Derry emergency rally in solidarity with Palestine-TUESDAY NIGHT

Derry emergency rally in solidarity with Palestine


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Councillor warns over problems of teenagers camping out unsupervised

Councillor Patricia Logue said

 

I have received several complaints in recent days about groups of young people camping out in various locations in the city and the associated problems this has created for residents.

 

It  has included late night noise, underage drinking and safety concerns.Patricia Logue new pic 22

 

I would urge parents to check if their child tells them they are staying overnight in a friend’s house that they actually are. A lot of children get caught up in peer pressure and when you have ten, twenty young people out all night unsupervised then it can lead to problems.

 

The residents that have spoken to me are not trying to be killjoys ,they know it’s the summer and young people want a bit of adventure but when you are kept up all night with groups of teenagers drinking and carrying-on close to your home it’s certainly not fun for them.  

 

 

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Moves to address Ferndale anti community problems-Cllr Sandra Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed measures taken by Apex Housing, warden scheme and PSNI  to resolve issues around a vacant property in Ferndale which had become a gathering point for young people at night time and was causing upset to local residents.

Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

 

Councillor Duffy said “I have been dealing directly with Apex Housing   to try and get this resolved as speedily as possible following a number of complaints from local residents in relation to the property.

 

The rear of the building was full of rubbish and young people were entering the back yard each night and causing lots of noise and disruption to the local community and this has been made worse with the summer holidays.

 

Apex have now been out and cleaned up the back yard and removed a lot of rubbish and are going to erect a fence at the front and rear of the property. They have also asked their wardens to keep an eye on the property to minimise any anti-social behaviour taking place there.

 

The neighbourhood police have also agreed to include the area on their patrols over the weekend.

 

I would like to thank everyone involved in the multi-agency approach on this.

Expel Israeli Ambassador over Gaza slaughter – Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called for a diplomatic offensive by the Irish Government to encourage the Government of Israel to end it’s military onslaught against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

Mr Adams welcomed the decision by The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet the Israeli Ambassador following the escalation of the Israeli Government’s military offensive in Gaza but said the time had come to expel the Ambassador.

Speaking today Gerry Adams said:

“Today marks the 17th anniversary of the IRA cessation in 1997. This is a timely reminder of the efficacy of dialogue and inclusive negotiation as an alternative to protracted armed conflict.

“That principle is as applicable today to the situation in the Middle East as it was to Ireland in 1997.

“The decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet the Israeli Ambassador, following the escalation of the Israeli Government’s military onslaught against the besieged population of the Gaza Strip, is welcome.

“However the time has long past for merely expressing concern to a Government that is clearly oblivious to the outrage of the international community at their actions in Gaza.

“Irish citizens have been upset and angered at the ongoing killing of men, women and children in Gaza.

“All armed actions, including attacks from Gaza must stop.

‘In 2009, following a fact finding mission to Gaza I published a report which proposed nine immediate steps to help resolve the conflict. They were:

1. All armed actions and acts of violence should cease.

2. An inclusive process of negotiation should commence in which all democratic mandates are respected, clear objectives are set, and there is a fixed timeframe.

3. The building of the separation wall should stop as a first step which would see its demolition.

4. The siege of the Gaza strip should end.

5. An immediate and intensive programme of reconstruction and economic development must commence.

6. The ongoing Israeli colonisation of the West Bank and the building of settlements should stop.

7. The occupation of the West Bank and the denial of freedom of movement to Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza strip, and between the West Bank and Gaza, should end as part of the process to decolonise the West Bank.

8. Mutual and expeditious co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis to enhance public safety and security should commence.

9. UN resolutions and international law should be enforced.

“Five years later, none of these steps have been taken and the situation has deteriorated once again.

“The decision by the Israeli Government, in the face of international anger, to escalate its military offensive by launching a ground offensive requires a firm and resolute response by the Irish Government, which must now expel the Israeli Ambassador.

“The Irish Government should also push for the immediate suspension of the EU’s preferential trade agreements (Israel-EU Association Agreement and Euro-Med Agreement) with Israel.”

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Abuse inquiry funds must be ring-fenced -McCartney‏

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney said today that funding for the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry should be ring-fenced so that it receives the necessary finance to complete its work regardless of the dispute around Tory welfare cuts.

Raymond McCartney  said:DIGITAL CAMERA

“My party colleague Jennifer McCann has  spoken to all the Sinn Féin ministers on the Executive and they are all agreed that the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry must be guaranteed certainty of funding. The HIAI can and should be immune from the on-going dispute within the Executive over Tory welfare cuts.

“It’s Sinn Féin’s view that the HIAI must get the funding necessary to complete its important investigation into the abuse of children in homes.

“Sinn Féin will be contacting ministers from the other parties on the Executive  today  to ensure that this happens.

“Martin McGuinness will also be meeting Peter Robinson  to discuss this and other urgent funding issues.

“Political disagreements on Tory welfare cuts should not prevent routine but necessary reallocations and adjustments.”

Derry emergency rally in solidarity with Palestine

Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry is to hold a solidarity rally in the city tomorrow night Tuesday

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Speaking today chairperson Michael McCrossan

 

“The situation in Gaza is once again at crisis point. Millions worldwide are protesting against the slaughter happening there.

 

We have seen in recent day’s dozens of protests and rallies right across Ireland and throughout the world.

 

“Hundreds of Palestinians are dead; thousands have been injured; thousands have sought refuge; hundreds of buildings including hospitals, schools and homes have been destroyed by Israeli bombs.

 

We are asking people from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone to gather with us on Tuesday 22nd July at 7pm at Free Derry Wall in order to send our solidarity to the people of Gaza and Palestine and to also show our anger and opposition to the continued slaughter that the Israelis are carrying out on the Palestinian people.

 

We will proceed from Free Derry Corner, up Fahan Street towards the Diamond, down Shipquay Street and into the Guildhall Square.

 

We ask people of all ages to attend and to encourage young people and children to bring a toy to the event with a message attached that can be left at the Guildhall to highlight the slaughter taking place, quite often on young children.

 

Invite friends, family and all to attend so that we can send a very clear message from the North West of Ireland the attacks on Gaza must stop and justice for the Palestinian people must be served.

Vandals target Immaculate Conception College -Cllr Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson has slammed vandals who have broken 18 windows at Immaculate Conception College in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

 

Councillor Jackson said:

“People in the Top of the Hill area are disgusted by this latest incident. Around 4am on Wednesday morning vandals smashed eighteen windows in the school. Whoever was involved in this attack has now left the school with a hefty repair bill.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

 

Schools are centres of our communities and provide not just education for our children but also services for families, after schools projects, and outreach to the wider community. Many local community groups are amongst users of the school and all are very appreciative of the use of the school premises. We cannot allow a handful of people put all of that good work in jeopardy.

 

This is an area with very few facilities and I would say to whoever is responsible for these attacks to stop, as they are only hurting their own community.

 

It’s very sad to see this attack happening following the good news last week that a Masterplan for the regeneration of Top of the Hill area is a step closer. We cannot allow a handful of people undermine the good work going on the in local community and i would urge  anyone with information on those responsible for the attack on the Immaculate Conception College to bring it forward immediately.

 

 

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McCartney announces venue for 2014 National Hungerstrike Commemoration

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA  and former Hunger Striker Raymond McCartney has announced  that the 2014 National Hungerstrike Commemoration will be held this year in Derrylin County Fermanagh on Sunday 3rd August

 

Raymond McCartney said,???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

I would like to announce that the National Hungerstrike commemoration will take place in  Derrylin County Fermanagh on Sunday  3rd  August 2014.

 

The prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s were without any doubt a key moment in the Irish struggle for freedom and justice. And within that period the Hunger Strike of 1981 is of course the defining moment.

 

Augusts National commemoration in Derrylin  is one of the biggest events on the Republican calendar and I appeal to the wider Republican community from Derry and our neighbouring counties of Donegal and Tyrone to join with us in remembering with pride the sacrifice of ten brave comrades who died in Long Kesh during those turbulent summer months of 1981.

 

The 1981 Hunger Strike was a pivotal event in the course of Irish history -it politicised and radicalised large sections of the Irish people. For this generation of republicans its was akin to the emotion generated in the wake of the 1916 rising.  The Hunger strike and related events mark 1981 out as a seminal year in the struggle for a united Ireland.

 

A number of buses will be going from Derry for the event details can be obtained by contacting 02871 377551 or 02871 359747

Fleming calls on Derry City Council to adopt living wage

Speaking after tabling a motion which will be debated at the next meeting of Derry City Council calling for a a living wage to be introduced, councillor Fleming said; ???
 
“People deserve to be paid a decent wage and introducing the living wage will ensure that the lowest-paid workers will enjoy a better quality of life. 
 
“The minimum wage is £6.31 for people aged over 21 years-old and while it is very important that it is in place, it is a very basic salary which many people find hard to live on. 
 
“We need to ensure that people get proper rewards for their work and the living wage of £7.65 would help lift people out of the working poor bracket. 
 
“Not only would a living wage provide a better quality if life for low-paid workers, it would also boost the local economy. 
 
“Paying workers a living wage would mean workers would have more money to spend in local businesses. 
 
“A number of major international companies have already introduced the living wage for employees which sends a very clear message to the scaremongering from some in the business community who claim it is unaffordable. 
 
“Providing workers with a living wage would also help prevent the emergence of a two-tier  economy which punishes those on benefits and low pay

Light for Gaza this Friday

Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry are encouraging people to take part in an initiative entitled “Light for Gaza” this coming Friday night.

They are encouraging people  to light a candle and place a solidarity message beside it, take a photo of it and upload it to Facebook and Twitter between 9 and 10pm.

 

Ógra chairperson in the city Michael McCrossan who has visited Gaza said “People have been outraged by what has been happening in Gaza with the continued Israeli onslaught. candle burning

 

What is frustrating people witnessing this ,is that many of the major news outlets are ignoring the horror of what is going on in Gaza  and people are only  getting the true story via social media.

Also thousands of people have protested across the world and again by in large sections of the broadcast media have ignored it.

 

In efforts to show our support the people of Gaza and highlight the horrors going on there we are encouraging people to  light a candle and place a solidarity message and location  beside it, take a photo of it and upload it to Facebook and Twitter between 9 and 10pm on Friday night.

 

We chose this time because its  when most of the main news will be broadcast across Europe. Everyone taking part can in their small way show solidarity for  the people in Gaza plus using the power of social media to get the message out of what is going on there.

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Palestine Solidarity Protest in Plenary

Palestine Plenary Protest 2Martina Anderson MEP and Sinn Féin colleagues, Liadh Ní Riada, Lynn Boylan and Matt Carthy join other MEPs in Palestinian solidarity protest in the EU Parliament Chamber

McLaughlin concerned over children’s social work services

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the health minister to explain why more than 100 children have not been allocated a social worker in the Western Trust. 

Speaking after meeting social workers, the chair of the Assembly’s heath committee and Foyle MLA said; 

“A child is said to be accommodated by the Trust when he or she is looked after in a foster home or children’s home for more than 24 hours. 

“Normally between 400 and 430 are formally accommodated in the Western Trust area but this year it is 523. 

“That means there are more than 100 cases where children have not been allocated a social worker. 

“The system is currently so busy that staff have told me that the department is ‘running hot.’ ?????????????????????????????????

“The Trust has appointed eight new social workers for children at risk but there is still a backlog at present. 

“There are two specialist care placement schemes available which deliver a high level of care, one in England and one in the 26 Counties, but the costs can be prohibitive. 

“I have written to health minister Edwin Poots outlining my concerns about the high number of children formally accommodated in the Western Trust and the resources in place to deal with the situation.

“I will also be going on a placement visit with social workers to see at first hand the challenges that exist in the current system.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

OTR scheme neither secret or illegal – McCartney

Sinn Féin Vice-Chair of the Justice Committee, Raymond McCartney said today that as expected the Hallett Report clearly demonstrated that the On the Run scheme was neither secret or illegal.

 

Raymond McCartney said:DIGITAL CAMERA

 

“The OTR issue was one of a number which Sinn Féin and other parties raised with the two governments in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement.

 

“The scheme was put in place by the British government in line with commitments made by both governments to address this issue.

 

“In the aftermath of the Downey case, Sinn Fein cooperated fully with the Hallett Inquiry and outlined Sinn Féin’s engagement on this issue from the Good Friday Agreement onwards.

 

“Judge Hallett has said clearly that the process was lawful.

 

“The report also makes it clear that the process was not secret, there are over 30 pages of material included in the report, which was in the public domain.

 

“This included reports in the media, questions and answers in Dáil Éireann and in the two British houses of parliament, Policing Board minutes and the Eames Bradley Report.

 

“A long list of politicians from the DUP, UUP, Alliance and SDLP discussed the issue over a period of a decade in meetings with the British government and British officials.

 

“The two governments made commitments to deal with the anomaly of the issue of the On the Runs in the wake of the Early Release Scheme under the Good Friday Agreement.

 

“We expect the governments to live up to those political commitments.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Thatcherite welfare cuts put parades into perspective

THERE was considerable relief that the Twelfth weekend passed off without widespread incidents of disorder. That was as it should be. The nationalist and unionist community of the Woodvale, Crumlin Road, Twaddell and Ardoyne deserved this respite.

Everyone in our society is entitled to live free from sectarian threat or harassment; no one should be subjected to hate crime. The fact that graphic examples of bigotry and hate were still in evidence during the last week – most notably in Antrim town, the Short Strand, Donegall Street in Belfast, and against Orange halls in Ballycastle and Eglinton – demonstrates how much work needs to be done.

Political unionism has shown the influence that it can exert over events on the ground. The leadership it provided clearly restricted the ability of extremists to inflame tensions and cause instability.

This was a positive development and is to be welcomed. Now it’s time to build on that example.

The parading impasse at Ardoyne will not be resolved without proper dialogue. So, leadership is now required to resume talks between the Orange Order and local residents. Those talks must not be postponed indefinitely. An immediate initiative should be taken.

That is the engagement that really counts instead of meetings with a Secretary of State who doesn’t even live here far less understand the issues.

Political unionism walked away from the talks table two weeks ago. It was a pointless stunt.

The only question that arises is not whether the DUP and UUP will come back into talks but when, and to which format.

They should give leadership and make it sooner, not later.

That should be an incentive for the Irish and British governments, with United States support, to put the correct framework in place to address all the outstanding issues.

The political process and institutions have taken a hammering due to the absence of leadership and real engagement.

There is no alternative to pro-Agreement politics, Good Friday Agreement principles and process, and power-sharing itself.

Political unionism should give leadership and unite with all other parties in addressing the stark challenges we all face.

They include:-

  • Permanent resolutions to contentious parades;
  • Eradicating sectarian and racist hate crime;
  • Agreeing the compromises needed to deal with the past;
  • Leading a popular fightback against neo-Thatcherite welfare cuts.

Tory welfare cuts put parades into perspective. They will adversely affect the lives of all our citizens, regardless of religious or political affiliation. United leadership is now required from every party against welfare cuts.

Sinn Féin gets back to work

“Citizens want fundamental change. Sinn Féin seeks to offer a viable, do-able, political alternative.” – Gerry Adams

THE DUST had barely settled on the ballot boxes being put back into storage after the elections than Sinn Féin activists met for an all-Ireland strategy conference at a west Dublin venue on Saturday 21 June.

