Government must attempt to save Argos jobs in Monaghan & Cavan – Carthy

Government must attempt to save Argos jobs in Monaghan & Cavan – Carthy


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said news that Argos is to close its operations in the State is a “huge blow for the workers” and called for the government to do all they can to save the over 400 jobs.  The closures will affect both the Monaghan and Cavan branches of the store and Deputy Carthy said that government must do all possible in an attempt to save those jobs.


Teachta Carthy said:


“The emerging news that Argos is to close its stores across the State, including in Monaghan and Cavan, will be an incredible blow for the workers affected, their families, their communities, and for the retail sector in Ireland.


“As it is the company’s intention to shut down its complete operations this amounts to a collective redundancy which requires a 30-day consultation period.


“It is essential that the company engage quickly and in good faith with the workers trade union, Mandate, during this period.


“Throughout this 30-day period the Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment must meet with Argos and Mandate to explore every and any prospect to save the jobs involved.


“Additionally, the Retail Forum must meet as a matter of urgency to see if there is any possibility of securing the businesses in these local communities.


“Retail is changing, but that does not mean that the government should abandon traditional retail by doing nothing.


“The workers in Argos must be the priority here and it is imperative that the government stands up for them.”



Carthy calls on government to stop Coillte’s proposed corporate ‘land-grab’

Carthy calls on government to stop Coillte’s proposed corporate ‘land-grab’


Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Climate Action Plan on Wednesday the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy, called on government to instruct Coillte to stop the proposed joint venture between Coillte and the British asset management company, Gresham House.


He also said that government must ensure that state funds are not used to facilitate the proposed ‘land-grab’.


Teachta Carthy said:


“I have repeatedly stated that if we fail on forestry then we will fail on Climate Action.


“And, this government is drastically failing.


“The Programme for Government sets out an annual target of 8,000 hectares of new afforestation.  Instead, this government has overseen the near entire collapse of Irish forestry.  We are now planting less forestry than we were during the 2nd world war.


“Under a Fianna Fáil Minister and a Green Party Minister of State, Forestry outputs have got worse since this government came to office, rather than better.


“Rather than engage with the forestry and timber sector, with farmers and local communities to address the core issues that have led to the current disfunction, Ministers have organised photocalls and press conferences and commissioned report after report.  All the while, the crisis in forestry has intensified.


“Now, in an all-too-familiar story, the answer of this government appears to be to facilitate the sale of thousands of hectares of Irish land to a British investment vehicle.


“We are told that the Green Party Minister of State knew as far back as March 2021 of Coillte plans to use such a private vehicle to acquire lands.


“Yet, following the recent formal announcement by Coillte of their proposed arrangement with the Gresham House Fund Ministers have pretended that they are somehow observers.


“But the Minister for Agriculture is the shareholder, on behalf of the Irish people, in Coillte.  He can, and he should, instruct Coillte to immediately stall this plan.


“And government can and should state categorically that will not permit the use of €2billion of Irish taxpayers money to be used to facilitate this land-grab.


“The joint venture is not about Climate, it’s not even about forestry, Gresham House has confirmed that 8,000 hectares of their Irish portfolio will be existing forestry land, as little as 3,000 hectares will bare land for new tree-planting.  For Gresham House is venture is simply about corporate profit.


“It is a typical approach, that especially sums up the Green Party in government.  An approach that points the finger at ordinary workers, families and communities while government fail to reach a single climate objective themselves have set.


“A good forestry policy is one that delivers for the environment, delivers for communities and delivers for local economies.


“The Coillte joint venture with Gresham House will deliver in none of those areas, just as this government have delivered in none of those areas.


“The Minister should therefore use this debate as an opportunity to confirm that government will stop this scandalous venture immediately”.



Clones Man, Paddy McCabe, recognised in Dáil as victim of 1972 bombing for first time

Clones Man, Paddy McCabe, recognised in Dáil as victim of 1972 bombing for first time

Carthy raises cases of Clones, Belturbet & Pettigo explosions 50 years on


For the first time a local man, Paddy McCabe, was recognised as a victim of the Clones bombing of 28th December 1972 when Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, secured a topical issues debate to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Clones, Belturbet & Pettigo bombings.


This week Gardaí released the most comprehensive information on the bombings to date, including reference to nine suspects they are trying to locate, in a further appeal for public assistance.  Gardaí also refenced Pady McCabe alongside teenagers Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley who were both killed in Belturbet.


In his Dáil contribution Deputy Carthy said:


“The 50th anniversary of the bombings at Belturbet in County Cavan, Clones in County Monaghan and Pettigo in County Donegal will be marked on 28 December.


“The three bombs exploded within 49 minutes of each other.  It is widely believed that the UVF in conjunction with British state agents were responsible for the attack.  Nobody has ever been held to account.


“For many years, the response of this State to the bombings was silence.  But, thanks to the efforts of families, local communities and the organisation Justice for the Forgotten, a focus of sorts has been put on these incidents.  In October 2022, An Garda Síochána issued a renewed appeal for information, which I welcome.


“There were two victims of the Belturbet bombing – 16-year-old Patrick Stanley from Clara in County Offaly, survived by his parents Teresa and Joe, now deceased, and nine siblings; and 15-year-old Geraldine O’Reilly from Drumacon, Staghall, Belturbet.  She left her parents Mary Kate and Joseph, also both sadly deceased, and seven siblings bereaved.


“The official record states that there were no fatalities from the bombings at Pettigo and Fermanagh Street in Clones but that does not tell the full story.


