Thursday, 26 May 2011

Death threats issued against Sinn Féin members

Speaking today after a unionist paramilitary group issued death threats and claimed to have left devices at a Sinn Féin Office and a number of members family homes, Sinn Féin's Carál NíChuilín said:

“Today a telephoned threat from the Orange Volunteers was received in the North Belfast Sinn Féin Office. The caller claimed to have left bombs at our office and family homes and threatened to carry out shootings against Gerry Kelly, my adviser Mary McArdle and myself.

“Over time there have been a number of threats from loyalists and indeed devices have previously been left at our North Belfast Office.

"Over the years there have been a number of Sinn Féin elected representatives and party workers murdered by unionist paramilitaries. When this campaign was at its height there was a parallel campaign in sections of the media and from unionist politicians vilifying and demonising Sinn Féin and our elected representatives. It was a central element of creating the conditions in which attacks on Sinn Féin could take place.

“There have been echoes of a similar campaign in certain media circles in recent days regarding Sinn Féin generally and Mary McArdle in particular. Those driving this campaign cannot divorce themselves from the threats which have been issued today. And I am very concerned that Alban Maguinness has joined the likes of Jim Allister in this attempted vilification of Sinn Féin.

“I have every confidence in Mary McCardle and Sinn Féin will not allow ourselves to be intimidated either by direct threats or by people creating conditions in which these types of threats are made. In the recent elections we received an increased mandate to continue with our work representing citizens and delivering change. That will remain our focus.”

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A prompt reaction required after Oldpark robbery says McCabe

Sinn Fein's Gerry McCabe welcomed the prompt reaction of the PSNI after another Oldpark robbery. The Ardoyne Councillor said,

"This is the latest in a series of robberies of local businesses and I welcome the prompt reaction of the PSNI.

This example of community policing is what local traders and residents want to see from police.

While details remain unclear I'm lead to believe that the Ombudsman is now involved given that weapons were drawn on the masked occupants of the crashed car.

A woman was injured in the crash and has been taken to hospital and I hope she makes a speedy recovery.

My colleague Gerry Kelly MLA suffered a similar impact earlier in the week when his car was rammed by a get away car being chased by police.

Clearly people want to see these robberies stopped but caution must be taken to ensure the safety of the public during these types of pursuits" said the Ardoyne Councillor.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Gerry Kelly launches Easter Lily campaign at Belfast City Hall

Gerry Kelly this morning launched the annual Easter Lily campaign at Belfast City Hall. He was joined by representatives of the Belfast National Graves Association and Sinn Féin’s Belfast Council Team.

Gerry encouraged people to honour Ireland’s dead by wearing their Easter Lily and to continue to support the work of the National Graves Association in maintaining the graves of our Patriot Dead.

He also outlined the plans for this year’s Easter Commemoration in Belfast and ask people to attend their local events.

The following is a copy of Gerry’s address:

"A chairde, tá mé iontach sásta a bheith anseo libh uilig ar maidin. Is ócáid tábhachtach é an Cháisc, nuair a thagann muid le chéile le onóir a thabhairt do na daoine a fuair bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.

I am very thankful to be invited to speak at this morning’s launch and want to pay a particular word of thanks to the members of the Belfast National Graves Association who are with us here this morning. The work that they carry out, not just at Easter, but throughout the year, in maintaining the graves and therefore the memory of our Patriot Dead is invaluable and a tremendous piece of work which we must all continue to support.

That of course is where the Easter Lily itself comes in, a symbol so simple yet so significant, a symbol used for so long now but one which endures; a symbol, while only worn at this time of year, always reminds us who we are, where we have come from and what we must do to achieve our ultimate Republican objectives.

Each year we come together to launch this campaign, encouraging people to Honour Ireland’s Dead and wear their Easter Lily with pride.

Easter is a time of year when we rightly gather at roadsides, on country lanes, in housing estates and by memorials to remember our Patriot Dead.

It is a time when we face down those who would seek to demonise our Republican Dead, and through them, our struggle for Irish Freedom and Independence.

But most of all it is a time when we must recommit ourselves to the principles we adhere to, the very core message of Irish Republicanism, a time when we rededicate ourselves to the pursuance of the cause for which the men and women Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann gave their lives.

We are very proud of our Patriot Dead, we are very proud of their families, and while others would try to usurp the proud name of Óglaigh na hÉireann, while they would try to sully our proud and historic struggle, we remain firmly committed to achieving a Free, Socialist and Democratic Ireland.

So I would encourage people to head away from this event today and wear your Easter Lily, encourage others to do likewise; to support the work of the National Graves Association and to attend commemorative events in your area during the Easter period.

This is a time when we as Republicans must unashamedly remember our families, friends and comrades and a time when we must again set our shoulders to the wheel and I am confident that with the men and women who gave all as our continued source of inspiration, we will soon bring about the Ireland for which they died.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh."

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The more votes we have the more change we can make – Gerry Kelly

BY Gerry Kelly
The election battle has begun (just in case you hadn’t noticed). So why should people support Sinn Féin as opposed to a plethora of other parties?

Sinn Féin are the only all Ireland party in the race. We are just out of a very successful election in the 26 counties where we more than tripled our representation from the previous general election to 14 TDs.

In the six counties we have completed a first full term of a government since the late 60s. Sinn Féin is at the heart and leadership of it.

