[Sinn Fein]

23 June 1998

Sinn Fein Election Pledge - 'Ready for Government'

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, speaking at the party's final press conference of the election campaign, called on voters to ``put the strongest republican team unto the new Assembly, the Executive and on the all-Ireland Ministerial Council. SInn Fein is ready for government and ready to build a new Ireland, based on equality for all our citizens.''

Mr Adams said:

``This election is the most important facing the people of the north in 80 years.

``The task facing all of us is to translate the hope for peace and for change which now exists into a reality.

``Sinn Fein is proud of the pivotal role we have played in creating this opportunity. We have been the dynamic for change in recent years. And we will be the catalyst for change in the Assembly, in the Executive and on the all-Ireland Minsterial Council and bodies.

``The message from the doorsteps is that the electorate recognise this.

``Of course, there will be difficulties ahead. There are those who are opposed to theis opportunity, and others who are trying to unpick the Agreement. Unionist leaders and th Loyal Orders still refuse to talk the nationalist resident in the Lower Ormeau or on the Garvaghy Rad, The electorate recognises these dangers alos.

``Consequently, they are going to return a strong Sinn Fein team to the new institutions to defend nationalist rights and entitlements and pursue a peace settlement.

``We pledge to maximise the all-Ireland character of the agreement; to seek the disbandment of the RUC and the creation of a new policing service; to secure equlaity of opportunity for al our citizens in every aspect of our daily lives; in particular, equality and funding for the Irish language; the early release of political prisoners; a demilitarisation of our community; and a civil service which respects all citizens as equals.

``All of this is within our republican strategy of building a new Ireland.

``We also pledge to continue to seek an effective dialogue with unionism.

``38 Sinn Fein candidates are contesting this election. It is a strong team. The best team. A vote for Sinn Fein is a vote for real change and for a party which can deliver that change.

``In the last equivalent election two years ago, Sinn Fein asked for a mandate to negotiate. We were given that mandate. We negotiated. We are now looking for a new mandate to continue our work. The bigger our mandate the better the deal. That is the clear lesson of Sinn Fein strategy. I am convinced that our vote is going to increase.

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