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Sinn Féin TDs join the Save Navan Hospital protest outside the Dáil on 16/06/22

Sinn Féin TDs including Johnny Guirke and Darren O'Rourke at the Save Navan Hospital rally outside the Dáil on 16th June 2022

Sinn Féin TDs for Meath Johnny Guirke TD and Darren O’Rourke TD have announced the party will bring forward a motion in the Dáil next week to save Navan Hospital A&E.

Speaking today, Teachta Guirke said:

“The A&E at Navan Hospital must be saved. This is a crucial service for the local community, which has been damaged by under-funding from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Sinn Féin will stand with communities across Meath and ensure that these important hospital services are not closed and that our health service gets the funding that it deserves.

“Hospitals in surrounding counties - to where patients from Meath would have to attend if Navan A&E closes - are already under massive pressure as it is. I am very concerned that closing this service could have devastating consequences for patient safety.

"We cannot see a repeat of what has happened in other communities where A&E services were closed in recent years. The consistent overcrowding we have seen in Limerick University Hospital is a direct result of the closure of local A&E services in Clare and Tipperary. 

"I am urging all TDs in Meath and across the state to back our motion and save Navan Hospital A&E. Local Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives have claimed they disagree with the closure of this service, but they need to do more than offer sympathetic words, they need to stand up and be counted.

"The Minister for Justice is a representative for Meath, as are two Junior Ministers, Thomas Byrne and Damien English. They must stand with the people of Meath and back our motion to save Navan A&E.”

Teachta O’Rourke said:

“Navan Hospital A&E must be saved and our health service must be protected. Communities here and across the state need to have confidence in the health system. At the heart of this issue is the fact that government after government has failed to invest in our health system. We have seen waiting lists spiral and delays in A&E shoot up. It isn’t good enough.

“It is long past time that the government invested in our health system and stood up for patients.

“I am calling on all TDs in Meath and across the Dáil to do the right thing here and back Sinn Féin’s motion. Mealy words aren’t enough, the people of Meath need a firm commitment that the A&E’s doors will remain open. They need to see proper, sustainable investment right across the health system.

“I’m urging all TDs to do the right thing here and back our motion to send the clear message that crucial health services are not fair game for closure in any constituency.

"Sinn Féin will hold a public meeting in Navan on Monday evening, where Johnny and I will be joined by Party President Mary Lou McDonald to discuss how to save Navan Hospital A&E. We're calling for everyone to join us at the Newgrange Hotel, Navan, at 7:30pm on Monday and make your voice heard.”

The motion is available to view here


Sinn Féin representatives including Party President Mary Lou McDonald TD and Meath TDs Johnny Guirke and Darren O'Rourke will hold a public meeting on the need to save Navan Hospital A&E at The Newgrange Hotel, Navan, at 7:30pm on Monday 20th June.

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has said the ESRI report published today showing rising levels of energy poverty is further evidence of the need for urgent Government action now. 

The report published this morning shows record levels of energy poverty with a rapidly increasing number of households making difficult choices and the risk of further increases in bills bringing a “sense of desperation”.

Reacting to the report, Teachta Kerrane said: 

“The ESRI report published this morning makes for very stark reading and shows a worrying rise in energy poverty. 

“The report acknowledges that recent increases in energy prices and the likelihood of more to come are going to have an enormous impact. 

“The ESRI are clear in seeking action from Government that is targeted and urgent. 

“The report suggests that up to 43% of households could be at risk of fuel poverty if energy price hikes continue and bills increase by a further 25%. 

“This report underlines the need for action from Government today, not in four months’ time, at the Budget when much announced doesn’t actually kick in until 2023. 

“Government also cannot focus solely on the Fuel Allowance in its current form as it is far too limited and doesn’t reach all those who need assistance with rising energy costs. We need to see the Fuel Allowance eligibility widened, we along with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul have asked for it to be extended to low income households in receipt of the Working Family Payment." 

Speaking in relation to the call in the ESRI report for more regular data collection to be able to track energy poverty, party spokesperson for Environment & Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD stated:

“The 2016 Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty committed to establishing an Energy Poverty Advisory Group, with the purpose of reviewing and reporting to the Minister on an appropriate methodology for measuring and tracking energy poverty levels in Ireland.

