[Sinn Fein]

10th January 2002

Adams - all electoral mandates must be treated equally

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP in Dublin today said that the sudden re-emergence of anti-Sinn Fein rhetoric this New Year is due to the fact that Sinn Fein will be challenging all of the establishment parties, including Fianna Fáil, in constituencies such as Dublin South West and Kerry North in the coming election. Mr. Adams said:

"Over the last number of days we have seen the beginning of the general election campaign but with a concentration of post election arrangements rather than on the issues which need to be addressed. And part of this has involved Fianna Fáil comments on the validity of Sinn Fein's electoral mandate.

"I believe that it is important to set out some basic points on this very important issue. First of all I want to completely refute the comments. Sinn Fein is a political party with an electoral mandate. We do not have a private army nor are we linked to a private army. In the last election (EU 1999) Sinn Fein received over 200,000 votes on this island and those votes are as valid as the votes received by other any party. And if the electorate places Sinn Fein in a position of strength following the general election then there is an obligation on other parties to respect this mandate.

"But this is not about Sinn Fein waiting to win the right number of Leinster House seats and the correct parliamentary arithmetic before heading straight into a coalition government with Fianna Fáil. It is an issue of equality.

"As we approach the General Election Sinn Fein will be concentrating on the many issues which successive governments have failed to address despite the economic prosperity of recent years. Issues which we are putting on the agenda are:

A vigorous pursuit of the all-Ireland agenda in all its aspects

"Sinn Fein is building the radical alternative and pointing the way forward to an all-Ireland democracy, an Ireland of equals."

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