Monday, December 7, 2009





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 call 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 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.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative Balbriggan, has expressed his support for Aer Lingus workers in the face of the company’s plans for massive redundancies affecting 676 jobs covering all aspects of its operations.

Fergus Byrne pointed out that once again we are seeing yet another example of panicked and negative thinking on behalf of employers in Ireland. Yes the company, and indeed the country, has severe problems, but simply throwing people onto the dole queues is not the way to tackle them.

Sinn Féin demands that the government take immediate steps to stop any job loses at Aer Lingus and fully supports the workers involved and the demand by their trade union representatives that the threat to their jobs is lifted.

What is needed is for the government to recognise that they can no longer stand aside and allow good jobs to simply disappear. Such inaction by the government creates a viscous circle whereby their refusal to act leads to increased unemployment, this then reduces government tax income and leads to increased social welfare spending, which makes the whole finical crisis in the country worse.

People need to remember that it is not public sector wages that are draining the public finances, but rather having to finance the 400,000 plus people this government has put on the dole queues.

But there is an alternative!

This government was quick enough to jump in and bail out the bankers and property speculators, so now let them help a major employer like Aer lingus get over this difficult period. In Germany and other European economies time limited subsidies are given to struggling companies so that they can keep on their employees. These subsidies help cut the company’s wage bill and it to spend time in upskilling its employees. This is what is needed at Aer Lingus.

The latest world economic figures show many countries are beginning to come out of recession and this will no doubt lead to increased air travel. The present downturn in the industry is therefore expected to be reversed and Aer Lingus needs to be a position to respond quickly to this. If the government takes positive action NOW to maintain jobs in Aer Lingus then the company will have the experienced personnel in place to respond positively to increased consumer demand.

What the people of North Dublin do not want to hear is empty words from local Fianna Fáil or Green Party representatives saying they support the workers and their families. Instead this government needs to show the people of Ireland and North County Dublin that it understands the pain of unemployment and is prepared to do everything in its power to help keep people in jobs.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Fergus Byrne,Sinn Féin representative in Balbriggan, expressed his and Sinn Féin's outrage at the latest rediculous decision of the European Commission. The Commission has just given the green light to the Polish government to grant €54.5m in aid for a factory. This is the same factory to which giant US company Dell is moving production from Limerick with the loss of 1900 jobs.

The EU Competition Authority claimed the aid was compatible with EU rules.

“Our assessment shows that the project’s contribution to regional development and job creation in a disadvantaged region of Poland outweighs any potential negative effects”, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
“For cases like this, which could present a high risk of distorting competition and where job losses in other member states have been pointed to, we need to conduct a detailed economic analysis of the market and of the impact of the aid before taking a decision”, she added.

Early this year Dell announced it was relocating to Lodz with the loss of 1,900 jobs in Limerick.

The Commission claimed its investigation had shown that job losses in Ireland would not be a consequence of the aid granted by the Polish authorities to the Lodz factory.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“This will be greeted with outrage in Limerick and across Ireland. It is another example of the folly of EU policy which prevents governments from investing in State enterprises to secure jobs but which allows massive subsidies to multinational corporations which abandon workers in one country in order to make greater profits from lower paid workers in another.”

Fergus Byrne said: "This is a decision which has consequences for communities across the whole of Ireland. What is to stop any multi-national from simply shutting down here and moving to Eastern Europe, where they can receive massive grants. What is Fianna Fáil doing to preserve jobs here? How hard is the Government fighting for Irish jobs? This government can spend billions to help its banker and developer friends, but what did they do for the Waterford Glass workers or SR Technics? The answer is next to nothing. We need a government that will fight for our jobs in Europe. We need to say No to Lisbon on Friday so the EU knows we are not a country that can be pushed around and if Fianna Fáil, Labour, Fine Gael and the Greens aren't prepared to push for Ireland's interests, then it must be the people that do that. For that reason I urge everybody to vote NO to Lisbon on Friday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NAMA - Destroying our future to bail out the bankers and property speculators

Members of Sinn Féin from across North County Dublin turned out in force last Saturday to march against the ripping off of the Irish people, that is NAMA.

Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald spoke to the assembled crowds and said the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government must fall. Ms. McDonald said any Government which prioritises greedy bankers over the welfare of children can no longer have the support of the Irish people and should be ashamed.

Ms. McDonald said, “This Government plans on spending €54billion to bail out its friends in the banking sector. That is a colossal debt to place on the shoulders of Irish citizens.

“At a time when unemployment is out of control, hospital services are being cutback and thousands of children are being taught in prefab accommodation, this Government’s sole focus has been on how the can dig their developer and banker friends out of the mess which they have created, a mess which has directly affected all of us.

“So the Government has come to us, the taxpayers, to pay for this mess. It is all of us who worked hard to build the Irish economy that are being told we must pay for this mess. But of course we are already paying for the mess with our schools and hospitals and our public services.

“But that’s not enough for this Government. No, now they want to put their hands in the pockets of every man, woman and child in the state to the tune of €12,000. And what do we get for this money? We get nothing because the NAMA plan is flawed and cannot work. So I say no! This cannot be allowed to happen.

“This Government has lost the run of itself. It is out of touch with the reality facing the vast majority of people in this state. It cannot be allowed to continue making decisions that are detrimental to our society. This Government must fall and it must fall soon.”

Referring to Government plans to target Child Benefit for cuts Ms. McDonald said:

“It is an absolute outrage that this Fianna Fáil/Green Government is about to target Child Benefit for cuts again. Many thousands of families are dependent on Child Benefit for such basic necessities as children’s food and clothing. But even these are not out of bounds for this Government.

“And now our children are also being targeted under the McCarthy Report with more education cuts and medical card cuts.

“Any Government which prioritises greedy bankers over the welfare of children can no longer have the support of the Irish people and should be ashamed of themselves. So let’s be clear, this Government needs to fall and it needs to fall soon.”

Friday, September 11, 2009


Will Fianna Fáil ever stop lying to us?

Fianna fáil are continually trying to blame the disastrous economic situation in this country on unforeseeable world economic circumstances and in no way is Fianna Fáil, Blessed Bertie or Biffo to blame for what the nasty big world has done to Ireland. However, the fact that our economy was being run in a reckless, criminal manner was foreseen by one party, Sinn Féin. We saw the crazy government fuelled property boom for what it was and we called on the government, and other parties, to take action. We called for an end to tax and PRSI cuts because the policy was economic madness. Weere we listened to? No!

