Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Cllr. Paul Butler has expressed his shock at the killing of a man outside Oakwood Integrated Primary School this morning.
Cllr. Butler said:
" This morning a man leaving children off at Oakwood primary school in Dunmurray was shot and killed by a number of men. Whatever the motivation this killing was wrong and should not have happened.
" People in the area are deeply shocked at this morning's shooting especially given the fact that it took place in front of young children. I would wish to place on the record my own shock at this killing and extend my sympathy to the dead man's friends and family." ENDS
Sinn Féin Equality Document 2004 download here.
Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald was joined by South Down Assembly member Catríona Ruane and Dublin local election candidates Sorcha Nic Chormaic, Aíne Ní Gabhann and Bernie Quinn for the launch of the Sinn Féin Women's Manifesto in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin this morning. Ms McDonald said: "Our manifesto is simple. It demands equality for women in every area of their lives and it states the most obvious means to achieve it."
Ms McDonald said:
"Women do not enjoy equal status in Ireland today. This is reflected, not just in politics, but in the workplace, in the home and in every other area of a woman's life. According to the ESRI, "One in every four women in Ireland raising children or managing households on their own will experience poverty despite our economic boom." This society needs a complete sea-change, if women are ever to enjoy the rights that they are fully entitled to.
"One of the more visible areas of inequality is the political arena. Women are still not fully represented in either national politics or in local government. Women make up 51% of our population, but only 13% of TDs are women. 10 counties have no women TDs and only 15% of elected Councillors are women.
"Two of our five candidates for the EU elections are women and 21% of our local government candidates are women. While this represents an improvement, we are committed to continuing to work in this area until we achieve full gender parity.
"Sinn Féin believes that we cannot have a just and free society without equality for women. Our manifesto is simple. It demands equality for women in every area of their lives and it states the most obvious means to achieve it. For example, we're calling for:
"Until we have implemented all of these demands, women will remain the lesser partner in this society. Building an Ireland of Equals in one of Sinn Féin‚s core objectives, and as part of that we will continue to campaign for absolute equality for women." ENDS
Speaking during a Women Into Politics sponsored EU debate entitled 'Why Europe matters To Women' Sinn Féin EU candidate Bairbre de Brún outlined the partys 'broad ranging and radical equality agenda'. The detail of that agenda is contained in the partys Equality manifesto which was launched this morning.
Ms de Brún said:
"Sinn Féin wants to build an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals. This is not an empty phrase but a real aspiration, which we believe can be achieved.
"The EU provides us all with an opportunity to further and deepen the equality agenda at home, throughout Europe and indeed globally.
"This morning Sinn Féin launched our equality manifesto, and central to that is a series of proposals for addressing inequality across the EU. However it is important to remember that women are not only interested in women's issues strictly defined.
"Sinn Féin wants to see real and meaningful equality proofing put in place across all areas of EU policy formulation and decision taking. Whether it be programmes for tackling the crisis in our farming and maritime communities; the need for greater support for the community and voluntary sector; the need for greater access to training and employment to name but a few key issues, the gender impact of these issues needs to be addressed in a way that is fully consistent with the principles of equality of access and of outcome.
"Among the many policy commitments we have made in our EU manifesto are:
Sinn Féin wants to play our part, working with others, to develop a comprehensive equality and human rights agenda throughout the European Union' ENDS
Sinn Féin Representative for East Belfast Joe O'Donnell has said that the failure of the PSNI to identify which one of its members deliberately drove at residents in the Short Strand area to allow a prosecution to be mounted showed clearly that 'the canteen culture of secrecy and cover-up was alive and well'.
Cllr. O'Donnell said;
" The revelation that the PSNI have refused to identify which one of its members was involved in endangering the lives of residents living in the Short Strand by driving at them at high speed will come as no surprise to those of us who experienced their policing of this area during the disturbances two summers ago.
" This is a further demonstration that the canteen culture of concealment and cover-up is alive and well within the ranks of the PSNI. This revelation raises many questions for those who continue to provide support and political cover for this force and its Chief Hugh Orde The SDLP in particular can no longer continue to run away from these issues.
" They tell us that accountability and transparency are now paramount. Yet time and again we see instances where the PSNI deliberately and consciously engages in cover up. We have seen it with collusion and with the murders of Roaseanne Mallon and Pearse Jordan and now we see it with this case in the Short Strand.
" The SDLP and others should stop living in denial and should recognise what the majority of nationalists in the six counties believe, that what passes for policing here is not an acceptable or accountable policing service. Instead of providing support for a Hugh Orde charm offensive they should join with the rest of us in demanding the fundamental policing changes which are required." ENDS
Commenting on the discovery of the body of a woman in a car on the Antrim Road this morning Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton said that the community in the area was 'shocked and stunned'.
