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18 April 2002 Edition

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Sinn Féin contesting all of Dublin

For the first time since the 1920s, Sinn Féin will be running candidates in every Dublin constituency. Last Thursday, the 12 candidates and party President Gerry Adams launched the party's Dublin election campaign and the Manifesto for Dublin, laying out the policies and proposals Sinn Féin's Dublin TDs will fight for in Leinster House.

Speaking at the launch, chaired by Dublin West candidate Mary Lou McDonald, who introduced the candidates to the large crowd of media present, Sinn Féin candidate in Dublin South West, Councillor Seán Crowe, spoke of those left behind during the boom times of the last few years.

"Walking through Dublin City Centre any night of the week is to see those stark divisions in Irish society exposed," he said. "In the middle of a growing, prosperous city, a stone's throw from the monument to big business that is the IFSC, homeless people seek warmth and shelter in the doorways of buildings. Others, often children, sit slumped next to ATM machines or on bridges looking for money for a hostel, or just for food.

"These are the people for whom the Celtic Tiger never existed. These are the most vulnerable and the most in need of help in Irish society. They are not Eircom shareholders in need of compensation, nor are they going to be taking advantage of the government's savings and investment scheme. They still lack the most basic of human needs, like shelter, warmth and food."

Party President Gerry Adams reminded those present of the very different circumstances that had existed ten years ago when Sinn Féin had attempted to use the Manion House. "Standing here in the Mansion House today I cannot help but reflect on the huge advances Sinn Féin has made in just ten years, indeed the huge advances Ireland has made," he said.

"A decade ago, we were refused permission to hold our Ard Fhéis in this very building. But the people of Dublin remained sound and the people of Ballyfermot opened up their community centre to us and were attacked for it. Ten years on, who was right?"

A poll published on the day suggested Sinn Féin could win two seats in Dublin but party sources are optimistic that they could do even better. Councillor Dessie Ellis, the party's candidate in Dublin North West, has been getting a good reception throughout his constituency.

"We're getting a very positive reaction on the doorsteps and what's very important is that we're getting this outside of the traditionally republican areas and my own area of Finglas," he said. "People in this constituency are sick of being left behind while this much talked about and little seen Celtic Tiger pays off for the wealthy.

"There's a real anger on the doorsteps over housing, health and the Bin Charges and an appreciation of the work Sinn Féin has been doing in Dublin and across the country. What's also noticeable is the tremendous affection the people of this area have for Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who have both visited this constituency recently. People appreciate the risks they, and Sinn Féin, have taken and are seeing us not only as an alternative, but as the only alternative."


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1