[Sinn Fein]

18th February 2003

Sinn Fein go to the country in Defence of the Agreement

Sinn Fein will kick off a series of public meetings across the 26 Counties today, Tuesday 18th February, in defence of the Good Friday Agreement. Among the counties where members of the Sinn Fein leadership will speak are Cork, Wexford, Limerick, Monaghan, Galway, Kilkenny and Waterford and the series of meetings will culminate with a meeting in Dublin in March to be addressed by Martin McGuinness MP.

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy is speaking in Murphy Floods Hotel in Enniscorthy at 8pm tonight and party Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin is speaking in Limerick tomorrow and Cork City on Thursday. Speaking in Derry today Mitchel McLaughlin said:

``The past  year has been a difficult one for the peace process with the institutions brought down by the British government and catholic communities living under siege from unionist paramilitaries but despite these problems I think it is worth remembering just how far we have come in the last ten years. At that time many thought that we could not have successful negotiations. But we did, and we reached an Agreement, and we saw that Agreement ratified overwhelmingly by the people of this island?

``There are many challenges and difficulties in front of us but if the peace process proves anything it is that there is an alternative, it is that ordinary people can bring about real change. Sinn Fein's priority is to see the Good Friday Agreement implemented in full but we cannot do it alone. Over the next four weeks Sinn Fein leaders will be speaking throughout the 26 Counties. We will be calling on people to come out in defence of the Agreement and to save the peace process.''ENDS

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