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Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and the Local Government Management Agency to ‘move quickly to resolve the staffing crisis in the Local Government sector.’ The call comes as Fórsa trade union members have initiated industrial action involving an indefinite ban on engagement with all political representatives.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The Local Government sector is in the midst of a retention and recruitment crisis. This is impacting on all levels of service provision. At the centre of this crisis is the refusal of Government and the Local Government Management Agency to work with workers and their representatives to address issues around job evaluation and pay.

“Forsa, one of the largest unions representing Local Government workers has been calling on Government and the LGMA to undertake a formal job evaluation process to ensure workers jobs are properly graded and renumerated. Such ongoing job evaluation processes are standard in other jurisdictions.

“Despite initial engagement between the parties at the Workplace Relations Commission on this matter, the employer’s side are now refusing to negotiate. In turn Forsa members have initiated industrial action starting with an indefinite ban on engagement with all political representatives.

“This will obviously have an impact on the ability of TDs and Councillors to fully represent our constituents. However, the responsibility for this situation does not rest with the Local Government staff. The blame is solely the responsibility of Government and the LGMA.

“Once again the Minister responsible, Darragh O’Brien, is silent on an issue which is impacting on thousands of workers and the people who rely on the services they provide.

“I am calling on all elected representatives to contact the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, the LGMA and the Chief Executive of their Local Authority demanding that they return to the negotiation table and to agree a mechanism for progressing the job evaluation process and as key element of addressing the retention and recruitment crisis in Local Government.”



Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has responded to today’s announcement by the banking industry in response to the mortgage misery so many households are facing.

The Donegal TD warned that the initial eligibility criteria for households to switch could be of no value whatsoever for tens of thousands of mortgage prisoners.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“On the 4th August I called on the Minister to convene a meeting with the Central Bank and banking industry to develop a strategy to support those facing soaring interest rates.

“While the Minister met with the sector last week, what households need to see are results.

“It appears that today’s announcement will do little to help tens of thousands of mortgage prisoners who had their mortgage loans sold to vulture funds.

“These sales were supported by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“There are elements of today’s announcement by the banking sector which I welcome – in particular the streamlined customer engagement framework between MABS and vulture funds, and dedicated phonelines by the retail banks for mortgage prisoners that want to switch.

“However, the initial eligibility criteria announced by the main lenders will mean nothing to a significant cohort of mortgage prisoners.

“Those on split mortgages will be excluded.

“Those who have had their loans restructured will struggle to meet these criteria given they are being charged interest rates as high as 10 percent by vulture funds.

“Many of those no longer in arrears or in a restructure will be excluded as their credit record will still be impaired.

“This suggests that today’s statement will mean nothing for tens of thousands of mortgage prisoners.

“What we need to see now is analysis from the Central Bank regarding how many mortgage holders could switch with these eligibility criteria in place – and I will be writing to the Central Bank to clarify this question.

“What is clear is that these mortgages should never have been sold to vulture funds, and banks have a responsibility to right a wrong and provide a path for mortgage prisoners to return to the mainstream mortgage market.

“It is also incumbent on the Government to support households that are suffering from this income shock.

“1 in 5 households are set to see their annual mortgage costs rise by more than €5,700.

“It is incumbent on the Government to support households that are suffering from this income shock.

“Sinn Féin have called for the introduction of temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief to support struggling households.

“The Government must act.”


Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has branded the British Government’s decision to push through the Legacy Bill and ignore opposition from victims ‘cynical and cruel’.

Speaking after the Legacy Bill passed through Westminster, the North Belfast MP said:

“The British Government's flawed and irredeemable Legacy Bill has always only been about one thing – closing the door on families ever getting truth and justice.

“It is absolutely cynical and cruel that the British Government is forcing this bill through despite clear opposition from victims, all the political parties in this island, human rights experts, churches, the US, UN, EU and the Irish Government.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand with the families in their campaigns for truth and justice, many of them who have been campaigning with dignity and determination for five decades.

“The British government has reneged on an international agreement to implement the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House by the two governments and political parties in 2014 in a human rights' compliant manner.

“I am calling on the Irish government to confront this denial of human rights and breach of international human rights law through an interstate case and international action against the British government.” 


Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy directly raised the need to take Lough Neagh into public ownership with the British Secretary of State. 

Speaking from London, the Mid Ulster MP said:

“There has long been a case for taking Lough Neagh into public ownership, but the recent blue-green algae blooms have only furthered that case. 