“A local Clones man, Paddy McCabe, was one of those who came to assist in the clear-up operation after the explosion.  He was working on the roof of the building that was damaged by the bomb when he had a fall that resulted in his death.


“The Clones bombing was directly related to his death, although he has never been recognised as a victim of the bombing.  But, the impact on his family was as profound as that on any victims of the conflict.


“Paddy left behind his beloved wife Vera to be the sole carer of their eight children, then aged from two to 14 years.  They lost their husband and father and their lives would never be the same again.  It was a direct result of the Clones bombing but because he was never recognised as such, Paddy’s family was denied supports and resources that might otherwise have been made available.


“I recently had the opportunity, alongside Councillor Pat Traynor and the Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, Seán Conlon, to meet some of Paddy McCabe’s now grown-up children.


“They had two requests.  The first was that they be informed of all developments in the Garda investigation into the bombings at Clones, Belturbet and Pettigo and that they be considered interested parties for updates on the case.  I am pleased that following my correspondence with An Garda Síochána, I am informed a Garda has been assigned as a liaison for the family.


“Second, they sought long-denied recognition that the loss of their father was a consequence of the Clones bombing.  This is why I welcome the opportunity to record the name of Paddy McCabe in the record of the Dáil tonight as a victim of the Clones bombing.  I ask the Minister to join me in extending condolences to the family of Paddy McCabe alongside the families of Patrick Stanley and Geraldine O’Reilly as we approach the 50th anniversary of their deaths”.



No Confidence in Housing Minister or Government’s failed policies

No Confidence in Housing Minister or Government’s failed policies – Carthy


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, spoke against the government’s motion of confidence in Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.


Carthy described Minister O’Brien as the Harry Kane of Irish politics – “missing targets and missing them widely”.


Teachta Carthy told the Dáil:


“For all the bluff and bluster from government Deputies they can’t hide away from the plain fact that their housing policies are failing.  They cannot hide from the truth that their Housing Minister is failing.


“Far from resolving the housing emergency, the Minister instead denies that there is an emergency at all.


“The emergency was not of Minister O’Brien’s making, although his party played a staring role.  But he has singularly failed to get to grips with it.


“On all the parameters that matter to real people, the figures don’t lie.


“The highest levels of homelessness since records began – and getting worse.


“The highest house prices on record – and getting worse.


“The highest rents in the history of the state – and they continue to soar.


“Minister O’Brien has established himself as the Harry Kane of Irish politics – missing targets and missing them widely.


“The Minister has an advantage over Mr. Kane because he simply moves the goalposts – by setting new targets that he knows go nowhere near the level of output that is required to resolve the daily crisis that is the lived housing reality of too many of our citizens.


“Government TDs know all of this.  But, no doubt, the Minister will receive the support of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party TDs this evening in their vein hope of a junior ministerial nod this Saturday.


“But, make no mistake about it, were this motion to be decided by those currently in the limbo of emergency accommodation; or Ireland’s fleeced renters; or those on social housing lists, waiting years with many more years of waiting to come; or those young people desperately hoping to buy their first home; or the thousands of others who have lost hope and have scattered again to the four corners of the world in search of a better life.

Then there would be no contest – it would be a clear, emphatic no confidence in this government, no confidence in their failed housing policies and no confidence in this failing Minister”.


Carthy joins Mary Lou McDonald at ICMSA AGM

Carthy joins Mary Lou McDonald at ICMSA AGM


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy, attended the AGM of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association with his party leader, Mary Lou McDonald, this week.


The pair were present in Castletroy, Co. Limerick, to present their party’s vision for Irish Agriculture to the Dairy farmers present.  Deputy McDonald gave a detailed account of the Sinn Féin policy platform telling those present that ‘farmers need change as much as anyone else’.  Her address was followed by a lengthy question-and-answer session which dealt with a vast array of issues of concerns to the farm representatives present.



McDonald address


In her keynote address to the event, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said:


“I thank you all, and in particular your president Pat McCormack, for the invitation to join you at the ICMSA AGM.  I am delighted to be here alongside the Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Matt Carthy.


“I note that there has been surprise expressed by some at my attendance here today.


“There was no need for surprise.


“Sinn Féin have a long track record of representing farmers and championing Irish food production.  It was no accident that our party selected Agriculture as one of the two Ministries that we took in the northern executive.


“Or that we retained that Ministry for a full decade.  Or that one of those to hold that position was Michelle O’Neill, now First Minister Designate.


“Sinn Féin want to see better and a fairer Ireland.  That can only be achieved with balanced regional development.  That means that we need economic generation that sustains our towns, villages and rural communities.  And the one sector that has proven itself up to that task, again and again, is Agriculture.


“You won’t be surprised either to hear me confirm that I want to lead the next government.  I want that to be a government of change.  I want farmers to be part of that change and I believe farmers deserve and demand change as much as any other section of our country.


“It is time for a government that is committed to reversing the legacy of neglect and the disrespect shown to farmers and to our rural communities for decades.


“I believe that the vast majority of Ireland’s farmers will be much better off under a Sinn Féin-led government.


Positive story


“The story of agriculture in Ireland has been a positive one, albeit one which has faced and continues to face big challenges.


“Agriculture is the sector that stays put.  Unlike other sectors, farmers don’t up and leave at times of financial strife.  Farmers help us out of it.  Each of Ireland’s 137,500 farms contribute to the life of their communities; generating economic activity, supporting other local businesses, funding local and sporting groups.


“It is the family farm model that makes Irish agriculture different.  It is a model that Sinn Féin are committed to.  The 278,000 people working on farms, the 170,400 others employed in the Agri-food sector, the €15.4Billion in food exports are all things that need to be protected and supported.


