Sinn Féin has moved a long way from it’s roots

A senior source in the Republican movement has commented that: “Sinn Féin has moved a long way from it’s roots, if it were to allow one of it’s members to be President of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland – even if elected.

The Irish Free State was merely renamed as a Republic in 1949, and on a day-to-day basis most people refer to the Southern 26 Counties as a Republic.

However, no Republic has 2nd class citizens, not on the ground of gender, but also not on the ground of religion.

( The sovereign Constitution of 1919 has a similar preamble, but does not have the religious Oath of the 1937 Constitution)

Clearly, only Christians can become President of the State because of the religious oath of office.

While some will argue that this is merely part of the State tradition, the Oath from Article 12.8 clearly discriminates against Irish people who have moved beyond religion. Almost 25% of Irish people are now atheists, Humanists, or others of no religion. This 25% of the voting population are without voice.

The Father of Irish Republicanism, Wolfe Tone, was most clear that all of Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter were welcome, and all were equal.

Clearly this is not the case with the Dublin administration.

Sinn Féin would be truer to it’s roots were it to support an abstentionist candidate nominated by the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) – who founded the original Sinn Féin and were the organisers of the 1916 rising from which the 26-county ‘Republic’ of Ireland claims legitimacy – or to declare that Sinn Féin’s own candidate would refuse to take the discriminatory oath.

If the Irish people were to remember their roots, and to seek to reclaim their sovereignty by electing a Humanist Republican, the side-effect of not taking a religious oath – which a true secular Republican could not do – would be the crippling of the Irish Free State.

As that State is dysfunctional already, it would be best to show that clearly.

This is where Sinn Féin’s tradition would take it, if Mary Lou McDonald were true to the aim of a Republic of Equals.”

Second Cath Lab a Medical Necessity for Waterford – David Cullinane TD

Today after being questioned by David Cullinane, Sinn Féin TD for Waterford, the author of the Herity Report all but confirmed that a second cath lab is a medical necessity for Waterford and the South East.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“Niall Herity was before the Health Committee and I was able to pin him down on his report.

“We can now see that one lab is not sustainable. It is not possible to have one lab for both planned procedures and for emergencies nor is it feasable in the long-term to have all emergency cases flown or driven to Cork.

“We need to go back to the Higgins Report and implement its findings. University Hospital Waterford needs to be treated by the HSE as a regional hospital.

“The present plan, which appears to be to downgrade facilities at Waterford and treat it as a general hospital, simply doesn’t make sense form a clinical and regional point of view.

“I will continue to fight to have the Higgins Report put in place and for Waterford and the South East to be given the resources it needs to sustain and grow as a region.”

Government’s reckless budget choices starting to unwind – David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane TD, Sinn Fein Spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform, said that reports of drastic reductions across all departments shows the folly of Fine Gael’s tax-cutting budget and opens up serious questions around the competency of Ministers Donohoe and Noonan.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“Last October the government was warned not to cut USC at that time. It went ahead and did it anyway. We now see the results of this folly.

“This government refuses to invest in public services, focusing only on undermining the tax base, at a time when we have critical pressures in health, housing and education.

“Sinn Féin, in its alternative budget, was able to show that it is possible to invest in housing and address the issue of equal work for equal pay.

“Every budget decision needs to be funded. That is just a basic rule.

“I have consistently asked the minister to show us how he would fund the measures the Minister and his colleagues have announced since the start of the new year.

“I got no answer until it was leaked to the newspapers today.

“This government overspent in the previous budget through its destabilising tax-cutting agenda.

“At the same time Minister Donohoe refuses to answer questions put to him by the Budgetary Scrutiny Committee.

“This government is serving from press launch to press launch, doing damage along the way.

“We need a real alternative in government. Only Sinn Féin can provide that alternative.”

Banded hours Bill would make a positive difference in the lives of workers – David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers’ Rights and sponsor of the Banded Hours Bill 2016, told the Jobs Committee yesterday that the bill would make a material and positive difference to the lives of thousands of  workers in this state.

Speaking as a witness before the Committee, Deputy Cullinane said:

“The exploitation of people on low hour contracts, especially in the retail sector but across many other sectors, is an important issue. This Bill will allow workers to apply for a contract that is reflective of their actual working week.

“Unfortunately, we have far too many instances of workers who were on 15-hour contracts, for perhaps ten years, working 30 hours and 40 hours week in-week out. This is a way for companies to exploit their workers.

“This Bill offers a solution. It seeks to provide that a worker, his or her trade union representative or a representative acting on his or her behalf is entitled after six months of continuous employment with his or her employer to make a request in writing of the employer to be moved to a weekly band of hours reflective of their actual working week, as set out in the legislation.

“An unregulated labour market is in no-one’s interests. It dehumanises workers, puts huge pressure on the State in social transfers, reduces people’s disposable income and impoverishes households and children.

