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Mary Lou said she is struck by the number of men that attempt to 'mansplain' her job

The Sinn Féin leader said she is in charge of the party, and no ‘shadowy figures’ are in control.

Image: Sam Boal

MARY LOU MCDONALD said since taking up the role as leader of Sinn Féin six months ago she has been struck by the number of men that have tried to “mansplain” her job to her. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the Sinn Féin president said she is the leader of the party, adding: “I am in charge.”

“I have to tell you I have been struck by how many men in particular have attempted to either mansplain my job to me or insisted this woman could not possibly be leader,” said McDonald. 

She said her party has a collective leadership, but added “when leadership is required, I lead”.

She said there were no “shadowy figures” in the background pulling the strings, but said like any other political party it has advisors who assist the party in formulating policy.

However, she added the “buck stops with me”.

When asked if anyone with links to the IRA were also involved in advising the party, McDonald said it was “no secret” that tens of thousands of people in the North went through the prison system during the Troubles.

She said the Ard Comhairle are the body that decide and deliberate on issues, but that when a final decision is needed, she, as leader, makes the call.

Critics of the party have alleged the IRA remains a part of the republican movement. This claim has been rejected by Sinn Féin.

Speaking to reporters at the party’s away day in Cavan, Pearse Doherty the paramilitary organisation has “left the stage” and hit back against recent comments from Micheál Martin who claimed Sinn Féin TDs face centralised control.

Doherty said the claim is “without basis” and is “a political attack” on his party because Martin is “running scared”. 

He said the Fianna Fáil leader is “resorting to scurrilous attacks” to divert attention.

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In addition to discussing her leadership, McDonald said today that her party is making progress in dealing with bullying allegations. 

She previously told this website that she has put a consultation with councillors in place around the issues, while also stating that an equality commission will be established within the party.

Today, she said the consultation with councillors has been “in-depth” and proved “very successful”. 

She added that a report would be published upon its completion. 

McDonald said those that have been found to breach party rules have been held to account. Bad behaviour within the party “is not acceptable”, she said.

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