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Gildernew calls for Murphy Statement on Electoral Malpractice

31 October, 2003

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has called for the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy to comment on the ongoing investigation into electoral irregularities in the constituency. Ms Gildernew's remarks come after prominent UUP member Alaistar Patterson was charged yesterday as part of that investigation.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Obviously as prominent UUP man and former electoral official Alaistar Patterson has been charged comment cannot be made on his case. However, there are real and genuine concerns amongst the wider nationalist and republican community at the manner in which the electoral office has conducted its business over a long period of years and its relationship with the unionist parties.

"As we face into another election I believe that it is appropriate for the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy to comment on this matter. It is unbelievable that he has been allowed to remain silent on this matter.

"Nationalists and republicans need to know that we are fighting this election on a level playing field. In constituencies, particularly West of the Bann, there is a perception that this has not been the case up until now. The charges brought against this senior official and the defence of his position by leading UUP representative Ken Maginnis only adds to that perception." ENDS

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