“We recognise that Irish Agriculture faces many challenges.


“Your sector is at the coalface of any outworkings from Brexit, the full extent of which remain unknown.  Climate Action will result in changes across every facet of our society and no industry will be immune from change.


“Market volatility and extreme price fluctuations can have a profound and immediate impact. I won’t need to tell anyone here of the effects of the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Dairy Sector


“Through all these challenges, government must be partners of our family farmers.


“While Sinn Féin make no secret of and make no apologies for our support of smaller and poorer farmers, those in peripheral regions and on marginal land, those in our suckler and sheep sectors; nor do we fail to appreciate the importance of our Dairy sector.


“Yours is a sector that has seen significant growth in recent years.  It should be noted and appreciated that much of this growth occurred at a time when very little else within our economy was growing.


“Not to put too fine a point on it but the Dairy and wider Agri-food sectors helped Ireland to come through the financial crisis faster than we otherwise would have done.  All in all, we now have a dairy sector that is valued at €13.1Billion generated by some 18,000 farmers.


“That is not to say that Dairy farming is some new endeavour in Irish agriculture.  As far back as the 18th century Ireland set the global price for butter, with the Butter Exchange having been located in the Firkin Crane building, Shandon St Cork City, until 1925.


“Indeed, the biggest difference between 1915 and 2010 was that the number of farms in this state decreased from 359,700 to 139,860, while average farm size increased from 14 to 33hectares.


“Throughout this period dairy was a crucial component and central part of our agricultural sector and is as much a way of life as any other farm system.


“However, it is true to say that the lifting of quotas has led to a significant expansion of the Dairy sector.  This, of course, was driven by government policy but also by the fact that Dairy is a profitable sector compared to beef or tillage, for example.


“But, while Dairy is profitable for many, it’s also a case that the success of the sector hasn’t exclusively translated into benefits for farmers – in many cases expansion was embarked on only to stand still – like other farm systems, many farmers are producing more foods for similar incomes as to their parents and grandparents as margins are continuously squeezed.


“Dairy farmers are familiar with change because the dairy sector has seen lots of it.  And there will be change in the future.


“While change will come, it will be the role of government to ensure that we continue to maintain that preeminent reputation for a high-quality sustainable product that has made our country a world leader.  To ensure that our farmers can remain on the land producing that food with their families.


“It is a statement of absolute fact to say that, in order to do this, farmers must be able to make a decent living.  I acknowledge the risks and the investments you have made to date.  I recognise the pressures that even a short period of market volatility can have.


“I note that Farmers, Co-ops and organisations such as the ICMSA have shown that you are willing to bring progressive, thought-out proposals to the table, including the establishment of a rainy-day fund or the introduction of Cost Index Clauses to contracts.


“Sinn Féin believe that governments have often underappreciated and undervalued farmers.


“The number of farmers has been decreasing on an ongoing basis; the age profile of farmers is increasing; there is not enough being done to encourage young people and women into the sector and there is not sufficient recognition of the existing contribution of women to farms.


“Family Farm Incomes are stagnant or decreasing in real-terms, your position in the market-chain is incredibly weak; farmers are price-takers in every sense.  CAP supports have reduced drastically in real terms.  All of this will make responding to the challenges I outlined more difficult.


Climate Action


“Chief among those challenges will be Climate Action.  Let me be clear.  Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring that Ireland meets our emission reduction targets.


“We know that every sector will have to play its part, including Agriculture, and that some hard decisions will have to be made.


“It is not an either or.  My ambition is that Ireland is a world leader in both Food Production and Climate Action.  Where we differ from the current government is that we will ensure that the process is just and fair.


“We recognise that increasing the cost of driving to work or dropping your children at school, through carbon taxes, when there are no alternatives but to use your car doesn’t help the environment – it just makes people’s lives harder.


“Likewise, pointing the finger at Irish farmers and blaming them for our climate failures, as some in government are prone to do, isn’t just wrong – it is unfair and counter-productive.


“Remember, the three parties that make up government, between them, have never reached a single Climate target that they themselves set.  For them to point the finger at ordinary farmers and suggest that it is your fault is disingenuous in the extreme.


“During the summer we heard much debate about sectoral ceilings, specifically for agriculture.  The Department of Agriculture, we were told, wanted a 21% target.  The department of Environment wanted 29%.  Neither could outline what either figure would involve in real terms.


“They split the difference and landed on 25%.  That is now the legally binding target for 2030.  But farmers are still none the wiser as to what that will mean for their farms.  If there is any prospect of achieving this target, then there must first be recognition of the climate work farmers have already done on their farms.


“Then it must be clearly spelt out what actions are required at farm level so that farmers can start planning now.


“The Irish dairy sector is one of the most sustainable in the world.  Farmers have shown that when the correct guidance and resources are provided, they will take the necessary initiatives.


“This has been seen in the growing use of Low-Emission slurry spreading, Genetics, Milk Recording, Renewables, Mixed-species swards, forestry and bio-diesel on farms across the country.  In all of these areas we can still go further.  In fact, the failure to fully utilise emission-reducing technology lies not with farmers but with government’s apparent inability to plan and support.


“I have said that Ireland must endeavour to become energy independent.  Part of this process must also involve the use of solar technology on buildings on every farm.  That will only happen if government lead a strategy to encourage farmers to do so and if they make it easy to store excess energy or sell it into the grid.


“Some have condensed the entire Climate debate to a discussion on the number of cows on our island.


“You all, of course, know that it’s not just as simple as that.


