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Commenting on the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report on the Waiting List Initiative, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it showed the management of the waiting lists was still deeply flawed and reflected lack of real reform in the health services. He pointed out that the North East region showed a 16% increase in the reported number of patients waiting longer than the target maximum waiting times.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "This report is an indictment of the Government's failure to reform the health services. It shows that waiting lists and waiting times are not properly measured. It also highlights the contrast in waiting times between public and private patients. It recommends that waiting time for public patients in public hospitals should be benchmarked against waiting time for private patients in those hospitals. I would go further and urge a single waiting list for all patients, with priority based on need and not on ability to pay.

"The Government's deeply flawed management of the waiting lists is exposed in the eastern region where long waiting times are concentrated in four Dublin hospitals. In the North East region, which I represent, there was a 16% increase in reported numbers of patients waiting longer than 12 months (adults) and six months (children) between 1998 and 2002. This is a disgrace and comes in the wake of the loss of vital acute hospital services in Monaghan and Dundalk hospitals." ENDS


In our first live video clip of the day, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness gives his polling day message to the electorate. Mr McGuinness also predicts how the election will go and speaks about the response he has received from people who will be out voting today. To view the interview go to


Sinn Féin Director of Elections Danny Power has said that he has been receiving a large number of complaints from across the six counties about the volume of people being disenfranchised and at the general manner in which the election is being conducted.

Mr Power said:

"From early this morning complaints have been coming into our election headquarters from constituencies across the six counties. These have related to polling stations not opening on time, voter codes being written onto ballot papers and elderly people not being allowed assistance from close relatives to vote.

"More worrying however has been the steady stream of complaints from people who have applied for voter ID and have not received their cards. This is having the effect of wholesale disenfranchisement especially when taken with the massive numbers of people whom the electoral office have already excluded from the register.

"After this election all aspects of the current legislation will have to be examined and amended. The performance of the Electoral Office also needs to be investigated. Confidence in its ability to carry out its most basic functions is rapidly draining." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP cast his vote at 10am this morning at the polling station in St Teresa's Primary School on the Glen Road in West Belfast this morning.

Speaking afterwards Mr Adams urged everyone to get out and vote and to vote as early as possible to avoid delays.

Mr Adams said:

"It is vital that people come out today and use their vote. This is a crucial election for the peace process. A vote for Sinn Féin today will strengthen the hand of our negotiators in advancing the process of change, in the transformation of our society and the achievement of an Ireland of Equals.

"I want to appeal to all voters in this election to vote for Sinn Féin and to transfer to Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin has been and continues to be the dynamic for change. We deliver. A vote for Sinn Féin will deliver maximum change. A vote for Sinn Féin is the most effective response to the opponents of change.

"I also want to urge people to get out as early as possible to ensure that they get their vote. There are concerns that the new voting arrangements will not only disenfranchise thousands but that those who can vote will be delayed at the polling stations as electoral office workers process their vote.

"If people require assistance getting to the polling stations then they should contact their local Sinn Féin office to arrange transport." ENDS


West Belfast Sinn Féin Candidate Michael Ferguson has claimed that many people in the constituency have not received their polling cards.

Cllr. Ferguson said:

" As the canvass operation draws to a close it is very obvious that many people in this constituency who are registered have not yet received their polling cards. This is causing widespread confusion. People not receiving cards believe that they are not entitled to a vote. People do not realise that you can claim a vote without the polling card.

" Given the complete mess which the Electoral Office have made of compiling the register it is not surprising that this sort of confusion is happening. There can be no excuse for the failure to distribute voting cards.

" There seems to be one mistake after another emanating from the Electoral Office and there is now a serious lack of public confidence in its ability to fulfil its primary function." ENDS


Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh today slammed the Government for cuts to programmes aimed at countering violence against women. He made his comments in the Dáil today on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and on the first day of 16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women.

Deputy O'Snodaigh said, "It is a disgrace that for the second year running, this government sees fit to again cut the already low spending on essential programmes dedicated to preventing violence against women.

