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Sinn  Féin  Employment and Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has
described  the  Employment Permits Bill 2005 as “a profoundly disappointing
piece  of  legislation.”  Speaking in the Dáil today deputy Morgan said the
“legislation  is  most  notable  for  what  it fails to do than for what it
does.”

He  said,  “Sinn  Féin welcomes the fact that this legislation puts current
regulations  on  a  statutory  footing.  However  this  legislation is most
notable for what it fails to do than for what it does.

“This  is  a  profoundly  disappointing  piece  of legislation.   It is not
underpinned   by  a  desire  to  improve  the  situation  of  migrants  who
contributed so much to our society and economy.

“The  provisions  in  Section  22  of  this Bill prohibiting deduction from
remuneration  and  the  retention of personal documents are to be welcomed.
But they must be enforced because otherwise they are worthless.  It is open
to  question  whether  this  can  be  adequately done given the current low
number  of labour inspectors in the state. The current system does not make
it  easy  for exploited workers to come forward and make complaints against
exploitative employers.

Referring  to  the current work permit system Deputy Morgan said, “The work
permit  system  as  it currently stands facilitates employers in exploiting
migrant  workers. The only change is that under this legislation, though it
will  continue  to  be  employers who apply for the work permit, employment
permits  will  be issued to and held by the worker, with a copy provided to
the  employer.   This has been severely criticized by those groups who deal
with the exploitation of migrant workers on a daily basis.

Concluding  Deputy  Morgan  addressed  the  issue of family unification for
migrant  workers  saying, “This Bill will change little in regard to family
reunifications  and  will change nothing for those with ordinary employment
permits.

“Migrant workers are not mere cogs in an economy, they are human beings who
are making a huge contribution to the state, and should not be subjected to
the hardship of being separated from their families.  If we as a state want
these workers to migrate here we must show that we value their contribution
by  addressing  the  issue of family reunification as a matter of urgency.”
ENDS


Full text of speech:

                       Employment Permits Bill 2005

Sinn  Féin welcomes the fact that this legislation puts current regulations
on  a statutory footing, the fact that workers will receive copies of their
work  permits  and  the  provisions which address exploitative practices by
employers.

However  this  legislation is most notable for what it fails to do than for
what  it  does.     It  will  bring  very  little improvement to the lot of
migrant workers and it involves very little change to the current system.

This  is a profoundly disappointing piece of legislation.   The legislation
is  not  underpinned  by  a desire to improve the situation of migrants who
contributed so much to our society and economy.

I  am disappointed that a Minister who at this stage must be fully aware of
the  extent  to  which migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation which
results  from  the current system has chosen to do so little to redress the
situation.



The reality faced by migrant workers

Some  of the most common complaints which arise in respect of the treatment
by employers of migrant workers are:

-   Employees not given work contracts
-   Employees not given their statutory break times
-   Employees not given wage slips
-   Employees not given days in lieu for working Bank Holidays etc
-   Employees not getting correct minimum wage entitlement
-   Work permits not being renewed by employers though they may claim to
employees that they are in the process of having them renewed

Other cases have having included passports being confiscated, workers being
paid  less  than their Irish counterparts and allegations that workers have
been  asked  to  sign  contracts  obliging  them  to  live  exclusively  in
accommodation provided by their employers.

Other issues which the Immigrant Council of Ireland has encountered include
no  holiday  pay; instant dismissal for being sick or having an accident at
work;  no  additional  pay  for  working weekends or bank holidays and even
passing on the cost of obtaining the work permit to the employee.

The  provisions  in  Section  22  of  this  Bill prohibiting deduction from
remuneration  and  the  retention of personal documents are to be welcomed.
But they must be enforced because otherwise they are worthless.  It is open
to  question  whether  this  can  be  adequately done given the current low
number of labour inspectors in the state.  Resources must be made available
to ensure the full enforcement of these provisions

The  current  system  does  not  make it easy for exploited workers to come
forward and make complaints against exploitative employers.



The supposed green card system

It is clear that these proposals related to higher skilled workers involves
little  change  to  the current system, provides no permanency and is not a
green  card  system  in  the understanding most people would have of what a
green  card  is  based on their understanding of green card system that was
operated  in  the  United States.   My colleague Deputy Ó Caoláin will deal
with this issue in greater detail in his contribution.



