Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Latest Statements


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Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has described the decision to free the three Irishmen, who have been detained in Colombia for almost three years now, as welcome but said that there was a lot of anger that the process had taken so long and had been subject to such political interference. Mr. Kelly said "it is vital that the men now have safe escort out of the country to come home to their families."

Mr. Kelly said:

"Today's verdict from Judge Jairo Acosta is welcome and will come as a huge relief to the men's families and friends and to those who have been campaigning for their release for almost three years now. Despite the obvious collapse of the prosecution case last year it was never certain that the men would be released and sent home, there was always a concern due to the pressure on the Judge from the Colombian government and the military.

"From the very moment of their arrests Martin McCauley, Jim Monaghan and Niall Connolly were not subject to a fair legal process. Their basic rights were denied, there was extensive false reporting in the media and the investigation was closed before key witnesses were interviewed. There was also ongoing political interference in the trial.

"It is vital that the men now have safe escort out of the country to come home to their families.

"This whole episode has been a travesty for the men and their families and they should now be allowed to get on with their lives in peace." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MLA Pat O'Rawe has welcomed the decision of Armagh Council to step in and purchase the Navan Centre and called on the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to re-evaluate its' original decision to withdraw funding from the centre.

The Mayor of Armagh, Ms O'Rawe said:

"This is a bold initiative. Armagh Council has purchased the Navan Centre and has pledged to find resources from within its own tourism budget to keep the centre open.

"I also welcome the council's commitment to ensure that this initiative will not impact on local ratepayers.

"However, this puts an onus on DCAL to re-evaluate their original decision to withdraw financial support for the Navan Centre. The decision three years ago led to the centre's closure. It was the wrong decision and this initiative paves the way for a departmental rethink.

"The Navan Centre is not only an important part of the attraction that Armagh has to offer local and international visitors, it is also a vital resource in discovering Ireland's rich history and heritage. It was a disgrace that DCAL withdrew funding from this centre in the first place and forced it to close.

"The Departments original decision to withdraw funding on the grounds of insufficient visitor numbers does not stand up to scrutiny. I challenge DCAL to publish a comparison between Navan and the other visitor attractions that it has continued to give financial support to." ENDS

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A Sinn Féin delegation including Michelle Gildernew, Conor Murphy and Alex Maskey today met with the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy at Stormont Castle. Speaking after the meeting Conor Murphy said:

" Today's meeting with Paul Murphy was at the request of Sinn Féin and predated the publication of the IMC report. However we used the opportunity to make it very clear to Mr Murphy that his decision to take discriminatory action against Sinn Féin was totally unacceptable.

" Sinn Féin, unlike the British government, are not in breach of the Good Friday Agreement. We have fulfilled all our responsibilities and obligations and will continue to do so. Sinn Féin will not be held responsible for any words or deeds other than our own.

" The decision to remove block assistance from our party is discriminatory. It discriminates against both our party and those we represent. The British government have no right to penalise political parties or elected political representatives in Ireland. We reminded Paul Murphy that he does not have any elected mandate in this country.

" Sinn Féin will continue to demand for our electorate the same democratic rights, entitlements and treatment as all other sections of the electorate." ENDS

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A Sinn Féin delegation including Michelle Gildernew, Conor Murphy and Alex Maskey today met with the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy at Stormont Castle. Speaking after the meeting Conor Murphy said:

" Today's meeting with Paul Murphy was at the request of Sinn Féin and predated the publication of the IMC report. However we used the opportunity to make it very clear to Mr Murphy that his decision to take discriminatory action against Sinn Féin was totally unacceptable.

" Sinn Féin, unlike the British government, are not in breach of the Good Friday Agreement. We have fulfilled all our responsibilities and obligations and will continue to do so. Sinn Féin will not be held responsible for any words or deeds other than our own.

" The decision to remove block assistance from our party is discriminatory. It discriminates against both our party and those we represent. The British government have no right to penalise political parties or elected political representatives in Ireland. We reminded Paul Murphy that he does not have any elected mandate in this country.

" Sinn Féin will continue to demand for our electorate the same democratic rights, entitlements and treatment as all other sections of the electorate." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has said that the decision of the PSNI to invite Ian Paisley Junior to address the graduation ceremony for new recruits sent a clear message that the force 'was ultimately Anti-Agreement in its political outlook and unionist in its ethos and make up'.

Mr Maskey said:

" The decision of the PSNI to have Ian Paisley junior address their graduation ceremony for new recruits shows just how far this force will have to move before they become an impartial and acceptable policing service.