“For one, it would do nothing for global emissions if products derived from Irish cattle were simply replaced on world markets by beef or dairy from higher emitting countries.


“Secondly, where practises employed on farms can effectively reduce emissions they must be used to full effect.


“And, thirdly, to those who suggest that farmers must move from Dairy – they need to recognise the financial realities as to why that sector has increased over the past decade; if they want Dairy farmers to grow crops and fruit and vegetables then there must be a viable economic rationale for doing so.


“The answer will never be to do nothing.  It will always be to do the things that make the most difference in reducing emissions, protecting our water and air quality, producing top-quality food and re-vitalising our rural communities.




“So, to set out how Sinn Féin will approach these matters.


“In the first instance we want to ensure that every farmer knows what is expected of them by providing an appraisal of the current carbon emission, storage and sequestration on each farm and then delivering long-terms rewards for farmers to make improvements.


“Our alternative budget outlined how we would make immediate investments in areas such as low-emissions technologies by providing grant aid to all including farm contractors; and organics by working to deliver a premium market so that we can reach beyond the pathetic targets set by government.




“If I am in a position after the next election – I will be instructing a government approach that will aim to reverse the continuous cuts to the European Union CAP budget.


“The current government agreed to an EU budget deal that is bad for Ireland and bad for Irish farmers.


“During a period when Ireland will be contributing a net €2.5Billion euro to the EU, the portion of that budget allocated to the Common Agriculture Policy has been reduced to just 30% from 37% in the last round and 73% in 1985.


“While government have been forced to increase co-financing to make up for the bad deal they agreed to, the fact remains that when inflation is accounted for the funding available to Irish farmers will be much less over the next five years.


“This is at a time when farmers will be asked to do much more.


“If we expect farmers to make the type of changes and investments that will be necessary over the next generation then they need more support, not less, and that is why work at EU level to undo the downward trajectory of CAP supports must start now.


“No political party has all the answers to the big questions that are coming our way.


“The secret, as far as I am concerned, lies in listening to those at the coalface of our family farms and the communities that depend on them.


“That is why Sinn Féin will establish a Commission on the Future of the Family Farm, bringing together stakeholders and experts tasked with bringing forward proposals on generational renewal, strengthening the position of farmers in the value chain; opportunities for diversification, and other measures aimed at allowing our farms not just to survive but to thrive over the rest of this century and beyond.


Working together


“Government can only deliver if we work in partnership with those who actually do the work.  In government, we will work with farmers and with organisations such as the ICMSA, across every department, to secure your future.


“I know that you recognise the need for change.  That your children are impacted by the Housing Crisis as much as anybody else’s, that your families face the same health waiting lists as others, that your home is impacted by the cost-of-living crisis as profoundly as every other home.


“I know too that your sector also needs a change in government approach.  One that puts our family farmers at the heart of the decisions that will impact on them.


“I also recognise that it is our job to convince you that Sinn Féin will affect changes in all these areas and that we will so in a manner that allows your children and grandchildren to live and work in the community they were raised, should that be their wish.


“That is why I am grateful to have the opportunity to be here today and to engage in a dialogue with the ICMSA which will, I intend, continue in the months and years to come.


“On Climate Action, on regional and rural regeneration, on sustainable food production – you are part of the solution, not the problem.


“Rest assured, Sinn Féin is and has always been about championing the economic interest of Irish farmers, the welfare of Irish farmers and the future of rural Ireland.


“We want to work with you to deliver those solutions, together, in the interests of all the people of this great country”.


Matt Carthy TD slams former Fine Gael leader’s demonisation of border communities

Matt Carthy TD slams former Fine Gael leader’s demonisation of border communities

Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Matt Carthy, has slammed remarks made by former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes in which he demonised border communities.

Deputy Carthy called on Mr Dukes to withdraw and apologise for his remarks, made on the RTÉ documentary Quinn Country, in which he claimed that border people have violence ‘in their blood’ and ‘turn to violence more quickly than the rest of us’.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture added that the comments of Mr Dukes, a former Fine Gael leader, were indicative of prevalent attitudes within some sections of that party, and he called on Fine Gael representatives to join demands that he withdraw and apologise for the comments.

Teachta Carthy said:

“Alan Dukes’ comments about our community were completely unacceptable and he should withdraw and apologise for them immediately.

“He has caused a great deal of hurt and offence and anger.

“The fact that he has doubled down on his comments today is indicative of prevalent attitudes, particularly within some sections of Fine Gael.  It goes some way towards explaining the fact that our communities have been abandoned by successive Fine Gael governments.


“The border communities are made up of hard-working people who are proud of who they are and where they are from, and they will not stand for such disgraceful demonisation.

“Fine Gael representatives, including the Minister for Justice who represents a border constituency, must join in demands that Alan Dukes withdraw and apologise for his disgraceful, albeit telling, remarks.

“Our communities are no different to any other on this island, we want to live in peace and we want a policing service that is adequately resourced and rooted in the community.  We will not accept being looked down on by Alan Dukes or anyone else.”


Carthy accuses Minister Ryan of refusing to listen to communities on North South Interconnector

Carthy accuses Minister Ryan of refusing to listen to communities on North South Interconnector


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has again clashed in the Dáil with Green Party leader and Environment Minister, Eamon Ryan, on the North South Interconnector.


In an exchange during Oral Questions on Tuesday evening, Deputy Carthy accused the Minister of refusing to listen to the communities living alongside the proposed Interconnector route.  Carthy said that the attitude of both EirGrid and the Minister has led to delays and wasted public monies and that this will continue if they proceed on their current trajectory.


