[Sinn Fein]

18th February 2002

Crowe describes smear attempt as outrageous

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South West Councillor Sean Crowe has described the unsubstantiated allegations against Sinn Fein in the media this morning as a scandal.

Councillor Crowe said:

``Not for the first time this month we have seen unsubstantiated allegations made against Sinn Fein, all in an attempt to discredit the party in the run up to the election. Without any evidence whatsoever we saw comments from unnamed sources reproduced in the media as fact. The media has a responsibility in all of this to ensure that they are not being used to further the mischievous agenda of Sinn Fein's political opponents.

``For the record Sinn Fein supports the use of ID for the purposes of polling. But we also support initiatives aimed at making it easier for people to vote. This means having sufficient polling stations easily accessible to voters and using candidate photographs as well as names to assist those with literacy difficulties. We are also calling on the government to hold all future elections and referenda at weekends to maximise voter turnout.

``Sinn Fein believes that it is essential that people view their vote as important. Over the last twelve months we organised a `Your Vote is your Voice' campaign as part of a wider initiative to encourage communities and individuals to use their power to change society for the better. We would call on others to support such efforts.

``Instead of engaging in a campaign of misinformation the government should be encouraging people to participate in the democratic process and use their vote in the upcoming election.''

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