Action Alert - British suspension of election
The following action alert is from the US-based Irish Northern
Aid Committee and is dated May 1, 2003.
* Today, the British government has agreed to a request from
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble to again postpone elections
to the Assembly mandated by the Good Friday agreement.
Nominations had already been accepted and campaigning was
underway for the election, which was orignially set for today but
had been postponed until May 29th. It is now postponed
indefinitely "until the autumn."
* Yesterday, before the announcement, Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams MP stated:
"Last Sunday I made a lengthy statement about the future of the
peace process which has been widely welcomed. In the course of my
statement I answered three questions raised by the British Prime
"It is my belief that all three questions were answered fully.
However the Taoiseach, the British Prime Minister and others have
queried my answer about alleged IRA activities.
"I want now in the interests of moving matters forward to
eliminate any doubt which might exist in that regard.
"The IRA leadership makes it clear in its statement that it is
determined that its activities will be consistent with its
resolve to see the complete and final closure of the conflict.
"The IRA leadership is determined that there will be no
activities which will undermine in any way the peace process and
the Good Friday Agreement.
"The IRA statement is a statement of completely peaceful intent.
Both governments have already acknowledged this."
* British Secretary of State Paul Murphy made the announcement in
the House of Commons shortly after 2.30 p.m. on 1 May 2003.
* Today, commenting on the British government's postponement of
the Assembly elections, Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O
Caolain TD, said:
"The British government's postponement of the Assembly elections
is an insult to democracy in Ireland. They are denying the
electorate their right to make a judgement on the conduct of the
political parties in the peace process and they are reinforcing a
unionist veto on progress.
"It is disgraceful that the Irish Government has also bowed to
the Unionist veto. In chorus with Tony Blair, the Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern has claimed that the clarifications sought and
received from republicans are not enough for him. But the
Taoiseach knows well that republicans are totally committed to
the peace process and to the Good Friday Agreement. In reality
all this is a desperate effort to protect David Trimble, despite
the fact that he now leads a party that has effectively rejected
* The Sinn Fein TD for Kerry North, Martin Ferris said:
"The decision to deny people in the Six Counties the opportunity
to vote in the elections that were planned for this month is an
absolute disgrace. It is proof that not only does the Ulster
Unionist Party have an absolute veto on progress, but that the
attitude of the British authorities to this country has not
changed since the heyday of colonialism. They still think they
know better than the natives. And unfortunately they can still
find enough native 'chiefs' to make excuses for them and to do
"In no other democratic state would it be acceptable to defer
planned elections just because one of the parties thought that
they were going to do badly. And yet this is exactly what the
British Government has done, and at the very time when they have
the gall and the hypocrisy to wage terror on other peoples in the
name of democracy."
* ACTION REQUEST Communicate your concern and outrage --
In the US to:
The Irish Government: The Irish Ambassador to the US is Noel
Fahey. Contact him at Embassy of Ireland, 2234 Mass Ave NW,
Washington DC 20008; phone 202-462-3939; fax 202-232-5993.
The US Administration: Send letters, etc. to Dr Richard Haass
at Department of State, Director of Policy Planning, 2201 C
Street NW, Room 7224, Washington DC 20520; phone 202- 647-2372
and send your e-mails to Dr. Richard Haass at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and cc the Secretary of State Colin
Powell at: email@example.com.
The British government: The British Embassy in DC can be reached
by phone 202.588.7800, fax: (212) 745 0359 or e-mailed at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The address is The British
Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Contact the Northern Ireland Office while you are at it:
Worldwide: British and Irish Consulates throughout the world
should be contacted