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Gildernew accuses Dallat of engaging in silly season antics

18 August, 2003

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has accused the SDLP's John Dallat of losing the plot and engaging in silly season antics in a desperate attempt to get publicity. She said that 'Sinn Féin is serious about the peace process, serious about ending world debt and serious about bringing about Irish unity, but you would have to ask yourself what do the SDLP stand for.'

Ms. Gildernew said:

"As part of the development of the peace process Sinn Féin has engaged widely with both Irish America and successive American administrations. The benefit of this engagement, to everybody on this island, is obvious. In order to support this project and to advance the case for Irish unity Sinn Féin fundraises in the United States. The reason why we have been so successful in this regard is because of the leading role that we have taken in the peace process and our clear policy of building a united Ireland.

"This is something that, despite repeated efforts, the SDLP has failed to do over the last number of years. I think that this is more a case of the green eyed monster rather than a serious argument for political parties funding charity.

"To add insult to injury John Dallat then belittles the issue of world poverty in a cheap attempt to attack our party.

"The issue of ending world debt and the collective responsibility that we all face in bringing it about is a serious priority for Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams has raised the matter with the White House and the British and Irish governments.

"The debt burden faced by developing countries is overwhelming. The UN has estimated that if the funds to pay off debt were diverted back into health and education the lives of seven million children a year could be saved. That is two million more than the entire population of this island. We are involved in trying to put this critical issue on the highest political agenda not cheap point scoring." ENDS

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