Why the current work permit system facilitates exploitation

The  work  permit  system  as  it currently stands facilitates employers in
exploiting  migrant  workers.  The employer applies for and up till now has
held  the  work  permit,  restricting  the  ability  of  workers  to  leave
exploitative employment.

These  workers  are  in  the most vulnerable situation.   They often do not
speak  the  language,  they  are  without  their  families to whom they are
sending money home to support and are afraid of losing their job, and being
thrown  out  on  the  street if they make a complaint.  On top of this they
know  that they will not be able to get another job because the work permit
is the property of their current employer.

The  only change is that under this legislation, though it will continue to
be  employers  who  apply  for  the work permit, employment permits will be
issued  to  and  held  by the worker, with a copy provided to the employer.
Only those workers who qualify for the two-year so-called ‘green card’ will
be allowed to apply for their own permit

This  has  been  severely  criticized  by  those  groups  who deal with the
exploitation  of  migrant  workers  on  a  daily  basis.   For  example the
Immigrant Council of Ireland has stated that it

   “is concerned that this still does not provide the worker with ownership
  of  their own labour and as a result concerns about workers being at risk
  of exploitation still remain.”


The  consequences  of the requirement to renew the work permit on an annual
basis

Under  the terms of this bill employment permits will continue to be issued
only  for  twelve  months.  There  have  been  many  cases  reported, where
employers have either forgotten, or have not bothered, to renew the permit.
Such  actions  by employers undermines the legal status of migrant workers.
In  many  of  the  cases  which  have come to light employers have not told
workers  that they have not renewed their permit. When the worker finds out
their  permit had already expired, they find that they are illegal and face
deportation.  If  the  employment permit was issued for 2 years it would go
some  way to addressing these difficulties and would give the employee, and
indeed  the employer, a sense of security that is absence when the employer
must renew the permit on an annual basis

Why family unification is vital

The  economy of the state needs migrant labour and migrant workers continue
to  make  a  huge contribution to the economy and to society.  If it is the
policy  of  this state to promote economic migration into the state we must
ensure that those migrants are treated equally and are given the rights and
entitlements  necessary  to live a normal life.  Most important among these
is the right to have your family near you.  This Bill will change little in
regard  to  family  reunifications  and  will change nothing for those with
ordinary employment permits.

Migrant  workers are not mere cogs in an economy, they are human beings who
are making a huge contribution to the state, and should not be subjected to
the hardship of being separated from their families.  If we as a state want
these workers to migrate here we must show that we value their contribution
by addressing the issue of family reunification as a matter of urgency.


What migrant workers should be entitled to

Sinn Féin is clear about the entitlements that we want to see delivered for
migrant workers

-    the  work permit to be applied for, issued to and held by the employee
rather  than  the  employer,  enabling that worker to move employers and to
walk away from exploitative treatment.

-    The  ratification  by  the State of the UN Convention on the Rights of
Migrant Workers and their Families

-    The  codification  of a common set of core rights and entitlements for
migrant  workers  including  family  reunification, the option of permanent
residence  after  a  fixed  period,  health, housing, welfare and education
rights.    Migrant   workers  must  have  rights  equivalent  to  those  of
host-society members.

-     Better   information   on  workplace  related  rights,  available  in
multilingual format, to be provided.

-    Effective  enforcement  of  workplace related rights with a particular
emphasis on spot checks on those employers employing migrant workers.

-    Enhancing  protection  for  migrant works and other immigrants against
racism, including a focus on combating discrimination, assaults, incitement
and abuse.

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Sinn  Féin Spokesperson  on  Natural  resources Martin Ferris TD, has demanded  that  all  minutes  and documents relating to the proposed Corrib project  be  made  available  as  part  of an inquiry into the development. Deputy  Ferris  was  speaking in response to a reply given by Minister Noel Dempsey to a priority question today.

Deputy  Ferris  said:  “Now that the Rossport Five have been released it is vital  that  the entire project is placed under review. That must mean that all  the  relevant  minutes  and documents relating to the project are made available."

Deputy  Ferris  called  on  the  Minister  to "give an undertaking that the minutes  of  all meetings between his officials and Shell be released.  And that this should include minutes of the meeting which took place between An Taoiseach and Tom Botts of Shell on September 19 2003.

