Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin will provide strong leadership for Mid & East Antrim - O’Neill

30 January, 2019 - by Michelle O'Neill


Speaking at a selection convention in Ballymena tonight, Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said Sinn Féin will provide strong leadership and top quality services to the people of Mid and East Antrim. 

Michelle O’Neill said:

“These will be more ground-breaking elections for Sinn Féin north and south in both the local government and European elections come May, and this great part of Ireland from Portglenone to Carnlough and surrounding hinterlands must be part of that success.

“It is of critical importance that Sinn Féin actively seeks to provide top quality services to ratepayers; that we provide strong, republican, community leadership and that we seek to win social, economic and cultural rights for the people of Mid and East Antrim, and continue the strong republican tradition which has existed in this area for over a century.

“In this election we will stand against Brexit, stand against a border in Ireland after 29th March.

“Everyone here knows the impact Brexit will have on our community services funding, business, trade, agri food, tourism and other sectors of the economy, with the imposition of trade tariffs, a border and denying people the freedom of movement north and south.

“We will stand up for the Good Friday Agreement; equality, peace, for rights and for Irish unity.

“The DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP or any other brand of British nationalism and conservative unionism do not speak for us here or the majority of people across the six counties.” Críoch/Ends 

Note to Editors: The candidates selected at tonight’s convention were: James McKeown (Coast Road DEA), Patrice Hardy (Ballymena DEA), Collette McAllister (Braid DEA) and Ian Friary (Bannside).

REMARKS BY SINN FÉIN VICE-PRESIDENT MICHELLE O’NEILL MLA – MID & EAST ANTRIM LOCAL GOVERNMENT SELECTION CONVENTION, 30TH JANUARY 2019 

INTRODUCTION

Dia daoibh a chairde, Thank you for the warm welcome - on this very cold night!It is great to be here tonight for this important selection convention despite the weather for what is the start of our local election campaign here in Mid and East Antrim.

On your behalf and that of the Sinn Féin leadership I want to begin by personally thanking Councillors Patrice Hardy and James McKeown for their commitment and efforts in serving the people at either side of this district over the past term since 2014.

Both have done so with honour and have been steadfast in providing progressive, anti-sectarian and Irish republican political representation.

They have experienced the brunt of blunt Unionist anti-Irish bigotry and sexist abuse in the Council, yet have not, and will not, be deterred or defeated.

I also wish to take this opportunity to thank their families for the support they have given both Patrice and James, and the wider republican family for your continued work and activism.

Together we continue to stand strong in the interests of the communities in which we serve.

We are with and for the people who support equality and respect for everyone, regardless of where you’re from; who you love; what language you speak or whether you’re Irish, British, both or neither.

We will not tolerate the unjust denial of rights from the DUP/TUV/UUP towards valued members of this society, whether they are Irish speakers; LGBT citizens; women; ethnic minorities, or anybody else.The fightback must, and will continue.

A chairde, real change only happens when ordinary people get involved and stand up for their rights, organise those around them and win those rights.

This is a pivotal time for our party but more importantly for our country, where progressive nationalist and republican politics is now front and centre of the debate and can deliver social, economic and constitutional change.

An agreed and united Ireland for everyone who shares this island – together. 

CAMPAIGN

Be in no doubt - this will be another ground-breaking election for Sinn Féin North and South in both the local Government and European elections come May, and this great part of Ireland from Portglenone to Carnlough and surrounding hinterlands must be part of that success.

It is the people in this room who are going to make that happen.

It is of critical importance that Sinn Féin actively seeks to provide top quality services to ratepayers; that we provide strong, republican, community leadership and that we seek to win social, economic and cultural rights for the people of Mid and East Antrim, and continue the strong republican tradition which has existed in this area for over a century.

In this election we will stand against Brexit, stand against a border in Ireland after 29th March.

Everyone here knows the impact Brexit will have on our community services funding, business, trade, agri food, tourism and other sectors of the economy, with the imposition of trade tariffs, a border and denying people the freedom of movement North and South.

We will stand up for the Good Friday Agreement; equality, peace, for rights and for Irish unity.

The DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP or any other brand of British nationalism and conservative unionism do not speak for us here or the majority of people across the six counties.

So let’s get those elected who do!

The best candidates to be the progressive local voice and Irish republican representatives in this new term are; James McKeown; Patrice Hardy; Collette McAllister; and, Ian Friary. 

CONCLUSION

Tonight marks the countdown to victory folks.

Sinn Féin want to not only retake both seats in Bannside and Coast Road with Ian and James, but we want Colette McAllister as a strong, young, republican activist to take Braid; Patrice Hardy to win in Ballymena town.

We are in to win.

We have a strategy and a plan to take this society and this country forward.To make this place a better place.

We are the party of the future.

But of course, we also face big challenges in the time ahead.

So what counts is our electoral and political strength in order to enable Sinn Féin to deliver our vision and to act in the interests of the people and communities the length and breadth of Ireland, from the North coast to the Dingle peninsula.

Let’s get up, get out and fight to win this campaign and take these five republican seats.Beirigí bua agus mile buíochas.

Connect with Sinn Féin