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11 January 2001 Edition

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Sinn Féin will take Fermanagh/South Tyrone

Sinn Féin Fermanagh/South Tyrone Assembly member Michelle Gildernew, commenting on the news this week that Ken Maginnis is retiring as MP for the area and will not be contesting the next election, has said that Sinn Féin is on track to take the seat.

``Nationalists and republicans in Fermanagh and South Tyrone will shed no tears on the retirement of Ken Maginnis as MP for the area,'' she said. ``In his time as the Westminster representative for the area, Mr Maginnis has represented only one section of the community. He has been the Unionist MP for the Unionist electorate.

``In 1981, Bobby Sands was elected by the people of Fermanagh/South Tyrone as MP and subsequently Sinn Féin held the seat.

``It is my firm view that the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone want a change from the negative policies exemplified by Ken Maginnis and that Sinn Féin, as the largest nationalist party in the area, is on track to retake the seat.''

Gildernew, Sinn Féin's candidate in the constituency for the forthcoming Westminster elections, has been a member of Sinn Féin's Ard Chomhairle since 1996 and is active in the party's Women's Forum and Equality Committee. She is Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly's Social Development Committee.

In 1970 she was born into a well-known republican family who in 1968 took a stand against the housing allocation policy of discriminating against Catholics. In protest, Michelle's family occupied a house in Caledon that had been allocated to a single Protestant woman. The rest is history.
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