Under the banner of ‘Challenges and Opportunities, 2014-2016’, the west Dublin event was the starting point for a summer of stocktaking and strategic renewal to re-energise the party after gruelling election campaigns that had seen Sinn Féin win almost half a million votes with the election of four MEPs and more than 260 councillors to join the existing team of TDs, senators, MPs and MLAs.

The day-long event was addressed by national leadership figures including Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness.

Immediate priorities outlined were:

Negotiations and dealing with difficulties in the political process and peace process;

By-elections and Westminster elections;

Preparations for a Dáil general election and Assembly elections;

Preparations for the centenary of 1916 with a strong focus on Irish unity;

Engaging with unionism, in all its forms, on issues of common ground.

Gerry Adams said:

 “Sinn Féin needs to be ready for government in this state on our terms, agree our policy priorities and political platform and our commitments need to be deliverable.

“We are ambitious for change and believe we can deliver on jobs, housing and health.

“But we will not do what the Labour Party has done – we will not enter government merely to give cover to the agenda of conservative parties. That’s the old, failed political system.

“Citizens want fundamental change. Sinn Féin seeks to offer a viable, do-able, political alternative.

“It is time for a realignment of politics. Let those on the Irish Left who really believe that a government without Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil is possible begin working together towards that end.”

Politics is not a spectator sport

• Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams with Sinn Féin’s MEP team of Matt Carthy (Midlands North West), Martina Anderson (Six Counties) Liadh Ní Riada (South), and Lynn Boylan (Dublin)

We must ferociously challenge the status quo and build progressive alliances

The first in a series of opinion pieces by progressive figures on ‘What now?’ after the sensational election results

THE local and EU elections represented a very significant political shift in Ireland, North and South. The very fact that Sinn Féin managed to secure almost 500,000 votes is a signpost of the progress we made. It also presents us with very significant challenges.

In councils the length and breadth of Ireland, Sinn Féin is in a position to represent our constituents and our communities, but we also have an opportunity to reshape the political dynamic in those institutions.

I was at the first meeting of Dublin City Council where our comrade Larry O’Toole was appointed Deputy Mayor. It’s very clear there is now a working-class majority in that council – it’s a completely different council. We need to be very proactive and positive in terms of how we use that transformed political landscape.

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Deputy Mayor Larry O’Toole with some of the new Sinn Féin Dublin City Council team

One of the things we are keen to advance is the mutual recognition of democratic mandates and not have a situation where the largest group or party hogs all the positions for themselves but to do things in a way that is truly democratic. That wasn’t received as it might have been, particularly by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who chose to relapse into the politics of exclusion, which doesn’t work. There is an appetite for doing politics differently.

In the North, there has been a process of political transformation underpinned by agreements that has not happened in the South. The economy collapsed, people’s lives were thrown into disarray but politics didn’t really change. Now we find ourselves in a very challenging but exciting moment where we can be a central driver in delivering that change.

At an EU level we have a truly all-Ireland team of four MEPs. We have an opportunity and political responsibility to shape the political momentum.

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•  Edmond Lukusa, Paul Donnelly and Natalie Treacy all took seats on Fingal County Council

For me, this period in politics is about two things.

The first is that we must continue to challenge the status quo – ferociously, fearlessley and fairly.

The other is about building progressive alliances.

We can’t imagine that those with whom we wish to build an alliance are going to share every single position of Sinn Féin (if they did, they’d be in Sinn Féin). But rather than magnifying differences we should work on areas where we share common ground.

People who voted for Sinn Féin at any level expect us to challenge and to build. This is not about institutions. It’s still about activism on the ground and on the street. It’s important we do not turn this into some kind of spectator sport where we sit back and just watch the Dáil, Assembly or local councils. Activism remains the key and bringing as many people as we possibly can onto shared ground.

Let me just say plainly to the critics: It’s not good enough now, given everything we’ve been through, to tolerate another five years of politics-as-usual. Whatever criticism some parties or groups might have with alliances with others at council level, it doesn’t answer the essential need to recast things when we now have sufficent numbers to do so.

As republicans we should not be distracted by negativity for the sake of negativity. One of the lessons from political life, and something republicans know well, is that you should never exclude yourself. You don’t voluntarily sit on the bench and complain.

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Lynn Boylan MEP and Mayor of South Dublin Fintan Warfield

We have now been given a chance. We will be watched carefuly to see how we use that opportunity. I don’t think there is an expectation from anybody that Sinn Féin can resolve all these issues and problems at the stroke of a pen or the wave of a magic wand. But people do expect to see a step-change in how politics is done and a change in priorities. They expect the top priority to be the welfare and rights of low-income and middle-income earners who have really taken the brunt of the austerity agenda. We will move heaven and earth to deliver on those commitments we made because we know that others have disappointed in that regard.

It’s a very exciting time for Sinn Féin and I could not let this opportunity go without saying it’s extremely positive that we got so many younger candidates and so many women elected. Our comrade Edmond Lukusa is the first elected black politician in Dublin.

You can see the diversity in our representation and membership from all sections of Irish society but the real heroes of these elections have been the teams of activists who worked so hard, day and night on the ground, to get us to where we are today. By God did they deliver, so now it’s up to us as elected representatives to do the same.

Belfast City Hall Gaza rally hears ‘boycott Israeli goods’ calls

THE war crimes of the Israeli Zionist state were once again the focus of anger as hundreds gathered at Belfast’s City Hall on Tuesday 15 July to call for an end to the genocide in Gaza.

Israel barcode

Among the speakers were Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McVeigh and peace activist Mairead Corrigan, whose work to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people is renowned.

Calls for an anti-apartheid-style boycott of the Israeli state are increasing as a weapon that ordinary people can use effectively by refusing to buy produce with barcodes beginning with the numbers 729.

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Hundreds attend Gaza solidarity rally in Derry

SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE attended a rally of solidarity with the Palestinian people outside the Guildhall in Derry on Wednesday night. The event was organised by  Ógra Shinn Féin.

The main speakers were Chairperson of Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry Michael McCrossan and Gerry Mac Lochlainn, both of whom have visited Gaza on several international delegations.

Gaza rally Derry women July 2014

Michael McCrossan said:

“We are very pleased with the great turn-out at such short notice. We had people from Derry and Strabane here and I spoke to one family who had travelled from as far as Gweedore in County Donegal, they felt that strongly about what was happening in Gaza.

“It has been reported in recent days that almost 50 people, including eight children, have been killed in Israeli attacks and another 400 injured. The health system in Gaza, under-resourced as a result of Israel’s siege, is at breaking point.

“There have been almost 500 air strikes, as well as naval bombardments of Gaza. Palestinian homes have been demolished and hundreds have been arrested. As many as 200 of these are now held by Israel in administrative detention – essentially internment without trial.

“Gerry Adams has said this week the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, which have resulted in no deaths, should end. But these actions cannot excuse the application of overwhelming military force by the Israeli Government.”

Gaza rally Derry July 2014 youth

Sinn Féin is also organising rallies in Belfast and Dublin.

Belfast’s Kincora scandal and MI5 must be part of Westminster paedophile inquiry – Ken Livingstone

KEN LIVINGSTONE, the former Mayor of London and long-time Ireland campaigner, is calling for the east Belfast Kincora Boys’ Home scandal to be included in the official inquiry into allegations of paedophilia against senior members of the British Establishment in Westminster in the 1980s.kincora-2

Documents alleging child abuse against MPs and senior public figures in the 1980s (when Margaret Thatcher’s Tory party was in power) are among 114 Home Office files on child sex abuse that have been destroyed, ‘lost’ or ‘gone missing’.

The systematic abuse of young boys in the Kincora Boys’ Home in the 1970s and the part played by British Intelligence organisations to keep the scandal under wraps ensured that one side of the murky world of unionist paramilitarism and its links to the crown forces was kept out of the public domain for years.

It all eventually unravelled in the early 1980s.

Kincora William McGrathAt the centre of the affair was Kincora Housemaster William McGrath (pictured). McGrath was the head of loyalist paramilitary group Tara and a man central to the formation of the loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in 1971.

McGrath was also closely connected to senior figures in both major unionist parties as well as having links to the Orange Order.

Calling on British Home Secretary Theresa May to extend the British Government inquiry announced on Monday 7 July to include Kincora, former Labour Party MP Ken Livingstone said:

“MI5 weren’t just aware of child abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home – they were monitoring it. They were getting pictures of a judge in one case, politicians, a lot of the Establishment of Northern Ireland going in and abusing these boys.”

Amnesty International later joined the calls for an inquiry to include Kincora.

Adding her voice to Ken Livingstone’s call, Fermanagh & South Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew said:

“These allegations are a cause of great concern and need to be thoroughly investigated.

“The nefarious role of MI5 in Ireland is well-known but these allegations are particularly shocking.”

Unionism’s ‘graduated response’ more about opposition to power-sharing than parade ruling

THE NATURE of political unionism and Orangeism’s “graduated response” to the Ardoyne parade determination will be tactically short-sighted – albeit involving tactics which may have repercussions for the political situation and potentially events on the ground.

The position adopted to date – including the stage-managed walk-out from all-party leaders’ talks; asserting that the institutions are under threat; the manufactured avoidance of the North-South Ministerial Council; combined with the Orange declaration that governance in the north will be impacted – throws up real strategic questions for unionism and what it expects to achieve.Unionist_leaders_July_2014_parades

Whenever pan-unionism has mobilised around rejectionist goals, the most extremist elements have always set the agenda and political instability, unrest and violence occur.

That’s exactly what happened during the unionist strikes in 1974/77, against the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, during the Drumcree crisis in 1996/97, throughout the last two years, and specifically arising from the Orange-organised protest at Twaddell last July.

Unless proper leadership is provided within political unionism and the extremists within the Orange Order are shunned, this society can have no confidence that anything different will happen this time.

Political unionism is not committed to power-sharing and partnership government and is opposed to managing the ongoing process of change in the North.

Blaming the Parades Commission for putting the political institutions under threat is a smokescreen for a significant crisis of leadership within political unionism.

In turn, the default position for the unionist parties and paramilitaries becomes a retreat into another (temporary) pan-unionist front and the formation of an explicit anti-Agreement axis.

Contested parades are a vexed issue and must be resolved. Political unionism’s “graduated response” is a sham. It has nothing to do with unresolved parades and everything to do with opposition to the Good Friday Agreement framework and principles, power-sharing, and partnership government.

However, for political unionism to move away from that template will be like setting off on a journey into the wilderness without the satellite navigation switched on. The Good Friday Agreement (and other Agreements) and existing power-sharing arrangements are the only show in town.

A pro-Agreement axis is required.

The Irish and British governments, supported by the US administration, must now take the lead.

There is only one direction for the political process and that’s forward – towards a new phase of the Peace Process.

Political unionism should accept that reality and get back to the talks table.

Much better ‘Plan A’ – so let’s make it work properly.

By Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson

Anderson criticises EU resolution on Gaza

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised a European Parliament resolution on Israeli attacks on Gaza as ‘woeful’. 

Speaking after the European Parliament passed a European People’s Party and Socialists and Democrats resolution on the current violence in Gaza, Ms Anderson said;

“The situation in Gaza is once again at crisis point. Millions worldwide are protesting against the slaughter happening there. 

Sinn Féin  MEPS join a Palestine solidarity protest outside the European Parliament today

Sinn Féin MEPS join a Palestine solidarity protest outside the European Parliament today

“Unfortunately however, this joint resolution is a woeful attempt to address the reality of the current conflict. It neutralises the conflict to avoid criticising Israel. 

“The cosy consensus of European Peoples Party and Socialists and Democrats is disgraceful. 

“Almost 200 Palestinians are dead; 1,250 have been injured; 17,000 have sought refuge; 1,300 buildings including hospitals, schools and homes have been destroyed by Israeli bombs. 

“This is an appalling carnage. Attacks from both sides should stop immediately. 

“The causes of the conflict are ignored in this sham resolution. 

“Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians in the aftermath of the murder of three young Israeli boys, which we all deplore, is not mentioned. 

“The arrest of hundreds of Palestinians which added to tension in the region is not mentioned. 

“Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law with the expansion of settlements and the construction of apartheid walls are not mentioned.”

“Israel’s impunity over such gross violations must end.”

Volunteer Cup to take place this weekend – McCourt

Republican activist Eamonn (Peggy) McCourt has said that the annual Derry Volunteer Cup will take place at Bishop Field on the weekend of the 18th and 19th July.

 

Peggy McCourt said,

 

“The Derry Volunteer Cup is an amalgamation of several football competitions that are held over the summer period in the Creggan area.

 

“The competition is in recognition of the local IRA Volunteers who died over the past forty years., many of whom where young men who played football.

 

“The eleven a side competition will be held over the weekend of the 18th and 19th July on Bishop Field with four teams representing Creggan, Bogside and Brandywell, Shantallow and Waterside competing for the trophy.

Councillor Colly Kelly with Brendy McDonald captain of the winning team Creggan 2013

Councillor Colly Kelly with Brendy McDonald captain of the winning team Creggan 2013

 

“This event is one of the ways in which we can pay tribute to those young men and women from the local community who paid the ultimate price in the struggle for Irish freedom.

 

“When Bobby Sands said ‘Our revenge will be the laughter of our children’ he was envisaging days like this as many of the players taking part in this competition will not have experienced the recent conflict.

 

“I would like to invite people to come along next week and participate in a weekend of fun and craic as well as paying tribute to the local patriot dead.”   

 

Fleming condemns Westlake disruption

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has condemned those responsible for a security alert in the Westlake area of Derry. 
Speaking after the discovery of a suspicious object in the Westlake area, councillor Fleming said; ???
“This has caused nothing but disruption for people living in the community. 
“Several families have had to be evacuated from their homes early in the morning as a result of this security alert. 
“Whoever is behind this has caused distress and disruption to resident in the area who do not want to see this kind of thing happening.” Ends/Críoch

Independent inquiry into Kincora needed – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness said today that, to be effective, any inquiry into the abuse of children at the Kincora Boys Home in the 1970s needs to be international and fully independent.

The Deputy First Minister said that the British state is unwilling and incapable of investigating its own agents and intelligence services.

Martin McGuinness said:DSC_0877

“There have been a number of scandals around the activities of the British intelligence services in Ireland, including the murder of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane and collusion in the killings of hundreds of nationalists.

“The British government has spent decades trying to cover up the activities of its intelligence services in Ireland.

“The British state is clearly incapable of investigating itself.

“Therefore, to be effective, any inquiry into the abuse of children at the Kincora Boys Home during the 1980s needs to be international, independent and have the powers to sub poena witnesses and access documents.” 

Sinn Féin MEPs to explore funding opportunities with European Investment Bank Vice-Chair

Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan and Liadh Ní Riada will travel to Luxemburg on Thursday to explore opportunities for investment with the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor.

 

Martina Anderson said: martina

 

“I recently took the opportunity to discuss with Johnathan Taylor, the possibility of funding opportunities such as coupling of projects such as Magee, Altnagelvin, C-Tric for Research and Development and roads and rail infrastructure.

“I then arranged a further meeting with him for this Thursday 17th July along with party colleagues Lynn Boylan and Liadh Ní Riada in Luxemburg to discuss a number of propositions with him.

 

“The EIB lends money on low-interest, long-term deals for big infrastructure projects.

