The Week in Review
21 – 28 April 2017
Brexit EU Guidelines needed significantly strengthened – Gerry Adams TD
Speaking today, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, commenting on tomorrow’s special EU summit on Brexit, said:
“Tomorrow’s special meeting of the European Council will agree guidelines for Brexit negotiations. The first draft of these guidelines fell short of what is required from Ireland’s perspective, including the North where the people voted to remain with the EU in last June’s referendum. The Government appears to be trying to get those guidelines, which will set out the overall EU positions and principles, amended. I welcome that, although I fear it might be too little, too late.”
Mr Adams said that the Taoiseach had failed to set out the Government priorities in a consolidated paper, as he had promised in March.
Mr Adams said “He has also failed to publish what amendments, if any, he will seek to the negotiations guidelines. Instead, there has been a deluge of spin about what the Government is doing. What it should be doing is seeking a political declaration from the European Council in its negotiation guidelines in relation to securing designated special status for the North within the EU. Such a declaration should seek to address the Single Market, Common Travel Area, EU funding streams, rights of Irish citizens in the north of Ireland and protection of rights and maintain access to EU institutions.”
The Sinn Féin President stated that, “After Britain leaves the Union, we believe that no agreement between the EU and the British government should apply to the north of Ireland without agreement of both governments as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement – an international treaty. We believe that transitional agreements should be put in place until Britain’s relationship with the EU can be agreed in order to protect the North’s economy. The north of Ireland should continue to have political representation within the European Parliament.”
Mr Adams said that the Good Friday Agreement institutions, human rights guarantees, all-Ireland bodies, and the constitutional and legal rights of the people had to all be protected.
Westminster election an opportunity to vote against Brexit and austerity – Elisha McCallion
Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said the upcoming Westminster election is an opportunity to vote against the Tory Brexit agenda and austerity.
The Foyle candidate said: “In the last Assembly election the people came out and voted for equality, integrity and respect and that vote made a difference. Now as we face into a Westminster election where the Tories and the DUP want to drag us out of the EU against our will, the vote of the people can make a difference once again. Brexit will be a disaster for the economy, for local business, for farmers and the wider agri-food industry, for the health service, for workers’ rights and border communities.”
Ms McCallion stated: “Staying in the EU is vital to our future prosperity but it must be a changed EU. There can be no EU frontier across Ireland. Trade tariffs and border controls are unacceptable. Sinn Féin is the only party to put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for designated special status for the north within the EU. That case will not be won at Westminster but across Ireland and throughout Europe. What Sinn Féin wins in this election is a win for everyone who wants a new progressive politics which is modern and inclusive.”
Sinn Féin leaders in London for Brexit meetings
Sinn Féin leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has said there is growing support across Europe for Ireland and the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU.
She was speaking from London where she and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and Francie Molloy MP are involved in a series of engagements last friday.
Speaking on 21st April, Michelle O’Neill said: “Today, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, Francie Molloy MP and I are involved in a series of engagements in London to discuss Brexit and its impact in the North. At these meetings we are making it clear that the majority of people in the north voted to remain in the EU and will take the opportunity to again reject the Tory Brexit agenda during the general election on 8 June. It is clear there is a recognition across Europe of the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland and in particular the severe consequences of a hard economic border which will be a major setback for our peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and the progress of the past 20 years.”
Ms O’Neill said: “There is now an onus on the Irish government who will be part of the EU negotiations to act in the national interests of all citizens, north and south, and to persuade their EU partners of the political and economic merits of designated special status for the north within the EU. This will ensure that the whole island of Ireland remains within the EU together.”
Irish government weakness will lead to a bad deal for Ireland – Mary Lou McDonald TD
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and party leader in the North Michelle O’Neill MLA were in London last for a series of meetings on Brexit and to argue the case for designated special status for the North within the EU and to protect Ireland’s economic interests.
Speaking from London, Deputy McDonald said: “It is now just over a week until the EU Council meets to agree its negotiating guidelines in relation to the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union. There is deep concern that the draft EU Council resolution is so weak in relation to Ireland and, without a major change of approach from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, we are on route to a bad deal for the peace process, a bad deal for our agriculture sector and a bad deal for the wider economy. Instead of protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts, avoiding a hardening of the border and protecting the economy the resolution makes a vague reference to the peace process and only deals with existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between Ireland and Britain which are comparable with EU law.”
Ms McDonald said that “The Government needs a reality check. There is no point in touring EU states unless you are going to play the strongest hand possible in the negotiations. Their priority needs to be getting the best possible deal for Ireland and not waiting until it is too late to act.”
Sinn Féin extends solidarity greetings on International Workers’ Day – Declan Kearney MLA<
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney has extended May Day solidarity greetings to Irish workers and the labour movement across the island on behalf of Sinn Féin.
“Across Ireland the Labour movement will mobilise for May Day rallies this weekend. The May Day tradition originated in Chicago in the 19th century to commemorate the Haymarket Affair where activists campaigning for workers’ rights were attacked and four workers activists were executed. The date was subsequently adopted as International Workers’ Day by the international labour movement and remains a pivotal date in the calendar for all progressives and democrats. It is a time when workers across the world celebrate the struggle for rights and the sacrifice of those who campaigned and battled to achieve economic equality and social justice. May Day is also an occasion which highlights the economic and social challenges facing working people in Ireland and globally.”
The Sinn Féin National Chairperson said; “Today, more than ever, there is a need for a strong organised labour movement in Ireland. Irish workers face many challenges; the prospect of Brexit threatens to strip away many of the rights that workers have won within the EU; we face the prospect of an emboldened Tory government in Westminster intent on attacking the most vulnerable in our society; and we continue to resist the attacks on public services from the most right-wing government ever in Leinster House. The Irish labour movement has a strong tradition in resisting these attacks and defending workers’ rights. It has an essential role to play alongside progressive political parties and sectors of civic society in campaigning for economic democracy, sustainable public services, citizens rights and an Ireland of equals.”
He concluded, “On behalf of Sinn Féin I extend solidarity greetings to all workers on this May Day weekend and pledge our support for a strong labour movement in Ireland.”
Fight to protect Daisy Hill services must continue – Mickey Brady MP
Sinn Féin MP Mickey Brady said the fight to protect emergency services at Daisy Hill Hospital must continue.
Speaking after a public meeting on Thursday evening, the Newry/Armagh MP said: “At today’s meeting myself, Cathal Boylan and Megan Fearon all pointed out the inequality between Daisy Hill and Craigavon. Newry is on the main Dublin to Belfast corridor and is very much dependent on the emergency services provided by Daisy Hill. Daisy Hill also provides for people living along the border corridor and as such the loss of the emergency services will be detrimental. On the back of today’s meeting the Trust has announced a regional summit on options to sustain the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital. While I welcome this initiative I hope it has a positive outcome.”
He concluded, “We need to keep the momentum going and continue the fight to protect the services Daisy Hill Hospital.”
Tory cuts and austerity damaging education and public services – Paul Maskey MP
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has said Tory cuts and austerity are seriously damaging the education system and public services.
The West Belfast MP said: “Cuts by the Tories since 2010 have seriously undermined and damaged our frontline public services. Next week I will meet with a group of principals from west Belfast to discuss the impact of Tory cuts on our education service. Tory attacks on education budgets are an attack on the future. I look forward to engaging with these principals about our continuing opposition to the Tory cuts agenda. Sinn Féin stands firmly against Tory cuts and supports the protection of frontline public services.”
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