" The PSNI are sending a very clear message to the nationalist community that ultimately they are a force which is anti agreement and unionist in its ethos and make up. They are a force who continue to protect within its senior ranks those who carried out and initiated the collusion policy. They continue to refuse to co-operate with inquests and continue to place obstacles in the way of families like the Finucanes who are seeking the truth.

" The PSNI are not an acceptable policing service. That is the bottom line. Having a leading anti-Agreement unionist fronting their graduation ceremony is simply another manifestation of that fact." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be meeting with the US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss tomorrow morning at 9.30am in Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will meet the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern tomorrow, Monday 26th April, at 1pm in Government Buildings. The main item on the agenda will be the need for intensive discussions to get the peace process back on track. This follows Mr. Adams with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday.

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Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East Daithí Doolan described Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's call for voters to giver their transfers to Labour and the Greens as another sad example of the 'coalition of the confused'.

Mr Doolan said:

"One of the most important issues facing voters on June 11th is the citizenship referendum. Sinn Féin, Labour and the Greens have committed themselves to actively campaigning against this racist proposal. Fine Gael supports it.

"When it comes to the issue of neutrality the position of the 'coalition of the confused' is even more mismatched.

"I appeal to Labour and Green voters to look beyond traditional voting patterns and consider giving your transfers to Sinn Féin.

"Sinn Féin is truly committed to the issues that are vitally important to the broad left such as housing, the environment, public transportation and sustainable development.

"We are quite prepared to work with others who share our vision of a fair and equitable society that provides real solutions not broken promises."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will depart today for South Africa where he has been invited to attend the inauguration of South African President Thabo Mbeki. Speaking before his departure Mr McGuinness said:

"This year marks the tenth anniversary of freedom being achieved for the South African people and the apartheid regime being ended. Sinn Féin has enjoyed a close relationship with the ANC over many years and they have provided invaluable support and advice throughout the course of our own peace process here in Ireland.

"I am honoured to be representing Sinn Féin at President Mbeki's inauguration as he embarks upon his second term as South African President." ENDS

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Sinn Féin North Kerry TD Martin Ferris has said today that the Minister for Justice had serious questions to answer over the states mishandling of the case of Judge Brian Curtin. Deputy Ferris was commenting after the trial of the former PD candidate collapsed over a technicality in Tralee Court yesterday.

Deputy Ferris said:

"The fact that experienced Gardaí didn‚t act on a warrant within its time frame is inexcusable. That the state didn't know when the search warrant would cease to be effective is unbelievable. The state and the Minister for Justice have serious questions to answer about the Gardaí‚s handling of this case. People are furious over this, I have never seen such anger in Kerry, and an explanation as to why this case was bungled in such a manner must be forthcoming.

"This will do nothing to help the already damaged reputation of the Gardaí and if the public are to have any faith in the Irish justice system then the Minister for Justice needs to explain these serious questions adequately and promptly. I and my Sinn Féin colleagues in Leinster House will be seeking an explanation from the Minister when the Dáil resumes next week"ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has welcomed the ruling in an American court which allows Belfast man Sean O'Cealleagh, one of the Casement 3, to remain in the US where he has been living for sometime with his wife and young son.

Mr Maskey said:

" Sean O'Cealleagh was displaced as a result of the political conflict in Ireland. I welcome the decision of the court today to allow Sean to remain in the US and continue with the life he has built for himself there with his wife and young son.

" The court recognition of the fact that the charges against Sean O'Cealleagh were political is a also an import step forward." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Bairbre de Brún has said that if the British government are simply planning to move detainees and asylum seekers from Maghaberry to another prison regime then that would 'be totally unacceptable'. Ms de Brún's remarks come after the announcement that detainees and asylum seekers are to be moved from Maghaberry to Hydebank and a facility at the old Crumlin Road prison.

Ms de Brún said:

" Sinn Féin has consistently supported the campaign to have the detainees and asylum seekers removed from Maghaberry prison. The announcement that this is to happen is therefore welcome. However if the British government is simply proposing moving them to another prison regime then that would obviously be unacceptable.

" The former British Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes consistently refused to meet local groups active on this issue. She has now been replaced by the former NIO Direct Rule Minister Des Browne. It is vital that Mr Browne now meets with local activists and political parties and explains in very clear terms what the Home Office is proposing form the detainees and asylum seekers currently being held in Maghaberry.

