[Sinn Fein]

9 May 1997

Election a chance to challenge inequality - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Fein candidate for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin speaking at the launch of the party's candidates for the forthcoming election in the 26 Counties said:

``In the upcoming elections Sinn Fein will be standing fifteen candidates in fourteen constituencies through the twenty six counties. We are standing in my own constituency of Cavan/Monaghan and in Donegal North East, Sligo/Leitrim, Galway West, Dublin Central, Dublin North East, Dublin South West, Dublin West, Dublin South Central, Cork East, Cork North Central, Kerry North, Meath and Louth.

``We are standing in this election committed to rebuilding the peace process, committed to strengthening local democracy and committed to introducing measures to end the extremes of social inequality in our society.

``In this election Sinn Fein is the only party of the left standing on an independent platform. We represent that tradition in Irish politics which may be described as the republican left, the legacy of Pearse and Connolly and Mellows. For us the struggle is where the people are and that is reflected in our commitment to community politics and effective local representation.

``Increasingly we have seen the acceptance of growing economic division and the development of a low wage economy of `yellow pack' jobs and temporary employment schemes. This is not the inevitable shape of the Irish economy.

``Sinn Fein's overall objective for economic policy in Ireland is to provide sustainable dignified livelihoods for all citizens; to develop economic resources, human and material, to their fullest; and to create an economic base which reflects the social and cultural values of all the Irish people and which fulfils their material needs and aspirations.

``Politics in the 26 Counties have been reduced by some politicians to an ivory tower of back room dealing. Ongoing revelations of corruption at the highest levels of political life, while no surprise, have increased the level of cynicism felt by the electorate. This general election, whenever it is finally called will provide voters in the 26 Counties with a chance to challenge this culture of privilege and inequality.

``Whatever shade of government emerges from the general election in the 26 Counties Sinn Fein and myself, a prospective TD for Cavan/Monaghan will endeavour to work with it not just to rebuild the peace process but to fight for social justice for all the people of Ireland. That is our only promise to the electorate.

``In recent weeks we heard certain political leaders in this state calling upon people not to vote for Sinn Fein. On May 1st over 126,000 people rejected this call and we had the election of Gerry Adams MP for West Belfast and Martin McGuinness MP for Mid-Ulster.

``People in the south will equally recognise those who made a valid contribution to building peace on this island and those committed to real social, economic and political change. I am confident that when the votes have been counted that they will have made the right choice.''

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