[Sinn Fein]

28 September 2001

Doherty `Eve of Ard Fheis' Statement

Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty MP speaking on the eve of his party's Ard Fheis in the RDS, Dublin tonight said:

``This is going to be the biggest Ard Fheis that Sinn Fein has seen for many years.  There will be over 2,500 delegates and visitors.

``Clearly our members know that this conference is coming at an important time.  Sinn Fein is now the largest nationalist party in the 6 counties.  The upcoming general election presents many challenges for us.  I am confident that our membership is up for that challenge.

``Over the course of the weekend delegates will debate on a wide range of important issues.  We will have discussions on important documents which may be adopted as policy.  These will focus on issues such as: Health, Waste Management, Agriculture, Racism and Arts and Culture.  There is little doubt that Sinn Fein activists will approach these matters in a progressive and radical manner.

``We will also talk about developments in the Peace Process.  I think people will see that republicans are frustrated with the current situation.  The British government and the UUP are focusing on silent IRA weapons while chosing to ignore a sustained murder and mayhem campaign from the UDA.

``Nevertheless, Sinn Fein will come out of this weekend revitalised and focused.  The Ard Fheis is always a terrific event and I am looking forward to it.''

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