"It is also an insult to the women of this nation, when we know that nearly half of all Irish women experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime, when nearly one fifth of Irish women have been abused by a current or former partner, and a quarter of all violent crimes involve a man assaulting his wife or partner. These are very grave statistics and the organisations that help abused or violated women desperately need to maintain their already low levels of funding. It will be a further kick to them to find that the funding for their programmes has been cut yet again."

Deputy O'Snodaigh also referred to the cuts in social welfare payments in this issue saying: "Now the government's mean cuts in rent supplement payments for those dependent on social welfare will have the effect of forcing even more women to remain in violent relationships for economic reasons.

"The government should look at these issues that affect very vulnerable women every day in this country". ENDS


Speaking during Leaders Questions in Leinster House today the Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin called on the Taoiseach to raise as a matter of urgency with the British Prime Minister the ongoing series of sectarian attacks against Catholics in the Six Counties which last week resulted in the death of a young man in Lisburn.

Deputy Ó Caoláin asked if the Taoiseach agreed "that the ongoing series of sectarian attacks against Catholics, especially in communities where they are in a minority, is a cause of huge concern?"

He said, "The latest casualty was a 21-year old man, James McMahon, who was beaten to death by a loyalist gang in Lisburn, last Thursday, 20 November. This follows another brutal attack in Belfast the week before when a man was maimed with a machete. Does the Taoiseach share my concern at how little attention, both media and political, these continuing attacks have received, especially in this jurisdiction? Does he share the concern that now as in the past British intelligence and the RUC Special Branch have heavily infiltrated loyalist groups and they must also be called to account for the continuing prevalence of sectarian attacks. Has the Taoiseach raised this matter with the British Prime Minister and will he do so when he meets him this week?

Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to point out that there were in the period July to October at least 160 sectarian attacks, including over 50 pipe bomb and petrol bomb attacks, a stabbing, the beating of a pregnant woman who lost her child and several attempted abductions. "We have also seen many attacks on the homes and schools of Catholics," he said. ENDS


Over the next two days - polling day and the count - we will have extensive coverage of the 2003 Assembly election campaign on the IRM section of the Sinn Féin website. (

We will be posting news updates throughout today and tomorrow and we will be catching up with the Sinn Féin team for live reactions on our video/audio site.

We will have reporters in all the major polling stations to make sure that we are first to you with the results. These will be easily accessible by clicking onto any of the constituencies that we have laid out in map form, and also by looking at a table on the end of the page, which will be updated regularly.


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking on the eve of poll said: "This is a crucial election for the peace process. A vote for Sinn Féin will deliver maximum change following this election.

"As we prepare to go to the polls I want to appeal to all voters in this election to vote for Sinn Féin and to transfer to Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin has been and continues to be the dynamic for change. We deliver.

"A vote for Sinn Féin is the most effective response to the DUP and other opponents of change. The days of second-class citizenship are gone forever. There will be no return to the failures of the past. There will be no renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Féin are problem solvers. We are building a better and a brighter future for all our people.

"A vote for Sinn Féin on Wednesday 26th will ensure increased strength for our negotiators to advance the process of change, the transformation of our society and the achievement of an Ireland of Equals.

"I want to appeal to each and every voter to endorse the work that Sinn Féin is doing and to join us in making history."ENDS


Sinn  Féin  TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe TD, has said a recent survey by the  Irish  Management Institute (IMI) which showed that the pay of Irish bosses had  increased  by as much as 50% in the last year "vindicates" Sinn Féin's call for  50%  tax  rate on the superrich.   The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social and Community  Affairs  made his comments after the IMI released figures showing the pay  of  some  chief executives increased from €249,000 in 2002 to €386,000 this year.

Deputy  Crowe said: "This news clearly vindicates Sinn Féin's call last week for a  new  top  rate  of tax at 50% for incomes in excess of €100,000.  For far too long  the  ordinary PAYE worker and those on relatively meagre incomes have been baring the brunt of the taxation policies of this Government.

"These  latest  figures,  which  graphically illustrate that the gap between the rich  and  poor  is  widening, provide a clear indicator for Charlie McCreevy ofwhere his priorities should lie in relation to generating tax revenue.