Deputy Carthy was supported by his party colleague and spokesperson on Environment, Climate & Communications, Darren O’Rourke who said that the route for this project to proceed was clear – the interconnector must be undergrounded.


The debate was instigated by a formal question submitted by Deputy Carthy who asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he has received a review of the North-South interconnector; when it will be published; and if he will commission a full independent assessment of the potential undergrounding of the project.


The exchange went as follows:


Deputy Matt CarthyI again raise the issue of the North-South interconnector and ask the Minister whether he has received the review of the interconnector which I have been sceptical of, if he could outline when it will be published and, most importantly, whether he will commission a full independent assessment of the potential undergrounding of this project.


Minister Eamon RyanThe new North-South interconnector, which will allow for the flow of 900 MW of electricity between Ireland and Northern Ireland, will be critical for improving the operation of the all-island integrated single electricity market, ISEM. It will also help to facilitate the achievement of the goal of generating up to 80% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030. A resilient and well-connected energy infrastructure is vital for Ireland’s economic well-being and the ability to respond to the future needs of energy consumers.


The option of undergrounding the North-South interconnector has been comprehensively assessed on several occasions. Most recently, the key finding from the international expert commission’s report of October 2018 was that an overhead line remains the most appropriate option for this critical electricity infrastructure.

Notwithstanding this, it was deemed appropriate to carry out a further short review to assess if the overall finding from the 2018 report remained valid. Having requested tenders from a number of grid experts across Europe, two international experts were selected to carry out the study. Work is continuing on the report, which has taken longer than expected. It has not been a short process. I regret that but I understand it is to be finalised shortly. I have not seen it yet but I expect it in the next couple of weeks. Following receipt of the report it will be considered, with publication to follow in due course. At this point, I am not able to provide a publication date.


Matt Carthy:  I raised this issue with the Minister on 20 September and 7 April last, on 4 November last year with the Minister of State, on 21 April with the Taoiseach, and on 10 March 2021 and on 22 September 2020 with the Minister directly.


Each time I have raised the issue with the Minister, he indicated his refusal to engage with local campaigners on it.  Each time the Minister refused to accede to the demand of a full appraisal of the underground option of the interconnector despite the fact that a report the Minister cited earlier described that as a credible option.


The Minister was in government when EirGrid first announced its plans for this infrastructure.  EirGrid then claimed it would take only a few years but, because of the pig-headed attitude of EirGrid and successive Ministers, the project instead ran into significant delays, unnecessary costs and the loss of any semblance of goodwill among the affected communities.


The biggest challenge is yet to come when EirGrid and its agents attempt to enter onto the lands of people who have publicly stated that they will prevent them.


My appeal is, rather than entering into further delays and more wastage of public moneys which will be the Minister’s legacy unless he learns from the lessons of the past decade, that the Minister engages with the communities and instigates the review that is being sought, which is a full independent appraisal of the underground option.


Eamon Ryan:  I, more than anyone else, regret the delay. As a Member of this House in 2003, I remember the then joint Oireachtas committee on energy having a presentation from EirGrid, our transmission grid company, at which it said that we urgently need a North-South interconnector.  For many years looking at international experience and reading several reports, the clear analysis presented was that an overground wire was the only way one could do it.  One could do it, potentially, on a high-voltage direct current where one can ship power over long distances, let us say, from Belfast to Dublin, but that would then mean economic real disadvantage to counties either side of the Border.  It would also undermine necessary greater energy co-operation, North and South.

I was the Minister at the time who introduced the single electricity market and saw EirGrid taking on the role of managing our transmission system in the North as well as in the South. I believe it has good engineers.  I regret Sinn Féin’s position. I cannot understand not only this issue but other related issues where Sinn Féin seems to support a disintegration of our island on an energy system basis.  I am scratching my head wondering why this would be in the interests of Sinn Féin.


Matt Carthy:  The concept that public acceptance must be sought and earned by public bodies before they railroad their way through with an infrastructure project will be alien to the Minister.


Experience tells us when you try to do this, you encounter delay after delay and wasted money after wasted money.  This is what we have experienced to date.  The Minister is simply blind to this fact.


I want to see the North-South interconnector proceed.  I do not know how many times we need to tell the Minister this before he stops with his disingenuous comment that has become the hallmark of this debate.  If the Minister want to see the North-South interconnector proceed, he will have to engage with the local communities.


On whether the North-South interconnector can be undergrounded I ask the Minister not to take my word for it but take the word of the international commission he cited in his initial response.  It described the undergrounding of the project as a credible option.


I do not know whether it is a pointless exercise but I will appeal again to the Minister to engage with those people who will be affected.  Over the coming months, EirGrid will try to enter the lands of people who have told it that they will not let it in.


There will be further conflict that will inevitably lead to further delays.  Is this what the Minister wants?  Is this what he wants his legacy to be or will he now try to ensure we can see this project fulfilled in a way that garners the concept of public acceptance, which is the hallmark of similar projects happening throughout Europe and proceeding much quicker?


Deputy Darren O’RourkeFirst, it is completely disingenuous for the Minister to suggest what he did. Many people are not familiar with what is happening with the regulator in the North and with the System Operator for Northern Ireland, SONI, and EirGrid. To suggest Sinn Féin is part of it is completely disingenuous and I ask the Minister to withdraw it. He knows it well in terms of the politics in the North.


Similarly with regard to the North-South interconnector, it does not take a genius to work out this is a project that has been delayed and delayed because of the approach taken by successive Governments and EirGrid. In this term and previous terms I, my predecessors and my party colleagues have consistently spelled out exactly the way forward.


