Friday, February 17, 2006


SDLP should help us over Dáil rights - SF

Time for nationalists to stand together I welcome the call by Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness for the SDLP to join forces with his party to press for northern MPs to have speaking rights in the Dáil.

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness issued the appeal to SDLP leader Mark Durkan a day after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was accused of watering down such a proposal.

As Sinn Féin prepared for this weekend's party conference in Dublin, the Mid Ulster MP also said nationalists in the North were disappointed by the failure of the SDLP to work with his party on a Durkan/Adams approach to key issues.

"Bertie Ahern appears to be saying he cannot deliver on his original plan for Northern representation in the Dáil because of opposition among Dublin's political elite," Mr McGuinness said.

"I would think it would be in the interests of nationalists if the SDLP and Sinn Féin were to both make it clear that representatives in the North have a right to address the Dáil on matters affecting their part of the island."

I agree with Martin McGuinness. I was delighted to see Sinn Féin welcome the SDLP's recent North-South proposals as it showed that an all-Ireland agenda is more important than the various political party squabbles.

I want to see the SDLP do likewise and join with Sinn Féin in condemning the southern parties who have disgraced Irish nationalism by running away from the issue of northern representation.

There are Irish people in the south, such as myself, who are disgusted at the cowardice of the Irish Republic's parties on this issue. Therefore the North's nationalist parties should unite together and put pressure on the southern parties over this matter.

Seeing as the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising draws ever closer, now is the time to pile pressure on Ahern and co.

Let's see it happen.


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