Potential of the River Suir at Golden for tourism yet to be fully realised – Ní Riada

PRESS RELEASE

2017-07-31

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tipperary has welcomed Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada to County Tipperary to talk with representatives of the Angling community. Following her visit, MEP Ní Riada has said that the potential of the River Suir to support the development of angling tourism has yet to be fully realised. She made the comments following a visit to Golden this week.

Liadh Ní Riada said: “Golden is a beautiful village in an area of outstanding scenery. Its location close to Cashel and its proximity to the main Dublin – Cork motorway mean that it is accessible for domestic and foreign tourists alike.”

As a member of the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries I have taken a keen interest in the potential for the further development of angling as both a sport and a lure for tourism.”

Rural Ireland is crying out for investment and for job opportunities. The development of sustainable tourism, based on our greatest natural assets, would be a fantastic boon for rural communities, not least here in Co. Tipperary.”

I will continue to work alongside Cllr. Martin Browne and with all stakeholders to work towards a sustainable, clean and vibrant tourism offering for anglers that benefits the community and rural economy.”

Cllr Martin Browne adds: “In one of the most historic and one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland, we have a significant opportunity in terms of a unique angling experience. The potential of tourism has never been doubted, and I compliment the members of Cashel/Golden Anglers Association on their work. We received a short tour from Owen Jackman who is Secretary of the Association and were impressed with the commitment of the Association to maintaining the environment.”

The potential for employment in any environmentally friendly tourism industry should not be overlooked.”

ENDS

2017-07-20: Owen Jackman, Secretary of Cashel/Golden Tipperary Anglers Association explains the potential of angling tourism to Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Browne, MEP Liadh Ní Riada, and to Ciara McCormack of Mid-Tipperary Sinn Féin.
2017-07-20: Owen Jackman, Secretary of Cashel/Golden Tipperary Anglers Association and Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada. Mr Jackman gave Ms Ní Riada a fly-fishing lure as a keepsake.

Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

“Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.” – Declan Kearney.

“To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.” – Wolfe Tone.


This is the address by Declan Kearney at Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

This time 220 years ago Ireland was in the midst of dramatic political and revolutionary change.

It was described as ‘The time of the Hurry’ in the poem ‘The man from God knows where’ dedicated to Thomas Russell.

The United Irishmen were the engine of that change.

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin National Chairperson.

They took their inspiration from the new democratic and egalitarian ideals of the American and French revolutions.

They were Republican separatists committed to the promotion of anti-sectarianism, fraternity and equality.

They forged alliances across Irish society and mounted an unprecedented military insurgency in every Province.

In my own county the United Irishmen took control of towns like Randalstown and Ballymena. Local United Irish leaders such as Henry Joy McCracken, Roddy McCorley and William Orr remain household names to this day.

Jemmy Hope “The Weaver” from Templepatrick and his farseeing revolutionary vision became an ideological reference point for Fintan Lawlor and later generations of Irish Revolutionaries.

These and others personified the central tenet of emergent Irish Republicanism – the unity of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter.

Wolfe Tone famously summarised the United Irish Republican programme:

To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.”

As modern day Irish Republicans in the tradition of Tone, we are dedicated to the establishment of a national Republic, built upon equality, fraternity, unity and reconciliation between all citizens in Ireland.

Our primary aim is for an agreed, multicultural united Ireland, which celebrates diversity and equality, and shuns bigotry and discrimination.

Sinn Féin stands against all forms of sectarianism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance in society.

Today’s Ireland is one of huge social change and political realignment.

Partition continues to be the central fault line at the heart of Irish politics and society.

The imposition of the Brexit decision upon the people of the six counties has now magnified that fault line.

We are clear; Brexit is a by-product of partition and continued British jurisdiction in the North of our country.

It has now become a catalyst for a new realignment of politics in Ireland; in relations between this island and Britain: and, it is redefining politics in the British State and Europe itself.

Irish Unity has become central to the political discourse. 

Next Saturday in Belfast at the Waterfront our party will host a major national conference on Irish Unity to build on that discussion.

Many citizens are now looking beyond the Brexit fall out and towards new constitutional and political opportunities.

In the North, greater numbers of ordinary people are now more engaged with politics.

Young people have become increasingly politicised.

All that is reflected in the Assembly and General election results in March and just last week.

The election of 27 Sinn Féin MLA’s and 7 MPs with 239,000 votes is an historic high in electoral support for our party, and for progressive politics.

I want to thank every activist and supporter and all their families who contributed to these spectacular achievements; and also to all of our voters.

