17 February 2006

Sinn Féin members gather for Ard Fheis

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17/02/2006 - 07:07:35

More than 2,000 Sinn Féin delegates gather in Dublin today to debate 500 motions at the party’s annual Ard Fheis.

The ’Irish Unity and Equality’ theme will coincide with the 90th and 25th respective anniversaries of 1916 Rising and the 1981 Hunger Strikes in coming months.

Sinn Féin’s Dáil leader Caoimhghin O Caolain will deliver the opening address, followed by a speech by chief negotiator Martin McGuinness on the peace process.

Guest speakers in the RDS will include Micheal O Seighin of the Rossport Five group and Joanne Delaney, who was sacked from her job in Dunnes Stores in Crumlin because she wore a union badge.

Other invited delegates include members of the NUE-NGL political group in the European parliament and visitors from Portugal, the Basque country, Cyprus and Sweden.

Newly-elected representatives in last year’s Westminster and local elections, including Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy, will also receive a special welcome.

This weekend’s event will also be the first Ard Fheis since the IRA ended its armed campaign and decommissioned its weapons last year.

Sinn Féin said the wide-ranging motions reflected the high level of debate that is ongoing through the party.

Party president Gerry Adams will make his keynote leader’s speech on Saturday at 5pm.

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