"Despite its critical importance, this never happened. Without such appropriate methodology, it is very difficult for the state to map those in energy poverty, to measure the impact rising energy costs are having on people, or on the impact policy decisions such as the carbon tax are having on households.

"There is a serious lack of data in this area – which means energy poverty cannot be properly tackled.

"As we saw with the €200 electricity credit – this could not be targeted to those most in need. The last Energy Poverty Strategy lapsed in 2019, and has not been replaced, despite our repeated calls.

"It highlights a shocking disregard for addressing those living in energy poverty and a lack of will to address it.

"Claire and I will be bringing forward a Bill in the coming weeks to ensure an updated Energy Poverty Strategy is brought forward and to establish the Energy Poverty Advisory Group, as per the 2016 recommendation.”

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Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned the Government’s failure to introduce an emergency budget to help hard-pressed families suffering with the cost of living crisis before the Oireachtas breaks for summer recess. 

Senator Gavan was speaking ahead of a Seanad debate on the issue and a series of cost of living protests across the country that are scheduled for this Saturday. 

Senator Gavan said:

“This government is asleep at the wheel. 

“In the face of an inflation rate of 8 percent, energy prices hikes of 57 percent, food inflation of 5 percent, the cost of filling a family car with fuel now well over €100 per week, and rents soaring by 15 percent across the state, the government intend to head off on their summer holidays and leave it until the next budget to take any action. 

“It is unbelievable. People need action and supports now.

“What is even worse is that they have introduced a motion in the Seanad which basically congratulates themselves on the great job they have done on the cost of living crisis. 

“You could not make this stuff up.

“We need to see immediate steps taken to move all workers towards a Living Wage. We also need to see an immediate ban on evictions, a ban on rent increases, and a tax credit to give renters back one month of their rent. 

“Alongside an immediate cut to the cost of childcare, these are measures that could ease the pressure and give people the financial space to get through this crisis.

“Right now families across the country are having to decide whether to put food on the table, or pay for visits to their GP, whether to pay heating bills or give their children a couple of days away during the summer. These are choices that no families should be faced with.”

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MacManus welcomes restoration of EU funds to Palestine

Sinn Fein MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the restoration of EU’s aid to Palestine. 

Speaking from Brussels, MacManus commented:

“The EU has until recently been the largest financial donor to Palestine, with fund allocations in the region of €600 million every year. Yesterday evening Ursula von der Leyen announced that, after two years, the EU has finally unblocked access to these funds and that distribution can take place rapidly.”

“This release of the money is a positive step and must represent an end to what has been a shameless entertainment, by the European Commission, of baseless accusations spouted by the Israeli Government.”

The Sinn Féin described his difficulties in attaining clear information on the matter. “I have been in an ongoing dispute with the European Commission over these back room decisions to cut humanitarian funding to Palestine. My latest requests for clarity were met with a brick wall, in the form of a letter informing me that all the evidence linked to the suspension of funds was classified. Members of the European Parliament are elected by citizens to represent them, in particular when it comes to how the EU budget is being spent. Therefore it is unacceptable for the Commission to decide that MEPs shouldn’t have a say in whether funding should be stopped to any recipient.”

“President von der Leyen was very clear in explaining where the money to Palestine ends up; we are talking about the provision of things like clean water, food security and a reliable energy supply.”

MacManus concluded, “Sinn Féin will always support the Palestinian people being assisted and we demand that the EU respects their duty to stand against the Israeli Governments attack on school children’s education, on the vulnerable, and civil society.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Brexit spokesperson Declan Kearney has said that the British Government's reckless unilateral actions around the protocol have left the EU with little option other than to initiate legal action.

The Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA said:

“The European Union’s response today has  been inevitable due to the British Government's reckless actions and breach of international law

“The EU will resume its legal action against the British Government – an action they paused in 2021 in a spirit of constructive cooperation as they tried to reach agreement with the British Government. 

“The unilateral actions of the Johnson administration are an act of bad faith that have not only caused deep mistrust with international partners but have raised significant worry and stress across the business community here in the north.