Ms Stanton said:
" Obviously details at this stage are unclear, but what we have heard is that the body of a woman was discovered is the boot of a car on the Antrim Road last night. What I can say is that the community in this area is shocked and stunned by the events of last night.
" I would wish to extend my sympathies to the dead woman's family and friends at what is without doubt a tragic and difficult time." ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will be available to speak to the media at 12.30pm today at the party offices at Sevastopol Street.
Mr Adams will deal with efforts to ensure that interface areas remain peaceful this summer.
Sinn Féin Assembly group leader Conor Murphy will this morning lodge papers in the High Court challenging the British Government decision to discriminate against Sinn Féin in the wake of the flawed IMC Report.
Mr Murphy will be available to speak to the media at 11am outside the High Court in Belfast.
Dúirt Piaras Ó Dochartaigh inniu go raibh sé "dochreidte" nach raibh an Rialtas ag déanamh a dhícheall chun bheith cinnte go mbeadh stádas oifigiúil oibre ár dteanga féin san Aontas Eorpach, go mór mór roimh deireadh Uachtaránacht Éireannach an Aontais Eorpaigh. Dúirt Ó Dochartaigh:
"Tá a fhios agam gur cuirtear ceist ar an Taoiseach inné faoi dul chun cinn an Rialtais maidir le stádas na Gaeilge tar éis rúin a bhí rithe níos luaithe sa bhliain sa Dáil agus sa Seanad. Ach, fiú go bhfuil tacaíocht ó gach coirnéal sa tír don stádas seo, agus toradh na rúin sin, tá an Taoiseach fós ag iarraidh éalú ón ábhar arís.
"Tá díomá agus fearg orm go bhfuil sé agus an Rialtas ag iarraidh daonlathas muintir na tíre seo a dhiúltú. Tá sé dochreidte go ndeireann an Taoiseach nach raibh sé ina chainteanna le cinnirí tíortha eile an AE ach ag lorg stádas na Gaeilge faoi láthair san Aontas a fheabhsú. Ní raibh sé ag lorg stádas oifigiúil oibre iomlán toisc go mbeadh "deacrachtaí praiticiúila" leis. Cad iad na deachrachtaí sin?
"Dúirt anTaoiseach freisin go mbeadh fadhbanna do seirbhísí aistriú san AE agus go gcaithfí tacaíocht iomlán a fháil ó na ballstáit eile. Ní fíor an freagra sin, má tá fadhb ag ballstáit eile, is féidir leo cur i gcoinne an stádas ach níl aon fáth ann go mbeadh fadhb acu mar tháinig deich stáit nua istigh ar an 1ú Bealtaine leis a gcuid dteangacha agus ni raibh focal ó aon tír - Éireann san áireamh, ag gearán faoi seo.
"Cad is fiú an Coiste a bunaíodh chun an cest a chiaradh nuair nach bhfuil an Taoiseach sásta fanacht ar a thuairisc sin fiú. Tá níos lú ná mí fágtha ag an Taoiseach i ról Uachtarán an Aontais Eorpaigh. Ba chóir go mbeidh náire air go deo má theipfidh air aitheantas a theanga oifigiúil a bhaint amach i rith na míosa sin." DEIREADH
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has welcomed this evenings statement from DUP MPs Nigel Dodds and Peter Robinson on the need to work to achieve a peaceful summer. The Sinn Féin leader said:
"I welcome the DUP support for efforts to ensure a peaceful summer and agree that everyone in positions of influence should do all in their powers to bring this about. It is important that this sentiment is acted upon at all levels of our community and I would urge community leaders and activists, particularly at interface areas, to engage with their counter-parts across the political divide.
" A peaceful summer would bring enormous relief for families and communities who have had to suffer the effects of interface conflict in the past. A peaceful summer would also make a significant contribution to rebuilding confidence inthe political process.
" Two of our MLAs, Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey, are currently engaged in intensive contacts with civic society, the community and voluntary sector, and political opinion across all sections of society with the objective of ensuring a peaceful summer. Today's statement is a positive and welcome development." ENDS
Spokesperson for Rural Affairs, Martin Ferris TD, while commending Minister Eamon Ó Cuiv for his commitment to rural communities, pointed at the failure of the Government to fulfil its commitments in the White Paper on Rural Development, saying that Ó Cuiv's "good intentions" were "being nullified by the overall thrust of Government policies."
