Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin councillors walk out of Donegal county Council AGM following their exclusion from all committees and development boards

9 July, 2004

The four Sinn Féin councillors on Donegal County Council have today walked out of the authority's AGM after it became clear that they were being excluded from all committee positions and places on development boards. Cllrs Pearse Doherty, Tony McDaid, Thomas Pringle, and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn accused Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and IFF of conspiring to silence the 10,000 voters who had supported Sinn Féin in Donegal. They also accused the other parties of "Being worse than the DUP".

The leader of the Sinn Féin group on Donegal County Council, Thomas Pringle said:

"The establishment parties in Donegal have clearly learned nothing from the six counties. The more Sinn Féin are excluded, the more determined we are to represent our electorate. We will not be silenced. What happened here today was as bad as anything experienced in the bad old days of unionist dominance in the six counties".

"At the point that we walked out, 61 positions had been decided and Sinn Féin councillors did not receive even one. This contravenes the spirit of the 2001 Local Government Act which sought inclusivity and accountability. Furthermore, in the case of appointments to the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN), an important cross border body, it was made clear in communication to the council that the body sought gender balance and multi party involvement in the appointments. Fianna Fáil took three of the appointments out of four and not one woman was selected"

Cllr Pringle concluded

"Sinn Fein won nine seats on councils on Donegal. We gained almost 15% of the vote in the county. Cllr Pearse Doherty has a mandate of over 65,000 votes from the European Parliament election. Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and I topped the polls in our respective county council electoral areas. Following today, all of our councillors in Donegal will be even more determined to deliver on our contract with the people. We will fight for more accountability and less cronyism in our council chambers. We will make sure that the voice of the 10,000 people who supported us is heard".ENDS

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