He  also said there was a need to ensure "full disclosure of the procedures under  which  Bellanaboy  Wood  was  transferred  to  Shell  for use as the proposed site of the refinery."

Deputy Ferris went on to point out “that in a reply to a question from Sinn Féin  MEP Bairbre de Brun, the European Commission has stated that projects which  are  likely to have significant effects on the environment, and that would  require  an  EIA  under  EU  Directives,  should  not  be split into sub-projects so that each of them, taken individually, is determined not to have significant environmental effects and thus escapes the obligations set
out by the Directive.

“That  is  what  took  place  in relation to the Corrib project in order to avoid an Enviromental Impact Assessement on the overall implications of the development.

"It  is  essential now that public attention has been drawn to the pipeline by  the  coureagous  stand  taken by the five Rossport men, that a full and transparent  inquiry  is  held  into  the proposed development and that all aspects  of it from health and safety to the licensing terms are subject to review.”  ENDS

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Sinn Féin's Dublin South East Representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan, today welcomed,''the opening by President Mary McAlesse of a new, and much needed, supported housing complex here in Dublin’s inner city.''

Speaking at the opening of the project at the YMCA in Aungier Street, Cllr. Doolan said, ''the new complex is most welcome and shows that despite the wealth created in this country there is still need for support housing. This complex is built by the City of Dublin YMCA and is a tribute to their commitment and vision.  

Homelessness is at crisis point here in Dublin, where over 200 people spend every night on our streets. This is totally unacceptable especially at a time when many politicians and economists applaud themselves for the creation of the celtic tiger. Despite their platitudes reality for many is very different. The opening of this complex indicates just how much still needs to be done to ensure our society becomes one based on inclusion. For the hundreds of homeless the celtic tiger continues to remains a myth.”

In conclusion Cllr. Doolan urged, ''the Minister for State Noel Aherne to visit this complex, learn from it and fund a proper and adequate homeless programme for Dublin before more of our citizens die on the streets this winter''



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Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has accused Mark Durkan of sour grapes and being an apologist for British securocrats.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"For the most selfish party political reasons Mark Durkan is regurgitating tired and unfounded propaganda lies and myths peddled by British securocrats.

"Margaret Thatcher's criminalisation policy failed in 1991 and despite the SDLP's efforts it will not succeed in 2005.

"The SDLP still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that the majority of nationalists and republicans endorse Sinn Fein including our position on policing. Their resentment is the real reason for their singular focus on Sinn Féin at a time when loyalists and British securocrats are attempting subvert the peace process.

"Sinn Féin wants proper policing. We will not settle for less than people deserve because sectarian political policing must become a thing of the past. Sinn Féin will not be deflected from our responsibility to ensure that get policing right." ENDS

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Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights, South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane will be attending a conference in Belfast tomorrow organised by the Human Rights Commission to discuss the conditions in which women and girls are being detained in the North's prisons.

Speaking ahead of the conference Ms Ruane said:

"Last year, following several controversial deaths by suicide in Maghaberry prison, the British government chose to ignore the recommendations of its own Prison‚s Inspectorate and transferred women and girl prisoners to an even more unsuitable prison, Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre.

"This represented a blatant disregard for international human rights standards regarding the detention of female prisoners who, where necessary, should be housed in discrete, gender specific accommodation.

"When I visited female prisoners in Hydebank earlier this year to inspect their conditions I was shocked and saddened that many of the women and girls were being held in worse conditions than in Maghaberry, with no in-cell sanitation in particular being a key concern while the majority of prison officers were male.

"The attitude and ethos of the prison regime was rigid and overbearing towards the women and most of all there was a sense of despair among many that their plight was being ignored by those in positions of authority.

"I welcome the focus of the Human Rights Commission on the conditions for women in prison and call upon the British government to take immediate steps to take practical and humane steps to address the conditions in which women are currently being held. A good start would be to address the unbalanced ratio of male to female prison officers while in the immediate term the nettle must be grasped to plan for a new discrete facility for female prisoners." ENDS

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Sinn Fein's spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. today sought to have to the business of the Dáil adjourned to discuss the preliminary findings of consultants employed by the Government who have calculated that this state will face €100 million of fines for failure to comply with the terms of the state's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

Speaking in the Dáil deputy Morgan said:

"The Government failure to take the action necessary to curb greenhouse emissions in this state will result, according to 'preliminary projections' in the state facing an estimated fines of more than €100 million, and possibly as high as €180 million, for failure to reduce emissions output in line with Kyoto commitments. The State's taxpayers and not the big industrial polluters will end up carrying the resulting financial burden". ENDS

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West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has reacted angrily to Health Minister Shaun Woodward's decision to remove Surgical and Accident and Emergency Surgical Services from Tyrone County hospital.