 

“However, the British government blocks the Executive from accessing EIB funding for major projects such as the A5 and A6 and the development of a modern rail network.

 

“It is a crazy situation that councils and development bodies do have access to the fund while the Executive – the body charged with job creation and structural projects can’t at this time.

“The new super councils are due to come on stream with increased powers and responsibilities so it’s an opportune time for me to explore the possible benefits of this source of low-cost finance for essential development projects.

“The University of Ulster’s new Belfast Campus is an example of a project that has benefited from a £150 million loan facility from the EIB, which was crucial in order for the project to proceed.

 

“We intend to establish exactly what projects qualify for financial assistance and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB, what type of cross-border projects could access funding?” CRÍOCH/ENDS

Anderson calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and international recognition for Palestine. 
Speaking at a GUE/NGL press conference in Strasbourg, Ms Anderson said; DSC_0589
“This recent Israeli onslaught has seen more than 190 Gazans killed, mostly civilians and children, and unfortunately that number will probably rise. 
“The Israeli bloodbath undermines the two-state solution and obstructs the potential Palestinian unity government. 
“We need to see an immediate de-escalation of violence and a ceasefire by all sides in this conflicts. 
“The Israeli government must recognise the Palestinian unity government and engage in dialogue in order to find a way out of the current situation. 
“It is clear from this latest series of attacks that Israel is attempting to drive a wedge between Fatah and Hamas.” 
Ms Anderson also called on the international community must become involved to help the people of Gaza. 
“Expressions of concern are not enough; what is required now from the international community is decisive action. 
“International recognition for the two-state solution would be a hugely important step. 
“All governments should grant full embassy status to Palestinian missions. 
“The UN must recognise that Israeli actions have violated international law. 
“For too long the UN and the wider international community has watched the blockade of Gaza; watched an apartheid wall being built; watched as road blocks were erected and segregated buses introduced. 
“We have witnessed Israel demolishing thousands of Palestinian homes and forces thousands of families from their land to built settlements. 
“All of this is in violation of the 1993 Oslo Accord. 
“The Palestinian people and their elected representatives cannot tolerate this not should they be expected to.” Ends/Críoch

Summer appeal over dangers of electricity sub stations or electricity pylons – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has urged parents in Derry to warn their children about the dangers of playing near electricity sub stations or electricity pylons during the summer holidays

Councillor Logue saidPatricia Logue new pic 22


“I would ask parents in Derry to try and ensure that they prevent their children from going anywhere near electricity sub stations or electricity pylons. And appeal also to the young people to understand the risks and to stay away from the likes of electricity sub stations as they are not a playground”

“We all know that children love to climb up, on and over things. Fences are particularly inviting. With more children getting outside to play during the summer, it is the perfect time for parents to talk to them about electrical substations and why they must never climb the fences surrounding them”

“An electrical substation has thousands of volts running through it. This can kill someone in an instant. Only authorized and trained workers are allowed to work in or near high voltage substations. The whole substation is a danger zone, so children have to be prevented from getting near them at all times”

“Electricity is part of our everyday life – designed to provide us with a safe and reliable source of energy, but sometimes it can be dangerous. This happens when we’re exposed to it in ways we were not meant to be. We can avoid these hazards by following some simple rules and informing children of its dangers”

Ends

Fleming condemns Eglinton flag theft

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has condemned the theft of a flag from an Orange hall in Eglinton. 

Councillor Fleming said; 3140735984

“Flags and symbols should be treated with respect and the theft of this flag must be condemned. 
“We want to create a culture of tolerance and actions like this do nothing to contribute to that. 
“This is no different to the destruction of tricolours on loyalist bonfires. 
“I hope this will not do anything to raise community tensions in the area and I would appeal for the return of this flag to its owners.”  Ends/Críoch

Open Irish passport office in Derry –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has called on the new Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to open an Irish passport office in Derry.

 Councillor Kelly said colly new road pic

 

“Our three offices in Derry have been inundated with calls in recent weeks from people looking for assistance with Irish passport applications.

“As well as people making new applications, it’s not unusual for elected representatives to have been dealing with a number of people who have been seeking replacements for lost or out-of-date passports.

“On many occasions people have to travel to Dublin to collect their passports in time for their holidays.

“The staff at the passport office work very hard and are always accommodating but they are under a lot of pressure, particularly at this time of year.

“It is high time that an Irish passport office is opened in the North to deal with the huge volume of applications here.

“Sinn Féin will be writing to the new Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to call for an Irish passport office to be opened in the North.

“There are passport offices in Dublin and Cork and another office in Derry would be of great assistance to applicants from all over the north of Ireland.”

 

Ends

Notes

Sinn Féin ascertained in 2013  that over 125,000 people from the North applied for Irish passports  over a three-year period.

Hassan calls for Culmore Road safety measures‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed proposed road safety measures being  implemented in the Ardan Road area of Culmore but called for priority to be given to a “safer routes” to school programme at Hollybush Primary school to make it safer for school children.

 

Councillor Hassan said,

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

I welcome this scheme at Ardan Road but more needs to be done. Over the past year Sinn Féin has called on DRD Roads service to introduce traffic calming measures in the Culmore area such as Elmvale and Ardnalee and to put in place measures such a “safer route” to school at Hollybush Primary school.

 

Over the next few months we will be meeting with all the agencies in the city to look at what can be done to enhance the Culmore Point Road and others areas in Culmore.

Ends

Burning elections posters is a hate crime – Fleming‏

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has said the burning of election posters on loyalist bonfires is a hate crime. 
 
Speaking after election posters of Sinn Féin councillors from Derry appeared on a loyalist bonfire at Lanark way in Belfast, councillor Fleming said; 
 
“Posters from the recent election featuring myself and my party colleagues Martina Anderson, Kevin Campbell, Mickey Cooper, Liam Friel as well as Belfast councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir have been placed on a loyalist bonfire at Lanark Way in west Belfast. 
 
“A poster of my party colleague Patricia Logue has also been placed on a bonfire in Derry. Lanark Way
 
Sinn Féin is strongly opposed to the burning of election posters on bonfires. 
 
“These are hate crimes against sections of our community and should be treated as such.
 
“The Orange Order and unionist politicians claim these bonfires are expressions of culture and should be welcoming for families but there is little evidence of that.  
 
“We need to see strong voices and leadership from political unionism in order to see that these despicable practices are stopped.” Ends/Críoch

Hundreds attend Gaza solidarity rally in Derry

Several hundred people have attended a rally of solidarity for the Palestinian people outside the Guildhall in Derry on Wednesday night organised by  Ógra Shinn Féin.DSC_0489

The main speakers at the event were Chairperson of Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry Michael McCrossan and Gerry MacLochlainn, both of whom have visited Gaza on several International delegations.

Speaking today the Chairperson of Ógra Shinn Féin Michael McCrossan said

“We are very pleased with the great  turnout at such short notice. We had people from Derry and Strabane in attendance and I spoke to one family who had travelled from as far as Gweedore they felt that strongly about what was happening in Gaza .In the coming days there will also be rallies in Belfast and Dublin. 

“It has been reported in recent days that almost 50 people, including eight children, have been killed in Israeli attacks and another 400 injured. The health system in Gaza, under-resourced as a result of Israel’s siege, is at breaking point.

“There have been almost 500 air strikes, as well as naval bombardment of Gaza. Palestinian homes have been demolished and hundreds have been arrested. As many as 200 of these are now held by Israel in administrative detention –  essentially internment without trial.

“Gerry Adams has said this week the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, which have resulted in no deaths, should end. But these actions cannot excuse the application of overwhelming military force by the Israeli government.

Concluding he said

 

I will would like to thank all those who attended the Derry rally and urge people to raise the plight of people of Gaza at every opportunity.

Top of the Hill Masterplan major step forward-Jackson‏

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Waterside Christopher Jackson has welcomed the decision to approve an outline planning application for the Top of the Hill masterplan. The masterplan consists of a new community centre, a MUGA, soccer pitches and play facilities, as well as a purpose built GAA pitch for Na Piarsaigh Doire Trasna GAC.

Councillor Jackson said

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

 

 

“The area is crying out for facilities and this development will service the needs of the many community and voluntary organisations in and around the TOTH who have been hampered by the lack of facilities in this part of the Waterside.

Top of the Hill hasn’t seen any significant investment for generations. I would like to commend all those groups in the area who have work very hard to formulate these proposals.  

Seeing these plans being approved by the council has brought us that bit closer to making this project a reality. I have spoken to many people in the community this week and there is a real sense of excitement on hearing news of these ambitious plans.

 

Ends

Sinn Féin MEPs raise concerns on peace process with European Parliament President

Sinn Féin MEPs raise concerns on peace process with European Parliament President

Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson and Matt Carthy have briefed the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on concerns on the Irish political and peace process.

Following the meeting Martina Anderson said:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“We explained our concerns about the pressure recent events are putting on the political and peace process in Ireland.

“We pointed out the potential for deterioration in community relationships caused by the issue of contentious parades as we approach the height of the loyalist marching period.

“I was encouraged by Mr Schulz’s interest in and support for our efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.

“I hope to arrange a discussion in the near future between Mr Schulz and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

“I was also pleased to receive assurances from Jean-Claude Juncker that he would continue to support an EU task force looking at creating jobs and promoting growth.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Nothing should be done to undermine Parades Commission – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that nothing should be done to help unionists undermine the Parades Commission.

 

Speaking after unionist leaders and the Orange Order announced plans for protests and called for a Commission of Inquiry into the parade through nationalist Ardoyne area of Belfast, Raymond McCartney said; 

 

“The Parades Commission was set up and constituted by statute as an independent body to deal with disputed parades. 

 

“Unionists are asking for a Commission of Inquiry simply because they didn’t get their own way.

 

“Neither unionists or the British Secretary of State should do anything to undermine the Parades Commission. DIGITAL CAMERA

 

“The myth of the hollowing out of British culture flies in the face of the facts.

 

“The number of parades has doubled in the last five years, the number of loyalist bands has also doubled and more than 95 per cent of all loyalist parades are uncontested. 

 

“Walking out of talks with their partners in government and demanding that the British Secretary of State imposes a unionist solution can only raise tension and inflame the situation.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

 

Sinn Féin backs striking public sector workers – McLaughlin‏

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said public sector workers are entitled to a living wage.

 

Speaking as public sector workers took part in strike action today, the Foyle Sinn Féin MLA said; 

 

“Workers across the North are struggling to make ends meet and pay bills. 

 

“Low paid workers in particular have been badly hit as salaries have not kept up with rises in the cost of living. 

 

“Many front-line public sector workers, who provide essential services to local communities, are among the lowest paid. 

 

“Workers are entitled to a decent wage and I joined strikers at picket lines in Belfast this morning. 

 

“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the introduction of a living wage, which recognises the rise in the cost of living and we will continue to do so.” Ends/Críoch

Fire at Creggan shops complex –Councillor Kevin Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor for Creggan Kevin Campbell has urged anyone with information about a fire which damaged Ladbrokes bookmakers at Central Drive overnight to come forward.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said DSC_0042

 

“Once again a local business is counting the cost of a hefty repair bill following this fire. The businesses along Central Drive provide services and much needed employment for local people.

Whoever was responsible not only has caused damage to this building but potentially could have damaged the entire block if it had not been for the quick response of the fire service.

I would urge anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward.

 

Ends

Logue welcomes green energy schools funding

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed a £10 million investment in green energy in schools.

Speaking after Education Minister John O’Dowd announced the investment package, she said

 

“This £10 million investment by Minister John O’Dowd is welcome and will be used to make schools more energy efficient.

 

“Not only will it allow schools to reduce energy costs, it sends out a very important message about the importance of the green economy.

 

 “As places of learning schools have an important role to play in setting an example to children and young people about the benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and greener forms of energy. 

 

 “Schools are at the heart of local community so people will also learn a valuable lesson when they see solar panels on the roof and other energy saving measures.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Inquiry with full investigative powers required for Kincora – McCartney MLA

Vice chair of the Assembly Justice Committee Raymond McCartney MLA has called for an inquiry with the powers to subpoena MI5 files on child abuse at the Kincora Boys Home.

Mr McCartney said:raymond mccartney

“The allegations that British intelligence agencies monitored and facilitated the abuse of children at Kincora Boys home are shocking.

“Only a properly constituted public inquiry with powers of subpoena can uncover the whole truth and provide justice for the victims.

“If as alleged, MI5 recorded the abuse of young boys at Kincora, then any inquiry must have full powers to compel witnesses to appear and access all files relating to this issue.

“This is not the first time that allegations of MI5 involvement in this scandal have emerged.

“However, the British intelligence services have consistently been more concerned with covering up their involvement rather than in achieving justice for the victims of serial abusers.

“There needs to be a full investigation into the awful abuse at Kincora Boys Home and nothing less than full disclosure is acceptable.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

“Work with SMEs to maximise EU opportunities” Anderson MEP urges Ministers

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has urged Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan and Employment Minister Stephen Farry to work with those in the communication sector and other SMEs to maximise the opportunities presented by the EU’s “Green Action Plan (GAP) for SMEs” which will enable them to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities.”

Martina Anderson said:??????????

“This Action Plan adopted by the European Commission presents a series of actions proposed at European level to help SMEs exploit the business opportunities presented by the transition to a green economy.

“The European Council identified a strong competitive industrial base in terms of both production and investment as a key driver for economic growth and jobs.”

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said:

“The structural shift towards a green and resource-efficient economy is already bringing about fundamental changes across all sectors. It is an opportunity to generate high quality environmentally-friendly jobs, while securing the sustainable well-being of future generations and contributing to recovery from the economic crisis.”

Ms Anderson concluded:

“I am urging Mark H Durkan and Stephen Farry to exploit fully the opportunity that these programmes present and to work pro-actively with those in communications and SMEs to assist them in turning environmental challenges posed by the move to green energy into opportunities.”

Cancellation of Garth Brooks concerts a massive own goal for Dublin

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has described the cancellation of the Garth Brooks concerts as a massive own goal for Dublin.

The Dublin Central TD said there must be a review of the planning and licensing procedures for concerts to ensure that this episode is never repeated.

Deputy McDonald said;images

“The cancellation of the Garth Brooks concerts is a massive own goal for Dublin. Concert goers have been left disappointed and the city has lost out on a much needed economic boost.

“In Sinn Féin’s view the City Manager has called this wrong. We believe that the Mulvey report provided the basis for an agreed way forward that would have allowed the concerts to go ahead while providing the local community with a much needed economic boost and tangible community gain.

“It is clear from this debacle that the planning and licensing procedures for concerts are not fit for purpose and need to be reviewed. We need to ensure that this fiasco can never again be repeated.”

 

ENDS

Derry rally for Gaza on Wednesday night -McCrossan

Ógra Shinn Féin Doire will hold a demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people on Wednesday 9th July at 7pm at the Guildhall. Its comes in the wake of the ongoing onslaught by Israel on the people of Gaza and the young Palestinian boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir was ‘burned to death’ by Israeli extremists, his  fifteen-year-old cousin American student, Tariq Abu Khdeir being badly beaten  Israeli police.

 

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s rally Chairperson of Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry Michael McCrossan said

 

“People in Derry are rightly horrified at the scenes on their TV screens each night of death and destruction on the streets of Gaza .