Speaking at the final stage of Sinn Féin's Private Members' motion on Rural Development, Deputy Ferris said:
"The Minister is correct in saying that trying to halt the decline in rural communities is one which no other European, or indeed any other modern developed state, has succeeded in cracking but that he is prepared to attempt this in an Irish context. That is certainly a laudable aim and he has attempted to do so by establishing a number of initiatives as the Minister in a separate Department. I believe that Minister Ó Cuiv is passionately devoted to the future of rural communities. What concerns me, however, is that his good intentions and the excellent work being carried out under his Department are being nullified by the overall thrust of Government policies.
"It is my belief that the socially progressive objectives of the Minister and many others within his own party are having to take second place to the dominant ideology within the Government which is driven by what one might describe as a right-wing fiscal agenda. It is no coincidence that this is taking place at a time when the single most right-wing party in this state - the Progressive Democrats - is part of the Governing coalition. There are without doubt fundamental differences between the world view of many within Fianna Fáil and the PDs. I cannot imagine that Minister Ó Cuiv shares his colleague's views or the PD's extreme attitude towards the role of the state. Individual initiative is crucial but private enterprise itself will never be sufficient to solve the problems facing rural communities. The Government expresses support for the Western Development Commission but in practice has ignored many of the recommendations which have been made by the Commission. In its blueprint for Organic Agri Food Production in the West, the WDC pointed to the potential for organic production allied to higher value added processing for the export market but this has not been followed by the Government. In fact it has cut the level of state support, training and support for the organic sector.
"Despite commitments made in the National Spatial Strategy, the so-called 'hub centres' have not proved sufficient to attract new foreign companies. And most of them have actually experienced increased unemployment since 2002. In Tralee, which is served by a technology centre and an Institute of Technology, there have been no new inward investments since the launch of the spatial strategy, and it would appear very little effort on the part of the state to interest foreign companies in the area. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has refused to meet with Tralee Councillors to discuss ways of tackling the jobs crisis.
"An area that is crucial to economic development is up-to-date communications technology. This is especially important in places outside of the main urban centres where e-commerce can potentially outweigh other structural disadvantages. The White Paper referred to the prospect that the provision of broadband telecommunications might facilitate an expansion of this country's development in this sector, with the view that rural areas would benefit from this. However, a report from February this year concludes that this has not been successful and states that " - Ireland has a disappointingly under-developed broadband market. Low penetration is due to high wholesale costs, lack of co
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be in Dublin tomorrow, Friday 4th June at 10.30am to launch the party's manifesto for the Local Government election campaign.
Also attending the press conference in Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street in Dublin will be Meath Councillor Joe Reilly, Dublin South East representative Daithí Doolan, Arthur Morgan TD and Dublin DOE Maria Doherty.
Sinn Féin candidate for South East Daithí Doolan speaking while canvassing on Pearse Street this evening said that today's comments by Minister Martin Cullen have exposed the reality that this Government is diametrically opposed to equality in Irish society. Mr. Doolan said:
„Recent comments by the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and his side-kick Willie O‚Dea and today‚s rant by the Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen, have exposed the reality that this Government is diametrically opposed to equality in Irish society and that the Environment Minister does not know what he is talking about.
"If Minister Cullen had read the Sinn Féinn manifesto he would see that far from calling for withdrawl from the euro, Sinn Fein supports the adoption of the euro in the Six Counties as part of the creation of an all-Ireland economy.
"In relation to the impact of low tax and free trade policies, the European Anti Poverty Network has said that the European Social Model is „under attack with a deepening divide between public and private services in areas like health, education and housing. This has led to growing levels of poverty and inequality.‰ Minister Cullen also ignores the rising numbers of working poor in Ireland. This Government believes that anyone living in poverty in Ireland is just lazy and this is completely untrue. 20% of households living in poverty are headed by people who are working, and the vast majority of other such households are pensioners, the disabled, or otherwise out of the workforce. These people need assistance, not Government press releases telling them to get a job.
"Has Minister Cullen even read the Sinn Féin Manifesto? Does he have the slightest understanding of basic economic and European issues? Is he aware of what is going on in Ireland or is he too busy crippling working families with unfair double taxes like the bin charges while backing away from taking on the manufacturers who produce packaging? Is he too busy kow-towing to his developer friends to see increasing levels of homelessness in Dublin?
If Minister Cullen wants a real debate might I suggest he reads policy documents before talking any more nonsense."ENDS
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. today questioned the Minister of State with responsibility for housing, Noel Ahern T.D. regarding what measures are being taken to redress the predicament whereby single people, in particular single men, who make up 32% of the 48,000 on housing waiting lists, find it virtually impossible to secure social housing.
