Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ó Snodaigh Calls For Return of Christmas Bonus Social Welfare Payment

Ó Snodaigh calls for return of Christmas bonus social welfare payment

Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for the re-introduction of the Christmas bonus social welfare payment.

Speaking at a meeting of party activists and elected reps in Dublin today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said his party’s pre-budget submission, to be launched on Monday, will set out revenue raising proposals to fund all current social welfare rates and to re-introduce the Christmas bonus.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Unlike the other parties Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission is designed to protect the most vulnerable in our society while stimulating the economy and reducing the budget deficit.

“By ending wastages in public spending, eliminating tax loopholes and introducing new tax measures aimed at those who can afford to pay, Sinn Féin has identified the funding required to fund all current social welfare rates and to re-introduce the Christmas bonus payment.

“The withdrawal of the Christmas bonus payment last year was a cruel measure which caused much heartache and stress. It forced many families into the hands of unscrupulous money lenders and it will do so again this year unless the payment is re-introduced.

“Sinn Féin challenges the claim from the other political parties that there must be cutbacks in social welfare and that everybody must share in the pain. The fact is that these parties are targeting low and middle income earners rather than the wealth that is still in this state.

“We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that social welfare is an important economic stimulus that helps to retain and create jobs particularly at Christmas time.
“The true measure of any society is in how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. In the current economic crisis Sinn Féin seeks to protect the most vulnerable.” ENDS

Adams Expresses Condolences on Death of Minister Micheál Martin's Daughter

Adams expresses condolences on death of Minister Martin’s daughter

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams this evening extended his deepest sympathy to Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin and his wife Mary on the death of their young daughter Léana.

Gerry Adams said:

“I was saddened to hear of the death of Léana, the young daughter of Micheál and Mary Martin. I want to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to Minister Martin, to his wife Mary and to the entire Martin family.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sinn Féin Selects Chris O'Leary for Cork South-Central

Sinn Féin Selects Chris O’Leary for South Central

Chris O’Leary was last night selected as Sinn Féin’s candidate to contest the next general election in Cork South Central.

Cllr O’Leary was selected unanimously after being proposed by Cllr Henry Cremin and seconded by Cllr Fiona Kerins. Afterwards, he told the well-attended convention:

“I am proud and honoured to be chosen to represent Sinn Féin in this election. My grandfather sat alongside Terence MacSwiney and Tomás MacCurtain as a Sinn Féin councillor ninety years ago. I hope we can summon up some of the courage and principle that animated their generation as we struggle to overcome our difficulties today.”

“The country faces a deep economic crisis, made worse by the corruption and mismanagement of the political elite. Four years ago Sinn Féin was arguing for a package of measures to curb speculation and reduce the price of building land; for rebalancing of the tax system towards taxes on incomes and on the wealthy; for proper regulation of the financial sector. If these policies had been implemented, the economic crisis would not have been as severe. This record, among other things, influenced my decision to join the party.”

“Today we see a consensus not just between Fianna Fáil and the Greens, but including Labour and Fine Gael, that at least €15 billion must be taken out of the economy over the next four years. This is despite the warnings of many economists that to do so will cost jobs, kill any prospect of growth, and send the economy into downward spiral. Sinn Féin is the only party which is not a part of that consensus. We believe that there is a better way.”

“That better way means putting money into job creation instead of into zombie banks. It means closing the deficit over six years, not four – as the ESRI recommends. It means placing the emphasis on tax increases for those who can pay, rather than cuts for those who cannot. It means ending the bank guarantee scheme and telling the bondholders at Anglo Irish that they must take their losses. It means stimulating the economy rather than further deflating it.”

“Sinn Féin is proposing a wealth tax on assets of over €1 million, excluding the family home, that would raise over €1 billion. We propose standardising all tax reliefs, raising a further €1.1 billion. We call for a 48% tax rate for those earning over €2,000 per week. These are just three of many detailed, costed proposals to increase revenue and save money. They prove there is an alternative to deflating the economy, punishing the poor, and driving down incomes and wages.”

“I want people to know that in the next election they have a choice other than between two cutbacks coalitions. Sinn Féin has experienced rapid growth in Cork South Central over the past five years. With three city councillors in the constituency we are now serious players. We are proud to stand outside the establishment’s consensus for cuts. Our message tonight is clear – if you want to break that consensus, if you believe there is a better way, vote for Sinn Féin.”