" Locking detainees and asylum seekers in prison conditions is a disgraceful practice which clearly breaches human rights standards and must be ended." ENDS

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A Eagarthóir, a chara,

Táimíd ag scríobh chugat lenár dtacaíocht iomlán d'fheachtas Stádas a chur in iúl arís do phobal na Gaeilge.

Agus Lá Bealtaine beagnach sroichte againn, iarraimid uair amháin eile ar Fhianna Fáil agus ar an Pháirtí Dhaonlathach na céimeanna cuí a thógáil le go dtabharfaí Stádas Oifigiúil oibre don Ghaeilge san Aontas Eorpach.

Ábhar mór míshásaimh is ea seasamh Rialtas na 26 Chondae maidir leis an cheist seo. Ní theastaíonn ach go gcuirfeadh Fianna Fáil/an Páirtí Daonlathach rún ós comhair Comhairle na nAirí le go dtabharfaí Stádas Oifigiúil oibre don phríomhtheanga náisiúnta.

Trí dhiúltú don iarratas ar Stádas Oifigiúil don Ghaeilge tá an rialtas ag déanamh neamhaird, ní hamháin d'éileamh an náisiúin ach do mhianta na n-ionadaithe tofa a rith rún sa Seanad agus rún eile a ritheadh sa Dáil ag tacú le feachtas Stádas.

Bheadh impleachtaí móra ag bronnadh an Stádais Oifigiúil do phobal na Gaeilge thuaidh agus theas, thoir agus thiar. Níor chóir go gcaillfí an deis uathúil seo agus an stát seo mar Uachtarán ar an Aontas.

Is muid,

Piaras Ó Dochartaigh,

Bairbre de Brún,

Mary Lou McDonald,

David Cullinane,

John Dwyer

(Iarrthóirí Eorpacha Shinn Féin)

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Sinn Féin EU candidate for the North West Pearse Doherty speaking at today's march in Dublin, organised by Stádas, has backed calls for the Irish language to be recognised as a full official and working language of the EU. He said 'The Irish language must not be allowed to continue as a second class language within the EU. The government still has time, while they hold the Presidency of the EU, to move on this matter and make Irish an official and working language on the EU. The Irish people will accept nothing less."

Mr. Doherty said:

"Over 30 years ago the Irish government of the day refused to take up the offer of making Irish an official language of the EEC. That was a disgraceful decision which stands as a mark of shame against that government.

"In a few days time the accession of the new states into the EU will see the current 11 official languages increase to 20. Maltese, which enjoys 380,000 speakers, is already recognised as an official language of the EU. There are at least that many Irish speakers on this island and many more who have a knowledge of the language. There is huge support for this campaign with motions passed in local authorities across the country and in the Dáil.

"Comments from a government spokesperson today that ' it is making good progress on enhancing the status of the Irish language within the EU' are not good enough.

"The Irish language has to be afforded the same status as other languages within the EU - nothing more, nothing less.

"The government still has time, while they hold the Presidency of the EU, to move on this matter. The Irish language must not be allowed to continue as a second class language within the EU". ENDS

Sinn Féin agus Stádas - Tapaigh an Deis'

A Eagarthóir, a chara,

Táimíd ag scríobh chugat lenár dtacaíocht iomlán d'fheachtas Stádas a chur in iúl arís do phobal na Gaeilge.

Agus Lá Bealtaine beagnach sroichte againn, iarraimid uair amháin eile ar Fhianna Fáil agus ar an Pháirtí Dhaonlathach na céimeanna cuí a thógáil le go dtabharfaí Stádas Oifigiúil oibre don Ghaeilge san Aontas Eorpach.

Ábhar mór míshásaimh is ea seasamh Rialtas na 26 Chondae maidir leis an cheist seo. Ní theastaíonn ach go gcuirfeadh Fianna Fáil/an Páirtí Daonlathach rún ós comhair Comhairle na nAirí le go dtabharfaí Stádas Oifigiúil oibre don phríomhtheanga náisiúnta.

Trí dhiúltú don iarratas ar Stádas Oifigiúil don Ghaeilge tá an rialtas ag déanamh neamhaird, ní hamháin d'éileamh an náisiúin ach do mhianta na n-ionadaithe tofa a rith rún sa Seanad agus rún eile a ritheadh sa Dáil ag tacú le feachtas Stádas.

Bheadh impleachtaí móra ag bronnadh an Stádais Oifigiúil do phobal na Gaeilge thuaidh agus theas, thoir agus thiar. Níor chóir go gcaillfí an deis uathúil seo agus an stát seo mar Uachtarán ar an Aontas.

