Emergency Demo Supports Palestinian Prisoners

P1050329Sinn Féin Youth held an emergency demonstration in Dundalk on Saturday in support of the Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed who had reached his 71st day on the fast.

Around 80 supporters including several Sinn Féin councillors attended. The demonstration follows a meeting with the lawyers of Bilal Kayed by West Belfast MLA Fra McCann who visited Palestine recently.

Protest was organised by the Youth

Young protester standing in solidarity with 8 children being held in detention in Gaza

Speaking on Saturday, a member of the Sinn Féin Youth said “Bilal Kayed is currently shackled hand and foot to a hospital bed. He is being held without trial in what is effectively internment. The Israelis call it ‘administrative detention’ and currently there are over 750 Palestinian prisoners being held under this title, including eight children.”

Fra McCann MLA supported the demonstration and said “In the aftermath of last night’s indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip it’s vitally important that we stand in solidarity with Bilal Kayed and the people of Gaza.

“During my trip to Palestine, I along with my party colleague Senator Paul Gavan met with and heard the personal stories of civilians who are victims of the ongoing occupation of Palestine.

Cllr Tom Cunningham's 3 daughters with Cllr Jennifer Green

Cllr Tom Cunningham’s 3 daughters with Cllr Jennifer Green

“The cruelty being inflicted upon the Palestinian people needs to stop and should not be tolerated by the International community.

“The international community needs to show their support to the people of Palestine and stand against Israel’s apartheid regime.”

‘Loss of E-bay will reverberate through local economy’ – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Responding to reports that eBay is set to close its Dundalk base in 2017, Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams said;

“This is dreadful news for the staff of eBay and their families.  I have spoken to the Minister for Jobs, Mary Mitchell O’Connor today and I encouraged her and her Department to engage with the workers to ensure that they are fairly treated.

“The fact that eBay has decided to cease its Dundalk operations completely is very worrying.   The loss of these jobs will reverberate throughout the local economy.  I understand that Paypal may be expanding their operations in Dundalk and I will be making representations to them to consider employing workers from eBay.”

Adams asks Minister for Children to visit Mosney Direct Provision Centre

DSC_3254_6510Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Children, Catherine Zappone, to highlight concerns for children living in the Mosney Direct Provision Centre and to ask her to visit the site.

The Sinn Féin President said;

“There are currently 119 children living on the Mosney site.

“In May 2015 HIQA published report on the Child Welfare and Protection Services being provided to children and families in Direct Provision.  This report found significantly higher incidents of referral to TUSLA of children living in direct provision than in the general population and Minister Zappone has confirmed to me that social services are currently involved in 12 child welfare or protection cases at the Mosney centre.

“Following publication of the HIQA report I posed a series of questions to the then Minister, James Reilly.  Contained within the response, which was provided by TUSLA, was a commitment to identify two practitioners, one from Child Protection Services and one from Family Support Services, to act as Liaison Officers with the Reception and Integration Agency to provide a direct line of communication and referral for both services.

“In May 2016 I asked Minister Zappone if these commitments had been delivered and she responded saying that she is still waiting for information regarding these two appointments.

“A year has passed since I initially posed these questions and 15 months have passed since the publication of the HIQA report.  These key staff will help ensure the safety and well being of the children resident in Mosney and they should have been appointed long ago.

“I have visited Mosney numerous times and I have spoken about the conditions the people there are existing in.  I have asked Minister Zappone to visit Mosney with me.

“There are huge problems within the Direct Provision system which was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years.

“Residents in these centres are not allowed to work and they survive on a State subsidy of €19 per week per adult and less than €10 per week for a child.

“Conditions in the centres are unacceptable. They are overcrowded, with families often sharing one room. Basic essentials like soap, toilet rolls and other items are rationed. Residents must pay for prescription medication.  There are limited recreational or living areas and the stress on those in the centres, especially from the fear of deportation is a constant worry.

“Media reports are indicting that yesterday a Korean woman living in a Direct Provision Centre in Cork died by suicide.  This is a tragedy for this women’s family, particularly her son, and all supports must be provided to this child and the other residents at this time.”