Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Exclusionist politics alive and well in Castlebar

10 July, 2004

Sinn Féin's first and sole member of Castlebar Town Council, Noel Campbell, has been speaking about the council's decision to vote down his proposal to have the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor rotated between the five political groups represented on the council.

Campbell tabled the motion after the council's first meeting when it became clear that FF, FG and Labour had made a deal to exclude the Sinn Féin councillor along with an independent councillor from both positions as well as from all committees. Key to Campbell's argument was that he and the independent polled over a combined 1000 first preference votes, almost a quarter of the total vote cast in the Town Council elections. Campbell pressed that in order for the council to get away from the exclusionist politics that dominated the council during the lifetime of previous authorities, no councillor's mandate should be ignored.

Campbell said: "The general public have lost faith in politics and politicians and the forming of deals that exclude a section of the public from the political process can only damage their view of politics even further. At the very start of its life, this council is in a prime position to encourage the public to participate in their local government. Deals excluding any councillor's mandate do not install confidence in those disillusioned with politics.

"Although attacking Fianna Fáil during the elections, Fine Gael and Labour were more than happy to jump into bed with that party at the very first meeting of the authority. With Sinn Féin being excluded from top council positions all over the 26 counties, it is obvious who the real opposition party is in this State." ENDS

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