“Local community groups and environmental experts have voiced serious concerns about the impact that the algae are having on the Lough’s local wildlife. It is devastating fishing stocks and damaging the fishing fraternity that exists on Lough Neagh.

“I have raised these concerns directly with Chris Heaton Harris and extended an invite to him to visit Lough Neagh and meet with the local partnership and cooperative.

“Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lough in Ireland, and yet no department has overall responsibility for it.

“That is an untenable situation. The Lough needs to be brought into public ownership and managed by a community partnership.” 


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has responded to changes announced today to the Defective Concrete Products Levy by the Minister for Finance.

Today’s announcement follows warnings raised by Teachta Doherty with the Department of Finance on 26th October that precast products would be subject to the levy despite false statements made by Paschal Donohoe to the contrary.

The Donegal TD again called for the tax on new homes to be scrapped.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:  

“On the 1st of September the Government pushed ahead with their deeply flawed concrete products levy, despite all the warnings that this levy will result in higher housing and building costs for workers and families.

“This is ultimately a tax on new homes.

“In October Minister Paschal Donohoe made repeated claims that the levy excluded precast products, from blocks and paving to lintels and posts – these claims were false.

“It was clear as soon as the Finance Bill was published that poured concrete, a key element of precast products, would be subject to the levy.

“I raised this directly with Department officials at the Finance Committee on the 26th October.

“The false statements from Minister Donohoe led to confusion within the construction sector and among wider industry.

“Minister Donohoe should correct the Dáil record.

“The Government applied a guillotine on this legislation – ensuring that the levy was not properly scrutinised.

“I warned at Report Stage of the Finance Bill that there was a flaw in the levy that would come back to haunt the Government.

“This has now come to pass with the Minister scrambling to address a flaw I raised last year.

“I believe there could be other problems with the legislation underpinning this flawed levy which I have raised directly with Revenue.

“While I welcome the fact that Minister McGrath will now respond to the issue I raised with the Department in October last year, the Government should scrap this flawed levy, which will increase construction costs and house prices.”



On 26th October 2022, Teachta Pearse Doherty raised the drafting of the legislation underpinning the Defective Concretes Block Levy with the Department of Finance at the Finance Committee, warning that precast products would be subject to the charge, despite statements to the contrary by then Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe.

You can find a transcript of those proceedings here and an extract below:

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Can I just clarify because I do not think I made my point clear here, to assist Ms O’Callaghan? This relates to a person who is producing concrete and selling to the domestic market, which obviously has a levy in place. That person, for example, has one company that has been set up as Pearse Doherty Concrete Supplies Limited but also has a company called Pearse Doherty Precast Concrete Sills Limited on the same site. If my concrete company is supplying and pouring concrete, which is captured under the levy, to create the sills, slabs or lintels, does a charge apply, since poured concrete is included?
Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan: They are no longer within the list of products that are subject to the levy.

Deputy Pearse DohertyIs poured concrete included?

Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan
Poured concrete is. If one is supplying poured concrete, then it is within the charge. We would have to go through the example that the Deputy is giving. We would need more details about the type of poured concrete. I dare say, when the Deputy talks about poured concrete, that he is talking about a lorry coming and supplying poured concrete to another place. If someone was creating a batch then supplying it, we would have to go through the details to see exactly what the process is.

Deputy Pearse Doherty
There is a certain danger here. In the past, concrete would have been poured into the frames for lintels, left to cure for a while, then taken out and the frames would be used again. If there is a situation with two separate companies rather than one, then the concrete that is being used for the pre-cast will be subject to the charge.

Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan
If it is poured concrete within the meaning here, then it would be, but we would have to go through the details. We would need an example of a specific place to see how the details would apply. The Deputy is talking about two companies operating in one plant.

Deputy Pearse Doherty
: Exactly. There are two companies, which will happen numerous times. I do not know if they are still operating but I know of a company that was doing that. If companies are supplying to the domestic market because they have their concrete wagons on-site, they will have a separate company set up. They are invoicing internally. Therefore, the concrete that is used on sills, lintels and kerbs would be subject to the tax.

Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan
: We would have to look at a specific case to see exactly how it is operating.

Deputy Pearse Doherty
Part 4 of the VAT directive defines poured concrete as the supply of concrete that is ready to pour. It does not suggest that it even has to be in a lorry, just that it is ready to pour. It can come straight out of the batch. It excludes the margin scheme, which is double taxation. It appears that if two companies are operating, with one supplying the concrete to pre-cast, then they are captured.

Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan
: It would appear that way. I cannot say for certain because I do not have the facts. I am not an expert in this market so I would have to pass this back to Mr. Hennessy.

Ms Jacqueline O’Callaghan: There are other examples that we could go through. In group companies, there are many ways to transfer items without going through a sale or even a legal transfer. As I said, that is how we understand the policy intention.

Deputy Pearse Doherty
The same reason that the Revenue Commissioners have captured that applies in the example I have, which is not about a developer but a company manufacturing pre-cast concrete. It is captured even though pre-cast concrete is excluded, since the material going into the moulds is now included. I have significant concerns about this.


Sinn Féin spokespeople on Mental Health, North and South, have said there is a lack of urgency in delivering a mental health inpatient perinatal unit on the island of Ireland.

Mark Ward TD and Órlaithí Flynn MLA were speaking following responses from respective Departments of Health indicating no definitive date for inpatient perinatal services.

Mark Ward TD said:

“At present there is no inpatient specialist perinatal hospital on the island of Ireland.

“Mothers who need inpatient mental health care are currently being admitted to acute psychiatric units without their children.

“The HSE Model of Care for Perinatal services have developed a hub and spoke model. This seems to be working quite well, but the missing piece of the jigsaw is the inpatient service.

“I have received responses to parliamentary questions that do not give a definitive timeframe for when the proposed inpatient perinatal unit will be up and running.

“Within the last year, St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin has been chosen as the site for this vital 10-bed unit, but we still do not know when this will be operational.

“This process is taking far too long and needs to be streamlined. The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service Model of Care published in 2017 recommended that a mother and baby unit be developed in Dublin. It's now 2023 and we are still waiting.

“Ireland has a dark history of separating Mothers and babies and this needs to stop.

“We need to see urgency from Government on this important issue.”

Órlaíthí Flynn MLA said:

“Shortcomings in our maternity and mental health services have directly led to heartbreaking incidents involving mothers and children, including the tragic deaths of some.

“We must have a specialist perinatal mental health service that is fit for purpose, free to act in the best interests of women’s health and available to all women on our island.

“An Executive is needed in the north to secure funding for a specialised mother and baby unit to help women struggling with mental health conditions post pregnancy.

“The DUP’s boycott of the institutions is delaying progress on this vital service.”


Note to editor:

- Click here to view PQ Response 1 from HSE to Mark Ward TD.

- Click here to view PQ Response 2 from HSE to Mark Ward TD.

- Click here to view response from Dept of Health in the North to Órlaithí Flynn MLA.


Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, John Brady, has urged the government to act immediately to deliver on the proposals from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), following the decision by SIPTU Retained Firefighters (RFF) to vote to accept the WRC proposals by 63%. 

Teachta Brady said:

“The fact that the WRC proposals only received 63% of support from SIPTU Retained Firefighters is indicative of the longstanding government failure to address the issues that underlie the recruitment and retention crisis in the RFF, and the level of distrust that this has created with RFF members.

"The treatment of the RFF membership by the government has left a legacy of dissatisfaction.

"It is critical that at the very least the government works to ensure that the WRC proposals are acted upon immediately, and that the political commitments given by Minister Darragh O’Brien are carried through.

"Minister O’Brien has committed to delivering a deal for Retained Fire Fighters in the national pay talks as the second phase of addressing the core renumeration issue for the RFF. 

"Although, given the Ministers failure to address the housing crisis, there is scepticism regarding his ability to deliver for fire fighters given his poor record. 

"The proposals brought forward by the WRC reflect a concession to the tenacity, commitment, and cohesion of the RFF in respect of the need to address the difficulties within the service.

"I acknowledge the tremendous effort that the members of the RFF have undertaken to ensure the continuing safety of not just their serving members, but also members of the public.

"Key problems remain in the RFF - today’s decision must mark the beginning of a process where the government acknowledges its responsibilities to firefighters and the public, and works to bring the service into the twenty-first century.

"There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of structures of the Retained Fire Service. The proposals that the WRC have brought forward do not represent the totality of what is needed to resolve the problems in the Retained Fire Service.

"Without a comprehensive overhaul which will drag the service into the 21st century, we will be left in a situation, where nothing has been achieved other than a patch up job, that will enable the service to limp on for a few more years, before it completely collapses.

