Uachtarán Shinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald addresses the Sinn Féin commemoration of the Soloheadbeg Ambush 100 years prior; this is generally considered the first act of the Irish War of Independence in which Irish people retaliated for centuries of British oppression.
The ambush was organised and carried out by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and Irish Republican Army, and some who were members of both. The objective of the ambush was the capture of explosives used in mining, which explosives were used some months later.
Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Government to put in place 24/7 crisis intervention services in Mental Health. She made her comments after campaigns group Uplift delivered a petition calling for 24/7 services which has been signed by nearly 12,000 members of the public.
Deputy McDonald said:
“24/7 services are an essential part of ensuring that people in mental health distress get the care they need whenever that may be. At present, many services community services only operate until the evening time and not at all Saturdays and Sundays. Mental health doesn’t operate on office hours and our services must reflect this.
“Sinn Féin brought a motion to the Dáil last year demanding a timeline for delivery of: 7 day and, ultimately, 24 hour services. Unfortunately, Fine Gael opposed it and Fianna Fáil allowed it to be defeated. Given the paltry increase to the mental health budget announced in November, well below what was promised during the election, it is now past time for the Government to revisit their approach to mental health and begin tackling the serious problems that exist.
“The lack of these services is costing lives, people who are very vulnerable are afraid to seek care out of hours, those who do are forced to enter the inappropriate and too often chaotic environment of A&Es. This at best has a chilling effect on those who need support and at its most tragic, it has resulted in people taking their lives, isolated and desperate.
“I support the call from the petition collected by Uplift and will work to see that this issue is finally addressed.”
Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán and TD for Dublin Central Mary Lou McDonald TD has today welcomed the High Court judgement in the legal challenge by former CEO of Rehab Group Angela Kerins against the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.
Deputy McDonald said:
“I welcome the judgement from the High Court today.
“This is a significant decision as it Clarifies the right of members of the Oireachats to act in the public interest and to do the job that we are elected to do.
“The PAC had a right and a responsibility to examine how €83m in annual state funding, given to Rehab companies, was put to use. No organisation who receives finance from the public purse can be beyond accountability.
“It is vital that the Public Accounts Committee continues our work in ensuring accountability and scrutiny in the use of public monies.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health, Louise O’Reilly TD, today met a delegation led by Councillor Natalie Tracey which submitted to government a petition on the provision of neuro rehabilitations services in Ireland.
Teachta O’Reilly said: “Earlier this year, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland launched a campaign ‘We Need Our Heads Examined’ calling for action to tackle the shortage of neuro-rehabilitation services for the 25,000 people each year who need them. Today, Councillor Natalie Tracey has brought this petition to the Minister to highlight to the Minister the pressing demand and need for increased services in Ireland, following her own experiences with her mother.
“We must help those with neuro-rehabilitation needs to lead full and meaningful lives by giving them quality, tailored rehabilitation and support. We know that early intervention ultimately reduces the care needed and many studies also clearly demonstrate significant cost-savings post-rehabilitation. We need the further development of community-based neuro-rehabilitation teams to provide moderate and high-intensity neuro-rehabilitation in community settings.
“The National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland 2011-2015 needs a meaningful implementation plan and there is grave concern that currently it is stalled, without key actions, timeframes and a deadline to implement it.
“We cannot continue to deny access to vital services to those who need them. The intervention period is crucial for a neurological condition, yet the reality of the current system is that people living with a neurological condition are being left to deteriorate.
“Sinn Féin supports fully the ‘We need our heads examined’ campaign and the calls of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland for the publication of an implementation plan for the National Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy and dedicated investment to the development of new services from hospital to home.
“This petition shows that the people are particularly keen that a meaningful plan is published and that neuro rehabilitation services are provided for the entire population. I will continue to push for this with the Minister and the Department, and this will be an important Budget priority for us.”
“The criminals weren’t in prison. They were in Westminster”.
So said Cllr Malachy McCreesh on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Clonmel. He was speaking at the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes, which saw 10 men die – including his brother – through starvation in order to regain their status as political prisoners. The May sunshine stood as a stark contrast to the dark days of 1981, when British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher tried and failed to criminalise the prisoners in the H-Blocks.
The toll in human suffering was immense.
Apart from the men who died, there were hundreds of affected relatives, and many more dead and injured as a result of the widespread rioting which erupted in protest at the treatment of the prisoners.
One of the relatives who was affected was Malachy McCreesh, who is now a councillor in Limerick. His brother Raymond was among those who died.
The 1981 hunger strikes made international news as one by one the men died rather than submit to being criminalised by the British prison system. But it was the death of Bobby Sands which drew the most attention, and it is his name that is first on most persons lips when they speak of 1981.
Bobby Sands stood as candidate in a by-election for Westminster while he was on hunger strike. The nationalist community rallied to the cause and he was elected. He died less than a month later, after 66 days without food, aged only 27.
The treatment of Sands was international news of the most embarrassing kind for the British, and drew enormous media attention, as Thatcher allowed an elected Member of her Parliament to die. It is for this reason that Sands’ name is the first remembered, as the first of 10 to make such a painful sacrifice.