Is muid,

Piaras Ó Dochartaigh,

Bairbre de Brún,

Mary Lou McDonald,

David Cullinane,

John Dwyer

(Iarrthóirí Eorpacha Shinn Féin)

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Sinn Féin Assembly member Conor Murphy has said that attempts by John Alderdice to defend the IMC in the media were 'pathetic and without credibility'.

Mr Murphy said:

"John Alderdice is a failed politician. Unable to garner the necessary votes to get elected to Westminster, the British government bestowed upon him a peerage. He was then installed as Speaker of the Assembly and subsequently appointed to the IMC.

"Attempts by John Alderdice to defend the discredited IMC and its securocrat report are pathetic. The fact is that neither Mr. Alderdice nor the IMC have any credibility with the broad nationalist electorate. The IMC is a tool of the two governments and a proxy for the securocrats. No amount of platitudes from John Alderdice will change that.

"Unable to gain a political mandate Mr Alderdice is now part of a unelected and unrepresentative quango exerting a wholly negative influence over the peace process." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking to party activists in Belfast this morning said that nationalists and republicans are justifiably angry and frustrated at the behaviour of the Irish and British governments this week. He said their reckless attitude towards the Peace Process needed to end and he called on nationalists and republicans to rally behind the Process and make their voices heard.

Mr. Adams said:

"Nationalists and republicans are justifiably incensed this week. It has been almost ten years since the first IRA cessation. In that time, republicans have taken enormous risks for peace, often entailing great sacrifice. At times, even our harshest critics have acknowledged the work we have undertaken. But sometimes, like now, our contribution is completely ignored. This week's report from the British government's so-called IMC is a partisan, short-sighted, unjust attack against Sinn Féin and is evidence of both governments growing recklessness.

"Sinn Féin are leading participants in this Peace Process. We have fulfilled the promises we made in the Good Friday Agreement. But we have had to deal with the many unfulfilled promises of the two governments, with regard to policing, demilitarisation, human rights, equality and many other areas. Sinn Féin didn't bring down the Assembly and the Executive. It wasn't our actions that postponed the elections last May. We didn't walk away from the sequence of events aimed at restoring the political institutions last October. And yet our electorate are victims of the two governments' cynical attempts to blame Sinn Féin for everything that is wrong with the Peace Process. What is at stake here is a very valuable prize - a Peace Process that has brought, and can continue to bring, much needed change to this island. The two governments seem to be willing to risk that prize for the sake of short-term political gain. They must be made understand that the Peace Process is too important for that to happen.

"I firmly believe that these events do not reflect the public's attitude towards Sinn Féin. I firmly believe that, just as the public made their position clear in the Assembly elections last November, they will use the European elections to make their views clear once again. It is obvious that our support is not diminishing, it's growing. It is growing because people value our contribution to the Peace Process and our work to bring about real change across all of Ireland. And we have to build on this work in June. I believe that these elections - North and South - have the potential to be our best elections so far. We have never elected a representative to Europe. This year, will be the year this can be achieved. It's essential that we encourage our voters to show the same support for us that they did in the Assembly elections. That will remind the two governments, and all our opponents, once again, that the Peace Process cannot be held to ransom. That will be the loudest answer we can give to them, and to every obstacle they choose to put in the path of the Peace Process. "ENDS

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Sinn Fein Education spokesperson Seán Crowe has today criticised Education Minister Noel Dempsey for using Department of Education money to compile information packs for FF candidates in the Minister's area saying it was a 'flagrant abuse of taxpayers' money".

Deputy Crowe said:

"It would seem that Minister Dempsey has been caught out using facilities and resources of the Department of Education for the Fianna Fáil election candidates in the North Leinster area, where he is Director of Elections. This is a flagrant abuse of taxpayers' money when, as anyone familiar with oureducation system knows, schools and special needs children are crying out for funds and services.

"His attempts to defend this highly questionable use of funds, staff and resources from the Department of Education shows us yet again how unfocused and uncommitted he is to the Education portfolio. To say that he provided regular briefing notes to opposition party members is hugely exaggerated to say the least. Responses to parliamentary questions are an essential part of Dáil business if we are to have any transparency at all from the Government but the perfunctory replies we get are hardly comparable to a glossy specially compiled information pack, in this case obviously targeted specifically at his own potential FF cronies in the future.

"Before the 2002 General election, a number of schools throughout the State needing refurbishment were promised the necessary funds for development to go ahead by a 'letter of comfort' from the then Minister for Education, via Fianna Fáil canvassers. Now, again, we have the current Education Minister using his office to promote the Fianna Fáil party, going above and beyond the Ministerial norm in election tactics.

