Sinn Fein calls for summit over NI elections


Sinn Fein today urged the Taoiseach to call a special summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and demand that Northern Ireland Assembly elections be held this autumn.

Sinn Fein TD Mr Caoimhghin O Caolain, said the current impasse in the peace process was unacceptable to republicans.

When people voted for the Belfast Agreement they did not vote for direct rule, he said in County Cavan at the unveiling of a monument to IRA captain Edward Boylan.

"That is what we have now - direct rule and political drift with the institutions so painstakingly constructed now in suspension at the behest of anti-Agreement unionism.

"A British government which falsely boasts that it is a champion of freedom on the international stage had twice cancelled democratic elections in Ireland and four times suspended the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement."

Assembly elections had been scheduled for May but were postponed by the British government. Mr O Caolain said that despite requests for the poll to be held in the autumn there was no sign that the British government was prepared to do this.

"I call on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to arrange a special summit meeting with Tony Blair to discuss not whether, but when this autumn the elections will be held," he said.

"The Taoiseach's mandate from the Dail is to accept no less from Tony Blair." He said the political process was being "held hostage" by the anti-Agreement faction in the Ulster Unionist Party.