For further information or comment contact Cllr Chris O’Leary @ 087-2794307

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Volunteer Paddy McCarthy Commemoration

Volunteer Paddy McCarthy Commemoration-90th Anniversary

This Sunday 2pm Millstreet, speaker Cllr Rachel McCarthy(Bandon)

MacCurtain/MacSwiney Republican Flute Band in attendance.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sinn Féin to Call for Moratorium on Conferences

Sinn Féin to Call for Moratorium on Conferences

Speaking after last night’s City Council meeting, Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary said the party will put forward a motion to the next meeting calling on the council to approve no further payments of conference expenses until an investigation of over-payments has taken place and the entire system is overhauled.

Cllr O’Leary said:

“There are serious questions to be asked about the regime of conference expenses in City Hall. A number of councillors have claimed substantially more for attending conferences in the past year than the already generous amounts allowed them by council. The council has also introduced a practice of retrospectively approving conference expenses for councillors who neglect to apply for funds before attending.”

“Last night I repeatedly requested clarification from the Manager as to whether some of the conference payments we as a council were being asked to approve were retrospective. I was overruled by the Lord Mayor, who insisted on railroading through approval of conference payments with the support of the pact parties.”

“Outside the council chamber, people are being faced with real hardship as a result of government cutbacks. December’s budget is likely to see further reductions in social welfare payments, increased taxes on lower income workers, and further cuts in services. In this climate it is simply scandalous that councillors from the very parties which are preaching austerity to ordinary people should be drawing down thousands of Euros to go around the country on junkets. And it beggars belief that they should seek to abuse this system to claim even more.”

“The Sinn Féin group on the council is now calling for a complete halt to conference payments until a full investigation of overpayments has taken place and an overhaul of the system has been carried out.”

For further information contact Cllr Chris O’Leary 087-2794307

Majority of Grants Delayed Until December

Majority of Grants Delayed Until December

Cork City Council has yet to make a single payment under the Higher Education Grant Scheme this year, with the majority of claimants waiting until December or even later for their first instalment. In response to a question from Sinn Fein Councillor Fiona Kerins, the City Manager also revealed that of 574 new applications received this year, only 208 have been approved.

Commenting on the delay, Cllr Kerins said:

“The Manager’s response shows that not a single payment has been made to date under the Higher Education Grant scheme by Cork City Council. The first payment to both new applicants who have been approved and renewals will not be dispatched until the 5th November.”

“What is truly shocking is that of 574 new applications received under the 2010/2011 scheme, only 208 have been awarded the grant. Of the remainder, 60 applicants have been deemed ineligible, but 201 applications have been returned seeking further information. These and the 127 applications deemed “late” will receive no payment until December. The Higher Education Grant process is a bureaucratic nightmare and the majority of these applications have been stalled simply as a result of some minor technicality.”

“Students in receipt of the Higher Education Grant are by definition on low incomes. In the current climate, many of them will be mature students returning to education in order to upskill themselves and improve their prospects of gaining employment. Without the grant, some of these will be forced to drop out of college. I am calling on the city council to temporarily reassign staff from other duties to the Higher Education Grant Section in order to process the backlog and ensure payment of the grant as early as possible.”

For further information contact Cllr Fiona Kerins @ 085-1091758

Council Must Show Stronger Commitment to Elderly Tenants

Council Must Show Stronger Commitment to Elderly Tenants

Cllr Henry Cremin last night expressed his disappointment at the Council’s failure to give a firm commitment to servicing the boilers of its elderly tenants this winter.

In response to a question from the Sinn Féin representative, council management stated they would arrange the servicing of gas central heating boilers for council tenants “subject to funding” and give priority to the elderly “as far as practical and within available resources”.

Commenting, Cllr Cremin said:

“While it is welcome that the council has agreed to look at the issue of servicing the boilers of elderly tenants this winter, I am disappointed that management have no been able to give me a firmer commitment.”

“Several elderly constituents have approached me in the past few weeks, anxious to find out whether their heating systems will be overhauled before the cold months ahead. Most of them are on small incomes and depend on the council to carry out this work. While I understand the financial constraints on the local authority in the current climate, this is an area that should be given priority. Hundreds of elderly people die from a combination of fuel poverty and cold in Ireland every winter. The work I am looking to have carried out for elderly tenants could literally save lives.”