Government after Government and EirGrid have maintained their position of intransigence.  I for one know where we will end up on this and it does not involve delivering the North-South interconnector.  I want to see the project delivered.


Eamon Ryan:  As Deputy O’Rourke said, I was referring to the issue of the recent regulatory decisions regarding SONI and EirGrid and, in my mind, the very regrettable changes that are afoot.  Although it is hard to know because we do not have an administration up North, from the conversations and discussions I have had, my very clear understanding is that the Sinn Féin position was clearly in support of the Northern regulatory position.  I find this very strange.  I really find it hard to understand how this helps an all-island approach.  Be that as may, it is something we cannot have control over.  It is a Northern regulatory decision.  It does have an influence potentially on how the North-South interconnector is built and developed.  I absolutely agree with Deputy Carthy that we need to consult and to listen.  We need to be flexible and bring to people with us. Sometimes, having done that and having listened, we also need—–


Matt Carthy:  It has not been done.


Eamon Ryan: —–to do what is important for the wider country, as well as the local community.  I believe the North-South interconnector is vital for the economic development of the Border counties.


Matt Carthy: Then engage with the communities that will be affected by it.


Eamon Ryan:  I also believe at a time when energy bills are very high that it is one of the most effective immediate projects to bring down the cost of electricity for everyone and to create economic jobs and other opportunities. This will not be easy. I want to wait for the final further report. We have a list of reports as long as my arm looking at this. We will look at the latest one. I have not seen it yet and I want to read it and see it before I make any further statements.


Matt Carthy: The Minister should commission the report that is actually being sought. Would he do that?



Sinn Féin ready to deliver change – Monaghan well represented at party Ard Fheis

Sinn Féin ready to deliver change

Monaghan well represented at party Ard Fheis


Monaghan Sinn Féin members were among those in attendance for their party’s Ard Fheis which was held in Dublin last weekend.


The one-day event at the RDS was the first Sinn Féin Ard Fheis to operate completely outside of Covid restrictions since 2019.  Over 2,000 delegates and visitors from across Ireland’s 32 counties, including a sizeable contingent from County Monaghan.


The key theme of the Ard Fheis was undoubtedly a message of change.


Several delegates from both north and south, reported that people are telling them that it is a time for change.

In his remarks Cavan Monaghan Deputy, Matt Carthy said that:  “Sinn Féin is here to deliver that change, planning for the future with the ambition to build a better, stronger and fairer country.

“That means building homes, tackling the rising cost of living, delivering better health services.  It means planning for energy security and independence.  It means preparing for Irish Unity to allow Ireland to reach its potential as a country and as an economy.

“We may face challenges but this is a time of hope and opportunity.  Sinn Féin’s ambition is to make Ireland a good place to live, a good place to do business and create jobs, a good place to work and build successful careers, a good place to raise a family and a good place to grow old.  There is no reason that we cannot deliver affordable homes, strong communities and high quality public services.

“This Ard Fheis is about setting out Sinn Féin’s vision, our ambition and our proposals to deliver the change which the Irish people North and South are demanding and which they deserve”.


Throughout the day delegates debated several motions which refined party policy on Irish Unity, of Climate Action & Biodiversity, on Housing, Health and the Economy.


In a separate address during the Climate Action section, Deputy Carthy proposed a motion on Forestry which criticsed government failure to deliver a Forestry policy that was good for communities, good for the economy and good for the environment.


“The geniuses that have been in charge of forestry in this state have managed a policy that delivered on none of these three counts” he said.


Deputy Carthy continued:


“The Programme for Government contains a commitment to plant 8,000 hectares of new forestry each year.  This year it will be about a quarter of that.


“It is a story all to familiar for this government.  Just like in Housing and Health and all areas related to Climate Action – this government are good at setting targets, but have an abysmal record at meeting them.


“Our motion sets out how we can re-imagine Irish forestry in a manner that allows us to benefit communities, supporting local timber industries by providing wood that will allow for more sustainable construction, while assisting Ireland to meet our Climate obligations.


“Because, rather than pursue measures that make a positive climate difference the parties that make up this government are instead fixed on an approach that is all-too-often punitive, unfair and counter-productive.




“Because it is about choices.  Increasing the cost of putting fuel in the car for those people who have no choice but to use their car because they cannot afford an electric vehicle and have no public transport option, does nothing for the environment – it just makes people’s lives harder.


“Likewise, increasing the cost of heating oil or solid fuel for people who cannot afford to retrofit their home, does nothing for the environment – it just makes people’s lives harder.


“Sometimes people have choices.  For instance, Eamon Ryan has a choice as to whether he flies First Class.  In fact he has a choice as to whether he flies at all and personally I would be quite satisfied if Minister Ryan never represented Ireland at an international event again.


“But, people do have a choice as to whether they eat.  So the challenge in food production is to ensure that we produce as good food as possible, in as sustainable manner possible.


“That is the challenge we face in Irish Agriculture.  I believe our farmers are up to that challenge.  Certainly Sinn Féin are up to that challenge”.


Leaders address


In her leaders address, broadcast live on RTÉ television, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, continued the theme of change which was dominant throughout the day.


She said:


“We meet in Dublin in a spirit of ambition, enthusiasm, hope for the future

“Together we seize the day. To chart new directions. To capture opportunities that lie ahead.

“A new dawn is breaking in Ireland.  We stand on the threshold of a new era.

“Friends, it’s time for change.

“So much has happened since last we met.  Things have been tough for so many of you joining us tonight, struggling with an unbearable cost of living.  I want to acknowledge your resilience.

“Under enormous pressure, you’re holding the line.