“I am encouraging both parties to fully engage with the joint committee, this is the best way to iron out the outstanding issues of the protocol and give certainty to workers farmers, and business.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has described Minister Humphrey’s response to her proposed amendment to Disability Allowance legislation as 'deeply disappointing'.

The drafted amendment would extend the payment of Disability Allowance for three months following the death of a child, in line with Domiciliary Care Allowance.

In an exchange in the Dáil this morning, Minister Humphreys agreed to review the processes around Disability Allowance but did not agree to implement the much-needed change to address this gap in current legislation.

Teachta Kerrane put forward this amendment having engaged with Tracy McGinnis, who has advocated extensively on the need to extend the Disability Allowance payment following the death of a child over the age of 16.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Minister Humphrey’s reply is just not good enough and skirts around the issue, rather than just addressing it.

“While she acknowledged the situation that Tracy experienced, she would not acknowledge that there is an anomaly in existing legislation.

“Tracy’s experience has exposed the cliff-edge that exists where on the death of a child in receipt of Disability Allowance, the payment ceases immediately. This is not the case for younger children under 16 years of age and in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance nor is it the case where the deceased recipient of Disability Allowance is a partner or spouse in which case the payment continues for 6 weeks.

“So not only are there discrepancies around the continuation of supports depending on the age of the child, there are also differences depending on relationship.

"Why would we treat the death of a fifteen year old with a disability and a sixteen year old with a disability differently? Why would we allow the continuation of Disability Allowance following the death for a husband or partner but not for a son or daughter? This makes no sense.

“There is no rational reason for this and the gap in legislation must be addressed to rectify this unfair anomaly immediately.

“The Minister has committed to a review of the processes, but this just delays the appropriate action needed to address this serious issue. Rather than review, the Minister should implement the necessary amendment which I have already drafted and sent to her.

"The Minister said in her reply to me that her Department 'recognises the need for a transition period during which people can grieve and plan for a life following the death of a family member' yet this was not afforded to Tracy McGinnis and it will not be in future, unless this amendment is made.

“This is an important amendment that will make a difference to families who sadly lose a child they were caring for at home."

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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said the safety of New Lodge residents must be paramount following a night of disruption in the area. 

The North Belfast MLA said: 

“Last night the residents of New Lodge were disrupted by anti-social behaviour, resulting in street fighting among rival gangs, with knives being used. 

“Someone was taken to hospital and police are investigating it as attempted murder. 

“This community deserves much better. 

“I have spoken to statutory bodies to ensure that the safety of the residents is paramount. 

“I would appeal to anyone with information regarding last night to bring it forward to the PSNI.” 

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Tacaíonn MacManus le togra Bhliain na nOileán

Cuireann Feisire Eorpach de chuid Shinn Féin, Chris MacManus, fáilte roimh thogra chun 2024 a bheith mar Bliain Eorpach na nOileán.

Chur MacManus fáilte roimh an togra a bhí i dtuairisc ar todhchaí oileáin na hEorpa agus vótáil sé i bhfábhar don tuairisc a bhí os comhair Parlaimint na hEorpa.

Dúirt MacManus

“Mar Feisire do toghcheantar le pobal cósta mór, bhí mé sásta chun tacú leis an tuairisc ar todhchaí oileáin na hEorpa. Bhí go leor sa tuairisc seo agus leag sé amach na dúshlán atá os comhair ár bpobail oileán faoi láthair. 

“Creidim go bhfuil sé tábhachtach chun oibriú lenár bpobail oileán ar fud na hEorpa chun plé chuimsitheach a bheith againn faoi an todhchaí.

“Moladh amháin a bhí sa tuairisc seo ná go mbeadh 2024 mar Bliain na nOileán san Aontas Eorpach. Creidim go láidir sa togra seo agus tá mé den tuairim go dtabharfaidh sé seo deis dúinn plé ceart a bheith againn ar thodhchaí ár bpobail cósta agus oileán.

“Beidh mise ag leanúint suas leis an gCoimisiún chun cinntiú go dhéantar staidéir ceart ar an togra seo. CRÍOCH

MacManus Supports Calls for Year of Islands Proposal

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus supports proposals for 2024 to be the European Year of Islands.

MacManus welcomed the proposals that were in a Report on the Future of European Islands and he voted in favour of the report which was before the European Parliament.

