4 February 1999 Edition

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SF Assembly team visits Leinster House

The demand for full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in all its cross-border aspects was brought to Leinster House by Sinn Féin last week when Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD hosted a delegation of the party's Assembly members who met TDs and Senators.

Top of the agenda was the call for representation in the Oireachtas for citizens in the Six Counties.

Sinn Féin MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness led the delegation which included 15 of the party's 18 members in the Assembly. At a press conference before the group entered Leinster House Caoimhghín O Caolain said the delegation was ``a sign of the strength of Sinn Féin, a growing party on both sides of the border''. He said:

``Sinn Féin is unique in having representatives in both the Dáil and the Assembly and this leaves us well placed to play a central role in the implementation of the all-Ireland aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.

``As we meet here the Agreement endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the electorate in Ireland last year remains largely unimplemented. This press conference and our deputation to meet TDs and Senators will be stressing the urgent need to implement the Agreement in full and to countenance no more delays and obstructions.''

Gerry Adams said it was appropriate that they were there meeting just a week after the 80th anniversary of the First Dáil Éireann. He told the press conference:

``Today Irish republicans continue to work for a just society and to transform politics on this island. Liam Mellows, speaking in 1922, said that it was essential that declarations should be translated into something definite, a lesson that we intend to apply today both in relatiion to the Good Friday Agreement and the achievement of Irish unity and independence. We want to replace the old conservative politics on this island with a new political dispensation based on social and economic justice and we will do this through maximising our political strength in our communities and in elected office.''

A special focus of the delegation was the need for Six-County representation in the Oireachtas. Sinn Féin has put forward proposals to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution to accord Dáil representation for citizens living in the Six Counties in the Dáil. The Sinn Féin representatives met about 100 TDs and Senators of all parties and independents during their visit to Leinster House.

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