“This crisis won’t last forever.  You deserve political leadership to support you through these difficult times and to match your hopes for the future.

“That’s the job of good government.

“We are ambitious for change.  Those ambitions aren’t confined to Ireland.

“We send solidarity to people who endure imperialism, war, occupation, and the denial of human rights.

“We send our unwavering support to Palestine.

“Ukraine fights for its very survival against Putin’s criminal invasion.  We stand with Ukraine. We will support you until that day when your beloved homeland is free from Russia’s war.  Russia must end its war. The journey to peace must start now.

“Ireland stands on the side of international law, against those who trample on the rights of others.  Be it Putin’s war or Israeli apartheid.

“Though the world has changed. Our values remain strong.

“The outpouring of sympathy for Creeslough stretched far beyond our shores in acts of solidarity and condolence from the Irish abroad.

“In this moment of profound grief, we saw again that to be Irish is not only to be from a small island but to be part of a very large global family who have built their lives in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and beyond.

“We are very proud of them. They have kept faith with home.  To our young people who once again depart our shores, you have been badly let down, particularly by a failed housing system.  I want you to know that we are working hard to change things for you. we will make Ireland the home you deserve.

“So, enjoy your experience, work hard but come home and be part of the new Ireland that we must build. We need you.

The demand for change is growing

“The demand for change is strong and growing with the energy of a generation impatient to claim their future.

“One hundred years ago Ireland was traumatised by partition, divided by bitter Civil War.  A century on, we strive for a nation that honours and learns from its past but is not held back by it.

“This spirit for change was so powerfully expressed in May’s Assembly Election.

“Sinn Féin emerged as the largest party.  For the first time, a republican, a nationalist, a woman from Tyrone, was elected as First Minister in a state designed to ensure that this could never happen.  Well friends, it did. Michelle O’Neill a First Minister for all.

“There is no turning back.  There is now no job in the land off limits to anyone.  The days of second-class citizenship are over.

“Change means a place called home.  A secure, affordable roof over your head.

“It means access to a doctor, to hospital and to care when you need it.

“It means real opportunity, good jobs, decent pay, and the right to retire at sixty-five on a fair pension.

“And friends, change means taking those final steps to full nationhood, ending partition, reunifying Ireland.

Change can’t be stopped

“This change is no longer on some distant horizon.  Change is now on our doorstep.  It can’t be stopped by the DUP who refuse to accept the result of an election and prevent the formation of an Executive.

“The people of the North deserve, need, demand a government that works for them.

“This stalemate cannot continue.  British government dithering must end.  They must immediately bring clarity, a timetable for concluding negotiations with the European Union and the restoration of the Executive.

“Change can’t be stopped by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, now so joined at the hip that it doesn’t matter to them which leader is Taoiseach.

“So long as it’s one of them.  Leo leaves, Micheál goes in.

“Micheál leaves next month, Leo goes back in.

“In. Out. In. Out.  Political hokey pokey.

“That’s the cosy club that has run this state for a century.  Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have had their time, had their chance.

“It’s time for a new government.  For a government of change.

“Change can’t be stopped by the chaotic Tories in London either.

“They can’t run their own country without bringing it to the brink of financial ruin. They certainly have no right to tell the people of Ireland how to run ours.

“They attack the Good Friday Agreement.  An Agreement that has delivered twenty-five years of peace, a peace won and defended by our partners Europe, in the United States of America and beyond.

“They disgracefully seek amnesty for their troops and deny victims of the conflict justice.

“They attack the Protocol. An Agreement that protects livelihoods and our economy

“They care so very little about Ireland.  The Tories should leave governing of this island to the people who live here, and we’ll shape a better future together.

Ireland’s decade of opportunity

“That better future calls to us.  Asking the big questions of us.  I believe that this generation has the answers.

“Ireland has three big opportunities this decade.

“The reunification of our country.

“The achievement of energy independence.

“And the power of our young people.

Young people

“Our young people are brimming with talent, ideas, and energy.  Yet those in their twenties and thirties will likely be the first generation worse off than their parents.  That’s not right.

“We must renew the promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead and build a good life.  This generation looks with fresh eyes and fresh hearts to the Ireland that can be.  They know Ireland’s success must be driven by inclusion and equality.

“That there’s a seat at the table for everyone. For our Traveller Community, our ethic communities, our citizens with disabilities, for our LGBTQ+ citizens.  No words of hate from any pulpit or stage will set us back or divide this generation.

“Our young people refuse the boundaries of yesterday.

“They reach for opportunity. For their shot. For their chance.  If we give them that chance our young people will transform Ireland.

“So, the question for the rest of us is straight and simple – are we prepared to do the work with them?  The answer must be – yes, yes, and yes again!

“Our young people will change housing.  Locked out of affordable homes, locked into extortionate rents, living in a society where children grow up in hotel rooms.

“Government after government has failed on housing. That’s the truth.

“Targets set. Targets missed. Deadlines set. Deadlines missed.  Big on promises. Short on delivery.  Young people are calling this out, and we will work with them to deliver the biggest affordable and social housing programme that Ireland has even seen!

“Our young people will change healthcare.

“We saw during Covid 19 how student nurses and midwives put everything on the line.  Those who have kept our health services together for decades, taught them well.  They demonstrated skill and compassion innate to all those who work in health services across Ireland.  This generation has no time for inequality in healthcare.  They refuse to accept tired excuses that leave more than one and half million people on waiting lists.   Or the jaded alibis that leave people on hospital trolleys.  They know overcrowded, two-tier health systems do not work.  That a border in healthcare does not work.

