‘Galvanised’ SF now focused on economy; Farage tells hacks the pints are on him

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

After years of being derided by opponents as “economically illiterate”, Sinn Fein has majored on economic matters as it launched its manifesto.

Party president Gerry Adams, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald all joined Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson in central Belfast for the launch.

Mr Adams said that he believed his arrest by detectives investigating the abduction, torture and murder of Jean McConville had “galvanised” the Sinn Fein vote. However, he later went on to say: “I’m not saying it’s given us a boost.”

And Mr Adams said he “would like to think that the thinking unionist” who has stopped voting would give his party a preference in next week’s elections.

Party strategist Eoin O’Broin said that the party was neither “Europhile” nor “Eurosceptic”.

Alongside sections on the Irish language and Irish unity, five of the 15 sections of the manifesto directly related to the economy.

The party said it would work to transfer fiscal powers from London to Belfast and support “a definitive breaking of the link between sovereign and banking debt”.

The party also called for a new EU convention to identify powers to be returned to member states.

Pints on me, UKIP leader tells hacks

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a politician as likely to be seen with a pint as he is to be seen with political literature.

And the MEP, whose party is soaring in the polls in England, is certainly not concerned that he might be photographed with an alcoholic beverage while campaigning in Belfast on Wednesday.

An unusual invitation to the anti-EU politician’s press conference (which, through accident or design, is being held in the Berlin suite, part of the Europa’s ‘Euro Business Centre’)includes the line: “Join Nigel for a pint (or other beverage)...”

UUP hails its best attendance record

Figures which show that the UUP had the best attendance rate at full council meetings over the last year show that the party is committed to hard work, UUP MLA Tom Elliott has said.

Figures compiled by The Irish News reveal that UUP councillors had an attendance rate of 91%, followed by DUP, Sinn Fein and SDLP (all 90%), and Alliance on 84%.

Mr Elliott said: “For many years Ulster Unionist councillors have provided value for money to local ratepayers. Their excellent attendance record is further proof of our continued commitment to delivering high quality services and providing best value for the ratepayers.”

Only voting brings change, says Allister

Unionists can only make their views known by voting, TUV European election candidate Jim Allister has said.

The MLA claimed that voting for “the establishment parties” would change nothing.

The former MEP said: “In the perverse ‘peace process’ we’ve seen endless pandering to IRA/Sinn Fein and corresponding diminution of our Britishness, but one thing which cannot be taken off the unionist people is their vote. Only by using it can people be heard.

“The elections on May 22 are unionists’ opportunity not only to elect councillors and MEPs, but to pass their verdict on what is happening in our country.”