Sinn Féin repeatedly tackled government Ministers regarding their failure to take any measures to stop the escalation of house prices. We questioned government Ministers regarding the development of a property bubble and we regularly and consistently warned the Government that the reliance on property and consumption taxes could not be sustained and that the tax base needed to be broadened.

We called for the ending of tax breaks which were fuelling the property bubble and for the introduction of a tax on second homes to curb growing house prices which were seeing investors price first time buyers out of the market. We opposed the cutting of capital gains tax on the basis that it would fuel the property bubble and make it more profitable to speculate in property than to run a business.

Our record is clear, Sinn Féin opposed proposals by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour in advance of the 2007 election to cut taxes on the basis that taxes had already been cut to unsustainable levels and we opposed proposals to cut PRSI on the same basis. Any examination of Sinn Féin’s record in the Dáil from 2002 - 2007 in particular will verify these facts. All of our TDs are on record raising these points on numerous occasions.

Unfortunately, rather than consider or even listen to our views, we were described as economic illiterates and disregarded. We now see the consequences of that attitude in the extent of the economic recession

Now once again they are asking us to believe their lies. They claim NAMA is the only way to solve the banking crisis. They say that cuts to public expenditure are unavoidable and the recommendations of An Bord Snip and the Taxation Commission are the only way forward.

The fact is that Fianna Fáil has neither the mandate nor the moral authority to implement NAMA, the McCarthy report or the Commission on Taxation report. They cannot be trusted, nor do they have the competency, to steer this economy in the right direction and a general election should be called immediately.

We in Sinn Féin believe that the economic crisis created by Fianna Fáil must be tackled, but that those who can afford to pay must be asked to pay the most. Those who are either unemployed, ill, in full time education, have special needs, are raising families on modest incomes etc, these people should not be asked to suffer for the failures of Bertie, the property speculators, the greedy bankers and the super rich. No those that can afford to pay should help us through this crisis.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nine reaons Balbriggan and the people of Fingal should say "NO TO NAMA" and bailing out the bakers and property speculators

1. Economists have estimated NAMA will cost each man, woman and child in the state €15,000 (€60-€70 billion). That's a lot of hospitals, schools, jobs and public infrastructure.

2. The Government has done nothing to help families and businesses facing repossession, negative equity and economic hardship, they still have to pay their bills, and it is raising taxes and cutting public spending to pay for the mess they, the banks and developers have made.

3. NAMA will pay more for developers' loans than they are worth and let them pay them back at their leisure.

4. The Bill relies on banks to act in 'good faith' when giving the taxpayer information about the bad loans.

5. The loans these developers were given helped to drive up house prices, so we're being made to pay twice.

6. NAMA will be able to give taxpayers' money to developers to finish projects and even force a purchase on land in the way of developments.

7. The Minister for Finance (currently a Fianna Fáiler -- the builders' friends) will have the power to overturn 'independent' valuation of developers' loans made by NAMA and pay them more.

8. There is no guarantee that the banks will start lending even after NAMA clears their bank sheets.

9. It will cost money to sort out the banks and the bad loans but nationalisation would allow us to deal with the developers, kick out the corrupt management, get banks lending again, protect homeowners and businesses, and entail the least pain for the taxpayer.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Don't be fooled - The Lisbon treaty will impact on Irish neutrality

Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald has accused the Government of misleading the public on the implications for Ireland's neutrality if the Lisbon Treaty is passed. Ms. McDonald accused the Government of applying a very narrow definition of neutrality in order to avoid the detailed implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the states neutrality.

Speaking as the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) launched its No to Lisbon Campaign Ms. McDonald said:

"The Lisbon Treaty has serious implications for our neutrality. Article 28 for the first time makes clear that the EU will have a common defence policy. The same article obliges member states to increase their military spending; draws us further into a military alliance; states that any future defence policy must be compatible with NATO; allows for the formation of mini military alliances; and expands the list of permissible military actions well beyond peace keeping and humanitarian missions.

"The Government, in an attempt to side step the issue, are applying a very narrow definition of Neutrality. Neutrality is about much more than what a country does with its troops. It is also about the alliances you are part of, the obligations created by those alliances, what you do with your resources, and what can happen in your name.

"Sinn Féin has never argued that Irish troops will be sent overseas on military missions without the consent of the Oireachtas.

"However if Lisbon is passed the significant developments in the area of common defence policy contained in the Treaty will further erode our neutrality."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Education cuts - How stupid can we be?

(Fergus Byrne campaiging against education cuts outside a balbriggan school)

The stupidity and ignorance of this government continues to amaze myself and many many others. They have created an economic catastrophe of massive proportions and what is part of their remedy for the mess? They have decided to attack the very future of our country by slashing education spending .

The effects of the cuts in education are already being felt in Balbriggan, Finagal and right across the country. The number of teachers in our schools is being cut and the number of children in each class is growing dramatically. All of this in a country where spending on education is already well below that of other European nations.

Here is a list of schools followed by the number of teachers they have lost. I ask you is this the way to safeguard our future? Be warned this is a long list and only covers parts of Dublin!! Surely we can all agree that cuts in education are madness if we want an educated and modern economy in the years to come.

Lucan Boys
Lucan, Co Dublin

Loreto NS
Rathfarnham, Dublin 14

Ballyroan BNS
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Scoil an Croi Naofa
Glasnevin, Dublin 11

St. Joseph's BNS
Terenure, Dublin 6

Stanhope Street
Dublin 7

St. Patrick's NS
Drumcondra, D 9

Scoil Mhuire
Lucan, Co Dublin

Pres Primary Sch
Terenure, Dublin 6W

Caryfort NS
Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Rathfarnham N.S.
Templeogure, Dublin 14

Harold Boys NS
Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Taney NS
Dundrum, Dublin 14