"Without this necessary overhaul, we are going to end up back here sooner rather than later.”


Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said we need a properly funded Executive up and running immediately to set our own budget.

Conor Murphy said:

“The British Secretary of State’s budget will have a devastating impact on our public services, the economy, and workers and families.

“We need a properly funded Executive up and running to set our own budget and begin to fix the health service, deliver on education and housing, create jobs and support businesses.

“We need a new fiscal framework that includes a fiscal floor and tax powers. This will help finance the Executive to deliver better public services.

"One party’s shameful blockade of the Executive is allowing the British Government to punish ordinary people struggling with the the cost-of-living crisis

“Sinn Féin is ready to work with everyone to build a better future for all.” 


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has said that Government must act urgently to cut unacceptably large class sizes.

New figures from the Department of Education, show that there were 61,345 primary school pupils in classes with 30 or more students for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Teachta Clarke said:

"Government has failed to plan and properly fund schools, which has resulted in unacceptably large class sizes. This has been raised as a concern for many years now, by unions, parents and headteachers yet Government has failed to act despite these warnings.

"Starkly, the new figures highlighted that there are over 2,400 students in classes of 35 or more spread across 61 different schools. This is clearly unacceptable.

“Rural areas appear to be particularly affected, which creates an unfair postcode lottery where children are placed at a disadvantage based on where they live.

"High class sizes have a detrimental impact on the quality of education teachers can deliver. This is affecting too many of our children across the State. Not only are countless classes far too big, they are in buildings too small, and not fit for purpose. This undermines the teaching environment and children's ability to learn to the best of their ability. 

"I am urging the Minister to urgently address this issue. There can be no more delays or excuses. All our children deserve the best chance in life, through high quality education that should be a right and not subject to a postcode lottery.

"Sinn Féin wants to put an end to classes of over 30 kids and ensure standards never slip to this stage again. We are committed to working towards the EU average of 20 children per class which supports education and learning best and allows for children who may need additional support or guidance to have that opportunity. This is particularly important for children with additional needs and those from disadvantaged communities.

"Government need to get their act together and cut class sizes to fair and appropriate levels so children get the education they deserve."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has called on the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to publish the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 social and affordable housing progress reports.

The call was made as the Minister failed to publish the Quarter 1 report and has delayed the publication of the Quarter 2 report.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

"Since 2017, the Department of Housing have published a quarterly social housing pipeline report, detailing the delivery of social housing in each quarter. In 2022, this report started to include affordable housing output.

"This report is crucial in allowing the public to track the government's progress in meeting its social and affordable housing targets.

"Last year, the government promised 9,000 new build social homes and 4,000 affordable homes.

"They fell short of the affordable housing target by 60%, delivering just 323 affordable purchase homes and 684 cost rental homes.

"For the third year in a row, they also missed their new build social housing targets, by 1,567 homes.

"This year Darragh O’Brien did not publish the Quarter 1 figures for social or affordable housing delivery. The Quarter 2 report should have been published during the summer but so far has not been released.

 "This year the government has promised 9,100 new build social homes and 5,500 affordable homes.

"The fact that the Q1 report was not released suggests that output was very low in that quarter. The delay in publishing the Q2 report does not inspire confidence that this years targets are going to be met.

"The Minister for Housing must publish both the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 social and affordable housing progress reports as a matter of urgency so that the public can see what progress, if any, is being made on the delivery of much needed social and affordable homes."


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Matt Carthy TD, has said that Tánaiste Micheál Martin should use his visit to the Middle East to outline the government’s timeframe to formally recognise the state of Palestine.

Teachta Carthy said that the strong words of government in response to the ongoing breaches of international law by Israel must be matched by action such as enacting Sinn Féin’s ‘Illegal Israeli Settlement Divestment Bill’.

The Cavan/Monaghan TD said:

“The Tánaiste’s visit to Israel and Palestine is occurring at a time when there has been a marked increase in violence levelled against the Palestinian people by Israeli authorities, including the recent assault of the Jenin refugee camp which resulted in the deaths of 12 people, including 5 children.

“Micheál Martin must use this visit to outline Ireland’s ongoing condemnation of Israeli breaches of international law.  But strong words must be matched by action.

“The Tánaiste should outline the timeframe in which the Irish government will enact the decision of both Houses of the Oireachtas to recognise the state of Palestine.  International leadership is needed on this issue and Ireland is well placed to show that leadership.

