Minister for Education must publish updated admissions regulations as soon as possible– Carol Nolan TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, has today called on the Minister for Education and Skills to publish updated regulations to accompany the new admissions to schools bill as soon as possible, after the Minister confirmed in a Parliamentary Question response that the regulations will be updated and published in draft form  following enactment of the Bill.

Teachta Nolan said:

Carol Nolan TD
Carol Nolan TD

“The Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill 2016 gives the Minister extensive powers to regulate in the area of admissions policy, particularly in relation to the criteria that must be applied when a school if oversubscribed.

“The Minister has confirmed in a Parliamentary Question response to me that “these regulations will be updated and published in draft form for further consultation with the relevant education stakeholders following enactment of the Bill.”

“In my view, it is essential for these regulations to be published in conjunction with the Bill so that stakeholders will have a clear view of the impact of the legislation in its entirety.

“Various organisations, including the Irish language sector, disability groups and broader human rights based organisations  have been in touch with concerns in relation to the proposed legislation and the criteria that may be applied in cases of over subscribed schools.

“I am calling on the Minister for Education and Skills to publish the updated draft regulations as soon as possible to allow stakeholders and legislators to make informed decisions in relation to this legislation.”

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada in Tipperary


Sinn MEP Liadh Ní Riada was in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary on Friday to meet the River Shannon Protection Alliance group along with Cllr Séamie Morris. Liadh heard first hand from people who have been affected by the lowering water levels on Lough Derg among many other issues. Liadh agrees that Lough Derg is vital for the tourism prospects in the region for the future and as an economic asset for the Mid West region.

Irish Water’s preferred proposition at present is to use water from Lough Derg via a major pipe construction to supply Dublin and surrounding areas.

Irish Water have begun a public consultation process that will last until Feb 14th 2017. Councillor Morris is calling on people who feel strongly about this issue to contact him, get involved in local campaign groups, or lodge their own submission.

We already have problems arising in the Irish mushroom sector, because of the significant weakening of Sterling against the Euro over recent weeks, with plants closing down, as a result of Brexit concerns.”

Brexit is an all-island issue. So, I expect MEPs from all over Ireland to support the setting up of a Brexit working group for agriculture.

In my opinion farming and food in Tipperary are the industries that have most to lose from Brexit.”

Liadh is also concerned about rural Tipperary, A European Commission report into the Cumulative Effects of Trade Agreements which was published today proved again that deals like CETA & TTIP will have devastating consequences for agriculture.

Now Irish MEPs (Fine Gael, in particular) have a choice to make in advance of the European Parliament vote on CETA, due to take place in December.

They can either support Irish farmers or they can support regressive trade deals such as CETA & TTIP, but they can’t support both.


2015-06-19: Cllr Séamie Morris (Sinn Féin), MEP Liadh Ní Riada (Sinn Féin) and Declan Collisson (Shannon Protection Alliance) outside The Lake Café.

4 Tipperary TDs believe they should get pay increase, Sinn Féin calls foul


The Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann council team are furious at the rejection by Tipperary TDs of a Sinn Féin Dáil motion last week. The motion was to stop TDs getting a €5000 wage increase over the next two years. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are very much in alliance in councils across the country and more strikingly in the Oireachtas. This latest example of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil joining forces to defeat a motion is further proof that there is only one real opposition voice in the Dáil and that is Gerry Adams and the Sinn Féin Dáil team. Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill voted with the government against the motion. Even in opposition Alan Kelly and his Labour colleagues voted for a pay increase as did Michael Lowry TD. Mattie McGrath TD was absent from the vote but has put on record that he would have voted against the motion had he been present.

The Sinn Féin council team cannot see any justification for TDs voting to increase their own income when Tipperary people are suffering on a continuous basis from the mismanagement of the country by this and former governments. Instead Sinn Féin believe that the use of Dáil time and state funds should be used to address more important issues. There are industrial disputes ongoing with the Gardaí and teachers and Sinn Féin believes that the Landsdown Road agreement is now finished and a new policy must be agreed with all stakeholders. In Tipperary at the moment there is a health crisis, a mental health crisis, a housing crisis, unemployment and youth unemployment levels are very high and economic emigration continues across our towns and villages. These are the real issues.