Mr Doherty said:

"The Minister's decision to remove Surgical and A&E from Tyrone County is short-sighted and unacceptable. It will soon become clear that the so-called contingency arrangements for A&E provision for the people of this area are not only unworkable but also downright dangerous. For example the current ambulance cover provision is completely inadequate and even greater gaps will emerge as ambulances are forced to travel to Altnagelvin, Craigavon or the Erne. I hope that the consequences of this are not the tragic loss of life.

"If the clinical network within the Western Board area was properly developed, there is no reason why A&E cover could not be provided at Tyrone County.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of under-funding of services West of the Bann by DHSSPS and the gross-mismanagement of services by the WHSSB and Sperrin Lakeland Trust. However, instead of thinking outside the box and moving to correct this injustice, the people of Tyrone will view the Minister's decision as the latest instalment of a decades old agenda to centralise services in the golden six, only one of which is west of the Bann.

"The people of this area and all of the political representatives are united in our determination to secure a profile of services that meets the needs of the people of this area.

"Collectively we need to challenge the Minister for Health, The Western Board and The Sperrin Lakeland Trust to tell us that today's measures are only short term and that the proposed new hospital in Omagh will have 24-hour A&E services and a broad range of other acute services.

"As a first step in reassuring the people of this area of the Departments intentions, I am calling on Shaun Woodward to come to Omagh and speak to my constituents and hear of their very real concerns and grievances and to speak to the staff at Tyrone County and thank them for their tireless efforts to keep services opened in adverse circumstances." ENDS

"As MP for West Tyrone, I will not give up on demanding proper accessible services for the people of this community and I am convinced that this will be achieved if we collectively take this fight to the powers that be in the health authorities." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has expressed his concern after the discovery of home made pipe bomb devices on the premises of a Primary school in Harryville linked to the recent campaign by Unionist paramilitaries in the area.

Mr McGuigan said:

"This clearly is another indication that Unionist paramilitaries in North Antrim are intent on creating difficulties and dangers for the community in this area.

"To leave these deadly devices in public is worrying, but I would have to ask what these people thought they were doing when leaving these things on the premises of a children's school.

"As a society we need to challenge the sectarian attitudes that exist. There can be no excuse for the targeting of a school whether it is catholic, protestant or indeed any other type of school.

"It is also essential that we close down the political vacuum that is being filled by loyalist sectarian violence." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that continued financial support for peace building and reconciliation from the EU can 'positively impact upon the peace process, on cross community initiatives and the positive involvement of marginalised groups in policy-making in the time ahead.

Ms de Brún made her comments as she welcomed over 20 community activists from projects funded under PEACE II to the European Parliament in Brussels this morning. They have come to Brussels in order to lobby MEPs and officials from the European Commission for a PEACE III programme from 2007-2013.

Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:

"Today's invitation to those working with PEACE funding from across the community sector is the latest in a series of Sinn Féin led initiatives to press the case for a PEACE III programme for Ireland. In recent months I have met both the British and Irish Governments and the European Commissioner for Regional Development, Danuta Hubner, in order to press the need for continued EU assistance. Gerry Adams also raised the issue with

Commissioner Hubner and with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week.

"Today, MEPs and officials from the European Commission will hear first hand from those at the coalface of community activism, and those groups and schemes which receive the funding, how vitally important a PEACE III programme would be.

"Sinn Féin has long called for a bottom-up approach to the design and delivery of a future PEACE III programme, and the need for greater input from the community sector so that the successes and the the lessons learnt from the weaknesses of the PEACE I and PEACE II programmes can be built upon. It is essential thtat community based organisations are fully involved in the design and implementation of the funding programmes.

