[Sinn Fein]

11 July 2000

Fine Gael leader Bruton ``alarmed at rise of SF'' - O Caoláin

Caoimhghín Ó Caolain TD has said that the Fine Gael leader John Bruton is ``clearly alarmed at the rise of Sinn Fein'' and is ``pedalling untruths'' in order to discredit the party. The Sinn Fein TD strongly refuted John Bruton's claim that Sinn Fein would be a ``prop'' for Fianna Fail.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``John Bruton makes the ludicrous claim that `Sinn Fein supported Fianna Fáil in the last general election'. The Dáil seat won by Sinn Fein in Cavan/Monaghan was formerly occupied by Fianna Fáil. In this and every constituency we contested in the last general and local elections we were challenging Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour for seats, with many notable successes. It will come as news to Fianna Fáil elected representatives who lost seats to Sinn Fein that we are a `pro-Fianna Fail party'.

``Deputy Bruton is clearly alarmed at the rise of Sinn Fein and is pedalling untruths in order to discredit the party.

``His outburst comes just over a week after this Sinn Fein TD voted against the Fianna Fáil-led government in a confidence motion on the last day of >the Dáil term. In that debate I described Fianna Fáil as a `party in the pocket of the privileged'. The only difference with Fine Gael is that they represent a slightly different section of the privileged.

``My voting record in this Dáil on a raft of issues from health and education to political corruption and Irish neutrality shows clearly my opposition and that of my party to the flawed and failed approach of Fianna Fáil. The difference between John Bruton's Fine Gael and Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fáil on social and economic issues is wafer thin and for Deputy Bruton to present himself and his party as a real alternative to a Fianna Fáil-led government is laughable.

``Sinn Fein is not a prop to any political party in Leinster House. We are a radical alternative to those parties which have failed to address the fundamental inequalities in Irish society. Sharing the wealth and creating real change in our country is Sinn Fein's priority.''

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