A joint statement from Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann Councillors:

“This is an issue of fairness. We are still witnessing a two-tier recovery. The legacy of cuts to pay and public services continues to place enormous pressure on ordinary people and households.

The Lansdowne Road Agreement failed to address the issue of pay inequality for post-2011 entrants, while giving partial pay restoration to those on wages over €65,000.

In this context is it wrong for TDs to jump the queue. The fact that the first repayment to TDs and senators will take place on 1 April 2017 is a joke in very poor taste. Sinn Féin opposed the terms and conditions of the various FEMPI acts. When the legislation was first brought to the House we put forward amendments to reduce Deputies’ pay to €75,000. This was rejected of course, and TDs continue to be very-well paid.

Currently, a public sector worker on an average salary of between €35,000 and €40,000 per annum will receive a less than €20 a week increase or restoration, yet TDs who are on over €87,258, will see their salary rise to €92,672. We do not believe that is justified.

It is unfair that somebody on €30,000 or €40,000 per year, an average wage in the public sector, is getting pay restoration of under €20 while Deputies are expected to take over €100 a week.

Sinn Féin TDs will not take this pay increase even though our motion was not successful.”


Sinn Féin calls for referendum to enshrine public ownership of water in the Constitution – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and party spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin has called on the government and Fianna Fáil to commit to a referendum to enshrine the public ownership of water in the Constitution

Deputy O Broin was speaking in advance of a Dáil debate this Wednesday on a Bill, co-signed by Right2water TDs, that seeks to retain water ownership in public hands.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said: “In May this year, Sinn Féin used private members time to debate a motion, co-signed by Right2Water TDs, calling on the government to retain water ownership in public hands.

“During the last Dáil term, Sinn Féin published the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 3) Bill 2014, which also sought to enshrine the public ownership of water in the Constitution. Our record on this is very clear. Sinn Féin also urged the government to allow the expert commission on water to look at the privatisation issue within its terms of reference.

“However, the narrow terms of reference of the so-called expert Commission on water, as agreed on by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, did not include any commitment to look at any future risk of privatisation or any specific focus on retaining water in public ownership and management

“There is a very real fear out there that Fine Gael want to privatise water services. They claim they don’t so they should demonstrate that by supporting the constitutional amendment brought forward.

“There are also a number of those, now in government, who have in the past supported calls for a referendum on water ownership. In fact, John Halligan’s name is on the Bill this week.

“By the same token, Fianna Fáil cannot use the ongoing deliberations of the so called expert Commission as a valid excuse for voting down the Bill this week. If Fianna Fáil support this Bill it has every chance of moving to the next stage and they will have done the right thing on the issue for once.”


Not unusual for public ownership of Water Services to receive constitutional guarantee – Lynn Boylan MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said that it is not unusual for European Union member states to provide a constitutional guarantee for public ownership of water services.

Boylan made the comments today as she called for maximum support for a Bill that will come before the Dáil this Wednesday calling for referendum to insert the public ownership of water services into the constitution.

Lynn Boylan MEP at Water Taxes Protest 2016-09-17, Dublin.
Lynn Boylan MEP at Water Taxes Protest 2016-09-17, Dublin.

She said: “Enshrining access to clean water and sanitation in our constitution and protecting this access for future generations is surely an initiative that all parties and TDs can get behind.

“The only real barrier to supporting the Bill on Wednesday would be if a party, or parties, see the privatisation of our water services as something to consider. I know that in the past Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes strangely referred to the call for an Irish referendum as ‘unwarranted and bizarre’.”

“However, the truth is that the idea of providing a constitutional guarantee for the public ownership of water services is not unprecedented or unusual in the European context. Over 90% of citizens in both Italy and Greece voted in referendums to ensure that water privatisation systems were not implemented. The Netherlands passed a law in 2004 banning private sector provision of water supply. Furthermore, France has returned control of its water services to municipal level due to transparency issues and rising costs.