“While the Tánaiste has opined of wishing to build consensus across Europe, the situation for ordinary Palestinians is deteriorating – we cannot ask yet another generation of Palestinian children to wait for an international response that shows no sign of coming.

“History tells us that Israel will not cease its aggressive and apartheid regime until the world says stop.  Just as in opposing South African apartheid, it will take some countries to take the first steps.  Ireland should be among those first countries.

“The strong words of Irish government Ministers in response to Israeli crimes are important – but they must be matched by action.  The Tánaiste must indicate that his government will progress the Sinn Féin ‘Illegal Israeli Settlement Divestment Bill’ which has been delayed until next February. 

"This Bill, drafted by John Brady TD, would prevent Irish taxpayers’ monies being invested in companies that profit from Israel’s illegal settlements.

“Unless the Tánaiste uses his visit to the Middle East to outline the actions that his government will take in response to the ongoing breaches of International Law by Israel, then I fear the trip will be pointless.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has said that the government's continued failure to address the housing crisis is failing all of those in the education sector, from teachers to pupils.

She described reports this morning of a school in Dublin's failure to be able to employ teachers as a result of the housing crisis as a 'shocking indictment of government housing policy'.

Teachta Clarke said:

"Reports this morning of a school in Dublin being unable to employ teachers is a shocking indictment of government housing policy.

"This is not an isolated issue. Schools across the State are struggling to employ teachers because teachers are leaving for positions abroad. Sinn Féin have been highlighting this issue now for some time, yet government have sat on their hands.

"Workers across the public sector - from teachers, to nurses, our firefighters, our Defence Forces and Gardaí - are leaving jobs they love because they cannot afford to work in them. These are jobs that once provided a good income and a good quality of life.

"Yet government continues to disrespect each and every one of these workers by failing to tackle sky-high rents and runaway house prices.

"Teachers will continue to leave in their droves until this is addressed and it is our schools and pupils who are suffering the consequences."


Sinn Fein spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on the Minister for Health to ensure that the reform of the Mental Health Act is included on the priority publication list for the Autumn/Winter legislative programme.

Teachta Ward said.

“The Government has constantly stated that the progression of the new Mental Health Bill remains a priority.

“Yet despite this assurance, we have seen little progress on this really important piece of legislation since we completed the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill in 2022.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to prioritise the Mental Health Bill in the upcoming Autumn and Winter legislative session.

“It is my understanding that discussions on prioritisation for the Autumn legislative session are expected to take place within the next month, with the full priority list published at the beginning of the session.

“The Mental Health Bill must be included on the priority publication list.

“This Bill is an opportunity to put in place a robust, person-centric mental health legislation that will protect the rights of people with mental health difficulties in the decades ahead."


Speaking after hearing an update from the Neurology Review Team, Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“Today MLAs heard from the Neurology Review Team and questioned the issues of governance and the Duty of Candour within HSC Trusts in future plans for Neurology services.

“The neurology scandal had the biggest patient recall ever. It is vital that new structures and approaches for neurology services be embedded from the outset.

“The Neurology All Party Group will meet the Belfast Trust and the Department for Health at the end of this month, and I will be asking them about their plans including governance and budget arrangements going forward.

“It is shameful due to one party’s blockade of the Executive that we do not have a Health Committee to scrutinise the Department on these really important Health and Social Care issues.” 


Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said that the appointment of a new Chief Constable of the PSNI is an opportunity to refocus on the critical task of building a police service that serves and has the confidence of the entire community.

Gerry Kelly said:

“The position of Chief Constable of the PSNI is a difficult and often very challenging role. Simon Byrne has experienced those challenges over his tenure but particularly so over the last week. He has now decided to step down from the role of Chief Constable and I respect his decision to do so. I wish him and his family well for the future.

“For those of us in political leadership, this is the time to refocus on the task of delivering an efficient and effective policing service that serves all the community.

“We need to build on the progress that has been achieved since the Good Friday Agreement.

“There is clearly a job of work to be done by the incoming senior policing team and their leadership to rebuild confidence with staff and civilian workers and the wider public.

“There is also a job of work for those on the policing board whose role it is to hold the police service to account. Sinn Féin will continue to engage in that work positively to deliver further necessary change.

“The public deserve fair, good and accountable policing. The PSNI must deliver this with the community.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for national standards to be developed for monitoring antipsychotic medication in children.

Deputy Ward was speaking following the latest reports by the Mental Health Commission into CAMHS.

