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De Brún - Elections required to get process back on track

14 September, 2003


Former Health Minister and Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún speaking in Strabane this afternoon, said 'it is now 11 months since the institutions were brought down and 4 months since the elections were cancelled and it is time that the governments brought some urgency to the matter. It is time that an election date was set and that there was a collective effort to put the process back on track.' Ms de Brún was speaking at the annual commemoration to honour republicans from West Tyrone who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom.

Ms de Brún said:

"It was because of the people that we honour here today that the radical, progressive, republican tradition survived in Ireland when its enemies were ready to consign it to the grave, the prison cell and the history books. They helped to ensure that not only did republicanism survive but that it thrived. They had the foresight to realise that we must adapt ourselves to the terrain through which we as republicans have to travel on our long journey to our goal of an All-Ireland Republic. They exemplified the struggle and what makes modern republicanism the most potent political force in Ireland today.

"This past week the media has been dominated by stories of secret meetings and possible advances. The republican position on all of this is clear. It is now 11 months since the institutions were brought down and 4 months since the elections were cancelled and it is time that the governments brought some urgency to the matter. It is time that an election date was set and that there was a collective effort to put the process back on track. Republicans are willing to play our part but it is high time that others did the same.

"Mr. Blair's decision to bring down the institutions and cancel the elections has not only seriously undermined the political process, it has undermined peoples confidence in the ability of the Agreement to deliver real change This is seriously damaging and needs to stop now. Our focus in the weeks ahead will be getting the British government to set an election date and working with others to see the Agreement implemented."

Commenting on the electoral contests that republicans are facing in the coming year Ms de Brún said:

"The three elections that we face in the coming year - Assembly, European and Local government in the south - should mark a major milestone in the advance of our electoral strategy and of Sinn Féin across the island. I urge all republicans to set their sights on these elections and to ensure that the hard work which is being done will bear fruit with greatly increased Sinn Féin representation in the Assembly and local government and that for the first time ever we will see an all-Ireland Sinn Féin team returned to the European Parliament.

"We have much work and struggle ahead of us but if we go to it in the spirit of determination as Tyrone republicans have shown for many generations then we will surely succeed."ENDS

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