 

There is the shocking case of the  Palestinian boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was ‘burned to death’ by Israeli extremists, and  his  fifteen-year-old cousin American student, Tariq Abu Khdeir being badly beaten by  Israeli police.DSC_0351

 

In 2012 I visited Gaza as part of a Derry delegation and  seen  up close the conditions people have to live in there and it  was shocking .It’s a daily battle for survival. The continual onslaught of the Palestinian people in Gaza is simply unacceptable and has to end now.

 

“Its  important that people in Derry and across the world show their revulsion at what is going on there. All such rallies big and small are very important in getting the message out through the local and international media particularly with many papers having an online presence .I would urge as many people as possible to attend.

SF Councillors call on City Manager to overturn Garth Brooks concert decision

The Sinn Féin group leader on Dublin City Council, Councillor Séamas McGrattan, has called on the Dublin City Manager to intervene and reverse the decision not to allow the five Garth Brooks concerts go ahead in Croke Park this summer.

Councillor Séamas McGrattan said;images

“The whole process has been a mess. There has been a breakdown in communication and trust between the local community and Croke Park going back over a number of years but the fans who bought tickets should not be the losers in this. There are no winners but there are clearly losers. The City of Dublin also loses out at a time where business needs a boost.

“Sinn Féin has been engaged in the discussions between the community and Croke Park from the beginning and had hoped that a compromise between both could have been reached. We have been in discussions with locals and had attended all the consultation meetings.

“I’m asking the City Manager Mr Keegan to intervene in the interest of the City and allow the concerts go ahead. The €500,000 earmarked under the Mulvey report, which was welcomed by Sinn Féin, would be a huge boost to the local community.

“If the manager does not reverse his decision Sinn Féin will explore the option of using section 140 of the Local Government Act to overturn the decision with the support of two thirds of the City Councillors.”

ENDS

Women must be included in all aspects of peacebuilding – Cllr Sandra Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has reiterated the importance of the inclusion of women in all aspects of peacebuilding and decision making across the island.

 

Speaking following  the launch of a Women in Peacebuilding guidance report informed by the views of 800 women who lived through conflict and conflict resolution she said;sandra and martin mcguinness photo 1

 

“Women play an invaluable role in building peace and stability in Ireland and in countries across the world.

 

“Very often their role goes unrecognised but all of us see the difference they make on a daily basis whether in political, public or community life.

 

“We all have a responsibility to challenge gender inequality and ensure the active and equal participation of women in all spheres of life.

 

“That includes removing the barriers and attitudes that result in their under  representation in political and public life.

 

“I believe the continued contribution that women make will encourage more young women to come forward into those roles.”

McLaughlin welcomes progress on Magee expansion

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed progress in the campaign for the expansion of the university at Magee. 

Speaking after meeting the consultants writing the business case for the expansion, the Foyle MLA said;

“The first stage of the business case for the expansion of Magee has now been completed. The final report will be delivered to Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry in September. 

“I met with the consultants involved in compiling the business base last week to discuss a number of issues around the expansion of Magee and course selection. I now look forward to the delivery of the final report. 

“I welcome the fact that this is moving forward and the positive decision on the planning permission for the expansion of the library and the building of new teaching facilities at Magee. 

“The expansion of Magee and the increase in student numbers is crucial to the regeneration of Derry and I will continue to engage with all stakeholders to secure this vital project.”

Cooper welcomes opportunities of Ebrington Creative Hub

Commenting on the news that Ilex has announced the appointment of Blick Studios as operator of the Creative Hub at Buildings 80 and 81 at Ebrington in Derry

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

 

“I hope the new facility will work hand in hand with the North West Science Park(NWSP), local companies and the community cultural hubs which we are working on with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure to allow creative industry projects to be initiated in community areas. And hope it acts as a further economic multiplier for the Ebrington site.

 

Sinn Féin have also suggested a mechanism for ILEX as well as the NWSP to channel any enquiries from those businesses who are not eligible to be tenants of either site towards the economic development department  in Derry City Council. They will pass the enquiries to the wider private sector to ensure economic development opportunities  are  maximised.

Ends

Domiciliary carers pay delays unacceptable-McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health committee Maeve McLaughlin has expressed concern that overtime and travel expenses of domiciliary carers in the Western Trust area have not been paid for the month of May.?????????????????????????????????
 
She said,
 
“The overtime and travel expenses of domiciliary carers have not been paid for the month of May and it looks likely that they won’t be paid for the month of June either.
 
“Domiciliary carers are on the lower end of the pay scale. They cannot afford to be out of pocket for several months while awaiting money they have personally paid out in order to carry out their duties.
 
“Sinn Féin has  met with a considerable number of carers and took on board their concerns at the delays in their entitled payments.
 
“The figures involved are up to and exceeding £500, so one can see the potential for difficulties in non-payment in leaving carers without a full wage.
 
“The Western Trust needs to explain if the private company administrating these payments is capable of carry out this function so that it does not reoccur on a monthly basis.
 
“They also need to expedite these payments at the earliest opportunity so that carers can go to work knowing that their expenses will be paid on time.”

Ends

McGuinness calls on unionists to show effective leadership

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said that unionist politicians must show leadership rather than playing to the lowest common dominator. 

Speaking after unionist parties walked out of all-party talks, Mr McGuinness said; 10157312_10152784476263642_2844411426185871120_n

“I am disappointed but not surprised that the unionist parties have decided to withdraw from an important talks process. 

“Prior to the talks I asked all party leaders to issue a statement calling for calm on our streets. That did not happen.

“Unionists need to show leadership, respect the determination of the parades Commission and support the rule of law. 

“Whatever the problems there can be no resort to violence.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Cllr Colly Kelly calls for living wage

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has called on businesses to introduce the living wage for all employees.

 

 

The living wage is now set at  £7.65 an hour.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

 

Speaking after Nestle became the first major company to adopt the living wage Councillor Kelly said

“Sinn Féin have been calling on companies to introduce the living wage for all employees for some time.

 

“This move from Nestle is welcome and I would encourage other firms to follow its example and adopt the living wage for all workers.

 

“When major employers take this step it sends a very clear answer to the scaremongering from some in the business community that the living wage is unaffordable.

 

“Paying workers a living wage would boost the economy because they would have more money to spend in local businesses.

 

“Providing workers with a living wage would also help prevent the emergence of a two-tier economy which would leave behind those on benefits and low pay.”

 

£2 Billion in Rural Investment by Sinn Féin Minister

£2 Billion in Rural Investment by Sinn Féin Minister

 

 

Republican Youth Anti-Racism Camp

Republican Youth Anti-Racism Camp

EU Roaming Charges reductions a victory for consumers – Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed moves to abolish mobile roaming charges across the European Union. 

Martina Anderson said:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“Cuts to roaming charges contained in EU legislation which will benefit those travelling across EU borders as well as inter-state businesses are now in effect but with the passing of these landmark new rules, people can look forward to roaming charges being abolished across the EU from 2015.

“This development will be welcomed by tourists and business people alike as they will no longer have to worry about incurring extortionate additional charges while travelling anywhere in the EU.

“In spite of a strong lobbying effort from large telecom companies, the European Parliament chose to protect consumers’ access to high quality internet and mobile services at reasonable cost rather than service rProviders increased profits.

“I will continue to keep a close eye on the activities of service providers to ensure attempts to recoup any revenue by other means or increased charges does not go unnoticed.”

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Cooper welcomes Legacy fund support for Fest in the West

Sinn Fein Foyleside Councillor and legacy spokesperson Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation that the ‘Fest in the West’ community festival will receive support from the Derry City Council Arts Council legacy fund. He said the support would allow the festival to greatly increase its profile and offer:DSC_0043

He said “I am delighted that this funding has been made available to the Outerwest Neighbourhood Partnership and C.R.A.F.T.  to expand the Fest in the West event. The festival is a family friendly initiative which works in partnership with communities and schools across the Outerwest area and has proven its popularity in the past despite working with a very small budget.

This increased support, which was made possible due to our insistence that the legacy funding criteria was amended to target areas of need, will allow a greatly expanded festival which will undoubtedly benefit all residents of the Outerwest area. I congratulate St Marys College and the event organisers for their perseverance in establishing the ‘Fest in the West’ in the festivals calendar”

 

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Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinian people must end – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney , has today expressed his regret at the killing of three Israeli settlers, but has called on Israel to stop its indiscriminate bombing and attacks on the Palestinian people, which amount to collective punishment.

 

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“It was with deep regret that I heard that the three missing Israeli settlers were found dead in the occupied West Bank yesterday.

 

“The abduction and killing of these teenagers was a tragic event and I condemn this action and those behind it.

 

“This particular case graphically highlights why we urgently need an inclusive peace process so that no more Israeli or Palestinian families have to grieve the loss of their loved ones.

 

“Since the teenagers went missing more than 400 Palestinians have been arrested, including 23 Palestinian MPs, thousands of homes have been raided, and six people have been killed by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli air force has also carried out air strikes on the blockaded Gaza.

 

“Israel’s military actions are collective punishment of the Palestinian people and will do nothing to advance a negotiations or a lasting peace process in the region.”

 

ENDS

One tourism strategy for all of Ireland is the only way forward –McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin , responding to the review of the NI Tourist Board and wider tourism structures said:

 

“Sinn Féin has argued for some time that three different bodies promoting tourism across Ireland is not the best model for delivery.

 

“What this review actually needed to consider is the potential benefits for the economy if greater integration were to occur across tourism on the whole of Ireland.

 

“When people around the world look at potential destinations to visit, they look at Ireland as a single location and not two separate places. It is vital that our tourism promotion bodies embrace this reality and promote the island and all its attractions as a whole.

 

“If attractions like the history of the Free Derry area ,Derry Walls ,Ring of Kerry, the Giants Causeway, the Marble Arch Caves and Cliffs of Moher were packaged as a single destination, more and more people would strongly consider coming here on holidays.”

Fergleen Park needs window replacement scheme –McCallion

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion said photo-51

 

“Over recent months residents in the Shantallow/Galliagh  areas have been in contact with our office at Racecourse Road complaining about the state of the windows in their homes .Sinn Féin  have been in contact with the Housing Executive on a number of issues in the  those areas  including the need for window replacement schemes.

 

One of the areas of particular need is Fergleen Park .I would call on the Housing Executive to have an urgent look at the state of the windows in these homes and see what can be done to bring forward a project for their replacement as speedily as possible .

Sinn Féin welcomes funding for Derry Legacy projects

Sinn Féin councillor and party spokesperson on cultural legacy Mickey Cooper has welcomed the approval by council of joint Derry City Council /Arts Council legacy funding for a range of projects which includes support by Department of Culture Arts Leisure  through the Arts Council of a number of community festivals and other projects. He said this was due to Sinn Féin’s insistence that the criteria for the funding was amended to ensure smaller and community based organisations could apply:

 

He said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

 

“I am delighted that a number of organisations across the city have benefitted from this funding. When Derry City Council announced that these monies were being made available I insisted that the criteria would allow organisations who hadn’t benefitted from Arts Council funding or indeed ran large scale cultural projects in the past to apply for the funding. We also insisted that deadlines for applications were extended to ensure bids could be made in time. The result is a much more balanced and city wide allocation of monies than would otherwise have been the case.

 

In addition a further £300,000 of funding has been ring fenced for a second round of applications for later in the year. This will allow new applications and revised bids by those groups who were close to success in this first round of applications. I am continuing to work with both the Department  and Derry City Council  on a number of further initiatives to ensure cultural legacy benefits all areas of the city”

Martina Anderson MEP calls for international inquiry into events in Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has today called for an international inquiry into the abduction and killing of three Israeli settlers and into the collective punishment of the Palestinian people through Israeli military actions.

She made the call after speaking with the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland this week.Derry Gaza Photo66

She said:

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms abduction and killing three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. But, while horrific, these events in no way justify the policy of the Israeli state to collectively punish the Palestinian people through brutal military action and other draconian measures.

“The Israeli policy of collective punishment is at the heart of the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

“It is carried out with such a ferocity and frequency that we are now almost surprised when a day goes by that we don’t hear of a further violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people. These collective violations come in the form of arrests, executions, indiscriminate airstrikes and other obscenities such as the blockade of Gaza.

“Six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the teenagers went missing. Surely, both of these realities highlight the pressing need for an inclusive peace process.

“The international community must now recognise that actions of collective punishment are not ad-hoc actions but rather the outworking of Israeli state policy. Such a policy warrants the establishment of an international inquiry.

“An inquiry into the abduction and killing of the three Israeli boys and the policy of Israeli collective punishment is an important part of building a process of peace and reconciliation.

“We want to see a peace process that will ensure that no more Israeli or Palestinian families have to suffer the loss of loved ones.”

ENDS

O’Neill announces Executive agreement for DARD headquarters move to the Ballykelly‏

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has welcomed Executive agreement for her plans to relocate her Departmental Headquarters to the Executive owned Shackleton Barracks site in Ballykelly, Co Derry. 

Michelle O’Neill said: 

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

“I now have Executive agreement for my decision to decentralise my Departmental Headquarters out of Belfast to Ballykelly, Co Derry. 

“We will now press on with the necessary detailed design work and the process of awarding a contract to begin the building work by the end of 2015 for completion late 2017. 

“The plan is to complete the move in two phases; the first by the end of 2017 and the remainder by the end of 2020. 

“This is consistent with my commitment to relocate to a rural area. This move to Ballykelly forms part of my broader programme of relocations. 

“The Forest Service is being headquartered in Fermanagh and Fisheries Division in Downpatrick by June 2015. The Rivers Agency will be headquartered in the Loughrey Campus of the College of Agri Food and Rural Enterprise by March 2016. 

“This decision will mean that I meet my Programme for Government target to decentralise DARD’s Headquarters to a rural location. 

“However, I also expect these moves to deliver real social and economic improvement in rural areas while enhancing the identification of the Department with the rural community

Minister trying to avoid responsibility over Owenbeg DVA swoop – Ó hOisín

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has clashed with Environment Minister Mark H Durkan over a DVA operation last month, which disrupted the opening ceremony of Féile na nGael.

Cathal Ó hOisín said:

“DVA officers swooped on buses of young people at Derry GAA’s HQ at Owenbeg on Friday 20 June to ‘carry out road safety inspections’.2138163144

“They claimed it was a targeted operation but they had no regard for the thousands of children attending the event who travelled from all over Ireland.

“The minister claimed that the DVA decided not to proceed after ‘taking account of the circumstances’. 

“This flies in the face of the facts.

“The DVA only pulled back after GAA officials, local representatives and the PSNI Neighbourhood team persuaded them with some difficulty to end the operation.

“The minister is clearly trying to avoid taking any responsibility for an operation which disrupted Féile and the area’s potential for tourism.”

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Sinn Féin leadership to meet Cameron and Miliband

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew will be in London today  for separate meetings with the British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The focus of both meetings, which are being held at Sinn Féin’s request, are the ongoing efforts to reach agreement among the Executive parties on outstanding issues arising from the Good Friday and other Agreements, including the issues of flags, parades and the past.2 gerrys

Gerry Adams said:

“This will be the first meeting that the British Prime Minister David Cameron will have held with the Sinn Féin leadership since he took office in 2010.

“This is deplorable and evidence of the British government’s failure thus far to properly engage with the process of change in the north.

