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Arch Brexiteer can be unseated in North Belfast – Finucane

22 September, 2019


For immediate release

22 September 2019

Arch Brexiteer can be unseated in North Belfast – Finucane

Belfast Mayor John Finucane said today that a Westminster election is an opportunity to strike an almighty blow in unseating an arch DUP/Tory Brexiteer.

John Finucane was speaking after he was confirmed as the Sinn Féin candidate in North Belfast to contest a Westminster election.

John Finucane said:

“A Westminster election will be about sending a message that will be heard not just in Belfast, but right across Europe.

“Here in North Belfast, we have an opportunity to strike an almighty blow by unseating an arch DUP/Tory Brexiteer.

“Two years ago, when the last Westminster election was called, our message was that the north needed to be protected, our all-Ireland economy needed to be protected, the Good Friday agreement needed to be protected.

“Since then, we have had nothing but chaos emanating out of London. 

“Westminster has zero interest in the lives of citizens here. 

“Zero.

“No deal means tens of thousands of jobs at risk, food prices to rise, clinicians unable to assure patients their health care will not be affected or that vital medicine will be available, an economy destined for recession, our agricultural economy decimated.

“Operation Yellowhammer – a document we had to fight to have released to us – talks of protests, roadblocks, a rise in energy prices and a risk of permanently undermining our Good Friday Agreement. 

|I can’t remember seeing any of this written on the side of a bus. I can’t remember those who extolled the virtues of ‘Taking Back Control’ telling us about any of this. 

“We can elect a pro Remain Anti Brexit MP in North Belfast.

“The numbers are there to make it happen.

“We can win this seat. 

“In the last election there were only 2,081 votes separating myself from Nigel Dodds.

“The DUP received 21,240 votes.

The total vote for pro Remain candidates was 24,336.

The numbers are clearly there for a pro Remain anti Brexit candidate to win in North Belfast and unseat an arch Brexiteer.” ENDS/ CRÍOCH

Full text of Belfast Mayor John Finucane’s speech at Belfast Castle today after being nominated to contest North Belfast  in any forthcoming Westminster election.

I want to begin by welcoming you all here to Belfast Castle, and thanking you for attending this convention on what is a proud day for me.

I am honoured to have been selected to contest any upcoming Westminster election for Sinn Féin here in North Belfast.

 We are living in historic times. 

This is the most defining political period since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and nobody should underestimate the challenges facing Ireland.

Tory Brexiteers and their DUP partners have undermined the Good Friday Agreement; our open borders; our All-Ireland economy and the rights we are currently entitled to, as both Irish and EU citizens 

Citizens have led the fightback for over two and half years with Sinn Féin at the frontline battling for rights for all. 

Added to this is the fact that we are still without a functioning Assembly or Executive, because the DUP would rather focus on their position in London with their destructive pact with the Tories at Westminster, regardless of the cost to our public services. 

We continue to work to implement the Good Friday Agreement without impediment including resolute action in law which confronts discrimination against citizens from any quarter – language; LGBTQ; minorities or women.

We continue to oppose a reckless and catastrophic Brexit agenda which is being foisted upon the people here who voted against it. 

This election is about sending a message that will be heard not just in Belfast, but right across Europe.

Here in North Belfast, we have an opportunity to strike an almighty blow by unseating an arch DUP-Tory Brexiteer.

Two years ago, when the last Westminster election was called, our message was that the north needed to be protected, our all-Ireland economy needed to be protected, the Good Friday agreement needed to be protected.

Since then, we have had nothing but chaos emanating out of London. 

Westminster has zero interest in the lives of citizens here. 

Zero.

We have watched as the Tory party play out their power struggles in public. 

The Withdrawal Agreement was scuppered by the same Tory/DUP partnership that is driving us all towards a No Deal. 

No deal means tens of thousands of jobs at risk, food prices to rise, clinicians unable to assure patients their health care will not be affected or that vital medicine will be available, an economy destined for recession, our agricultural economy decimated, and Operation Yellowhammer – a document we had to fight to have released to us – talks of protests, roadblocks, a rise in energy prices and a risk of permanently undermining our Good Friday Agreement.

I can’t remember seeing any of this written on the side of a bus. I can’t remember those who extolled the virtues of ‘Taking Back Control’ telling us about any of this.  

Brexit has been imposed on us by those who wish to play power games in England, backed up by the DUP. 

In May of this year I was honoured to be installed as Mayor of this great city. I travel across this city every day, into every community north, south, east, and west. This is a vibrant, diverse, multi-cultural city that works best when it works together. We have ambitious plans for our children to grow up and succeed in a city that is prosperous, connected and full of opportunity.  

We are a city opposed to Brexit, yet we have the political situation that 3 of our 4 MPs continue to tell us, in the face of overwhelming fact-based opposition, that Brexit will be good for us. 

This is wrong.

This has to change.

The opportunity to change this situation is before us.

In Belfast, Remain voters outnumbered Leave voters in 2016. 

Belfast is opposed to the Brexit agenda spearheaded by the DUP and Nigel Dodds. 

We can elect a pro Remain Anto Brexit MP in North Belfast.

The numbers are there to make it happen.

But numbers never elected anybody. 

We need to turn the numbers into votes and the only way we will do that is through hard work. By pounding the pavements, knocking the doors and engaging with the electorate with our message and getting people registered to vote. 

This election has the potential to be an historic one for us and North Belfast is a key battlefield.

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