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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Action David Cullinane TD, has said that the ESB’s request not to appear before the Climate Action Committee next week is a "slap in the face for the Midlands" and "does not bode well for the government’s commitment to a just transition".
 
Deputy Cullinane said:
 
“I have been informed by the secretariat of the Climate Action Committee that ESB has asked not to attend next week’s meeting on a just transition.
 
“The company is due to appear to explain its plans for such a transition, with special focus on the processes it has in place for workers and their communities as the company moves from peat to renewable energy.
 
“It said that ‘the timing of the invitation is not ideal’ as it is still negotiating future arrangements for its employees – be they transfers or early retirements – and it is instead asking for a number of weeks grace ‘prior to coming into the Committee to give ESB’s perspectives on Just Transition’.
 
“This is disgraceful. The ESB is supposed to have a just transition plan in place – that was the purpose of the meeting, so it could explain it to the Committee.
 
“Indeed, Minister Bruton was straight out of the traps for a photo-op last week to make it look like a plan was in place.
 
“Instead, ESB has admitted that no such plan exists, that it went ahead and announced the closure of two midland stations with little regard for alternative measures to be in place.
 
“The ESB says that the timing of the Committee meeting is not ideal – as if the announcement seven weeks before Christmas of two plant closures was anything but ideal for the workers involved.
 
“The plan for the Midlands was supposed to be the gold standard for the way workers and communities would be treated as we move away from fossil fuels.
 
“Instead, it has turned into a mess and the ESB thinks it can shirk its responsibility to explain its actions.
 
“The people of the Midlands want answers as to why the announced closures were handled in this way.
 
“They want to know why no just transition plan was put in place.
 
“And they want to know what the ESB and the government is going to do about it.
 
“I have written back to the Committee, calling on the chair not to accept ESB’s request, and instead insist that the company appear before the Committee next week to fully explain itself.
 
“Both the ESB and the Minister must account for their actions, and Sinn Féin will do everything it can to make sure they do.”

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David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for communications, reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for full public ownership and retention of the national broadband plan, saying that there are no further hurdles in place.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“The EU Commission’s ruling that the public good outweighs private business concerns on rural broadband is to be welcomed.

“Now, the government must implement the Communications Committee’s report into the plan, which called for full public ownership of the finished network.

“It also called on the government to explore the option of the ESB as the supplier and builder of the network itself.

“It is not too late for Minister Bruton to avoid making a disastrous financial mistake by following through on the failed build and operate which will end up costing the State billions.”

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Sinn Féin TD for Sligo Leitrim, Martin Kenny has addressed the absence of a psychologist for school-age children in the North West.

Deputy Kenny referred to an eight-year-old child, in North Leitrim, whose parent had contacted him, about lack of services to deal with her various disorders and emotional dysfunction.

He said:

“She is on the list awaiting an autism spectrum disorder, ASD, assessment, but there is no psychologist for school-age children in the area. The parent to whom I refer has received a communication from the service informing her that the child is number 67 on a list of 68 children.

“In recent weeks 50 children in the region have been transferred to access this service in Northern Ireland by way of a special fund put in place for them.

“That fund is now exhausted. This child's mother has been told that she will have to wait up to eight months for an assessment. This child cannot attend school full-time; she only goes part-time.

“She lashes out at other children and at teachers, she damages property, she runs out on the road, and she climbs out of windows. Her situation needs to be resolved, and quickly."

Later Deputy Kenny called on the Minister to either allocate funding so that the access to services in the North can continue, or else appoint a temporary psychologist to cover the maternity leave which is causing such a backlog.

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Speaking after news that efforts are being made to sell Barry’s Amusements as a going concern, Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said:

“Barry’s is a local institution and news that it is to be sold will come as a shock to many.

“Barry’s Amusements has been a landmark in Portrush from 1926, it is a place that many people will have fond memories of and indeed the place many local young people would have gained their first job.

“I welcome the fact the 11 full-time staff will be kept in employment and updated throughout the process.