MacManus said:

"As an MEP from a constituency with many coastal communities, I was pleased to support this report on the future of our islands. There was a lot in this report and it laid out the challenges being faced by our island communities. 

"I believe that it is important for us to work with our island communities from across Europe to ensure a comprehensive discussion on the future.

"One proposal in the report was to make 2024 the Year of Islands in the EU. I strongly believe in this proposal and I am of the opinion that it will give the opportunity to have a real discussion on the future of our coastal and island communities. 

"I will be following up with the Commission to ensure that this proposal is given real thought. ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has called on the DUP Education Minister to extend the Engage II programme for schools.  

The West Belfast MLA said:

''The Engage programmes were designed to address the impact that the pandemic has had on children and young people’s education. 

''Funding from the scheme provides for additional teaching jobs which helps schools target tuition to those who have fallen behind or who may be at risk of falling behind due to school closures or absences throughout the pandemic. 

''The lack of clarity from the Education Minister on the future of the Engage Programme is causing uncertainty for schools, it's limiting their ability to plan for the coming school year and many teachers who were employed under this scheme do not know if they have a job to go to in September. 

"This is a scheme which the Executive has already endorsed so the Minister should act without delay, identify the necessary funding from within her budget and get this programme extended for the coming academic year."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said the increase in waiting times for the Jigsaw youth mental health service is "extremely worrying". 

Teachta Ward has called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution.

Waiting times for an appointment with Jigsaw are currently up to 18 weeks, with some areas seeing a 700% increase in the length of waiting times.

Teachta Ward said:

“Figures released to me by the HSE through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for first appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in my area of Dublin South West and across the State continues to grow.  As a result, youths are waiting up to 19 weeks to get an appointment, with young people from Dublin South West currently waiting 16 weeks.

“There are 2,016 children waiting on a first appointment nationally. 272 of these children are from my own area.

“There has been an 88% increase in the length of waiting times in Dublin South West.  In 2021, it was a 9 week waiting time for a first appointment, but that has increased to 17 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.  

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care, they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods. These wait times are simply unacceptable and put those in need of help and their mental health at a very serious risk. 

“Jigsaw has experienced a 25% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears.

“This increase in waiting time is most notable in Galway. In 2019 Galway had a 2 week waiting time for a first appointment.

"It currently stands at 16 weeks, which is a staggering 700% increase in the length of time vulnerable children are left waiting on a vital service.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it, and where they need it.

"We need to move away from the postcode lottery for mental health treatment.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has published an amendment to extend the payment of Disability Allowance for three months, following the death of a child in line with Domiciliary Care Allowance. 

This call echoes the advocacy efforts of Tracy McGinnis, who experienced the heartbreak of losing her disabled son Brendan, who she spent seventeen years caring for.

Just weeks after his death, Tracy received a repayment demand for a Disability Allowance payment that the Department for Social Protection had found to be overpaid.

Although the demand has been overturned, Tracy’s experience has exposed the need to extend the payment of Disability Allowance to Carers following the death of a child, which are currently not in place. 

Speaking about the proposed amendment, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Currently, if a child you are caring for passes away under the age of 16, the payment of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) rightly continues for three months.

“Yet, if you are caring for a child who dies and is 16 or older, their Disability Allowance payment ceases immediately. This leaves those Family Carers facing a financial cliff edge whilst also grieving the loss of their child. 

“DCA is payable until a child turns 16, at that point the child can receive Disability Allowance (which is means tested) and where that child is severely disabled, it is typically collected by a parent or guardian, who are known as Agents. 

“I have drafted an amendment to the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, to change the rules regarding the payment of Disability Allowance after death. I have sent this amendment to Minister Humphreys today. 

“The amendment would extend the three month rule which is in place for DCA to those caring for their disabled child and who are in receipt of Disability Allowance, meaning they too would continue to receive Disability Allowance for three months following the death of a child.

“I want to thank Tracy for raising awareness about this gap in existing legislation. Her tireless efforts seek to prevent the suffering of other families who may find themselves in the same situation. 

“I am calling on the Minister to accept this amendment with urgency. It is an important change that will make a difference to families who sadly lose a child they were caring for at home. 