Sandford NS
Ranelagh, Dublin 6

St. Patrick's BNS
Donabate, Co. Dublin

St. Patrick's Mxd
Skerries, Co. Dublin

St. Brigids Convent
Glasnevin, Dublin 11

St. Vincents Infant
67 Griffith Ave, Dublin 9

St. Mary's CBS
Marino, Dublin 9

Loreto College
Crumlin Rd, Dublin 12

St. Molaga Snr
Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

St. Francis JNS
Priorswood, Dublin 17

St. Louis Mxd
Rathmines, Dublin 6

St. Vincents CBS
Glasnevin, Dublin 9

Holy Child Girls NS
Whitehall, Dublin 9

Cabra West NS
Cabra West, Dublin 7

Sancta Maria CBS
Synge St, Dublin 8

Scoil Eoin Bosco
Navan Rd, Dublin 7

St Oliver Plunkett
Malahide, Co. Dublin

Lusk NS
Lusk, Co. Dublin

Scoil Aine
Raheny, Dublin 5

Naoiscoil Ide
Raheny, Dublin 5

Scoil Bride
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Scoil Lorcain
Palmerstown, Dublin 20

Scoil Bride
Palmerstown, Dublin 20

Scoil Bride Junior
Palmerstown, Dublin 20

James St. CBS
James Street, Dublin 8

Scoil Mhuire
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Scoil San Treasa
The Rise, Mt Merrion, Co. Dublin

St. Josephs NS
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

St. Canices BNS
Finglas, Dublin 11

St. Canices GNS
Finglas, Dublin 11

St. Mochta's NS
Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Colmcille Boys NS
Swords, Co. Dublin

Colmcille Girls NS
Swords, Co. Dublin

St. Peter's Boys
Greenhills, Dublin 12

Scoil Naomh Ide
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Our Lady Good Counsel Boys
Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Our Lady Good Counsel GNS
Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Scoil na Aingeal
Blackrock, Co. Dublin

St. Mark's Sen NS
Springfield, Tallaght, Co. Dublin

St. Josephs JNS
Verbena Estate, Dublin 13

Scoil Colmcille SNS
Ballybrack, Co. Dublin

Darndale Junior NS
Darndale, Malahide Rd, Dublin 17

St. Cronan Mixed NS
Swords, Co. Dublin

St. Kevin's Girls NS
Kilnamanagh, Tallaght, Dublin 24

St. Francis Xavier
Coolmine, Castleknock, Dublin 15

ST Paul's Junior NS
Ayrfield, Malahide Rd, Dublin13

ST Mark's Junior N S
Springfield, Tallaght, Dublin 24

Scoil Bhride
Donaghmede, Dublin 13

Bishop Galvin NS
Orwell Park,Templeogue, D16

Scoil Fhiachra Soisir
Beaumont, Dublin 5

Talbot Senior NS
Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

SN Naomh Treasa
Baile Brigin, Co Ath Cliath

Marley Grange NS
Marley Grange, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Dalkey School Project
Glenageary Lodge, Glenageary, Co Dublin

St Paul's JNS
Greenhills, Walkinstown, Dublin 12

Scoil Nais Caitriona
Kenure, Rush, Co Dublin

John Paul II N S
Sonesta, Malahide, Co Dublin

St Fiachras SNS
Beaumont, Montrose Dublin 5

Rush NS
Rush, Co Dublin

ST Gabriel's NS
Dominican Campus, Ballyfermot, D10

Lady of Good Counsel NS
Mourne Rd, Drimnagh, Dublin 12

Scoil Mhuire Sin
Blakestown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15

St Colmcille Senior NS
Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Sacred Heart NS
Huntstown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15

St Helen's Senior NS
Martello, Portmarnock, Co Dublin

Scoil Thomais
Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15

St Brigid's NS
Brookfield, Talaght, Dublin 24

St Mary's NS
Woodview, Esker, Lucan, Co Dublin

St Aidan's NS
Brookfield, Tallaght, Dublin 24

Drimnagh Castle CBS NS
Drimnagh Castle, Dublin 12

Archbishop Ryan JNS
Balgaddy, Lucan, Co Dublin

Scoil Colm
Armagh Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12

St Brigid's Senior Girls
Finglas West, Dublin 11

Scoil Naisiunta an Dea Aoire
Whitehall Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14

St Brigid's Infant NS
Wellmount Avenue, Finglas West, Dublin 11

John Scottus NS
Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

North Dublin Muslim NS Project
C/O St Joseph's School For the Deaf, Navan Road, Dublin 7

Mary Mother of Hope JNS
Littlepace, Castaheany, Dublin 15

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Local Community stops arcarde from opening at Castle Mill Shopping Centre

Last month Sinn Féin highlighted that a developer planned to open an amusement arcade in Castle Mill Shopping Centre.

The local community and local businesses were greatly opposed to such a plan and a campaign to lobby the council to reject this proposal was mounted. I am pleased to say that this campaign was successful and the planning application for a change of use of the premises concerned was rejected by Fingal County Council.

This case shows that when people are motivated and become involved in issues concerning their community, then positive things can happen.

Once again Balbriggan Sinn Féin wishes to congratulate all those involved with this campaign.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Boycott Thomas Cook Now!

Members of Sinn Féin in Balbriggan protested today at the Four Courts in Dublin at the disgraceful treatment of Thomas Cook workers. At 5.30 am this morning over 100 members of the Gardaí smashed their way into the Thomas Cook offices in Dublin and arrested over 20 members of staff. These offices had been occupied by the workers because the management of the company had arrived from England on 31st July and told the staff they were closing the store as soon as staff had left the building.

Understandably staff took the action to occupy the building as there had not been full negotiations on redundancy and neither was a reasonable period of notice given to the staff.

Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative in Balbriggan, said that, "The treatment of the staff at Thomas Cook has been a disgrace. The company made over 400 million euro profit last year and the Managing Director received a 5 million euro bonus. Yet look how they treat their employees. Sinn Féin stands 100% behind the Thomas Cook employees and advises everybody to boycott Thomas Cook until such time as they show some respect for their Irish workforce."

Speaking today as workers employed by Thomas Cook were arrested for standing up for their rights Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the distorted priorities of the Irish judiciary and the Garda Siochana speak volumes for how this country has gotten into such deep recession.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: “Where was the judiciary when the Irish banks were shamelessly engaged in reckless lending practises, when loans were hidden, when creative accountancy hid the real state of the Irish financial sector from the taxpayer who is set to pick up the tab?
“White collar crime goes unpunished in this State; in fact it goes rewarded as we have seen with the release of the NAMA legislation last week, yet ordinary workers are being held to account in front of a High court Judge for trying to secure a fair and equitable redundancy deal for themselves.

