Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Expressions of sympathy following weekend tragedies

Last weekend the Carrickmines fire claimed 10 victims. On Sunday a homeless man died on the streets of Dublin and later that evening Garda Tony Golden was murdered and Siobhan Phillips was critically wounded in a shotting in the Omeath, County Louth.

On Tuesday Dáil parties expressed their condolences.

Expressions of Sympathy – Gerry Adams TD

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le teaghlach agus cairde na ndaoine a fuair bás sa tine ar an Charraig Maoinis ar oíche Shathairn; agus do chlann agus cairde an Gharda Anthony Golden a dunmharú ar oíche Dhomhnaigh le clann Adrian Mackin, do Shiobhán Phillips agus a clann féin agus don duine gan dídeán a fuarthas marbh ag doras ar shráid Westmoreland maidin Domhnaigh.

The weekend tragedies in Carrickmines, in Dublin, and in county Louth have stunned and saddened citizens across this state and beyond.

The deaths of ten citizens, many of them children, on a Traveller halting site in a horrifying fire, another apparent death of a homeless man in the capital, and the brutal murder of Garda Anthony Golden and wounding of Siobhan Phillips have left families bereaved and traumatised, and communities numb with shock and disbelief.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to extend my sincerest condolences to the extended families of Thomas and Sylvia Connors, their children Jim, Christy and Mary (who was aged just six months), William Lynch, his partner Tara Gilbert, their children Jodie and Kelsey, and William’s brother Jimmy. Tara was also pregnant with their third child.

I also want to express our condolences to the entire Traveller Community. Two families were devastated in a tragedy that has drawn universal sympathy and understanding.

Today is a moment for the Dáil to stand in solidarity with the Traveller community. But we have to do more than that.

It is time also for that solidarity to be extended beyond rhetoric and into practical expressions.

Since the events of last Saturday morning disturbing information has come to light about the conditions on halting sites across the state and the lack of investment by government and local authorities in safe accommodation for Travellers.

The Carrickmines site was overcrowded. 29 people were sleeping in cabins and caravans at the time of the fire.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is one of 15 local authorities that accessed no state funding for Traveller accommodation this year.

In the last 7 years funding for accommodating the travelling community was cut by 93%.

Even in difficult times this is unacceptable.

The treatment of the Traveller community would suggest that local authorities and government do not prioritise accommodation for travellers in the way they should.

I welcome the decision by Dublin Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh to establish an urgent review of fire safety at all halting sites run by Dublin City Council.

I also welcome the announcement today by the Dept of Environment that all local authorities must now hold audits on safety at halting sites.

This audit needs to be independent. It needs to include all accommodation for the Traveller community. There also needs to be a moratorium on the Trespass Act.

It is important that the heartbreak caused by the calamity in Carrickmines galvanises government and local authorities to prioritise living accommodation for Travellers so that the tragedy of Carrickmines is never repeated.

The morning after the Carrickmines fire the body of a homeless man in his thirties was found in the doorway of a shop in Westmoreland Street.

While the circumstances of his death are still not entirely clear I offer our condolences to his family and friends.

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le bean agus le clann Garda Tony Golden agus cúnamh a thabhairt dá chomrádaithe sa Gharda Síochána agus seasamh leo. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Garda Tony Golden was murdered in Omeath. On behalf of Sinn Fein I want to extend my sympathies and solidarity to his family, friends and many comrades in An Garda Síochána.

Garda Golden was a respected, dedicated Garda officer who was deeply embedded in the community of Omeath and the Cooley peninsula. On Sunday he was going about his work as a Garda serving the community. He was brutally killed as he helped a young woman, a mother, who was the victim of domestic abuse and violence.

Today this Dáil rightly pays tribute to his courage, his dedication and his selflessness. He is a hero.

Adrian Mackin who tried to murder his partner and who then brutally killed Garda Tony Golden was allegedly a violent dissident.

Four years ago so-called dissidents killed PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr. His mother Nuala speaking then said:

“We all need to stand up and be counted and to strive for equality. We don’t want to go back to the dark days again of fear and terror.”

Nuala Kerr was right. She was right four years ago and her words are right for today. None of these groups have anything positive to offer society.

On behalf of the people of Louth and of Sinn Féin I want to make it clear that we have no time for those who exploit and disgrace the proud tradition and noble calling of republicanism for their own self-serving and selfish ends.

These people are the enemies of republicanism. They are the enemies of the peace process.

If there are any rational people involved with these violent groups; the aftermath of the killing of Garda Golden and the wounding of Siobhan Philips presents an opportunity for them to do the right thing.

Leave. Bígí imithe. Do it now.

I want to offer my sympathies to An Garda Síochána who on Sunday evening lost a much respected and esteemed member of their service. Bhí Tony Golden gníomhach sa phobal, ball den Chumann Lúthchleas Gael agus sa scéim Pobal ar Aire, scéim a thacaíonn Sinn Féin go láidir leis.

Tá Contae an Lú agus an tír ar fad thíos leis mar gheall ar an tragóid seo.

For the second time in three years the people of the Cooley peninsula and the Gardaí are grieving for an officer who served his community with distinction and integrity.

We all remember the vicious slaying three years ago of Garda Adrian Donohoe. Another Garda serving the community and gunned down by criminals.

There are real questions about the lack of Garda resources in County Louth; questions about the government’s commitment to policing in rural Ireland.

There are also questions about the DPP and PPS not pursuing charges even when significant evidence is available.

There are questions about some of those within violent dissident groups who are agents of the police or the intelligence services.

But these are for another day.

Today is a day to show an appreciation of the work of An Garda Síochána and particularly Garda Anthony Golden.

To his family and to all of those others who have lost loved ones in An Garda Siochána I offer my condolences.


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