[Sinn Fein]

29th May 2003

Sinn Fein protest against Suspension of Assembly Elections

On Thursday 29th of May Colm Burns, Sinn Fein candidate in the Crotlieve by-election, joined Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein MPs , MLAs and party activists outside Stormont to protest at the suspension of the Assembly elections. Speaking after the protest Mr. Burns said;

``Today people throughout the six counties were meant to go to the polls to elect the political party of their choice. Instead, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has turned what passes for democracy in this artificial state into a farce and has effectively disenfranchised everyone in order to placate David Trimble and the Unionist veto.

``During the last 5 years Sinn Fein has worked tirelessly to promote the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process. Yet in contrast David Trimble has stalled and prevaricated and is now firmly ensconced within the No-Camp of his party. All shades of Unionism appear to have rejected the full implementation of the Agreement.

``The Agreement was born out of 30 years of division and conflict and was designed to bring about a new political dispensation on the island of Ireland and a new relationship between Ireland and Britain. Unfortunately no forward thinking leadership has emerged within Unionism to challenge the old mentality of `not having a fenian about the place.' Unionists prefer to demonise Republicans or at times patronize us by stating they would allow us into government.

``However the truth is quite simple. Republicans are elected on their own mandate from the people. Sinn Fein is now the largest political party within the Nationalist community and in my own constituency Sinn Fein is the largest party on Newry & Mourne District Council. We may have been denied an Assembly election but people are still afforded the opportunity to vote Sinn Fein in the forthcoming by-election in Crotlieve. I look forward to increasing the Sinn Fein mandate once again on polling day 18th June.''

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