[Sinn Fein]

9th March 2002

Poll proposal begins count-down to united Ireland

Commenting on the Ulster Unionist party leader David Trimble's proposal to have a Border Poll next year, Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said that "such a move would undoubtedly begin the count-down to a united Ireland."

"Mr. Trimble has presumably called for a Border Poll to coincide with an Assembly election in a bid to boost the numbers of unionists turning out to vote.

"However, if the British government were to order a Border Poll next year then it would clearly begin the count-down to a United Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is very clear in this regard. Once the first poll is called then it marks the beginning of a series of such polls every seven years until a majority in favour of constitutional change is established.

"Such a campaign would of course be a challenge for all of us, but it is a challenge which Sinn Fein is already working on. We are engaging with a range of diverse groups as we build an Alliance for Irish Unity and these sorts of regular polls would clearly fit in with that agenda." ENDS

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