But Sands was not the only H-Block martyr. Among those that followed was young Raymond McCreesh, who was just 24 when he died. His brother Malachy spoke in Clonmel on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s commemoration was organised by the Clonmel cumann of Sinn Féin. It progressed from Convent Bridge to the Manchester Martyrs monument on the Clonmel Quays. People in Clonmel have rarely seen Republicans march through their town in such a fashion, and many will never have heard a Republican marching band.
Speaking after the laying of wreaths at the monument, Cllr McCreesh said “The international media were able to see that the criminals weren’t in the H-Blocks, and they weren’t in Armagh prison. They were in Westminster, and in all the other political establishments that allowed this situation”.
“At the funeral of Bobby Sands, everywhere we passed an RUC man, they turned their back. There was no respect whatsoever for the Republican community. There never was. We’re still struggling.”
“At the funeral of Francis Hughes the RUC would have hijacked the hearse, but the driver wouldn’t let them in, and his brother put the keys of the hearse in his mouth.”
“There are problems in Maghaberry prison even now. I hope that all sides will work together to make sure there is never a need for another hunger strike.”
Secretary of Clonmel Sinn Féin Paddy O’Donoghue said “we’re immensely pleased with the turn out today. That so many of our comrades came to commemorate these brave men in our town is very gratifying. We had TDs and councillors and many long-serving activists attend and take part in the march, which was led by the Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band. To hear their proud and echoing drumbeat going through Irishtown was a memorable experience”.
Keynote speaker was Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou MacDonald, who said “the human courage of the hunger strikers was immense and the courage of their families is beyond description. They endured sectarianism, harassment, discrimination, house raids, internment, and collusion between the establishment and unionist paramilitaries.”
“Some things don’t change. 35 years on and some in the media carry on where Thatcher failed. They still try to criminalise our struggle. But it is not they who can inflict the most, but they who can endure the most who will conquer.”
“Bobby Sands said he took the advice of a sound man, who said that everyone – Republican or otherwise – has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small. No one is too old or too young, to do something.”
“Our job now is for each to play their part to finish the job that Bobby and his comrades died for.”
“Sinn Féin is the undisputed voice of Republicanism in the North. In the South we are the only credible Republican voice fighting the cronyism, corruption, and the mé féinism of a failed political establishment. An establishment that has failed you, failed Ireland, and failed the Republic. All of us have our part to play. Republicanism is now stronger than ever, and Republicanism is more organised. We still strive to achieve the ideal of the 1916 Proclamation.”
“100 years on, and 35 years on, one thing is clear: you can kill the revolutionary, but you cannot kill the revolution.”
“You cannot kill a dream.”
“We continue that fight, to the bitter end. To Irish unity, and to Irish freedom.”
The table below lists the hunger strikers who died; clicking on the name will bring you to the Wikipedia page for each martyr.
Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy leader of Sinn Féin, has again endorsed Séamie Morris and recommended him to the Tipperary electorate.
Speaking as a large mobile sign began it’s journey around the State to remind the public about the broken promises of the pretend-left Labour Party, she described Séamie as ‘brilliant’. Click below to see:
Mary Lou has previously endorsed Morris’ candidacy. So good she did it twice? Yes! Vote for Séamie!
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD has said it is time for new, progressive politics in Ireland. She was speaking at the launch of a reminder campaign about Labour’s record which was attended by Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris.
Deputy McDonald has criticised the Labour Party’s record in government, highlighting the litany of broken electoral promises in their wake and putting forward Sinn Féin’s vision backed by credible and costed policies, as a real alternative.
Deputy McDonald said: “The Labour Party have no substance. They betrayed their founding principles as they rolled over to Fine Gael and lost all credibility. Whatever promises they make now is too late – they have lost the trust of the electorate.
“Sinn Féin won’t be a mudguard like Labour – propping up a conservative government and a Tory agenda, favouring the wealthy in society. We believe in equality and will not compromise the cornerstones of democracy in order to blag our way into government.
“It is time for new, progressive politics in Ireland and Sinn Féin is leading the charge to lead a new government under the Rigth2Change Principles. We have outlined our vision back by clear, comprehensive, costed and deliverable policies.
“The list of broken Labour promises is so long, I don’t know where to begin. Five years ago they promised to oppose the water charges. Lo and behold, the water tax was introduced and hundreds of millions wasted on unused meters and consultants fees.
“The Labour party promised to protect child benefit. This, they cut multiple times. They cut lone parent allowance, the telephone allowance for older people, fuel allowance the bereavement grant. They taxed illness benefit and maternity benefit.
“The Labour Party promised not to increase third level fees and they increased them from €2,000 to €3,000. They cut the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance three budgets in a row. They cut capitation grants for schools. They cut supports for children with special needs.
“The Labour Party promised to end cronyism. Instead they broke the pay cap for their special advisors and nominated key party people, like David Begg, to State Board positions, flouting normal procedures and absolutely contradicting their manifesto. So much for transparency and a democratic revolution.
“The Labour party also cut key social supports – slashed job seekers allowance and forced hundreds of thousands of young people to leave the country.
“The Labour Party are once again bending over backwards trying to win votes on promises that they will not honour. Their track record in the past speaks for itself. Sinn Féin will not make promises we cannot keep and we will deliver on the promises that we have made.”