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McDonnell challenged over oath hypocrisy

17 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey has rubbished comments made by SDLP MP Alisdair McDonnell in his maiden speech in the British House of Commons where he criticised Sinn Féin for refusing to take their seats in the British parliament.

Mr Maskey said:

"Alisdair McDonnell chose to use his maiden speech to the British House of Commons to attack Sinn Féin over our principled abstentionist position. The fact that Mr McDonnell did not use this speech to raise issues of concern in South Belfast shows clearly that even he sees little point in using the Westminster parliament to achieve any tangible results for the constituency. Indeed the attendance record at Westminster of his SDLP colleagues over the years is testament to that.

"During the recent election campaign the SDLP claimed to be a republican party. Many would struggle to see how this position can be squared with a willingness to swear an oath to a foreign monarch. Sinn Féín is an Irish Republican party, we do not take seats in Westminster or swear oaths of allegiance to a British Queen. We do however use whatever facilities are available to promote and campaign for a United Ireland and an end to the British parliament involving itself in the affairs of the Irish people." ENDS

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