The Week in Review
09 – 16 December 2016
On Behalf of Sinn Féin’s MPs & Staff we would like to wish all ‘Week in Review’ Subscribers a Merry Christmas & a Happy 2017!
Nollaig shona daoibh!
Urgent action required over RHI debacle – Conor Murphy MLA
Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said today that there needs to be urgent action to address the growing crisis in public confidence surrounding the Renewable Heating Initiative debacle.
Mr Murphy said: “Everyday brings new allegations and accusations about the mishandling of this scheme which was flawed from its inception and by the allegations of abuse and corruption surrounding its operation.”
Mr Murphy continued, “This is compounded by the claim, counter claim and infighting over who was responsible for this between former DUP ministerial colleagues. We need to get to the bottom of this and hold those responsible for this mess to account as a matter of urgency in order to restore public confidence.”
Mr Murphy said that there needs to be an independent investigation into the matter in which “all information, including internal departmental papers, records, and email trails should be fully disclosed by all of those involved.”
Mr Murphy stated: “We also need to know who benefited from this flawed scheme and who made the decisions surrounding its design, operation, and failure to monitor and slowest to close the scheme.
In addition there needs to be urgent action to reduce the impact of this debacle on our public finances and on our public services.”
He concluded: “It is not acceptable that our health, education and other vital frontline services are suffering as a result of a scandal for which no-one has yet been held to account. Sinn Féin MLAs and leadership team will be meeting tomorrow to discuss what further actions are required.”
Eoin Ó Broin TD identifies significant flaw in Rent legislation
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD revealed last night a significant flaw he had identified in the Planning and Development Bill that Fianna Fáil and Fine have signed up to.
Teachta Ó Broin believes that the mathematical formula being used in the Bill to determine rent increases next year would in fact allow rents to increase by 8%, and not 4%.
Speaking outside the Dáil on Thursday evening, the Dublin Mid-West TD said: “If those of us who have to scrutinise government legislation hadn’t done our homework properly, would hard pressed renters in January have been hit with an 8% increase?”
Teachta Ó Broin continued “It’s a bad way to do legislation. To launch a strategy on Tuesday, not give the opposition a real opportunity to scrutinise it and then to try and rush it through in the last sitting day of the Dáil before Christmas, is not the way to make such significant change. Who’s going to lose? Hard pressed renters.”
He concluded: “What we have this evening is a massive capitulation by Fianna Fáil to a badly designed Fine Gael rent plan.”
Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust shining example to us all – Mickey Brady MP
Sinn Féin MP Mickey Brady has praised the work done by the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.
The Newry and Armagh MP said: “The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust provides an invaluable service to families during their deepest time of need when they receive the devastating news that a loved one has been killed or died tragically abroad. I salute the work of Kevin Bell’s family, their friends and the trust’s volunteers for the great work and the practical and emotional support they offer. Since its inception in 2013 the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust has helped bring home the bodies of over 230 Irish citizens. They continue to be shining example to us all.”
Brexit would have detrimental consequences for Agri-Food sector – Caoimhe Archibald MLA
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said a British House of Lords report into the impact of Brexit highlights the huge effect it would have on the agri-food sector.
The Chair of the Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs committee said: “Stakeholders have been telling us for months how huge the impact will be, particularly regarding cross border trade. This report highlights some 38% of our exports from the north go to the south and in the agri-food sector around £700 million of the £1.15 billion annual exports go south. Any change to the relationship on this island will have detrimental consequences for both sides of the border. The south exports at a very high level to Britain and we are already seeing the impact the referendum result has had on some sectors, for example the mushroom industry.”
The East Derry MLA concluded, “This report is another reminder of the need to create some stability and to secure designated special status for the north within the EU, which reflects how the majority of people here voted.”
Now is the time to plan and build for a United Ireland – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the results of an RTÉ opinion poll, which shows a majority of respondents agreeing with the proposition that it is time for a United Ireland, should be reflected in practical political preparation for unity.
Matt Carthy said: “The results of this poll confirms those of successive opinion polls, which show a majority in the South in favour of Irish reunification. It is time that political leaders reflected the desire of people by starting the necessary, practical preparation for unity. In recent years, the North has been transformed as a result of the Peace Process. The prospect, since the Brexit referendum result, of one part of Ireland being taken out of the European Union, against the democratically expressed wishes of the people there, highlights the logic and desirability of Irish unity.”
Matt Carthy stated that a united Ireland would “benefit all of our people North and South, unlocking the real economic potential of the island and acting as a spur for economic growth. It will lead to more jobs, an improvement in living standards across the island and more effective public services such as Healthcare.”
He continued, “Sinn Féin seeks an agreed, inclusive, pluralist Ireland which is constructed by citizens from all backgrounds and traditions. We are seeking a referendum on a united Ireland, as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement. Securing such a referendum would be an historic opportunity for all the people of Ireland to build a better future together. Now is the time to plan and build the for unity. The leadership of those political parties which say they support Irish unity, acting together, could provide the leadership to deliver it.”
Mr Carthy called on the Irish Government to prepare “a real plan for unity”, saying that “a first step in the next term of the Oireachtas would be the development of an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper on this issue.”
He concluded, “In recent weeks Sinn Féin has published a discussion document which aims to stimulate debate and to make the case for unity. It is now time that others parties did the same.”
Lynn Boylan MEP welcomes EU push for Ibrahim Halawa
Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has responded to the news that Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa’s trial has been postponed for the 17th time and will resume on January 17th, 2017.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Boylan said; “Today Ibrahim is having his 21st birthday in an Egyptian jail in appalling conditions where he has been detained without trial for almost 3 and a half years since he was arrested as a minor at a pro-democracy demonstration. That this is now the 17th time his trial has been postponed shows plainly what a farce the Egyptian justice system is and the unlikelihood that Ibrahim will ever be offered the chance of a fair trial, especially given the fact that he is also being prosecuted along with 493 others.”
The MEP continued, “The President of the European Parliament made a clear statement this week in the plenary and called on the Egyptian government to respect its human rights obligations on Ibrahim‘s case and has now sent a letter to the Egyptian president to express his concern. In Ireland, where the Taoiseach’s own letters to the Egyptian president have clearly had little impact, it is now well overdue that Enda Kenny picks up the phone to speak to him directly. Furthermore, given that there is currently a review ongoing by Egyptian authorities on its young prisoners, it is essential that the Irish government lobby hard to ensure that Ibrahim’s case is included in this process.”
Ms Boylan concluded, “A Dublin teenager is missing out on some of the best years of his youth and it is absolutely urgent that all possible avenues are explored by the Irish government to end this travesty of justice in Egypt.”
Week in Review is circulated by Sinn Fein MPs. Email email@example.com to join the list or sign up here. For further information visit www.sinnfein.ie or follow us on twitter @sinnfeinireland