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Mary Lou says Boris Brexit 'fantasy' is 'profoundly stupid and immeasurably dangerous'

She told her party’s away day in Louth that the Irish government cannot blink as too much is at stake.

Mary Lou McDonald said the government should start preparing for a united Ireland.
Mary Lou McDonald said the government should start preparing for a united Ireland.

SINN FÉIN LEADER Mary Lou McDonald has said Boris Johnson is following a Brexit “fantasy” and his plan is “profoundly stupid and immeasurably dangerous”.

Speaking at her party’s away day in Louth, she said Ireland faces its greatest threat and challenge in a generation.

McDonald said the British Prime Minister is following a fantasy “in which the rights and interests of the Irish people can be readily cast aside”.

“So it’s time to call Mr Johnson’s fantasy for what it is  – profoundly stupid and immeasurably dangerous. Mr Johnson’s stupid dangerous fantasy cannot become Arlene’s nightmare. Because Brexit is a very English problem. And the consequences of it cannot be shifted on to Ireland.

No blinking 

“As the 31st of October approaches and pressure mounts, neither the Taoiseach or Michel Barnier can blink in the face of Tory intransigence – too much is at stake,” she said.

Her comments come after the UK parliament was officially suspended in the early hours of Tuesday morning after MPs rejected Boris Johnson’s second attempt to force a general election.

Calling the path the UK prime minister is taking with Brexit, in which he argues that the backstop has to be removed from the withdrawal agreement if a deal is to be done, in McDonald’s view is fantasy and would have profound impacts on the island of Ireland, including the re-establishment of the border.

Johnson’s plan will result in the re-imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland, according to McDonald today.

“So the British Prime Minister needs to hear this, that the Irish people will not allow our country, our communities, our economy or our peace to be vandalised by him. There can be no return of a hard border, no customers checks, no more division on this island to suit the needs of a British government that has no interest in our future,” added McDonald.

Speaking about the backstop, she said it was a concept first tabled by Sinn Féin.

She said “no viable alternative exists to the backstop; it’s not perfect by any means but it’s the least worst option; broad Irish opinion supports that. This isn’t about us stamping our feet, this is a compromise solution, a minimum insurance policy”.

Earlier in the morning, she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:

“We argued the solution for Ireland was we needed a bespoke arrangement. That’s something DUP pushed back on, and British government. This is the necessary solution for the whole island,” she said, adding:

“It’s a dangerous idea that a veto would be afforded – not to the unionist people – but to the DUP. The DUP doesn’t represent the views of business in the North or of broad society. The solution is the backstop. It was initially conceived as an Ireland-only measure.” 

The Sinn Féin leader began her address to her party members on a conciliatory note, hinting to the party’s poor performance in May’s local elections.

“We have heard what you have said, and we are acting on it.”

Abstentionism

Predicting that the next UK general election will take place in the next six months, she said her party will run on an abstentionist ticket again. 

“No true Irish republican would ever take a seat in the British Parliament, much less swear an oath to the British crown,” she said. Taking a pop at Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, she said that if Fianna Fáil think differently, let them contest the election on a “go-to-Westminster and see how they get on”.

She said Sinn Féin are abstentionists from Westminster, while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are abstentionists from the north of Ireland.

She added that both parties have been abstentionists for half a century, a comment which drew a loud applause from the audience of Sinn Féin members this morning.

She said both parties “abandoned northern nationalists”.

“They will not lecture us and they will not lecture northern nationalism, no chance.”

On the issue of the next Budget, she said there is no room for “tokenistic” tax cuts that benefit the well off.

She said that a more rounded budget that will protect everyone with Brexit on the horizon is needed, adding that her party was calling for a €2 billion Brexit stability fund. 

“We have to prepare for the economic shock of Brexit,” she said, adding that now is the time that the Irish government should be planning for a united Ireland. 

A new poll has shown just over half of people in Northern Ireland would vote for Irish unification if there were a border poll tomorrow.

“Unity simply makes sense,” she said, stating that making preparations now for a united Ireland “is the responsible thing to do”.

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