[Sinn Fein]

12th December 2001

Westminister facilities vital to vindication of electoral mandate

Sinn Fein Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the decision to make the Westminster facilities available to the four Sinn Fein MPs. Ms Gildernew said:

``Sinn Fein has made it clear that we will pursue all of the democratic rights to which we are entitled as a result of our democratic mandate. This includes the use of facilities at Westminster.

``The British government, our political opponents and most importantly the electorate, and a majority of nationalists recognise that we have consistently stood on a legitimate abstentionist ticket. We will not be swearing an oath of allegiance to the British Queen and we will not be taking our seats in Westminster. The British government have used our abstentionist position to deny the rights and entitlements of the Sinn Fein electorate. This is not acceptable.

``Today's likely development will benefit our electorate and overcome decades of misinformation. It is a result of repeated pushing the British government on this issue. The use of the Westminster facilities is vital to the vindication of our electoral mandate.''

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