“Key to making progress is a positive engagement by the Irish and British governments on issues which are their direct responsibility. The governments cannot with credibility speak off the lack of progress in the process unless they act to fulfil their obligations.”

ON SALE NOW

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Local input needed on masterplan for the Ballyarnett Country Park-Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has encouraged people living in the greater Ballyarnett area to have their say on a future masterplan for the Ballyarnett Country Park

 

Speaking after attending a meeting on the plans  Councillor Hassan said “ I would encourage people to go along and have their say ,have their input into what they would like to see at the Ballyarnett Country Park.

 

“I welcome the proposal’s contained in masterplan for the Ballyarnett Country Park .

Councillor Tony Hassan

Councillor Tony Hassan

 

The Ballyarnett Country Park can provide a wide range of opportunities and act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

This is one of best assets this city has but has been underutilised for many years .And I believe it has nowhere reached its full potential yet, in providing parklands and facilities for residents in the local area and for the city as a whole.

 

The plans include additional play facilities, biodiversity projects, walking and cycling routes and act as a venue for the Arts and Sporting sectors. It offers a real opportunity to build the foundation’s for the next 5-10 years and put in place something the entire community can be proud of.

 

A drop in day has been scheduled for Tuesday 1st July between 2.00pm and 6.00pm at the Outer North Neighbour Partnership offices in Northside.

 

 

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Funding secured for Moss Park 15th August community festival

Sinn Féin Cllr Elisha McCallion has welcomed the news that funding has been secured for community festival at Moss Park on the 15th August this year.

 

She said  1

 

“The event last year saw many families attend, we had bouncy castles, face painters and puppet shows for children. Live performances from traditional Irish musicians and leading Irish band Bagatelle also took place.

 

So to hear the positive  news that funding has been secured for another festival this year on the 15th August will be warmly welcomed.

 

I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in making this happen.

Road safety measures for Creggan Heights -Cllr K Campbell

Sinn Féin Creggan Councillor Kevin Campbell commenting on the news that Creggan Heights is set to get new traffic calming measures.3895995549

 

He said “There have been serious  concerns about road safety measures in the Creggan Heights area following a child sustaining injuries in a hit and run incident last year.

 

At that time I told residents I would continue to lobby DRD Roads service for additional measures and that an assessment would be carried out.

 

I am glad that this work is now to take place.  If any residents wish to discuss this issue further or require additional information they can contact me on 71377551

Fleming attends meeting on Prehen Boathouse future

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has welcomed progress on the redevelopment of Prehen Boathouse. 

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Speaking after attending a meeting between representatives of Foyle Paddlers, City of Derry Rowing Club and Derry City Council officials at the boathouse on Tuesday, colr. Fleming said; 
“Members of Foyle Paddlers and City of Derry Rowing Club met with representatives of Derry City Council to discuss the future use of Prehen boathouse. 
“Both clubs had concerns about the future of the boathouse and raised those concerns with Council officers. 
Foyle Paddlers and City of Derry Rowing Club do great work in getting young people involved in healthy sporting activities and in opening up the potential of the river.
“That has been particularly evident this week with their involvement in the Legenderry Maritime Festival.
“The meeting was positive and Council officers updated the members that new funding opportunities are being actively pursued which, if successful, would hopefully secure the long term future of the facility. 
“I am calling on the Department of Social Development to provide funding for the redevelopment of the boathouse to ensure modern facilities for both of these clubs as well as opening it up to wider use. 
“The Prehen boathouse has a great deal of potential and its redevelopment would assist the regeneration of the city’s waterfront.”
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Executive agreement on CAP welcome – Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Executive agreement on £623million funding for rural development and the agri-food Industry announced by Minister Michelle O’Neill today.
Martina Anderson said:??????????
“We are at an extremely important juncture in terms of rural development and the Agri-food industry. I have always believed and advocated a well-funded, flexible and fair CAP reform and I believe that this announcement by Minister O’Neill today will address many of the inequalities that existed in previous funding.
“I have always supported the position that recognises the importance of agriculture to the north of Ireland and argued for the maximum amount of funding. There was an historical imbalance in how the current funding allocation was distributed particularly in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas.
“I am particularly pleased that the Minister is introducing an incremental flat rate of payments and that the North will be treated as one region. I believe that the compromise position on the time frame for achieving the flat rate is a reasonable one and will be welcomed by the vast majority in the farming community.
“These are potentially exciting times for the agri-food industry and rural communities which have remained strong through the recession despite the many challenges and financial strains on individual farming families.
“Today’s announcement will deliver a large degree of stability for future planning by the farming and rural communities and I congratulate the Minister on her perseverance.” CRÍOCH/END

Easyway set for traffic calming scheme –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that the   Eastway Gardens area of Creggan is set to get traffic calming measures, he said

 

“I have been working on this issue for some time now . Residents had raised concerns with me about the speed and the volume of traffic on  what is one of the busiest roads in the area. This hopefully will address some of those issues .It’s important that residents are consulted as this process is moved to the next stage.

 

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Warning after Waterside break-ins – Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has urged residents in the Limavady Road area to be on  alert after a number of homes there were burgled.

He said

“Thieves have no respect for you or your property; helping to catch them is the best way of safeguarding your own property and your neighbours.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

I would appeal to the public to practice vigilance in the area in an effort to catch those involved and prevent further break-ins. It also important that people make arrangements if they are heading off on their summer holidays to have a neighbour or family member to keep an eye on their house whilst they are away.

I would also appeal to anyone with information or who may have seen anything to pass this to the PSNI. People like this cannot be allowed to prey on our community.

Duffy urges support for Carnhill blood donation sessions

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said

“Blood donation is very important for the proper delivery of health care. Each year thousands of patients require blood transfusions in our hospitals, because they are undergoing surgery, recovering from cancer or have been in a serious accident.

There is a lot of pressure placed on the Blood Transfusion service particularly over the summer with people being away on holidays. They have said that the need for blood is constant, with 500 patients in the north needing transfusions each week, but at this time of year it can be particularly difficult to maintain their blood stocks.

I would urge anyone who can ,to go along to the blood donation session at St Brigids College on the Glengalliagh Road this coming Monday 30th June between 2.00 – 4.15pm and 5.30pm -8pm

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Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

Fire at electricity sub station Galliagh –McCallion

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion commenting after a fire was started at an electricity substation in the Ederowen Park area of Galliagh and a number of other small fires were started in the locality last night said:

 

“I would like to alert parents in the area to this incident at Ederowen Park and a number of other small fires which took place. A fire was started at the electricity substation, thankfully on this occasion  it didn’t spread or cause serious damage but none the less it is a warning to everyone the seriousness of starting such fires. 1

 

 Whilst others are trying very hard to improve the lives of residents and the neighbourhood once again a very, very small minority can undo some of that work in a very short space of time.

 

There is a bulky lift scheme currently underway in the area and I would urge residents not to leave out materials overnight and leave them out at the designated times to avoid them being lifted by young people to be used as material to start fires.

 

 

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Bon Secour’s home motion receives all party support in Assembly –McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin MLA speaking following a motion in the Assembly on the scandal surrounding the Bon Secours Sisters’ Institution in Tuam Co Galway said: 

 

“I welcome the fact the Sinn Féin have secured all party support for this issue.

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

 

“Almost 800 children died in the Bon Secours Sisters’ Institution while in the care of a religious order and were placed in a mass unmarked grave over a period of five decades.

 

“The system of Mother and Baby Homes that existed across Ireland has been exposed, especially in recent weeks following the discovery of the unmarked grave at the site of the Bon Secours Sisters Institution in Tuam, Co. Galway.

 

“This contained the remains of almost 800 children who died in the care of a religious order over a period of five decades.

 

“This was a system that no one could stand over, and it was cruel and unjust. 

 

“The innocents who experienced this regime, more often than not behind closed doors, numbered in their thousands.

 

“It is shameful that these experiences had to happen at all. It is something that we should now investigate to give both a sense of closure and justice to victims and survivors.

 

“I would commend those who have campaigned bravely for recognition and dignity to expose what went on over a period decades.

 

“I welcome the fact that the Irish Government has now agreed to establish a commission of investigation following a Sinn Féin motion in the Dail.

 

“What occurred at the Bon Secours home was not unique.

 

“Sinn Féin is calling for all government departments across the island of Ireland and their agencies, as well as religious orders, to proactively co-operate with any investigation that takes place to establish the truth behind this scandal.

Campbell condemns sectarian attack

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell has condemned a sectarian attack on a teenager in Derry. 

Speaking after an 18-year-old Catholic teenager was attacked by a group of up to 12 people in the predominantly loyalist Fountain estate last weekend, Councillor Campbell said; 

“There can be no place for sectarianism in our society. Councillor Kevin Campbell

“This attack on an 18-year-old youth from Creggan in the Fountain estate must be condemned outright. 

“I wish this young man a speedy recovery from his injuries. 

“Great strides have been made in improving community relations in Derry in recent years and those efforts will not be set back by attacks like this. 

“This is a city moving forward and no one wants to see these type of incidents taking place.

“I would call on anyone with information on this attack to contact the PSNI.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

Progress made on Rock Terrace gating –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that after a long negotiation Roads Service have finally agreed in principle to permit gates to be installed at Rock Terrace. He said this would open the way for formal consultation to take place with local residents with the aim of securing the gating of the street

 

Councillor Cooper said 

 

I welcome the fact that DRD Road Service have agreed to remove objections to gating at Rock Terrace after a long series of negotiations with myself and the Derry City Councilor solicitor. The process will now move to formal consultation with local residents and in event of no objections being received I will work to secure funding for the gates to stop ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area which has been a problem for several years

 

 

“The plight of residents in Rock Terrace has been well covered in the local press over the years, particularly the problems they encounter at night time from large crowds of revellers..

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Residents have been calling for the installation of gates on the street to try and resolve some of these night time issues. They want to feel safe in their homes, they want to know their cars are not going to get damaged and they certainly don’t want large groups of people entering their street late at night. We are now one more step on the road to these aims being met”

McCartney backs Haass’ Irish language call

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney  has renewed his call for legislation to protect the rights of Irish speakers. 

Speaking after former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass called for the Irish language to be afforded official status in the North, the Foyle  MLA said; 

“I welcome Richard Haass’ comments that Irish should have more of an official role. Raymond head shot 22

“The Irish language is an integral part of our culture and continues to grow in popularity throughout the island. 

“I hope others will listen to his remarks and support our call for Acht na Gaeilge to be implemented to formally protect the rights of Irish speakers and promote the language. 

“In the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006, the British government committed itself to an Irish Language Act but it has been opposed by unionists since then. 

“The Irish language threatens no one and this legislation should be brought forward as soon as possible. 

“Enacting this legislation would not only be of huge cultural importance but would also create employment for the Irish language community. 

“Legislation would benefit the lives of the thousands of people who use Irish every day and would allow them to use Irish on official forms and court proceedings. 

“Dr Haass’ remarks that Irish identity should be respected are also welcome, particularly following recent incidents where the PSNI have seized hurls from young people.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Hats off to Music City Derry 2014 -Kelly

Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said

 

“I have to say, hats off to all those involved in organising the Music City events which took place over a 24-hour period at the weekend ,particularly the large number of people involved in pulling it all together and making it possible.

 

From the Dawn Chorus at Grianan of Aileach to the venues right across the city centre there was an abundance of musical talent on show. There was an excellent atmosphere with all the stalls, music and for once we were blessed with good weather.

 

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Duffy commends Clipper and LegenDerry Maritime Festival

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has congratulated all those who have taken part in the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and those behind the organisation of the LegenDerry Maritime Festival  this week.

 

She said

 

“I would like to commend all those who have taken part in the Clipper round the World Yacht Race, particularly all of those on board the local clipper.

 

They have done this city and district proud to win the latest section of such an arduous journey. From its start in September of last year it’s been a mammoth journey they have taken part in so far.

 

It was a very exciting weekend for the thousands of people of all ages who thronged the quayside walkway from Bay Road right up to the Peace Bridge. For years the people of Derry have been crying out to see the riverfront location fully utilised.

 

After years of planning, hard work and waiting, that time has come and we’re looking forward to seeing our riverfront come alive as the week long LegenDerry Maritime festival takes place.”

 

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Sinn Féin secure funding for Rosemount gates

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper commenting after he secured funding for gates to be installed at Epworth and Ernest Street in an arrangement with the PSNI and Housing Executive.

 

Councillor Cooper said DSC_0043

 

I am glad that I have finally crossed the line in pulling the funding together for the installation of these gates. The problem being encountered by residents in the Rosemount area has been well published in the local press over the past few years.

 

The PSNI and Housing Executive will provide the funding for the gates which I have arranged be forwarded to Derry City Council who will administer the payments to the appointed contractor.I have also secured the three necessary quotations to ensure the funding is adequate for the project.

 

Derry City Council will now appoint the contractor and process payment to ensure the gates are installed as soon as possible to help local residents to feel safe in their homes and remove the various anti-social issues which have blighted the community in recent years.

 

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40th Anniversary Volunteers Gerard Craig and David Russell.

On Tuesday 24th June  a commemoration will take place in Shantallow to remember the 40th Anniversary of the deaths of two IRA Volunteers from the area Gerard Craig and David Russell.

Gerard and his friend David Russell died when the bomb they were carrying exploded accidentally outside a supermarket in the Greenhaw Road on the 24th June 1974

Councilllor for the area Tony Hassan Said

“These events are very important indeed .We will be gathering to remember with dignity and pride the memory of Gerard and David and stand in solidarity with their family and friends. The commemoration will take place at 7.30pm at the Shantallow Monument on Tuesday night and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

McLaughlin welcomes expansion of addiction treatment services

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed moves to increase addiction treatment services in the Western Trust area. 

Speaking after the Health and Social Care Board approved plans to increase extend services in Omagh, the Foyle MLA said; 

“The approval of the plan to move towards a three-site 30-bed regional network for addiction treatment services is welcome. 

“The previous plan included provision for two sites with 24 beds, which would have limited the opportunity for people throughout the trust’s area to access these vital services. 

“Now people from Derry, Strabane and across the wider area will be able to access expanded treatment services at the Omagh site, including detoxification and rehabilitation. 

“The facility in Omagh currently operates on a part-time basis but these plans will see it move towards a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service with additional resources. 

“This comes on the back of work carried out by the addiction task force set up by Sinn Féin to bring together all the groups and individuals working in addiction treatment. 

“The expansion of services in Omagh will help form part of a holistic solution to combat the misery of addiction for families across the wider trust area.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Cyclist beating train makes our rail system a laughing stock

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has called for the Derry/Belfast railway line to be upgraded as soon as possible before the North becomes a laughing stock across Europe.

 The East Derry MLA was speaking after congratulating cyclist John Madden for beating the Derry/Belfast train in a race between the cities.

 Mr Ó hOisín stated,

 “I would like to congratulate local man John Madden for breaking the record of travelling between Derry and Belfast by bike and also beating the train in the process. 

 “This is even more remarkable given John was unable to use the motorway or he would have been even faster.

 “While John is a remarkably fit athlete the fact that a bike was able to beat the local train service in any circumstance makes us a laughing stock across Europe. It highlights the need to upgrade the track as soon as possible.

 “If the minister is serious about promoting and expanding the rail network he needs to begin with the existing infrastructure and bring it up to a proper standard.

