Adams raises concerns about new Illness Benefit forms

Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty asking about new claim forms that have been introduced for the illness and injury benefit schemes.

Gerry Adams said:

“Recently one of a number of constituents who have raised concerns about the new forms was handed a letter by her GP practice  in which she was told that this new scheme had been introduced at short notice. The new scheme requires two forms to be filled in, one of these by the doctor. The letter from the practice said that there is a ‘significant amount of work involved in the changeover’ and that it is not ‘achievable on the ground at such short notice.’

The letter from the GP practice said that the doctors’ representative organisations – the IMO and NAGP – were meeting the Department to ‘try to sort out this mess.’ Until that was done the doctors were returning all of the new forms to the department. They said that they intended to continue issuing the old certificates in accordance with the contract they have with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection ‘until a satisfactory solution is found.’

For patients who are ill – some of them very seriously ill – to discover that their illness benefits forms are being suddenly changed and they are caught in a dispute between doctors and government is a matter of great stress and concern.

I have written to the Minister asking if there was any consultation with the NAGP or IMO before this changeover was introduced and what progress if any has been made? I have also asked if the Department will accept the old certificates and if the new arrangements have had any impact or delay in the payment of the illness benefits?

The Department’s website indicates that there is currently a two day delay in issuing some payments, this is unacceptable and I have also asked the Minister if she has allocated any additional personnel or resources to processing forms?”

Teachta Adams concluded:

“The manner in which this issue has been handled is a source of concern. Patients need urgent and immediate reassurance that claims for illness benefit will not be adversely impacted.”

Adams Writes to Ministers on Narrow Water Bridge

DSC_3254_6510Louth TD Gerry Adams has sent a letter to the Southern Transport Minister, Shane Ross TD, and the Executive Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard MLA, ahead of the next meeting of the North South Ministerial Council which is due to discuss the Narrow Water Bridge Project.

The letter, which was co-signed by TDs Imelda Munster and Declan Breathnach; Senator Ged Nash and MLAs Caitriona Ruane, Conor Murphy, Cathal Boylan and Megan Fearon, called for both Ministers to do everything in their power to deliver the Bridge project.

Teachta Adams said,

“In May I hosted the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network in the Dáil. The group gave a compelling presentation on the necessity of the Bridge to the assembled, cross party group of TDs, Senators and Oireachtas staff.

“One outcome of the meeting was an agreement that a collective letter calling for progression of the project would be sent to the Transport Minister Shane Ross and the Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard.

“I invited all Teachtaí Dala from Louth and all Assembly Members from South Down and Newry & Armagh to co-sign this letter, and I am appreciative to those who agreed to work collectively on this project and put their names to this letter.

“The need for the bridge is well recognised.

“It is included in the Irish Government’s 2016-2021 Capital Investment Plan.

“An Oireachtas Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation committee recently reported that it is essential to the economic development of the region and the Fresh Start Agreement in the North mandated the Northern Executive and Southern Government to review and develop the project.

“I welcome the public support for Narrow Water Bridge from Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard; but he cannot deliver the project alone and a renewed commitment from the Cabinet and particularly the Transport Minister is now required.”

Some of the Narrow Water Group (Cross Community)

Some of the Narrow Water Group (Cross Community)

Garda Síochána confirms there is no information to support Cusack claims – Gerry Adams TD

Following a recent Sunday Independent article on illegal cigarettes in which Independent journalist Jim Cusack claimed that this illegal trade has become “one of the IRAs main sources of income, along with fuel laundering” and that it still retains its military structure, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD wrote to the Garda Commissioner.

In a letter received this morning from the Commissioner’s Private Secretary on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, it states; “An Garda Síochána hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion of Mr. Cusack that ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting.

The letter goes on to confirm that the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2009 confirmed that the IRA structures were disbanded, that some former members were engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support; and this was based on briefings from An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, and UK police and security agencies in the UK and America. 

Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams said:

 “There have been ongoing efforts by some journalists and political leaders to demonise border communities in North Louth, South Down and South Armagh.”

 “They have also sought to blame republicans on criminal activities which Sinn Féin has stood firmly against. The letter from the Commissioner disproves these spurious claims. Sinn Féin is working with the Garda and PSNI against criminality of all kinds.”

Teachta Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said:

“The letter from the Garda Commissioner contradicts the claims of the small number of journalists who have pedaled bogus accusations about republicans. It is a clear rejection of other allegations, including the disgraceful claim that republicans were poisoning the water system for Dundalk.”

SF Gerry letter from Garda Commissioner