"That  bosses  are  able  to  give  themselves  increases of up to 50% while the ordinary  worker  is  bound  to a 7% increase over two years shows that Irelands ridiculously  low  corporation  tax  of  12.5%  is being used and abused to help fatten the already over bloated wallets of the captains of industry.

"Charlie  McCreevy,  instead of targeting the most disadvantaged in society with his  proposed  €58m cuts in social welfare while the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern digs his  head  further  into  the  sand  in relation to the levels of child poverty, should tackle the culture of corporate greed in this state and force the wealthy to pay their fair share. " ENDS


Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty has called for the International Observers who have travelled to the six counties to monitor the election to be allowed access to the polling stations.

Mr Doherty said:

"Serious concerns have been raised by a variety of bodies and political parties about the conduct of the registration process here. Tens of thousands of people have been disenfranchised and thousands of others who have managed to get on the register do not have the correct form of ID.

"In light of this Sinn Féin welcome the fact that International Observers have travelled here to monitor the election. Remarkably however, the Electoral Office has banned these International Monitors from entering polling stations on the day of the election.

" Exactly what is the Electoral Office trying to hide? Why are they preventing observers who have monitored elections across the world from visiting polling stations here?

" I m calling on the Chief Electoral Officer Denis Stanley to revoke this decision and allow these monitors full and free access to the polling stations. Confidence in the ability of the Electoral Office to conduct the electoral process is already seriously damaged without adding further to it with decisions like this." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be in North Belfast tomorrow morning for a walkabout with some of the party's election candidates. They will leave the party's offices on the Antrim Road at 11am.


Look at the record of Sinn Féin -- Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking alongside Martin McGuinness MP, Gerry Kelly, Alex Maskey, Bairbre de Brún and Michelle Gildernew MP today in An Culturlann in West Belfast said:

"We are coming to the end of the publicity campaign for this election. I want, at this point, to give some sense of where I think the politics are at.

First of all, Sinn Fein more than any other party has been involved in intensive canvassing on the doorsteps. For us this election started two years ago and while I have not been as involved as usual in canvassing because of recent family bereavements, I can identify clear trends.

It is my view that a small amount of more far-sighted unionist voters are going to give our party a preference. This is because the electorate are looking at the record of Sinn Fein in the peace process. Whether they like our politics or not and an increasing number do, progressive people know that we have taken real risks for peace. They know the peace process is the future and they know that we are the party that can be trusted to manage that process in a way, which is to the best advantage of everyone who lives here.

There is also the issue of effective representation. The Sinn Fein Ministers and Chairs of Committees did a good job.

I'm getting that back on the doorsteps, particularly in relation to the former Ministers of Health and Education. They took decisive action. In fact our party opted for departments, which others deemed not to be a priority.

Compare Sinn Fein's record in Government to that of the, here today gone tomorrow approach of the Ulster Unionists or the semi detached approach of the DUP. Voters know who has made the difference.

So too with the SDLP. It is very obvious that SDLP voters are going to opt for Sinn Fein this time. I have been told of the dissatisfaction with the SDLP's negative, carping and begrudging campaign against Sinn Fein. And that trend is repeated throughout all of the constituencies. I want to appeal to those SDLP supporters who have made or are making that choice to give us a number 1 vote.

Many SDLP voters are telling us that they are voting for Sinn Fein this time. We are also being told that the SDLP's failure to scrap student fees and the proposal by their Ministers to bring in Water Charges are key issues of concern.

There is also, in our opinion, a direct relationship between the strengthening Sinn Fein mandate right across this island and the willingness of increasing numbers of unionists to come to terms with the new situation.

It is little wonder that there is a crisis within unionism but is also very obvious as the UUP go through contortions and the DUP play catch up that they know they have to deal with the new reality. That is the new reality of confident, assertive, magnanimous and generous republicanism. That is why the dialogue between Irish Republicanism and Unionism is so important.

My view is, and I have said this to our party, lets take nothing for granted. Lets continue to go for votes from every quarter. Lets go for the largest number of seats possible because only by strengthening Sinn Féin's hand can this process work right across social and economic issues, right across the institutions and effective representation in them, right down to the nitty gritty of building the peace and bringing about a new dispensation. And moving from there towards Irish Unity and Independence.