“I hope that a buyer can be found soon and Barry’s can continue to entertain and provide enjoyment for years to come.” 

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Sinn Féin Climate Action spokesperson David Cullinane TD today praised the delegates to the Youth Assembly on Climate Action, adding that their participation today provides leadership on an issue while the establishment lags behind. 

Deputy Cullinane said:

 “The 157 delegates to today’s Assembly on climate Action show once again that it is the youth that are providing the energy and action that is driving this issue forward.

 “As with Greta Thurnberg and the school strikes, young people are putting it up to the politicians to act, and act swiftly.

“Their knowledge and analysis of climate change is often streets ahead of the opinion makers and establishment experts who push piecemeal gestures instead of structural change.

“Young people completely get this issue, and I am looking forward with keen interest to their assembly and the solutions and policies that come out of it.

“It is heartening to see young people demanding that politicians do more to tackle climate change and Sinn Féin is up to the challenge."

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Sinn Féin Councillors have voted against South Dublin County Councils annual budget. The budget included an increase in Council rents for some old age pensioners of €13 per week and an increase in Council rents by €3 across the board. This could see some pensioners being hit with a 38% increase in their weekly rents.

Cllr Mark Ward said,

“Sinn Féin were part of the ruling group in the last Council and we defended the weekly rents charged to Council tenants from constant attack by Fine Gael. We are now seeing the new ruling group of Fine Gael, Green Party and Fianna Fáil directly attacking the most vulnerable in our society.

“We had robustly defended the €10 a week discount to weekly rents for all Old Age Pensioners. The ruling Council group voted to remove this in one foul swoop. Old Age Pensioners are already being pushed to the brink financially. This measure is going to push them over the edge.

“Some old age pensioners will see a €676 yearly increase on their rent and the remainder of the old age pensioners will see a yearly increase of €156.

“One example, Mary, aged 66 on a state pension of €248 per week, and husband John aged 65, recently retired on job seekers allowance of €188 per week. Prior to this change their rent was €33.60 weekly.

“The rent for this elderly couple will now be €46.60 per week. That is and 38% increase thanks to Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens. The rest of Dublin is only subject to a 4% allowed rent increase as we are in a rent pressure zone. This does not apply to John and Mary.

“This is not acceptable in the current climate. I help pensioners who are already financially challenged. Sometimes their choice is to feed themselves or heat their home.

“9,840 Council homes will also see their rent increase by €3 per week. That’s a €156 annual increase across the board irrespective of their ability to pay. Again, another stealth tax on our most vulnerable by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens”

“This €3 per week increase is also applicable to those that are on the RAS programme. RAS tenants will be subjected to this increase despite the Council having no responsibility to maintain their homes.”

Cllr Cathal King said;

“Sinn Féin did manage to reduce the local property tax by the maximum amount of 15% allowable by legislation to help the burden on house owners, some of whom are already in mortgage distress.

"We have reduced this every year and will continue to do so. My fear is that this ruling group of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party will attempt to increase the local property tax in the coming years.”

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Inniu san Dáil d'impigh an Teachta Aengus Ó Snodaigh, úrlabhraí Shinn Féin ar an nGaeilge ar an Aire Oideachais Joe McHugh iarraidh ar Choimisiúin na Scrúduithe Stáit tarraingt siar ón sórt páipéirí scrúduithe don Ghaeilge sa tSraith Shóisearach a d'fhoilsigh siad an tseachtain seo.

Ag labhairt ina dhiaidh, dúirt An Teachta Aengus Ó Snodaigh gur "céim ar chúl don Ghaeilge a bheas ann má leanann Coimisiúin na Srúduithe Stáit ar aghaidh leis anb páipéar scrúdúithe do T2 (do scoileanna Béarla) ag na scrúduithe sóisearacha  mí Meithimh seo chugainn.

