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.”
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."
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.”
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.”
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."
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.”
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."
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.”
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."
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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”.
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Dublin Denise Mitchell has described the planning permission awarded by An Bord Pleanála today for a massive sewage treatment plant that with a drain just one kilometre off Ireland’s eye as ill-advised and unwelcome.
The Dublin Bay North TD said:
“Sinn Féin have long been opposed to this plan. The decision to locate this enormous plant so close to people’s homes and businesses is totally wrong.
“While we recognise that the wastewater infrastructure of the city needs to be radically overhauled, we do not believe that this is the correct way to go about it. The use of smaller localised sewage treatment plants greatly reduces the possibility of an environmental disaster should a systems failure occur.
“We have anglers and fishermen who use this area and who are very concerned what impact this could have on fishing grounds. People are concerned about the impact on beaches and water quality.
“Irish Water have not inspired confidence of late with the two boil water notices that the people of Dublin have been subjected to in the past month, alongside reports today that sewage from 36 towns and villages is being pumped directly into sea and rivers, and they are doing nothing to restore confidence by pushing ahead with this objectionable scheme.”
Pearse Doherty to bring Insurance Reform campaign to Monaghan
Sinn Féin to host public meeting on Thursday 28th November
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, who has been spearheading a campaign calling for Insurance Reform, will address a public meeting on Thursday 28th November, at 8pm in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.
This is the latest in a series of campaign events that Deputy Doherty has held across the state in his bid to reform the insurance industry and end the rip-off of individuals, businesses and families.
Pearse Doherty has been to the forefront of highlighting the practises of the insurance industry which rip off many families and have actually resulted in the closure of several businesses. Several of his contributions in the Oireachas Finance committee have ‘gone viral’ as it had insurance executives on the ropes with probing questions. This week it was announced that, on the back of Doherty’s work, the Central Bank has agreed to conduct a review into the practise of ‘dual pricing’ which is the mechanism insurance companies use to overcharge existing loyal customers.
The meeting in the Four Seasons will be addressed by Pearse Doherty who will outline his full proposals to tackle the extortionate costs of insurance throughout the state for businesses and ordinary consumers. The meeting will also be attended by local Sinn Féin representatives Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Matt Carthy MEP. Crucially the meeting will provide an opportunity for people in Monaghan to tell their own stories of interactions with the insurance industry and to give their own perspective as to how it can be addressed.
Announcing details of the public meeting this week, local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, said:
“Insurance costs have become extortionate, ripping off consumers and closing down businesses. Since 2016 Fine Gael have sat back in the face of rising insurance costs while Fianna Fáil have let them off the hook.
“The insurance industry tells us that fraudulent claims and the cost of personal injury awards are causing premiums to rise. But through the work of Pearse Doherty we know that their figures don’t add up. Despite the total number of motor insurance claims reducing by 22% between 2014 and 2017, the average motor insurance premium has increased by 53% between 2013 and 2017.
“Premiums are rising. The only other thing that is rising are insurance company profits. Pearse Doherty is leading a campaign to take on the industry and end the rip-off. The policies and legislation that he has produced on behalf of Sinn Féin would stamp out fraud, protect consumers, ban price discrimination and reduce premiums for everyone.
“Only this week, Pearse successfully campaigned for the Central Bank to open up an investigation into price discrimination by the insurance industry.
“The meeting in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan on the 28th November is one of several engagements across the state where Pearse Doherty has been meeting with the public to discuss Sinn Féin’s plan to tackle insurance costs and end the rip-off.
“We want to hear from people in County Monaghan who are being affected by high insurance costs so that we can work to stop it.
“We will be talking about Sinn Féin’s plan to set up a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit to tackle insurance fraud when and if it takes place and ban Dual Pricing by the Insurance Industry.
“Also, we’ll be discussing Pearse’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill law which, if enacted, proposes to abolish Premium Levies and put €230 million back in consumers’ pockets while also introducing State Intervention to address the market failure.
