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Doherty calls for Monitors to be allowed Access To Polling Stations

25 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty has called for the International Observers who have travelled to the six counties to monitor the election to be allowed access to the polling stations.

Mr Doherty said:

"Serious concerns have been raised by a variety of bodies and political parties about the conduct of the registration process here. Tens of thousands of people have been disenfranchised and thousands of others who have managed to get on the register do not have the correct form of ID.

"In light of this Sinn Féin welcome the fact that International Observers have travelled here to monitor the election. Remarkably however, the Electoral Office has banned these International Monitors from entering polling stations on the day of the election.

" Exactly what is the Electoral Office trying to hide? Why are they preventing observers who have monitored elections across the world from visiting polling stations here?

" I m calling on the Chief Electoral Officer Denis Stanley to revoke this decision and allow these monitors full and free access to the polling stations. Confidence in the ability of the Electoral Office to conduct the electoral process is already seriously damaged without adding further to it with decisions like this." ENDS

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