[Sinn Fein]

12 August 1998

Call for Northern Representation in Oireachtas

At a press conference in Dublin today, Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin and Sinn Fein Chairperson and assembly member Councillor Mitchel Mc Laughlin launched the party's submission to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution.The submission calls for representation at Oireachtas level for citizens in the Six Counties.

Deputy Ó Caolaín said:

``The Sinn Fein submission argues that one important way to allow citizens in the Six Counties to play a more active part in national political life would be the right to send representatives to the Oireachtas. This could be done by giving the right to attend and speak as consultative members of the Dáil to Westminister MP's elected in the Six Counties.

`` We also advocate full voting rights for citizens registered on the electoral lists in the Six Counties in referenda and presidential elections.The right would also apply to all MP's elected in the Six Counties regardless of affiliation. Tens of thousands of people elect their parliamentary representatives in the North as Irish legislators, rather than oath -bound participants in the Westminister parliament. These people are currently denied access to parliamentary forum.

The amended Article 2 of the 1937 Constitution which states `It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born on the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to citizens of Ireland..'

``The inclusion of that assertion was a key factor in the securing of a Yes vote in the referendum in the 26 Counties. This places a special onus upon the Irish government to ensure that the rights of Irish citizens are vindicated.''ENDS

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