Zero tolerance for racism, sectarianism, homophobia, and for inequality as society moves forward – Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking on Saturday at the ‘New Generation: New Voices’ event in Enniskillen, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, said that in an era of so-called ‘Post Truth Politics’, Sinn Féin did not accept contempt for the truth while in the Assembly, and would be damned if they would accept it from Enda, Fine Gael or his cohort of Fianna Fáil backers in the Dáil either.

The Donegal TD said:

“As we fast approach yet another election campaign here in the north, and perhaps in the south also, the political landscape is anything but certain.

“It’s a period which has been described by many social and political commentators and analysts alike as the era of ‘Post Truth Politics’. This is a political culture in which the political narrative is framed by strong appeals to emotion as opposed to reality by the repetition of unfounded assertions to which factual rebuttals are ignored, if not rejected outright, as irrelevant.

“We, as Republicans, do not buy into such lies, half-truths or disdain for truth…the very hallmarks associated with the particular way by which many of our political opponents care to do business.

“Sinn Féin does not and will not follow their example. Just as the events of recent weeks have shown, and as Arlene Foster and the DUP have witnessed first-hand, we did not accept contempt for the truth while in the Assembly, and we’ll be damned if we accept it from Enda, Fine Gael or his cohort of Fianna Fáil backers in the Dáil either.

“Here in the north, where the controversy over the DUP’s bungled handling of the RHI scheme, coupled with their persistent refusal to embrace equality of any kind, these are the events which have left citizens in the six counties disillusioned, weary and sceptical of the institutions’ ability to deliver real and effective change.

“Likewise in the south, where the shambolic handling by Government of the orchestrated smear campaign against Garda Whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, which over recent days has brought the current administration to the brink of collapse, there too citizens are questioning the role which government, or more broadly speaking, which politics in general can play in improving society and the lives of ordinary people.

“And these are the very same forces who, motivated by hatred and driven by ignorance, have recklessly stood and advocated for this part of our island to be dragged, against the will of its people, out of the European Union. In doing this they are showing they are happy to deny you and the generations to follow the very same opportunities enjoyed by those of us who’ve long benefitted from access to a continental community of some 500 million people.

“Our young people deserve better. They deserve to live in a society, not where their life prospects and future successes are reliant on whether or not they have the means or financial wherewithal to afford it, but one in which everyone, no matter whom they are or where they’ve come from, enjoys the equal opportunity to go out into the world and make their dreams a reality.

“It’s about moving forward as a society, where zero tolerance for racism, sectarianism, homophobia, and for inequalities of any kind is the sole and accepted benchmark.

“It’s about choosing a path which ensures that the institutions, even with their imperfections, deliver for each and every citizen on the basis of equality, parity of esteem and mutual respect.”

Crowe raises case for North to have special status within the EU in Brussels meetings

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, continually raised the case for the North achieving special status in EU in a series of meetings in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Crowe was part of a cross party Oireachtas Joint Committee on EU Affairs delegation which met with Michel Barnier (Chief Negotiator on Brexit for the EU Commission), Guy Verhofstadt MEP (European Parliament Representative on Brexit), Emily O Reilly (European Ombudsman), Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development), and MEPs from Scotland, Cyprus, and Malta.

Speaking at the end of the two day programme, Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“In all our meetings, I detailed how forcing the North out of the EU against its democratic wishes would be a disaster for the entire island of Ireland and have implications for the Good Friday Agreement.

“I continually raised the case for the North to have special status within the EU and that the EU has shown itself to be flexible in coming forward with pragmatic arrangements for dealing with other complex territorial situations.

“Both Mr Barnier and Mr Berhofstadt were keenly aware of the unique and difficult situation that Ireland is in and the role that the EU has played in the peace process.

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the Irish Government and the EU to ensure designated special status for the North to remain within the EU.”

Ní Riada brings fishermen to meet EU advisors

Sinn Féin MEP, Liadh Ní Riada, has facilitated a meeting between Irish fishermen and the group that advises the European Commission on stock sustainability. 
The Ireland South MEP brought together representatives from the Irish South and West Fish Producer’s Organisation (ISWFPO) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to discuss a range of issues.
Ms Ní Riada said the meeting had been “constructive” but “raised a number of questions”.
Ms Ní Riada stated:
“The ISWFPO raised the issue of landing obligations with ICES who clarified that there was no scientific advice given by them on the landing obligation, that there was none requested and consequently it could be established that there was no scientific basis for the landing obligation.
“This begs the question of what was the basis for the landing obligation rule was. Was it politically motivated by the powers that be?  The ISWFPO made clear their members feel it is a recipe for disaster.
“The impact of seismic surveys on spawning stocks and larvae was also raised, particularly in reference to the effects of large scale seismic survey operations in all waters on fish stocks, as evidence has suggested it is having a detrimental effect.
“The scientific and ecological impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by supertrawlers was also a major concern, especially regarding by-catch and over-catch.
“A discussion was also had on the value of Irish fishermen being given a scientific quota by Irish national authorities so that scientific data can be collected by Irish fishermen.  This is then used with anecdotal evidence to evaluate the health of various stocks and to make a stronger case for larger quotas for Irish fishermen.
“All in all it was a constructive and revealing meeting.  The very fact I was able to facilitate it is an improvement in itself as the intention was to give Irish fishermen, particularly the small-scale, inshore fleet and coastal communities, a direct line of communication with this international scientific body.
“This influential group is now well aware that Irish fishermen often feel excluded from the decision making process whilst the wealthy fishing cartels, who have most to gain and lose from the advice ICES gives to the EU, are often involved in every aspect of the process.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of a change in that unhealthy culture.”

EU Commissioner demolishes Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s arguments on Apple tax – Kevin Brunnick – Chair, Cahir Sinn Fein

In an appearance before the Finance Committee, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager robustly defended her judgement that €13billion plus interest of back taxes is owed to Ireland by Apple. It is absolutely clear that the government must not proceed with wasting taxpayer’s money appealing the EU Commission’s decision.

Speaking on this  Kevin Brunnick – Chair, James Connolly Cumann, Cahir said:

“Point after point put up by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil around so called fantasy money, Ireland acting as a tax collector for the world and arguments around selectivity and tax sovereignty were not only dismissed but destroyed by evidence from the commissioner. Both parties engaged in a concerted effort to misinform the Irish public that this back tax was not due to us, which is shocking.

“It’s is clear from the Commission’s 130 page report, that they have left no stone unturned in arriving at the decision. The report is objective, well researched and the authors have shown a clear understanding of the minutia of Irish tax legalisation.

“Engaging the appeal process would be an abuse of public ownership of these taxes given what we heard in the proceedings of the committee and it is hard to believe that the government would fight this case, which is clearly watertight.

“Cutting through the technicalities, it seems hard to arrive at the conclusion that the EU Commission believes what happened was a misunderstanding or a misapplication of procedure. Rather it appears to be that the Commission is suggesting a calculated, contrived and unique arrangement that was put in place to favour Apple at the expense of other companies such as indigenous companies.

“The government should immediately stop it’s wasting of taxpayers money on the appeal process, from which the only winners, it seems, will be the lawyers and accountants paid by the State.

“This debacle centers  on a dodgy deal whereby Apple were able to decide what tax they would pay on an arbitrary basis, not in any accordance with Irish tax legislation.

“It is now time for the government to stand up for citizens and ensure that the money owed to the state is paid without obstruction or unnecessary delays.

“Whatever share of the tax that is due to Ireland would go some way to solve the health and homeless  issues  we have in Tipperary.”