[Sinn Fein]

13 February 1998

Sinn Fein will remain at talks

Statement from Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin commenting on reports that the party should be ejected from the talks process.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``Sinn Fein will vigorously challenge any attempt to have our party ejected from the Talks process.

``The speed of Ronnie Flanagan's assertion set against his failure to ascertain exactly who murdered John Slane a year ago and the two Catholics immediately after the UDA/UFF ceasefire announcement confirms the RUC agenda directly against republicans.

``This is further substantiated by his leaking to the media of unsubstantiated allegations that those recently arrested are `IRA suspects'. Ronnie Flanagan has no moral authority or integrity to decide whether or not Sinn Fein should stay at the Talks.

``There are absolutely no grounds for the expulsion of Sinn Fein from the Talks. Sinn FÈin is not involved in the killing of anyone.

``Sinn Fein are at the Talks solely on the basis of our mandate. We represent the thousands of people who voted for us and no one else.

``Sinn Fein has in no way broken, breached, or dishonoured the Mitchell Principles. As far as our party is concerned we will remain at the Talks.''

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