Fianna Fáil » » Latest News The Republican Party Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:07:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FF Leader urges Taoiseach to take urgent action to accommodate more refugees Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:27:37 +0000 The Fianna Fáil Leader has urged the Taoiseach to take urgent action on accommodating more refugees above and beyond the promised increase.

Micheál Martin commented, “It is clear from the public outpouring this week that Irish people are willing to accommodate more families who have fled war torn countries. It is within our power to do this immediately – we do not have to wait for an EU agreement.

“I welcome the fact that the Taoiseach has at last confirmed that Ireland will accommodate more than 600 refugees. He has said that Ireland will take up to 1,800 people. But I believe that Ireland can and should do more than that. This is 0.2225% of the number Germany has accepted. Germany has lead by example over the summer months and has taken 800,000 refugees. They did not lag behind, waiting for a pan European response. They have taken 40% more than they are ‘obliged to’.

“The EU will be allocating funding to the countries that will accommodate refugees and the Taoiseach needs to outline what this will mean for Ireland. There is no doubt that the Irish people want more to be done to help the families who are running in desperation from their war torn countries. We do not need more people to die while they try to escape from Syria and other failed states.

“Europe has responded too slowly and Ireland must lead the way by playing its part. The failure to deal with this refugee crisis has dramatically increased the costs of this humanitarian disaster. Thousands of people have died already. This is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two.

“Fianna Fáil wrote to the Taoiseach yesterday requesting that the Dáil be called back early so that we can debate this humanitarian crisis. There needs to be a more urgent domestic response and we do not have to wait for the EU to respond. The Irish people want Ireland to accommodate more refugees and an emergency committee must be set up urgently to ensure a cross-party response that will enable this to happen.”

]]> 0
O’Brien welcomes breakthrough in availability of miracle MS drug Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:26:06 +0000 The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Dublin Senator Darragh O’Brien has welcomed news of a breakthrough in the availability of a life-changing drug for Multiple Sclerosis.

In response to queries from Senator O’Brien, the HSE has confirmed that it is in the final stages of putting in place arrangements to fund the availability of the drug Fampyra in Ireland.

It follows a long campaign from MS sufferers who say their standard of living could be dramatically improved if they had access to the drug, led by Balbriggan man Gerry Murphy.

North Dublin Senator Darragh O’Brien has lobbied the Minister for Health on the issue for over a year, raising it in the Seanad on several occassions. He said this news will come as welcome relief to MS sufferers.

“Fampyra is proven to work for around a third of MS sufferers. This means that the lives of around 3,000 people with Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland could be drastically improved by the availability of the drug here,” said Senator O’Brien

“This is a mobility drug that helps people with later stage MS to walk and retain control over their bodies, thereby allowing them to stay in work and live independently. The drug is currently not available under the drug payment scheme, putting it out of the reach of thousands of MS sufferers in Ireland. As a result, many are confined to a wheelchair and have been forced to give up work.

“It is fantastic news that after a vigorous campaign, it looks like MS sufferers will soon have access to this life-changing drug. The HSE has told me that the arrangements should be made ‘in the very near future’.”

]]> 0
Minister Kelly’s defiance and arrogance on homeless crisis is astounding – Cowen Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:00:48 +0000 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen has criticized Minister Alan Kelly for his continued arrogance and inaction on the growing Irish homeless crisis. Deputy Cowen made the comments following the latest intervention by Minister Kelly on national radio where he criticised Fr Peter McVerry, a long time campaigner on homelessness.

Deputy Cowen commented, “I honestly could not believe what I was hearing from Minister Alan Kelly on Morning Ireland. He said he disagreed with Fr Peter McVerry, a long term campaigner on housing issues, in relation to how homelessness is being tackled by this Government. Fr McVerry has decades of experience of working with the homeless and has been doing remarkable work with limited resources. I believe what he is saying and so does every decent and honest person working to accommodate the homeless.