“When more than 150 officers from Pearse Street Garda station broke down the door of the Thomas Cook premises on Grafton Street after 5am this morning, the failings of the Irish justice system could not have been any more obvious. Mr Justice Peart ordered their arrest when they failed to vacate the premises following a court order issued on Saturday. What crime did they commit? What injustice did these ordinary people bring upon the Irish state? Did they engage in reckless lending practises, using bank deposits to play in a global banking casino? No, these ordinary workers were standing up for their rights; their right to a decent redundancy package of 8 weeks per each year of service.

“The distorted priorities of the Irish judiciary and the Garda Siochana speak volumes for how this country has gotten into such deep recession; punish the ordinary worker to please the profiteers. Actions speak louder than words and the sight of a pregnant worker being led to a Garda van, after having tried to secure a sufficient remuneration for herself gives us an indication of the actions that ail our country.

“Despite the banking sectors legacy of reckless lending that has driven us into a recession, not a single government Minister or banking executive has been held to account. Yet we arrest a pregnant woman for defending her rights.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We save the banks and they turn around and screw us!

Would the 3 EEJITS please get off your backsides and do something about this!

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan has refused to intervene in Permanent TSB’s decision to hike up interest rates on mortgage holders, thus negating the recent European Central Bank reductions. The minister’s comment that the increase reflects commercial market realities is breathtakingly arrogant and illustrates magnificently in whose interests his decisions are made.

Lenihan has mooted a possible reduction in the minimum wage and his government is actively considering reducing social welfare payments, as recommended by the McCarthy Report. At every turn this government is attacking the low-paid and the vulnerable and doing whatever it takes to protect the profits on the banks.

It is interesting to note that one of the minister’s appointees to the Permanent TSB board is Ray McSharry, the former Minister for Finance who appointed Colm McCarthy to the original ‘An Bord Snip’ in 1987.

The European Central Bank’s interest rate reductions that have been so instrumental in bringing down costs of living will be negated if the Government gives this signal to the banking sector that it is OK to hike up rates. Taking money out of the general economy and putting it into the coffers of financial institutions profits is economically inept and socially reckless.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They want to put an amusement arcade in the Castle Mill Shopping Centre – Are they mad?

Sinn Féin in Balbriggan stands with the local community in opposing plans for an amusement arcade in the Castle Mill Shopping Centre.

The company 1800 Flowers Ltd of Kildalton, Pilltown, Co Kilkenny, has recently submitted a planning application to convert unit 5 of Castle Mill Shopping Centre into an amusement arcade and it is planned that the arcade would be open from 10 am to 11 pm every day.

Sinn Féin in Balbriggan is 100% behind the residents and businesses in the area who have submitted objections to this proposal.

The area around the shopping centre is a relatively new community and is highly populated. As with many new communities in Ireland a lack of good planning has led to a lack of resources for young people and this in turn has led to instances of anti-social behaviour.

Local residents and community Gardai are working hard together to combat this anti-social behaviour and progress is being made. However, the placing of an amusement arcade in the Castle Mill Shopping Centre will be a disaster for the local community. It will no doubt act as a magnet for anti social elements from right across a very wide area and this will without doubt cause problems for many local residents.

The planning application has stated that the arcade will employ security staff between 6 pm and closing. This itself is a clear admission of the problems associated with amusement arcades. However, will these security staff help the local residents in the area when the kids are hanging around across the street or down the road? No.

The decision on the planning application will be made on 3rd August. If it is approved then there is a further 4-week period in which an appeal to that decision can be made.

We in Sinn Féin say that the council must reject this application now and if it is not rejected then Sinn Féin will assist the local community in mobilising opposition to the opening of the arcade. If the council planning department refuses to make the correct decision, then the local community must help them see that local people will not put up with such nonsense.

As a next step in that process Balbriggan Sinn Féin is sending a letter to the company that owns the premises stating that we will actively oppose the opening of the amusement arcade and we will help to organise pickets etc.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Bord Snip - Written by the rich and aimed at making the poor pay.

THERE has been an angry reaction across the 26 Counties to the recommendations to government of ‘An Bord Snip Nua’ published on 16 July.€5.3 billion of spending cuts, mainly affecting health, education and social welfare, and thousands of job losses have been recommended by the report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes chaired by economist Colm McCarthy.

What have been widely described as ‘slash and burn’ recommendations have received an angry reception from health and disability groups, teachers, public sector workers, farmers’ organisations, gardaí and the defence forces. Trade unions representing workers have threatened industrial action if the government proceeds with the recommendations to attack jobs and pay.

Who wrote the report?

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said Irish society cannot afford to implement the proposed cuts. Morgan criticised Colm McCarthy for proposing cuts to the lowest earners in society while earning €1,000 a week for preparing the report.

"The government needs to question how, in advance of the European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion in 2010, Ireland will be dealing its harshest blow yet to those struggling families that have lost their incomes as a result of job losses, those families who have to wait weeks to get any sort of subsistence from the State, the families that were encouraged to take out exponential mortgages and now have no means to make payment. For the Irish Government that are so keen to redeem themselves in the eyes of foreign lenders, the European Year will highlight how the government has failed those on the margins of society, especially if An Bord Snip’s recommendations are to be adopted.

"I especially find the remarks on welfare payments being a disincentive to labour participation repugnant. While members of the group may be privileged enough to have a career and an extra job on the side, ordinary Irish people are struggling to keep their jobs or indeed to find a job. No-one takes pride in having to stand in a queue for Social Welfare or having to scrape by on the crumbs afforded to them by government."

"Colm McCarthy surely is Doctor Evil in this respect for he has prescribed more pain and misery for the poor as a form of recovery for everyone else."

Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said the government has made a conscious and motivated decision to bail out the banks, indebting taxpayers for decades to come, but refuses to stimulate the economy to keep people employed and is quite happy to cut dole payments at the same time.Sinn Féin, he said, had identified €80 billion worth of savings which don’t target the vulnerable, through abandoning the "ludicrous NAMA plan". He added, "The government is on a crash diet. They don’t care about the long-term consequences, they just want to inflict pain now on sections of the economy which they have no vested interests in so they can make-up for their own mistakes and look good to international suitors."

He said the vast majority of the proposals in the ‘Bord Snip’ report should not be implemented. "The government should make this clear and not allow people struggling on social welfare or at risk of losing their jobs, to be worried sick about how they will survive."

