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Sinn Fein to attend North Down Women into Politics Event

27 April, 2006

Sinn Fein Women's Champion, Pat O'Rawe MLA will attend the Women into Politics Event in North Down today in the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor. The Event caused controversy when Alliance and Unionist members of North Down Council refused to support an inclusive invitation and the organisers were forced to find an alternative venue for the event. The council has since backtracked on its original decisions to try and exclude nationalist and republican participation in the event but it came too late to switch the event back from the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor to the North Down Council Offices.

Speaking before the event in Bangor Ms O'Rawe said:

"Earlier this year all political parties nominated a party Champion for Women as part of a wider campaign to promote the participation of women in politics. It was therefore very disappointing that North Down councillors from the Alliance party joined with unionists to try and exclude nationalist and republican representation from this important event organised by Women into Politics.

"These parties should be ashamed from themselves, particularly the Alliance party, that claims to be a party of inclusion.

"The politics of exclusion is the politics of the past. It is time that all politicians recognised that there is much we can learn from each other. It is particularly important for women in public life stand to together against the sort of exclusive politics that has failed us in the past.

"I welcome the fact that the organisers of this event were not put from holding the event in North Down. The actions of a few bigots should not stand in the way of what is an important job of work in reaching out to young women to encourage more of them to get involved in politics. I welcome the fact that North Down Council went back and changed their position but it is a case of too little too late." ENDS

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