SDLP tactics slammed
SINN FEIN HAS accused SDLP members of ``aggressive behaviour''
during last Thursday's election in West and North Belfast,
constituencies where the party's vote was under pressure from
Sinn Féin activists pinpointed three areas, Ardoyne in North
Belfast and Lenadoon and Ballymurphy in the West of the city,
where the SDLP challenged voters ``in an intimidating and
aggressive manner'', they said.
``The SDLP seemed to have a deliberate policy of causing
disruption,'' said Gerry Kelly, the Sinn Féin candidate in North
Belfast. He said that SDLP officials whom he spoke to admitted
that it would suit the SDLP to have polling stations closed down.
According to the reports we have received SDLP officials in the
polling stations challenged a large number of voters, accusing
them of personation.
``In one instance in Lenadoon, in Oliver Plunkett school, the SDLP
representative, a community worker and candidate for the party in
the council elections in Lower Falls, was aggressively
challenging people. One woman who moved to the area recently was
challenged and despite having valid identification was subjected
to a humiliating experience as she was brought aside and the RUC
were called in. They were trying to intimidate our voters,'' said
Sinn Féin's Martin Livingstone. The woman's husband was also
subjected to the same abuse when he turned up to vote later.
Meanwhile in Ardoyne SDLP personnel were warned by election
officials to curb their behaviour in what was a bizarre attempt
to prevent Sinn Féin representatives from marking registers. They
claimed Sinn Féin was marking registers ``illegally'', but the
presiding officer warned the SDLP about their behaviour.
SDLP tactics backfired in Black's Road polling station when the
SDLP challenged a young person, a first time voter. The young
woman was so aggrieved that she changed her mind and voted for