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Mary Lou McDonald blasts Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and says 'time is right now for woman head of Government'

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 23/05/2020 Sylvia Pownall
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald speaks at a public meeting Liberty Hall in Dublin, Ireland February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan © Thomson Reuters Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald speaks at a public meeting Liberty Hall in Dublin, Ireland February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has blasted Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for stonewalling her, insisting: “The time is right now for a woman head of Government.” The straight-talking politician says she still believes the way forward is with a government involving Sinn Fein, though she dismissed any suggestion of a snap election.

In an interview with the Irish Daily Mail she said: “I still believe that there is the basis for a Government of change with Sinn Fein in it, Sinn Fein driving it. “But I know that that effort has been frustrated by the fact that two blocks say they won’t talk to a party that almost a quarter of the electorate voted for.”

She added: “I think refusal to engage, to acknowledge or to speak to us obviously keeps everybody back. “That’s not a healthy or a democratic thing to do... indefensible. “It’s not a sustainable position and I know it’s a position that has caused great offence and annoyance for the... hundreds of thousands who voted for us.”

Video: Mary Lou McDonald says 'you do not want this virus in your house' after testing postive for coronavirus

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The policy of keeping Sinn Fein from power could be nearing an end as lengthy government formation talks look all but doomed. Earlier this week Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness reiterated his stance that a unity government made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein should be formed.

He and party colleague Eamon O Cuiv have both publicly stated that Sinn Fein should be brought to the negotiating table.Meanwhile several independent TDs have been contacted by Fine Gael deputy leader Simon Coveney and told they will be included in formation talks in a week’s time.

The Independent Group and the Regional Group heard that negotiations would take place with them during the first week in June.All parties are understood to be working towards concluding the programme for government talks process by Sunday 7 June at the latest.

Mary Lou McDonald et al. taking a selfie: Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald at the RDS count Centre Dublin © Collins Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald at the RDS count Centre Dublin Should the Greens, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agree a programme for government, it would give a new government a majority of four, with the backing of 84 TDs. Green Party TD Brian Leddin said that the talks are progressing well. He said he has “huge regard” for deputy leader Catherin Martin, but said this is not the time for a leadership election.

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