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6 June 1997 Edition

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Vote Sinn Féin

The last of three historic elections within five weeks takes place on Friday when voters in the 26 Counties go to the polls. It represents another historic opportunity - a truly historic opportunity which could once more change the face of Irish politics.

The election of Sinn Féin TDs would signal the beginning of a new era and send a shiver down the spine of the cosy cartel of establishment parties in Leinster House. Sinn Féin represents the rights and the aspirations of the excluded and of those who wish to see a new Ireland truly free from outside interference.

The longer this election campaign has gone on the clearer it has become that none of the Leinster House parties represents the people of no property. Those who claim to be parties of the left are simple hangers on to the coat-tails of right wing parties whose economic policies condemn a third of our people to poverty. Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House would be a voice for those who have gone unrepresented.

On Friday electors have a chance to make history by voting Sinn Féin.

The failed politics of exclusion



Those who voted for Sinn Féin in recent elections in the Six Counties were voting for progress towards peace with justice. They were also voting for equality, without which there can be neither peace nor justice. But already those who voted for Sinn Féin are being denied equality. Their votes are being held up as second class votes.

In Council chambers throughout the Six Counties parties have combined to exclude Sinn Féin. One of the main culprits has been the SDLP - in Omagh, Derry and Newry and Mourne on Monday night the SDLP denied Sinn Féin posts which their electoral strength warranted. ``Not until there is an IRA ceasefire,'' said the SDLP, but that is a completely empty excuse. When there was an IRA ceasefire, the SDLP still denied top posts to Sinn Féin.

It is clear that the SDLP have not learned the lessons from their defeats in the local elections. If they continue to practice exclusion, the nationalist electorate may well feel it necessary to teach them another lesson at the next election.

The SDLP's attitude mirrors that of the British government and the Unionists who seem unable to recognise that peace can only come from an inclusive process. At Stormont on Tuesday Sinn Féin were once again barred from the talks despite their representatives being elected on the same basis as others. The irony is that the talks are in deep trouble, unable to progress to substantive negotiations. The lesson is clear - unless the process is inclusive and there is a willingness to grasp change, the talks are doomed. It is time to stop locking gates.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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