For further information or comment contact Cllr Henry Cremin @ 086-2662874

New Policy May Leave People Homeless- O'Leary

New Policy May Leave People Homeless – O’Leary

Cllr Chris O’Leary has hit out at Cork City Council’s new policy of informing Community Welfare Officers after housing applicants have refused two offers of housing. The applicants then face the possibility of having Rent Allowance withdrawn, leaving some vulnerable to becoming homeless.

Cllr O’Leary was speaking after the City Manager confirmed the Council was implementing the new policy at the behest of the Department of the Environment.

He said:

“There are an unknown number of people on the housing list because they need Rent Allowance to pay for accommodation and must be on the list in order to claim it. Under the new policy, these face having their benefit withdrawn if they turn down two offers of council housing.”

“There are others who genuinely want to be housed by the council, but the offers they receive may be unsuitable for a number of reasons – because the accommodation is in an area away from their families or is being targeted by anti-social elements. These people are also being penalised by the council’s policy, facing not just withdrawal of benefits but being taken off the housing list for twelve months.”

“What this amounts to is yet another example of the government attempting to save money by penalising the least well-off in our society, while it shovels billions into the zombie banks that have brought the country to its knees. This policy risks tipping hundreds of individuals and families into crisis and causing increased homelessness.”

For further information contact Cllr Chris O’Leary @ 087-2794307

Sinn Féin Selection Convention for Cork South Central

Sinn Féin Selection Convention for Cork South Central

Sinn Féin is to hold its selection convention for Cork South Central this Thursday at 8pm in Ballyphehane Community Centre.

The occasion will be presided over by a member of the party’s Ard Comhairle, and all members of Sinn Féin in Cork City are entitled to attend and vote. Cork South East councillor Chris O’Leary has already signalled his intention to contest the nomination.

The party has three city councillors and one town councillor in Cork South Central, and polled over 4,200 first preferences across the constituency at the 2009 local election.

For further information of comment contact Cllr Jonathan O'Brien @ 085-2133907

8,081 on Council List

8,081 on Council Housing List

A report presented to Cork City Council last night showed that there were now 8,081 eligible applicants on the social housing list, with hundreds more waiting approval.

Commenting on the report, Sinn Féin Cllr Jonathan O’Brien said it proved the council’s housing policy was failing.

“If no new applicants come on the housing list, it would still take more than twenty years to clear it at the current rate. Instead, hundreds more applicants are coming onto the list every month. This is a failure by any account.”

“We now have two contradictory classes of people on the housing list – those who are desperately hoping for an offer, often left waiting for years, and those hoping not to receive an offer because if they refuse it they will lose their rent allowance. This simply underlines the incoherence of our housing policy.”

“Cork Sinn Féin put forward a comprehensive housing policy to Cork City Council last July, and has consistently called for action on this accelerating crisis since. Today’s figures again show the urgency of the situation. We will continue to campaign on this issue until the council’s housing policy is thoroughly reformed.”

For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Terence MacSwiney & Joe Murphy Commemorated

A commemoration to mark the 90th anniversaries of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy took place on Sunday at Pouladuff Road and the republican plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery. Both men died on hunger strike on 25th October 1920. The event was organised by the Phoenix Historical Society.

The commemoration began outside the family home of Joe Murphy on Pouladuff Road. From there it proceeded to the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, led by the newly-formed MacSwiney/MacCurtain Republican Flute Band.

Ceremonies at the plot were chaired by Cllr Henry Cremin. He noted that while today marked the 90th anniversary of the deaths of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy, Volunteers Michael Fitzgerald, Andy O’Sullivan, and Donnacha de Barra, who likewise died on hunger strike during the years 1920-23, also deserved to be remembered. Cllr Cremin concluded by commending the band, which although formed less than six months before has grown swiftly and had a strong turnout on the day.

Wreathes were laid on the graves of Terence MacSwiney, Donnacha DeBarra, Joe Murphy, and at the monument to all republican hunger-strikers.