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development Martin Ferris TD said: "There must be many people around the country wondering what they did to deserve the punishment recommended to be visited on them by Colm McCarthy who was one of the cheerleaders of the disastrous property bubble that is behind much of the current mess. Indeed as recently as May 2007 DKM Consultants, which provides Mr. McCarthy with one of his other lucrative nixers, was advising people that the property outlook was bright and predicted an increase in construction output in 2009. Ironically that report was done in conjunction with the incompetent speculators of EBS.

"So it will come as no comfort to ordinary decent people around this country that the bill for the mess created by these people will arrive not at the door of the property speculators, gambling bankers, tax exiles and their puppets in the Galway tent but at those of decent hard working people whose lives and society are threatened by the consequences of the excesses and stupidity and greed of the wealthy unproductive elite."

Meanwhile Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty said, "Colm McCarthy and the other members of An Bord Snip Nua are all significantly high earners who are so far removed from the reality facing the hundreds of thousands of people dependent on social welfare that they are not qualified to recommend cuts to social welfare payments. This also goes for the members of government who will now try to implement the disgraceful cutbacks contained in the Bord Snip report.

Commenting on the report Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said that if implemented its proposals would have devastating social consequences.

He said:"As well as dismantling the health service, effectively abolishing the medical card system, slashing social welfare, increasing the pupil-teacher ratio in our already under-funded schools and reducing special needs assistants, the recommendations of this report directly threaten the future sustainability of rural communities."

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said the Government has no mandate to implement the sweeping measures in the report which would "devastate healthcare for the sick, education for children, care for older people and social supports for all those who need them". He called for a national debate on the way forward and a General Election.

"Our public health system is already suffering because of the continuing cuts which began in 2007. If the further cuts in this report are implemented the public health system will be plunged deeper into crisis with very serious consequences for patients. There is already a shortfall of hospital beds and nurses, insufficient numbers of GPs, inadequate primary care, long waiting lists, and cuts to a whole range of services such as home helps. To impose more cuts in health and social care services would be worthy of Thatcher at her worst and such cuts will be resisted", he said.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The fight against drugs in Balbriggan - Let's involve the community

Local Sinn Féin representative Fergus Byrne has welcomed the seizure of €1.5m worth of drugs in Balbriggan on Wednesday and we in Sinn Féin commend the Gardaí for their action.

This seizure of drugs worth €1.5m in Balbriggan will undoubtedly be a serious blow to the drugs gang responsible and Balbriggan Sinn Féin would like to congratulate the Garda officers involved.

However, whilst this Garda operation is to be welcomed it is clear from the last year or so that increased seizures are evidence of increased demand and availability of drugs in our cities and towns. A further example of this is the fact that there are more people seeking help for addiction now than for a number of years.

We all know that illegal drug use has a devastating impact on the lives on individuals, families and communities and if we in Balbriggan do not deal with this problem now then the long-term consequences could be disastrous.

Sinn Féin has a long history of supporting local communities across Dublin in trying to combat the scourge of drugs in their area. From that experience we know that the only way to tackle the drug problem is through a combined approach involving the Gardaí, support agencies for drug users and the local community.
What the government must do to help tackle the problem is to show a real commitment to taking positive action. Whether the government likes it or not what is needed is
1) EXTRA RESOURCES for the Garda drug squads.
2) EXTRA RESOURCES and increased funding for those working at the coal face in dealing with drug addiction.
3) Commitment to involving the community in the fight against drugs.

On a local level we must push our Fingal County Council and Balbriggan Town Council to give increased support and publicity to the excellent work carried out drug treatment groups active in our local areas.

However, we in Sinn Féin believe that the best way to beat drugs is by involving the local community. Initiatives such as the confidential non-Garda "dial to stop drug dealing" free phone number 1800 220 220 are to be welcomed and should be used by local people to report drug dealing in their area.

However, we also believe that the Gardaí need to actively work with local residents groups in helping to deal with all sorts of anti-social activity within a community, including drugs. Local people know what is happening in their area and they need to feel confident that the Gardaí are there to support them in keeping their community a safe place.

What is required is a positive programme to encourage the setting up of Residents Groups throughout Balbriggan. These groups should have good links with the local council and Gardaí in order to help address the needs of the local community. Local people are willing and able to help address problems in their areas, but they need to feel they have support.

If these steps are taken NOW and communites are actively supported in looking after their area, then we can win the fight against drugs in Balbriggan. However, if not then the problem of illegal drug use, and the criminality that accompanies it, will only get worse.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Balbriggan Sinn Féin opposes the cuts at Crumlin Childrens' Hospital

Fergus Byrne and members of Sinn Féin from the Balbriggan area joined with crowds protesting at the cuts planned for Crumlin Children's Hospital.

The impact of the cuts imposed by this government on our children’s healthcare is stark. Mary Harney remains wedded to the PDs failed privatisation agenda and she continues on hand in hand with her government partners Fianna Fáil and the Green’s.

The HSE has increased it’s spend on private hospital procedures for children over a recent year period by an astonishing 8,400%. In 2004 the HSE spent €54,536 on sub-contracting operations on children to private hospitals. By 2008 that figure had risen to over 4.5 million euro. In total the government has diverted €16.5 million euro between 2004 and 2008 away from public health service provision for children
to private hospitals.

Health Minister Mary Harney has imposed a range of savage cutbacks on Crumlin and Tallaght Children’s Hospital including the closure of an operating theatre which will result in the delay or cancellation of more than 2,000 operations and the closure of two wards in Crumlin due to a miserly €9.6 shortfall in funding from government. Take this shortfall in the context of the most recent government Anglo bail out of €4 billion and it is clear where this governments priorities lie.

Our Lady’s is a national centre of excellence for the care of children yet the government refuses to adequately fund its needs to operate effectively.

Privatisation of public services does not work. It didn’t work during the celtic tiger’s years and it will not work during the recession. If
billions of euro can be found at a moments notice to bail out a bad bank like Anglo then a similar commitment and approach needs to be embraced by this government to our children’s healthcare.

From the days of Dev Fianna Fáil’s record when it comes to the care and well being of our children, particularly the most vulnerable, is disgraceful. They have never cherished all of the children equally nor have they prioritised their education, their care and their health.

