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Sinn Féin launches rural voter registration campaign at ploughing championships

29 September, 2006


Sinn Féin MEPs Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brún were joined by the party's spokesperson on agriculture Michelle Gildernew at the Ploughing Championships today for the launch of a campaign aimed at encouraging people from rural communities to get on the electoral register.

Speaking at the launch Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin's National Chairperson said: "As part of our national registration campaign, today we are specifically encouraging people from rural communities to ensure that they are on the electoral register. We have very serious concerns regarding the roll out of the overhaul of the register by local authorities with particular concern for rural communities and hard to reach addresses.

"There has been little or no direction coming from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Local authorities have basically been left to their own devices to run their own registration campaigns. This has led to serious concerns that many people will accidentally be omitted from the register and it is likely that rural communities will be most affected by these inconsistencies due to the large size of rural constituencies and difficulties in getting to everyone. It is for this reason that we are launching this phase of our registration campaign here at the Ploughing Championships today.

"Sinn Féin activists throughout rural Ireland will be working with community groups and organisations, and knocking on doors, over the coming months encouraging people to get on the register. But there is a special urgency about registering people in rural areas, ignored and undervalued by a Dublin focused administration. The best way to address declining farming numbers, unbalanced regional investment and appalling access to public services for people in the country is to ensure as loud a voice as possible is heard at the polls.

"It is crucially important that people make every effort to ensure they are on the electoral register ahead of next year's general election. Our message is clear -- make your voice heard, register to vote and of course vote Sinn Féin."

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