The main oration was given by Cllr Chris O’Leary, who spoke of the courage and self-sacrifice shown by men like Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy in the most difficult of times. “When Terence MacSwiney became Lord Mayor of Cork in March 1920 his predecessor and close friend Tomás MacCurtain had just been murdered. Cork was under nightly curfew, and looting and shootings by the British army and the Black and Tans were a daily occurrence. Terence MacSwiney gave the city leadership at a time when Britain was doing its utmost to break the Irish people’s resistance, and his death on hunger strike resonated around the world.”

“Patriots like those we are commemorating today would be spinning in their graves at the actions of the political and business elite running the country. Corruption and mismanagement have not merely pushed Ireland into the worst recession in its history, but imperilled the sovereignty for which men like Joe Murphy and Terence McSwiney died. The price for the government’s disastrous economic policies is being paid by ordinary citizens, while €50 billion has been spent bailing out bankers who brought the country to its knees.”

Cllr O’Leary concluded by calling for a new spirit of patriotism and a new generation of political leadership in the country which would draw inspiration from the lives of men like Terence McSwiney and Joe Murphy and finally bring their vision of a free and independent 32-county republic to fruition.

The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhráin na bFhiann.

Biographical Note

Joe Murphy, from Pouladuff Road in Ballyphehane, joined the Irish Volunteers in 1917 and took place in numerous actions during the War of Independence. He was arrested in July 1920 and imprisoned in Cork Jail. He subsequently went on hunger strike with a large group of prisoners included Lord Mayor of Cork Terence McSwiney. Joe Murphy died after 76 days without food on 25th October 1920 – the same day as Terence McSwiney – aged 25 years. He is buried in the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery.

For further information contact Cllr Thomas Gould @ 087/3021551

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cork Sinn Fein to Protest at Visit by Brian Cowen

Cork Sinn Féin to Protest at Cowen Visit

Cork Sinn Féin will hold a picket today as Brian Cowen visits Cork University Hospital, to protest against the proposed €1 billion in health cutbacks and highlight the fact that there is an alternative to the consensus for cuts.

Speaking this morning, the party’s general election candidate for Cork North Central, Jonathan O'Brien, said: "It is deeply ironic that Brian Cowan is coming to Cork today on a visit which will include both CUH and CIT, given that his government is currently finalising a budget which will cut up to €1 billion from frontline health services and slash spending on education." "Sinn Féin rejects the political consensus that cuts in pay and services are the way to restart the economy. Taking another €5 billion out of the economy this December will only lead to further jobs losses and kill any prospect of growth.

This analysis is now supported by the ERSI as well as many in the trade union movement and the community and voluntary sector. The fact is Fianna Fail are deciding economic policy not in the interests of the Irish economy, but at the behest of the financial markets and the EU.” "Sinn Féin wants a longer time-frame for reducing the deficit, and a budget where the focus is on taxing those who can pay, rather than cutting services for those most in need. We are the only party to reflect the growing chorus of voices in civil society rejecting the consensus for cuts. Today’s protest is to highlight the possibility of an alternative budget and is part of the build up to our national protest against cutbacks in Dublin on December 4th.” For further information or comment contact Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

90th Anniversaries of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy to be Commemorated

90th Anniversaries of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy to be Commemorated

A commemoration to mark the the 90th anniversaries of the deaths on hungerstrike of Terence MacSwiney and fellow Irish Volunteer Joe Murphy will take place this Sunday 24th October. The commemoration will begin at "Joe Murphy House' on Pouladuff Rd, the birthplace of Joe Murphy, and proceed to the republican plot at St Finbarr's Cemetery where both are laid to rest.

The event is being organised by the Phoenix Historical Society. Spokesperson for the Phoenix Historical Society, Cork City Councillor Fiona Kerins, said:
"Sunday's event marks an important day in the history of both Cork and Ireland. On 25th October 1920 Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney died on hungerstrike in Brixton Prison, an event which drew the attention of the entire world to the struggle for freedom in Ireland. His comrade Joe Murphy, also on hungerstrike, died on the same day. This year is the 90th anniversary of both men's deaths, and I would invite people to come and join us in remembering their sacrifice on Sunday.

The vision and courage shown by men like Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy still stands as an inspiration to us today and it is important that their sacrifice is remembered." For further information or comment contact Fiona Kerins @ 085-1091758.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Glen Launch of Housing Campaign Next Wednesday

Glen Launch of Housing Campaign Next Wednesday

Cork Sinn Féin will take its ongoing housing campaign to the Glen next Wednesday with a public meeting in the Glen Resource Centre at 7.30. The meeting will be addressed by local councillor Thomas Gould and Sinn Féin general election candidate Cllr Jonathan O'Brien.