We in Balbriggan Sinn Féin say that the money was there to save the bankers and property developers, so why is it not there to save our children?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Remembering the Past: Theobald Wolfe Tone


THEOBALD Wolfe Tone was born at 44 Stafford Street (now Wolfe Tone Street), Dublin, in 1763. His father was a coachmaker and the family was relatively prosperous. Tone studied law at Trinity College Dublin and in London but never practised. His adventurous character drew him to military affairs and to politics.

Observing Irish politics, reading Irish history and hearing news of the revolution in France in 1789, Tone quickly made what he called “a great discovery”. He concluded that “the influence of England was the radical vice of our Government, and consequently that Ireland would never be either free, prosperous or happy until she was independent”. His first pamphlet (The Spanish War) was published in 1790 and argued for Irish neutrality and non-involvement in Britain’s wars.

In 1791, Tone addressed a pamphlet to the Dissenters, the Irish Presbyterians, whom he described as “patriotic and enlightened” but still subject to prejudices. An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland urged their support for full civil rights for the majority of their fellow Irish people. In his autobiography, Tone described his purpose:
“To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country – there were my objects.
“To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter – these were my means.”


That same year, Tone was one of the founders of the Society of United Irishmen.
Beginning in Dublin and Belfast, the society quickly spread across the country. The society asserted that “in the present great era of reform... all government is acknowledged to originate from the people, and to be so far only obligatory as it protects their rights and promotes their welfare”.

The society called for the “radical reform of the representation of the people in parliament” and unity of the people to counteract the influence of England. This first declaration fell short of calling for separation from England but Tone wrote to his friend, Thomas Russell, saying that the need for Irish independence was “my most decided opinion”.

The British Government saw the danger to its regime from the United Irishmen and it attempted to sew divisions among the Irish people and to suppress the Society. The wealthy Catholics and their hierarchy were mollified with the establishment of Maynooth College in 1795, sustained by English grants in return for pledges of loyalty to the English connection. At the same time, the Orange Order was established to stir up sectarian hatred, especially in Ulster.

Tone was forced into exile in America 1795. Before his departure he met with Thomas Russell, Henry Joy McCracken and others on Cave Hill in Belfast and they pledged “never to desist until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence”.

From America, Tone went to France, where he persuaded the revolutionary government to aid the Irish struggle for freedom. In 1796, he sailed for Ireland with a French fleet, reaching as far as Bantry Bay before being forced by storms to return to France.

Undaunted, Tone continued to lobby for French forces and, on 16 September 1798, he sailed with a small fleet to Lough Swilly. He was captured and taken prisoner to Dublin where he died in British custody on 19 November 1798.

Wolfe Tone is still regarded as the founding figure of Irish republicanism because of his pioneering commitment to a democratic, non-sectarian Ireland and his ceaseless effort and ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom.

Theobald Wolfe Tone was born on 20 June 1763, 246 years ago this week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fund raiser night on Friday 12th June for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara

It is great to see the continued growth in the Gaelscoil movement in Ireland as a whole and North County Dublin in particular. There are gaelscoileanna established across the area and the latest was Gaelscoil Ros -Eo which opened in September of 2008. The next step now is to create a post primary school to meet the needs of children currently going through the Irish language primary school system and it is great to see the work being done by the founding committee (Coiste bunaithe) for such a school in Balbriggan. There is a fundraiser for the school on Friday 12th June and details are below.

If you wish to register your child for the school, or find out more information then please go to the school's website at and leave a message.

Ceilí Night – O’Dwyers GAA Clubhouse 12th June

Please support a FUNdraising night for the establishment of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, taking place at the Clubhouse of O’Dwyers GAA in Balbriggan.

There will be musicians coming from all parts of the country, dancers & raffles for prizes amongst other things.

Coláiste Ghlor na Mara is a proposed Meanscoil (post primary), to sever the people of North Fingal, East Meath & beyond. The School will be situated in Balbriggan, as this is a central location to the feeder Gaelscoileanna in the area.

A meeting was called by Cllr. Stephen Kilgallon in September 2008 following discussion with parents of Gaelscoil pupils to asses the public interest in establishing a school. A founding committee was formed and the process of applying to the Department of Education was commenced.

The founding committee hosted meetings with potential patrons, after assessment the committee decided to go forward with Foras Patrúnachta as the Patron. At the same time a discussion on the school name arrived at the Coláiste Ghlór na Mara (The Voice of the Sea).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Get out and vote - Remember how many people around the world would like to have that opportunity.

Well, it's June 5th 2009 and it is the day when the people have the chance to really alter the direction our country is going.

Many people are angry at the state of affairs this country is in at the moment and the terrible legacy that Fianna Fáil misrule has left us with. However, regardless of how bad the situation here is I would also like to point out how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have the right to vote for our leaders. 20 years ago the people of China demanded that right and they were shot down in the streets. In 1956 the people of Hungry rose up and demanded free elections and they were crushed by the soviet army. In 1968 the people of Prague demanded democracy and they suffered the same fate.

All over the world people fight for and die because they believe in democracy and they demand the right to vote in free and fair elections and we should look at our country's own history and support these people.

Clearly, the country we live in is far from perfect and our past governments have left us in a situation where many serious issues have never been fully addressed. In 2009 we need to deal with mass unemployment, an unfair tax system, social inequality, small numbers of working class children getting into third level education, a divided country, poor school buildings, lack of community facilities, cuts in welfare benefits etc.

We in Sinn Féin believe that we can tackle these problems and create a better, fairer Ireland if we the people decide that we want to. We do not have to put up with the current state of affairs and we can change our country for the better. What we need are parties in local and national government who believe in a better Ireland and who are dedicated to principles of justice and equality.

Today is the day when we have the RIGHT TO VOTE. So I would encourage anybody who reads this article to go out and vote, even for parties other than Sinn Fein. Use your vote to change the direction this country is going, and perhaps more importantly use your vote to ensure that we demonstrate the we have vibrant democracy that other people around the world can aspire to.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is this an omen?

Is this an omen?

Sinn Féin members were out this week in the lashing rain putting up the posters above. We were soaked to the skin, tired and had been at it for several hours. However, then the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow appeared behind one of our posters. So I took this picture with my phone.