"I am pleased by the Taoiseach's weekend comments when he said that the Irish government is committed to securing PEACE III. What we now require is a similar commitment from the British Government as quickly as possible. When I met with Commissioner Hubner in April of this year, and again when I accompanied Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald to meet with her last week, the Commissioner clearly demonstrated an openness to having a PEACE III. What we require now is real political will from the Irish and in particular British Government in order to assist the process of peace and reconciliation." ENDS

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On Thursday 13th October, Bairbre de Brún MEP will deliver a speech at the closing session of the Open Days on Regional Development in the EU.

During this European Week of Regions and Cities, 110 regional offices from throughout the EU will organise about 60 workshops to introduce their various regions. They will host networking sessions and exhibitions that showcase successful projects and cross-border and interregional co-operation.

Ms. de Brún will be speaking on behalf of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament on the issue of "Regional and Cohesion Policy, an Effective Tool for Delivering the Revised Lisbon Agenda Goals".

Commissioner for Regional Development Danüta Hubner will give the opening address to the meeting which involves MEPs from across the political spectrum and from throughout Europe.

The event will take place in the Hemicycle (PHS) in the European Parliament in Brussels from 15.00 to 17.30 on Thursday 13 October. ENDS

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Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has said that Sinn Fein will challenge the NIO Health Minster Shaun Woodward over any decision that undermines the future of Omagh Hospital.

Speaking ahead of the expected announcement on the future of Accident and Emergency and Emergency surgery at Omagh Hospital Mr Doherty said:

"It is essential that we look forward with a view to securing essential services.

"Collectively we need to challenge the Minister for Health, The Western Board and Sperrin Lakeland Trust, to develop without delay, a profile of services that meets the needs of the people of Omagh.

"Sinn Fein is also determined to see that the dedication and commitment of staff in Omagh Hospital is recognised and that the people of Tyrone know that they count.

"Shaun Woodward needs to make clear that today's measures are interim and short term.

"It is essential that the proposed new Omagh Hospital has Emergency Services. I believe that this can be delivered." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, MP, has said that the issue of mental health in Ireland is being neglected by Health Departments, north and south:

"The low level of inadequate resources devoted to mental health spending reflects the lack of priority and urgency given to this aspect of public policy by both Health Departments on this island. Mental health provision is operating on a shoestring budget. Today, on World Mental Health Day, I am urging both administrations on this island to prioritise and integrate mental health provision in the statutory and community sectors, in the next financial year.

"We need an all-Ireland strategic action plan for tackling this serious issue.

"It is not good enough for the Department of Health in the six counties to say that local health boards and trusts must meet the mental health needs of local communities within existing, available resources. There are profound needs and inadequate resources for mental health across the six counties. In some areas, such as north and west Belfast, the under-funding of mental health totals millions of pound over recent years. The vacuum created by the Department of Health is only being prevented from becoming a huge void by the many community-based projects and support groups which are themselves entirely dependent upon non-recurrent, charitable funding.

"Through contact with families and groups across the 32 counties working to raise awareness about suicide and self-harm, there is already a strong public consensus that greater public resources must be devoted to mental health. What we need now is joint government action on mental health, starting with suicide prevention, using the all-Ireland institutions to develop all-Ireland solutions." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disability, Mid Ulster MLA, Geraldine Dougan has welcomed news that newborn hearing screening will be rolled out throughout the Six Counties and that babies born from 1st October will be able to avail of this new service.

Ms Dougan said:

"This is an important development and will ensure that children born with hearing difficulties can be diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.

"It is important that such hearing difficulties are detected at this early stage, giving children the best chance to develop language and communication skills. It will mean that they will progress socially and educationally at the same rate as other children. ENDS.

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Councillor Daithí Doolan, has said there, "was a lucky escape for residents in Pearse House following what appeared to have been a gas explosion."

Speaking in Pearse House, Cllr. Doolan said:

"Only for the quick thinking of City Council workers we could have been talking about a far more serious situation. Workers were in the process of carrying out routine repair work using a gas cylinder, when there was gas leak that caught fire. The workers pulled the flaming cylinder away from the flats and onto the landing on the stairs where the gas cylinder burst into flames.

"I opened my front door to see a ball of flames on my balcony. The fire brigage arrived in minutes and put out the fire. Electricity has now been cut off and repairs have begun to the damaged flat. Thakfully there are no injuries but residents are obviously very shaken by the whole experience."

