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Sinn Féin seeks mandate to return to Education and Health

13 November, 2003


Former Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Bairbre de Brún and former Education Minister Martin McGuinness speaking in Belfast today said "After this election it is our belief that we will be in a position to achieve either the first or deputy first minister, in addition to this we want to continue the work that we started in Education and Health and will be seeking these Departments once again in the new Assembly. "

Ms. De Brún said

After the last Assembly elections Sinn Féin took a decision to seek those Ministerial positions that most directly impacted on people's lives. We chose to nominate our two Ministers for the portfolios of Education and Health.

These are the two departments that most directly affect every man, woman and child.

These two departments suffered through decades of British Direct Rule, under funding and neglect. Sinn Féin took a conscious decision to tackle this. We decided to use our mandate to bring about real change.

Other parties did not see Education and Health as priorities. We did. This remains the case.

As Ministers we invested considerable resources in school buildings and hospital services. Facilities starved of investment for decades were replaced and upgraded.

I prioritised cancer and cardiac care, the provision of children's services and the ending of inequalities in health. Martin took the decision to end the 11 plus, protect small rural schools and invest in integrated and Irish language schools. We increased the level of all-Ireland co-operation in Education and Health and delivered real benefits to people on the ground.

Mr McGuinness added:

" As Bairbre has said over the past three years we have made progress in reversing the years of decline, under investment and Direct Rule. We are now eager to finish the job.

After this election we will once again seek to take on the challenge of both Education and Health. They remain our priority.

In education Sinn Féin will work for:

  • An all-Ireland approach to educational provision;
  • A significant increase in funding for education;
  • The ending of the academic rejection of 11 year old children;
  • Prioritise children with special education needs.

In health we will work for:

  • An all-Ireland approach to health provision;
  • A renewed focus on preventative healthcare.;
  • Increased resources for health and social services;
  • Extension of the range and quality of healthcare.

We have made great progress in recent years and for this to continue we are asking people to endorse and validate our work in this election." ENDS

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