“The loss of a child is devastating. At that most difficult time in a parent’s life, our social protection system must provide support, not cause further distress."

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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has called on the Health Minister Robin Swann to increase the mileage allowance for community carers in light of the surging cost of petrol and diesel. 

The North Belfast MLA said: 

"The Health Minister needs to urgently increase the mileage allowance for our hard-pressed care workers who are struggling with the price of petrol and diesel which is now over £1.90 in some areas.  

“Our care workers travel regularly to treat the most elderly and vulnerable in our communities, these workers deserve much more than the current allowance which is well below the price of fuel and which is leaving them out of pocket. 

“I and my Sinn Féin colleagues have been calling on the Health Minister to increase the allowance for months, in a recent response the Minister is still ‘considering options’. More has to be done for our care workers who are considering whether they will be able to afford to go to work. 

“Scotland and Wales have already increased fuel allowances for their workers.

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the Health Minister to increase these fuel allowances so that workers can be fairly reimbursed for the fuel they use to do their job."

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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has called on the Health Minister Robin Swann to increase the mileage allowance for community carers in light of the surging cost of petrol and diesel. 

The North Belfast MLA said: 

"The Health Minister needs to urgently increase the mileage allowance for our hard-pressed care workers who are struggling with the price of petrol and diesel which is now over £1.90 in some areas.  

“Our care workers travel regularly to treat the most elderly and vulnerable in our communities, these workers deserve much more than the current allowance which is well below the price of fuel and which is leaving them out of pocket. 

“I and my Sinn Féin colleagues have been calling on the Health Minister to increase the allowance for months, in a recent response the Minister is still ‘considering options’. More has to be done for our care workers who are considering whether they will be able to afford to go to work. 

“Scotland and Wales have already increased fuel allowances for their workers.

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the Health Minister to increase these fuel allowances so that workers can be fairly reimbursed for the fuel they use to do their job."

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Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, Johnny Guirke, has described the Minister for Health's response to the HSE's plan to downgrade Our Lady's Hospital, Navan as 'woefully inadequate'.

He has called for the proposed closure of A&E services in Navan Hospital to be taken off the table by the government, and has challenged local Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives to state their position on the proposed closure.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Guirke said:

"The HSE has been hell bent on closing services in Navan Hospital for years, despite the county having a huge population of nearly 200,000 people and growing. The hospitals in surrounding counties - to where patients from Meath would have to attend if Navan A&E closes - are already under massive pressure as it is.

"The A&E in Navan provides a vital service and it needs to be retained. We cannot see a repeat of what has happened in other communities where A&E services were closed in recent years. The consistent overcrowding we have seen in Limerick University Hospital is a direct result of the closure of local A&E services in Clare and Tipperary. 

"I am extremely disappointed with the Minister for Health's woefully inadequate response to this and he has not ruled out taking the closure of Navan A&E off the table. That must happen without delay. 

"Local Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives to state their position on this too. They need to stand up and be counted.

"The Minister for Justice is a representative for Meath, as are two Junior Ministers, Thomas Byrne and Damien English. They must bring the concerns of those in the Meath to Government Buildings and let it be known that they will not accept the downgrading of local services.

"What Navan Hospital needs is sufficient investment to retain all vital services. The Minister for Health should pursue this, instead of letting the HSE set the agenda.

"People power has saved services at Navan Hospital in the past and we need people to rally around this issue again in order to retain our A&E service."

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Economy Caoimhe Archibald has criticised the awarding of mineral licences for Dalradian Gold by the Department of the Economy.

Caoimhe Archibald said:

“Local communities in the areas affected have consistently raised their deep concerns about the potential environmental and health impacts such projects could have but those concerns have not been adequately addressed by either the Department for the Economy or Dalradian Gold Ltd.

“Sinn Féin has consistently made the point that given the complex and controversial nature of these planning applications, they should be subject to a public inquiry. 

“The current framework is outdated and not fit for purpose.

“The Department of Economy needs to carry out an urgent review into the current regulatory framework underpinning mineral licensing to ensure the highest standards of environmental protection and transparency are put in place.

“This is needed to improve public confidence in the process.

“A moratorium on the granting of mineral prospecting licences should be introduced and remain in place until the regulatory framework has been reviewed and amended.” 


