26 June 2003 Edition

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Sinn Féin mayors elected

Sinn Féin has scored a local authority hat-trick, with three of its councillors elected to the position of Mayor on their respective councils.

Last week, An Phoblacht reported Anne Brolly's election as the first female and Sinn Féin Mayor of Limavady. On Monday, one became three, when two more councillors were elected to the role.

Councillor Seán MacManus was elected Mayor of Sligo for the second time in three years and Councillor Pat O'Rawe was elected the first Sinn Féin Mayor of Armagh City & District Council. Sinn Féin has welcomed the election of the two Mayors as a positive step and, in O'Rawe's case, a triumph for fair play and equality.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP congratulated Cllr Sean MacManus saying that it reflected the ongoing rise of the party across the island

"The election of Councillor Sean MacManus as Mayor of Sligo for the second time in three years is an endorsement of his last term in office and reflects the growth of Sinn Féin as a radical, campaigning alternative in politics," he said.

MacManus said that he felt honoured that he had been reselected as Mayor.

"I didn't expect to be assuming this challenging task this year, but I am looking forward to taking it on," he said. "I would like to see further cross border links developed between this area in the North West and its sister area across the border.

"I would also like to see more infrastructure developed in the region. There has been a massive population growth in the area in the last ten years, and the area badly needs an investment in terms of employment opportunities and facilities.

I will be working on these issues as Mayor."

Adams echoed this statement, saying: "When last in office, Seán MacManus led the way in highlighting the need for an all-Ireland solution to the structural discrimination of the West and North West. The need to develop an integrated regional development strategy to redress the legacy of neglect and under investment remains a key priority."

Pat O'Rawe said her election was historic, but that she did not see it as a personal victory.

"Sinn Féin is the third largest party on the council and therefore is entitled to this position," she said. "We have held and do hold similar positions on councils throughout the North and have shown that as a party, we are both competent and capable.

"Those who view my election in a negative manner will probably do so from a perspective of party politics. I would say to them that they are wrong. Today's election is a triumph not for Sinn Féin as a political party but for the continuing task of making councils and other forums properly representative of the electorate who elect them.

"In the coming year I will endeavour to represent this council to the best of my ability. As I have said I am conscious of the political divisions within our community but I will try to overcome these."

Adams, commenting again on the elections said, "Sinn Féin is the only all-Ireland party. Our commitment is to equality and inclusiveness and we are ready to work with others who share that commitment right across Ireland in our communities, on the streets and in elected office.

"All those within our party who have been elected as Mayors and Chairs will work on behalf of all of the people of their respective towns and cities. They will also lead the way in bringing about real social and economic change and to build for Irish unity."

Brolly takes initiative on Somme Commemoration

Limavady Mayor Anne Brolly this week announced details of two events she intends to take part in to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

"In my term as Mayor I will try my best to represent all the people irrespective of their political allegiance," she said. "My approach to all my official duties will be to include people rather than exclude and to be respectful to the beliefs and feelings of others. I have a responsibility as Mayor to try and bridge the divisions which exist in our society."

Brolly said she intends to hold a reception for the British Legion in the Mayor's parlour this Saturday afternoon.

"I am pleased to accept an invitation from the British Legion to attend their church service of remembrance on Sunday," she added. "This, I hope, will be the start of an ongoing engagement and dialogue with the Legion. I would like to establish common ground with them about the nature of how we remember those killed, with particular reference to the remembrance day events in November.

"This is a difficult issue for nationalists and republicans, a difficulty added to by the conflict here over the last 30 years in which the British forces have been involved.

"I do not want any events which I am involved in to be marred by controversy or reduced to political point scoring exercises."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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