Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Republicans gathering for Sinn Féin Ard Fheis are "determined and focused"

16 February, 2006

Speaking at the launch of the Clár for the 2006 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, the Party's leader in the Dáil and TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said the mood of delegates would be "very determined and focused". He also said the two main themes of the weekend deliberations would be Irish Unity and Equality which he said "tied in perfectly" to the fact that we are celebrating both the 90th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and the 25th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This years Ard Fheis takes place as we mark two pivotal landmarks in, not only the republican calendar, but in Irish political and social life in general. The two main themes of the Ard Fheis, Unity and Equality, tie in perfectly with the 90th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and the 25th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes. These themes are reflected in the motions, the speeches and a number of key policy documents, which are being presented to delegates this weekend.

"The mood at the Ard Fheis this weekend will be very determined and focused. We expect the turnout this year to be in excess of last year's record attendance. Over the weekend we expect more than 2000 delegates and visitors from across all 32 counties and abroad to be in attendance. We will discuss almost 500 motions, which is a substantial increase on last year and would indicate a healthy debate within a continually growing party on a wide range of issues.

"We will also welcome a number of new elected representatives following the election of Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy last May along with a host of new councillors making Sinn Féin the second largest party at local authority level in the Six Counties, overtaking the SDLP and the UUP.

"Talks to revive the political political process and to implement the Good Friday Agreement have already begun and it is clear that despite the IRA's decision to formally end its armed campaign the DUP are still attempting to prevent progress. Elections in the 26 Counties will also take place sometime in the next year and a half with Sinn Féin poised to make serious advances. Over the weekend we will be setting out our proposals for government, north and south on a number of key areas -

· moving the peace process forward

· Irish re-unification including an EU support package and all-Ireland integration

· all-Ireland healthcare, job creation and infrastructure

"Some of the key debates are around all-Ireland integration, the peace process, Sinn Féin in government, the economy and natural resources, promoting workers rights, and policing and justice. The wide-ranging motions reflect the high level of debate that is ongoing through the party. We expect a good and constructive weekend of debate and discussion which will inform the development of our policies over the coming year." ENDS

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