"Ní léir domsa gur chun tairbhe na teanga nó na mac léinn atá an dréacht pháipéar, má thagann as, de réir múinteoirí Gaeilge meánscoileanna, go n-iompóidh daltaí i gcoinne na Gaeilge dá bharr.

"Deir a lán múinteoirí Gaeilge go bhfuil an caighdeán atá an Coimisiúin ag lorg chun pas nó níos airde a bhaint amach ró-dheacar don leibhéal seo.

"Níor chóir go mbeadh an scrúdú ag an léibhéal don tSraith Shóisearach chomh deacair sin nach mbeadh ach mic léinn triú léibhéal in ann tabhairt faoi mar a dúirt ceann de na múinteoirí Gaeilge an tseachtain seo.

“Gan an tacaíocht bhreise atá de dhith ó mhúinteoirí agus ó dhaltaí tríd an córas oideachais ar fad ón mbunscoil ar aghaidh ní thiocfaidh as an athrú sa scrúdú atá molta ach níos daltaí ag teipeadh sa scrúdú Gaeilge, naimheadas a chruthú i leith na teanga i measc daltaí agus níos mó daltaí ag dhéanamh iarratais ar dhíolúine.

“Tá gá an Ghaeilge a bheith lárnach sa churuclam sa Bhunscoil, agus lárnach sa chóras oiliúna d’ábhair mhúinteoirí bunscoile agus meánscoile sula mbeidh muid ag súil le go mbeadh ardú don sórt caighdeáin i measc daltaí bheith in ann tabhairt faoin a leithéad den dréacht scrúdú a foilsíodh an tseachtain seo."

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Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD welcomed the passing of his amendment to the motion on an inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell, who was killed in a hit-and-run incident on 2 August 2001, near his home town of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Kenny said:

“Sinn Féin completely supported the motion for a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Shane’s killing and the reasons why his killer was out on bail and driving, despite having 43 previous convictions and being disqualified from driving at the time.

“I felt that one of the aspects of this case which needed to be examined by an inquiry was the relationship, if any, between the man who killed Shane, and the people within the Garda Síochána who handle informers along with all other issues pertaining to his death.

“I hope now that the motion has passed the Dáil, following on a previous one and one in Seanad, that Shane’s family are getting closer to the truth which they have spent the last eight years and more seeking.

“Shane’s mother, Lucia has been tireless in her efforts to get truth and justice for her beloved son and find the peace she needs to deal with her incredible grief.”

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Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has slammed the government’s refusal to fund the Port Access Northern Cross Route. The council’s appeal to the original decision was turned down today by the Department of Housing.

Deputy Munster said:

“I raised this issue just yesterday with the Minister for Housing and the Taoiseach. I told them in no uncertain terms that this is a vital piece of infrastructure and that it is central to the Northern Environs Plan.

“Funding for the construction of this road would allow Louth County Council to open up lands for housing development, something this government is constantly advocating.

“Without this funding, Drogheda will continue to face daily gridlock with HGV traffic coming into the town centre.

“You can’t plan for the development of thousands of houses without having the infrastructure in place, as this route is central to the Northern Environs Plan.

“Drogheda has been waiting on this road since 2006, when this plan was first initiated. This government and the last government have failed to deliver this project for Drogheda.

“I intend to raise this again next week in the Dáil with the Minister as this is beyond disgraceful and there is absolutely no justification for the decision not to award the funding.”

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has criticised Johan Thijs, chief executive of KBC Bank, for displaying total contempt towards distressed families and mortgage holders after the CEO described mortgage-holders as “nitty gritty”. Deputy Doherty said that the banker’s comments confirmed what was already common knowledge; that the toxic culture of the banks hasn’t changed.

Speaking today, the Donegal TD said:

“Today’s comments by the CEO of KBC Bank display the worst instincts of the banking industry; pure arrogance, contempt for customers and a profit motive that trumped everything else.

“The KBC chief executive called on the Central Bank to ‘turn the page’ on the ‘whole tracker mortgage stuff’, which has damaged more than 40,500 customers. Some of that damage has been irreparable.