So our view is that we are going to take new voters, that a small but significant tendency of far-sighted unionism will vote for us and that SDLP voters are going to give us first preference votes. But we take none of this for granted. As I have said the publicity campaign is almost over, but we will be back on the doorsteps asking every single person to give us a number 1 vote. And I am appealing specially to SDLP voters to give us a number 1 preference on Wednesday." ENDS


Throughout the election campaign Irish Republican Media have been interviewing Sinn Féin candidates and members of the party leadership on-line. Today they talk to Gerry Kelly about prospects for taking two seats in North Belfast and his determination to secure a new begining to policing.

On election polling day and count day Irish Republican Media will have regular video updates and the results as they come in at


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will lead a press conference outlining the party's priorities for Government, tomorrow Monday 24th. It will take place at 11am in the Culturlann on the Falls Road in Belfast

Also attend the press conference will be Martin McGuinness, Bairbre de Brun, Alex Maskey and Gerry Kelly.


Sinn Féin Councillor Alex Maskey speaking at the launch of the party's Youth Manifesto for the Assembly Elections said "this is a manifesto written by and for young people. It sets out their demands for Irish Unity, for youth rights and against racism and sectarianism." Mr. Maskey said:

" Sinn Fein is the second largest party youth wing on the island. It is an active youth organisation which plays a crucial role within Sinn Féin also. Membership of Ográ Shinn Fein is not a pastime. It is a campaigning movement. It is unafraid to take to the streets of Belfast to demand a new beginning to policing, to the streets of Dublin to demand a fair deal on insurance for young drivers or to the streets of Drogheda to demand the closure of Sellafield.

"Young people who join Ográ Shinn Fein believe they can make a difference and this is the feeling that is missing from other young people across the island. They believe their vote makes no difference and they are asking why the British brought in regulations to make it harder for young people to vote,ensuring that many young people will be disenfranchised in this weeks election.

But they can deliver change. They can make a difference. But to do so they must vote for a party that can deliver change, for a party that is genuinely different. In Sinn Fein they see a revolutionary political party. They sense change coming, great change, and they want to be a part of it.

"Listening to the young people speaking here today I am reminded of the huge contribution made to the development of the republican movement and Sinn Fein by young people across Ireland. It was young people, from North and South, who took part in the first civil rights marches that challenged the discriminatory Northern state. It was young people who sacrificed their youth, sometimes their lives, in the internment camps and prisons where the British government tried to destroy Irish republicanism once and for all. And it is the energy, radicalism and commitment of young people that has spearheaded Sinn Fein's dramatic electoral successes of the last five years and the successes we will enjoy on November 26th. Increasing numbers of young people are joining Sinn Fein, standing behind the Ográ Shinn Fein banner that bears the slogan Independence and Socialism, and working for a better future and an Ireland of equals.

Among the priorities of Ógra Shinn Féin in this election are:

  • Irish Unity and Independence
  • Radical social and economic change;
  • The abolition of the 11 plus;
  • The re-introduction of student grants and the abolition of student fees;
  • An increase in the minimum wage for 18-21 year olds to bring it into line with that received by over 21s;
  • Training for young people to lead youth peer education and self esteem programmes, we want to play a vital role in transforming local communities into safer and cleaner districts.
  • The end of British Army and PSNI harassment of young people, and young republicans in particular.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16;
  • All political institutions should have shadow youth assemblies or councils;
  • Measures to reduce the cost of car insurance for young drivers;
  • A Minister for Children and Young People.
  • A root and branch change to the institutional structure of our society, so that all people irrespective of race or religion have equal access to services, employment, resources, rights and entitlements;
  • Internationalism is the real alternative to corporate globalisation;
  • Developing World debt must be scrapped.


Letter From Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin is an Irish republican party. We are a party of radical change. We are an all Ireland party. We are the fastest growing political party in Ireland, and the only party with a strategy for the reunification of our country.

As republicans we are totally committed to ending inequality and to bringing about a society where all are treated equally. We have been leading the way for change in our communities, in political institutions and in the negotiations. We have stood up to the rejectionists, inside and outside of government and we will continue to do so.

