Victims of misdiagnosis deserve better – Adams

Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin TD for Louth, has expressed his “anger and outrage at the cervical smear scandal” and the “efforts of some in the HSE to deny the women victims of misdiagnosis truth and transparency”.

The Louth TD has written to the Minister asking him a series of questions about the lack of transparency and accountability around this issue, the state policy of pursuing victims through the courts and how many women in Louth were affected by the misdiagnosing of the cervical smear tests and were not informed by their doctors of this”.

Gerry Adams said:

“The current scandal relating to smear tests for cervical cancer has only emerged because of the courage of Vicky Phelan. Without her determination to get to the truth the public might never have known of the many women whose smear tests were misdiagnosed and then covered-up. Her courage in combatting the disgraceful way she and her husband were treated in court has also served to highlight the way in which the state deals with victims who seek legal redress. This is unacceptable.

Over the last few days I have been contacted by women from Louth who are fearful that their cervical smear tests, which they thought were clear, may have been misdiagnosed. Tonight’s revelation by Minister Harris that “a considerable number of cases will not have been subjected to an audit of their screening history” has increased these fears”.

Gerry Adams also criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for “opposing past efforts by Sinn Féin and others to ensure that there is duty of candour by health professionals that guarantees that patients are given the fullest information about their case.”

Antoin Watters: Commence Research on Brexit Impact

Cllr Antóin Watters

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called on the Government to commence specific research to identify the impact that Brexit will have in the border regions.

Cllr Watters said “In the Government’s ‘Action Plan on Rural Development’ it was proposed that specific research be done to identify the impact of Brexit on rural areas across the State but in particular, the border areas which will be impact most negatively of all.”

“Brexit is getting ever closer and we have MEPs like Guy Verhofstad visiting us from Belguim and a taskforce of MEPs from various countries trying to get an idea of the border area and trying to figure out the best way to proceed. Yet, this vital piece of research has yet to commence. MEPs from other countries are showing more interest than the Irish Government in the border areas.”

Cllr Watters said “We need to start this research without delay so we can have a clear understanding of what the impact will be and more importantly what contingency plans can be put in place to mitigate the consequences.”

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Cllr Tom Cunningham Calls For Irish Government to Protect Irish Fishing Interests

Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has called on the Irish Government to ensure the rights of the Irish fishing industry are protected in the aftermath of Brexit.

Cllr Cunningham said Irish fishermen were in danger of becoming “the meat in the sandwich between the EU and Britain during any talks on Brexit.”

Cllr Cunningham who hails from the fishing village of Clogherhead said “Our government needs to make it absolutely clear to the EU negotiating team how important our fishing industry is to this island. You can be sure that the French, Dutch and other EU countries will do everything to protect their fishing industries and we must not be any different.”

At present, Ireland catches half its quota in British Waters. The London Convention of 1964 allowed Irish fishing vessels to fish in British waters before their entry into the EU. Britain has expressed that they are seeking to exit that agreement. After Brexit Ireland will have 30% of Europe’s viable fishing water and 40% of its fishing stocks yet Irish fishermen are restricted to landing just 5% or less of the overall catch putting tremendous pressure on the industry.

Cllrs Tom Cunningham & Imelda Munster TD at  Clogherhead Harbour


Cllr Tom Cunningham asked “what will happen to the EU vessels that are currently fishing in British waters? They will be displaced and the obvious place for them to go to is Ireland’s waters. Stakeholders estimate Brexit will cause the loss of between 500-600 Irish vessels and as our industry is comprised of small fishing vessels, in real terms, that means thousands of families losing their primary source of income and the decimation of coastal communities right around Ireland.”

Cllr Cunningham called on the Irish Government to “demand that the non-Irish vessels that are displaced from British waters are not redirected into increasingly crowded Irish waters.”

