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Ó Caoláin - Six County representation a political imperative

28 May, 2003


Speaking at a Sinn Féin press conference in Dublin today Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called for representation in the Dáil to be given to Six-County MPs without further delay and said it was a "political imperative". Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "The time for action on Northern representation is now. It is a political imperative, especially given the undemocratic cancellation of the assembly election by the British government. When I questioned the Taoiseach on this in the Dáil recently (13 May) he stated:

"The Government is in favour of the right of MEPS to attend and participate in committee debates on the EU and for Northern Ireland elected representatives to participate in debates on the Good Friday Agreement and other relevant debates. Some of those mechanisms can be put in place if there is agreement in the House."

"I asked the Taoiseach if he would take ownership of the issue and he replied 'Yes, most certainly.' Last week again he expressed willingness to move ahead. Accordingly the five Sinn Féin TDs have tabled a motion to amend Standing Orders to allow MPs to speak in the Dáil. I urge the Government to support that motion or to put forward their own so that we can have real progress before the summer recess.

"Today we welcome our colleague Sinn Féin MPs and MLAs here as the Dáil debates our party's Private Members motion. Our MPs and those of other parties from the Six Counties should be allowed to participate in this debate.

"Sinn Féin is seeking:

· Right of attendance at the Dáil for the 18 Westminster MPs elected in the Six Counties.

· Reform of the Seanad to include election by a national list system with people in the Six Counties having the right to vote.

The right to vote in Presidential elections for citizens in the Six Counties and emigrants."

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