“There is a humanitarian crisis in Dublin City with at least 1,400 children identified as being homeless. There are hotels across the city accommodating families who have been forced to leave their homes. There are men and women who have worked hard to come off drugs that are now being forced to stay in units open to drug users, and this in itself is shameful. There is a man living in his car parked in a field to stay off drugs, and this story is replicated across the country.

“Local Authorities have waiting lists that are rising on a daily basis as people’s homes are being repossessed. Yet Minister Kelly is trying to tell the public that it is all under control and to trust him as he is dealing with the issue. What he is saying is not credible and it should be no surprise that campaigners are calling him out on his spin.

“Minister Kelly spent most of his radio interview outlining how Ireland is going to accommodate more refugees due to the escalating crisis in Europe. Of course Ireland has to play its part and do more to assist the war refugees, but we also have to step up and act with more ferocity and urgency to deal with the worsening homelessness crisis across our country.

“Fr McVerry, the Simon Community, Focus Ireland, Vincent de Paul and other organisations cannot all be wrong regarding the challenges facing families over housing. These challenges are only growing by the day while Minister Kelly continues to criticise homeless campaigners.

]]> 0
Keaveney pays tribute to Kitt on his retirement Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:08:10 +0000 Galway East Fianna Fáil Deputy Colm Keaveney has paid tribute to his constituency and party colleague Michael Kitt following the news that he will retire at the next general election.

Deputy Keaveney said, “I have known Michael Kitt all of my adult life and I have always found him to be a true gentleman. He is an honest, hard working and generous public representative who has remained utterly dedicated to representing the people of Galway East with dignity and respect. I have enjoyed working alongside him in the constituency and in the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party and I have learned a great deal from him.

“Throughout his four decades in public life, the best interests of Galway communities have remained a top priority for Michael Kitt. He is widely respected right across the county and his decision to retire will be met with sadness from many quarters. He will be sadly missed in public life in County Galway. I want to wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.”

]]> 0
Emergency summit needed to deal with escalating refugee crisis – FF Fri, 04 Sep 2015 08:39:23 +0000 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has repeated his Party’s call for an emergency summit to be held at a European level to deal with the escalating refugee crisis.

Deputy Smith has emphasised the need for the European Union to accommodate refugees fleeing conflict in war torn countries such as Syria and Libya. He has also highlighted the need to bring about an end to the ongoing wars in both countries in order to secure a long term solution to the refugee crisis.

“The latest development in the refugee crisis is nothing short of horrendous. It clearly shows us how the policy pursued by both the European Union, the UN and the wider international community is failing. It is deeply disturbing to read daily reports of children dying as they make the deadly trip across the Mediterranean Sea to escape war and the loss of so many lives is absolutely appalling” said Deputy Smith.

“Far too little has been done to date to accommodate refugees. The Government needs to push for an EU summit to be held without delay in order to identify whatever needs to be done to alleviate this crisis. We need immediate collective action by all EU Member States to ensure refugees are adequately accommodated, and Ireland needs to play its part by providing refuge for people fleeing these conflicts.

“We also need greater action by the UN to help bring about an end to the long running conflicts in Libya and Syria. The long term solution to the refugee crisis is to ensure that people can remain in their own homes instead of having to flee conflict. The UN needs to work with all sides involved to achieve a political solution to end these conflicts. This is the only way that we can bring an end to this refugee crisis in the long run.

“I know from my own contacts with Irish N.G.O.’s, who have a proud record in working in the most difficult circumstances, that they are very strong in their views that An Taoiseach and the Government need to take appropriate action at national level and insist on the EU implementing more comprehensive and urgent programmes of assistance. The international community must respond and deal with the plight of so many people fleeing torture and regions that are experiencing the humanitarian crisis of our generation.

]]> 0
Banking Inquiry Evidence Contradicts Taoiseach’s Testimony – FF Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:59:31 +0000 Fianna Fáil has called on the Taoiseach to clarify evidence given to the Banking Inquiry after testimony from Enda Kenny was contradicted today by former Anglo executive Matt Moran.

Deputy Billy Kelleher commented: “This is a very worrying development and raises serious questions for the Taoiseach.  I think Enda Kenny should seek to immediately clarify the matter surrounding his contact with Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.  It would be a very serious matter if the Taoiseach has misled the Banking Inquiry.

