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BBC NI's Mark Simpson reports
"Gerry Adams is confident his party will do well"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Sinn Fein forecasts Tyrone victory
Sinn Fein politicians
Gerry Adams outlines details of his party's manifesto
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has predicted that his party will win at least three seats at the Westminster election.

Mr Adams was speaking at the launch of his party's 20-page manifesto on Thursday.

He claimed that Sinn Fein would hold the West Belfast and Mid Ulster constituencies and take West Tyrone, where Pat Doherty is competing with the SDLP's Brid Rodgers and William Thompson of the Ulster Unionist Party.

"There are also winnable seats in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and North Belfast," he said.

"Right across those constituencies in the course of the next two weeks there is a possibility of making a real impact there."


Sinn Fein manifesto focuses on policing
Mr Adams said the general election result should be viewed within the context of the party's growth throughout the island of Ireland.

He said he was prepared to "bet a pint" that the Sinn Fein vote would rise during the Westminster and local government elections.

He also predicted it would continue to grow in the Irish Republic and in the next assembly election.

The Sinn Fein president, who also presented Stormont Education Minister Martin McGuinness with a present to mark his 51st birthday, said the difference between Sinn Fein and the rival nationalist SDLP was that his party envisaged "a national republic on this island".

He described the manifesto as "a manifesto for change".

"It is a manifesto which we will deliver on, a manifesto which will deliver an Ireland of equals.

"We are totally committed to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects.

"There is a clear need to build upon the peace process, to build upon the institutions and of course a need to tackle inequalities which exist across a range of social and economic matters.

"This manifesto is designed to do just that. It is Sinn Fein's contract with the people and our contract, like every other contract we have made, will be honoured."

Gerry Adams
Party will win at least three seats, Gerry Adams said.
On policing, Mr Adams said his party was not prepared to accept anything less than the "new beginning" promised in the Good Friday Agreement.

'Parity of esteem'

The party is seeking a police service which is representative of the community it served, based in the neighbourhoods it served and culturally neutral, he said.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty called for an all-Ireland approach to health, education, environment, economy and the creation of an all-Ireland constitutional court.

He stressed the importance of "parity of esteem and equality of treatment for the Irish language, heritage and culture".

"The unemployment differential between Catholics and Protestants must be eliminated in line with the promise contained in the Good Friday Agreement."

Sinn Fein is standing in all of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies for the first time.

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