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Ard Fheis 2004 - Building an Ireland of Equals

25 February, 2004

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh today announced details of the party's Ard Fheis which is taking place at the RDS in Dublin from Friday 27th - Sunday 29th February. He said that it will be one of the biggest Ard Fheis in recent years with more than 2,000 Sinn Féin members expected to attend over the weekend and 306 motions on the agenda. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said "The central message coming out of this Ard Fheis will be Sinn Féin's commitment to seeing the peace process advanced and to preparing for Irish unity and our campaign for radical social and economic change."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Today marks the 10th Anniversary of a Sinn Féin Ard Fheis which took place in the Killinarden Community Centre in Tallaght. Centre stage at that Ard Fheis was Sinn Féin‚s peace strategy and our document 'Towards a lasting peace in Ireland' but also dominating daily life was the relentless campaign of unionist paramilitaries and the issue of collusion.

"Ten years on there have been huge advances and the society we live in is, in many ways, very different. But the spectre of the unionist paramilitaries and the attempts by the British establishment to prevent the truth, on years of state sponsored murder, from coming out hangs over a peace process in serious difficulty.

"The theme of the Ard Fheis is 'Building an Ireland of Equals' and the motions on the Clár reflect the parties three main priorities - advancing the peace process, preparing for Irish unity and delivering radical social and economic change. Many motions also reflect anger at the succession of broken promises from the Irish government - the cutbacks, the tax hikes, the erosion of human rights and the creeping privatisation agenda of the coalition government. Delegates will also reflect the anger at the suspension of the institutions in the Six Counties and the need for advances on policing, demilitarisation, human rights and equality.

"The motions also reflect the vibrancy of the party in local communities and the increase in our representation in elected chambers across the country and the alternative that we are putting forward to failed establishment parties. The past year saw significant electoral and political gains for the party in the Assembly elections and Sinn Féin is now the largest pro Agreement party in the Six Counties. This growing support will see us facing into European and Local Government elections ready to build on these advances.

"People are ready for change, they are looking for alternatives anwe need to convince them that there is only one radical alternative, and it is Sinn Féin. That is the message which we will be sending out this weekend."ENDS

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