[Sinn Fein]

9th March 2002

Trimble called on to retract ``grossly offensive language''

Sinn Fein negotiator and representative for Dublin South West, Councillor Seán Crowe has called on David Trimble to retract the comments he made to his conference this afternoon and to apologise to the people of the 26 Counties for his ``grossly offensive language''.

Speaking after the UUP leader called the 26 Counties a ``pathetic sectarian, mono-ethnic, mono-cultural state'' Mr Crowe said:

``It is clear that you don't have to scratch too deeply under the skin of the unionist leader to discover a bigot. Mr. Trimble's ill-tempered remarks today are grossly offensive and should be retracted. They belong in the dark ages. He should apologise to the people of the 26 Counties immediately.

``The hypocrisy of his remarks will not be lost on all of those who have over the last two years been on the receiving end of a seemingly endless sectarian campaign of pipe bombings and shootings in the Six-counties.

``Instead of playing to a gallery Mr. Trimble would be better employed doing all in his power to end this sectarian campaign that has seen over 300 pipe bomb attacks against nationalists in the last 18 months. As the leader of unionism in the Six Counties and a Nobel peace prize winner he has an onerous responsibility to ensure that any comments he makes do not give succour to the loyalist death squads.'' ENDS

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