"I welcome the statement by the Standards in Public Office Commission on the use of these public resources and hope we may get to the bottom of how this Department is being run." END

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in London following his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "We had a very frank discussion, during which we told the Prime Minister that we totally and absolutely reject and resent the effort by the two governments to penalise and discriminate against our party through the IMC Report. We also criticised the decision to reject the Finucane family's request for an independent judicial inquiry." In relation to current difficulties in the peace process Mr. Adams said "The cancellation of talks planned for next week is a mistake. We have been arguing for a short sharp focused approach and in our view there is now going to be a period of intense contact between us on all of these matters."

Mr. Adams said:

"The political process in Ireland is in deep crisis. Before Easter I wrote to the British Prime Minister outlining our view of what is needed to get the process working again. At that time I requested a meeting to discuss these matters and the outstanding issue of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. That meeting went ahead today. But with the publication of the so-called IMC Report it had a new and added dimension.

"We had a very frank discussion, during which we told the Prime Minister that we totally and absolutely reject and resent the effort by the two governments to penalise and discriminate against our party through the IMC Report. I have to say that there is a fundamental difference of opinion between Mr. Blair and Sinn Féin on this issue.

"We also argued that there is an urgent need for both governments to honour the commitments made by them in October and pressed him on the issue of collusion. In particular we said that the rejection of the Finucane family's request for an independent judicial inquiry is totally unacceptable. While many of the collusion murders occurred under a previous administration, the refusal of this government to face up to its responsibilities means that it is coming under increasing pressure and getting the blame. It is time that they moved on this issue.

"Let me say that the Sinn Féin leadership has worked with Mr Blair, sometimes in very difficult circumstances to make this process work. We appreciate the contribution which he has made. The Prime Minister told us both publicly and privately that urgent progress is desirable and possible.

"The cancellation of talks planned for next week is a mistake. We have been arguing for a short sharp focused approach and in our view there is now going to be a period of intense contact between us on all of these matters. But no government is infallible and its actions and inactions can make a bad situation worse. In our view the peace process is at that point. It may be that other government priorities have contributed to a lack of focus. It may be that both governments are busy on other priorities. Whatever the case there can be nothing more important than completing the peace process. We have not lost our commitment. But others have to keep both their focus and commitments."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún has today said that the British Prime Minister Tony Blair 'is no more interested in the will of the people on the EU than the Irish government'.

Ms de Brún's comments came after Mr Blair made comments in the British Parliament yesterday (22.04.04) indicating that a second referendum on the draft Constitution could be held, if Britain failed to win a Yes vote at the first attempt.

Speaking today, Ms de Brún said:

"Mr Blair's clear implication in the British Parliament yesterday, is that if the British people reject the EU referendum, then he will re-run the vote until he achieves the right decision. The British Prime Minister is no more interested in the will of the people on the EU than the Irish government.

"The people of Ireland are acutely aware of the attitude of the 26 County government on EU matters. In 2001, the people rejected the Nice Treaty, and the government brazenly put exactly the same treaty in front of the Irish people again. It is quite clear that the government would have re-run the Nice Treaty referendum until they had reached the verdict they wanted.

"The two Nice Treaty referendums exposed the lie that the Irish government were interested in democracy. They refused to accept the democratic will of the people, and foisted a second treaty upon them. It is clear that Mr Blair will do exactly the same thing. This is a travesty of democracy.

"Naturally, nationalists and republicans in the Six Counties would prefer to cast their vote in a referendum taking place on an all Ireland basis. In the past people in the Six Counties have had no say at all. Therefore, I welcome the fact that they will be able to cast their vote on this important issue.

"A re-run of the referendum on the draft EU Constitution is not acceptable in any part of Ireland." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP last night met with the Chief Executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland (formally Bass) Steve Cahillane, to discuss ongoing concerns in relation to continued production at the Interbrew Brewery on the Glen Road in Belfast.

Mr Adams said:

"This meeting was an opportunity for Mr Cahillane to hear at first hand the important role the Brewery plays in both the social and economic life of Belfast and beyond. There has been a tradition of brewing at the site since 1897 and we are keen that this tradition is maintained and developed by Interbrew.

"At the meeting we raised our concerns regarding the implications of the recent loss of the Luzocade bottling contract. We were informed that Interbrew were considering a number of options for the Brewery and we will be meeting with Mr Cahillane again in two weeks time to continue these discussions."ENDS

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