In conclusion Cllr. Doolan called on City Council, "to review and update all gas equipment and have a full enquiry to ensure this accident never happens again. We were very lucky today next time maybe not so lucky." ENDS

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Speaking today after the launch of the Childhood Development Initiative's document "A Place for Children, Tallaght West" Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe urged the Government to provide the 15.6 million Euros needed to implement the plan.

He said, "This initiative is about taking a holistic approach to the issue of disadvantage and childhood. It is about integrating the various agencies and organisations on the ground to ensure the earliest possible intervention when a child is in trouble. In so doing the quality of childhood will be improved for these children and their opportunities for the future vastly improved

"This is all the more important when you consider that the Haase -- Pratschake relative Affluence/Deprivation index described Tallaght South West as the most deprived of the electoral wards that make up the Tallaght partnership area. If you combine this with figures from the C.S.O, which show the age profile in South Dublin County for births, registered outside marriage to be to be almost 50% under the age of 25.

"When young lone parents have to rear their children in conditions of extreme adversity it takes its toll on the parent and the child. This is an area that has higher than average unemployment, young people on drugs and crime. It is an area that has been identified 25 years ago as a deprived area with special needs.

"The Government has been very vocal in it's support for the elimination of inequality and has initiated a RAPID Development plan for West Tallaght. While that is to be welcomed the evidence on the ground says much more is needed. If the Government is really interested in showing a commitment to areas such as Tallaght I call on them to support this initiative and provide the funding. 15.6million is a mere drop in the ocean when you compare it to 150 million spent on a computer system that doesn't even work properly." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Kerry this evening where he is attending the launch of 'Man of Kerry a biography of Martin Ferris said 'People will be listening very carefully to what Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair have to say in Downing Street tomorrow. They have said that momentum needs to be injected into the peace process - tomorrow will be an important test of their commitment to that task.'

Mr. Adams said:

"Two of the most important advances of the last fifteen years in Ireland have been the peace process and economic growth. Both have opened up huge opportunities which have yet to be fully realised. The key question for all of us is how both are advanced in the interests of all the people on the island.

"What is critical is that the complacency which is evident in the government's approach to public finances is not replicated in the peace process. The ethos which saw millions wasted on consultants' reports, on electronic voting machines and computer systems which don't work and on tax avoidance schemes which favour the rich is bad for society as a whole. The opportunity created by economic prosperity must be used to end poverty, to invest in public services, to protect workers rights. It is also important that opportunities to exploit natural resources, which could be worth billions to the economy, are not handed away to multi-nationals.

"The opportunity created by the IRA decision to formally end its armed campaign needs to be built upon. The IRA decision has not resolved the crisis in the peace process, what it has done is open up an opportunity to make progress.

People will be listening very carefully to what Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair have to say following tomorrow's meeting in Downing Street. They have said that momentum needs to be injected into the peace process - tomorrow will be an important test of their commitment to that task.

"There are a number of things that need to happen and on which the two governments have already made commitments - the political institutions need to be restored, the British government need to come forward with legislation on policing and justice, the Equality Commission and Human Rights Commission need additional resources and powers, northern representation for all MPs - nationalist, unionist and republican - in the Oireachtas and the completion the process of demilitarisation. There is nothing new in any of this -- these are issues which are at the core of the Good Friday Agreement which was signed seven years ago and they have been at the core of every negotiation since then. They must be delivered now."ENDS

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Speaking today after the launch of the Childhood Development Initiative's document "A Place for Children, Tallaght West" Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe urged the Government to provide the 15.6 million Euros needed to implement the plan.

He said, "This initiative is about taking a holistic approach to the issue of disadvantage and childhood. It is about integrating the various agencies and organisations on the ground to ensure the earliest possible intervention when a child is in trouble. In so doing the quality of childhood will be improved for these children and their opportunities for the future vastly improved.

"This is all the more important when you consider that the Haase -- Pratschake relative Affluence/Deprivation index described Tallaght South West as the most deprived of the electoral wards that make up the Tallaght partnership area. If you combine this with figures from the C.S.O, which show the age profile in South Dublin County for births, registered outside marriage to be to be almost 50% under the age of 25.

"When young lone parents have to rear their children in conditions of extreme adversity it takes its toll on the parent and the child. This is an area that has higher than average unemployment, young people on drugs and crime. It is an area that has been identified 25 years ago as a deprived area with special needs.