“In his sworn evidence to the Banking Inquiry, Enda Kenny rejected the assertion that he shared information with Matt Moran, former chief financial officer with Anglo Irish Bank, about a possible deal between Bank of Ireland and Irish Life and Permanent in 2008.  Mr. Kenny said ‘I reject that assertion completely’.

“Today Mr. Moran contradicted the Taoiseach’s evidence and said Mr. Kenny had discussed very specific information about the banking sector and what potential outcomes there would be for Anglo Irish Bank in the midst of the financial crisis.  Mr. Moran told the Inquiry today that Enda Kenny, as Leader of Opposition in 2008, discussed the possibility that Bank of Ireland would be required by the State to take over Anglo.

“Mr. Kenny had stated at the Inquiry that “I had no conversation of any substance with Mr. Moran.”  I think serious questions now hang over this claim by Mr. Kenny given the evidence heard today.  This must be clarified in the public interest.”

“Mr. Moran said today that he told Mr. Kenny that then Anglo chief executive David Drumm was seeking an opportunity to meet him and that Mr. Kenny agreed to that.  In his evidence at the Inquiry Mr. Kenny said Matt Moran has not conveyed any message to him during a phone call in 2008.

Deputy Kelleher added: “It is important that the Banking Inquiry is in possession of the full facts.  The members of the inquiry team have a lot of evidence to sift through and contradictory accounts of critical discussions in 2008 involving the then Leader of Opposition are extremely unhelpful.”

]]> 0
Horrific scenes underscores need for action on refugee crisis – Troy Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:29:41 +0000 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Children Robert Troy TD has said he is deeply shocked by the horrific scenes unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea and South-East Europe as people attempt to flee conflict in warn torn countries.

Deputy Troy made the comments after the body of a Syrian child washed up on a beach in Turkey after the boat he was travelling in capsized. The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson says such scenes are being replicated every day, and has called on the Government to urgently engage with our partners in the European Union to ensure a co-ordinated response is put in place to adequately care for people seeking refugee status.

“What we have witnessed in recent months in the Mediterranean Sea and across South-East Europe is heart-breaking. People are desperately attempting to flee conflict in states such as Syria and Libya but thousands of people, including children of all ages, are dying as a result of the treacherous nature of the journey” said Deputy Troy.

“European leaders simply cannot sit back any longer and watch this crisis unfold from the side-lines. The international community has a responsibility to cater for refugees fleeing war torn countries, and this is especially true for states that have destabilised regions in the Middle East. A high level response is needed from the leaders of each respective state in the EU to bring an end to the tragedy unfolding, not only on our borders, but now within the union itself.

“Ireland has played a leading role in the search and rescue operation which is currently underway in the Mediterranean Sea. The Irish Naval Service is to be commended for the heroic work it is doing under extremely difficult circumstances. However our response cannot be solely confined to participating in search and rescue operations. We must share the burden with the rest of our partners in the EU by providing shelter for these refugees.

“This is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War 2. Such a crisis requires an exceptional response, and the time has come for EU states to reach out in the same manner that countries across the globe provided refuge for European people forced to flee their communities during World War 2. Sitting back and watching the crisis unfold is no longer an option. The Government needs to treat this matter with the highest priority and must push for a Europe wide summit to tackle the refugee crisis, alongside bringing an end to the conflict in Libya and Syria” said Deputy Troy.

]]> 0
Dublin Cllrs secure agreement on vacant housing units for the homeless Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:55:22 +0000 Dublin City Councillors have secured an agreement from the Environment Minister Alan Kelly to make all vacant housing units in the city available to homeless families by the end of the year.

It follows a long-awaited meeting between Minister Kelly and the leaders of the party groupings on the council yesterday.

There are currently 950 vacant housing units in the city that are in need of refurbishment before they are habitable. The Minister has now agreed to demands from Dublin Councillors to immediately invest in bringing these units up to scratch by the end of the year.

