28th May 2003
Six-County representation in Dáil is political imperative - Ó Caoláin Speaking at a Sinn Fein press conference in Dublin today Sinn Fein Dáil leaderCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called for representation in the Dáil to be given toSix-County MPs without further delay and said it was a ``political imperative''.Deputy Ó Caoláin said: ``The time for action on Northern representation is now.It is a political imperative, especially given the undemocratic cancellation ofthe assembly election by the British government. When I questioned the Taoiseachon this in the Dáil recently (13 May) he stated:
``The Government is in favour of the right of MEPS to attend and participate incommittee debates on the EU and for Northern Ireland elected representatives toparticipate in debates on the Good Friday Agreement and other relevant debates.Some of those mechanisms can be put in place if there is agreement in theHouse.''
``I asked the Taoiseach if he would take ownership of the issue and he replied'Yes, most certainly.' Last week again he expressed willingness to move ahead.Accordingly the five Sinn Fein TDs have tabled a motion to amend Standing Ordersto allow MPs to speak in the Dáil. I urge the Government to support that motionor to put forward their own so that we can have real progress before the summerrecess.
``Today we welcome our colleague Sinn Fein MPs and MLAs here as the Dáil debatesour party's Private Members motion. Our MPs and those of other parties from theSix Counties should be allowed to participate in this debate.
``Sinn Fein is seeking:
. Right of attendance at the Dáil for the 18 Westminster MPs elected in theSix Counties.
. Reform of the Seanad to include election by a national list system withpeople in the Six Counties having the right to vote.
The right to vote in Presidential elections for citizens in the Six Counties andemigrants.''
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