The British decided in July of this year to withdraw from the London Convention of 1964, however, Cllr Cunningham said he would give a cautious welcome to “remarks from the British Minister Michael Gove in August on allowing EU vessels to use British waters post-Brexit” but warned “these comments will cause as much confusion as relief. The Irish fishing industry needs certainty, it needs to know what is coming down the line so they can make adequate preparations, they don’t need this flip-flop approach from the British Government. The onus is on the Irish Government to represent the fishing industry and fishing communities.”

Government hell-bent on rip-off bin charges – Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has hit out at plans by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to increase bin charges. Fine Gael have announced new pay by weight and pay by lift measures which will increase bin charges even further, and will not encourage consumers to reduce their waste.

Fianna Fáil, who introduced the privatisation of waste collection in the first instance, have stood by the government’s proposals and have made no attempt to block the forthcoming price hike.

Deputy Munster said:

“This latest government proposal adds a further financial burden on people. There is no reward for recycling or composting. Increased recycling or composting food waste will mean that the waste or rubbish bin has less in it and the charge for all bins will increase to compensate private companies for this. To claim otherwise is attempting to fool people. Everybody knows that is precisely what these waste companies will do. There is also no maximum limit for the standing charge, allowing it to increase at the companies’ will, even for households that rarely put a bin out for collection.”

“Sinn Féin has been raising this matter for years. Privatisation introduced by Fianna Fáil has led to huge increases in charges. The current government has gone further, allowing prices for waste collection to escalate further.”

“The new rules do not make exemptions for people on low incomes, and the pittance allocated to those with long term illness who have higher waste output is laughable. It amounts to under €1.50 a week for these families. Is that really the best the government can do?”

“This is another charge that many people simply will not be able to pay. People are already burdened with PAYE, PRSI, universal social charge, accident and emergency charges, prescription charges, local property tax and motor tax, and now bin charges are set to increase. The government has ignored the needs of these people with this new waste collection regime.”

“Sinn Féin will fight hard against these unfair, inequitable charges which will ultimately only damage people’s pockets and the environment.”

Adams urges Taoiseach to recognise the state of Palestine

DSC_3254_6510Speaking in the Dáil yesterday Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD challenged the Taoiseach to “stand up now and formally recognise the state of Palestine. It does not need legislation it only needs for the Taoiseach to take that decision. I invite him to keep to his Government’s commitment to act in the letter and the spirit of the Oireachtas motion of two years ago and to formally recognise the state of Palestine.”

Teachta Adams said:

“The Taoiseach’s reply was vague and unacceptable. We were told that the Minister for Foreign Affairs is concluding work on this issue. But no timeframe for that was given.

The programme for Government states that the Government will “honour our commitment to recognise the State of Palestine”. Two years ago next month the Dáil and Seanad voted to do this. The government has failed to act on this.

Since the beginning of this year 252 Palestinian homes in the West Bank have been demolished. As a result, 1,062 people, including 553 minors, are homeless. In the last 15 years’ Israeli authorities have destroyed approximately 150 internationally funded development projects. This has cost the EU an estimated €58 million.

Among the demolitions were a farming project in the Jordan Valley, a playground near Nablus and a primary school serving a Bedouin community east of Jerusalem. At the same time Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the occupied west Bank.

In recent months there has also been a marked increase in the number of UN and NGO officials being denied entry into Gaza or the west Bank to work on internationally supported projects.

The Taoiseach has been in Gaza and I have been there. It is not a pleasant experience. Imagine living there.

On September 26th I raised this issue of recognition of the state of Palestine with the Taoiseach. Nothing happened.

Previously on June 8th I raised this same issue with the Taoiseach. At that time I was told that the Taoiseach would ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs to brief me and the Taoiseach agreed that it “might be no harm if we had a debate on the Palestinian situation in due course”.

Neither the Taoiseach or the Minister for Foreign Affairs have come back to me on this issue nor has the government allotted any time for a debate on the issue of Palestine. It is long past time that this state formally recognised the state of Palestine. The rights of the Palestinian people to statehood should not be dictated by Israeli opposition.”