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Adams - Vote Sinn Féin

24 November, 2003

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

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