31 January 2002 Edition

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Negative campaigning by Fine Gael

Sinn Féin Waterford has accused Fine Gael's John Deasy of negative campaigning by using the detention of three Irishmen in Colombia as a stick with which to beat Sinn Féin.

David Cullinane, Sinn Féin general election candidate for the Waterford constituency said: "John Deasy's comments regarding the three Irishmen detained in Colombia are disgusting. Mr Deasy seems to be engaging in trial by media. He accuses the three men of training Marxist guerrillas and offers no evidence to substantiate his claims. Does Mr Deasy believe these men have a right to a fair trial and if so does he believe they will receive one in Colombia? Clearly, his party colleague Tom Higgins does not. I support the families' call for the immediate release and return home of these three men. I commend those in Waterford County Council who so recently supported a motion calling for this."

"Mr Deasy, however, has consistently engaged in negative campaigning against my party. His reference to Sinn Féin voters as the "lowest common denominator" is stooping to a new low. Sinn Féin is an opposition party offering a political alternative. Let us rise above using serious issues for political point scoring and have a real and genuine debate on the issues. This is what people want. This is what people deserve."

An Phoblacht
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