Cllr Gould said:

"Cork City Council's housing policy has failed. On current trends, there could be 10,000 families on the housing list by the end of the year. The delays in having maintenance work carried out are only getting longer as staff cuts in the council bite. And while the commencement of the second phase of the Glen Regeneration Project this week is welcome, it is also long, long overdue."

"For the past two weeks I have been out and about speaking to people in The Glen and Ballyvolane about Sinn Féin's housing campaign and inviting them to next Wednesday's meeting. The response has been huge and I am confident that this meeting, like those which have already taken place in Togher and Mahon, will be a huge success. There is a lot of anger out there on the part of people who have been waiting for a house for years and feel fobbed off and let down by the council. Sinn Féin's message is - turn your anger into action. By coming together we can become a force for change and make City Hall pay attention to our demands. I invite everyone in the Glen and Ballyvolane areas who feels the council's housing policy has failed them to come along to the Glen Resource Centre next Wednesday, listen to Sinn Féin alternative proposals, and join the campaign for change."

For further information or comment contact Cllr Thomas Gould @ 087/3021551.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Minister's Visit Does Nothing for 8,000 on Housing List

Minister’s Visit Does Nothing for 8,000 on Housing List

Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan O’Brien has described the visit to the city of the minister of state with responsibility for housing, Michael Finneran, as an orgy of self-congratulation which did nothing for over 8,000 families waiting on the housing list.

Cllr O’Brien said:

“Michael Finneran’s visit yesterday was the signal for an orgy of self-congratulation and back-slapping among councillors and officials about the regeneration projects in Knocknaheeney and the Glen. However while the opening of the new community centre in Knocknaheeney and the commencement of the second phase of the Glen Regeneration project are welcome, though overdue, neither addresses the core issue of 8,000 families waiting for housing in Cork.”

“In a time of cutbacks and austerity, the lavish reception laid on for the Minister of State by the council also shows how out of touch some people on that body are with the realities of life for ordinary people.”

“The Minister would have been better meeting councillors to discuss the growing housing crisis in Cork and what, if anything, the government is prepared to do to sort it out.”

For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907

Serious Issues Surround Council Staff Cuts

Serious Issues Surround Council Staff Cuts

Figures released to Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary by city management show that Cork City Council lost 138 staff in recent times, with early retirement and redundancy schemes costing the local authority €412,875. Cllr O’Leary said that while the staff reductions were hitting local services hard, there were serious questions over their value as a money-saving measure, with some former council employees being taken on to do their previous jobs as private contactors.

Cllr O’Leary said:

“In response to a question from me, the City Manager has revealed the council lost 138 staff in recent times. Among the hardest hit departments were housing, down 27 staff, and recreation and culture, down 31.”

“The impact of these cuts can be seen in the lengthening waiting lists for housing maintenance and in places like St Finbarr’s Cemetery, which the council no longer has the manpower to maintain to a proper standard.”

“However while these cutbacks are having an undeniable impact on council services, it is less certain whether they are producing the savings that management would claim. Just two schemes, affecting 31 staff – the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement (ISER) and the Incentivised Career Break Scheme (ICR) – cost the council €412,875. Meanwhile some of the work formerly done by the council’s own employees is being contracted out to the private sector. I have information of at least one case where such a company has subcontracted former council staff, at reduced pay, to carry out the work.”

“The Manager claims to be unaware of these practices, despite a previous motion of council demanding private contractors provide a list of their employees. There needs to be a full review of the ISER and ICR schemes and the system of contracting work previously carried out by council employees to private companies.”

For further information contact Cllr Chris O’Leary @ 087-2794307

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sinn Féin Councillors Challenge Minister on Budget Cuts

Sinn Féin Councillors Challenge Minister on Budget Cuts

Sinn Féin councillors Chris O’Leary and Thomas Gould challenged Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv on the government’s handling of the economy at a public meeting in the Commons Inn Hotel last night. Sinn Féin activists held a peaceful protest outside the venue before and during the event to highlight the government’s failure to produce a coherent jobs strategy and its targeting of the unemployed.

