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O Caoláin asks SF delegates to keep options open on coalition

6 March, 2005


Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin speaking in favour of the Ard Comhairle amendment to Motion No. 342, in favour of Motion No. 343 and against Motion No. 344 - motions relating to the party's position on going into a coalition government in the 26 Counties said " I appeal to delegates not to limit their own options, not to close down prematurely on the already limited number of possible permutations and combinations. Keep them all guessing, stay in the mix, affirm our political platform and goals and restate time and time again what others must do to measure up."

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

Delegates and friends.

I commend the Ard Comhairle amendment to Motion No. 342 and ask for your support.

It is a reaffirmation of existing policy

I appeal to delegates not to limit their own options, not to close down prematurely on the already limited number of possible permutations and combinations. Keep them all guessing, stay in the mix, affirm our political platform and goals and restate time and time again what others must do to measure up.

Let us not just hope but ensure by our hard work that we will indeed be in a pivotal position post the next General Election. I believe we can be. Let us not now devalue the potential of that position. Let us not now draw parameters that will seriously restrict our potential to inject republican politics and objectives in to the post General Election mix in 2007 or sooner.

When people elect us they expect us to do all in our power to implement our policies. That entails participating in government if we have the mandate and if the opportunity presents. If we can secure an inter-party agreement that is consistent with our republican principles and objectives, that would allow us to bring about real change and, of course, predicated on maintaining the unity and integrity of our party, then we should give such a prospect our very serious consideration. And that is exactly what we have all committed to do. A full delegate conference will determine our position, our course of action. You will take that decision and no one else.

Someone in the media recently asked me was there any political party that we would rule out at this stage. My answer was that at this stage we rule them all out. Pressing further, the interviewer asked would we not rule the Progressive Democrats out in advance of the next General Election. The reply was straight forward — our hope is that the electorate will rule the PD's out of the reckoning by all and sundry, not just by Sinn Féin. The people are good — McDowell must go.

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