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Mitchel McLaughlin Tours Munster

15 January, 2004

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin is on a two day tour of Munster where he will speak at engagements in both Cork and Waterford. Mr McLaughlin will be joined on the tour by Munster EU Candidate David Cullinane. Speaking today from Cork Mr McLaughlin said that 'the rise of Sinn Féin in recent times had created major challenges for the existing political establishment in the 26 Counties'.

Mr McLaughlin said:

" In recent years with the ending of censorship there has been a massive resurgence in republicanism throughout the island but particularly in the 26 counties. Sinn Féin are now the third largest political party on this island.

" The rise in support for Sinn Féin and for republican demands has created obvious difficulties for the existing political establishment in the 26 counties. As a result some within this establishment have placed narrow party political interest before the national interest or the demands of the peace process. That was and is entirely the wrong approach.

" Sinn Féin will, as the recent Assembly elections showed, continue to grow, develop and increase our electoral mandate. We face into two elections within the next number of months. We are the only party contesting all of the EU constituencies on the island and in addition to this we will be fielding candidates in the local elections across the 26 Counties.

" It is my belief that we are up to this challenge and that we will again make significant gains in the June polls." ENDS

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