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DUP Challenged On Democratic Principles

15 October, 2004

Responding to remarks made today by DUP MLA Nigel Dodds calling for Sinn Féin to be 'tested' before they could share power, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said:

" It seems that the DUP are continuing to fail the test set by the electorate in the six counties at the last Assembly election. The simple fact remains that Sinn Féin are the largest nationalist party in the six counties and the third largest party on this island. The fact is more people on this island vote for Sinn Fein than the DUP.

" If the DUP are to share power and if the DUP are capable of doing a deal then that will have to be with Sinn Fein. There is no other possibility open to them. For this to happen Nigel Dodds and his colleagues will have to grasp basic democratic principles and acknowledge that a Sinn Féin voter is every bit as important as those who choose to vote for the DUP. No matter how much the DUP desire it republicans and nationalists will simply not accept being treated as second class citizens or second class voters.

" It is precisely because of this sort of attitude from the DUP and other unionists and their history of abusing power that the Good Friday Agreement has enshrined within it checks and balances to guard against unionist abuses. These fundamentals are under attack from the DUP in their quest to return to the days of domination and discrimination. Nigel Dodds needs to realise that republicans will not accept these protections being tampered with or removed. The sentiments contained in Mr Dodds statement today once again demonstrate the very real need for these fundamentals to be maintained." ENDS

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