“In his remarks the CEO of KBC described these families, who have suffered so much at the hands of KBC and other banks, as ‘nitty-gritty’, and attempts to offer proper redress to these families as an ‘administrative hampering’.

“His comments are a disgrace.

“Some are saying these comments are proof the arrogant banker is back. In truth, the arrogant banker never left.

“Speaking at a Banking and Payments Federation conference on Tuesday, the deputy Central Bank governor, Ed Sibley, warned that Irish bankers were displaying echoes of ‘pre-crisis’ arrogance.

“The Deputy Governor said that banks are hitting mortgage holders with double the interest rate needed for them to enjoy profits.

“Knowing they can make a profit by lending at a rate of between 2 and 3 percent for new customers, they are charging existing customers rates of 4.5 percent. These are the same as the discriminatory practices as those used by the insurance industry.

“We have seen the banks taking the easy option by selling family homes off to vulture funds, and their recent performance in the tracker mortgage scandal.

“These banks are not looking to offer the best deal for their customers, or provide long-term sustainable solutions for their customers.

“At every turn, they have tried to take advantage of customers to eke out an extra profit. In doing this they have been given a free pass for too long by this Government and Fianna Fáil before them.

“Sinn Féin have a zero-tolerance policy towards banks that rip off customers, take advantage of families, and put profit before people."

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe, has called on the Health Minister Simon Harris to scrap his review into issuing discretionary medical cards to terminally ill citizens and introduce the scheme immediately.

Teachta Crowe said that the small number of those who are terminally don’t have the time to wait for a lengthy review and called on Minister Harris to issue the cards as a matter of urgency.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Budget 2020 stated that the HSE would review arrangements for the discretionary medical cards to all those with a terminal illness and look to extending medical cards to them. There is cross party support for this and it needs to happen now.

“I raised this in the Dáil with Minister Harris today and he replied that the review would be finished by Christmas. Unfortunately, these terminally ill citizens and their families don’t have the time to wait for the outcome of his review. Many of them are being stretched to the limit both mentally and physically.

“Worrying about paying medical bills should not be dominating and overshadowing the last days of their life on this earth. They shouldn’t have to be spending their limited time lobbying politicians for change.

“They have received the most devastating news and the least the State can do is to give them a medical card throughout their illness.

“We are talking about a small but an important number of our citizens.

“I am calling on Minister Simon Harris to the right thing for them by scrapping his review and agree to issue medical cards to everyone who has a terminal illness.”


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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision by the Dáil to support a motion calling on the Minister for Justice to accept the recommended Terms of Reference by Mr. Justice Haughton.

The Louth TD also took the opportunity in his contribution in the Dáil during the debate to raise the Crevan Mackin case and the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

Deputy Adams challenged the Minister for Justice on the failure of the government to respond to serious concerns about the role of the DPP and about decisions it has taken in refusing to honour commitments to other bereaved families.

Teachta Adams said:

“In November 2016 the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the O’Farrell family and told them he would ask the Attorney General to 'request the Law Reform Commission President Mr. Justice John Quirke to examine how we can reform the law to provide enhanced public understanding for significant decisions made whilst fully preserving the independence of the Director of Public Prosecutions.'

"The O’Farrell case raises serious concerns about the decisions of the DPP. It is not the only example giving cause for concern. Crevan Mackin shot and killed Garda Tony Golden and grievously wounded his partner Siobhán Philips before killing himself. The DPP had decided not to charge Mackin with offences that he had admitted, including possession of weapons and explosives.

"I have written again to the Minister for Justice and the Taoiseach on this issue asking them what recommendations have been agreed to ensure that the DPP is more accountable and transparent.

"Other families have also been impacted by the government’s failure to honour past commitments arising from Dáil reports. Among them is the family of Seamus Ludlow who was murdered as a result of collusion between unionist death squads and British state forces.

"13 years ago the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence & Women’s Rights recommended that two Commissions of Investigation be established into the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

"The government has not only refused to establish these Commissions, but it has forced the Ludlow family to go to the courts where government lawyers are arguing against the family’s right to truth.

