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Sinn Féin confident of EU election success

3 September, 2003

Former Executive Health Minister Bairbre de Brún, selected as Sinn Féin's candidate to fight the European elections in the Six Counties, has expressed confidence that Sinn Féin can win a seat in the Six Counties and return a strong All Ireland team of MEP's to the European Parliament in next years European Elections.

Ms de Brún said:

"I believe the story of the European elections will be the story of Sinn Féin when we secure our first ever representation in the European Parliament and it is here in the Six Counties and in our capital city Dublin that we will start the journey.

"This is an important election for Sinn Féin, probably the most important EU election that we have ever faced. Sinn Féin is contesting this election to win, to return a Sinn Féin MEP for the Six Counties and to be part of Sinn Féin's all Ireland team in Europe This is a realisable goal, given the almost 120,000 votes for Mitchel McLaughlin and the considerable rise in the Sinn Féin vote in the Westminster elections since then.

"We have been a leading voice in the debate on the future direction of the European Union. We are also putting forward a clear demand for an all-Ireland approach towards the European Union and its institutions. Whether it is in relation to funding, infrastructure, economic development and most recently agriculture it is clear that the Six Counties has suffered greatly by being linked to Britain rather than the rest of Ireland.

"The next twelve months will be dominated by events in Europe - Dublin taking over the Presidency of the European Union, negotiations on the draft new EU Constitution, World Trade talks, the reform of CAP and redrafting the Common Fisheries Policy.

"The EU of today is a changed entity from that which Ireland joined 30 years ago. The proposed changes in EU structures and institutions envisaged under the draft constitution pose a significant challenge for republicans. We must clearly explain why we don't want an EU that is a military or economic superpower, but we do want an EU that can be force for democracy and justice not just inside its borders but also throughout the world.

"We must ensure that we lead the debate and discussion about creating a democratic Europe that can be accountable and transparent in its policy making and decision taking.

"We must have the best possible EU that works towards full employment, housing and educating all its citizens and creating institutions that are really democratic promoting national and individual rights.

"Republicans want to be part of a Europe that is beacon to the rest of the world not just in terms of the high standards of living and democracy it creates for its own citizens but in how it treats the other states and regions in the world. We want to build a Europe leads the way on the cancellation of debt in the developing world, that is nuclear free, that protects the environment, and that doesn‚t create a fortress and lock its doors to other regions, but welcomes, aids and trades fairly.

"Sinn Féin politics are about democracy, equality, the rights of citizens and of nations. In the last decade we have gone from strength to strength as our agenda for change begins to have a real impact. We want to bring this agenda to the heart of Europe.

"Beginning today I will be going door to door in the Six Counties meeting ordinary people, community groups, women's groups, trade unions, business people and more seeking a mandate for change in Europe." ENDS

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