[Sinn Fein]

26 May 1997

Adams launches party's General Election Manifesto

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking at the launch of the party's manifesto for the General Election in the 26 Counties said:

``In the two recent elections in the Six Counties, Sinn Fein has increased our vote. Those elections returned two Sinn Fein MP's and 74 Sinn Fein Councillors. That result is a reflection of our role in the peace process and of the hard work and real representation that our party gives particularly to those who have been excluded.

``The impact of our increased mandate can be seen in the reaction of those political parties who want no change in the status quo, not only in the north but in the south also, because Sinn Fein represents change - real change and a real challenge to the stroke and sleaze that is endemic in current politics.

``We take our increased mandate very seriously. We will use it to give a strong and determined voice to those we represent. Our priority is to secure an end to conflict and to establish a just and lasting peace. Our considerable energy will be directed to the demand for equality - equality of treatment and of opportunity for all our people. Our vision is of a future in which people feel that they are part of a Nation which accords them opportunity, dignity and a real say in the political process that affects their lives.

``Sinn Fein is an all Ireland party, a truly national party. It is because of this that our message and our aims are as valid and pertinent to the voters of the 26 counties as they are to the Six Counties.

``I am confident that Sinn Fein's vote on June 6th will increase and that the return of Sinn Fein TD's will bring and a new and necessary element into the political system. We are an all Ireland party. We want to see a new Ireland, free of division, inequality and conflict. We have a vision of the future that puts people first.

``The opportunity for peace created in 1994 was greeted with hope and expectation throughout Ireland. The dividends of peace in all aspects of life were obvious. The opportunity and hope was dashed but a new opportunity exists. A new British government is in place, international support for an inclusive peace process continues. Sinn Fein's role in the peace process has been endorsed by our increased mandate. The opportunity for peace would be strengthened by a strong vote for Sinn Fein on June 6th.''

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