 “I am now calling on Danny Kennedy to bring the 2nd phase of the upgrade of the Derry Belfast line forward so that passengers can travel al1174901_10152240490953642_1298589685_nong the line faster than on a bicycle.” 

Adams shocked and saddened at death of Gerry Conlon

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his shock and deep sadness at news of the death of Gerry Conlon.

Gerry Adams said;

“Gerry Conlon and his father Giuseppe were two of the most infamous examples of miscarriages of justice by the British political and judicial system.

“Their story was told graphically in the film ‘In the name of the father’.

“To his family and friends I want to extend my sincere condolences.”

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Health Minister must clarify his stance of reintroducing prescription charges

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on Edwin Poots to clarify his call on Twitter to reintroduce prescription charges in order to fund the purchase of drugs for cancer treatment. 

Speaking today Ms McLaughlin, chair of the health committee at the Assembly, said: 

“The issue of access to cancer drugs is first and foremost an equality issue. The fact that life-prolonging drugs available in England are not yet available here is unacceptable. 

“However, I’m concerned that the Health Minister is being cynical and using the genuine suffering of cancer patients in an effort to distract attention away from his mismanagement of the health budget. 

“Rolling out his policy ideas on Twitter is not the way to do business. Seeking a predetermined outcome to his consultation paper at the Executive is not the way to do business.

“Seeking to reinstate prescription charges when there is already money available through Pharmaceutical Price Regulation scheme is not the way to do business. 

“Edwin Poots’ suggestion that the reintroduction of prescription charges would be the panacea to making these specialist drugs available is in my opinion quite frankly unfair to those who have been touched by cancer. 

“The Minister has a number of questions to answer about how such a scheme would be administered.

“It’s nonsense to suggest that a payment of £25 for a millionaire sits beside a family on a low income paying £25.

“And Edwin Poots must make it clear does he intend to bring in further charges if treatments become available for other debilitating illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease?”

40th Anniversary‏

CRAIG-RUSSELL JPG

Kelly welcomes zero hour contracts consultation

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the announcement of a public consultation into the use of zero hour contracts.

 

He said

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

 

“The use of Zero Hour Contracts needs to be governed and regulated in a way that supports the rights of working people.

 

“The present use of Zero Hour Contracts has a negative impact not only on the workers involved, but also on the wider economy so I welcome the announcement of a public consultation into their use.

 

“Thousands of workers covered by zero hour contracts are trapped in low paid jobs with poor working conditions and this must be addressed.

 

“All employees should  be guaranteed a minimum number of hours or else paid an on-call retainer and not prohibited from taking up employment opportunities elsewhere as is often the case at present.

 

“As part of the consultation Minister Farry will contact 500 local employers so that we get a picture of the situation across the North.

 

“Sinn Féin will be making a detailed submission to this consultation and we would encourage other interested individuals and groups to do likewise.”

 

Ends/Críoch

Brooke Park outdoor events area work on track –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed news  he has received which has stated that the final works underway at the Brooke Park outdoor events area are on track and will allow it to be ready for use later this year for events.

 

“This is good news for the local community and users of Brooke Park that this work has progressed.” he said DSC_0035

 

I will be discussing what events can be held with the Derry City Council events team , representatives of CRAFT based in Rosemount  and the Outer west Neighbourhood Partnership in next few weeks.

 

With my help CRAFT will also be submitting an application to Heritage Lottery Fund in next few weeks for a new heritage exhibition in the  Rosemount factory.

 

It’s very important we are proactive in developing infrastructure and facilities in the greater Brooke Park area in advance of the wider restoration of the main park which we expect to begin in near future.

 

 

Ends

McLaughlin backs emergency healthcare inquiry

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the public to take part in a Human Rights Commission inquiry into emergency healthcare.

Speaking after officials from the Human Rights Commissions addressed the Assembly’s health committee on the inquiry into emergency healthcare, the Foyle MLA said; 

“When the Commission announced its investigation into whether patients’ human rights had been abused by delays at accident and emergency units I welcomed it and called for a robust inquiry. 

“I want to see as many people as possible taking part in this process.

“There will be a series of public forums held to gather the views and experiences of people who use emergency care services and I would encourage people to take part in those. 

“The inquiry can also request departmental attendance and given the gravity of the situation, I would like to see the health minister take part as well. 

“The crisis in our emergency care service is well known but it is much wider than that and the whole healthcare system needs to be looked at.” Ends/Críoch

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Schools decision to end academic selection welcomed-Logue

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the decision by the Edmund Rice Schools, Loreto Convent and CBS Omagh to stop academic selection as criteria for school entrance.

 

She said,

 

“These two schools are the latest to realise that academic selection has been made redundant by the fact that all schools now follow the same curriculum and that testing at eleven is damaging to children.

 

“The Board of Governors have decided to phase out the unjustifiable use of unregulated entrance exams and this has to be welcomed.

 

“I think that the argument of testing children at ten and eleven has long been proven to be detrimental to the educational development of our young people and should cease immediately.

 

“Moving away from selection at eleven will bring equality into the classroom and allow all of our children the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.

 

 “We only need to glance at the long list of high achieving systems worldwide to see the fruits of giving all our children fair opportunity so I would call on other grammar schools to follow the lead shown by these school and drop selection as a means of entrance criteria.”

-Education Minister John O Dowd , and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue on a recent visit to the Model School.

-Education Minister John O Dowd , and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue on a recent visit to the Model School.

Patients should have access to cancer drugs – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said restrictions on access to cancer drugs should be removed immediately. 
Speaking after visiting the Centre for Cancer Research at Queen’s University, Belfast, the chair of the Assembly’s health committee said; 
“The current restrictions are completely unfair to cancer patients. 
“38 cancer drugs are available in England, Scotland and Wales which are not available here in the North. 
“Access to cancer drugs should not be by dint of postcode. 
“Under the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, any money that is returned through rebates should be used to provide greater access to these drugs. 
 
“I raised this at the health committee and I am calling on the minister to clarify if money from the scheme is being used to make these drugs available to those who need them. 
 
Using this money would mean the minister would not have to look at prescription charges to pay for making these drugs available as has previously been claimed. 
 
“The exceptionality clause where GPs have to make a case that a patient’s cancer is biologically exceptional before they can get access to these drugs should also be removed. 
 
“It only applies to five per cent of cancer patients and many GPs do not apply for it. 
“I also visited the Centre for Cancer Research at Queen’s University, where research leading to the development of many of these drugs is carried out, and spoke to staff about how important it is that cancer patients in the North have access to these drugs.” Ends/Críoch

McCartney welcomes extension of Warm Homes Scheme

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the extension of the Warm Homes Scheme until March 2015 and has urged maximum take-up by those who are eligible.

Mr McCartney said:

“The Warm Homes Scheme is designed to assist those who qualify to properly insulate and draught-proof their homes. Applicants who could be eligible for assistance with cavity wall, loft insulation or water tank jackets etc will be assessed on a first-come first-served basis.  

“Those with Economy 7, Solid Fuel, bottled gas/LPG heating system or no heating at all could qualify for major installation of a fully controlled energy efficient oil or gas central heating system where no system currently exists or conversion to oil or natural gas.

“The Warm Homes Scheme is available to people who own their own home or are a private tenant and the householder is in receipt qualifying benefits or tax credits

“To see if you are eligible contact Warm Homes on 0800 988 0559 or website www.warm-homes.com or contact any Sinn Féin Constituency Office if you require assistance with your application.” CRÍOCH/ENDRaymond head shot 22

Campbell welcomes support for Irish language broadcast fund

Sinn Féin Councillor, Kevin Campbell has welcomed a commitment from Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín on the Irish Language and Ulster Scots Broadcast Fund. 

 

Speaking after the Culture Minister pledged to her continuing support for the fund, the Derry City Councillor said; 

 

“The Irish Language Broadcast Fund provides crucial support to a range of talented groups and individuals. 

 

“The fund supports the production of excellent television, radio and online broadcasts which promotes the growth and development of Irish throughout the island.

 

“This financial support allows television companies to take on apprentices and trainees and helps create employment for those involved in the language sector.

 

“It also showcases our rich cultural heritage to a global audience.

 

“I welcome the Minister’s personal intervention to secure financial support for the fund for another year until March 2016. 

 

“Minister Ní Chuilín reiterated her commitment to the future of the Irish Language and Ulster Scots Broadcast Fund  and will continue to engage with all the relevant bodies to ensure longer term funding.”

Ends/CríochCouncillor Kevin Campbell

Maskey calls on Robinson to clarify East Belfast protest remarks

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has called on the First Minister Peter Robinson to clarify remarks he made after a Nigerian man was intimidated from moving into a house in East Belfast.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

“We, as political leaders need to be unequivocal about racism. It is wrong,  it is dangerous and cannot be fostered or accommodated.

“It is now unfortunate that Peter Robinson, by stating he wasn’t sure if the protestors  outside the home allocated to Michael Abiona had racist intentions, has in my view muddied the waters.

“Stating the same protest would have occurred if someone moved in from ‘up country’ is incredulous.

“Does Peter Robinson know of any ‘up country’ people who have been allocated more points on a housing waiting list who have had protests outside their homes? I am quite sure the answer is no.

“Those within political unionism who call for local homes for local people, justify posters targeting overseas workers or fail to condemn racist actions or comments outright are clearly not being unequivocal against racism.”Martina-2

Complaints over British Armed Forces Day 2014 adverts -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  has called for the immediate removal of advertising  from phone boxes  in Derry City centre in relation to “Northern Ireland Armed Forces Day 2014” “Invasion Ards”.

 Councillor Colly photo Kelly said

“We have received several complaints from members of the public and relatives who have lost loved ones at hands of the British Army about this advertising”

It’s insensitive and should to be removed immediately.

Nearly 370 people lost their lives at the hands of the British Army during the conflict. And we all know only too well the history of their actions in this city.

Concluding he said

I would also ask in future that careful thought is given to the location of such adverts and the sensitivities around them.

20th Anniversary -Loughinisland families entitled to justice-McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the relatives of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre are entitled to know the truth about the death of their loved ones.

 

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the massacre in which six men were shot dead by loyalists while watching Ireland play in the World Cup, the Foyle MLA said;

 

“On June 18, 1994, loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and indiscriminately opened fire killing six men who were watching Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

 

“This disgraceful attack not only shocked people in the local area, but throughout Ireland and across the world.

 

“To compound the awful brutality of the attack, it soon emerged that the UVF gunmen responsible for the murders were linked to British security forces.loughinisland

 

“There was clear collusion in the planning and carrying out of the attack. The RUC also attempted to deny justice to the relatives of those killed by destroying evidence and covering up the truth.

 

“Twenty years on the families are still campaigning for truth and are still being frustrated.

 

“The families took their concerns to the Police Ombudsman in 2006 and, despite the publication of the Ombudsman’s report in 2011, they still have not got to the truth.

 

“In fact, the Police Ombudsman has now been forced to take legal action against the PSNI over withholding information on 60 killings, including the Loughinisland massacre.

 

“The families of those killed at Loughinisland deserve justice and we will continue to support them in their campaign.”

 

Eamon ‘Bronco’ Bradley & Dennis Heaney Summer Cup

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Eamon (Bronco)Bradley Denis Heaney summer cup tournament,
Martin Mc Gilloway the organizer of the competition said that this year only 8 teams will be invited to take part in the competition and it will be 11 a side at the big pitch at Leafair.
Martin Mc Gilloway also said that the committee would like to thank Martin Sheehan of the Celtic bar for the sponsorship of the competition and that letters of invite will be sent out by the 10th of June.
The competition is open to all players with a prize fund of £1,000 and the first game will be played on Thursday 10th July 2014DSC_0523
The tournament has been run in the Shantallow area of the city in memory of Eamon (Bronco) Bradley and Denis Heaney and is considered by many in the city as the premier summer cup completion.
The crowds that regularly turn up at the Leafair pitches shows that this competition can still pull big attendances and this year will be no different.
The committee said closing date for entry is Friday 5th July and the Final will be played on Friday the 25th July.
Peter McDonald of the Leafair Community Association and the manager of Leafair 3g pitches has welcomed this year’s tournament and said that the competition over the last years seen some great players the likes of James Mc Clean and Paddy Mc Court amongst others who regularly played in the tournament and has wished the organisers of the competition all the best.

 

ENDS.

McLaughlin calls for enterprise zone for Derry

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called for Derry to be designated as an enterprise zone. 

Speaking after raising the matter in the Assembly, the Foyle MLA said; 

“Invest NI is supporting a new integrated economic development plan for the north west.  So I asked the minister if consideration would be given to supporting an enterprise zone for the area. 

“Minister Simon Hamilton, who was answering on behalf of Arlene Foster, said there might be opportunities for additional enterprise zones. 

“Derry is an obvious location for an enterprise zone given the legacy of underinvestment in the area for decades. 

“Creating an enterprise zone in the city would help create much-needed employment and help foster a climate of entrepreneurship.” Ends/Críoch?????????????????????????????????

Historic Sinn Féin Ard Fheis set for Derry in 2015

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said

 

We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Ard Fheis will be held in Derry for the first time. It’s expected that it will take place in March.

 

In recent years the Ard Fheis has been held in Belfast , Castlebar, Killarney and Wexford.Millennium forum p3

 

It will be a historic weekend not only for Republicans in Derry to have the first ever Sinn Féin  Ard Fheis held here but also our neighbouring counties of Donegal and Tyrone.

 

It should be seen in the context of the ever growing support for Sinn Féin across Ireland and the recent European and Council elections when the party got nearly half a million votes and had its  biggest numbers of councillors ever elected. And for the first time had four MEP representatives elected representing the entire 32 Counties of Ireland.

 

Locally this will be a major undertaking for us it’s expected that over 1,500 party delegates and members will gather for this conference. That’s not taking into account all the guests who attend the Ard Fheis and international media coverage its gets.

 

Last year media outlets in Wexford estimated it was worth a million pound boost for local economy we hope businesses in Derry get a similar spin off.

Ends

McCartney welcomes Museum of Free Derry funding

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed a £2.2 million funding package for the redevelopment of the Museum of Free Derry. 

Speaking after plans for the redesign of the Bogside museum were unveiled, the Foyle MLA said; 

“The Museum of Free Derry is instrumental in telling the story of our recent history in Derry, particularly the events from the start of the civil rights era through to Bloody Sunday. 

“Countless visitors from across the world have come to the current museum at Glenfada Park, the scene of a number of the murders carried out on Bloody Sunday, and have been hugely impressed by the facility. 

“This funding will allow the museum to grow and develop to meet the rising demand from international and local visitors. 

“The Museum of Free Derry is an important facility in the city as it tells the story of the community.

“It is also a key to attracting tourists to the city, and the Bogside area in particular, and the redevelopment of the museum will help draw even more visitors.” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Councillor Colly Kelly meeting singer Damien Dempsey at the Museum of Free Derry

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Councillor Colly Kelly meeting singer Damien Dempsey at the Museum of Free Derry

Sinn Féin MEPS join forces to seek Dublin buy-in for Northwest Health Innovation Corridor

Sinn Féin MEPS Martina Anderson an Matt Carthy have written to the Secretary General of the Health Department in Dublin requesting that they match funding already committed by the Department in the North for the establishment of a Northwest Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC).

Martina Anderson MEP said:??????????