Maybe we have spent too much time campaigning, or maybe our brains our getting messed up, but we feel/hope this image will sum up these elections. Hard work and dedication will let us overcome the bad times we are in and Sinn Féin will help us create a better place tomorrow.

Go on help us build a brighter future, vote Sinn Féin.

All together now "Somewhere over the rainbow....."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

Children still subject to State neglect and future cuts in Child care services cannot be allowed

Balbriggan Sinn Féin joins with the whole nation in expressing our support for the victims of abuse suffered in care homes in Ireland. These victims have a right to justice and we fully support them in their fight.

However, we must also not ignore the present state of child welfare services in this state. These services are woefully underfunded and rather than this government looking to make cuts in this area, it must do the opposite and give support to children who are suffering abuse. If this government does not do this then they will be as guilty as previous governments in failing to protect children.

Below is a statement from the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse,
Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and Spokesperson on Children Caoimhghn Caolin
said it was a horrific litany of abuse of children by Church and State and that children are still subject to State neglect. He called for the Reports recommendations to be fully implemented.

Deputy Caolin said:

The Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is a horrific litany of abuse against children in institutions over decades. These most vulnerable children were subjected to a system of deplorable abuse amounting to a catalogue of crimes carried out when they were supposedly in the care of both the Catholic Church and the 26-County State. That system of abuse claimed the lives of many children. We may never know exactly how many children died of neglect and ill treatment in those

The Church and the State bear huge responsibility for what was done.

Our first and last concern should be the survivors of abuse and the memory of those who did not survive. The Government must implement the Reports recommendations to alleviate or otherwise address the effects of the abuse on those who suffered. It must also implement the recommendations to prevent where possible the incidence of abuse of children in institutions and to protect children from such abuse.

The sad reality is that children are still subject to State neglect and
are suffering abuse or in danger of abuse as a result. The Report focuses on institutions but many children in the community today are not receiving the protection they need. Yet the Government is refusing toimplement the recommendation of the Monageer Report for an out-of-hours social work service.

Child protection services are woefully inadequate with insufficient social workers and other front-line workers in place. The HSE knows of cases where children are in danger but the services are not in place to make the interventions required.

The nightmare of child abuse is not a thing of the past. It is happening every day. Most of this abuse takes place in the family home. If the services are not in place then the State today will be just as culpable as it was in the past when it conspired with the Catholic Church to cover up the abuse of children.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

National Famine Memorial Day by a Balbriggan Sinn Féin member

Today, Sunday May 17th, was the second National Irish Famine Memorial Day. On Friday of this week schools throughout the country held a minutes silence in remembrance of the Great Hunger. This weekend sporting events were asked to also observe a minute's silence and a national event was held in Skibereen in remembrance of the terrible events of 150 years ago.

Today, I took a trip with my children to the famine memorial at Custom House Quay. It was my intention to simply lay some flowers and pay a personal tribute to the victims of this catastrophe.

When I got there I found that a ceremony was being held to remember the millions who died or emigrated as a result of the potato blight.
This event was organised by the COMMITTEE FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF THE IRISH FAMINE VICTIMS. The event they organised was a dignified one involving the laying of wreaths, speeches, music and the casting of flowers onto the Liffey. The Lord mayor of Dublin was present as were a number of ambassadors. I found the whole experience deeply moving and I believe it made a great impression on my children as well.

At the end of the ceremony I spoke with some of the organisers and I found out that this small group has campaigned for many years to raise the awareness of the plight of the Irish Famine Victims and all those who were forced to leave. Their aim was for the establishment of an Annual Commemoration for the whole of the Island on the last Sunday in May each year in commemoration of the Famine Victims and Emigrants who had to leave this country.

It is thanks to the efforts of this group that this weekend saw the second National Famine Memorial Day and it was a great inspiration to see what a group of concerned local people can achieve if they are convinced their cause is right and they have the dedication to see it through to its end.

One thing I wish to say though is that the "Great Famine" was not a famine. There was plenty of food in this country and in fact wheat and other food stuffs were exported from Ireland throughout the course of the great hunger (Gorta Mór). What there was, was a potato blight that impacted on the poorest sections of Irish society and that the British government made a choice not to provide Irish people with sufficient food to eat.

This same choice is being made on a wider scale today. The world we live in has sufficient food to feed all the people who live here, yet people die from hunger, and the effects of hunger, each day.

Allowing this slaughter to happen 150 years ago was wrong then, and it is still wrong now.
Given our history we in Ireland should be a voice in the world community demanding action to remove hunger from this planet. We should demand there is "real" development aid given to poorer countries, that poorer countries are paid a fair price for the goods they produce and that third world debt is tackled in a positive manner.

In the 21st century there is no reason to allow people to die through lack of food. So, let's not be like those who allowed the great hunger to ravish this country. Let us remember the victims of the great hunger in a positive manner by demanding the world be a better place now than it was 150 years ago. Let us demand that the world takes action now and there is finally an end to death through hunger.
For some information on the famine in Fingal visit

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Fergus Byrne

Standing up For Jobs in


Unemployment is 388,000

Up by over 188,000 in one year.

Predicted to go over half a million

So, what is the government doing?

What are their policies to protect jobs?

What are their policies to create jobs?

What are the policies to retrain people?

In the past ten years the government had the chance to build a better Ireland for all of us. We could have built a proper health system, new schools, communities with real facilities and a country that was ready for the economic downturn that would inevitably come.

But what did Fianna Fáil do?

They listened to the greed of the bankers,property developers and the get rich quick brigade.

At the last election Sinn Féin warned of the dangers of the creation of the property bubble. We pointed out the growing gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. And most of all we said there was a complete failure to run the economy in the long term interests of the Irish people.

Sinn Féin was right on these matters and Sinn Féin knows what is needed now. Unemployment MUST be at the very centre of government policy. We need to get Ireland back to work.

'Getting Ireland back to work

Time for Action'

Sinn Féin's key Employment Proposals

Let's build the schools and infrastructure that we need now!!! Create 1,000's of jobs by the fast tracking of the much needed school building programme, expansion of the national home insulation programme, broadband rollout etc. This work needs to be done - So let's do it now!

Help businesses keep people working! Follow the German example of establishing a job retention fund to subsidise workers in viable small and medium businesses. This fund will be time limited and used to help keep people working and training. Remember it costs over €20,000 to keep a person on the dole, so let's spend the money to keep people working?