“I am of the firm view that the Dáil must afford the people the opportunity to insert public ownership of water services into our constitution. The government and Fianna Fáil are not exempt from that responsibility and therefore they should support the bill on Wednesday.

“There shouldn’t be any reluctance to hold such a referendum if there are no plans to fully privatise water services in this state.”


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.”


Mná na hÉireann

Friday 28th October, Park Hotel, Clonmel

A gathering of strong Republican women who have lived in the shadows for too long and who have endured unimaginable pain, intimidation and suffering for our common cause which is freedom, equality and justice for all on the island. The speakers on the night shared their stories and let us have a glimpse into how it was and how it can still be.

The guest speakers on the night were: Martina Anderson M.E.P., Joan McDermott speaking on the Mother and Baby Scandal, Jennifer McCann ex POW, Mary Doyle North Belfast Councillor and survivor of the 1980 Hunger-strike.

The night was hosted by the Clonmel Sinn Féin Cumann – the George Plant Cumann – and was presented by Deputy Mayor Sinn Féin Councillor Catherine Carey.

Martina Anderson MEP

Mary Doyle

Joan McDermott

Jennifer McCann

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.”


Issues underlying proposed strike action by Gardaí must be dealt with – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has said that hopefully the proposed strike by Gardaí can be averted, but that “the issues involved need to be dealt with”.

He also said that last night’s intervention by the Tánaiste, in which she warned that Gardaí participating in Friday’s strike will have their pay docked, and her threat to make Gardaí liable for any damages that occur, was unhelpful and unnecessary.

Teachta Adams said: “In the coming days, the State faces an unprecedented crisis in policing that’s been known about for months, yet the government failed to actively seek an early resolution. Instead, they allowed the summer to pass with no real effort to engage in dialogue with the Garda representative bodies.

“The pay proposals put belatedly by the government have been rejected. The AGSI has described them as ‘inequitable’. The GRA’s Executive Committee has unanimously rejected the proposed deal and said that the government’s propositions are not acceptable to their members. So, both unions have given a resounding no to the government’s proposals.

“Last night’s intervention by the Tánaiste, in which she warned that Gardaí participating in Friday’s strike will have their pay docked, and her threat to make Gardaí liable for any damages that occur, was unhelpful and unnecessary.

“Surely, the Taoiseach knows that it is his government’s intransigent stance on pay for An Garda Síochána, for teachers and potentially for doctors and nurses that is fuelling Friday’s strike action and the industrial action planned by teachers.

“Hopefully, Friday’s strike by Gardaí can be averted, but the issues involved need to be dealt with; so too with the planned industrial action by teachers on Monday.

“What the vast majority of public servants want and deserve is the fair and timely unwinding of FEMPI cuts and pay restoration.

“The government must commit to entering into discussions to that end as soon as possible to achieve a new public sector pay agreement before September 2018.”


Minister Varadkar continues Fianna Fáil’s discrimination against young people – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that Minister Varadkar has made a clear choice to continue Fianna Fáil’s discrimination against young people.

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

Teachta Brady said: “Yesterday, Minister Varadkar confirmed that the €5 increase in social welfare payments announced in Budget 2017 will go to everyone except those under 26 years of age.

“The increase amount is therefore, dependent on a recipients age alone.

“Those on Jobseekers aged 18-24 will receive an increase of €2.70 and those aged 25 will receive €3.80.

“Under 26s are the one and only group of social welfare recipients set to receive less than €5 in their payment.

“Just as Fianna Fáil singled out this cohort of young people so too is Minister Varadkar.

“Last month Deputy Willie O’Dea criticised the reduced amount for the under 26s and said that Fianna Fáil would work to reverse this. If his party’s concerns are genuine then Fianna Fáil will oppose the upcoming Social Welfare Bill. If not, we will see yet another U turn from the party.

“Unlike, most of what Fianna Fáil have done since the last election their message for under 26s has certainly been consistent – live on your €100 a week and be grateful or emigrate.

“This message suits Varadkar perfectly.”