"It is time that the government stopped blocking families getting truth and supported them in their efforts."

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Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy Leader Pearse Doherty TD has said that the Government’s reckless management of the health service puts the HSE winter plan into question, and that the block on additional recruitment needs to be lifted to allow for frontline staff, nurses and doctors to enter the service.

Speaking to the Tánaiste at Leaders’ Questions today, Teachta Doherty said;

“We are at a point now where every day is Winter in our hospitals. Overcrowding, patients on trolleys and undervalued staff trying their best on the front line.

“That is the state of our health service. Patients and staff are now set to face a difficult winter in already difficult circumstances.

“I have serious doubts that this Winter Plan will be able to tackle the issues that blight our health service.

“The General Secretary of the INMO said yesterday it will be impossible to staff more in the middle of a recruitment freeze this Government brought in in May.

“Nurses are regularly reporting that inadequate staffing levels are dangerous.

 “You cannot staff additional beds without additional staff. The recruitment freeze is crippling emergency departments, and patients are suffering from the consequences.

“The stupidity of this recruitment freeze is laid bare in Ballinasloe and Portumna in Galway; where public health services once had six nurses, they now have four vacancies which they cannot fill because of the recruitment freeze.

“This is only a snapshot of the Government’s reckless management of health services.

“The latest HSE figures show there are 308 fewer staff nurses and 37 fewer public health nurses now compared to last year. In August, 1,300 nursing and midwifery posts were vacant and unfilled.

“Beside inadequate staffing levels, we have over 100,000 patients without hospital beds this year.

“The human impact of this was laid bare last week after Evelyn Crowley tragically died in the corridors of Cork University Hospital last week.

“In my own constituency of Donegal, over 4 and a half thousand patients have languished on trolleys this year in Letterkenny University Hospital.

“Tánaiste, I want to know how you plan to deliver this Winter Plan when nurses and doctors are telling us that they are struggling to deliver care for patients and communities as it is?

“The recruitment freeze of frontline staff, nurses and doctors needs to be urgently lifted if we are to make any headway ahead of the coming winter.”

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Sinn Féin Senator for Mayo Rose Conway-Walsh has again raised concerns with Minister Harris about the agonising delays in administering Sprinraza for SMA patient.

We now have a situation in Mayo when one child, Grace O’Malley from Hollymount, continues to be denied the treatment which was approved back in June. This is not acceptable.

Senator Conway-Walsh said:

“Minister Simon Harris has assured me that the HSE is now in discussions with the three hospitals involved; Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght, with regard to arranging a schedule so that the administration of Spinraza can be performed for patients.

“However, it appears that the resources are not being made available for some of the children, including Grace. This is a inhumane situation I will not tolerate.

"Grace and her family were to the forefront of the long but successful campaign to have Sprinraza approved. Now, they are once again thrown into despair. Minister Harris must ensure this situation is rectified without further delay."

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Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snoadiagh has been unanimously selected as the Sinn Féin candidate to contest the next General Election in Dublin South Central.

At the convention held in the historic Richmond Barracks, Deputy Ó Snodaigh was strongly supported by Sinn Féin members, local councillors and area representatives. Sinn Féin President Mary Lou  McDonald also attended and addressed the convention.

Speaking at the convention, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“I am proud to be selected as the Sinn Féin candidate for the Dublin South Central constituency. I thank party members, local councillors and voters for their continuing support.

“Since my first election to the Dáil in 2002 I have stood up for hard working families. I worked hard to improve the lives of my communities, to constantly call for more housing, to support adults and children with disabilities, to improve mental health services, to protect communities against anti social behaviour and to fight for additional resources for community supports.

“The current Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil Government has failed my constituents and the vast majority of Irish people. We have an unprecedented housing crisis, one million patients waiting for hospital treatment and communities starved of funding across the State.

