Dundalk workers treated shamefully – Adams

Louth TD Gerry Adams this morning met with the Liquidators appointed on Friday in relation to the closure of the Authentic Food Company in Dundalk.

Mr. Adams also spoke to Enterprise Ireland and held a meeting with UNITE this afternoon.

The Louth TD, along with party colleague Imelda Munster, will be raising this issue later this afternoon in the Dáil with the Minister responsible under Topical Issues.

Gerry Adams said:

“I first wrote to the company on 21 September having been contacted by workers and their representatives about rumours that Authentic Food was closing. The company did not respond to my initial correspondence or to representations from Sinn Féin Councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell.

Instead last Friday the company went to the High Court, a Liquidator was appointed and staff were told that the company was insolvent and unable to pay wages”.

The Louth TD has accused the Company of treating the workforce shamefully. As a result, and on the cusp of Christmas they are “caught in a limbo. Technically they are still in the employment of the company though they will not be paid a wage. They can’t get their P45 to secure alternative employment, and they can’t access social welfare.

The Minister for Social Protection must use her discretion to ensure that workers get their social welfare payments as soon as possible.”

Concluding Teachta Adams said:

“The Minister must do everything possible to have this workforce reemployed as quickly as possible. She also has to take steps to prevent liquidations being used in a tactical manner for the benefit of a company and to the disadvantage of workers, their families and community”.

Adams concerned at Authentic Food Company

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has said that he is deeply concerned at confirmation this afternoon that The Authentic Food Company has decided to close its Dundalk facility with immediate effect.

Deputy Adams said;

“It is extremely bad news for the 180 staff at The Authentic Food Company that operations are to cease at the Dundalk facility.

“It is also worrying that the company has stated that the Dundalk branch of the company is being placed in administration.

“I first wrote to the company on 21st September, asking them to clarify their future intentions following representations to my office from concerned staff.

“The company did not respond to my email nor to correspondence from local Sinn Féin councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell who have spoken with workers numerous times.

“These staff have been treated deplorably.  They have been in limbo for the past month with no communication from the company.

“I have contacted Nik Basran, Managing Director, again today and asked that he meet with staff and offer them terms which reflect their commitment over many years.

“I understand that The Authentic Food Company is a profitable business.  It should now offer optimum redundancy terms to its workforce in Dundalk.

“I have also contacted the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation to request her immediate intervention in this matter”

Louth Sinn Féin supports Raise the Roof Protest

Louth TD Gerry Adams was joined by Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and Cllr Anne Campbell on Wednesday outside the gates of Leinster House for the Raise the Roof rally to protest at government failure to delivery social and affordable housing.

In his remarks in the Dáil the former Sinn Féin leader criticised earlier comments from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar describing them as “dishonest”.

Speaking in the Dáil on the all-party motion Gerry Adams said:

“I want to commend all of those who took part in the Raise the Roof protest. It was a great demonstration. Those who assembled outside Leinster House were showing their anger at the government’s shameful attitude to almost 4,000 children in emergency accommodation. They were expressing their outrage against rents that people can’t afford. They were protesting against evictions and they were protesting against this government’s failed housing policy”.

Teachta Adams said:

“According to Daft.ie Louth has witnessed the greatest annual increase in rental costs. The July figures from the Department of Housing revealed that the number of adults homeless in the North-East region, including Louth, has remained unchanged since July of last year. Clearly the government’s housing strategy is not working.

This year, fewer social homes owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies will be delivered by the Government than last year.

The Minister for Housing and his colleagues constantly parrot the claim that their plan is the only plan – that there is no alternative. Yes. There is.

Sinn Féin’s housing plan in our Alternative Budget 2019 proposes the introduction of a temporary tax relief for renters in tandem with a three-year emergency rent freeze.

Sinn Féin would also increase investment in social and affordable housing and tackling homelessness.

This is one of the many difference between Sinn Féin and this government. We believe that citizens have the right to a home. This government doesn’t believe this”.

Finally, Gerry Adams criticised an earlier attack on Sinn Féin by the Taoiseach. Teachta Adams said:

“The Taoiseach responded to a reasonable question from Teachta MacDonald on the government’s failed housing policy by attacking Sinn Féin’s refusal to stay in government in the North with a party which is denying citizens their rights.

The Taoiseach has a duty to uphold the rights of people in the North not to attack them. He also knows the efforts Sinn Féin have made and the reprehensible way the British government and the DUP have responded by refusing rights which he knows are being denied at this time.

