2 May 2002 Edition

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Protest over jailing of SF Director of Elections

Sinn Féin candidates in Galway West, Daniel Callanan and Séan ac Coistealbha have expressed outrage at the conviction and sentence imposed on their Director of Elections Jim Clarke. Ac Coistealbha commented: "This is part of the ongoing campaign by the establishment against the growing electoral threat posed by Sinn Féin."

Callanan added: " Given that crime and law and order have become a major electoral issue, it is interesting to contrast the continuing huge resources being invested by the Gardaí against republicans compared to the apparent shortage of resources in dealing with serious crime. This case of alleged assault resulted from the pulling of a Garda's tie while defending himself from assault by Gardaí while in custody. This trumped up charge was fully defended and is subject to a full appeal. Jim's initial arrest was part of an ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation of republicans in Galway city and county. Is the reason for this ongoing campaign the fact that Sinn Féin are raising issues of concern to ordinary people which the other parties have ignored for years?

"I believe that this is an outrageous abuse of Garda resources particularly in light of the serious growing crime problem in Galway city. Garda and court resources could be put to better use in tackling the repeat offenders and those people putting communities in nightly fear. When this sentence is viewed in the light of recent sentences in Galway, people will draw their own conclusions.

"I wish to extend to Jim's wife Deirdre and her five children all our support over these trying times, particularly in light of a recent medical scare regarding her son. I call on the Department of Justice to immediately end this process of harassment and intimidation against Sinn Féin and direct their resources where they are most needed, and I challenge Ministers Ó Cuiv and Fahey to a debate on the serious crime problem in Galway."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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