“We need a fair health service.  A National Health Service for all of Ireland!

“We now approach our first normal Christmas for three years, a time of great excitement.  Yet, there is tension and uncertainty as the bills stack up

“Government has been far too slow to respond.  Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, living costs were out of control. You felt it in your pocket every day.  Government had to be forced into action by the opposition and by public pressure.

“Forced to curb soaring fuel, gas, and electricity prices.  Forced to introduce a winter eviction ban.  Forced to provide relief for renters.  Now they drag their heels as mortgage-holders are walloped with massive interest rate hikes.

“Just like they drag their heels on rip-off insurance costs.  You shouldn’t have to force your government to protect you. Well, rest assured Pearse Doherty won’t let that drop.

“Government should be up and at it, on your side.  We need that government – with ideas, that can plan, that can deliver.

“A strong and vibrant economy is core to our vision for Ireland.  We want to support innovation, new ideas, and new businesses to succeed.  A strong economy needs certainty, affordable housing, good public services, modern infrastructure, and energy security.


“The current energy crisis makes one thing very clear.  Our island must achieve energy security and energy independence.  We can achieve this by harnessing our abundant renewable resources, building our capacity in wind, solar and green hydrogen.  The state must make Ireland’s energy revolution a priority.

“Energy Independence will be a game changer for Ireland, transforming our economy, creating new jobs, opportunity, prosperity.  Central in turning the tide of climate change and achieving a just transition.  So, we need action, we need a plan, and we need pace.

“We must sort out the delays in our planning system, invest in our ports so we can pursue offshore energy, and work in collaboration with business, semi-states, and international partners, to realise investment opportunities.

Irish Unity

“We live in the end days of partition.

“On the cusp of an historic opportunity – the reunification of our country and our people.  Shaping a future for everyone.  Moving forward in the belief that there is no ‘them’. There is only ‘us’.  Us who call Ireland home.

“We can build a nation home for all our people.  Some are apprehensive about Irish Unity.  I want you to know that in a new Ireland you will be cherished, included, respected as equal citizens.  This is your place. This is your home. Be part of shaping it’s future.

“Others say yes to unity, but not now. They’re wrong.  The time to plan for peaceful, democratic constitutional change is now.  The days of treading water are over.

“The Irish government must immediately establish a Citizens Assembly on unity.  If this government refuses to hear tomorrow coming, if it does not establish a Citizens Assembly, Sinn Féin in government will.

Sinn Féin is ready

“The future is ours for the making.  So, we need the right leadership.  A new leadership with fresh ideas.  Sinn Féin is ready to provide that leadership.

“Ready to lead government, north and south.  We have the team, the policies, the energy to build that better future.  We will get basics right in the here and now and drive ambitious plans for the future.

“To everyone watching tonight:  I am asking you to give us the chance to lead.

“To deliver for you, for your family, for your community. For all of Ireland.  Give us that chance – that chance to lead – and we will get the work done.

Closing Remarks


“The Ireland we shape today is our legacy for future generations.  This is our moment to write our chapter in our nation’s story.

“We face challenges, but this is a time of hope and opportunity.  So, let’s do big things. Let’s change Ireland.  Let’s choose courage, ambition, belief.

“Let’s be the generation that finally unites our country and our people.  Let’s build the nation home for all.  No one left out. No one left behind.

“Our people are ready for change.  Sinn Féin is ready to lead.

“Ireland has seen some great days, but our greatest days lie ahead.

“Days of unity, equality, and prosperity.  Days that belong to everyone.

“That’s a future worth believing in, worth working for, worth achieving.

“I say we can do it.
“I say we must do it.
“I say we will do it.

“And, my friends, we will do it together.

“Go raibh míle maith agaibh agus An Phoblacht Abú!”


Highlights of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, including video coverage, can be accessed at the party’s website



Carthy urges government to expand Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme

Carthy urges government to expand Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme


Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has said that he intends to continue to challenge the government on their lack of action in relation to the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme.


Applicants to the scheme, which provides a range of tax reliefs in relation to the purchase of special constructed or adapted vehicles for drivers and passengers with a disability, have been unable to have appeals heard for over a year, following mass resignations of the doctors which staff the Medical Board of Appeal.


The scheme itself has been described as “overly restrictive”.  Deputy Carthy recently questioned Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte on the scheme in the Dáil.


Teachta Carthy said:


“The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme is an absolutely critical scheme for those with various mobility issues, and completely necessary if we are to provide disabled people their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to live fully independent lives.


“However, for many years this scheme has been identified as being overly prescriptive.


“In June 2020 the Supreme Court case adjudicated against the government for the narrow interpretation of the legislation.


“But, rather than making the necessary reforms to the scheme, the government instead introduced what amounted to a technical amendment to the legislation to re-enforce those excessively restrictive criteria.


“While the government committed to a review last year, the resignation of the entire board of appeal in October 2021 points to a systemic failure on the part of the government to approach this issue with the required compassion.  Those who need to avail of the scheme are essentially told that they are not disabled enough.


“The lack of urgency on this issue is evident at every level of government.


“When I questioned Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, who has responsibility for chairing the Transport Working Group, under whom this review falls, she suggested that questions in relation to the funding of the scheme should be directed to the Minister for Finance.


“This is particularly concerning as over 670 appeals are outstanding since the resignation of the board and government allocated no additional allocation to the scheme in the recent budget.  There is simply no evidence that the government intend to resolve this debacle or reforming the excessively rigid criteria.


“The Department of Finance will be before the Public Accounts Committee in the coming weeks and I intend to pursue that department on their proposals to resolve this issue.”


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