[Sinn Fein]

28th April 2002

All electoral mandates must be treated equally

Sinn Fein Councillor Martin Ferris this afternoon described the Taoiseach  Bertie Ahern's comments on the validity of Sinn Fein's electoral mandate as insulting to the electorate. He said that 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. Cllr. Ferris said:

"I believe that comments from Bertie Ahern this afternoon are insulting to the electorate and have no basis in fact. Sinn Fein is contesting this election on the basis of our record in the peace process and our representation for communities the length and breath of this island. Our focus for the next three weeks will be on the many issues, which successive governments have failed to address despite the economic prosperity of recent years. The issues we are putting on the agenda are:

``Sinn Fein is building the radical alternative and pointing the way forward to an all-Ireland democracy, an Ireland of equals. We all know that at the end of the day all of the parties, including Fianna Fáil, would approach us if it meant being Taoiseach. I have no doubt that after the election if the numbers dictate then Bertie Ahern would have no difficulty in approaching Sinn Fein for support.  In such a scenario it is Republicans who would have the greater difficulties given the track record of the last government in widening the gap between rich and poor.''

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