The Fianna Fáil Leader on Dublin City Council Paul McAuliffe explained, “It is completely unacceptable that we have nearly a thousand vacant housing units sitting idle in the city while there are so many homeless families desperate for somewhere to go. Many of these units need very little work to make them suitable homes.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister has now finally agreed to provide the funding necessary to open up these housing units to people on waiting lists. While the number is relatively small in terms of the housing that is needed, this measure will at least provide a much-needed home to nearly a thousand families and individuals by the end of the year.

“It is essential that the Minister keeps his word on this. Unfortunately we have seen all too many promises from Minister Kelly over the past few months that have resulted in nothing, and the housing and homeless crisis has got immeasurably worse. We on Dublin City Council will be holding the Minister to his promise to provide whatever funding is necessary to free up all of 950 vacant housing units by the end of the year.”

]]> 0
How many more people have to die before Irish Govt & EU take action on the refugee crisis? – FF Leader Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:06:39 +0000 Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin is demanding urgent Government action to co-ordinate a comprehensive EU response to the refugee crisis.

Deputy Martin said: “After months of procrastination the Irish Government and the European Union need to take urgent action.  The tragic deaths of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his 5-year-old brother Galip have to be the catalyst for every country in the EU to make an extra effort to ease this horrific humanitarian crisis.  Some months ago Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative on Migration, pleaded with the Irish government to do more and his pleas fell on deaf ears.

“The contribution of the Irish Navy is very admirable – we can all be very proud of their performance in the Mediterranean Sea but Ireland has to do more to accommodate more refugees.

“We have to learn lesion from the Second World War.  These families are predominantly war refugees from Syria.  They are risking their lives to try to get to another country to live normally and raise their children in a safe and secure environment.  They are crossing land and sea in a desperate cry for help.  Ireland and Europe cannot ignore it any longer and as Mr. Sutherland said today “Europe has a brief chance to rescue its integrity”.

“I have no doubt there would be all party agreement in the Dáil to accommodate more refugees and I am calling on the Taoiseach to make this urgent decision immediately.  I am also calling on the Taoiseach to confirm that the government will allow the Irish Navy to continue to assist in operations in the Mediterranean Sea beyond the deadline of October.”

]]> 0
Critical need for EU ‘Solidarity Summit’ on escalating humanitarian crisis – FF Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:09:45 +0000 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on European Affairs Timmy Dooley has said the global outrage being expressed about the shocking image of a drowned Syrian child in Turkey should act as a real wake-up call for EU.

Deputy Dooley is concerned about a growing paralysis in the European Union over the worsening humanitarian crisis.  He said: “The lack of action at EU level is very worrying and I warned the situation would become overwhelming for many countries when I witnessed the scale of crisis in Calais three weeks ago.”

“The lack of a co-ordinated EU response is leading some countries to pursue unilateral actions to deal with thousands of refugees and Ireland is failing to show an leadership on the issue.

“The French President Francois Hollande is holding an emergency cabinet meeting on the migrant crisis this afternoon, the European Council President Donald Tusk is meeting with the Hungarian prime minister, and Ireland appears to be doing next to nothing to respond to the humanitarian crisis.  We need a co-ordinated EU response and I have been urging the Irish government to do much more on the issue.

“I have called for a national forum on migration in Ireland and an emergency EU summit to co-ordinate measures to be implemented across member states.  The European Council president Donald Tusk has said the crisis has caused a divide between the east and west of the EU, with some wishing to contain immigration and others wanting “solidarity”.  I believe a ‘Solidarity Summit’ of member states is essential to tackle the crisis.

“There is no doubt some countries are now moving to contain what they say is a wave of migration.  The reality is this is a humanitarian emergency affecting thousands of refugees and the lack of a co-ordinated, strategic response from the EU is hampering the effectiveness of help for people fleeing war and civil unrest.

“I am extremely disappointed by the government’s lack of leadership on this issue.  Ireland can play a leading role in driving the European response but is failing to step up to the mark.  It’s not too late for the Government to press this matter with European colleagues and get real progress going on a co-ordinated response.”

]]> 0