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McGuinness to visit London to seek support for Assembly elections

5 July, 2003


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness will spend two days in London next week, Monday 7 and Tuesday 8, to meet politicians, trade unionists and diplomats seeking their support for the Assembly elections to go ahead. Mr. McGuinness will also brief the American press corps and the Foreign Press Association and address a public meeting titled 'Democracy Denied'.

Speaking prior to his departure Mr. McGuinness said:

"Central to all of our efforts at this time must be getting the British and Irish governments to set a date for the twice cancelled Assembly elections and that is the message that I will be taking to London next week when I meet with a wide range of political and public opinion. I will be asking all those whom I meet to lend their support to this campaign and to use their influence with the British government to end this denial of democracy.

"For some time now we have seen the two governments pander to the worst elements of anti Agreement unionism and what it has achieved is the undermining of an Agreement which was endorsed by the majority of people in Ireland, five years ago. I would like to see the same effort, which has been put into stalling, managing and suspending progress over the last five years , transferred into active support for the full implementation of the Agreement. This is an effort, which must be led by the two governments, particularly the British government.

"I believe that Mr. Blair made a serious mistake in canceling the Assembly elections, in effect saying to the world that democracy in the Six Counties is subject to the will of anti-Agreement unionists. The right to vote is just that -- a basic right and cannot be subject to any preconditions. I am calling on the governments to end the stalling and set the election date now."ENDS

Itinerary

Monday 7

1.30pm Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Central Hall Westminster

3.30pm South African High Commissioner

5pm Parliamentary Labour Party NI Committee, House of Commons

7.30pm Keynote address at public meeting 'Democracy denied in Ireland -- voting a right not a privilege, Brunei Gallery, Thornhaugh St London WC1

Tuesday 8

10.30am American Press Corps, Room 8 Portcullis

11.30am Press Conference, Room W1, House of Commons

12.45pm Foreign Press Association, Carlton House Terrace

4pm Meeting with trade union General Secretaries Room O, Portcullis House

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