[Sinn Fein]

6th May 2003

Dublin Sinn Fein to protest at Ahern/Blair meeting

Dublin Sinn Fein will be protesting outside Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park from 2pm today. They will be there to challenge Bertie Ahern on his acceptance of Tony Blair's decision to cancel this month's elections in the Six Counties. Sinn Fein TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called upon the Taoiseach to strongly defend the rights and entitlements of Irish citizens in the Six Counties and to demand the reinstatement of the election at today's meeting.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``It is not good enough for Bertie Ahern to meekly say that he was against Tony Blair's decision to cancel the elections. The Taoiseach has an obligation and a duty to assert forcibly the rights of Irish citizens in the Six Counties. He also has an obligation to defend the Good Friday Agreement itself.

``That Agreement was a international agreement between two states. It should not and is not with the gift of any one party to that agreement to step outside it and to unilaterally make decisions that go against the wishes of the vast majority of people on the island of Ireland.

``It is clear that the Unionist/British veto is being used once again to put a halt to the changes that are necessary in the Six Counties to ensure equality for all citizens. Nationalists and Republicans are not demanding anything extraordinary or unreasonable. We are demanding what is rightfully ours. Up to this point to say that we are disappointed with the performance of the Irish government would be an understatement.

``I am calling on Bertie Ahern to go into this meeting with Tony Blair, not to act as a so-called honest broker, but to defend robustly the rights of Irish citizens living in the Six Counties. He needs to demand the immediate reinstatement of this months elections.''

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