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Murphy - McDowell needs to learn democratic rights are not concessions

12 May, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy has described comments by the Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell branding the right of northern MPs to representation in the Dail as 'a concession which was not on the cards' as typically partitionist, short sighted and flawed.

Mr Murphy said:

" Since he arrived in the Department of Justice Michael McDowell has been on a one man anti-Sinn Féin crusade. In that time also the Sinn Féin vote right across Ireland has increased and we have secured representation on every elected tier on the island. The same cannot of corse be said of Mr McDowell's party.

" The issue of representation for Northern elected representatives in the Dail was put on the agenda by Sinn Féin. In various negotiations the Irish government repeatedly insisted that this was an issue not for them but for the all party Oireacthas committee. Given this and the fact that the Committee has reported and recommended movement on this key issue it seems strange that Michael McDowell is now claiming jurisdiction over an issue which the Irish government previously claimed is nothing whatsoever to do with him.

" The rights and entitlements of Irish citizens living in the six counties are not concessions as McDowell would have us believe. His remarks on this issue today are typically partitionist, short sighted and flawed. It is a disgrace that the SDLP feted this man during the recent election campaign and now he seeks to impinge upon the democratic rights of their MPs.

" Nationalists and Republicans know exactly where Michael McDowell is coming from. He will always put narrow party political and partitionist interests before the achievement of national and democratic rights and before the advancement of the peace process. Today's comments are further evidence of that." ENDS

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