“The issue of insurance is such a huge one and affects the lives of ordinary people and businesses alike throughout counties like Monaghan, so therefore it’s important that we see a large turn out at this event as part of Sinn Féin’s ongoing campaign to end the Insurance Rip-Off.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his alarm at the number of children on the Paediatric Outpatients Department waiting lists in Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda.
Teachta Adams said:
“Department of Health figures released to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD on Tuesday it has been revealed that there are 2,758 children on waiting lists for a range of specialities, including general surgery, ENT, Paediatrics and gynaecology. Across the state there are 86,625 children on waiting lists. This is twice the official figure of 46,000.
"This information raises serious questions for the Department of Health and for the Minister for Health and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) about investment in children’s specialities and the way in which official figures are recorded.
"In Our Lady of Lourdes there are 1,088 children waiting on ENT specialists. Of these over 600 have been waiting for more than a year.
"The release of this information justifies the concerns raised by parents, campaigners, and politicians who have questioned the official figures and have said that there are many ‘hidden children’ awaiting to see a specialist but are not being counted because they are on adult hospital waiting lists.
"The waiting lists for children in Our Lady of Lourdes are significant and action is needed to address these speedily.”
Protracted delays in delivery of Carrickmacross Group home are unacceptable – Matt Carthy MEP
‘The campaign for the Group Home for persons with Physical and Sensory difficulties in Carrickmacross has been ongoing since 2004. The delays that the families involved have encountered at every stage are an indictment of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have been in place throughout that time. To have the facility built and for it to lie unused, for nearly three years, is absolutely scandalous!’
So said Carrickmacross based MEP Matt Carthy this week as he confirmed that he has again written directly to the Minister for Heath Simon Harris TD calling for his personal intervention to ensure that the facility to be opened as a matter of urgency.
Carthy, who was speaking after RTÉ Primetime exposed the disgraceful situation last week, said: ‘The parents and siblings of those residents who will benefit from the Group Home have campaigned for 15 years to get this resource to Carrickmacross and now, even though the building is complete for almost three years, have been told that funding has not still been allocated for the management of the service.
‘I have written on several occasions to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, urging him to directly intervene to get this building operational. Like previous Ministers for Health and Housing, from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, over the past decade and half, he has chosen to delegate the issue to the HSE and his junior. They are clearly not up to the job and therefore it is imperative that political leadership is provided. It is the responsibility of the Minister to provide the required funding to open this facility as soon as possible and to ensure that the HSE has the management structure in place so that this facility can be opened straight away.
‘This has been a long campaign and one in which I have spent a significant amount of time on; while a member of Monaghan County Council I raised the matter on a monthly basis. Since I became an MEP I have continued to work with the families and local Sinn Féin Councillors to keep pressure on Ministers and statutory agencies. This is a project that I feel extremely strongly about because I know the benefits it will bring, not only for the service users but for their families as well.’
‘We know that when this building is finally open that we will see Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians jumping to get into the pictures. They should start jumping now and tell the Minister for Health, who is in government because of their support, stop the delays and get this building open immediately!’
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2018.
The report findings show that raw sewage from 36 towns and villages is still being released into rivers and seas across the State.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The EPA report on Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2018 published this morning finds that waste water treatment is completely inadequate in many areas.
"The report highlights how in 21 large towns and cities waste water treatment did not meet mandatory EU standards, these cities include Dublin and Cork.
“The report also indicates that 36 towns and villages are releasing raw sewage into the environment.
“Worryingly 50% of the raw sewage comes from only three areas, Arklow, Cobh and Kilmore Quay, Wexford.
“This State’s historic failure to invest in wastewater treatment is damaging to the environment and to people’s health.
“The EU Commission has already commenced infringement proceedings against this State for urban waste water treatment infringements.
“Priority must be given to investment in the Arklow, Cobh and Kilmore Quay.
“I have requested a topical issue debate on this matter today and I hope to raise it with the Minister responsible Eoghan Murphy.”