26 February 2009 Edition

Final steps to freedom

26 February 2009

IN HIS opening address to the 2009 Ard Fheis, outgoing Sinn Féin Vice-President Pat Doherty roused activists to get themselves ready for the political struggles we face, not least the upcoming elections this year. Free article

Defending community services

26 February 2009

THE Ard Fheis welcomed the progress made by Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy in achieving balanced development aimed at addressing the legacy of inequality and investment disparities across the island. Some key achievements noted were the minister's fundamental review of the Six-County Regional Development Strategy and the empowerment of an Independent Review into Water and Sewerage Services committed to rejecting the privatisation of the water and sewerage services and ensuring that it will remain in full public ownership. Free article

Childcare and housing provision pilloried

26 February 2009

DUBLIN Sinn Féin Cllr Críona Ní Dhálaigh spoke in favour of Motion 88 on childcare for the first Ard Fheis section on Saturday morning. The motion reaffirmed Sinn Féin's commitment to the provision of universal public childcare as a right, paid for through direct and representative taxation, and called for support for the SIPTU trade union's campaign to reverse the imposition of the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme. It also said, in relation to the high costs, that the "era of childcare as a second mortgage must end". Free article

Farming and fisheries at our heart

26 February 2009

OPENING the 'Rural Regeneration' section of the Clár after lunch on Saturday, Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle Gildernew MP MLA made clear that an all-Ireland future for rural Ireland was a priority for Sinn Féin. "At the heart of our rural communities are rural families, small-farm families and local indigenous small businesses," the Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP said. Free article

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Teachtaireachtaí láidre

26 February 2009

Tháinig cupla teachtaireachtaí láidre as an mhír ar chlár na hArdfhéise seo a bhain le is an Ghaeilge: is le gach duine an teanga gan monaplachtapolaitiúil ag aon ghrúpa uirthi; agus beidh Acht Gaeilge ann sna Sé Chontae in ainneoin iarrachtaí an DUP agus an duine reatha i mbun na ranna cultúir Gregory Campbell. Free article

Against privatisation, for an all-Ireland health service

26 February 2009

PARTY spokesperson on Health and Children and Dáil group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin opened the Health section of the clár with a passionate condemnation of "an inequitable and inefficient, two-tier, public-private system". The Cavan/Monaghan TD said: "Those with wealth will be looked after by the private system which the Government has built up while the majority," he pointed out, "dependent on the public health system, will face longer waiting times, fewer hospital beds, staff cuts, closure of local hospitals and reduction of services in the community." Free article

Reforming local government and planning

26 February 2009

IN the 'Local Government, Planning and Environment' section, Dublin South East councillor Daithí Doolan told delegates that Sinn Féin is committed to achieving the maximum possible reform of local government and planning processes "in order to build communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable". Sinn Féin's National Councillors' Forum proposed a motion condemning the 26 County Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government for cutting the Local Government Fund to local authorities, and a motion calling on local authorities to expand the rates base to include empty second properties, which have been bought for speculation purposes. Free article

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