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McLaughlin - Re-establishment of Political Institutions and expansion of all-Ireland bodies our priority

21 July, 2003

Speaking at a news Conference in Derry's Millennium Theatre today outlining Sinn Fein's plans for economic regeneration in the North West, Party Chairperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"It is becoming more and more apparent that if we are to avoid stagnation then we must plan our economic and political future on an all-Ireland basis. I believe that it is imperative that we see a re-establishment of the political institutions so that we can concentrate on expanding on the all-Ireland bodies that already existed and were bringing benefits to the people throughout the island.

"Today in our deliberations we have identified avenues that should be explored in attempts to reinvigorate the economy of the North West region through co-operation by Councils in Derry, Donegal, Tyrone, Sligo, Fermanagh and Leitrim. But although there are areas that councillors can concentrate on, the absence of working political institutions and all-Ireland bodies restricts the scope of what can be achieved in the short term. Democracy cannot be put on hold and economic regeneration be expected to flourish in a political vacuum. While a multitude of strategic reports have been produced there has been no willingness by those making the key investment decisions to deliver on these nor a concerted campaign by those living in the North West to consistently pressurise for their full implementation.

"I am calling on all people of influence from whatever walk of life to bring the strongest pressure possible on the British Prime Minister to name a date now for the holding of elections. Politicians need to be given a mandate to concentrate on resolving the economic and political problems that beset us. Tony Blair must be made realise that he can not keep democracy here in cold storage indefinitely in the hope that David Trimble can get his act together and out poll the rejectionists in his own Party."ENDS

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