Are you interested in politics? Do you want to have a say in how your life is run? Do you believe that the politicians in charge are representing your interests properly? Five years after the publication of the Good Friday Agreement do you, as a young person, feel more included in the political life of your country?

These are just some of the important questions facing you in the upcoming election.

This manifesto has been produced by Ogra Shinn Féin. It has been produced by young people, for young people. It sets out the commitments of young republicans.

If you want to know more about Sinn Féin and our policies, or join the party, why not log onto our new web site

Remember your voice can be heard — but only if you make it. I am asking you on November 26th to use your vote and to vote Sinn Féin.

Is Mise

Gerry Adams


Ógra Shinn Féin is the most vibrant and radical youth wing of any political party in Ireland. We are dedicated to bringing about revolutionary social change, ensuring youth rights and culture are respected, challenging corruption and imperalism at home and abroad and achieving the freedom of our country.

Is e Ógra Shinn Féin an t-aon pháirtí uile-Éireannach agus tá sé mar idhm againn poblacht daonlatach 32-contae a bhunú agus deireadh a chuir le riail Shasana in Éireann.

Through protest action, political discussions and international solidarity we campaign on issues that matter to young people' in particular:-

  • Irish re-unification
  • Globalisation
  • Youth rights
  • Minimum Wage
  • Car Insurance
  • Environment
  • Anti-racism and anti-sectarianism

Irish Unity and Independence

Ógra Shinn Féin is an Irish repubican party. We are working to bring about Irish Unity and Independence. Ógra Shinn Féin will be part of the generation that will see freedom, justice and a lasting peace in Ireland.

Ógra Shinn Féin is campaigning for:

  • The building of a broad alliance for Irish Unity;
  • A Green paper on Irish Unity;
  • Radical social and economic change;
  • Expansion of the all-Ireland agenda.

Five Years of British and Unionist Stalling must end

The Good Friday Agreement heralded a new political dispensation on this island. For the first time, people were promised a real say in how our lives were governed. The Agreement opened the way to all Ireland development and real change on the equality, human rights and economic and social justice fronts.

For the last five years we have had ongoing loyalist attacks and the Unionists and the British government have been stalling and blocking the implementation of the Agreement. This failure to stand by the Agreement has created a lot of anger among young people.

It is important that we do not become disillusioned, change cannot be prevented. The Agreement must be implemented in all its aspects. And Sinn Féin will continue to be at the forefront of the campaign for change.

Ógra Shinn Féin is demanding:

  • Full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement;
  • An end to the the governments reneging on their commitments;
  • Full equality for all.


Education is a human right, and should be open and accessible to all. Ógra Shinn Féin is demanding :

  • The abolition of the 11 plus;
  • Widespread change in the structure of our education system;
  • Equality for all forms of education, and in particular Irish language and integrated schools;
  • The re-introduction of student grants;
  • The abolition of student fees;
  • Increased provision of third level places to people from low income backgrounds and other excluded groups.


Homelessness and housing shortages are a problem which affect many young people.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes that:

  • The present running down of the Housing Executive must come to an end;
  • The Housing Executive should become the main provider of new social housing and increase its new build programme substantially;
  • The Housing Executive should have a greater focus on the needs of young families and single people.


We are constantly told that employment is on the increase, and that there is a reduction in the numbers of those out of work. However what they are not telling you is that the way in which unemployment statistics are counted has changed 11 times since 1997. The present figures mask the real level of unemployment in our society, especially among young people.

Ógra Shinn Féin demands:

  • A more focused strategy for developing employment at a local level;
  • An increase in the minimum wage for 18-21 year olds into line with that received by over 21s;
  • The development of social economy projects which meet the needs of local people while providing sustainable employment in the long term;
  • Additional funds to develop employability training programs in niche market industries such as music, film and television, multi media design and fashion. Such initiatives would enable young people to access the skills necessary for participation in some of the worlds last remaining expanding markets.


Crime is a serious issue in our society. However young people are often criminalised as the sole problem, particularly in term of anti social behaviour. This should not be the case, indeed young people have an active role to play in combating issues such as anti-social activity.

