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Sinn Féin to discuss border strategy

26 October, 2007

This weekend, Sinn Féin activists from Ireland's border counties, and beyond, will come together in South Armagh to discuss the party's strategy for the border region, and to be briefed on the ongoing work the party is involved in to tackle the many issues which affect the people who live in the border areas.

Organised by the party's All Ireland Agenda strategy group, the seminar will involve both elected representatives and party activists from the border counties.

Party spokesperson on All Ireland issues, South Down MLA Willie Clarke, said the line-up of speakers itself clearly illustrated the party's political strength in the region, and it's ability to tackle these issues across a range of elected institutions, as well as by initiating campaigning work on the ground, in conjunction with local communities.

Mr Clarke said:

"Our work on issues which affect the people of the border counties, north and south, is a key part of our broader all-Ireland agenda, and Sinn Féin is uniquely positioned to tackle these issues, given our presence in every level of elected forum across the 32 counties - the Assembly, Dail, Seanad, Udaras na Gaeltachta, local councils and also the European Parliament.

"As a clear illustration of this, the seminar will hear from Minister for Regional Development in the north, Conor Murphy, European MEP Bairbre de Brún and our two TD's in the area, Caoimhghin O'Caolain and Arthur Morgan.

"In addition our strength in the councils in this area will be represented by Padraig MacLochlainn from Donegal, as well as our lead councillors on the three Cross Border Groups. The party's representation on these Groups is the central element of our overall strategy for the region.

"We are actively involved in the work of these Cross Border Groups., that bring together clusters of councils into three cross border structures - the East Border Region Committee, the Irish Central Border Area Network and the North West Region Cross Border Group. Our lead councillors on these - Dessie Ward, Maeve McLaughlin and Pat Treanor will update the meeting on how our work is fitting into our broader strategy.

"Our strategy paper 'Reunification through Planned Integration' was launched four years ago in Armagh, and the meeting this weekend is an opportunity for activists to come together to assess its implementation, and discuss new initiatives we should be taking, as political circumstances change.

"For example, Fianna Fail's much trumpeted plans to finally expand into a 32 county party are something which we are keen to discuss and strategize around, and I imagine that this will form the basis of a lively discussion on Saturday." ENDS

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