[Sinn Fein]

28th August 2002

New TDs still without proper facilities while Government recruits posse of advisors

The leader of the Sinn Fein TDs in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, has described as ``farcical'' the situation in Leinster House where the five Sinn Fein TDs and their staff have still not been provided with proper accommodation. He contrasted this with the Special Advisors and Media Advisors the government has provided for itself.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``It is now over three months since the General Election and Sinn Fein TDs are still without proper accommodation. Two of our TDs, Seán Crowe and Arthur Morgan, are sharing an office designed for one TD. Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Ferris are in offices without adequate space for their Dáil secretaries.

``While the Government has recruited a posse of well-paid advisors, above and beyond the hundreds of civil service staff at their disposal in each Department, our party is without basic facilities. We have one Leinster House Press Officer and one Administrator, both paid directly by Sinn Fein, and yet they have still not been provided with either accommodation or accreditation. Contrast this with the lavish spending by the Taoiseach and his Ministers on extra staff.

``This is a farcical situation. At meetings with the Government Chief Whip, I and the Sinn Fein Whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD have urged repeatedly that these matters be addressed without further delay. We have also pressed for progress on changes in Standing Orders to give due recognition to the smaller parties in the Dáil. Despite our efforts and those of the Green Party and the Independents, no progress has been made over the summer. This is totally unacceptable as we begin a new Dáil term next week.''

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