“At my invitation the NWHIC was launched in May 2013 by Massachusetts State Senate President, Senator Therese Murray. NWHIC is a health innovation partnership between industry and health related statutory bodies with its focus on job creation on a cross border basis.

“The Corridor spans the Northwest Region from Sligo through Letterkenny to Derry and Coleraine. With members from across the region it is unquestionably a cross-border initiative.  I have enlisted the support of my recently elected Party colleague Matt Carthy MEP who represents the Donegal/Sligo section of the project to present a joint initiative to have the Department of Health in Dublin match funding already committed by the Assembly Department. I believe that this is a tangible example of a project where the Team Ireland approach of Sinn Féin MEPs can come into play.”

Matt Carthy MEP added:

“This project launched in Derry last year by Martina Anderson MEP is a very ambitious one which deserves the support of every elected representative in the Northwest Region. This project has the potential to create hundreds of high end graduate and R&D jobs in an area that has traditionally been starved of investment.

“I have, along with Martina Anderson MEP written to Ambrose McLaughlin, Secretary General, Department of Health in Dublin requesting that he follow the example of his counterpart in Belfast, Andrew McCormick and secure the support of the Minister and a match funding commitment for this initiative. I also call on all Northwest elected representatives regardless of political affiliation to throw their weight behind this job creation initiative which is as important to Sligo/Donegal as it is to Derry/Tyrone.” END/CRÍOCH

Gerry Adams TD sets out radical vision of a ‘new republic’

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams delivered the annual address at the Wolfe Tone Commemoration at Bodenstown, Co. Kildare .

In the course of a wide ranging speech Gerry Adams said that Sinn Féin wants to be in government to change Ireland for the better:

“We want to tackle disadvantage, unemployment and inequality and improve the quality of life and standards of living for people across Ireland – particularly those people who are today struggling under the burden of austerity. We want to deliver on issues such as housing, health and jobs. Sinn Féin is deeply committed to the peaceful and democratic ending of Partition to a new agreed Ireland.

“But Sinn Fein will not do is what the Labour Party has done —go into office to give cover to the agenda of conservative parties, repeating again the failed political history of this State over the past 80 years.”

On the Labour leadership contest he said:

“The Labour Party’s internal debate is focused on Sinn Féin, rather than on its disastrous colonisation by Fine Gael.

“Labour still doesn’t get it. The contenders for the Labour leadership don’t get it.

“Labour – God’s gift to Fine Gael — are so busy debating whether or not they would allow Sinn Féin be in government with them, that it hasn’t dawned on them that after the General Election there may not be enough Labour TDs to be in government with anyone!”

On the recent scandal surrounding Mother and Baby homes Mr Adams said it was:

“Further evidence that after partition a conservative, mean spirited, narrow minded political and business elite in this state, in alliance with the Catholic Church hierarchy, put in place laws and institutions and censorship restrictions, which were intolerant, chauvinistic, prejudiced and anti-women and anti-working class.

Unmarried mothers were held for years in institutions.

“Sex was deemed a crime. Babies were taken from their mothers, alive and dead. They had broken no laws.

“The thousands of mothers and children who endured unbelievable hardship were denied everything by the state.

“For some commentators, the responsibility and blame for this is being laid at the door of society.

“I have been trying to understand this. In this version of events everybody is to blame and everybody is at fault.

“However, everybody is not to blame. The victims are not to blame. It is as if the virtual imprisonment of unmarried girls and women and the theft of their children were a natural outworking of Irish society in that period of our history.

“However, that is too simplistic a picture. It seeks benignly or inadvertently to excuse the decisions that were taken by the elites in the State and church.

“As Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told the Dáil this week, this can be too easily twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame, nobody was to blame. That is not good enough.

“We extend love and respect to the survivors of abuse and we thank them and their supporters for their struggle.”

The Sinn Féin Leader criticised the performance of the Government saying:

“This Fine Gael/Labour government has betrayed the electorate.

“It promised a ‘democratic revolution’ but has delivered the same stale, old politics of previous governments.

“We see them appointing cronies to state boards, and Ministers favouring their own constituencies for funding.

“They seek to retain control over the banking inquiry by stuffing it with government TDs and Senators.

“They defend the indefensible in a failed effort to save Ministers such as Alan Shatter.

“They ignore the real hardship being endured by the most vulnerable citizens as a result of austerity.

“This isn’t a democratic revolution – it is an act of subversion.”

Addressing the political situation in the North, Mr Adams said:

“Two weeks ago party leaders in the North agreed to re-engage in intensive talks around these issues.

“Since then, however we see no evidence that the DUP is willing to approach this process in a positive, constructive way.

“This is all to do with what is happening within political unionism.

“Both the DUP and UUP signed up to the St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements but are now being challenged by those on the more extreme right such as the TUV and UKIP.

“This is a consequence of the huge failure by the UUP and the DUP to face down these rejectionists in the same way as Sinn Fein has done with anti-Agreement elements on the fringes of republicanism.

“Let me be clear Sinn Féin will continue to stretch out the hand of friendship to our unionist neighbours. We will uphold everyone’s civil and religious rights.

“But we will also stand firmly and robustly against the bigots, the racists and the sectarian fundamentalists. They and their political cheer leaders are on the wrong side of history.

“Change may be delayed but it cannot be stopped.”

On criticism of Sinn Féin policy by the Government and Fianna Fáil, Gerry Adams said:

“Since the elections, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and media commentators say they will subject Sinn Féin’s economic policies to greater scrutiny.

“Sinn Féin welcomes this. It would be great to have a real discussion about the need for a different economic approach.

“It would be wonderful to have a scrutiny of the policies of Fianna Fáil and the PDs – remember the PDs? – and of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

“During the Bertie Ahern era Sinn Féin TDs were vocal in pointing out the dangers of the developing property bubble and the growing potential for an economic crash.

“Sinn Fein warned of the dangers in over-reliance on taxes from the property sector.

“We warned of the over dependency on the construction sector and we highlighted the danger of auction politics as other parties tried to outdo each other with promises of tax cuts.

“Sinn Féin was also almost a lone political voice against a drive to reduce regulation across the economy.

“We were right then. We are right now. Sinn Féin has put forward costed, alternative policies that are about fairness. Let all parties in this state do the same.”

The Sinn Féin Leader concluded his address by saying Sinn Féin is committed to is the radical republican politics of Wolfe Tone:

“We are about creating a New Republic, with new politics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.”

Please find full text of speech below:

Gerry Adams TD

Address to Wolfe Tone Commemoration,

Bodenstown, Co. Kildare

 

2014

Fellow republicans,

Táimid cruinnithe anseo inniu, mar a dhéanann muid gach bliain, in aice le reilig Theobold Wolfe Tone, athair an Phoblachtach in Éirinn agus ceannaire Cumann na nÉireannach Aontaithe.

Two-hundred-and-sixteen years ago the United Irish rebellion sought to end British rule in this country and establish an independent republic based on the principles of equality for all citizens, and the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

Today, we honour Tone, the men and women of 1798, and subsequent generations of Irish republicans. Just as importantly, we rededicate ourselves to the fulfilment of Tone’s objectives.

Election results

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhghairdeas a dhéanamh le na ceathrar MEP’s, nua tofa atá ag Sinn Féin– Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy agus Liadh Ní Riada, agus na dhá céad seasca is a ceathar (264) comhairleoirí Sinn Fein a raibh tofa sa Thuaisceart agus sa Dheisceart ar an darna lá is fiche (22ú) agus tríú lá is fiche 23ú Bealtaine.

Almost half a million voters have now made Sinn Féin the biggest party on this island.

Mission Statement

Sinn Fein’s philosophy is about putting the interests of citizens, as opposed to elites, at the centre of political considerations.

We seek a New Republic with equality and social justice at its core.

Our watchword is equality.

We stand for a basic threshold of economic justice — the right to a home, to an education, to a job, to healthcare, to the pursuit of happiness.

Our mandate is for social justice and against unfairness and austerity.

It is a mandate for the promotion of the Irish language as the common heritage of all on this island.

It is for the peaceful unity of Orange and Green, with tolerance and respect for all people.

Republicanism is a European philosophy and Sinn Féin’s mandate is also to pursue an independent Ireland in a Europe that respects the rights of nation states and is based on principles of social solidarity.

Tá polasaithe Sinn Féin bunaithe ar na bunluachanna poblachtach seo.

1916 anniversary

Because Sinn Féin challenges the privilege of the elites, we are often vilified by the conservative parties and the establishment media.

They were at it 100 years ago.

The Irish Times and Irish Independent condemned the 1916 Rising.

The Irish Times referred to it, incorrectly, as the ‘Sinn Féin rebellion’.

But last Tuesday the Irish Times accused Sinn Féin of seeking to hijack the Rising’s centenary.

Interestingly, one hundred years ago, at this very spot, the forces that would make the 1916 Rising were coming together to honour Wolfe Tone.

The Irish Volunteers were joined by the Irish Citizen Army and Tom Clarke chaired the commemoration.

The trade union leader Jim Larkin was in attendance.

This was in the wake of the Great Lockout and Larkin was cheered by the crowds showing the solidarity between republicans and the labour movement.

Leaders of the trade union movement need to think of this.

They need to decide whether their loyalty is to the trade union membership – working people – or the Labour Party.

Trade union members also need to consider whether they should pay a stipend to the Labour Party to be insulted by its leaders.

The Rising belongs to the people of Ireland, not any single party.

But let me be clear, Sinn Féin won’t take lectures on 1916 from those revisionists and other slibhiní who abandoned its ideals many decades ago and who sought to prevent its commemoration.

The 1916 Proclamation remains unfinished business.

Partition stunts Ireland’s potential — politically, socially and economically.

There is now a peaceful way to end Partition.

This is a work in progress and there is an onus on nationalist Ireland to persuade our unionist neighbours that their interests lie in a new, agreed Ireland.

The Good Friday Agreement provides for a referendum on Irish unity.

A Border Poll provides an opportunity to begin building a new, united Ireland.

Sinn Féin believes it is time to let the people have their say.

The North

While the North has been transformed in recent years, many issues remain outstanding.

The British Government is refusing to keep agreements made since 1998.

Sixteen years after the Good Friday Agreement it has failed to implement important elements, such as a Bill of Rights and Acht na Gaeilge.

When taken with its decision to unilaterally end its Weston Park commitments to resolve the OTR issue, and its refusal to establish an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, the British Government strategy is undermining the political process.

Encouraged by this, there has been an effort by unionist parties to reverse progress made since 1998.

This cannot be allowed.

Issues of the past, flags and parades must be addressed.

The Haass compromise proposals provide a clear way forward.

They must have the unambiguous support of the Irish and British governments.

Two weeks ago party leaders in the North agreed to re-engage in intensive talks around these issues.

Since then, however we see no evidence that the DUP is willing to approach this process in a positive, constructive way.

This is all to do with what is happening within political unionism.

Both the DUP and UUP signed up to the St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements but are now being challenged by those on the more extreme right such as the TUV and UKIP.

This is a consequence of the huge failure by the UUP and the DUP to face down these rejectionists in the same way as Sinn Fein has done with anti-Agreement elements on the fringes of republicanism.

Let me be clear Sinn Féin will continue to stretch out the hand of friendship to our unionist neighbours.

We will uphold everyone’s civil and religious rights.

But we will also stand firmly and robustly against the bigots, the racists and the sectarian fundamentalists.

They and their political cheer leaders are on the wrong side of history.

Change may be delayed. It cannot be stopped.

The views, ambitions and goodwill of the vast majority of citizens, and Sinn Féin’s focus for the future, is the guarantee that change is irreversible.

Economic policy

Since the elections, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and media commentators say they will subject Sinn Féin’s economic policies to greater scrutiny.

Tá muid an sasta faoi sin.

It would be great to have a real discussion about the need for a different economic approach.

It would be wonderful to have a scrutiny of the policies of Fianna Fáil and the PDs – remember the PDs? – and of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

During the Bertie Ahern era Sinn Féin TDs were vocal in pointing out the dangers of the developing property bubble and the growing potential for an economic crash.

Sinn Fein warned of the dangers of over-reliance on taxes from the property sector.

We warned of the over dependency on the construction sector and we highlighted the danger of auction politics as other parties tried to outdo each other with promises of tax cuts.

Sinn Féin was also almost a lone political voice against a drive to reduce regulation across the economy.

We were right then.

We are right now.

Sinn Féin has put forward costed, alternative policies that are about fairness.

Let all parties in this state do the same.

Sinn Féin’s focus is on job creation, stimulating the economy, fair taxes, debt restructuring, and protecting public services.

It is about making the necessary deficit adjustment without harming families or frontline services, by asking the wealthiest to pay more and cutting waste from public spending.

Citizens understand the challenges and are prepared to shoulder their share of the burden of readjustment.

An rud nach taitníonn leo ná an dóigh go bhfuil sé chomh éagórach.

The Property Tax, Water tax, removal of medical cards, cuts to social supports, mortgage distress and lack of social housing or adequate health services, including mental health services, have pushed working people to the limit.

As Bobby Sands wrote; ‘there is no equality in a society that stands upon the economic bog, if only the strongest make it good or survive.’

Let’s see some scrutiny of the policy of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil which says that for many years to come, Irish citizens should carry an unsustainable bank debt burden, and an economically and socially destructive austerity agenda.

Changing the political landscape

Recent years have witnessed scandals in all the major institutions of Irish life – politics, planning, business, banking, the Church, charities, the justice system and the Gardai.

These scandals have their roots in the toxic political culture, which arose from the counter-revolution that followed the 1916 period.

A conservative elite – politically represented by the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaderships, often supported by Labour – oversaw this corrupt culture.

Bhí seo, agus tá seo, an mhalairt le cad atá i gceist le fíor poblachtachas.

Tá éileamh mór ann d’athrú mór inár sochaí, an geilleagar agus i bpolaitíocht.

Some combination of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil has been in government since the foundation of this state.

But just as one-party Orange rule in the North is gone, the failed two-and-a-half party system in this state is going also.

Sinn Féin is now a major player in both states with policies and an expanding organization, which transcend partition.

That means we must prepare for government.

We must prepare to become a government of national unity and recovery.

In his day Wolfe Tone clearly identified the connection with Britain and Ireland’s lack of independence and sovereignty, with the depressing state of the economy and the appalling conditions in which citizens lived.

A similar clear headed analysis must be brought to bear today so that Connolly’s reconquest of Ireland by the Irish people can be advanced.

Sinn Féin wants to be in government because we want to change Ireland for the better.

We want to tackle disadvantage, unemployment and inequality and improve the quality of life and standards of living for people across Ireland – particularly those people who are today struggling under the burden of austerity.

We want to deliver on issues such as housing, health and jobs.

We want to end partition.

But Sinn Fein will not do is what the Labour Party has done — we will not give cover to the agenda of conservative parties, repeating again the failed political history of this State over the past 80 years.

The Labour Party’s internal debate is focused on Sinn Féin, rather than on its disastrous colonisation by Fine Gael.

Labour still doesn’t get it.

The contenders for the Labour leadership don’t get it.

Labour – God’s gift to Fine Gael — are so busy debating whether or not they would allow Sinn Féin be in government with them, that it hasn’t dawned on them that after the General Election there may not be enough Labour TDs to be in government with anyone!

This Fine Gael/Labour government has betrayed the electorate.

It promised a ‘democratic revolution’ but has delivered the same stale, old politics of previous governments.

