[Sinn Fein]

22nd February 2002

Kehoe slams Dempsey statement

Dublin Central General election candidate Nicky Kehoe today attacked Minister for Environment Noel Dempsey over his comments that Sinn Fein engages in wholesale electoral fraud. Kehoe said Dempsey's comments were motivated solely by party political self interest rather than any desire to combat electoral fraud. Kehoe also pointed out that former Fianna Fail leader Charles Haughey's election agent was once convicted of electoral fraud so the party was not in a position to pass judgement on Sinn Fein.

He said;

``This is part of a broader electoral stunt by the mainstream parties to throw any mud they can at Sinn Fein in the hope that some of it will stick. We seen Michael McDowell up to the same antics last night. However, people are not stupid, they know that Sinn Fein is a normal political party that is getting the work done on the ground. They also know that the mainstream parties get up to all sorts of shenanigans at election time. Those of us who remember the Haughey-era know this only too well.

``The bigger parties are seeing our growing strength in terms of polls and campaigns on the ground and rather than confront us on issues they prefer to through mud. There is no evidence of Sinn Fein engaging in electoral fraud and I call upon Noel Dempsey to withdraw his comments.

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