Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin defends letter sent home with primary school children

Michelle Gildernew
Image caption Michelle Gildernew is a Sinn Féin candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Sinn Féin has defended a decision to distribute a letter to the parents of school children during the assembly election campaign.

The letter, on the party's headed notepaper, was brought home by children attending the Saint Francis Primary School in Derrylatinee, County Tyrone.

Sinn Féin says the letter, written by candidate Michelle Gildernew, was part of a campaign for better broadband.

The Belfast Telegraph has reported that one parent has sought legal advice.

Image caption Sinn Féin's northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, says the letter was about trying to get improved services
Image caption Mrs O'Neill said Ms Gildernew was the parent of a child at the school

Sinn Féin's northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, says the letter was about trying to get improved services.

"Broadband is a major issue for people in rural areas," he added.

"It's a a big bugbear, an issue which Michelle has campaigned on for many years, and the party as a whole".

In her letter to the school principal, Ms Gildernew says she would be "very grateful" if a copy could be sent home "with every family".

Mrs O'Neill said Ms Gildernew was the parent of a child at the school and "was raising the issue with the rest of the parents".

A spokesperson for the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools said neither they, nor the school, had received any complaints.