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TDs set priorities for Dáil term: People power needed for real change - Sinn Féin TDs

8 September, 2005

Sinn Féin TDs meeting at Leinster House today set out their priorities for the forthcoming Dáil term. Calling for people to attend the National Rally for Irish Unity on 24 September and the national demonstration in support of the Rossport Five on 1 October, the Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"People power is needed to bring about real political change. It will not come about through the kind of political window-dressing we have seen earlier this week. The Fianna Fáil party in Cavan and the Fine Gael/Labour Party in Mullingar were attempting to hide the fact that there is little real difference between them. In the past these parties in Governments have pursued virtually identical policies. The joint communiqués from Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte offered about as much an alternative to the present Government as Tweedle-dum does to Tweedle-dee.

"It is popular participation in bringing about change that will yield results. It was only campaigning and lobbying by people demanding decent childcare that finally put this issue on the agenda of the Government. It remains to be seen whether or not they actually deliver as we heard only promises from the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting in Cavan.

"The frustration of people with the conservative political parties and their enthusiasm for a different kind of politics can be seen in the groundswell of support for the Rossport Five. It has been seen in the thousands who took to the streets to fight for a rights-based Disability Act. It was also seen in the huge numbers who took to the streets in anti-war demonstrations."

Deputy Ó Caoláin called on people to turn out in large numbers in Dublin on 24 September to support the Rally for Irish Unity. He said:

"This rally celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sinn Féin, a landmark that other parties have ignored, even though several of them claim the mantle of Sinn Féin. We welcome them all to participate in Dublin on 24 September in our rally on the theme 'Make Partition History'."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Energy and Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD called on people to support the demonstration in support of the Rossport Five in Dublin on 1 October. He said:

"It is a national and international scandal that these five men are still in prison. They are the victims of a conspiracy between the Government and Shell to ride roughshod over the community in Rossport and to deprive the Irish people of valuable national resources. Shell should withdraw its injunction and the Government should revisit its entire policy on natural resources. The men should be released immediately."

Sinn Féin party whip and spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Law Reform Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the TDs were setting out priorities for the new Dáil term. He said:

"We will be challenging the Fianna Fáil/PD Government on the continuing health service crisis and on the plans of the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to privatise hospital services.

"We will be working for the full restoration of the Good Friday Agreement and advancing the all-Ireland agenda, including the call for Six-County representation in the Oireachtas.

"We will be developing a comprehensive Sinn Féin manifesto well in advance of the General Election and in consultation with people throughout the country." ENDS

Note to editors: Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin is available to speak to the media at 10:45am outside Kildare Street gate at Leinster House.

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