Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ó Caoláin - Dáil representation NOW for citizens in Six Counties

12 November, 2003

Speaking at Sinn Féin's press conference on the All-Ireland agenda, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

A key demand in Sinn Féin's all-Ireland agenda is representation in the Dáil for citizens in the Six Counties, pending the establishment of a national parliament representing the 32 Counties.

At the time of the Good Friday Agreement the Taoiseach asked the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution to consider how the people of the Six Counties might play a "more active role in national political life". It took the Committee from 1998 to last year to report on the issue. The All-Party Committee made a range of findings and recommendations and while they do not go as far as we would like, they provide a basis for progress.

In the Dáil I have repeatedly called on the Taoiseach to act since 1998, and since last year's General Election when I was joined by my four Sinn Féin TD colleagues. The time for action is now and it is long overdue. The Taoiseach has said that he agrees with the Committee's recommendation that representatives should have the right to speak in the Dáil. That was welcome but we need a pro-active engagement by the Taoiseach to make this happen.

Most recently in the Dáil the Taoiseach linked the delay in implementing Six-County representation to the absence of the Assembly. There will be no such excuse after 26 November.

Sinn Féin is seeking:

  • Right of attendance at the Dáil for the 18 Westminster MPs elected in the Six Counties.
  • Reform of the Seanad to include election by a national list system with people in the Six Counties having the right to vote.
  • The right to vote in Presidential elections for citizens in the Six Counties.

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