| 10.8°C Belfast

Gerry Adams as seen on TV. Just never in the House of Commons

There now follows a party political broadcast ... Good evening. First of all can I assure everyone this is not an Irish joke, though I wouldn't be surprised if many see it as such.

I want to address you all today on the subject of voting in the General Election on May 6. My party believes that it is absolutely essential for you to cast your vote. Under no circumstances stay at home.

In fact, if you didn't do so at the last election in 2005, we want you to follow the example of the 174,530 people here in the north of Ireland who voted for us then. We want all those votes again and more besides.

Your vote is special because we are unique. Nowhere else can you vote for a party which has no intention of representing you in Parliament.

As soon as you pencil in your 'X' against our party, you won't have to worry one whit after that. You won't need to wonder what our party is up to because we will give you the peace of mind of knowing we are up to nothing at all.

Now I know most of you who support us through thick and thin sacrificed a lot for democracy. Some of you or your parents marched on the streets of Derry and Newry, Dungannon and Enniskillen for one of the greatest civil rights of all. A vote. In fact, one man, one vote. We appreciate that very much.

We want you to come out in your thousands on May 6, exercise that hard-won democratic right. If you give us enough votes to be elected, our candidates will reward your faith in them. They will represent your interest with total disregard for every debate, every ministerial statement. No matter what the crisis is, be it even the threat of another world war, be assured, our successful candidates will be nowhere to be seen.

Let me turn to another issue. When you vote for us, you will be striking a blow for a united Ireland. Yes, I know there's another party which also talks about uniting Ireland, but not in the way we would go about it.

As you know, we've unsurpassed experience. I won't go into all that now because I'm sure you would agree: reminding people of what some of my party colleagues got up to in the past is hardly conducive to securing support for our cause in the future. We differ from our opponents in another big way. They are not proper united Irelanders like us. They are far too pragmatic in their thinking.

What do they mean by uniting people in the north of Ireland before we can think of uniting Ireland? Poppycock we say. Forget all the in-between nonsense. Just delaying tactics. Let's get on with it and the sooner the better we say.

I want here to answer Ed Curran, who has emailed us with a very legitimate question about our plans for Irish unity. "How does your party propose to replace the £10bn subsidy which the north of Ireland receives from the British Exchequer and also face up to the inescapable fact that the south of Ireland has the biggest financial deficit in the entire European community?" Good question, Ed. Good question. Thankfully my party doesn't need to answer such bloody awkward questions from you, no more than our successful candidates on May 6 need to turn up at Westminster and say anything at all.

We have 174,000 voters who will totally ignore your views, think nothing of jumping in their cars on May 6, journeying down to the local polling station even if it happens to be miles away in the wilds of Fermanagh or Tyrone and put their 'X' where it matters.

Don't be fooled by our opponents in Fermanagh or any of the other constituencies with the exception of south Belfast where we are not standing. Unlike our opponents, we are not promising to waste a whole five years travelling over to London, taking our seats, and possibly influencing the very future of the United Kingdom in a hung parliament.

Vote for us as you have so often in the past. Don't take life too seriously.

With us, you won't have to worry about anybody saying anything out of turn or acting embarrassingly on your behalf at Westminster. And remember, we are the only party to guarantee that no matter who wins over there, your say will be of no consequence.

Immigration. The future of the National Health Service. Your taxes. Your pension. Your public service job. Your welfare benefits. A hung Parliament. Be assured when the great debates take place, my party is looking forward to not speaking on your behalf.

So there you have it. Look out for our election slogan: 'Mum's the word. Tiocfaidh Ar La.'

That was a party political broadcast on behalf of Sinn Fein.