Deputy Morgan said:
"During my questioning of the Minister of State Noel Ahern T.D. today, he admitted that only 10% of social housing provided by local authorities is allocated to single people without dependents despite the fact that single people now make up 32% of those on local authority housing waiting lists. This amounts to discrimination against single people in the allocation of local authority housing. The Government needs to put in place measures to ensure that single people without dependents receive an equitable outcome in relation to the allocation of social housing.
"I pointed out to the Minister that the overall lack of social housing and particularly the lack of social housing being constructed to meet the needs of single people has been highlighted by groups working with the homeless as one of the primary hurdles in accommodating homeless people and enabling them to make to transition from emergency to permanent accommodation.
"The Minister must intervene to put an end to this discrimination against single people trying to access social housing. The Social Housing guidelines need to be revised to include a specific reference to the necessity for local authorities to ensure that the housing needs of single people are met and to ensure that the points system being used by local authorities do not discriminate against single people without dependents, making it impossible for them to secure social housing." ENDS
Speaking after meeting Aer Rianta workers and union representatives in Dublin Airport today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD reiterated the party's strong opposition to the break up of Aer Rianta and accused Minister Seamus Brennan of living in 'a the fantasyland of free market economics.'
The Dublin South-West TD said:
"It is almost a year since Minister Brennan first suggested he would be pushing ahead with the break up of Aer Rianta. He has yet to advance any coherent explanation for why he intends to shatter a successful and profitable state company beyond repair. He is content to live in fantasyland of free market economics and where he can vandalise a company on nothing more than a hunch.
"The independent reports and analyses have been mounting over that year, each one containing warnings of the problems, both financial and structural, in the proposals. It now seems that while the Minister has ignored the unions and those reports he has been reined in by the Minister of Finance who seems to have grave concerns over the proposed, and as yet unseen, legislation.
"We told the workers in Aer Rianta this afternoon that Sinn Féin is committed to opposing Minister Brennan‚s attempt to wreck a company that has been a huge asset to the Irish economy for over 60 years and we will stand by that pledge." ENDS
Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin in the coming European Elections, Mary Lou McDonald said that protecting public companies and workers rights would be a top priority for her in the European Parliament. Launching Rewriting the Lisbon Agenda, a party document dealing with public services and workers rights, she said that 'Sinn Féin is committed to defending public services state and we want to see a well-run dynamic public sector delivering quality services on the principle of equal access on an island-wide basis.'
Ms McDonald, speaking after meeting Aer Rianta workers and union representatives at Dublin Airport said:
"The Lisbon Agenda is founded on the theory that increasing competitiveness is the key to resolving the economic problems of the EU and this requires the privatisation of public companies and public service provision. But privatisation in Ireland, in particular in the telecommunications industry, tells another story.
"EU regulations forbidding state investment in public services and restricting borrowing for investment in schools and hospitals are undermining our ability to provide for the people of Ireland. While the EU has made many positive contributions to the issue of workers‚ rights, the so-called European Social Model is increasingly under attack across the continent.
"Sinn Féin is committed to defending public services and we want to see a well-run dynamic public sector delivering quality services on the principle of equal access on an island-wide basis. It is this agenda for change we will bring to the heart of the European Union on behalf of workers and citizens." ENDS
Sinn Féin Six County EU Election candidate Bairbre de Brún was today joined by party President Gerry Adams, newly elected Deputy Mayor of Belfast Joe O'Donnell and other party colleagues as she launched the parties EU Election manifesto in the six counties.
Ms de Brún set out the Sinn Féin vision for an Ireland of equals within a Europe of equals.
Ms de Brún said:
Is clár athraithe é clár Shinn Féin. Teastaíonn uainn an clár sin a thógáil go croílár na hEorpa le próiseas na síochána a chur ar aghaidh, leis an chlár uile-Éireannach a chur ar aghaidh agus le hÉire chothrom laistigh de Eoraip chothrom a thógáil. Teastaíonn uainn, fosta, oscailteacht, trédhearcacht agus réalachas a chothú in institiúidí na hEorpa do ghnáth mhuintir na hÉireann.
Sinn Fein's agenda is one of change. We want to bring that agenda to the heart of Europe to promote the peace process; to further the all Ireland agenda; to build an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals; and to make the EU institutions more open, more transparent and more real to ordinary people across the island.
Sinn Féin wants to be in there playing our part. We want to support and enhance those aspects of the EU which are good for people, and we want to play a part in changing those things which are not. Our agenda for change is positive, progressive and rooted in the belief that the EU must work in the interests of ordinary people, and not solely the larger states or interest groups.
