[Sinn Fein]

25 January 1997

Sinn Fein Westminster Candidates announced

In a major election initiative the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle today ratified its strongest ever panel of candidates to stand in the forthcoming Westminster elections. The candidates have been selected at local conventions.

In a strong move designed to present the Six County electorate with strong leadership some of the most senior figures in the party will be standing in key constituencies.

Constituency Candidate
Belfast West President, Gerry Adams
West Tyrone Vice President, Pat Doherty
Foyle Chairperson, Mitchel Mc Laughlin
Mid-Ulster Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness
Belfast North Negotiator, Gerry Kelly
Fermanagh/Sth Tyrone     Gerry Mc Hugh
Belfast East Dominic Corr
Belfast South Sean Hayes
East Derry Malachy O'Kane
Lagan Valley Sue Ramsey
Newry/Armagh Pat Mc Namee
South Antrim Henry Cushnahan
South Down Mick Murphy
Strangford Garret Seainin O Fachtna
Upper Bann Bernadette O'Hagan

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:

``The panel of candidates we have selected will present the electorate of the north with a Republican alternative to the failed politics of the other parties.

``We will stand in the Westminster election on our record of positive and honest engagement in the search for peace and on our record of effectively representing the electorate.

``In the interests of peace it is essential that a strong Sinn Fein voice emerges out of that election. Sinn Fein will be asking for a strong vote as the best guarantee for the construction of a new and credible peace process.

``Sinn Fein wished to explore the possibility of an electoral pact with the SDLP. We were prepared to discuss every single constituency in order to make sure that every effort was made to rectify unionist misrepresentation of some constituencies and to maximise nationalist and republican representation. The SDLP ruled this out.

``In this context therefore it is our clear intention to maximise the Sinn Fein vote. In Mid Ulster, Fermanagh/South Tyrone, West Tyrone and North Belfast we offer nationalists the only credible alternative to the unionist parties which have misrepresented them for too long.

``Earlier this week John Major made clear his intention to do nothing about peace in Ireland until after the Westminster election. Hanging onto power for another few weeks is more important to Mr. Major than rebuilding the peace process.

``Despite this attitude Sinn Fein will continue with our efforts. A negotiated peace settlement is our priority.

``It is our view that the next election offers up the best possibility for a new opportunity to break the current stalemate created by an inflexible British government. A new situation offers renewed hope for reconstructing the peace process.''

The Ard Chomhairle also discussed its electoral preparations for the 26 Counties and among the candidates to be ratified today were Councillor Caoimhghin O Caolain as the Sinn Fein candidate for Cavan/Monaghan.

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