“If the people of Dublin South Central continue with their trust in me and elect me for another term, they can be assured that my strong work ethic and proud record of delivering for people will continue.

“My 17 years in the Dáil have seen me challenge successive governments on their record on social rights and delivery.

“I want to continue this work. Above all, I want to be part of this generation that will finally deliver Irish unity. The present establishment which has overseen corruption, failure and greed can only be challenged through the building of a new republic that will deliver fairness and equality for all. 

Speaking at the convention Mary Lou Mc Donald said:

“Aengus has been an excellent representative for the people of Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard and Crumlin and Drimnagh and all parts of Dublin South Central since he was first elected in 2002.

“He is a historian, legislator, republican and United Irelander and the people of Dublin South Central will be privileged to re-elect him for another term of office. He is needed for his strong left progressive politics, sense of fairness and justice and his record of delivery for constituents needing assistance” concluded Deputy Mc Donald.

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Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has welcomed the passage Sinn Féin’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill through the Dáil today. This legislation would reform insurance contracts, increase transparency and tilt the balance in favour of the consumer.

Speaking after the legislation passed Report and Final Stages in the Dáil, Deputy Doherty said:

“This is a good day for insurance policy holders, for consumers and businesses.
 
“Rip-off insurance costs are squeezing incomes and closing down businesses across the State. People are wondering how their premiums can go up every year even though they haven’t even made a claim.

"The insurance market isn’t working for policyholders. For the past 3 years the Government have done nothing to reduce insurance costs.
 
“At the same time, companies are making massive profits while we are charged rip-off premiums. Despite the cost and number of claims going down, premiums continue to rise.
 
“Our Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill, which passed Report and Final Stages of the Dáil today, will tilt the balance in favour of the consumer. By increasing transparency and strengthening the hand of the policyholder before, during and after the terms of their insurance contract.
 
“This Bill will require companies to inform the customer of the past 3 years of premiums paid and claims received for all non-life insurance contracts. This would increase transparency and strengthen our hands when we look for a better deal each year.
 
“Any company that cancels a policy would have to pay the costumer the outstanding balance of the premium paid and make it easier for the customer to withdraw from a contract.
 
“It would also require a company to inform customers of any claim made against their policy, allowing them to submit their own evidence and informing them of the cost of any claim against their policy that has been settled.
 
“The legislation would also make it harder for an insurer to wriggle out of paying valid claims on grounds that have nothing to do with the accident or loss incurred by the policyholder.

“In short, this would bring huge benefits to policyholders.

“The legislation will now go the Seanad and should now become law before the end of the year.

“Sinn Féin want to take on the insurance industry and ending the rip-off. By stamping out fraud, protecting consumers, banning dual pricing and bringing down premiums. The passage of this Bill today is a part of that work.”

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North Denise Mitchell has said that the government is sitting on its hands and leaving hundreds of thousands of renters at the mercy of a predatory market that is making working and having a family in Dublin almost impossible.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson for Dublin said:

“Daft’s figures for rent in the North City now show an average rent of €1,937 a month. That is an annual rent of over €23,000. How can a family pay over potentially a years wage and expect to put children through school, take a holiday, or even have a Christmas when they are being subjected to such outrageously high rents?

“To say that the Government is unable to tackle the housing and rental crisis in Ireland is the charitable thing to say. The fact that this crisis has been allowed to fester for years under their regime would lead me to believe that they just don’t care.

“Sinn Féin want to give renters an emergency three-year rent freeze and provide a tax break equal to one month’s rent.

“These are two simple, effective measures that would make a real, substantial difference for those struggling with sky high rents.” 

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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald today joined a protest at the Dáil against the closure of the Cuisle respite resort in Roscommon.

The Sinn Féin President said that Cuisle provides a “critical service” which cannot be met in hotels.

Deputy McDonald said;

“Today I met families, service users and workers who have been forced to protest outside in the cold to protect this vital service which is facing closure.