There is a building momentum for Irish Unity and in support of anti-unionist and progressive politics.

There is also a new, popular expectation of real, and substantial political change.

The people of the North have spoken.

Sinn Féin respects the mandate secured by the DUP.

But make no mistake Sinn Féin’s electoral mandate is a vindication of our pledge that there will be no return to the status quo: and I repeat; no citizen or section of society will be put to the back of the bus again.

In 1967 our parents and grandparents and others in this gathering set out to demand civil rights in the North. They were beaten and shot off the streets.

Fifty years later an equality revolution is happening in the six counties and it is being led by young people.

Agus tá siad tiomanta agus diongbhailte. Tá siad dearg le fearg agus tá muid go léir dearg le fearg.

For the first time since partition electoral support for political unionism has fallen below 50%.

These are the new realities.

And this is the new context for the current round of political talks.

Let us be clear – the political crisis in the North can be resolved.

The political institutions can be re-established.

However, that means the DUP and British government need to get the message – which they have ignored since Martin McGuinness’ resignation on 9th January.

So I will spell it out.

The equality and rights agenda is not negotiable.

Agreements previously made on equality, rights, parity of esteem and legacy must be implemented.

The Good Friday Agreement cannot be unpicked.

The political institutions must not be misused to advance institutionalised bigotry.

Continued refusal by the DUP and British government to accept these fundamental positions will create only one outcome: a future of permanent political instability.

The DUP have spent the last week in talks with the British Government trying to strike a deal which will keep the Tories in power.

As with Brexit, any deal with Tories will be bad for the economy, public services and for citizens.

This Tory government cares as little for working-class unionists as it does for working-class republicans.

Working-class unionists did not vote for Tories.

The DUP leadership know that. They know the north is of no consequence in Westminster.

Even Edward Carson recognised this nearly 100 years ago. He said:

“What a fool I was… in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.”

The central fact is the political process in the North remains overshadowed by financial scandals.

That is why Sinn Féin stood the DUP leader down from her position last January.

The focus on her future role in an Executive is completely misdirected and premature.

That discussion will only arise when there is an acceptable implementation plan to restore public confidence in the political process and ensures that the institutions will work on the basis of proper power sharing, equality, respect and integrity.

This is a serious situation, which demands a serious focus by all parties.

It is not a game, and it is certainly not a dance.

If the DUP really wants to go into the Executive, that party needs to decide whether it is now prepared to embrace a rights-based approach to government in the North.

Instead of pretending that a crisis does not really exist, the DUP should get with the programme.

If the DUP imagines it can wind back the clock, with a Tory side deal or not, and reestablish the institutions without adherence to equality and rights, then the DUP is indeed living in a fool’s paradise.

As for the two governments, instead of talking up the prospect of a successful outcome to these talks, they and the DUP should reread Martin McGuinness’ resignation letter on the 9th January.

It sets out exactly what is required to restore public confidence, and to create the conditions for proper government in the North.

We don’t need optical illusions; we expect change!

The new Irish government now carries a huge responsibility.

The failure of the last Irish government to fulfil its obligations as a co-guarantor for the Good Friday Agreement is a national scandal.

This dereliction of political leadership must end.

The new Taoiseach and his administration should now publicly disassociate itself from the pro-unionist, partisan position of the British government.

This Irish government should bring forward a comprehensive plan for Irish reunification, including:

     – A joint Oireachtas committee on preparing for Irish unity;

     – A government White Paper on national reunification; 

     – And, specific proposals for a unity referendum on the island.

This month 40 years ago and here at Tone’s grave our comrade Jimmy Drumm correctly observed that the achievement of national and social liberation relied upon the development of a popular progressive movement for change throughout Ireland.

Today we live in an Ireland of endemic financial scandal, political corruption, gombeen elites, discrimination and sectarianism.

The strategic position articulated by Jimmy Drumm in 1977 is now more relevant than ever.

The austerity programmes imposed by Fine Gael and the British Tories have entrenched social inequality, both North and South.

None of our children should have to live in fear from poverty or austerity; inequality or discrimination; or from intolerance or sectarianism.

Social inequality is the antithesis of values enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and the democratic programme of 1919.

Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.

Instead social inequality, political corruption and financial scandal have become bywords for public policy under Fine Gael.

The new Taoiseach seems determined to take his government further to the right.

If that is his intention, then he should call a general election now, and let the people cast its verdict on that political programme.

In those circumstances Sinn Féin will go forward with our progressive political agenda.

We know where we stand, and it’s not with the gombeen men, the crooks, or fat cats.