Ógra Shinn Féin is demanding:

  • Substantial resources to be invested in youth education and leadership programmes;
  • Training for young people to lead youth peer education and self esteem programs, we want to play a vital role in transforming local communities into safer and cleaner districts.

Policing & Demilitarisation

Young people in nationalist areas have born the brunt of unjust and violent policing for many years. Ógra Shinn Féin was at the forefront of the campaign to disband the RUC and remain committed to campaigning to achieve the new beginning to policing promised in the Agreement.

Ógra Shinn Féin are demanding:

  • The removal of the British war machine from our country;
  • The end of British Army and PSNI harassment of young people, and young republicans in particular.

Access to Political Institutions

If young people are to play a full part in the political life of our country then we need to see our political institutions and politics open up and become more accessible to young people. Too often political institutions are seen as the preserve of middle class men in dull grey suits, with little or no knowledge of young people and our needs and aspirations.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes that:

  • The voting age should be lowered to 16;
  • All political institutions should have shadow youth assemblies or councils;
  • Political and civic education should become core subjects in the school curriculum from 13 years and up.


Equality cannot be a meaningful aspiration, it must become a reality for all. Young people must have equality of opportunity and outcome in all aspects of life. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

Ógra Shinn Féin is demanding:

  • An equality minister and department in the new Assembly and in each local government body;
  • Measures to reduce the cost of car insurance for young drivers;
  • Proper resourcing to ensure that the Equality Commission is made accessible to young people;
  • A Minister for Children and Young People.

Sectarianism & Racism

In the recently published 'A Shared Future' Document there was not one single substantive reference to young people and our experience of sectarianism. Likewise in the recently passed race Relations Act (NI) young peoples concerns and needs, especially second generation young people, were almost completely ignored. Sectarianism and Racism need to be viewed as structural forms of discrimination which permeate our society in all its aspects, and which have specific effects on specific groups of people.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes that tackling the root causes of racism and sectarianism require:

  • A root and branch change to the institutional structure of our society, so that all people irrespective of race or religion have equal access to services, employment, resources, rights and entitlements;
  • Funding and empowering minority ethnic communities and good relations organisations is a vital part of this as real equality cannot be imposed from above but must be built from the grass roots up


Our society is becoming increasingly globalised. This brings many advantages but also many disadvantages. The globalisation of corporate culture and imposition of a bland, homogeneous and consumer led culture is not in the interests of our society, its culture or indeed our young people.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes that:

  • Internationalism is the real alternative to corporate globalisation;
  • The globalisation of human rights and social equality is the way forward;
  • Developing World debt must be scrapped;
  • Global financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank must be shut down and replaced with democratically accountable developmental agencies under the control of the United Nations.

Arts & Culture

For too long arts and culture have been relegated to the status of poor cousin to other areas of social and public policy. This needs to change. Young people have a right to express themselves and have access to the variety of artistic and cultural mediums which the arts have to offer. These practices must not be the right of the privileged few.

Ógra Shinn Féin believes that:

  • Arts and cultural education must be mainstreamed throughout all school ciricula;
  • Adequate resourcing is provided to ensure that all young people have a real option of training in a wide variety of cultural forms;
  • Employment schemes and resources must be made available for emerging and established arts;
  • Cultural organisations need to ensure that our local talent has the choice of staying here rather than emigrating for lack of opportunities at home.

Sport & Leisure

Like arts and culture Sports and Leisure are often relegated down the funding ladder by government. This has to change. More resources are needed to ensure that all young people have equal access to sports education and facilities and leisure facilities within local communities.

Ógra Shinn Féin supports:

  • A more serious approach to the issues of sport and leisure by local and regional government;
  • An all Ireland international soccer team;
  • Equitable funding for the GAA.


South Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Alex Maskey has accused anti-Agreement loyalists of being behind a vicious attack on one of his canvass teams this afternoon in the Cairnshill area.

Mr. Maskey said:

"This afternoon one of my canvass teams working in the Cairnshill area close to Forestside Shopping centre was attacked by a large crowd of loyalists who arrived at the scene in cars. A mini bus was severely damaged and a number of my election team were hurt.

