Government must plan for Irish Unity – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that the acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, needs a reality check on the issue of Irish Unity.

Teachta Ó Murchú said;

“The first parliamentary question which I submitted to the 33rd Dáil was on the subject of Irish Unity. 

“In his reply to me the Tánaiste Simon Coveney says that he is aware of the raft of recent polls, all of which indicate overwhelming and growing support for Irish Unity.

“If this is the case, Minister Coveney has a responsibility to act on this information and begin the process of planning for reunification. 

“However the Minister, in his response, states that he does not believe that the majority of people in the North of Ireland are in favour of constitutional change.

“I challenge his opinion, and the most up to date polling results support my claim. 

“Simon Coveney goes on to say that he thinks a unity referendum  “would only increase uncertainty and division at an already difficult and sensitive time.”

“What evidence does he have that this would be the case?

“What the Minister is really looking for is an excuse to do nothing, to allow the status quo to persist.

“This is not good enough.

“The Minister also states that for the last year the Irish Government has been focussed on securing the ratification and implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

“While I commend the outgoing government on the Brexit negotiations, the truth is that Boris Johnson has already indicated that he intends to ‘get around’ some of the provisions contained within the Withdrawal Agreement.

“The caretaker Minister must know that there is only one permanent solution to Brexit and that is Irish Unity.

“It is imperative that the incoming government, which will hopefully be led by Sinn Féin, is proactive on this issue and that a Green Paper is produced as quickly as possible.

“At this time the only people not talking about Irish Unity is the Irish Government.  This cannot continue, it is negligent and foolhardy of the government not to plan for the future and for Irish Unity.”

 

Recent Poll Details:

46.8% to remain in UK / 45.4% for a United Ireland / 7.8% Don’t know – The Detail/Lucid Talk, 2020

80% of people in the south support Irish unity – The Sunday Times / Panelbase, 2020

77% of people in the south support Irish unity – RTÉ/TG4/RED-C exit poll, 2019

57% of people in the south want a referendum on Irish unity in the next five years – IPSOS-MRBI exit poll, 2020

75% of young people want a referendum on Irish unity in the next five years! – IPSOS-MRBI exit poll, 2020

51% of people in the north support Irish unity – Ashcroft poll, 2019

Munster: Utmost priority must be given to Northern Cross Route application by Louth County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called on Louth County Council to give the utmost priority to the application for funding for the Northern Cross Route under the LIHAF programme.

The window for applications opened on 1st February, and is due to close on 31st March.

Deputy Munster said:

“This is the third opportunity to apply for funding, with the council previously submitting two unsuccessful applications.

“The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, following a proposal I made to the Minister after the last unsuccessful application, organised a workshop on the 5th February last, and I was glad to hear that two senior staff members of Louth County Council were in attendance.

“It is imperative that the new application fits the new defined criteria, and it’s also imperative that this is a case of third time lucky for the application.

“Once Louth County Council have confirmed that the application has been submitted, and once I have seen a copy of same, I will pursue it with the Minister to ensure that this vital piece of infrastructure, that has been in planning since 2006, can finally get the go-ahead from government.

“We can no longer put up with daily gridlock in Drogheda. This is about a vital piece of infrastructure and sustainable planning, and it is a must for Drogheda.

“We’ve waited long enough.”

Kevin Meenan Co-opted onto Louth County Council

Kevin Meenan officially became a Cllr at this evening’s inauguration at Louth County Council offices.

Following glowing tributes and congratulations from all parties towards Ruairí Ó Murchú TD whose seat resulted in the casual vacancy, Kevin Meenan was proposed by Sinn Féin group leader Cllr Pearse McGeough who said “it’s a privilege and an honour for me to propose my friend Kevin Meenan as a councillor for the Dundalk South area.

“Kevin has a long history of community engagement and working for those who are voiceless. He has always been an outstanding advocate for his constituents and when he spoke in the chamber it was obvious that everyone listened and he was respected by all. It is great to see him rejoining our group of Councillors and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank his partner Paula and his daughter Caithlain for supporting him in this decision.”

Cllr Kevin Meenan also paid tribute to Paula and Caithlain and said  “I’ve always had a good working relationship with councillors and officials alike and look forward to getting stuck in again. I feel there is unfinished business for me to do and I am humbled and honoured to be here once again. I feel that I have grown up here, I have spent most of my working life as a councillor and now I’m back.”

Cllr Meenan also thanked those Councillors in the chamber who took time out to attend the event, especially as it was the only order of business.”

Cllr Corrigan: Scoil Phádraig Naofa Works Completed

 

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has welcomed the completion of vital safety works carried out at the Scoil Phádraig Naofa in kilcurry.

Cllr Corrigan said “the application for these safety measures was made and approved as far back as 2017. It has been almost three years but this weekend sees the completion of the works and when the children return on Monday it will be a much safer environment around the outside of the school for them.”

The delay in getting these works done according to Cllr Corrigan was that initially only two tenders were received for the work, both in excess of the funding allocation so the works were put on hold until a second round of tendering could be completed seeking a more reasonable quote.

Cllr Corrigan said “there are now ramps which will slow traffic down and crossing lights which will make drivers more aware of schoolchildren crossing.

“Anything that improves the safety of our children especially around school areas is to be welcomed. These works have been a long time coming but at long last they have been completed.”

Munster outlines Sinn Féin’s plans to reduce cost of childcare for working families

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has outlined her party’s plans to address the crisis in the childcare sector. At present, childcare is unaffordable for many parents, despite the fact that workers in the sector are underpaid.

Deputy Munster said:

“There is a crisis in the Early Years sector.

“Early Years professionals deserve to be paid a decent wage in financially sustainable services. 

“Parents deserve a high quality, affordable childcare service that to look after their children. At the moment childcare is as expensive as a second mortgage for many families. This is a totally unsustainable situation.

“Sinn Féin has a fully costed childcare plan which we would see us reducing the cost of childcare by an average of €500 per month per child in government.

“We would cap and reduce fees whilst increase funding for the sector. We would also ensure improved pay and conditions for childcare staff.

“We would also extend paid maternity leave to 52 weeks, and increase maternity benefit by €50, to ensure that every child can be looked after by a parent in their first year of life, should that be the wish of the parents.

 “SIPTU/Big Start, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the Association of Childhood Professionals, the National Community Childcare Forum and the National Childhood Network have convened an ‘Early Years Alliance’ to highlight the crisis in the sector and demand increased funding in the sector, better pay and recognition the profession deserves. 

“Sinn Féin is fully behind this initiative. We recognise the need to support workers in the sector. We also understand the pressures that working parents are under, and we want to ease that burden to make childcare more affordable, and to ensure a high-quality childcare service across the state.