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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that the Tánaiste should introduce a Living Wage in Budget 2023 to help tackle low pay and the cost-of-living crisis for workers instead of waiting four years to do so.

Teahcta O’Reilly said:

“Today’s announcement by the Tánaiste that the government intends to implement a Living Wage by 2026 is welcome. 

“But the reality is workers cannot wait this long - the measure should be introduced in Budget 2023.

“Indeed, the Tánaiste, and the Low Pay Commission, should consider using the Living Wage set by the Living Wage Technical Group instead of trying to set a lower rate using 60 percent of the median wage as the figure.

“The Living Wage Technical Group calculated the true Living Wage as €12.90 per hour in 2021, this will no doubt increase in 2022 when they make their recommendations based on the Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) formula.

“By contrast, under the model proposed by the Tánaiste, workers would be worse off by close to a euro per hour, and they would have to wait four years for it.

“In the past number of months there has been increases in rents, fuel, food and energy costs, to name but a few, which has meant the cost of living has spiralled out of control for workers.

“Therefore, there is an immediate need to move to a Living Wage to tackle low pay and the cost-of-living crisis. Indeed, Germany has just increased their minimum wage to €12.00 per hour from 1st October, a 22 per cent increase, to tackle low pay and the cost-of-living crisis in the country.

“Sinn Féin has a published plan outlining how to immediately deliver a Living Wage with appropriate legal protections for businesses who can show they cannot afford it.  

“I would call on the government to work with Sinn Féin and all those committed to a Living Wage and begin preparations to deliver a Living Wage for workers in Budget 2023.”

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MacManus welcomes EP committee objection to labelling gas and nuclear as sustainable

BRUSSELS, 14 June 2022 - Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has welcomed the European Parliament’s objection against the labelling of gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments. “This is an important first step,” said MacManus, “with a majority of MEPs on the Economic Affairs and Environment Committees opposed to the greenwashing attempt to include gas and nuclear in the EU’ Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.”

The objection was tabled against a Complementary Delegated Act to the Taxonomy Regulation. The Regulation sets the rules for what type of activities can be considered to contribute to the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal while doing no other significant harm to the environment. It is intended to guide private and public investment, in an effort to redirect finance from polluting activities to sustainable ones. The Taxonomy does not outlaw certain investments or prevent Member States from deciding on their own energy mix.

The Complementary Delegated Act, tabled by Commissioner McGuinness in January 2022, aims to include certain gas and nuclear energy activities in the taxonomy, putting them on an equal footing with renewable energies. The proposal has met with significant criticism, amid concerns that the addition of nuclear and gas will undermine the whole taxonomy, which was intended to provide a clear and science-based guide to sustainable investments for both private and public finance.

Speaking after the committee vote in Brussels, MacManus said, “I voted for this objection, as the Complementary Delegated Act clearly goes too far and is not the right solution for managing the transition. The Commission’s own expert platform has confirmed that the inclusion of gas in the taxonomy in this way is not compatible with the EU’s climate goals, and that there are not enough safeguards around nuclear energy to be able to consider that it does no environmental harm.”

The European Parliament cannot amend the text, but can table an objection to oppose the act outright. A majority of MEPs in the Environment and Economic Affairs Committees voted for an objection to the Complementary Delegated Act. 76 MEPs voted in favour of the objection, 62 opposed, and 4 abstained. Now, it will be put to the vote again, this time for all MEPs, at the Strasbourg plenary session between 4-7 July. If the objection is approved by the majority of MEPs, the Complementary Delegated Act cannot pass into law.

MacManus said, “In an effort to craft a political compromise on gas and nuclear, the Commission has overstepped and is now trying to tack on a transition management angle to the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, which was intended to provide an unambiguous standard as to what activities contribute to our long-term climate and biodiversity goals. It is positive to see a majority forming among MEPs to reject the Delegated Act. An objection at plenary would send a strong signal that, as the latest IPCC report made abundantly clear, there is no time left for substandard climate legislation.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill has said the dangerous and reckless actions of Boris Johnson and his Tory Government risk jeopardising the  EU withdrawal agreement as well as political stability in the north. 