"Sinn Féin will not be put off by these bullyboy tactics. This sort of incident is evidence that anti-agreement unionists fear the Sinn Féin agenda of change. We will continue bringing this message to homes across the six counties. There are no no-go areas for Sinn Féin in this campaign.

"The response on the doorstep has been fantastic and I am sure that the electorate will give their answer to these anti-Agreement thugs at the ballot box this week. I also look forward to hearing what those parties who represent this anti-Agreement fringe have to say about the resort to this type of intimidation and violence." ENDS


Speaking today from the canvas trail in his West Belfast constituency Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said that claims by the SDLP that they are the party to stop the DUP agenda are 'simply laughable'.

Mr. Adams said:

"The SDLP have been claiming that they are the only party to stop the DUP agenda. These claims are simply laughable when placed against the reality.

"For years on the Local Councils the SDLP accepted inequality, second class citizenship and discrimination. However, the face of local councils were changed forever with the arrival of Sinn Féin into the council chambers. The DUP know this, they are frightened of the Sinn Féin agenda for change. You only have to read their election material and listen to their leadership to see that.

"It is Sinn Féin who have a long standing record of effective representation and a long standing record of challenging the DUP agenda. Sinn Féin is the party best placed to rise to the challenge presented to the Good Friday Agreement by the DUP and the other rejectionists." ENDS


There has been enormous progress across Irish society over the last ten years. There has been a political transformation, which many people thought was not possible.

In this election Sinn Féin is asking the electorate to defend the Agreement, to give their first preference to Sinn Féin candidates and to transfer to Sinn Fein candidates. We are asking you to return Sinn Féin First or Deputy First Minister and to maximise nationalist representation.

In this election we can make history.

Republicans took huge risks for peace. We need you to endorse our work. Our electoral support makes a difference.

The strength of Sinn Féin's electoral support has made that difference. It delivers. For decades others failed to deliver change. They engaged in endless talks about talks. In our Local Councils, before Sinn Féin arrived, others accepted inequality, discrimination and second class citizenship, Sinn Féin Councillors did not. They confronted the bigots. They delivered change right across the six counties.

In September 1997 Sinn Féin entered the negotiations. By April 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was achieved. Since then we have continued to negotiate to see this Agreement implemented.

When others gave up, Sinn Féin did not. We demanded and secured commitments from the British government on policing, demilitarisation, Irish language, equality and human rights.

Sinn Féin also initiated an unprecedented dialogue with Unionism to overcome difficulties and divisions. We will return to this dialogue after the election. Sinn Féin is a problem solving party.

Of course there have been difficulties including a failure on the part of other parties to uphold their commitments and attempts by those opposed to change to undermine the whole Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement must be implemented in full. Negotiations after the elections will therefore be crucial.

Sinn Féin will stand up to those who are opposed to change. We will refuse to let the governments off the hook and insist that they stand by the Agreement. We will settle for nothing less than equality and justice.

The electorate has backed Sinn Féin in growing numbers making us the third largest party on the island. Nationalists are voting for Sinn Féin in greater numbers because Sinn Féin is delivering change. The DUP and rejectionists also know this. That is why they have made Sinn Féin a central plank of their campaign. The strongest response to the DUP is a strong vote for Sinn Féin. The Good Friday Agreement will not be renegotiated.

In this election we are asking people to endorse our work and to vote and transfer to Sinn Féin to enable us to return to the negotiations stronger, able to achieve more.

With your support we can maximise nationalist representation, ensure that we have equality for nationalists in the Assembly and the Executive, and ensure that the 50:50 division of ministries is maintained.

Tá Sinn Féin, an t-aon pháirtí uile-Éireann, ag obair chuig aontacht agus neamhspleáchas na hÉireann agus lánfheidhmiú Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta.

A vote for Sinn Féin is this election is a vote for the peace process. It is an endorsement of our role in that process. It is a vote for equality in our political institutions, investment in public services, tackling the crisis in rural communities, ending child poverty and in bringing an end to years of structural inequality in many urban and rural communities and West of the Bann.

A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for a new Ireland, a free, united and independent Ireland. It is a vote for change. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for strong leadership that delivers change and equality. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for the future.

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