Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein in cross-border talks

Sinn Fein will bring its strengthened team of southern representatives to Stormont on Monday for the first time since the party's General Election gains in the Republic.

Sinn Fein Assembly group leader John O'Dowd said the party's 14 Dail members will meet MLAs to plan their cross-border political strategy.

The meeting comes as deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness urged National University of Ireland graduates living north of the border to back a Sinn Fein candidate for the Seanad elections in the south.

The elections to the upper house of the Oireachtas follow Sinn Fein's General Election outing where it increased its 2007 tally of 4 TDs to 14.

Mr O'Dowd said on Sunday: "Tomorrow's meeting will see 41 Sinn Fein TDs and MLAs gather in Stormont for the first time since the recent southern election.

"This first meeting will focus primarily on advancing the united Ireland and all-Ireland political agenda.

"No other political party on this island has the depth and geographical spread of Sinn Fein elected representatives. We are the only party with a strategy and a team to deliver all-Ireland political change."

He added: "Others talk about the all-Ireland agenda. Sinn Fein are the all-Ireland agenda in action."

His comments came as the party hopes its political gains in the Republic will help boost its campaign in Northern Ireland ahead of the May 5 Assembly election and local government elections.

Mr McGuinness said he also hoped Sinn Fein could ensure a presence in the Seanad and urged northern voters entitled to participate in elements of the election to support party candidate, former Belfast city councillor, Eoin O Broin.

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