“People come to Cuisle from all over Ireland for respite breaks and family holidays. Other national organisations use the facilities - Ataxia Foundation Ireland, CanTeen Ireland, Enable Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation and Headway Ireland as well as local GAA clubs, Rugby club and other local organisations.

“The resort is not only integral to the community; it provides a critical service for people with disabilities and their families across the country. It also provides employment, with 48 people set to lost their jobs should the closure go ahead.

“Everyone I spoke to at the protest today told me that to lose Cuisle would be devastating.

“The hotel model proposed is totally unsuitable and will not be able to provide the supports or facilities needed.

“The buck stops with Government – they have to date failed to stand up for carers and people with disabilities. They now have the opportunity to do the right thing and ensure that this vital service is maintained and appropriately resourced. Sinn Féin stands with the Save Cuisle campaign.”

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has called on Government to explain their decision to walk away from talks with trade unions on pensions for Community Employment Supervisors.

Teachta Brady said:

“It is now 11 years since the Labour Court made a recommendation that an agreed pension scheme for CE Supervisors should be put in place by the State.

“That means 11 years of CE Supervisors retiring from their job without the occupational pension recommended by the labour relations machinery of the State.

“I welcomed Minister Doherty coming to the table with Minister Donohue to engage with representatives of CE Supervisors. It was believed that these talks would continue until an agreement was reached, once and for all.

“Instead, we now have a situation where both Ministers have walked away from the talks process and reneged on their commitment to bring forward their proposals to resolve the matter.

“We need to know why the Ministers have removed themselves from this process and how they now intend to reach a conclusion if they refuse to be in the room. This matter cannot be allowed to drag on anymore, CE Supervisors have waited 11 years too long.

“I am calling on Minister Doherty to keep her word and to engage in good faith with representatives of CE Supervisors. The Labour Court recommendation from 2008 must be implemented now.”

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Carthy calls for rejection of current EU proposal to ban lead shot bullets

The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Irish government, and the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) to reject a current EU proposal to ban the use of lead bullets by hunters and farmers.  Carthy has said that the proposal should be withdrawn until such stage as there is a meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.

The HSA has been designated the competent authority for Ireland concerning the authorisation of chemicals, including lead, in the EU. This means it will be responsible for approving the proposed ban when the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals committee (REACH) meets next week.

Matt Carthy said:

“The Irish government and the HSA, as the representative authority for Ireland, must relate the concerns raised by Irish farmers and the National Association of Regional Game Councils.  The current proposal for a ban must be rejected and a redraft submitted to stakeholders for consultation.

“In the last number of months, I have highlighted the failings of the previous consultation to the European Commissioner Karmenu Vella and European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.  But the commission has proceeded with its proposal nevertheless.

“Farmers and game clubs are among the most important partners in the delivery of landscape and wildlife conservation.  It makes no sense to enact proposals that will negatively impact on them without first ensuring a comprehensive consultation.  Farmers account for more than half of gun users in Ireland.  With the cost of replacing a gun ranging between €750 to €1,000, this is a burden that many will be unable to bear.  

“If farmers seek to have their guns modified to comply with the new legislation, which would ban lead shot in favour of steel, they cannot do so in this country as the facilities for doing so do not exist here.  Many guns are simply not suitable for conversion.

“I am again calling on government representatives, along with the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs who keep them in power, to assert the position of Irish stakesholders and demand that the Commission withdraw their current proposal until an adequate engagement with stakeholders has taking place.

“The European Parliament does have power of scrutiny of such legislation before it comes into law and I will be working at that level to insert the concerns of Irish game clubs and farmers into the debate.  However, we need the government to become proactive.  The basis of this proposal was agreed by a Fianna Fáil government in 1999 and every subsequent government have nodded in agreement.  Yet, those who will be affected have never been properly consulted and most have only become aware of its existence in recent weeks.  This is not the way to build support for conservation measures.

“Sinn Féin support measures aimed at protecting and conserving our environment but the way to do this is in partnership with essential shareholders rather than behind their backs”.

ENDS

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