McGeough: SF forced into u-turn

Sinn Féin is being forced into u-turn after u-turn because of the insatiable demands of Ian Paisley, a former party member said tonight.

Gerry McGeough, a former IRA gun runner who is challenging the party as an independent candidate in the Stormont Assembly Election, claimed his former colleagues had turned their backs on a united Ireland by endorsing the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

At the launch of his campaign in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, he also said he would prefer a Plan B of more all-Ireland political arrangements to Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair’s Plan A of resuming power sharing.

Mr McGeough said: “We have a very energetic and competent campaign which is going to offer the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone a viable alternative.

“We are in this battle to win and expect to poll well.

“But whether we get 10 or 10,000 votes, the important thing is someone is making a stand in this constituency for traditional republican values.

“Sinn Féin, by endorsing the Crown forces, has taken the united Ireland agenda out of the equation.

"My campaign’s aim is to put it back in there.”

Former Sinn Féin Assembly member John Kelly was among those who turned out for the launch of the campaign in Lisnaskea.

A message of support for Mr McGeough was also read from former IRA hunger striker, and vociferous critic of Gerry Adams, Brendan Hughes.

Mr McGeough is hoping to capture one of six seats up for grabs in the Assembly election in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency.

Sinn Féin currently has two Assembly seats.

The party’s Michelle Gildernew is also the MP for the constituency.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone came to prominence in 1981 when IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands won a House of Commons seat there in a by-election.

Mr McGeough tonight challenged Ms Gildernew to an open, level playing field public debate in the constituency on the policing issue.

Following Sinn Féin’s comments in recent days urging republicans to go directly to the police to report crimes including the murder of Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney and Gerry Adams' assertion that he would have no difficulty if a young republican joined the PSNI, Mr McGeough said his former party was capitulating to the DUP.

“I actually feel vindicated by everything which has been said since last Sunday’s Ard Fheis,” he said.

“I said no matter what Sinn Féin did it would not satisfy the insatiable demands of the DUP.

“What we are witnessing now is the ongoing capitulation of Sinn Féin, who have no option but to keep dancing to the tune of the DUP and the British government.”

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