Adams calls for decent rents for students

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to support a Sinn Féin Bill that will provide protection for students in student accommodation by bringing them under the Residential Tenancies Act and give them access to the Residential Tenancies Board.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday evening the Louth TD highlighted the difficulties faced by students attending the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Gerry Adams said:

“The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that will give students in student accommodation the protection of the Residential Tenancies Act. It will allow students access to the Residential Tenancies Board and ensure that they are included in the rent pressure zones.

“If the Dáil really believes in access to education at all levels then all obstacles must be removed so that our young people, in particular, can reach their full potential and that includes student accommodation with decent rents and conditions.

“In my own constituency of Louth USI representatives at DkIT tell me that the lack of affordable accommodation is affecting the numbers able to take up courses. Accommodation and its cost can also badly impact on educational attainment and course completion rates.

“In its 2017 student accommodation report, Cushman & Wakefield reported that there were sixty thousand students chasing thirty-five thousand spaces. It is estimated that this number will increase to almost seventy thousand students looking accommodation in the next 5 years.

“The reality is that there is not adequate student accommodation, especially in border constituencies like Louth.

“A year ago there were 11 student accommodation projects under construction, ten of these are being built by private developers. This means that this is seen as an opportunity for profit.

“For students it is a nightmare as they try to find somewhere to stay and pay exorbitant rents. Most students at DKIT can expect their current student accommodation to cost almost 500 euro a month, with many paying significantly more than that. This is generally for a single room.

“We know that in Dublin the costs are even greater with some students being expected to pay over 900 euro a month in rents. The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 is one way of tackling this. It does what it says on the tin. It’s about including student licences under the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act.

“This ensures that properties in the affected areas are covered by the rent pressure zones and provides access for those living in student properties to the Residential Tenancies Board. It’s a common sense proposal that has been welcomed by student’s groups. It can assist students to stay in full time education by ensuring that they are not being charged exorbitant rents”.

Adams calls for mandatory reporting

Speaking in Tuesday night’s Dáil debate on the Sinn Féin Private Members Motion, Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams called on the government to end its insistence on fighting every compensation case exhaustively through the courts.

He also said that there is now an “imperative on the government to urgently introduce, before the summer recess, strong legislation requiring mandatory open disclosure in the HSE.”

The Louth TD said:

“A Cheann Chomhairle, the daily drip feed of revelations around the cervical cancer smear scandal, and the reports into the deaths of babies in the Portiuncula and Portlaoise hospitals, have undermined confidence in the health care service. They have also added to the trauma of the families affected.

Without the remarkable courage of Vicky Phelan, the cervical smear scandal might never have become public. Her rejection of a demand that she sign a confidentiality agreement was a hugely courageous and selfless act. Her example demands that this Oireachtas be equally courageous and resolute in how we confront and tackle this scandal.

There is now an imperative on the government to urgently introduce, before the summer recess, strong legislation requiring mandatory open disclosure in the HSE.

Nothing less will do. Nothing less will work. Nothing less is acceptable.

The distress and grief of Stephen Teap, Paul Reck, Emma Mhic Mhathúna, and of so many others demands that this government take all of the steps necessary to ensure there is no repeat of this, or any of the other scandals that have bedevilled the health service over the years. Sadly, there have been too many.

In the 1990’s over a thousand people, mainly women, were infected with contaminated blood products. The Blood Transfusion Service Board were warned about this but failed to tell those who had received the products. A report published three years ago revealed that at least 260 people who were infected with Hepatitis C had died in the 20 years since the facts first emerged.

Another victim of the culture of secrecy and cover-up is Louise O’Keefe. It took her 15 years to win her legal battle forcing the government to pay her compensation for the abuse she had endured as a pupil.

There are many elderly women victims of symphysiotomy who are still fighting for truth and compensation. And none of us can forget the women victims of the Magdalene Laundries or the mother and baby homes, or Savita Halappanavar or the countless others.

Nor should we forget that this government and previous governments have forced many of these women to fight long, expensive, stressful legal battles. The government approach is to fight every case tooth and nail.

This too has to change. The government has said it will not oppose our motion. That is not the same as supporting it. I am therefore appealing to every Teachta Dalaí to support the Sinn Féin motion, and the need for justice and support for the women affected, and for the families of those women who have tragically died.

And I am appealing to government to go beyond its position tonight by speedily introducing the legislation needed for mandatory open disclosure. This is a necessary and immediate step in rebuilding confidence in the healthcare service”.
 

Adams questions May’s Commitment to no hard border

Speaking in the Dáil today on his Brexit Bill Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams expressed concern at claims of ‘new thinking’ by the British in dealing with the issue of a hard border said that the “Irish government carries an onerous responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement”.

