Sinn Fein targets Belfast gains
Sinn Fein could take a third of Belfast's Assembly seats in
this month's election, party leader Mr Gerry Adams claimed
Addressing a campaign launch for nine candidates in the four
Belfast constituencies, Mr Adams said strong campaigning on
the streets and disciplined transferring between candidates
was the key to maximising the Sinn Fein representation.
Speaking in the Waterfront Hall under a banner which
proclaimed "A city of equals", Mr Adams was accompanied by his
eight running mates and by the party's chief negotiator Mr
He said: "We are standing right across Belfast. We have
five MLAs at the moment. We want eight. That's a big, big
job. We also want to see Paul Butler coming through in
Lagan Valley, which just touches on a part of Belfast."
"We are fighting this as a city-wide campaign - South,
North, East and West. Right across the city, we are going
to see an extra person - Kathy Stanton in North Belfast to
join Gerry Kelly. We are going to see Alex Maskey elected
in South Belfast. We are going to see Joe O'Donnell
increasing his vote in the east of the city and in West
Belfast, our aim is to win five seats."
Mr Adams contrasted Sinn Fein fortunes now with the early
"Much has changed in Belfast over the past 20 years, since
Alex Maskey became the first Sinn Fein councillor in this
"Since then Sinn Fein has become the largest political party
in Belfast and our track record is there for everyone to see."
He added: "We delivered in our communities, in City Hall, in
the Assembly and in the peace process."
In the 2001 local government election Sinn Fein received
28.4 per cent of the city's vote, making it the largest
single grouping on Belfast City Council with 14 seats.
The Ulster Unionists secured 18.3 per cent with 11
councillors, the Democratic Unionists got 18.1 per cent
with 10 seats and the SDLP had nine councillors elected
with 17.4 per cent.