Monday, December 7, 2009

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Sinn Féin offers ‘fairer and viable alternative’ to Government’s ‘slash and burn approach’

At the launch of Sinn Féin’s pre-Budget submission , Finance

Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said there is a fairer and viable

alternative to the government’s slash and burn approach to tackling the

economic crisis.

Deputy Morgan said:

“Government proposals to cut social welfare and public services will not

lead to recovery but will push this economy deeper into recession.

"This is the course that the government has followed for the past 14

months. Every measure they have introduced has further shrunk the


“Evidence of this can be found in the pre-Budget outlook which refers

back to projections made at the time of the supplementary budget last

April regarding the deficit estimated for December 2010. This figure of

almost €20 billion now appears to be closer to €22 billion.

“Over the course of seven months tax receipts have fallen by €2 billion

— a direct result of cutting spending and targeting tax increases at the

low paid.

“There is a fairer and viable alternative to the government’s slash and

burn approach. We must invest in jobs and protect public services and

social welfare — to protect citizens, not bank managers and the wealthy.

“Our pre-Budget submission demonstrates where money can be raised for

both a stimulus and a deficit reducing measure to keep international

lenders happy. Our proposals for raising revenue include:

* standardizing discretionary tax reliefs, raising €1.1 billion;

* introducing a 3rd tax rate of 48% on income over €100,000, raising

€355 million;

* placing a 1% wealth tax on assets over €1 million excluding

farmland, raising €1.6 billion; and

* capping all public service salaries at €100,000, raising €450


“Our proposals for a stimulus package include a €600 million jobs

retention fund, a cut in excise duty over the Christmas period and a

cost of living reduction package for households.

“Sinn Féin does not want a high tax economy. We want a fair tax economy.

Dealing with the shortfall in revenue must begin by increasing taxes for

those who can afford it and reducing wages of higher grade public sector


“Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission throws down the gauntlet to the

government. Their choices now will either put us on the road to recovery

or deeper into recession.”

Read all the latest Sinn Féin press releases online by clicking on NEWSROOM


Friday, October 23, 2009


Students will be forced to drop out of college due to grants chaos

Conor Kelly, Sinn Féin representative for the Swords area, has criticised the Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe for failing to intervene in the current students' grant crisis. This situation means that many third level students across the country will now have to wait until January to receive their student grant payment and these students are unregistered and are being left without access to many services in the colleges.

Conor Kelly spoke with Peter Mannion the Union of Students in Ireland president who confirmed that there are cases of students from Fingal who have still not received the maintanence grants that they are entitled to. This problem has been caused by the current economic crisis leading to an unprecedented rise in applications for third level maintenance grants. This has then combined with the block on public service recruitment and has led to understaffing in various VEC's and County Council's. As a result many of the students applying for these grants will now not receive them until January 2010. This is a ludicrous situation and one with massive consequences for students.

Peter Mannion pointed out that many students have been unable to register and as a consequence will be unable to sit their mid-term examinations starting next week. They will not have been issued a student number and will be unable to access many essential facilities in the college.

More worryingly is the fact the many students depend on this grant and without it have no alternative but to drop out of college altogether and join the rest of the country on the dole queues. This is causing real
distress to students and families across the county and will ultimately have a negative effect on the economy. It is no suprise therefore that students from UCD today have occuppied Wicklow Council and demanded they receive the grants that they are legally entitled to.

Conor Kelly emphasised that the facts are that the Higher Student Grant scheme has been dumped onto local Councils by the Department of Education without the resources required to deliver it. Furthermore, local authorities and student unions have repeatedly warned the Government and the Department of Education that they need to reform the grants system but these appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

The Government must take full responsibility for these delays and deploy emergency resources to ensure that no families or students miss out on their third level education.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A toxic dump in the middle of the best agricultural land in Ireland, no local Green Party TD would allow that, or would they?

Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative for the Balbriggan area, expressed his anger at An Bord Pleanála decision to give the green light for a controversial new landfill at Nevitt, Lusk, Co Dublin. He said, “This is yet another blow to the local community in North County Dublin and especially those trying to promote and develop the agricultural sector in the region. For years now The Nevitt Lusk Action Group have fought this plan and they have highlighted that Fingal County Council's own consultant’s have confirmed the Nevitt aquifer as a future water supply for the area. Given this fact I ask anybody to tell me how it can make sense to place a toxic dump right in the middle of such a water supply for an area that is famous throughout the country for producing food!”

We in Sinn Féin would like to put on record that we feel this decision simply does not make any sense what so ever. At this time all those involved in the agricultural sector are struggling to compete with cheap food imports and as a result jobs are under threat or being lost. However, one of the advantages that Irish farmers have is our country’s reputation for producing quality HEALTHY food products. This is a market advantage we must build on to grow this sector of the economy, increase exports and secure jobs. So what happens? Bord Pleanála decide to put a toxic dump in the middle of the best agricultural land in Ireland! This is clearly MADNESS!!!

Fergus Byrne further stated that local people should demand that Trevor Sargent take action now to stop this development. He said, “What is the point in having the Green Party in government, and an ex Green Party leader as our local TD, if he won’t do anything to protect the environment and agricultural jobs in our area. I would encourage everybody to contact Trevor ASAP and let him know that we demand he do something to prevent a toxic dump being located in the heartland of Irish agriculture. It is only by people putting pressure on now that this disastrous decision can be reversed.”

The contact details for Trevor Sargent are as follows. His office number 01 8900 360, or you can leave a comment on his website or go along to his clinic in Balbriggan, Friday evenings, 7.00-7.30pm: Hamilton Room, 2nd floor, Town Hall, Balbriggan, or Swords, Saturday mornings, 10.00-10.30am: Constituency office, 2 Glebeview, Rivermall (off Main St. - adjacent to Wise Owl Bookshop), Swords.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sinn Féin demands an end to self assessed performance related bonuses such as the €70,000 awarded to HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh called for legislation to bring an end to self assessed performance related bonuses such as the €70,000 awarded to HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm.

Speaking this afternoon after his Dáil engagement with the Tánaiste Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has given a commitment that no bonuses will be paid out for the period covering 2008 and 2009. This, quite simply, is not good enough. These types of grossly excessive and unwarranted payments must be consigned to the past with the rest of Fianna Fáil’s economic concepts.

“People in my constituency and throughout Ireland are disgusted to hear of the €70,000 payment to Brendan Drumm for his role in overseeing the destruction of our public hospital network.

“At Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin many children are waiting for urgent operations as the resources are not forthcoming to deal with demand. Yet this Government feels justified in paying Brendan Drumm, a public servant on a higher salary than the Taoiseach, €70,000 in a bonus payment.

“Brendan Drumm should be ashamed to look for a bonus when sick children are having urgent operations cancelled. It symbolizes everything that is rotten with this state.

“This money and the monies from other excessive bonus payments to health service managers should be put into frontline services. Suspending these payments is not good enough. Legislation must be amended to ensure that these grossly excessive payments are never again permitted.”