We see them appointing cronies to state boards, and Ministers favouring their own constituencies for funding.

They seek to retain control over the banking inquiry by stuffing it with government TDs and Senators.

They defend the indefensible in a failed effort to save Ministers such as Alan Shatter.

They ignore the real hardship being endured by the most vulnerable citizens as a result of austerity.

This isn’t a democratic revolution – it is an act of subversion.

What
Sinn Féin is committed to is the radical republican politics of Wolfe Tone.
We are about creating a New Republic, with new politics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.

Conclusion

As Sinn Féin builds a real political alternative throughout this island, we must remain radical, rooted, relevant and republican.

People are increasingly looking to us for leadership and to provide hope for the future.

We have a political vision for this country and its people that involves building the type of society Wolfe Tone envisioned – a republic that the citizens of this country deserve but have never had.

The recent scandalous revelations of the Mother and baby homes is further evidence that after partition a conservative, mean spirited, narrow minded political and business elite in this state, in alliance with the Catholic Church hierarchy, put in place laws and institutions and censorship restrictions, which were intolerant, chauvinistic, prejudiced and anti-women and anti-working class.

Unmarried mothers were held for years in institutions.

Sex was deemed a crime.

Babies were taken from their mothers, alive and dead.

They had broken no laws.

The thousands of mothers and children who endured unbelievable hardship were denied everything by the state.

For some commentators, the responsibility and blame for this is being laid at the door of society.

I have been trying to understand this.

In this version of events everybody is to blame and everybody is at fault.

However, everybody is not to blame.

The victims are not to blame.

It is as if the virtual imprisonment of unmarried girls and women and the theft of their children were a natural outworking of Irish society in that period of our history.

However, that is too simplistic a picture.

It seeks benignly or inadvertently to excuse the decisions that were taken by the elites in the State and church.

As Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told the Dáil this week, this can be too easily twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame, nobody was to blame.

That is not good enough.

We extend love and respect to the survivors of abuse and we thank them and their supporters for their struggle.

Sinn Féin is already bringing about a realignment of politics. In Councils across this state, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, on an unprecedented scale, have coalesced to exclude Sinn Féin.

Some of them may think this is the smart thing to do.

It’s not. It is a stupid thing to do.

It is the wrong thing to do.

And it will not succeed. We are very good at not being excluded.

So, let Fine Gael, and Fianna Fáil and the others take not.

Bobby Sands spelt it out in the last entry of his hunger strike diary.

‘The mind is the most important.’ He wrote:, ‘If they aren’t able to destroy the desire for freedom, they won’t break you… the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart.

The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show.

It is then we’ll see the rising of the moon’.

Tá ceart ag Bobby. Tiochfaid lá eigean nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hEireann.

Ansin tchífidh muid éirí na gealaí.

Until them let it be clear. Sinn Féin isn’t going away, you know.

We are going to grow and grow.

As for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáikl? They are ideologically indistinguishable.

They should unite.

For our part Sinn Féin will continue to bring the message of equality into councils and to replace party pacts and exclusion with power-sharing and inclusion.

For Sinn Féin politics is not a mere game or career choice.

We have important work to do on behalf of Ireland and its people.

Let’s leave here today, ever more determined to do it.

Ar aghaigh linn le cheile.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

Fellow republicans,

Táimid cruinnithe anseo inniu, mar a dhéanann muid gach bliain, in aice le reilig Theobold Wolfe Tone, athair an Phoblachtach in Éirinn agus ceannaire Cumann na nÉireannach Aontaithe.

Two-hundred-and-sixteen years ago the United Irish rebellion sought to end British rule in this country and establish an independent republic based on the principles of equality for all citizens, and the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

Today, we honour Tone, the men and women of 1798, and subsequent generations of Irish republicans. Just as importantly, we rededicate ourselves to the fulfilment of Tone’s objectives.

Election results

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhghairdeas a dhéanamh le na ceathrar MEP’s, nua tofa atá ag Sinn Féin– Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy agus Liadh Ní Riada, agus na dhá céad seasca is a ceathar (264) comhairleoirí Sinn Fein a raibh tofa sa Thuaisceart agus sa Dheisceart ar an darna lá is fiche (22ú) agus tríú lá is fiche 23ú Bealtaine.

Almost half a million voters have now made Sinn Féin the biggest party on this island.

Mission Statement

Sinn Fein’s philosophy is about putting the interests of citizens, as opposed to elites, at the centre of political considerations.

We seek a New Republic with equality and social justice at its core.

Our watchword is equality.

We stand for a basic threshold of economic justice — the right to a home, to an education, to a job, to healthcare, to the pursuit of happiness.

Our mandate is for social justice and against unfairness and austerity.

It is a mandate for the promotion of the Irish language as the common heritage of all on this island.

It is for the peaceful unity of Orange and Green, with tolerance and respect for all people.

Republicanism is a European philosophy and Sinn Féin’s mandate is also to pursue an independent Ireland in a Europe that respects the rights of nation states and is based on principles of social solidarity.

Tá polasaithe Sinn Féin bunaithe ar na bunluachanna poblachtach seo.

1916 anniversary

Because Sinn Féin challenges the privilege of the elites, we are often vilified by the conservative parties and the establishment media.

They were at it 100 years ago.

The Irish Times and Irish Independent condemned the 1916 Rising.

The Irish Times referred to it, incorrectly, as the ‘Sinn Féin rebellion’.

But last Tuesday the Irish Times accused Sinn Féin of seeking to hijack the Rising’s centenary.

Interestingly, one hundred years ago, at this very spot, the forces that would make the 1916 Rising were coming together to honour Wolfe Tone.

The Irish Volunteers were joined by the Irish Citizen Army and Tom Clarke chaired the commemoration.

The trade union leader Jim Larkin was in attendance.

This was in the wake of the Great Lockout and Larkin was cheered by the crowds showing the solidarity between republicans and the labour movement.

Leaders of the trade union movement need to think of this.

They need to decide whether their loyalty is to the trade union membership – working people – or the Labour Party.

Trade union members also need to consider whether they should pay a stipend to the Labour Party to be insulted by its leaders.

The Rising belongs to the people of Ireland, not any single party.

But let me be clear, Sinn Féin won’t take lectures on 1916 from those revisionists and other slibhiní who abandoned its ideals many decades ago and who sought to prevent its commemoration.

The 1916 Proclamation remains unfinished business.

Partition stunts Ireland’s potential — politically, socially and economically.

There is now a peaceful way to end Partition.

This is a work in progress and there is an onus on nationalist Ireland to persuade our unionist neighbours that their interests lie in a new, agreed Ireland.

The Good Friday Agreement provides for a referendum on Irish unity.

A Border Poll provides an opportunity to begin building a new, united Ireland.

Sinn Féin believes it is time to let the people have their say.

The North

While the North has been transformed in recent years, many issues remain outstanding.

The British Government is refusing to keep agreements made since 1998.

Sixteen years after the Good Friday Agreement it has failed to implement important elements, such as a Bill of Rights and Acht na Gaeilge.

When taken with its decision to unilaterally end its Weston Park commitments to resolve the OTR issue, and its refusal to establish an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, the British Government strategy is undermining the political process.

Encouraged by this, there has been an effort by unionist parties to reverse progress made since 1998.

This cannot be allowed.

Issues of the past, flags and parades must be addressed.

The Haass compromise proposals provide a clear way forward.

They must have the unambiguous support of the Irish and British governments.

Two weeks ago party leaders in the North agreed to re-engage in intensive talks around these issues.

Since then, however we see no evidence that the DUP is willing to approach this process in a positive, constructive way.

This is all to do with what is happening within political unionism.

Both the DUP and UUP signed up to the St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements but are now being challenged by those on the more extreme right such as the TUV and UKIP.

This is a consequence of the huge failure by the UUP and the DUP to face down these rejectionists in the same way as Sinn Fein has done with anti-Agreement elements on the fringes of republicanism.

Let me be clear Sinn Féin will continue to stretch out the hand of friendship to our unionist neighbours.

We will uphold everyone’s civil and religious rights.

But we will also stand firmly and robustly against the bigots, the racists and the sectarian fundamentalists.

They and their political cheer leaders are on the wrong side of history.

Change may be delayed. It cannot be stopped.

The views, ambitions and goodwill of the vast majority of citizens, and Sinn Féin’s focus for the future, is the guarantee that change is irreversible.

Economic policy

Since the elections, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and media commentators say they will subject Sinn Féin’s economic policies to greater scrutiny.

Tá muid an sasta faoi sin.

It would be great to have a real discussion about the need for a different economic approach.

It would be wonderful to have a scrutiny of the policies of Fianna Fáil and the PDs – remember the PDs? – and of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

During the Bertie Ahern era Sinn Féin TDs were vocal in pointing out the dangers of the developing property bubble and the growing potential for an economic crash.

Sinn Fein warned of the dangers of over-reliance on taxes from the property sector.

We warned of the over dependency on the construction sector and we highlighted the danger of auction politics as other parties tried to outdo each other with promises of tax cuts.

Sinn Féin was also almost a lone political voice against a drive to reduce regulation across the economy.

We were right then.

We are right now.

Sinn Féin has put forward costed, alternative policies that are about fairness.

Let all parties in this state do the same.

Sinn Féin’s focus is on job creation, stimulating the economy, fair taxes, debt restructuring, and protecting public services.

It is about making the necessary deficit adjustment without harming families or frontline services, by asking the wealthiest to pay more and cutting waste from public spending.

Citizens understand the challenges and are prepared to shoulder their share of the burden of readjustment.

An rud nach taitníonn leo ná an dóigh go bhfuil sé chomh éagórach.

The Property Tax, Water tax, removal of medical cards, cuts to social supports, mortgage distress and lack of social housing or adequate health services, including mental health services, have pushed working people to the limit.

As Bobby Sands wrote; ‘there is no equality in a society that stands upon the economic bog, if only the strongest make it good or survive.’

Let’s see some scrutiny of the policy of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil which says that for many years to come, Irish citizens should carry an unsustainable bank debt burden, and an economically and socially destructive austerity agenda.

Changing the political landscape

Recent years have witnessed scandals in all the major institutions of Irish life – politics, planning, business, banking, the Church, charities, the justice system and the Gardai.

These scandals have their roots in the toxic political culture, which arose from the counter-revolution that followed the 1916 period.

A conservative elite – politically represented by the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaderships, often supported by Labour – oversaw this corrupt culture.

Bhí seo, agus tá seo, an mhalairt le cad atá i gceist le fíor poblachtachas.

Tá éileamh mór ann d’athrú mór inár sochaí, an geilleagar agus i bpolaitíocht.

Some combination of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil has been in government since the foundation of this state.

But just as one-party Orange rule in the North is gone, the failed two-and-a-half party system in this state is going also.

Sinn Féin is now a major player in both states with policies and an expanding organization, which transcend partition.

That means we must prepare for government.

We must prepare to become a government of national unity and recovery.

In his day Wolfe Tone clearly identified the connection with Britain and Ireland’s lack of independence and sovereignty, with the depressing state of the economy and the appalling conditions in which citizens lived.

A similar clear headed analysis must be brought to bear today so that Connolly’s reconquest of Ireland by the Irish people can be advanced.

Sinn Féin wants to be in government because we want to change Ireland for the better.

We want to tackle disadvantage, unemployment and inequality and improve the quality of life and standards of living for people across Ireland – particularly those people who are today struggling under the burden of austerity.

We want to deliver on issues such as housing, health and jobs.

We want to end partition.

But Sinn Fein will not do is what the Labour Party has done — we will not give cover to the agenda of conservative parties, repeating again the failed political history of this State over the past 80 years.

The Labour Party’s internal debate is focused on Sinn Féin, rather than on its disastrous colonisation by Fine Gael.

Labour still doesn’t get it.

The contenders for the Labour leadership don’t get it.

Labour – God’s gift to Fine Gael — are so busy debating whether or not they would allow Sinn Féin be in government with them, that it hasn’t dawned on them that after the General Election there may not be enough Labour TDs to be in government with anyone!

This Fine Gael/Labour government has betrayed the electorate.

It promised a ‘democratic revolution’ but has delivered the same stale, old politics of previous governments.

We see them appointing cronies to state boards, and Ministers favouring their own constituencies for funding.

They seek to retain control over the banking inquiry by stuffing it with government TDs and Senators.

They defend the indefensible in a failed effort to save Ministers such as Alan Shatter.

They ignore the real hardship being endured by the most vulnerable citizens as a result of austerity.

This isn’t a democratic revolution – it is an act of subversion.

What
Sinn Féin is committed to is the radical republican politics of Wolfe Tone.
We are about creating a New Republic, with new politics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.

Conclusion

As Sinn Féin builds a real political alternative throughout this island, we must remain radical, rooted, relevant and republican.

People are increasingly looking to us for leadership and to provide hope for the future.

We have a political vision for this country and its people that involves building the type of society Wolfe Tone envisioned – a republic that the citizens of this country deserve but have never had.

The recent scandalous revelations of the Mother and baby homes is further evidence that after partition a conservative, mean spirited, narrow minded political and business elite in this state, in alliance with the Catholic Church hierarchy, put in place laws and institutions and censorship restrictions, which were intolerant, chauvinistic, prejudiced and anti-women and anti-working class.

Unmarried mothers were held for years in institutions.

Sex was deemed a crime.

Babies were taken from their mothers, alive and dead.

They had broken no laws.

The thousands of mothers and children who endured unbelievable hardship were denied everything by the state.

For some commentators, the responsibility and blame for this is being laid at the door of society.

I have been trying to understand this.

In this version of events everybody is to blame and everybody is at fault.

However, everybody is not to blame.

The victims are not to blame.

It is as if the virtual imprisonment of unmarried girls and women and the theft of their children were a natural outworking of Irish society in that period of our history.

However, that is too simplistic a picture.

It seeks benignly or inadvertently to excuse the decisions that were taken by the elites in the State and church.

As Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told the Dáil this week, this can be too easily twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame, nobody was to blame.

That is not good enough.

We extend love and respect to the survivors of abuse and we thank them and their supporters for their struggle.

Sinn Féin is already bringing about a realignment of politics. In Councils across this state, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, on an unprecedented scale, have coalesced to exclude Sinn Féin.

Some of them may think this is the smart thing to do.

It’s not. It is a stupid thing to do.

It is the wrong thing to do.

And it will not succeed. We are very good at not being excluded.

So, let Fine Gael, and Fianna Fáil and the others take not.

Bobby Sands spelt it out in the last entry of his hunger strike diary.

‘The mind is the most important.’ He wrote:, ‘If they aren’t able to destroy the desire for freedom, they won’t break you… the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart.

The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show.

It is then we’ll see the rising of the moon’.

Tá ceart ag Bobby. Tiochfaid lá eigean nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hEireann.

Ansin tchífidh muid éirí na gealaí.

Until them let it be clear. Sinn Féin isn’t going away, you know.

We are going to grow and grow.

As for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáikl? They are ideologically indistinguishable.

They should unite.

For our part Sinn Féin will continue to bring the message of equality into councils and to replace party pacts and exclusion with power-sharing and inclusion.

For Sinn Féin politics is not a mere game or career choice.

We have important work to do on behalf of Ireland and its people.

Let’s leave here today, ever more determined to do it.

Ar aghaigh linn le cheile.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

DERRY SF FACEBOOK