Medication monitoring varied between different areas with many young people going without regular reviews.

Teachta Ward said:

“The Mental Health Commission has published detailed reports into CAMHS in each CHO area. The results of which are another damning indictment on this government’s approach to youth mental health.

“Of particular note is the lack of uniformity across CHOs for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication.

“At present there are no national standards for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication in children and CAMHS staff follow the NICE guidelines as set out in Britain.

“These are not being universally adhered to across the state and action is required now for the safety and well-being of our young people.

“The reports took samples cases from each CHO and focused on the monitoring of certain markers for children prescribed antipsychotic medications.

“Height, weight, blood pressure, side effects, efficacy amongst other markers are to be regularly monitored.

“I was alarmed at how many young people went without the regular monitoring.

“In CHO7 for example, less than 50% of those on antipsychotic medication had the appropriate monitoring.

“Almost 60% of young people on antipsychotic medication in CHO4 did not have their pulse and blood pressure checked at review appointments. This is following the Maskey report which highlighted the dangers over children being overprescribed medication

“It is clear that the standards that are being used for monitoring of medication are not being followed correctly and this creates risks to the health and well-being of our young people.

“In January, Sinn Féin brought a motion before the Dáil to improve CAMHS following the publishing of the Mental Health Commission’s interim report and one of the calls within the motion was to develop a national standard for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication.

“I am once again calling for this to be introduced with urgency so that CAMHS staff can follow guidelines and so our young people can be safe.

“It is seven months since that motion passed through the Dáil. The Government cannot sit by any longer and must act now to develop national standards for antipsychotic medication monitoring.

“Our young people cannot wait any longer.”


Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has slammed the shooting of a man in the Crossmaglen area of South Armagh on Monday morning. And he said those responsible must be brought to justice. 

The Newry and Armagh MLA said: 

“I unreservedly condemn the shooting of a man in Crossmaglen in the early hours of Monday. 

“The victim is a local man and is well respected in the local community. 

“My first thoughts at this time are with the man injured and his family who will be in shock at this terrible news today.  

“He is now being treated in hospital for serious wounds after being shot in the neck and arm as he was on his way to work.

“This was a despicable and cowardly attack by criminal elements.

“There is no place for these thugs on our streets. 

“A police investigation and operation is now underway in the area.

“We have been in contact with the PSNI and I would urge anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward immediately to police to assist in bringing those responsible to justice.”


Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that ‘two years in and the Government housing plan is making the housing crisis worse.’ His comments were made on the second anniversary of the launch of the current Fianna Fáil Fine Gael housing plan.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“After more than a year delay the Government finally launched their housing plan on September 2nd2021. Last weekend marks the second anniversary of the plan. In the intervening two years almost every indicator shows that not only is the plan not working, it is actually making the housing crisis worse.
“Homelessness is not only a human tragedy. It is the most important litmus test of any Governments record on housing. In the last two years homelessness has increased by 56%. Child homelessness has increased by a staggering 78%.
“The principal reason for these shocking figures is the Governments failure to deliver an adequate supply of social and affordable homes. Government missed their social housing new build target by 17% last year and even worse missed their affordable housing target by 60%.
“We are almost at the end of the third quarter of 2024 and the Government has not yet released in Q1 or Q2 social and affordable housing progress report. This does not indicate that Government is making progress and all the indications are that Government will again miss its social and affordable housing targets this year.
“Meanwhile rents and house prices continue to rise. Since the Governments housing plan was introduced, rents have increased by 21% and house prices by 8%. New rents are now on average €3000 more a year than in 2021. It is now on average €22,000 more expensive to buy a home than in 2021.
“Controversial policies like the so-called help to buy and controversial shared equity loan scheme are pushing up house prices. Meanwhile the supply of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy it pitifully low. Last year just 323 affordable purchase homes were delivered and just 684 cost rental homes were completed. No figures are available for this year.
“Across other critical areas of policy, the last two years have been marked by delay. The long-promised reform of the planning system is more than a year late. The regulations for the enhanced defective block scheme were delayed a year. The legislation for the redress scheme for homeowners and renters with Celtic Tiger era defects hasn’t even been published.
“The Government’s housing plan made big promises. Two years in and it has been marked by delay and poor delivery. Not only are Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael failing to tackle the housing crisis. They are making it worse.
‘Only a change of Government and a Sinn Féin housing plan can start to undo the damage of decades of bad Fianna Fáil housing policy. The sooner that happens the better for all those in need of genuinely affordable homes.”


