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Gerry Adams launches nationwide Easter Lily campaign

8 March, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP was in Dublin today (Wednesday 8th) to launch the annual Easter Lily campaign. Mr. Adams was accompanied by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Sorcha Nic Chormaic from Dublin South. The event took place on International Womens Day to honour the women of Cumann na mBan who first introduced the lily and to celebrate the activism of women who are involved in political activity in communities across Ireland.

Mr. Adams used the occasion as a platform to call on women to join Sinn Fein in greater numbers and to work with the party to deliver justice and equality on a local, regional and national level as well as advancing the cause of Irish reunification.

Mr. Adams said, "2006 marks the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. I want to call on people throughout Ireland to make a special effort this year to wear an Easter Lily and honour Ireland's patriot dead. This year on International Womens Day we are honouring the women of Cumann na mBan who first introduced the Easter Lily. Here in St. Stephens Green Constance Markievicz and Kathleen Lynn played a leading role in the Rising and throughout this year we will be continuing the work that they began for equality and Irish unity.

"Today we are also celebrating the activism of women who are involved in political activity in communities across Ireland, including those women who are to the forefront of community development, women involved with voluntary organisations, women campaigning on socio economic and equality issues in their own communities, nationally and internationally.

"Sinn Féin is committed to the achievement equality for women. Women's rights are basic human rights. We cannot have a just and free society without equality for women.

"In Ireland, women are still not fully represented in either national politics or in local government decision-making structures. Men continue to dominate all our cultural, social, economic, legal and political institutions.

"Sinn Féin believes that gender discrimination and equality for women are issues of concern for us all. The rights-based society we are working towards should offer protections across the full spectrum of political, social, economic, cultural and human rights, including women's rights specifically. Sinn Féin will continue to advocate full compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We are also working for the introduction of a new comprehensive EU Gender Equality Directive.

"Sinn Féin wants to see even more women involved in our own party, working with us to deliver equality, radical social and economic change and Irish re-unification.

"The 1916 proclamation promised equal rights and universal suffrage. On the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising it is important to remember and to revive the connection which existed at that time between feminism and nationalism. It is time to deliver the equality promised in the Proclamation and in the words of James Connolly, encouraging women to fight for their own emancipation, 'None so fitted to break the chains as they who wear them'." ENDS

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