[Sinn Fein]

17th June 2002


Judicial review over Electoral Commission decision

Sinn Fein Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew speaking at Belfast High Court today as the Party seeks a Judicial Review challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission not to award a policy development grant to Sinn Fein in line with the party's mandate. Ms. Gildernew said:

``The decision of the Electoral Commission to deny Sinn Fein almost 100,000 which it is entitled to is both discriminatory and in bad faith. This Judicial Review is aimed at challenging this decision.

``Sinn Fein has twice the required number of MPs and should be entitled to this money as of right. As we witnessed at the last election the majority of nationalists in the North support the Sinn Fein position on abstentionism.

``Our legitimate abstentionist position is being used to deny Sinn Fein members and our electorate their full rights and entitlements. This decision discriminates against our political beliefs, gives our political opponents an unfair advantage and distorts the level playing field upon which elections are supposed to be fought.

``This has already been evident with parties who have received this money in investing in new full time staff and resources, a fact which will undoubtedly give them an unfair advantage at next years Assembly elections.

``Sinn Fein does not expect or demand any more than we are entitled to. This decision by the Electoral Commission is part of the old failed agenda which for years attempted to ignore or deny the Sinn Fein mandate.''


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