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to urgently address the uncertainty surrounding Irish energy company hedging strategies which, we are told, are the primary reason for record high electricity prices at a time when wholesale gas prices are at a 2 year low.

The Meath East TD says the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) must be specifically mandated by government to monitor and regulate hedging practices, so that customers can be protected from unfair costs.

Teachta O’Rourke said: 

“Energy costs are far too high and putting huge pressure on customers. People simply cannot afford the huge bills that are being asked of them. “In Ireland, we pay the highest electricity prices in the EU, adding almost €1000 to the average annual bill, at a time when wholesale energy prices are at a 2 year low.

“Government, the CRU and energy companies blame hedging strategies for the sustained high prices but, in truth, there is no oversight whatsoever of these strategies. Government, the CRU and, by extension, the general public are expected to take it at face value, to trust energy companies to pass on savings when they see fit. That’s simply not good enough. 

“The government must act to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the energy market. They must empower the CRU to monitor hedging practices and to tackle anti-competitive practices.

“Sinn Féin, through the Oireachtas Library and Research Unit, has conducted a comparative analysis of the powers of energy regulators across Europe and it is very clear that the CRU is limited in its powers. Compared with Ofgem in Britain, the Bundesnetzagentur in Germany and the Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie in France, for example, it is clear that the Irish regulator needs additional powers and it needs to exercise existing powers more rigorously.

“The CRU should be specifically mandated to monitor and regulate hedging practice. Its powers should be strengthened to monitor anti-competitive behaviour. It should have an expanded role in consumer protection and an increased role in energy poverty monitoring and response – including through the oversight of an expanded Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme. These are practical measures that would ensure the regulator is fit to hold energy companies to account.

“In addition, to ensure transparency and accountability for the public, an improved reporting schedule should accompany these changes. The CRU should publish, on a monthly basis, the average price of natural gas and electricity supply and the average margin received by natural gas and electricity suppliers. They should publish an annual report regarding the compliance of electricity and gas transmission and distribution operators with an agreed code of conduct and an evaluation of the independence of these networks. They should publish a quarterly report on the functioning of the retail electricity and gas markets. This report should examine the changes in the prices paid by domestic and business customers on the retail market. 

“This enhanced reporting is essential and would serve to bring the Irish regulator in line with European counterparts. The Irish public deserve nothing less.

“Sinn Féin has repeatedly raised the alarm bell on rip-off energy bills but the government continues to bury their head in the sand. Where does hedging end and profiteering begin? The reality is we do not know. Hedging as a practice remains completely opaque while workers and families are crippled under the weight of sky-high bills. This urgently needs to change. We are therefore calling on the government to take control of this situation once and for all.”People need a break from crippling energy costs without delay.”

The Library and Research Service report is available to view here:

Library and Research Service report


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Communications, Martin Kenny TD, has reacted to the worrying increase in road collisions over the last number of weeks.

His comments come as Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has indicated he intends to bring a memo to Cabinet in the coming weeks to reduce speed limits in residential areas. 

Teachta Kenny said:

“First and foremost, my thoughts and condolences are with those who have been injured and killed in the horrific collisions we’ve seen over the last number of weeks. 

“I am aware that Minister Ryan is due to bring a memo to Cabinet to reduce speed limits in certain areas in a bid to curb the loss of life being experienced by so many communities.  This is of course something that must be examined, however I believe there are a suite of measures required.

“Speed is something that must be examined by legislators, motorists, and instructors.  Far too often, we all see a motorist who treats a speed limit as a speed target.  There is no place for this on our roads, particularly in our more rural areas where road conditions can be less than ideal.

“Enforcement of speed limits and roads legislation absolutely has its place.  The roads policing unit of An Garda Síochána is vital in this regard, however they need to be adequately supported with the correct resources. 

"From the discussions I have had with Gardaí, it is also clear that there is a resurgence of drug and drink-driving. 

“Furthermore, we have the added difficulty – particularly in rural Ireland and border counties – with dangerous road conditions.  I am calling on Minister Ryan to also consider a package of road upgrades and remedial works on black-spots in these areas. 

“We are all aware of particular black-spots where road conditions have been a factor in collisions.  Carrying out upgrade works in these areas would significantly improve dangerous road conditions, and they must be considered in any review of the National Development Plan.”

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