Not only have we brought the DUP into power sharing arrangements but they have crossed the line into all-Ireland institutions. They have also signed up to a programme for government underpinned by an equality agenda which impacts on every assembly department, unionist or otherwise.

Sinn Féin has relegated discrimination under the old Stormont regime and unaccountable British ministers to the history books.

Okay, some might say what has the assembly and executive achieved under Sinn Fein’s stewardship?
Well, amongst other things we have wrested policing and justice powers from London to make it accountable locally.

·We have consolidated the peace process.
·Rates per household are 47 per cent lower on average than in Britain,
·Put £22.5 million out to vulnerable households in winter hardship payments.
·Since 2007 created more and better jobs and secured almost £2.6 billion investment commitments with investments from America like NYSE, CITI, Dow chemicals, TERX, Universal and HBO.
·Free travel for all over 60s - there have been some 5.5 million journeys undertaken.
·Free prescriptions and no additional water charges
·Put £500 million into school estate; social investment fund of £80 million over the next four years for disadvantaged communities
·Social protection fund for vulnerable individuals and families with £20 million in year one with similar amounts to follow.

Sinn Féin is a party that works on every level but especially keeps itself grounded. All elected reps only take a percentage of their wage equivalent to the average industrial wage so that we continue to be aware and experience the lifestyle of a large section of working people and to reinvest in serving the community.

We are for reducing MLAs salaries and expenses by 15 per cent, abolishing additional re numeration for committee chairs and vice chairs, abolishing unnecessary quangos and ending the use of highly paid external consultants.

We are for harmonizing taxation across the Island and cutting replication of administration.
We believe in building the economy and private sector while protecting front line services in the public sector.

We are working for the small to medium sized businesses that make up over 95 per cent of all businesses here.
Sinn Féin has an all-Ireland vision. We want a United Ireland based on equality. We are closer to that goal than at any other time in our history. To achieve it we need strong political representation, North and South. The more votes we have the more change we can make.

All politics is local and North Belfast leads from the front in equality. We have 12 candidates running in the assembly and council elections on the 5th May, six women and six men. We have worked for and achieved gender balance in elections going back to 1988.
Make your vote count. Be an active part of our struggle.

Planning law changes may not affect decisions on dormer windows

Sinn Féin Councillor Danny Lavery has warned local people not to get their hopes up after the environment minister announced he is to relax planning laws from next month.
Danny said the dozens of homeowners across North Belfast who were told they could build dormer windows without planning permission are unlikely to be given a reprieve in the new announcement.

He said he is dealing with a number of local people who were told they could install dormer windows without planning permission and are now at odds with planning law.

“The relaxing of the law has to be welcomed, but I would urge people not to get their hopes up,” said Danny.

“This latest announcement does not include retrospective applications, which means that those who already have them will not be automatically given permission.
“It is also likely to mean that dormer windows at the side of a house will be ok but those at the front will not. Many householders will still be left in the same position,” said the Sinn Féin representative.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sinn Féin is at the cutting edge of breaking generations of discrimination – Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin’s North Belfast team are leading the way on equality by standing six men and six women in the forthcoming elections in May.
Sinn Féin officially launched their campaign in the area this week and are confident they can feed on their success in last month’s elections in the South when they more than trebled their number of seats.

“Standing six women and six men in May’s elections is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the full range of equality battles,” said MLA Carál Ní Chuilín.
“From housing and regeneration to leisure and safer communities, North Belfast Sinn Féin is at the cutting edge of breaking generations of discrimination.

“Of course we are very positive after significant advances in the recent Dáil elections. We are confident of our record in North Belfast, in the Assembly and the City Council and our vision for the way forward.”
However Carál added that Sinn Féin will be fighting for every vote.

“Even our critics would concede that Sinn Féin are both hard working and very determined. However, we won't be taking one single vote for granted.
“Increasing our representation is key to advancing our programme of leadership across Ireland.

“It's about making people's lives better today as we set out our clear vision for the Ireland we are shaping for tomorrow.
“We are all up for the election campaign in the weeks ahead and this is the strongest team we have ever put forward.”

Along with Carál Ní Chuilín, Gerry Kelly will be running for the Assembly along with a third candidate, JJ Magee.

The party will also be running three candidates in Newtownabbey - Gerry O'Reilly, Marie Mackessy and Mary Gillen - for the Council elections on the same day.
For Belfast City Council Sinn Féin are putting forward Danny Lavery, Conor Maskey, Gerry McCabe, Mary Clarke, Tierna Cunningham and Mary Ellen Campbell.

Disadvantaged communities will welcome additional funding from the Executive

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed the news that the £80 million Social Development Fund is to be rolled out across some of the most deprived areas in the Six Counties.

“This is indeed welcome news for some of the north’s most socio-economically deprived communities; I have no doubt those people working tirelessly on the ground will welcome today’s announcement,” said Gerry.

“The Executive set itself an objective of targeting disadvantage and supporting those most vulnerable within our community; this additional £80 million is about tackling that same disadvantage, about tackling dereliction and about tackling directly the effects that poverty and other disadvantage has on our people, not least issues around mental health, physical wellbeing, access to training and employment etc.

“This news should be welcomed by all of those who make prioritising working class and disadvantaged communities their benchmark.”