1 April 2004 Edition

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MLAs back 'A President For All' campaign

On Thursday 25 March, Ógra Shinn Féin took their national 'A President For All' campaign to the steps of Stormont. Ógra members, along with many of Sinn Féin's MLAs, donned the GAA jerseys from counties across Ireland in a colourful protest to highlight the campaign. Barry McColgan, Six-County organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, explained: "As the MLAs and Ógra activists in the 26-County jerseys cast their vote in a mock Presidential election, those in the Six-County shirts, representing citizens of the North, held up Irish passports as an expression of Irish citizenship and in protest against their lack of voting rights."

Ógra Shinn Féin is calling on the Dublin Government to allow citizens living in the Six Counties to vote in the 2004 Presidential Elections.

An online petition in support of the campaign is running at www.apresidentforall.com and the youth movement has lobbied and successfully passed motions in favour of the campaign in a number of councils, including Dublin, Derry, Tralee, Dungannon and Omagh.

Said McColgan: "The campaign has been running for two months, and already we have 1,500 signatures on the website. The motion has been passed by eight councils nationwide and protests have been held in nearly every major city and town in Ireland.

"We in Ógra Shinn Féin are confident that by the end of 2004, we will have made history in achieving the first All-Ireland elections in 86 years and in moving the prospect of Irish unity decisively forward."

• Noel Campbell, Sinn Féin candidate in the Castlebar Town Council elections, has written to all nine councillors asking them to adopt the Ógra Shinn Féin motion to allow Irish citizens resident in the Six Counties the right to vote in Presidential elections. The motion is set to go before the Council on 8 April.

When previously asked by Campbell to adopt Sinn Féin's Anti-Racism Charter for councils, all nine councillors refused.

Meanwhile, the Sinn Féin cumann in GMIT Castlebar recently held a campaign day where students were invited to sign a petition backing the Ógra Shinn Féin initiative. The response was very encouraging and bodes well for the cumann's success in the coming year.

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