20 May 2010 Edition
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An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
Michelle Gildernew’s re-election: A vote for progress
NOW that the election is over and the people have spoken, the position adopted by the SDLP must be challenged.
Tommy Gallagher and Fearghal McKinney said the party had “no regrets” about rejecting a nationalist pact, that the election campaign was “trench warfare” and “tribal”. This argument is to say that nationalism/republicanism is the flip side of a unionist pact.
To claim that Sinn Féin’s attempt to maximise nationalist representation is “sectarian” is inaccurate. Nationalists in the North of Ireland wanted to ensure they got the full representation that they have struggled for since the foundation of the Northern statelet which, incidentially, was founded on a sectarian headcount.
The attempt here in Fermanagh and South Tyrone by the combined forces of political unionism - from the British Tories, DUP, UUP, TUV and Orange Order - to unseat a republican MP in a constituency with a predominatly nationalist electorate was a blatant sectarian tactic designed at disenfranchising nationalists and blocking progressive change towards achieving equality.
For the SDLP, to have co-operated with Sinn Féin would have been in the best interests of nationalists and against sectarianism.
In fact, the SDLP’s total rejection of talks on the issue was playing into the hands of those unionists trying to drag us back to the past. The people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone weren’t fooled and 21,304 people voted for progressive change and not sectarian warfare, as the SDLP would have us believe.
Michelle Gildernew, our re-elected MP, demonstrates the new vision for equality and the driving force for positive change in this society. Day and daily, in her capacity as Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development, she works for all sections of the farming and rural community, particularly those who are disadvantaged, socially excluded or vulnerable. She does likewise in her capacity as MP for this constituency.
People of the calibre of Michelle, Martin McGuinness and the Sinn Féin team have given leadership and, for the first time since partition nearly 90 years ago, the nationalist people are no longer second-class citizens but are confident and feel a real sense of empowerment.
Sinn Féin’s vision for equality and democratic rights for all, and for the creation of jobs and for the defence of public services, is for the benefit of all the people in this part of Ireland.
Michelle Gildernew’s re-election is positive for all those who want to see further progress towards reconciling the differences that have divided us in this part of Ireland for centuries.
Election Agent for Michelle Gildernew
Fermanagh and South Tyrone
SDLP swearing oaths
DURING the Westminster election campaign, SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie repeated the following mantra ad nauseam: “We’ll be there when it matters, where it matters.”
Undoubtedly, Tuesday, May 25th, will be one these really important occasions when we will see all three SDLP MPs troop into the British Houses of Parliament to make the following crucial intervention:
“I [Margaret Ritchie, Mark Durkan, Alasdair McDonnell] do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.”
When it matters, where it matters indeed!