The manifesto we are launching today outlines in some detail where Sinn Féin stands on a wide range of EU policy issues, from economic policy to equality and human rights. Throughout the manifesto we are demonstrating our commitment to working for an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals.
Our key manifesto themes are:
"Sinn Féin MEPs will campaign for continued support for peace building; a greater focus on social inclusion; greater transparency and accountability; a sustainable future for farming and fishing communities; a clean environment; and an EU which respects and promotes equality and human rights domestically and globally.
"We will also work to see the Irish language given its proper status as an official working language of the European Union.
"Is é seo clár leathan, dearfach, leanúnach an pháirtí le hathruithe a bhaint amach. Tá sé in am don Eoraip guth úr a bheith inti, guth úr uile-Éireannach. Tá sé in am dúinn guth Shinn Féin a bheith san Eoraip.
"This is Sinn Féin's broad ranging, positive and progressive agenda for change. It is time for a new voice in Europe, an all Ireland voice in Europe. It is time for a Sinn Féin voice in Europe." ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP this morning joined the party's candidate in the six counties Bairbre de Brún as they launched the party's manifesto for the EU election in the six counties.
The manifesto addresses fundamental issues relating to the future of the EU and sets out Sinn Féin's policies for an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals.
Mr. Adams said:
" Sinn Féin is an all-Ireland party fielding candidates in all five Irish constituencies have a unique manifesto and a unique set of objectives for the time ahead. This is a crucial election which will impact on the future direction of the EU and the future of Ireland for many years to come. Our manifesto sets out in detail our vision of a Europe of Equals - a real partnership of equal sovereign states, co-operating in social and economic development in Europe and beyond.
" This election also comes at a time of ongoing difficulties within the peace process. The institutions remain suspended, key sections of the Good Friday Agreement remain outstanding and the Agreement itself continues to come under attack from the rejectionists.
" As the largest pro-Agreement party we are best placed to challenge the DUP agenda and challenge those within the British system who continue to try and frustrate the promise of the Good Friday Agreement.
" There will be negotiations after this election. A strong Sinn Féin vote and a team of Sinn Féin MEPs will send the British government a clear message that people across the island are determined to see their basic rights and entitlements delivered. A major part of that is to see Bairbre de Brún returned from the six counties. She has a proven track record as a Sinn Féin activist, elected representative and Minister in the Executive. I am confident that she will prove to be an effective and radical voice within the EU.
" I have travelled extensively around the five constituencies over the past three weeks. And without taking the electorate for granted I am confident that we are poised to make significant advances. But we are not complacent we are chasing every vote possible in every county on this island.
" We are setting out a vision in this manifesto. A vision for the future direction of the European Union. A vision of an Independent sovereign Ireland within a rights based EU. A changed EU. One which reflects the political agenda of the people of Europe rather than the big States, the unelected Eurocracy, and big business.
" This is a unique vision and a unique manifesto. And I am confident that people across this island will respond to it and join with us and deliver a new voice in Europe." ENDS
Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has called for a reassessment of the application of the Nitrates Directive in light of evidence that nitrate levels in Ireland are currently within the 50 mg limit for the water supply and ground water.
Mr Doherty said:
"Sinn Féin believe that there should be a reassessment of the application of the EU Nitrates Directive in light of evidence that nitrate levels in Ireland are currently within the 50 mg limit for the water supply and ground water.
"The way that this issue has been dealt with places huge pressures on the farming community and there is insufficient dialogue between farmers' representatives and the government on this. This break down in partnership is very damaging to the future of our agricultural industry.
"Sinn Féin believe that a the development of a common way forward on agricultural issues across Ireland is vital for the long term future of our farming, fishing and rural communities. There needs to be a strong single voice for farming and fishing communities on this island, especially in Europe.
Mr Doherty also welcomed the exploratory talks between the Irish Farmers Union and the Ulster Farmers Union, adding;
"These exploratory talks between the IFU and UFU show that there is growing acknowledgement of the importance of adopting a common agenda in the key issues facing our farming and fishing industries.
"I particularly welcome the recognition from the UFU and IFI that an All Ireland approach to Europe can represent the best way of challenging and influencing the way that EU directives are implemented, and CAP and CFP reform in order to deliver a better future for all of our Irish agriculture and fishing industries.
"There are many key decisions to be taken in the coming months that will impact on the long-term viability of Irish farming, not least the Nitrates directives and the Phosphates issues next year, but also on CAP reform and the impact of enlargement and the global market where it will be vital that our interests are represented with a single strong voice within Europe." ENDS