"The Government has been very vocal in it's support for the elimination of inequality and has initiated a RAPID Development plan for West Tallaght. While that is to be welcomed the evidence on the ground says much more is needed. If the Government is really interested in showing a commitment to areas such as Tallaght I call on them to support this initiative and provide the funding. 15.6million is a mere drop in the ocean when you compare it to 150 million spent on a computer system that doesn't even work properly." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the launch of a consultation process by Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jeff Rooker on recommendations for a renewable energy policy and has urged the public to become fully involved in all aspects of the debate.

Ms de Brún said:

"At a recent meeting in the European Parliament, firms engaged in new processes in the field of renewable energy from all over Europe presented their technologies to a wide audience. This is clearly a growing business area that will be of considerable interest in Ireland, north and south, in the time ahead.

"This issue was a major topic of discussion at the recent Ploughing Championships in Co Cork, with several stands and exhibits on this issue.

"EU energy policy aims to see an increase in the share of renewable energy up to 12% by 2010, and the European Commission has recently launched a four-year strategy to raise awareness about renewable energy.

"I would urge the public to engage in the debate on the way ahead for renewable energy for several reasons. Firstly, in the context of climate change we need to seek new sources of renewable energy and alternative sources of energy in order to reduce the harmful effect of emissions from fossil fuels. In any case such fuels are becoming increasingly scarce and will not be available indefinitely. Secondly, we need to look at alternative land use in the context of CAP reform, of the crisis facing agriculture, and of new opportunities that are emerging. Thirdly, the public should be aware of these new developing technologies and have a realistic debate about their effectiveness and their impact on the environment. And finally, new industries and small companies are springing up to meet the demands for renewable energy and we in Ireland should not be left behind in this debate.

"The core message of the Sustainable Energy Europe campaign is that 'intelligent energy production and consumption will change the European energy landscape forever'.

"While the public will have concerns about aspects of some of these new technologies, it is important to have a full debate on the issues involved. I would urge those in rural areas in particular to make their voices heard." ENDS

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Sinn Féin's Dublin South East Representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan, has today called for, ''the establishment of a task force to develop the Poolbeg Peninsula to ensure that this opportunity is not squandered by developers greed.''

Speaking at today's Council debate on the development of the Poolbeg Peninsula, Cllr. Doolan said, ''the Poolbeg Peninsula is the subject of a proposed multi billion euro development, aiming to house 10,000 people over next couple of years. But what appears to be missing is the needs of the new residents and surrounding communities. While I welcome the development of this area of Dublin, it must be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. For too long this part of Dublin has been a dumping yard for dirty industry. Neighbouring communities of Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount must have their needs met with this development.

A task force of stakeholders including, Dublin City Council, developers, Councillors and local community groups must be established as a matter of urgency to oversee this development.

I am proposing the focus of the Task Force must be to guarantee;

Housing
At least 25% of all units to be given over for social & affordable housing.

Environment
Development not to be used as smokescreen to bring in an incinerator.

High-rise
No high-rise with out a full and comprehensive study on effects of high rise.

Infrastructure
Infrastructure to be put in place to coincide and compliment the development. Childcare facilities, public transport, community centres and roads to be a priority.

Consultation
Consultation to date has been very poor. The period of consultation to be extended. People‚s needs and concerns addressed as opposed to communities being told what is happening.

In conclusion Cllr. Doolan claimed we, ''must ensure that this peninsula becomes part of the solution to the city‚s needs and not simply a developers paradise and a resident‚s nightmare.''

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Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will tomorrow host a delegation of people campaigning for a PEACE III programme for the Six Counties and the border regions (11-12th October).

The two day visit will see campaigners from Monaghan, Antrim, Belfast, Derry and Tyrone, and representing the community sector, travel to Brussels to meet with a wide range of MEPs and officials from the European Commission.

The visit comes less than a week after Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams met with Danuta Hubner, European Commissioner for Regional Development to press the case for extended peace and reconciliation funding. ENDS

Note to Editors: The Peace 3 project would run from 2007 to 2013. Peace I and Peace II each delivered hundreds of millions of Euros to a wide range of groups involved in delivering peace and reconciliation work.

More than 20 people from backgrounds including cross community, Travellers support, ethnic minority support, women and childcare and ex prisoners groups.

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