To paraphrase Tone Sinn Féin stands with:

That numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property.”

Irish unity has never been more achievable. 

But that goal is only inevitable when Republicans successfully persuade sufficient numbers of our people that an agreed, united Ireland will serve their interests.

The refusal of significant sections of political unionism to embrace a shared future, and divisions caused by deep-seated sectarianism, create enormous challenges for Republicans.

Yet despite that, we must continue to show generosity of spirit, and reassurance to our unionist neighbours in the North.

As agents of change it is up to us to reach into the wider unionist constituency.

As republicans in the United Irish tradition we have to demonstrate how their rights, traditions, and identity will be accommodated in a new constitutional framework of an agreed Ireland.

It is for us to convince them that it is far better for Irish unionists to exert their influence over a progressive Ireland, instead of being reduced to stage props for a right-wing British Tory government.

Sinn Féin’s policies on reconciliation and anti-sectarianism represent genuine contributions towards the development of reconciliation between Republicans and unionists, within Irish society, and, between Ireland and Britain.

These need to be internalised and mainstreamed within our political work, both North and South.

Our generation of Republicans are history makers.

Martin McGuinness atá anois ar shlí na fírinne, and whom we greatly miss here today, as well as others in our leadership, have brought us to this point.

Now it is for the rest of us to finish that work.

We must become the nation builders.

We must continue the transformation of Irish society.

Meeting these responsibilities requires a step change in our party.

We need to be always strategically focused, cohesive, flexible and creative.

Let us be clear: building popular support and political strength is not a plan for opposition.

Our political strategy is a road map for governmental power.

So that means Sinn Féin being in government North and South.

This is our road map to achieving national democracy and a united Ireland.

But being in government is not a vanity contest.

This party is not interested in acting as a prop for the status quo North or South.

Political institutions are not ends in themselves: they should be made to work as the means to make positive change.

And of course, we must avoid being defined by the nature of the political institutions.

Sinn Féin participation in the Dáil, Assembly, all-Ireland institutions and European Parliament must be at the heart of a broader momentum for political and social change in Ireland.

If change is to be people centred, then change must be driven by the people.

A popular democratic movement for transformation needs to be developed across Ireland.

That is a progressive coalition of political, civic, community, cultural and labour activists united in support of economic democracy, sustainable public services, equality, rights, and the welfare of citizens.

These are the means of modern Republicans today.

Ireland is in transition. Our party is in transition.

The process of leadership succession has already commenced.

We have begun to implement a ten-year plan to regenerate our party with more youth and women; and enhanced skills and capacity.

Mar sin, más cearta, cothromas agus Poblacht atá uaibh –  ná habraigí é – eagraigí, tógaigí, agus déanaigí é.

Bígí línne.

If you want equality and rights – if you want fairness in Irish society:

If you really want a Republic – then just don’t vote Sinn Féin:

Join Sinn Féin – and get your family and friends to do the same.

We continue to take our inspiration from Tone.

This afternoon in Bodenstown we stand resolute in the tradition of Henry Joy McCracken, William Orr, Roddy McCorley, Jemmy Hope, Betsy Gray and Mary-Anne McCracken.

Now let us go forward reenergised and confident, to mobilise and organise, and to achieve national independence and Irish Unity.

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.”

New integrated waiting list system key to overcoming NTPF waiting list cover-up – Louise O’Reilly TD

Against a backdrop of evidence that shows there are thousands of patients waiting for operations and procedures that are not included in the waiting list figures., Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called, once again, for a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system to be introduced.

Louise O’Reilly TD

Deputy O’Reilly said: “Sinn Féin has proposed a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system where people can move from one hospital to another to reduce waiting times. We have called this system Comhliosta. Indeed, we presented our proposal to the Minister but he refused to meet with us to discuss this.

“Under the current system waiting lists vary drastically across our hospitals. Patients do not know where they stand on the list or how long they will be waiting. People waiting for similar procedures can wait different lengths of time depending on which hospital they have been referred to. And now, we find out, there are further waiting lists hidden within the health service- masked from official public figures and skewing the realities of our waiting list crisis.

“We want to do away with that. We would introduce a new IT system based on the one in use in the Portuguese NHS which would generate new maximum waiting times by transferring those on the list from hospitals that are struggling to meet demand to those that are in a better position to perform the procedure more timely.

“When I have pressed the Minister or the HSE on the need for a new, single, integrated hospital waiting list management system, I have been met with refrains that it is one option presented as part of a digital package solution. But we are no clearer on the Minister’s intention to bring this forward. Indeed, the HSE argue, according to documents, that €1million is sufficient to advance this.

