Mitchel McLaughlin to deliver public lecture

Martin McGuinness addressing a public meeting in Derry in the early 1980s. Included, on left, is Mitchel McLaughlin. (1610MM25)
Martin McGuinness addressing a public meeting in Derry in the early 1980s. Included, on left, is Mitchel McLaughlin. (1610MM25)

A public lecture will be held in Sinn Féin’s Rath Mór offices tomorrow night to mark the 30th anniversary of the party’s entry into electoral politics.

Former Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin, who now represents south Antrim, will deliver the lecture, entitled ‘Protest to Politics - Unfinished Business.’

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Assembly member Raymond McCartney said it is important to such anniversaries.

“October 20th marks the 30th anniversary of the first electoral intervention by Sinn Féin in this phase of our struggle. Here in Derry, Sinn Féin polled 8,763 votes, and 64,191 (10.1%) votes across the North. Five people were elected, including Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.

“On Wednesday night Mitchel McLaughlin will deliver a talk reflecting on those 30 years. Mitchel will chart the rise of Sinn Féin and how we have used our resultant political strength to advance the agenda for change and Irish unity, I have no doubt that he will acknowledge the role of individuals acting collectively in making this possible.”

Mr McCartney has said his party has grown dramatically since 1982 but said that more development is needed. “Today across Ireland Sinn Féin has 14 TDs, 3 Seanadoiri, 5 MPs, 29 MLAs, 5 Ministers in the Executive, hundreds of councillors, Martina Anderson and Gráinne Mhic Géidigh elected to the European Parliament and Údarás na Gaeltacha respectively. Representation, at every level of governance and the only party on the island to do so, and with it a constituency and community outreach service to serve the best interests of those we represent.

“At present Sinn Féin is involved in a national campaign to increase our party strength. We know that even with our undoubted political strength our projected potential will only be realised by bringing more people into the party,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin’s lecture will take place in the new Rath Mór Sinn Féin office, off Eastway, tomorrow evening at 7.30pm. and Mr McCartney encouraged as many people as possible to attend.