10/11/2003

SF to become largest nationalist party, says McGuinness

Sinn Féin have promised to return to the Northern Ireland Assembly as the largest nationalist party, following the launch of their election campaign today.

Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, alongside party colleagues Caitríona Ruane, Kathy Stanton, Alex Maskey and Pat Doherty, said that pro-Agreement voters recognised the effectiveness of their negotiating skills and in that respect they would want to see a Sinn Féin First or Deputy First Minister once election results come in.

"Republicans have taken risks for this process and we are asking people to endorse this," the Mid Ulster MP said.

“Sinn Féin is on the verge of an historic advance which will be seen across the north in Belfast, North and South Antrim, East Derry, Upper Bann, Lagan Valley and South Down, as well as republican heartlands West of the Bann and in Newry & Armagh."

Hitting out at plans by the DUP to have the Good Friday Agreement renegotiated once elections take place, Mr McGuinness said his party would "ensure that the Agreement is implemented in full".

"I am appealing for people to come out and vote in this election. We cannot take anything for granted. A vote for Sinn Féin in this election is a vote for change.

“It is a vote for peace. And it is a vote for the implementation of your agreement," he concluded.

(MB)

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