“There is an onus on the State to regulate the labour market and ensure that workers’ rights, in terms of pay and conditions, are protected in law. This Bill will strengthen workers’ rights by giving them access to a contract with which they can plan their lives. It will make a positive difference and I hope the Committee will endorse the sentiments and procedures behind it.”

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael cannot be allowed to stall NAMA inquiry – David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform, said today that Sinn Féin will not allow the government and Fianna Fail to row back on their commitment to an inquiry into NAMA.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“It is incredible that the Minister for finance can stand up in the Dail and say that everything is ok with NAMA. This flies in the face of the minister’s own acknowledgement in front of the Public Accounts that Committee that there was a corrupted process in relation to the sale of Project Eagle.

“The C&AG Report into Project Eagle is a shocking exposé of the type of lax oversights and informal relationships that appear to inform NAMA’s engagement with its mandate.

“The question raised by the Report – one that the C&AG is not mandated to address – is a simple one: ‘if a corrupted process such as Project Eagle was allowed to proceed, where else has NAMA been soft on conflicts of interests in order to complete a sale?’

“It is somewhat shocking, but unfortunately not surprising, that Fianna Fail are running scared of an inquiry into NAMA as it was set up under their watch.

“However, the questions surrounding NAMA won’t go away. That is why it needs to be investigated especially in the face of such steadfast reluctance from the establishment parties.”

Sinn Féin introduce Bill to prevent companies from reneging on pension obligations – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has today introduced a Bill to ensure an end to solvent companies walking away and reneging on their pension obligations to their employees.

The Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced today by Deputy Brady and is co-sponsored by Deputies Denise Mitchell and David Cullinane.

Teachta Brady said:

“In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to close defined benefit schemes regardless of the health of the company. We know this is happening; we saw it most recently in Independent News & Media.

“According to the Irish Association of Pension Funds, the number of active defined benefit schemes has fallen from just over 1,200 at the end of 2006 to less than 500 today. The number of active members in those schemes has dropped from 270,000 to 126,000 at the end of last year.

“In reviewing our pension system in 2012, the OECD clearly identified the allowing of healthy sponsors to walk away from DB pension plans, shutting them down, as another weakness of Irish legislation.

John Brady TD (Wicklow/East Carlow) and David Cullinane TD (Waterford).

“If we, as legislators, do not address what Independent News & Media have done then we

are allowing other companies to do the same. We are saying that this is acceptable and we are actively leaving the door open for other companies to do the same.

“This Bill implements the OECD recommendation which, had legislation been strengthened at that time, the wipe out of members’ pensions at Independent News and Media would not have been allowed.

“I am calling for cross-party support for this Bill so we can send a very clear message to companies that they will not be allowed to consciously wind down their defined benefit pension plans and renege on their pension commitments to members.”

No excuse for Halligan’s refusal to support a referendum on public ownership of water services – David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane, Sinn Féin TD for Waterford, today criticised Junior Minister John Halligan for his refusal to support a referendum on the public ownership of water.

David Cullinane TD
David Cullinane TD

Deputy Cullinane said: “It seems that Minister Halligan supports the public ownership of water in principle; he just doesn’t support it in practice.

“There is absolutely no excuse for his refusal to support a referendum on the public ownership of our water system.

“I shared numerous platforms with John Halligan where we both stood in opposition to Irish Water and the government’s privatisation agenda.

“Now, when it is time to put action behind those words, John Halligan is found wanting.

“He is once again ready and willing to prop up Enda Kenny and Fine Gael regardless of the consequences for the people of this state.

“I am not sure how much more the Irish people can take of John Halligan wrestling with his conscience only for John Halligan to win.

“He needs to support this bill when it comes before the Dáil this week. It is the only decent and proper thing to do.”


Fianna Fáil happy to take pay increase for TDs while remaining quiet on the demands of teachers and Gardaí – David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for public expenditure and reform, has criticised Fianna Fail’s continued defence of pay rises for TDs above teachers and gardaí, saying that pay equality has to be about more than just words and good intentions.

David Cullinane TD
David Cullinane TD

Deputy Cullinane said: “Fianna Fáil has been quiet on the industrial unrest within the public sector. That is no real surprise as they were the party that created the mess of a two-tier pay system in the first place.

“Their confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael is not about achieving fairness but about maintaining the status quo, even if this means an unprecedented strike by Gardaí.

“Fianna Fáil are quite happy to take their pay rise and to sit on their hands when it comes to low-paid teachers, gardaí and nurses.

“During their time in government they unleashed a sustained attack upon ordinary working families and upon essential public services such as education, health, justice and housing.

“Today, they are more willing to prop up Lansdowne Road instead of seeing past it as Sinn Féin has done and address the core issues of pay equality and pay restoration.

“It is clear that Fianna Fail’s purpose is to keep things as they are.

“It is not interested in changing the direction of this state, even when it is clear that change is needed.”