17 December 2009 Edition
Sinn Féin 'ready to fight any election'
Butler selected in Lagan Valley
SINN FÉIN is ready to fight any election that arises. That was the upbeat message of Alex Maskey who addressed the first official party event to be held in Lisburn town.
Maskey was speaking at a convention in the Lagan Valley Island Centre which selected Paul Butler as the Sinn Féin candidate for the Lagan Valley constituency at the next Westminster election.
The selection convention was chaired by Belfast Sinn Féin Chairperson Bobby Storey.
Storey said that Paul Butler had represented Sinn Féin effectively on social and economic issues and had vigorously challenged sectarianism in the area.
“He is a great battler for equality for nationalists in Lagan Valley’, Storey said.’
In his acceptance speech, Paul Butler thanked the party for nominating him.
During the course of his acceptance speech he said:
“As I was sitting here tonight, I thought of my late friend and great comrade Michael Ferguson who was with us when we first went into Lisburn and who battled with us against unionist discrimination.
“He helped lead the way in the growth of Sinn Féin in Lisburn and I feel it is important to remember him tonight.
“In the last election in 2007, the pundits were predicting that Sinn Féin would be in a fight for the last Assembly seat out of six in Lagan Valley.
“When the results came in, we had finished second and a big part of this was because people in Lisburn, in Moira, in Hillsborough, in Lambeg and other growth areas voted for Sinn Féin and for our project of equality and Irish unity.
“As we go into the campaign for the Westminster election, we will continue to work hard for the people of Lagan Valley and we will continue to give leadership.’’
The main speaker of the evening, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey said:
“There was a time when we wouldn’t have considered having a Sinn Féin event in the centre of Lisburn, but here we are tonight doing just that.
“This is a sign of the increased confidence and the continued growth of our party and our republican message.
“Our vote has consistently increased over the past few elections and there is still potential for our vote to increase further.
“Standing here tonight as ‘Cruncher’ sang our national anthem, I recognised that this was a proud milestone.
“The fact that Paul Butler was the only candidate nominated by our party members is a massive vote of confidence in Paul’s record as a representative in this area and in his ability to continue to work for constituents and battle unionist discrimination.
“The project we are involved in as republicans is massive, and we must continue to do our best for our supporters and for those who cannot be with us tonight.
“Sinn Féin is ready to fight any election.
“We will take no vote for granted and we will fight for every vote.
“Congratulations to Paul Butler on his selection tonight as Sinn Féin’s candidate for Lagan Valley in the Westminster election.
“I wish Paul and all our candidates all the best.”
POINTING THE WAY: Paul Butler, Jennifer McCann, Bobby Storey and Alex Maskey at the Lagan Valley selection convention