He knows the disrespectful way they treat him and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. This has nothing to do with the housing crisis, with the housing emergency in this state, but it is proof how this government responds in a dishonest way and this brings the Taoiseach’s office into disrepute and adds to the sense – and we saw this in the streets earlier on – that this government doesn’t really care about the homelessness crisis.

He also knows the disrespectful way they have treated the Irish government. So for him to respond in this dishonest way brings the office of Taoiseach into disrepute and adds to the sense that this government does not really care about the homeless crisis”.

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú said: “There are thousands of households on the housing waiting list in Louth. Without the construction of significant numbers of quality, and affordable public housing many will languish on that list for years. We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing emergency. It is a crisis that has this Government has refused to confront.

The current housing crisis is entirely government made. Since the government published its ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ strategy homelessness has increased by 60%, child homelessness has increased by 77% and pensioner homelessness has increased by an unimaginable 80%. All of this has occurred despite the Ministers efforts to fiddle the homeless statistics, including an instruction to Louth County Council in May to exclude 100 homeless households”.

Sinn Féin allocates €5 million for state wide Walk-Peer project – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has revealed that the party’s alternative budget for 2019 “recognises the wonderful work of the Walk-Peer project in Louth. In Sinn Féin’s alternative budget for 2019 we propose rolling out the Walk-Peer experience across the state. We have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county.”

The Louth TD said: “Walk-Peer was one of 14 disability activation projects that were originally jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund. Its objective was to provide people with disabilities with the means to avail of progression, education and development opportunities within the world of work.

The programme ended three years ago. Since then, along with others, I have lobbied the government to sustain funding for the Louth project because of the exemplary work it does and the help it provides citizens with disabilities.

WALK Peer is a model programme which has dramatically changed the lives of young people with disabilities in my constituency. Scores of young people have availed of the programme, and very positive outcomes have been achieved by all who participated in it. WALK Peer has proven to be a very successful in ensuring that young people with disabilities are afforded equal access to employment, education and training.

Consequently, Sinn Féin now wants to roll the Walk-Peer experience out across the state. In our alternative budget for 2019 we have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county. In addition we will increase by 10% the Wage Subsidy Scheme which supports people with disabilities.”

Winning the Campaign for Irish Unity – Gerry Adams TD

This weekend Ógra Sinn Féin held a weekend of conversation and discussion in the Muirhevnamor Community Centre in Dundalk. Among the speakers were Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, Louise O’Reilly TD, Megan Fearon MLA and Caoimhe Archibald MLA.

Local Louth TD Gerry Adams spoke at the event on Saturday. The former Sinn Féin leader spoke on the role of women and the campaign to achieve Irish unity.

Gerry Adams said:
“Women have played an essential role in the struggle for Irish freedom. At the turn of the 20th century Republican women were indispensably involved in many of the emerging organisations which were giving voice to the cultural, sporting and language renewal and rebirth that was taking place. Today that involvement continues and Sinn Féin is now led by two formidable women activists; Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill. And at this time the Sinn Féin candidate for the Presidency of Ireland is another formidable women Liadh Ní Riada”.

On the issue of a unity referendum and winning that referendum Gerry Adams said:

“We won’t have any kind of a republic until we have a united Ireland. We won’t have a united Ireland until we end the union with Britain. We now have a way of achieving this. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement – a majority vote in a unity referendum obliges the British government to leave.

Despite the negativity of the Irish and British governments there is growing support for a referendum on unity and for a united Ireland. But there is much work to be done. Republicans have a responsibility to map out the kind of shared new Ireland, we are working to build.

To advance this objective we must foster a ‘Yes for Unity’ movement which is much wider and broader than Sinn Féin. We don’t own the unity debate and we know that throughout Irish history progress has been best served when likeminded individuals and groups come together to work for a common goal.  

That was evident in 1916. It was most evident in the recent successful referendums on marriage equality and women’s health. We need to reach out to others and persuade them to join the campaign for a referendum and for unity.

There is also a responsibility on the Irish government and all of those parties which proclaim their commitment to a united Ireland, to work together and bring forward plans to achieve this. That means the Irish Government must advocate for, and plan for, a unity referendum and Irish Unity.

Ending partition and the call for a unity referendum have been given an added impetus by the threat Brexit it poses to the Good Friday Agreement and to the two economies on this island. The British government’s intention to take the North out of the EU, despite the vote by a majority of people there to remain, is a hostile action.

Despite this I believe that working together we can win a referendum on Irish unity. It is no longer a matter of if but when. After almost 100 years of a failed partitionist system and centuries of British involvement in Irish affairs, it is time for the Irish people, all of us on the island of Ireland, to shape out our own future”.