Michelle O'Neill said:

''The actions of Boris Johnson and his government are dangerous, they are a clear breach of international law and they threaten to undermine the Good Friday Agreement. 

“Today’s actions come on the heels of the British government tearing up the Stormont House Agreement on supporting victims and dealing with the past and the DUP’s boycott of the Assembly, the Executive and north south institutions. 

''The Protocol is working and is supported by a majority of MLAs and the overwhelming majority of businesses. The northern economy is outperforming others, business is growing and new jobs are being created.

''Instead of dismantling the protocol, the British Government should be working to help maximise the opportunities presented by it to the north. 

“The Protocol gives the north access to both the British market and the EU single market of more than 500 million consumers.

''The resolution to the implementation of the Protocol will be found in negotiations between the EU and British government, not through this type of unilateral action.”

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Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, Johnny Guirke, and TD for Meath East, Darren O’Rourke, and party spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane, have criticised the announcement of plans to remove vital emergency services from Navan Hospital.

They called on the Minister to halt the current plan which would undermine trust and faith in healthcare reform.

They said that wait times are too long at almost every Emergency Department across the State, and that, years later, University Hospital Limerick is still severely overcrowded following similar changes.

Along with the retention of emergency services, they called for greater investment in community healthcare, the ambulance service, and primary care, including out-of-hours GP services, saying these are badly needed to tackle the real challenges facing the hospital.

Teachta Guirke said:

“The proposed loss of services at Navan Hospital is the wrong decision and the downgrading of the hospital is intolerable.

“Wait times are far too high at Emergency Departments across the State, and only last week the Mater Hospital was warning patients away due to long waits.

“There is no guarantee that capacity is available elsewhere in the region and there are very real concerns about the future of much needed services at the hospital.

“We need investment in Navan Hospital to improve services, not downgrade services.”

Teachta O’Rourke said:

“The downgrading of Navan Hospital at a time when hospitals across the State are severely under pressure raises serious questions.

“Navan Hospital does not have sufficient capacity due to bad government policies to date which has caused a lack of doctors and nurses and underinvestment in the hospital, as well as alternatives in the community.

“What Navan Hospital needs is sufficient investment to retain these vital services, investment in community and primary care, particularly out-of-hours GP care, and realignment of care to reduce pressure and overcrowding in hospitals.”

Teachta Cullinane said:

“It would be a disservice to the communities across Meath that services would be downgraded at Navan Hospital.

“Healthcare reform should mean improvements in the services which are most needed locally, not downgrading of vital emergency services.

“Doctors and paramedics should be free to make the best decision for any patient, and to assess the risks of distance and travel, and proper investment in services at Navan would provide options to help, not hinder, good emergency care.

“If the government does not demonstrate significant investment and improvement across community healthcare, GP and out-of-hours services, and the ambulance service, it will not repair the trust needed with communities. Reform cannot be led with cuts to services.

“This is the wrong decision which could create real difficulties for patient care and other hospitals. We cannot see a repeat of what has happened in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

“The Minister for Health needs to set out clearly where he stands on this proposal.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, has welcomed the publication of an important report on government’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

However, Senator Boylan said she regrets that it comes eighteen months after the statutory deadline.

Senator Boylan said:

“A year and a half since his deadline passed, Minister Eamon Ryan has finally published the Annual Transition Statement for 2020. The Climate Change Advisory Council was right to call out the Minister’s failure to produce the statement in its annual review last year.

“The Annual Transition Statements have been an essential source of evidence on the government’s track record tackling climate change, although they have tended to be overly positive and lacking balance. This year is no different.

“Presenting the Transition Statement in the Oireachtas is a prime opportunity to hold the government to account. But more than that, it is a clear legal obligation on the Minister and a centre piece of the 2015 Climate Act.

“It is a very worrying precedent that Eamon Ryan is setting in terms of his legally mandated climate obligations. If he is this brazen about the Annual Transition Statement, how seriously can he expect other ministers to take their legal commitments like emissions reductions targets?

“Political accountability is essential to functioning climate legislation. Climate commitments simply aren’t worth the paper they are written on if they are ignored.

“It is highly concerning that a minister has simply ignored the law for this long. Minister Ryan has failed his first test of accountability.”

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