The Louth TD expressed his disappointment that the government rejected a Sinn Féin Bill which called for additional formal reporting by the government to the Dáil on the Brexit negotiations.

Commenting on recent developments in the Brexit process the former Sinn Féin leader expressed his concern at the commitment of Theresa May to ensure that there will be no border controls. Teachta Adams specifically raised the issue of rights for EU citizens in the North. The EU Legal Text published on March 1st was very explicit on this but thus far we have seen no progress.

Addressing Minister Coveney, Teachta Adams said:

“Today, following his meeting with Theresa May, the Taoiseach reports that the British will now table a new proposal on a future customs relationship within the next two weeks. This is new thinking he said.

We were told that in December when the EU/British joint agreement was achieved only to have the British Prime Minister repudiate the EU legal text in February. Remember her blunt: “No UK prime Minister would ever agree to it.” Why should this time be any different?

This is the same British Prime Minister who last week claimed that only British soldiers are being investigated in relation to legacy matters. As the Minister knows this is a patent untruth.

This is the same British government that refuses to provide information on the role of its agents in the Dublin-Monaghan bombs which took place on this date 44 years ago.

And this is the same British Prime Minister who has done a deal with the DUP which is taking precedence over her obligations in respect of the Good Friday Agreement.

The EU legal text accepts that the alignment option contained in the December agreement means that the North shall be “considered part of the customs territory of the EU”. It explicitly states that there should be “no diminution of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out” in the Good Friday Agreement. And it definitively demands that the Good Friday Agreement and its subsequent implementation agreements “should be protected in all its parts”. There is significant concern at the British commitment to this.

In his response to the joint agreement in December the Taoiseach addressed northern nationalist and said: “There will be no hard border on our island. You will never again be left behind by an Irish Government”.
The Irish government therefore carries an onerous responsibility to live up to this commitment and to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement.
If an agreement is reached in the upcoming negotiations between the EU and the British government, it cannot fall short of the position that the legal text has established”.

Congratulations Drogheda on winning bid to hold Fleadh Cheoil 2018

Adams-and-MunsterSinn Féin Louth TDs Gerry Adams and Imelda Munster have welcomed today’s decision by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann to hold the 2018 Fheadh Cheoil in Drogheda.

Teachta Adams said:

“I want to commend the efforts of the Drogheda Fleadh Bid Committee, Drogheda Comhaltas, County Council representatives, Members of the Emergency Services, and local volunteers who all worked hard to successfully win the bid to hold Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Drogheda”

Teachta Munster said:

“The Fleadh Cheoil is one of the most important events in the cultural life of this island. Holding it in Drogheda will be an enormous boost to the local economy, especially tourism. It will also enhance the local traditional Irish music, dance, and language sectors.

“Drogheda is perfectly placed to hold the Fleadh and I am very confident that the people of the town will embrace this opportunity to showcase Drogheda.”

Adams briefs Louth party activists on Northern crisis

Adams Louth Briefing 2017 JanSinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD and party colleague Imelda Munster briefed a special meeting of the Louth constituency organisation on Thursday evening in Dundalk.

The previous day he and Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald met the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss “the deepening crisis in the political institutions in the North and the role of the Irish and British governments in helping to achieve a sustainable resolution.”

Speaking after the Dundalk meeting the Louth TD said:

“The Good Friday Agreement and the peace process have helped bring about significant political and economic progress on the island of Ireland. This has brought benefits for all the people of this island but especially the border communities and towns like Dundalk. The removal of the militarised border has helped transform this region.

“No one has worked harder to achieve this than Sinn Féin, and in particular Martin McGuinness. The current crisis surrounding the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI)scheme is a direct result of the DUP’s arrogant handling of this financial scandal and of allegations from within the DUP of corruption, fraud and incompetence involving half a billion pounds. Resolving this crisis will require transparency, accountability and zero tolerance of corruption.

“There are also major issues surrounding the functioning of the institutions, and of the failure to abide by the principles of parity of esteem, equality, and respect which are part of the Good Friday Agreement.

“As co-equal guarantors of the Agreement the Irish and British governments have a responsibility to defend and implement the Good Friday Agreement. The British government will not do this unless the Irish government holds them to account. The British refusal to fulfil its their obligations has to be tackled. The government now needs to engage positively in an ongoing and consistently strategic way with the British government to ensure the full implementation of the Agreement.

“There can be no return to the status quo and no short-term sticking plaster approach. Our party position is clear. Following the resignation of the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness there must be an election. Sinn Féin does not yet see any basis for a credible negotiation this side of that. It is time for the people to have their say.”