Cllr Thomas Gould challenged the Minister to defend the government’s budgetary policy, saying there was an alternative to cutbacks targeting frontline services and those on social welfare. “Sinn Féin produced a pre-budget submission last year proposing, among other measures, a wealth tax on those with assets over €1 million which would have raised €1.6 billion; standardisation of all tax reliefs, to bring in €1.1 billion; and the phasing out of subsidies to private schools and to private practice in public hospitals. These examples show that there is an alternative; we can tax the wealth which remains in this country and target savings from government subsidies to the private sector and high-paid civil servants rather than penalising the less well off.”

Cllr Chris O’Leary criticised the government’s lack of a clear job creation strategy and said the unemployed and social welfare recipients must be protected in December’s budget. “The government’s response to the jobs crisis seems to be to blame the unemployed. In the last budget jobseeker’s allowance was cut – in the case of some young jobseekers by 50%. Only a few weeks ago the Minister announced that thousands of unemployed people would be forced to do unpaid work or lose the dole. Now the social welfare budget is set to be targeted again as the government looks for over €4 billion in additional cutbacks to pay off international speculators who gambled on Anglo-Irish Bank. Can I suggest to the Minister one very effective way to reduce the social welfare bill? – Create jobs and get people back to work.”

For more information contact Cllr Thomas Gould @ 087/3021551 or Cllr Chris O'Leary @ 087/2794307.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sinn Féin to Protest During Minister's Visit to Cork

Sinn Féin to Protest During Minister’s Visit to Cork

Cork Sinn Féin is to hold a protest tonight at the Commons Inn Hotel, where Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv will be addressing a meeting on the government’s social welfare policy.

Local councillor Thomas Gould said:

“Sinn Féin has been calling on this government to produce a comprehensive jobs strategy for the last two years. Instead, the government’s only response to the unemployment crisis has been to target the unemployed.

“First we had cutbacks in jobseekers allowance at the last budget. Then we had the Minister’s proposal to establish what is basically a workfare programme for the unemployed. Now we have further cuts in the social welfare budget being flagged for December.”

“All this is against a backdrop where the government can afford to put €50 billion into the country’s zombie banks.”

“The government’s strategy of bank bailouts and budget cutbacks has failed. All it has done is create more misery and push the country deeper into recession. It is time Fianna Fail were out of office and a new government, with a real strategy to create jobs and grow the economy, was put in place.”

The protest will take place from 7.30pm tonight outside the Commons Inn Hotel. For further information contact Cllr Thomas Gould @ 087-3021551

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cllr Jonathan O'Brien to Contest Cork North Central

Cllr Jonathan O’Brien to Contest Cork North Central

At a Sinn Féin constituency convention last night, Cllr Jonathan O’Brien was unanimously selected to contest the constituency of Cork North Central at the next election. He was nominated by Cllr Thomas Gould and seconded by Cllr Chris O’Leary.

Accepting the nomination, Cllr O’Brien said:

“Never before has politics as usual in this country been so obviously bankrupt. Never before has there been such a crying need for change.

“Today the government has announced it will be pouring further billions into the country’s zombie banks. The people who will pay for this, through pay cuts, reduced services and higher taxes, are ordinary Irish citizens. Tonight many of them are asking “When is this going to stop?”

“The bill to rescue the banking system has now topped €50 billion – with no guarantee it will not rise further. This banking crisis is not some act of God that is beyond the government’s control. It is the result of bad decisions and bad policy. The decision to continue inflating a property bubble when many warned it was unsustainable. The decision not to impose proper regulation on the banks. And most recently, the decision to give priority to the interests of international bondholders over those of Irish citizens.

“What the government is doing – imposing a possible €4 billion in cuts in services so it can hand over the money to international speculators who invested in Anglo-Irish Bank – is criminal.

“Rather than throwing good money after bad, the government should close the doors of Anglo-Irish and force the financial gamblers who invested in it to take their losses.

“Sinn Féin will never be party to an act of economic treason such as this government is committing. The next election will be a referendum on the government’s handling of the economy. Sinn Féin has increased our vote at every election in the constituency, and I am confident that this time we will take a seat. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote to get Fianna Fail out. It is also a vote for a party that will put the interests of Irish citizens first and will not be bullied by EU commissioners or international bondholders.”

For further information contact Jonathan O’Brien @085/2133907