[Sinn Fein]

4th July 2002

Sinn Fein announces portfolios for TDs

``Sinn Fein will resist cuts and build real alternative''

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, the leader of the Sinn Fein group of TDs, today announced the policy portfolios for the party's five TDs. He said the Sinn Fein TDs would work as a cohesive team and would resist government cutbacks and build a real political alternative. He said:

``The five Sinn Fein TDs will work as a cohesive team in the Dáil. Our role will be one of constructive opposition, ensuring that the government as a whole and individual ministers are accountable.

``Less than two months have passed since the General Election and already the government has broken a string of pre-election promises and is now preparing for cutbacks in public spending and essential services.

``Fianna Fáil's commitment to end hospital waiting lists in two years was not even included in the Programme for Government. A public pre-election commitment given personally by the Taoiseach to set a target for the reduction of homelessness was also not included in the Programme. Overseas aid has been cut by ¤32 million despite government commitments to increase it.

``As the crisis in our health system continues to unfold, I will be attending this afternoon an emergency meeting with the Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin on the effective closure on Tuesday of Monaghan General Hospital. The crisis at Monaghan is symptomatic of the mismanagement of the health services at both Department and Health Board level. The Minister must intervene directly now.

``The government is now preparing for cutbacks in public spending. We have already got a flavour of what this means with the axing of jobs in Community Employment schemes, hitting schools and community projects. Sinn Fein will campaign inside and outside the Dáil against cuts in public services which affect the least well off most.

``Sinn Fein will also provide alternative policies. The imminent publication of the Ansbacher report highlights how some of the most privileged were able to avoid making any contribution to Irish society through taxation. This same sector has benefited most from the tax reductions of the FF/PD government. Sinn Fein will not flinch from calling for increases in taxes for those who can most afford them - including Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax.''

Sinn Fein Dáil spokespersons

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Leader and Spokesperson on the Peace Process and the Six Counties; Finance; Health and Children

Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Justice and Equality; Cultúr, Gaeilge agus Gaeltacht; International Affairs and Defence; Party Whip

Seán Crowe TD

Education; Transport and Communications; Social and Community Affairs

Martin Ferris TD

Agriculture and Rural Development; Marine and Natural Resources; Tourism and Sport

Arthur Morgan TD

Environment and Local Government; Employment, Trade and Consumer Affairs

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