government will ensure that the perception that exists, in some minds, of golf being an exclusive sport or hobby will be reinforced by the fact that people wishing to view this massive spectacle at home will be forced to pay Sky television handsomely for the privilege." ENDS

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