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McGuinness urges Empowerment of marginalised groups

1 October, 2007

Marginalised groups, particularly people with disabilities, must be empowered to play a full part in the democratic process deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will tell an event to launch Electoral Registration Week this morning.

The first inaugural Electoral registration week aims to target groups under represented on the electoral register. The event will take place in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings today.

This year it will concentrate on people with disabilities.

Welcoming and supporting the initiative the Sinn Féin deputy First Minister will say: "I am delighted to endorse all efforts to encourage and enable people with disabilities to exercise their democratic rights.

"I would of course support any event which encourages people to play a full part in politics and the electoral process in particular. I would be especially supportive of efforts to empower people with disabilities and other marginalised groups to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens."

Later today First Minister Dr Ian Paisley and the deputy First Minister are also attending an event organised by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to announce the findings of its recent 'Access to Democracy' project for deaf and hard of hearing people. The project organised face-to-face meetings between deaf and hard of hearing people and their elected representatives. It also produced a signed and subtitled DVD to provide information on how to register to vote, how to cast a vote, and how getting involved in the democratic process can create social change and improve quality of life.

This event will underline the importance of exercising people's democratic rights and using the political system to create true social inclusion.

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