[Sinn Fein]

9 May 1997

Adams calls for increased Sinn Fein mandate

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking at the launch of the party's candidates for the forthcoming election in the 26 Counties said:

``In the recent Westminster election, northern nationalists voted for change, for equality, for nationalist rights. It is they who have created a new opportunity for peace. Their decision to vote for Sinn Fein has strengthened the hand of nationalist Ireland in the pursuit of peace. That can be further strengthened in the 26 County elections. The desire for change is as strong here as in the 6 Counties. The need for equality is as urgent here.

``Sinn Fein's platform in these elections will assert the right to equality in jobs, housing, education, health care and representation at all levels of government for all the people of this island. We want to strengthen local democracy and our record of work in community politics demonstrates this aim.

``The return of two Sinn Fein MP's in the 6 County election can be matched by the return of Sinn Fein TD's in the 26 Counties. Our increased electoral mandate will be employed by us in rebuilding a credible peace process which will secure an agreement that has the allegiance of all.

``Our party has its biggest electoral mandate for 40 years. We aim to increase that mandate in the 26 Counties so that our message for change, for dignity and respect for all sections of the people is heard and acted upon. We represent a real challenge to the self serving political system in the 26 Counties - a challenge to a system which puts people last - not first.

``We are a party of activists and campaigners. We are in touch with the people on the streets and in the town and villages throughout the island. We are part of the community. That is why Sinn Fein not only identifies with the real problems that affect people, we know what they are at first hand because we come from those communities ourselves, whether it is Ballymurphy or the Bogside, Tralee or Monaghan.

``We want to see an end to social, political and economic injustice. The Westminster elections returned a new British government. A new government will also be returned in the 26 Counties. We see a new opportunity for peace and will work with both governments to create and sustain the hopes and expectations of all the people of Ireland for peace and justice. Sinn Fein must and will be centrally involved in that process.''

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