Fast track business start-ups! We are bailing out the banks, so let's demand they work closely with our current job creation agencies. One-stop enterprise business points should be set up that would bring together funding, expertise and advice for entrepreneurs who want to start
new businesses and create jobs.

Develop our green energy and alternative technologies - We have thewind, we have the waves, so let's set up an agency whose aim is to have Ireland lead the way in green energy. These are the jobs of the future, let's go and get them!

Retrain people in the skills we need. FÁS, the VECs and third level institutions have a combined budget of almost €4billion. They need to have a joined up approach to ensure that we are training people for sectors that will provide jobs in the coming decade.

These and over 70 other proposals are contained in the Sinn Féin document'Getting Ireland back to work - Time for Action'

Local Fishermen Meet with Mary Lou McDonald and Martin Ferris as Livelihoods Threatened

Representatives of Sinn Féin held a meeting in Howth on 30th April with local fishermen from County Fingal to discuss the issues currently threatening the livelihood and culture of those in the fishing industry. The meeting was attended by Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin Sinn Féin MEP and European candidate for 2009, and Martin Ferris TD, party spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development and Marine and Natural Resources. Local election candidates Fergus Byrne (Balbriggan Ward) and Colm Ó Murchadha (Howth / Malahide Ward) were also present.

Local fishermen outlined the crisis facing them, as severe restrictions have been placed upon them regarding the number of days they are allowed to fish – two days in a three month period. Some have had their boats decommissioned but have been told they are not entitled to unemployment payments as they were self-employed. Martin Ferris said “The new EU laws introduced have all but sounded the death knell for another substantial section of the Irish fishery sector. A further indication, if needed, that the real object of EU policy is to close down the Irish fishing industry. The Common Fisheries Policy which has been the bedrock of the disastrous mismanagement of the Irish fishery since this state joined the EU. Unless and until an Irish Government reverses the shameful sell out made at that time, we will be merely tinkering around and allowing Brussels to engineer the effective liquidation of the Irish fishing sector. And yet there seems to be little political will here to demand a radical overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy.”

Mary Lou McDonald undertook to investigate the ownership status of, and difficulties in, Howth Fish Market, which was purchased with EU funds. She will pose questions in the European Parliament about the matter, and pledged her commitment to explore it fully, in her capacity as an MEP.

Local election candidates Fergus Byrne (Balbriggan Ward) and Colm Ó Murchadha (Howth / Malahide Ward) stated that they were glad to lend their support to the local fishermen, and assured them of Sinn Féin’s continued defense of their cause. ENDS

PR Department - Balbriggan Sinn Féin / Howth & Malahide Sinn Féin

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bobby Sands died on 5th may 1981 - Not forgotten

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death on hunger strike of Booby Sands MP.

We in Balbriggan Sinn Féin view his struggle as an inspiration and a call to us to help make Ireland a better place for all of us.

However, we should not forget that we in Fingal have our own republican history. On 25th September 1917, Thomas Ashe died on hunger strike for political status. He was a talented musician and a school teacher in Corduf National School near Lusk.

These two pictures show Corduff National School and the plague in his memory that is inside the school grounds.
Let us all remember the sacrifices of these two men and let it inspire us all to help create a better Ireland that is worthy of all those previous generations who struggled for our independence.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Launch Night for Mary Lou McDonald and Local Candidates’ Campaign

An official launch night was held at the Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street for the election campaigns of Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin Sinn Féin MEP and European candidate for 2009, and all candidates standing in local elections in June. Local candidates for Fingal, including Fergus Byrne (Balbriggan Ward) were in attendance. The theme was “New Leadership for a New Time”. Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin Vice-President, was hosting the event, and Martin McGuiness and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams lent their support also.

Fergus Byrne said: “These next five weeks leading up to the elections are going to be extremely hectic, but all of us in Sinn Féin are buoyed up by the fact that we are confident that our policies are actually viable, unlike this Governments’, and we can make a real difference. We are for the ordinary middle- and lower-income people, not the rich, and people know that”.

The function room was full to the brim with supporters and well-wishers, and when Ms McDonald and Martin McGuinness entered, they received a standing ovation. The evening was chaired by Aengus O Snodaigh, and local candidate Paul Donnelly was the first of the speakers, who pointed out that when canvassing and being asked by people on the doors what made Sinn Féin different, he was able to confidently highlight the party’s detailed and workable policies, including strategies for job creation. He was followed by EU Candidate Thomas Sharkey, who gave an upbeat talk on why Sinn Féin were the best party to represent the interests of ordinary people locally and in Europe, and that the party can give ordinary people hope in these depressed economic times. A lively musical interlude was then provided by Kíla's Ronán O Snodaigh, who impressed greatly with his unique vocal and bodhrán skills!

It was now time for Mary Lou McDonald to speak, and again she was given a standing ovation. She spoke powerfully, outlining the importance of using one’s vote in June in the EU and local elections, and sending the Government a strong message that “we will not tolerate being walked all over”. “Sack the Government and send them packing!” was what the voters were urged to do. Ms McDonald drew attention to Sinn Féin’s track record in Europe with regard to fighting for worker’s rights, for the people of Gaza, and against the Lisbon Treaty. She pointed out that Sinn Féin was a pro-European party, but that the people of Ireland needed a good deal for their country.

Martin McGuinness was the final person to address the room, and underlined how far Sinn Féin have come, both from being in government in the North, to having the most feared (by other parties) EU candidate in Mary Lou McDonald. He stressed how the peace process has brought about changes that no-one could have foreseen even a few years ago, and how the party was laughed at when they predicted some of these changes! He said that whilst many people have gone into politics in the past for power and financial gain, he was proud that his party had an egalitarian, socialist attitude to remuneration, and that, whilst striving for a united Ireland, the primary focus was on working for ordinary people.

Gerry Adams also spoke briefly during the course of the evening, outlining the importance of ensuring that Sinn Féin were elected so that the party could make a real difference to ordinary people. He also praised, as did the other speakers, Mary Lou McDonald for her commitment and dedication to her job.

Fergus Byrne, local and town council candidate for the Balbriggan Ward, was delighted with how the night went, and said: “I really feel privileged to be standing for Sinn Féin in the local elections. Tonight has yet again outlined the fact that Sinn Féin is the party with real solutions, and I do hope that people will come out and support us in June. We will not let them down.”