“It would seem that the Minister would be better off investing public funds in this type of new system, and the digital solutions required to modernise our health service, than relying on the NTPF, which has demonstrated its inability to be transparent in its management of public waiting lists. Indeed, investment in developing capacity in the public health system would be more beneficial in the long term.”

Lynn Boylan MEP lambasts EU Commission plan to scrap anti-corruption report

Speaking this morning, Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan has news that the EU commission’s Vice-president Franz Timmerman stated that a planned anti-corruption report on the Member States is to be dropped.

MEP Boylan said;

“It is beyond comprehension that this report, which was due to be released last month, has now been scrapped altogether. The actions of the EU commission in this regard not only discredits how people view the EU, but it undermines accountability and democracy, and undermines faith in the EU to do what is right and in the benefit of the people.

“While such actions by the EU commission are hardly surprising, that they have the audacity to row back on such an important issue shows the contempt with which they treat the people of the EU.

“The report was a promised follow-up to a similar anti-corruption report from 2014. It intended to take stock of how far things had moved forward in relation to combatting corruption, however, this follow up report has now been shelved.

“The 2014 report said member states needed to strengthen controls, put in place more “dissuasive sanctions”, and improve transparency in order to combat corruption. While that report gave a good outline of issues and recommendations to overcome problems, this report was to be a concrete follow up assessment of progress and continuing problems.

“Furthermore, the Commission was also supposed to look at the EU institutions but that report has also been dropped until a “further date”.

“But Mr Timmermans letter states that there is no need to publish any more reports. It states that the first report in 2014 was good enough because it provided an overview and created a basis for further work.

“Such a statement is beggars be belief, especially when one looks at the situation surrounding NAMA and accusations of corruption in Ireland, both north and south.

“My shock at this move increased with the widespread protests in Romania after the government de-criminalised low-level corruption, and the unfolding scandal in France where presidential contender Francois Fillon is facing allegations of fraud after paying his wife almost €1 million for fictive work from the public funds.”

MEP Boylan added:

“The most sickening aspect in all of this is the EU commissioners speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Earlier this week Mr Timmermans and EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker issued a joint-statement on Romania stating that “the fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone.””

MEP Boylan concluded:

“As always, the gap between the rhetoric from the unelected bureaucrats in the EU commission and the reality on the ground in different states is striking.”

All-island economy ‘pragmatic, principled, achievable’ – Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in Belfast this morning, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD outlined Sinn Féin’s plan for an all-island economy in the context of the challenge of Brexit. Joined by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Deputy Doherty said that “this is an unprecedented, if not all but unthinkable, challenge that requires an unprecedented response in terms of making the border less and less relevant”.

The Donegal TD continued:

“For our part, the best approach for facing that challenge is the further development of the all-Ireland economy; a concerted political and civil society campaign to ensure that the north achieves a special status in the EU, and an all-Ireland based infrastructure plan on which a modern all-island economy can prosper and thrive.

“Sinn Féin has produced detailed policies in this regard and for which we seek support from across the island.

“And it’s important to stress that this all-island economy is not some abstract concept; it is pragmatic, it is principled, and it is achievable.

“Businesses and entrepreneurs recognise the value of the all-island economy; through creating jobs, growing their businesses, and by taking advantage of markets on both sides of the border, much can and has already been achieved.

“Sinn Féin rightly believes that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated a special status within the EU, and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.”

Sinn Féin question Minister over Disability Bill – Jonathan O’Brien TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality Deputy Jonathan O’Brien welcomed a Government Bill on ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, but said the Minister has questions to answer regarding the lack of consultation around the bill and that clarity is needed regarding many of its provisions.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“Sinn Féin support this Bill and have campaigned for years for full ratification of the UNCRPD, and it was a source of great disappointment that the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities was not ratified before the end of last year in line with the promises made by the Government that this would happen.

“I commend the work of the organisations such as Inclusion Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland who have worked tirelessly campaigning for the ratification of the Convention.

“However, we believe the Bill before the House this evening could have gone further in many respects and we have some very serious concerns about what the Bill has left out. We share the concerns flagged by many NGOs that there has been no public consultation with these organisations or with persons with disabilities on many aspects of the legislation.

“We are extremely concerned that the issue of deprivation of liberty will not be addressed until Committee stage as this is a core aspect that needs to be included in order to comply with the UNCRPD. This is unacceptable and we will be tabling amendments that address our concerns.”