[Sinn Fein]

25th February 2003

Sinn Fein calls on Tánaiste to withdraw anti-American remarks about protesters

Sinn Fein TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on people to come out in large numbers in support of a series of anti-war rallies planned for Saturday, March 1st. Speaking at an anti-war press conference today the Sinn Fein spokesperson for International Affairs also strongly criticised recent comments from the Tánaiste Mary Harney and the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell in which they had suggested that the 100,000 people who marched in Dublin two weeks ago were either anti-American or easily led.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``After the March Bertie Ahern said that those who marched in Dublin were marching in support of the Governments position. Now we have the Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice saying that the protesters were either anti-american or easily led. What is it to be? Is the Taoiseach now going to be labelled anti-American by his colleagues in the PDs along with everybody else.

``Mary Harney and Michael McDowell's comments display an arrogance beyond belief. They are a gross insult to the Irish people and should be withdrawn. They do not represent the views of the majority of people in this state and they do not reflect the reality of the situation on the ground.

``I would urge people to come out in large numbers this Saturday in support of both the protest in Shannon and at the candle light vigil that is taking place outside the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

``We must not relent in bringing the pressure of public opinion to bear on this Government.'' ENDS

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