[Sinn Fein]

3 July 2000

Gerry Adams says new Sinn Fein Mayor of Sligo ` a sign of Sinn Fein's rise in 26-County politics'

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said that today's election of Alderman Seán MacManus as Mayor of Sligo ``is a sign of Sinn Fein's rise as an active, campaigning alternative in politics in the 26 Counties''.

Mr Adams also extended his best wishes to Sinn Fein Councillors Michael Colreavy and Brian McKenna who are in line to become chairpersons of Leitrim County Council and Monaghan County Council this evening

Alderman MacManus was elected at lunchtime today. It is the first time that Sinn Fein has held the position of Mayor anywhere in the 26 Counties since 1967, when the late Cllr Norbert `Nobby' Ferguson was elected Mayor of Sligo.

It follows the recent election of Councillor Cathal Crumley as Mayor of Derry, the first Sinn Fein mayor in the Six Counties since partition.

Congratulating the new Sinn Fein Mayor of Sligo, Gerry Adams said:

``This is a tremendous achievement and an indication of the growth of Sinn Fein in the 26 Counties as a radical, active, campaigning alternative in politics in the 26 Counties.''

Alderman MacManus said he will campaign for Sligo to have County Borough status. He said:

``As a Sinn Fein Mayor, the people of Sligo will have a working man representing the ordinary people of Sligo, providing the dynamic for change and increased openness in local government. This Mayoral term will be distinguished by its republican and labour character and the fact that it will be a Mayoralty of and for the ordinary worker and local communities in Sligo.

``We will use the Mayoralty to spearhead resistance to the Government's efforts to downgrade Sligo Corporation and we shall fight to secure City Borough status for Sligo. We will give the people a strong voice to defend and promote their interests and provide effective and honest leadership at a time when people are increasingly disillusioned with the establishment parties.

``Sinn Fein wants to see young people, local communities and ordinary men and women, workers like myself, having a real input into Sligo Corporation and the decisions that are made. We will ensure that the workings and decisions of the Corporation will become open, accountable and transparent.

``It is up to all of us to try and rebuild people's confidence in local government and politics in general through a more open, transparent and democratically accountable political system that listens to, consults and works for the people it is supposed to represent.''

Seán MacManus - Background (June 2000)

Alderman MacManus, a member of Sinn Fein's ruling Ard Chomhairle and a senior member of the party's peace process negotiating team, is a member of Sligo Corporation and Sligo County Council. He received 20,457 votes in the 1999 European elections in the Connaught/Ulster constituency.

Seán won his seat in the 1999 local election, polling over the quota on the first count in Sligo Strandhill with 1,206 1st preferences. Seán, his son Chris, and Arthur Gibbons also won seats on Sligo Corporation for Sinn Fein.

Seán MacManus has been selected as the Sinn Fein general election candidate in Sligo/Leitrim, one of the key Dáil constituencies targeted by the party.

A carpenter by trade, like many young Irish people of his generation he had to emigrate to England to look for work in 1967. While in London he married Helen McGovern, from Leitrim, and their sons Joseph and Christopher were born there. They returned to Ireland in 1976 and settled in Sligo.

Seán has been a member of Sinn Fein since 1976. He was elected to the Ard Chomhairle in 1981 and served as National Chairperson of the party from 1984 to 1990. He played a central part in developing the party's current peace strategy and was instrumental in developing its local government policy. He has been an important member of several delegations in meetings with British Cabinet ministers, including with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. Seán also participated in the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation which was organised by the Irish Government following the IRA cessation of August 1994.

The direct consequences of Britain's continued occupation of part of Ireland has had a direct effect on Seán's family. In February 1992, Seán's and Helen's older son, Joseph, was killed on active service with the Irish Republican Army in County Fermanagh. He was 21.

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